Thursday, June 2, 2011

DPS Check and Standards

In a recent talk on my guild forums we mentioned that we expect certain DPS standards to be met if someone wants to be invited to a raid.

While it is true that we are a casual guild, we are a casual guild that still cares about actually downing a boss.  There are some casual guilds that have no issues banging their head against a wall against the same boss for months on end but I hate that.  I want to down at least 1 new boss every 2 weeks at least.  Even with our limited raiding schedule of 2 hour raids one or two nights a week that 1 boss every two weeks is very doable as we have proved.

Even if we are casual and we take anyone who is around we need to have some sort of standard.  Personally I do not ask for much.  Do your job and I am happy. 

Follow mechanics and I will be glad to have you along even if your DPS does not meet my standards.  We usually have at least three people doing 14K or about there so even if one of the DPS dips into the 8K range it is not going to hurt us at all.  I have no problem with someone learning and I understand that people will always have lower DPS their first few times on a boss and that the more they see the boss the better their DPS will get.

From my own personal experience I know that in the same gear I could do 12K on a boss the first time I see it and I can get to 19K after I've seen it a few times.  It is all a matter of getting used to the fight so I know first hand and am willing to give DPS a break from time to time.

However, when someone is doing 6K I start to wonder how that is even possible.  We had someone in our guild at run last week that was doing that.  Okay, it was a run of mostly people doing things they were not used to doing so even if we did not get anything down I did not mind.  It was to get people that don't raid a chance to raid and to get people that do raid a chance to play a different roll.

Upon further inspection I noticed that the DPS, an elemental shaman, that was doing 6K DPS, was wearing three leather items.  While it is true they were the ideal stat itemization for the class they are also the wrong type of armor for the class.  That is easily remedied, tell the person, dude, things changed since wrath, you should never be wearing a type of armor that is not meant for your class.

With that out of the way I started to think what are the standards I look for in a damage dealer in my raids.  Things like wearing the right gear type ranks high.  So does gemming and enchanting.  However, when it comes down to it there are only three things I look for from a damage dealer in a raid.

1) How you handle mechanics
- This is the most important thing.  If you can pull 30K DPS, well good for you, it means nothing if you are dying to simple mechanics are even worse, killing others because you do not following mechanics.
- Handling mechanics is not only about movement.  Is there an interrupt you need to be on?  Are you interrupting it?  Is there something that needs to be kited?  Are you kiting it?  Mechanics are more then just movement.

2) How you manage your aggro
- This is really important as well but doesn't seem to be as much of a problem after the first few seconds of a fight.  It is usually the trash that I see damage dealers screwing up with aggro.  Even at that, watching your own aggro is very important. 

Every time a damage dealer pulls aggro I cringe.  Some will say, the tank needs to be better.  Sure, the tank can be better but I do not blame the tank if they are doing all they can to generate aggro.  Aggro management is on the DDs. 

If the tank can only handle you doing 17K DPS then only do 17K DPS, don't try to push it because you want to inflate your numbers.  You doing 17K DPS and not taking aggro is a hell of a lot better then you pulling 23K and grabbing aggro.  Grab aggro at the wrong time and even if the boss only turns for a split second it could mean the DD dies and maybe even others around them die.

3) DPS
- Plain and simple, it is a number so it is very easy to judge this one.  The higher you can get this number while doing both 1 and 2 the better you are.  If you do 1 and 2 perfectly, then this is all that is left for you.

Now for my DPS check lets just assume that everyone is doing number 1, mechanics, and number 2, aggro, perfectly.

In my current crop of raiders, on an ideal night, I would have me (hunter), a warlock, a feral druid, a shadow priest, a death knight and a mage.  All of us are capable of at least 12K which means at worst we are going to have no issues with current content.  Heck, in some cases we are all capable of 15K at least on fights we know well and there are even a few cases where I can see 20K from at least 4 of those 6, me, the druid, the lock and the priest.

Do I use that as my standard?  No, not really, we are all good players sure but we are all also pulling close to the most we can out of our classes.  Based on theory crafting we all do within 20% of what is considered our maximum potential.  The best players are usually within 5% of the best their class can do.  That doesn't mean we are bad, but we are more then competent.

I do not hold everyone up to that type of number however.  Like I said, we are a casual guild.  I look for at least 10K DPS while doing 1 and 2 which is not asking much in my opinion. 

Your average player regardless of class should be able to pull 10K before they are even finished gearing in heroics I believe.  I also know that for as much as I believe it I am completely wrong.  100s of heroics in Cata have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the average player in heroic gear can not even pull 8K.

Sorry, call me an elitist if you want to, but that is just not acceptable for me.  Maybe 8K from a guild mate we are running thought and they are just learning a class is fine in a raid, we have more then enough DPS to compensate for them but I want 10K, at least 10K.

In an ideal world this is what I personally see as DPS markers for each step of current progression. Again, assuming #1 and #2 are already being followed.  DPS means nothing if people do not follow #1 and #2.

Heroic Dungeons
8K DPS - This should be no problem in 329 gear.

Zul Heroics
10K DPS - In all 346 gear you should be able to do this with your eyes closed.

10K DPS - Heck, this was being done the first week of the game when a 338 gear score was still considered good.

12K DPS - 10K can get the job done, but if you can (and should) do at least 10K in a zul with 5 man buffs you should be able to do 12K in a raid with 10 man buffs.

Raid - End bosses
14K DPS - Sure it can be done with less but by the time you get to last bosses you should have at least a 353 gear score and 14K DPS in 353 should be the worst anyone can do.

Looking at all of that leaves me very sad however because at least on my server those numbers are way to high.  In the average BH I do with pugs (so many 85s so I only do 1 or 2 with guild) there are usually at least 2 people under 10K, sometimes even under 8K and in a few rare cases someone under 6K.

Do you think that my numbers are too high?  I personally don't think so.  I am not asking for people to do 20K DPS even if I know based on current gear and the DPS analyzers that nearly every class should be doing at bare minimum 15K around 350 gear score.  I just want people to do their job.  I want people to follow mechanics, not grab aggro and put up decent numbers. 

Maybe I am asking for too much sometimes.  Someone told me the other day that I expect to much from people.  I disagree.  I just expect from them what I know they are capable of doing.

I rarely see a hunter that can out DPS me but when I do I go out of my way to find out why.  I check their profile for gear, gems, enchants, reforging, you know, the whole nine yards so to speak.  I try to see what they are doing differently so I can learn and get better myself.  As a damage dealer I believe it is my job to always get better.  I once saw a hunter in a ToC 25 a few years back that beat me by almost 1K DPS and I looked him up.  It was scary bad.  He had spirit gems, intellect gems, wrong enchants, you name it. 

Sure, he beat me in DPS but I considered him a bad player and do you want to know why?  Because if he could beat me being so horribly itemized I could only imagine what they would have been capable of doing if they had the correct stats.  I do not see a person based on their gear, I see a person based on their potential.  His potential was so much higher then what he was doing.  To me, that makes him a bad player because he was wasting all that potential on something as stupid and easily correctable as the wrong gems and enchants.

Each person is only capable of doing what they can do but sometimes you can do more.  There is nothing worse then seeing someone waste potential.  Seeing someone do 6K DPS in a Zul doesn't make me call them bad because of the 6K, it makes me call them bad because they are wasting so much potential.  I know they can do more, even if they do not get into the 20% of the best that can be done marker I am at they can still do more.  That is what kills me looking at them, all I see is a ton of wasted potential.

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