I just hit 90 on my hunter last night but I'm curious what the best spec for starting out is. At a low gear level and having difficulty reaching both hit and expertise caps, which spec will I see highest performance from (BM or survival)? Once I get to the raiding level I'll probably play whatever because from what I know they're fairly close? But at this gear level I'm sure there's a discrepancy.
It's the opposite actually.. to start off both specs are relatively close to each other. SV sneaks ahead for a bit in normal gear. As you get more and more gear though, BM slowly inches ahead. With full bis it is ahead by ~3k dps (in perfect conditions of both specs). IMO just pick whichever spec you're more comfortable with.
There isn't a huge discrepancy at any level, really. In just regular five mans I find that SV is very strong because its AoE is massively superior to BM's, but honestly who cares about 5 man dps outside of challenge modes?
Do Heroics as SV, you'll be doing around 3-4 times the AoE DPS compared to BM. Switch to BM for most fights in raids.
Currently the only fights I use SV for are:
-Stone Guards HC
-Gara'jal(I am in Spirit realm duty) HC
-Will of the Emperor HC(still progressing, but SV is pretty obvious here)
-Wind Lord HC
-Amber Shaper Normal(and hc probably)
-Empress Normal(and hc probably)
-Protectors Normal-Elite(if you do scumbag DPS, by dotting all the targets with SrS , otherwise BM)
-(Might try SV on Tsulong HC when the time comes)
8 fights out of 16 as SV, Protectors, Tsulong, Gara'jal and Amber Shaper can be discussed, but as my guild usually puts Hunters(25m with 3 hunters) to kill the Amber bloods, I tend to be SV for the multi-dotting(Bloods + Boss + MC'd target).