So I laid out a plan for how to reduce my "weakest link" syndrome.
A massively multiple number of details to factor in this game, I chose to break it down into the first 5 steps that I'll be focusing on. Create some manageable chunks that are attainable, and as each one gets accomplished, reassess and keep pushing forward.
Lets see, just a scant few days and one raid later, how things are going by reviewing the original 5, and seeing if there's any changes to the plan:
1) Talent Spec. Readiness, FTW! Changed to 50/21/0, and I'm lovin it. I don't use an exotic pet, so 51 isn't missed all that much. The 4 fewer pet talent points, sure they'd be nice, but when compared to back-to-back Bestial Wrath / Rapid Fire / Kill Command / Call of the Wild? Or the ability to fire two Kill Shots at the end of the fight? It'll take some more practice to really extract the best performance from Readiness, but right off the bat, I'm a big fan.
2) Glyphs. I'm now donning Steady Shot, Rapid Fire, and Improved Aspect of the Hawk. Tough to say the exact benefit these provide, however when Glyphed IAotH procs during Glyphed Rapid Fire....machine gun. And when that happens during Heroism? Its pretty funny to watch. I did notice the difference in the 3 seconds of Serpent Sting uptime that I used to get from the Serpent Glyph, but I'll get used to that.
3) Chesty Le'franze. Unfortunately, I've made zero (0) progress on this one since the original post. I'll go cry in the corner for a bit.
4) Ranged Weapon. Decided that, sidegrade or not, I'm gonna put the Badge Crossbow down, and use the blue Bow from the end of the Nessingwary quest line. Maybe part embarrassment factor, maybe part "oooh, shiny and new" factor. I quested a bit with it, got the skill up. Raided with it. Pretty happy with the performance. More on this one later!
5) Shoulder Inscriptions. Daily completion of all three daily Hodir quests. I keep the Hodir rep progress bar up on my screen like the XP bar to remind me of where I'm headed. New shoulder inscription should be available to me this weekend.
So you made some changes? What's the performance been like?
We start off Thursday's raid with Archavon in Winterspring. I'm fresh off a respec from like 30 seconds ago, and itching to try this out and see what Recount has to say about my changes.
AND MY PET GETS CAUGHT UP ON TERRAIN AND CAN'T ENTER THE F'ING FIGHT!!!!! And I wasted some time trying to dismiss her, which required me to run all the way across the map, gimping the output, and then stand still casting Dismiss for 10 seconds or so, only to get stomped and interrupted with .5 seconds left in the cast. Bottom line: I think one of the healers, who didn't use any offensive spells the entire time, did more damage than me. Nearly threw the monitor out the window on that one.
Zone into Naxx.
The focus was intense. Time to put this new spec and glyphs to the test. Following along with periodic views of Recount, I'm seeing a slight improvement over my previous nights.
Fun progress through different bosses. Four Horsemen. Some guy who farts poison clouds. A couple other ones. Solid output. Me not feeling like I'm cholesterol on the team. Which is nice.
One of the fights is [crap, cant remember the guys name] [edit: i remember now...patchwerk] a boss who's basically a pure Tank n Spank race. Massive damage limited to two tanks, speedy enrage timer. Intended to test your Tanks sturdiness, Healer sustained throughput, and D-mutha-f'ing-P-S. I've read reviews that say each DPS'er needs to provide 3k dps for this to be a success. In previous nights, it seems that I've been able to sustain 2500-2600 in stand-and-deliver situations, so this is a little worrisome.
We aggro the boss...yadda yadda yadda...Conquest wins. 11 players over 3k DPS, including yours truly at 3400 DPS. I'm a big fan!!!!
Also got to fight Gluth, in which I was on Kiting duty. Fun fight, me and the other hunter aggroing mass quantities of zombies and frost trapping, concussive shotting, wing clipping everything like crazy to keep the adds occupied while the raid burns the boss down. Very cool to be able to play a different role than just pew pew pew, especially given the fact that none of the trash requires any CC at all, just AoE.
All in all, very happy with the improvement after only two days. A new spec, some new glyphs, a different (although not really an upgrade) ranged weapon, and a renewed focus on personal performance.
So where does the plan stand now:
1) Hodir. Keep on those daily quests through Exalted. When I ding the next rep level, must (A) go get the entry-level shoulder enchant, and (B) hit up Wiki to see what new rep-generating activities are available to me.
2) Chesty Le'franze. My chest piece is awful. Push that Argent Crusade rep via wearing their tabard in Heroics, and also questing in Icecrown. See if Wiki has other options for rep.
3) Pet. I've been given the green light by my GM to go pure DPS with my pet, rather than choosing a pet that brings a raid buff/debuff. We've got excellent coverage of the Raid-Comp synergies without my pet, so time to nab a balls to the wall damage dealer. Too bad Condoleezza the Ravager is more suited to PvP now, we had some good TBC times together.
4) Practice Readiness. Using Readiness is pretty straight forward, but I need to develop some habits / instincts for when is best to use it. Situational awareness type stuff, like looking at the boss health before triggering. If boss is at 21%, wait a few seconds, because once below 20%, Kill Shot is available, and properly timing the Readiness might provide you with another KS for some massive damage.
5) Head Gear. I'm still raiding with the S3 Helm. It, and my T5 shoulders, are such a constant nagging visible reminder of clinging to level 70. I can live with the shoulders, because even at 80, the T5 two piece bonus is pretty sweet. However the Vengeful Gladiator's Chain Helm needs to go. Need to revisit my loot wishlist to see which Heroics / Factions have the best / most attainable upgrade for me. I've already got the meta gem waiting in the bank.
An astute observer would notice that Ranged Weapon isn't on my list anymore. What, from just a sidegrade to the Nessingwary blue quest reward bow? Nah....more on that in a bit.