Preliminary findings from the research staff here at Piercing Shots indicate strongly that focus is fucking awesome.
So that's good.
You can take a look at the specs I've gone with on my armory page, linked to the right, and especially with so little wiggle room I'd say they're mostly right. I'll probably re-do the BM spec and shift points from Kindred Spirits into something else, but other than that, I feel pretty good about them.
I'm mostly going on intuition, of course, but I think I've got a pretty good plan for both BM and SV worked out so far. BM feels, I dunno, clunkier? Maybe it's just that arcane shot isn't very interesting, and the lack of cooldown on it makes focus management annoying. The focus fire proc is also fairly uninteresting - you just kind of use it when it's up. Anyway, what I eventually settled on with it was:
Send in the pet and Kill Command.
2 x Arcane Shot
2 x Steady shot
Repeat ad nauseum. I think in a boss fight I'd probably wait for the first focus fire before I blew my cooldowns for the first time, then I'd just blow them on cooldown for the remainder of the fight.
Survival was a ton more satisfying for me. It just felt like it all clicked together like a kid with Asperger's and a new Lego set, you know? You're almost always either using your big focus dumps, generally Explosive Shot, or saving up focus with Steady Shots. I felt like very occasionally I could sneak in an Arcane, which made me feel awesome, but I also had to be careful for times when Serpent, Black Arrow, and Explosive were all coming up soon and I'd need a nearly-full bar of focus (without, of course, letting it cap out).
I haven't installed Recount yet, so I don't have a clear picture of the damage I'm doing to training dummies, but Survival just feels like it's doing more damage than BM. A lot of that is, I think, the same problem that BM has always had: your pet is doing so much of your damage, you can begin to feel like you're just kind of chaperoning him around. Survival feels like it's actively slinging death down range.
Its icon is also way cooler.
Haven't reforged or re-gemmed anything yet, but I have to say it's kind of nice how the disappearance of armor penetration means I don't have to feel bad about things like my cloak from heroic Beasts any more. On the other hand, it's tough to know what I should really be striving for on my gear. I'm thinking in general I'll re-hitcap myself and then reforge for mastery.
I also think it's interesting that the official hunter forums have been really concentrating on MM and how to play it now. I mean, guys, come on. It's wide open now. You can play MM, sure, but why not experiment with the other two?