Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Know Your Role . . . in WoW: DPS

L2DPS, when your tank is not cookie cutter spec, when your healer isn't geared, why dps SHOULDN'T be a dime a dozen!

Hello again WoW enthusiasts. Termenus, your friendly neighborhood frostie mage-tank, here once more. Today I come to talk to you about something other than my love of frost, my hatred of A-holes, nor how there should be an "of Stonard" title for the number of times my raid members took my port without looking where they're clicking.

No. Today is for people who suck at dps. No, not people who have low damage or slow "deeps" as the kids have been using colloquially. T3h sk1llz, if you will. I have been dps from day one and although I am making forays into tanking and healing, my first toon was a hunter. You want to talk about managing aggroe, talk to a hunter player from pre-BC/post -mob stats- wow. (in early WoW your pet had the same stats as the mob you tamed, effectively having an equiv level mob for help, they fixed that later) You had to pay attention to your pets aggroe and how fast you were shooting, what crits you would hit. Have you ever heard of the "two growl/sunder rule" ? I sure have.

My entire "High End/Hard Core" career has been as a frost mage and for good reason. When I first rolled a mage (early/pre-BC) I recognized them as a fun nuke with a low aggroe rotation. This was a bonus to me as I had been an aggroe magnet on my hunter numerous times in old 5-mans. I had heard numerous horror stories of dps over-aggroeing and pulling the mob, getting mass healed by the healer, getting squished because you're not the friggin tank, then getting the healer killed . . . WIPE! I felt, as a vital part of a combat unit, that this was part of the job and managment of this sort of thing was necessary.


When I first started raiding we had the 3 second dps lag. As soon as the tank would pull, heals would keep em up, they would get aggroe (back when 25-mans meant 3+ tanks), then after 3 full seconds raid leaders would call for dps, and they would start in. Many of us who new each other very well, and were fairly high crit dps, would even start out slow before really laying into the boss. Personally, I would wand 3 times, frostbolt 3 times THEN I would pop CD's and roll on up the damage meter.

This was during BC when tanking was a bit different mechanic and too many crits meant aggro for you and your closest friends. Sylvanis forbid you got a string of 3 or more crits, the boss would turn, stomp you down and then move on to your closest relatives and ask them "why, dear Arthas, why would you crit that much in a raid situation, did he think he was in PvP? How did you raise this child?!" And then stomp them into a gooey pulp.

Now I will be the first to admit (when asked directly, no need to tip my hand) that my dps is not as high as other equivalently geared mages (fire & arcane are still higher output) BUT! I have been doing high end content with my guild for almost something like two years now and I am always a welcome raider, from fellow dps up to our GM. Why? Cause I know my class, I know my spec, I know the fights, I listen, and I know how to manage my aggroe. Whenever I mage tank, it's by choice, or someone else missed something.
More so now then ever before any idiot can power level to 80, farm gear for raiding up to the highest content, and go apeshit when the boss is pulled.
Most dps I encounter lately don't have any indication of letting the tank get aggroe. Due to the changes made by blizzard all the the new tank specs allow mediocre tanks to hold mobs while high damage output goes crazy.
That's nice and all, but dps needs to go go the other way. Many of us like to play in weird and different ways we should strive to excel in our roles, regardless of spec. When tanks and healers don't follow the standard specs groups bemoan them and drop them, if dps is poor they just let the other Dps pick up the slack. Ooh, sure, there are 2 more in the party and there are hundreds more waiting to get in. I call bullshit.
No, what I just said was true, but good dps know how to wait to let a tank gain threat before attacking. This allows the healer some time to get the rhythm of the pull and hopefully the dps wont take any excess damage. Or if the healer is the weak role, same. So many of us are so concerned with damage output optimization, proper rotation, and jumping to the top of the recount meter. That's nice and all, to have a huge epeen/wow-wang and to watch those crit numbers roll up the screen. BUT, to me these Are the sings of someone who has gear and a spec. Woohoo, you found Elitist Jerks and made it to 80.

Now really impress me. Play your role with class. Help your tank and heals. I like to use the joke "healbot" and "shieldbot/meatshield." But most of these digs are in jest and with comradeship. Lets stop being dpsbots and start being excellent damage roles. Enrage timers make us necessary but strategy fights require us to be superb, and very few fights are Patchwerk.

Termenus; Lord Of Ancient Sin - Cenarius, Mage of the Grave Chill, Frost Imp, Mage Tank Extraordinare, Crusader, Ambassador, "of Stonard," Shadoweave Tailor, Goblin Engineer

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