Well, I did it. 2 months into patch 4.3 and I finally got around to switching from my Marksman spec to Survival. It was a little heart breaking; I’d become very comfortable in MM. The rotation was firmly locked into my muscle memory, I knew when to blow my cooldowns, I had even worked out my macros to do a staggered run/fox/steady shot stop/hawk/aimedshot aspect dance so I could squeeze every last bit of DPS out even when I needed to move. I was good at MM. I liked MM. I would regularly top DPS in several raids and the LFR in MM. Why change?
The thing is, I was completely put to shame. I’ve been doing LFR at least twice weekly on both my hunters, and I’d usually do pretty well. Sure, the casters and rogues with their fancy pants legendary weapons would out DPS me, but it was always pretty close, and I could always make excuses “Oh, they’re better geared, I don’t have a legendary, their class is overpowered…..”. I just couldn’t make those excuses with the Survival hunters, and even though I out geared a lot of them, the DPS was just too close for comfort.
I decided to do a rough and ready test to see how the specs compared, I did the end time 5 man dungeon with a guild buddy on my lesser geared alt. I was marks, he was survival, and we had nearly identical gear sets, the only difference being the helm. Marks put up a good fight but it was not to be. Survival came out on top in all three fights, which surprised me. I’d have thought that the Murozond fight would have heavily favoured MM with its unlimited Rapid Fire and Readiness, but I got slapped a little by the RNG monster with a large share of void zones to dodge, ruining several aimed shots. We followed this up with 10 minutes on a target dummy, with the same results: MM just didn’t pull the same numbers as SV.
The kicker was in the post mortem though. It turns out my buddy only hit his rapid fire once on Murozond, he hadn’t realised that the hourglass refreshed all his class cooldowns! Further to that, he had been watching an old episode of Charmed while on the target dummy and “wasn’t really paying attention”. Here I was, busting my guts to squeeze out every last drop of damage from my rotation, and he wasn’t even trying!
So I’m making the switch, I’m hoping to see an improvement in my ten man raid tonight, but I’ll try it out on the LFR and some 5 man pugs first so I can find my feet.