Went to Black Temple last night. My performance was abysmal! But hey, at least I'm still honest.
For one thing, I thought I was being clever on Supremus by turning on Aspect of the Cheetah during the kite phases. Oops. Instead a volcano spawned directly on top of me, dazed me, and killed me. Lesson learned. I won't be doing that again.
Also, my gear sucked! This one is my fault. I used my experimental HMAP system to change out some gear, and found that on Naj'entus and Supremus, there's no way I'm going to have mana problems, so yes, I was really overvaluing mana. In fact, I felt it was overvalued to the point that I went into Pawn and set int and mp5 both to zero. If a piece I'm looking at has mana on it, great, it's probably a hunter or enhancement shammy piece that is entirely appropriate for me to wear. But good gravy, did my dps ever take a hit from some of the gear swaps I did. I came in under some of the tanks, which wasn't a problem before.
With all the mana values set to zero, I think HMAP is doing a lot better now. It suggested I re-equip my goggles and a couple other pieces my intuition told me were better, and I should be in good shape for kicking Shade of Akama's ghostly butt tonight. I'll continue to tweak the HMAP values as I go, but I'm not going to waste a lot of time on it with the hunter melee changes coming down the pike in WoW 3.0. I have a starting place for the system I want to build, and that's good enough for now.
Also also, speaking of gear, tonight raiders are expected to bring gear that includes at least 100 shadow resist. With the pieces I selected, I have exactly 100 shadow resist, which is satisfies my mild OCD in exquisite ways. Two of my pieces are engineering trinkets, a pair of self-made Ultra-Flash Shadow Reflectors. They're old-world pieces, so the on-use effect is basically useless in level 70+ content, but they have 20 shadow resist each. (And wow, did it ever feel weird to be out in Arathi Highlands farming Elemental Earth again!) With those trinkets, a couple rings, and a nice pair of Nethersteel Gauntlets of Shadow Protection (enchanted, of course), I'm ready to rock Gorefiend's world. ...Well, not really. I'm scared to death of being The Guy Who Let Constructs in the Raid. We'll see what happens.
Let's talk some more about how much I suck. You know how I said if I were a problem for the raid, I'd step down voluntarily? Well, I'm considering doing just that until the WoW 3.0 changes hit, and my melee abilites and group buffs get a huge boost. I'm really, really undergeared for T6. That's just a fact. I have on a mishmash of kara gear, pvp gear, craftables, and then a couple really nice pieces. I'm doing the best I can, working very hard. But I really ought to be in SSC/TK/ZA, gearing up. In the proper gear, I'd be doing... well, I'd probably be in the bottom of the "acceptable dps" category. But that, combined with competent play, is a strong offering.
I'm being allowed to run with the big boys in Tier 6, but I don't feel like I'm pulling my weight. And I don't at all mean to seem ungrateful. It's actually out of a sense of loyalty that I'm considering bowing out. I badly need upgrades to stay competitive, and with my status as full-time melee hunter, I can't just go pug groups for gear. My guild Nerglish is supportive of my project, but a group of outsiders would laugh me out of their raid. My best option seems to be to request temporary demotion, and join our T4/5 alts and gear-up guild, Nergles. I'm giving raiding my all, and I still believe that with the right gear, I'll be okay. But I can't wait for T6 drops to flesh out my equipment, when a normal hunter in the same crappy gear I'm wearing would already be in the "acceptable" range. I'm afraid I don't have room to just skip ahead as another player might. By virtue of my playstyle, I may not have an option as to whether I spend a time in that lower-end content.
Hopefully I'll see something inspiring on Akama tonight, and I can talk myself out of my raiding hiatus. If not, well, I'll do what's right.