Thursday, 29 January 2009

The Hunter Civil War

I just realised something—hunters can be such a clannish, contentious lot. How many classes out there have ever heard of the concept of "Spec Loyalty"? How many classes even agonize over having to change specs as much as hunters? I'm sure there are some individuals out there who are die-hard Retribution Paladins, and I am in no way denigrating the rivalry between the Arcane, Fire and Frost schools amongst our magi; I am sure there are others who think about what talent build or school they prefer being in.

That being said, when their classes are attacked or maligned, they see themselves more collectively as Paladins, Magi, Warlocks, etc. and if one of their schools are nerfed, they all collectively feel pain. But hunters? When one school was nerfed, the others either rejoice at one of the schools being brought low (at worst) or thinking "Now is our time to shine!" (at best).

I have to admit that I felt a little pleased that the beastmasters were losing some of their power, being finally humbled. Only a marksman like me who has been ridiculed by beastmasters during Burning Crusade can ever feel this sort of malice.

Too late did I realise that the weakening of the beastmasters also weakened the marksmen. And now that the survivalists are, actually, the true winners of this nerf—they that had been, in the Burning Crusade, second only in power to the beastmasters... and now more powerful still. They, the survivalists, did not feel the humbling that marksmen had to suffer, and to suddenly be brought to prominence!

But notice, I call them "they" and refer to "we" and "me"... how many druids feel they have to war with other schools? How many rogues argue as to the best school, and feel bad or triumphant when one school is better at some things. They all have a unity of purpose that, when the situation calls for it, allows them freedom of movement between schools, without recrimination and without any doubt to their "loyalty".

But when BRK, the most famous and, arguably, the most powerful beastmaster suddenly left his school to become a survivalist (with the consequence of inducing more beastmasters to become survival too), it was seen as a minor tragedy. They did it to become more powerful, that much is certain. And can I blame them? The beastmasters are in such a weakened state now that they are not even viable for the front lines. Some have mentioned that those who were not loyal to their spec do so only due to lust for power... but if they really believed that, wouldn't they have turned surival when the beastmasters were the most powerful?

Dwarrow feels that I should abandon my school—what is stopping me? When the beastmasters were the dominant school, I stayed as a marksman, content to never be the most powerful hunter in the guild as long as I was "of use" and "powerful enough". For a few glorious moments in the Battle of Mt. Hyjal and in some moments in the Black Temple, I became the most powerful... even against the vaunted beastmasters. Is this what I am still aiming to do?

Am I really still trying to become the most powerful even when in a school that has a lot of its power stripped away? Is it pride driving me to show that I do not need the patronage of the Devas and can still excel? Maybe it was a bad thing for me to have tasted power even once.

For now, I have to face it—I am weak. My constitution and my frame can no longer keep up with anyone. Twice now I have been shamed by survivalists (one of them a former beastmaster), and twice now have I been ridiculed by a Paladin who fancies that he knows my class. But I can hardly blame them—despite my best efforts I can no longer jump as high as I used to, I can no longer fire as swiftly or as accurately as I used to, and so many times with the battle against Thaddius the Construct, I froze in battle, dooming the lives of others.

While I crave to redeem myself, I have to face the fact that my body is tired and old. As I wrote in my previous entry, I think I shall quietly fade away while there is still some respect for my former prowess and make myself available to the Argent Crusade and the Ebon Blade. Dwarrow (bless her) can still go eventually after this brief R&R... it is her time to shine. Not since the loss of Mórrígan so many months ago have I felt so old, so worthless... so useless.

In the end, this shadow war between the three schools of hunters is basically a civil war. In the end, despite the misguided optimism of the Devas, there will be one dominant school once again... and there will be peace for a while where each hunter will know their place. Always have, always will.


Pike said...

I don't care how much damage I am or am not doing-- I'm staying BM. I tried SV and didn't like it. I did like MM but not as much as my beloved BM. I have an equal amount of respect for all hunter specs, but this is a matter of personal flavor and playstyle.

I, and many other BMers, are not switching specs, regardless of numbers =D

aerynn said...

I didn't use to care either, Pike. I mean, I'm all for becoming more efficient and as powerful as I can be; it doesn't mean that I will not gear myself and accessorise myself so that I can have useful stats, and it doesn't mean I will not learn rotations.

But it discourages me when, even when you're already doing your best, people assume that you actually aren't just because you aren't the current DPS spec.

And the real tragedy here is that other classes can just slide to respec without any accusations of spec loyalty etc. I want that for hunters, the freedom to stay the spec one wants or the freedom to go any spec one wants.

mvallen said...

I have been struggling with this since MM Spec changed. I have never apologized for staying with my spec. I always looked on Spec Schools as a preference in playing. Having done so much PVP in BC, I was pretty satisfied. I was able to do good work and earn my gear improvements. Then I joined a Raiding Guild. I had a better exposure to a group of Hunters who loved the spec. I quit hearing about, ‘lazy hunters’. And Kara became something we all conquered. And each of us was good in Hijal. Then the Lich King came. Things changed. Our contribution to the raid was re-assessed. Our spec was re-crafted and patched up, and something was wanting. Talks of best spec’ing and preferences in 5, 10 and 25 man raids. We were left off the raid list, or last called to avoid going outside the guild. I am looking at options. Thanks for the thoughtful considerations. Do well, good journey. See you on the trails.