Recently there was a post at OutDPS! about dual specs and what different hunters do with theirs. While we obviously can’t do that “I have a heal spec and a tank spec!” (or tank/DPS, or heals/DPS) thing that I’ve seen the hybrids do, I still think that we as hunters have a lot of options.

I, personally, am spec’d my preferred Beast Master raid spec as a “main spec”… and Survival as an “off spec”. I originally went Survival as an off spec for one reason and one reason only: to make the sacrifice and be the Replenishment-bot if needed. As you may or may not have gathered, I do 10mans a lot more often than I do 25mans, and for some reason all my groups seem to lack Replenishment. While Replenishment has become rather less needed in the “old content” as my raid groups steadily improve, I still keep it around “just in case”, and because I volunteered to my guild that I would and, well, I stick to my word like that.

However, I have also come to realize that there are a few other handy reasons to have Survival as an off-spec. Firstly is utility. Although I’ve yet to encounter that glorious crowd control that I used to see all the time (ahhh… chain-trapping every pull in Heroic Mech because our beloved warrior tank could really only do one mob at a time… how I miss ye sometimes), there is at least one encounter where I still feel like I can drop everything and focus on the trapping: Gluth. Typically in my groups we have a Death Knight kite the zombies and it’s my job to back him up by making sure there is a Frost Trap on the grate at all times. With Survival’s reduction of cooldown time and longer trap duration, I really feel useful on this fight. I mean, yeah, I’m sure we’d be fine without the extra utility. But I like Survival being about traps ‘n stuff dangit! *waves cane* >.>

Secondly is the oft-tossed-around “Spec for Pet Unfriendly Fights” thing. Interestingly enough I very rarely switch to a non-BM spec for such fights. Heigan? I’m BM. Sarth? I’m BM. I find keeping my pet alive through those fights to be a fun and exciting challenge and I can usually pull it off… probably much to the chagrin of a lot of the other hunters that I group with!

There is currently one fight, though, that I tend to switch to Survival for pet-unfriendliness reasons on, and that fight is Kel’thuzad. It really depends on the group composition; if it’s a mostly ranged group then I usually won’t have an issue and I can stay BM. But if it’s a heavy melee group– as my current Naxx group tends to be– then I suck it up, respec, use Call Stabled Pet to pull out Perezvon the wolf and let him stand there and be the buffbot because he wouldn’t have a a shot at staying alive until near the end of the fight. It’s sad that he can’t join in the fun, but it’s sort of a necessary evil. Oh, and to tell the honest truth… I’m not sure on the specifics on why the survival rate of my pet on KT seems to directly correlate with whether we are a mostly ranged DPS or mostly melee DPS group. I think it has to do with either that jumping ice block thing or an increased rate of void zones that my pet is likely to eat. I should probably pay more attention to this kind of thing but hey, I’m a hunter. I just shoot stuff until it falls down.

So yeah, that’s the only fight that thus far I’ve felt compelled to swap specs for due to pet issues, though who knows how that will change if I ever get into Ulduar? I’ll keep you posted.

So there’s my reasons for dual-spec’ing what I dual-spec. Works out pretty well, I think. There are a ton of other possibilities I can think of, though…

PvE / PvP. A lot of people are doing this and it’s something I’d seriously consider if I was actually doing PvP these days… which I’m not. =/ Someday I will get back into it. And by “it” I mean battlegrounds… was never big into Arenas.

The Mana Conservative Spec / The Mana Intensive Spec. Similar to Replenishment and non-Replenishment but seriously sometimes I really wish I had my 53/11/7 spec without Invigoration… and then a 55/11/5 spec with 2/2 Invigoration that I could switch to if I was having mana issues but nobody else really was. Seriously, if you could tri-spec I’d probably do this. (Please tell me I am not the only one who is tempted by a dual-spec that is like… two talent points off from your main spec.)

The raid spec / The MY PET IS A CRAZY MAIN TANK spec
. I see this a lot and it’s understandable. You raid on the weekdays and solo Onyxia (or just do a ton of quest-ish dailies) on the weekends. Sometimes I think it’d be fun but I can’t be bothered… I don’t do the solo Onyxia thing (though I’d love to try it sometime) and raid-BM works perfectly fine for dailies!

…A spec you just plain like / Another spec you just plain like. Absolutely nothing wrong with this! It’s fun to be able to swap specs just because you’re feeling like something different that day.

Spec you are testing / Another spec you are testing. Then swap between them on the training dummies. I’ve actually been tempted to do this sometimes, with specs that are a single talent point different from each other. But in the end I’m too miserly with my gold to actually do it. >.>

In the end, I really do find dual-specs to be a welcome addition to my repertoire– yes, even as a hunter.

How do you guys dual-spec?

28 thoughts on “IntroSPECtion”

  1. I’ve got the crazy main tank offspec myself. Muri and I have been tooling around ZG, earning Zandalar rep and gunning for the epic mounts. ^.^

  2. My (currently iced, thanks for taking the trapping fun away blizz :() hunter doesnt need it, he is BM and i friggin love it! My paladin also is singlespec, she is a healer, and a darn good one 😉 My druid is resto/feral, resto for raiding (i’m a healmonkey ;)) and feral for daily quests and the odd ‘halp! i needz dps nowz!!’ moments.
    My GF’s mage is also single spec, frostfire ftw, and saves her gold to buy MOAR MOUNTS 😉

    Regards, Michel.

  3. Main: BM 53/11/7
    Off: MM -11/53/7

    I am a BM hunter. It’s always been my favorite tree. It’s why I first rolled a Hunter- the idea of having my trusty companion helping me tear up the world.

    Marks is for fun. The big numbers, the choice of a few more shots, and to use when I just feel like something different.

  4. I dual specced to PvE in BM and PvP in SV but I dont PvP a lot, and when I do I dont think about switching to SV because I love my spirit beast too much!

  5. My paladin is ret main, prot off. I’m a tank at the drop of the hat!

    My hunter (if I ever get him to 80) will be Survival / Marks. I like the “I shoot shit from afar! I’m a sniper!” thing.

  6. Short answer: BM for PvE, SV for PvP

    Long answer:
    I’m specced BM most of the time (been that way since the beginning, and it works for raiding and most other stuff). My secondary spec is Survival, but geared toward PvP (so it’s not really one of the ‘cookie-cutter’ SV specs).

    That said, I’m still ‘learning’ my SV spec, and half the time I forget/neglect to change to SV for battlegrounds. (I’ve not yet tried to raid as SV, but since my guild is hunter-heavy and there are other SV hunters, I don’t need to.) I tried to make the SV spec easier on myself by putting shot priorities in similar locations on my hotkeys to my BM spec (Explosive Shot where I have my Bestial Wrath, etc..). It’s not perfect though.

    I ended up buying my last stable slot so I don’t have to retalent my pet when I switch away from BM – my wasp Buzz is my designated PvP pet and so I only spent 16 tps for him, but even with 4 unspent tps I’d have to retalent him if I switch out of BM. So I stable him so I have no active pets, switch, then fetch him.

  7. So for me at least, I have found that what kills my pet on Kel’thuzad are the void zones. And it seems to be in line with what you were saying, the more melee there is the more void zones will be near the boss.

    The only way I have been able to save my pet is to split my focus and pull him out when one is near him…but its still really hard to see your pet around the boss and all the melee >.>

  8. I have enough trouble resisting my natural inclinations to let my gun go red or run out of bullets that I don’t feel I’m up to the task of keeping a pet alive on encounters like KT. I certainly respect BM hunters though- managing a pet through Blizzards bass-ackwards pet AI is a skill that’s very hard to master 🙂

  9. I kited zombie chow last night, and I’m getting better at it. Honestly, it was never a skill I developed while leveling, because my boar was a badass tank, and when he couldn’t keep aggro on 3 or more mobs, I’d trap one, off-tank another, and continue to burn down my pet’s target (soloed BRS that way).

    Instead of a secondary-spec for that one fight (Gluth), however, I’ve decided to stack running-speed gear: spare helm with meta-gem (8%), spare boots with ‘chant (8%), and the Explorer’s Walking Stick from the Cenarion Expedition Quartermaster (8%).

    I still like BM spec for Gluth, for more pet damage on the boss while I’m running around like a maniac, with a bunch of zombies in tow. If I did choose a second spec for that fight, I might prefer MM for the extra damage on Volley.

    My second spec -is- MM, but I almost never use it. I’m tempted to use it for another BM build to put 3 points in Hawk Eye instead of Improved Tracking, or 2 points in Animal Handler instead of Spirit Bond, etc. I like the idea about mana-conserving/mana-burning specs, though. Hmm….

    (Btw, I love your blog, even though I suspect you prefer Bobcats to Grizzlies.)

  10. I’m MM main spec (MM 4 Life!) and at the moment my off spec is a MM PVP spec, picking up scatter shot and other things that I had to give up to try and raid-optimize my spec.

    I’ve never played anything else though so I’m thinking of trying out some other specs as I go.

    Oh, and I have no idea what kills my pet on KT either. But I’ve actually stopped DPS and res’d my moth/wolf depending on the status of the raid. I need that extra 300-500 dps and it’s worth the time spent in my 25-man.

  11. I don’t have dual-specs on my Hunter. I see that it could be useful, and certainly convienient, but it’s not worth the 1000g for me. Right now I’m pretty happy with my spec, I can PvE, PvP and grind just fine in it and I deal with mana efficiency with Viper if I have to.

    Now that I’ve got my Greatness though, there’s not much else for me to save up for… so it might be next on my list 🙂

  12. I was originally BM/MM for my 2 specs so I could have my spirit beast out, but have gone to MM/SV now purely for the utility option. I am doing almost the same dps in both specs so I will be MM unless hell freezes over and I actually get into a raid and they need replenishment lol

  13. Main-Marksman 11/53/7
    Secondary Beast Mastery 53/11/7

    I’m primarily marksman 99.99% of the time. I use Beast Mastery to solo Chillmaw (with about a 98% success rate) or when I’m raiding and one of the other four raiding hunters in my guild aren’t.

  14. MM raid spec and what I refer to as the solo old dungeons for fun, profit, and mounts spec. Since I didn’t get to see most dungeons while leveling it’s nice to find a walkthrough, and wander through the old content. Plus, it’s the easiest way to get a baby sporebat.

    If I ever get tired of that, I’m considering either mm/sv (both raid specs) or mm/pvp mm. Concussive shots is a blast in pvp.

  15. Main spec – MM (7/57/7)
    Off spec – nil

    I don’t like spending huge chunks of gold at once. I’m okay with spending huge chunks of gold over a period of time though. :p As it is, I promised my self I wouldn’t plop down the gold for the Wyrwrest Red Drake until I got over 5000 again. Even when I got over 5000 for the second time, I was till very reluctant to get it (I really love that red drake, more so than my bronze CoS one). I’m back up to around 4000 again and I may just finally decide to drop the 1000 for duel spec if I get over 5000 again.

    If I do go duel, my off spec will be MM, and I’ve already figured it out, 0/51/20. This will really help as I’m the designated “kiter” for Gluth, it will help in PVP (though I don’t do a ton of PVP), and I still get to keep Chimera Shot! Basically grabbing everything in the first two tiers of SV except that melee talent (bleh) plus getting Scatter Shot back, just like my old Marks days! Then I’ll run around Gluth’s chamber yelling, “Bring out your dead!”

    I blame the time I spent in the “School of Hard Knocks” for getting me back into PVP. Picked up my Frostwolf finally, now I’m working on another black pvp mount.

  16. My hunter is dual-BM speced. One is a variant on the cookie-cutter raid spec, though it may be changing to Marks for Ulduar raids. (For some reason my relative DPS to other hunters goes down in Ulduar, and I’m the only BM hunter we have.)

    My second spec is pure pet tanking. I even have a separate set of gear. I’ve pet tanked in the portals of OS (we 6-manned Sarth10 one night when bored, but had only one tank). I was the de facto tank in an AQ40 pug, and somehow came in second on the healing meters despite there being for healers… Glyph of Mending FTW. (I guess they were watching our *real* tank–a 77 DK–but my “Stompy” was the one who held threat against the AoEers.)

  17. I went with an SV/BM spec. SV for the big(ger) numbers, Replenishment when my Ret Pallies aren’t around and the trap/clutch CC utility. BM cause I wanted a Spirit Beast (and got lucky finding Gondria 😀 )

  18. BM main, Surv off… for the same reasons as you, although I *do* like Arenas. The funny thing is, my 3v3 is actually 3 DPS… so BM tends to work better for the burst!

  19. I specced BM/Surv for the exact same raisons you did : BM for fun and uber dps, Surv for traps (for Gluth mostly, we have a ret pally and a shadow priest and plenty of Surv hunters in the guilde…).

    I miss so much my BM utilities when in Surv that I really limit it to specific fights. And yes other hunters wonder why my pet is still alive too, when their is dead long ago…

  20. I’ve found that the pet usually dies from standing in a void zone on KT. Void zones spawn beneath a random player, so with more melee, the pet is more likely to eat one. I try to stand where I can see my pet during the fight, and call him back when a zone spawns where he is — and most of the time he lives.

    For dual specs, I have Surv spec that I use for raids/pvp.. not sure what I’ll do with the 2nd. A BM secondary spec is kind of nice b/c you can basically respec your pet on the fly (since the pet’s spec is cleared when switching from BM’s extra points to non BM). But I think I’ll be going with Marks for when I need strong, uninterruptable AoE (like in heroic 5 mans where everything is basically AoE’d.. even though I rarely run those anymore).

  21. I haven’t dual-specced my Hunter, I don’t see any off-spec that’s worth spending the 1000g for. My Shaman, absolutely, he’s Elementa/Resto but my Hunter is Marksmanship and I don’t see the need to have another spec.

    I’ve never been really able to get into Survival (it was okay before the Black Arrow patch, but after that, meh) and I’m so terrible at BM it’d be a waste of gold to spec into that (apparently pets are supposed to live through fights or something? Improved Revive Pet is there for a reason!). So I’m happy with Marksmanship. I just need to evolve to not watching my bloody button bars all the time and watch the fight.

    Oh, best part of your post today Pike? The link to that Scout Report comic! Holy cats that’s freaking fantastic!

  22. Hello Pike!

    I love your site. Its great to see a cool hunter site with loads of helpful info and humorous reads to boot. I just discovered your site this week so I am still catching up on your previous entries.

    I have a question for you. I have a level 80 draenei hunter. I am dual specced as BM and MM. After reading your blog, I have been running heroics as BM. However my DPS is quite low 1.4k – 1.8k. I have used the talents suggested in your most recent posts. I would like to show you my armory page but its not working at the moment. Boo!

    Anyways, my specific question is…should I replace my gem sockets with + 16 agil rather than what I have now which is +32 attack power. I am hit capped btw. I had read in your hunter stat post about how Agil is more important than pure attack power because it also increases your crit.

    thanks a bunch for keep such an awesome site

    – Hung

  23. @Hung – The AP vs AGI is a tough call. BM Hunters benefit from AP as it transfers to the pet but it’s always good to have a balance, as you do of course want a nice crit rate as well.
    It’s my understanding that when the AP gem or enchant will significantly boost your overall AP then go with that, but when it’s close to go with the AGI as that stat does more for you.

    The last confusing point for me, and for which I’d love a definitive answer, is that some people say that 1 AGI=2AP, while others say it’s 1 for 1. I think this has changed over various patches and/or depending on what level you are, so it’s a bit of a jumble. If the former is true (1 AGI=2AP) then yes, a 16 AGI gem is better than a 32 AP gem. If the latter is true (1 for 1) then as a BM you’ll get more out of the 32 AP gem.

    I’m sure someone here can clear this up!

  24. @ Hung – I fear that Stats guide is rather out of date; AP is what you are going for now. Definitely gem for AP. Agility and crit are good too, but your pet is doing a bigger chunk of your damage these days so AP is what you want.

    @ Noah – 1 AGI used to equal 2AP back in the days of Vanilla WoW. It changed with Burning Crusade but people who haven’t played a hunter in ages still seem to have it confused… =P

    @ Chris – Aww, I don’t discriminate! Especially now that I’ve graduated! =P

  25. This is what I thought as well Pike. I recall 1 AGI being 2AP and I could swear that had changed quite a while ago, but I still see that equation being perpetuated today. Thanks for the confirmation. I wasn’t sure if I was mistaken or if it were other people.

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