Last night I did something I'd thought about doing for months - I respecced Mardak's offspec from Feral to Balance. My pathetic bear/cat is now a pew pew laserchicken. Last week I ran ICC and it was terribly inconvenient when none of the three healers (myself, a holy paladin, and a priest) had a DPS offspec for Saurfang. We eventually had the holy pally switch to her undergeared warlock alt.
To avoid that complication and to add a bit more versatility, I took the plunge yesterday and dove into the strange, weird world of the Boomkin. All I knew about the spec was what I'd seen others do and my limited days while leveling as a Balance/Resto hybrid. A lot of wrath, some starfire, moonfire, some more wrath, oh yeah insect swarm...and something about Eclipse which boomkins are always yelling about? /shrug
Fortunately for me, I've built up quite a collection of generic spellpower leather/cloth - pretty much everything possible from ToC (reg and heroic) and all the Icecrown 5-mans. I also had about 500 triumph emblems gathering dust, so I was able to buy an idol and four pieces of the t9 set. I had no idea what the set bonus was or how good it was, but oh well!
The drawback of having a such an arsenal of armor, trinkets and weapons to choose from was I had no idea where to start! I have a dizzying number of +spellpower, +hit, +crit and +haste combinations available to me, which for me is BAD. Too many choices make my brain shut down. I decided to just go with the t9 first, then equip random pieces until I was at the hit cap, then fill in the rest of the slots however. Probably sub-optimal, but it would do for now.
I downloaded the apparently-essential Squawk and Awe and took a few moments configuring the look, then threw some spells at a target dummy for a while until I got the hang of balancing the DoTs with wrath/starfire and tossing in starfire and treants whenever I can. Eclipse still confuses the hell out of me, but that seems to be normal.
Then came the laborious task of figuring out what keybindings I wanted to use for the spells. I'm very fussy about keybindings feeling natural, and I need a mental "connection" for a spell being a certain key to lock it into memory. For example, some of my hunter keybinds are Arcane Shot (shift-A), Concussive Shot (shift-C), and Disengage (shift-D).
I went with the obvious binds of Wrath to shift-W, and Starfire to shift-S. Moonfire is shift-Q, which while logical from an efficiency standpoint, is giving me problems because I have yet to think of a connection between the letter Q to a lunar laser beam. Shift-A finishes off the core spells, which is Insect Swarm, which I have convinced myself is "ant swarm". Silly, I know...but that's how my head works when it comes to keybinds.
A few more target dummy tests had me...cautiously optimistic. Considering my piecemeal gear and total lack of knowledge about my own self-buffs and procs, the damage seemed surprisingly decent. Granted, that's standing still, and I understand movement issues are huge detriments for Boomkins. But it'll be interesting to try the spec out in a heroic or two and see how things go. Honestly? I'm expecting a big juicy serving of FAIL, but we'll see!