Since Cataclysm came out 9 months ago, I’d been raiding as Survival. Why? Well for the majority of that time, the guild I was in needed it. In that 10-man environment, I was topping meters — as SV hunters tended to do through tier 11 content.
Then the last straw had been dropped, and I needed a change. Guild changed, server changed, raid format changed, and Firelands dropped — all within a 1-week period. The first raid night with the new guild was our first night in Firelands too — so the encounters were all new to everyone. I was terrified. I had no idea what to expect from the raid, the new guild, and I was suffering from a huge bout of performance anxiety. Muscle memory dictated that I stay Survival, despite the 2-3k deficit in DPS between MM and SV (all gear being considered equal).
That was about 6 weeks ago. Since then I’ve seen considerable gear upgrades, gotten far more familiar with the Firelands bosses, and read a ton of information about the Cataclysm Marksmanship rotation/priorities/gear choices, etc. Did I feel comfortable after my once through? Heck no.
So what did I do to get myself back up to speed? Honestly, I spent no less than probably 5 hours over the course of three weeks on a target dummy, running combat logs, and nit-picking my shot choices and figuring out how I could better optimize what I was doing.
Was I still unsure? Absolutely. I tried running a few troll heroics to get a better handle on what I was doing, but that seemed like a moot point. Things died far too quickly to be able to gauge if what I was doing was the right thing.
Last night I bit the bullet. I switched to Marksmanship after one attempt on Alysrazor. If you haven’t seen that fight yet, just know it is pretty chaotic, and probably not where you want to test a new spec. I, on the other hand, decided that the only way I was going to get back into the Marksmanship saddle, was to bite the bullet, and pick probably one of the most chaotic fights and just do it. Admittedly, my rotation and method to running MM for now are probably a little off, but that’s okay. I was keeping up with another Marksman hunter that always tops meters. Embarrassingly enough, when I looked at Recount after just my first attempt as Marksmanship and saw what I was doing, I nearly cried.
I proved to myself I could do it.
Going back and glancing at logs from last night, it’s pretty clear where I messed up my rotation last night. From a cursory glance though, it seems like it was only a couple times – which is even more encouraging to me. Needless to say I’ll be optimizing my gear back to Marksman primarily, and save Survival for fights that need stupid amounts of AOE (Beth’tilac, Rhyolith, and trash).
The moral of this rambling tale is this: Don’t give up. Just because you’re not so hot at one of the specs out there, it doesn’t mean you’ll always be that way. Spend the time, do the research, practice, practice, practice. Then challenge yourself outside your comfort zone. Your hard work might just pay off.