Tuesday, November 1, 2011

DPS: You're Just a Number - The Low End

This is part one of a two part post, The Low End.

I've often said that this expansion is all about DPS and it is completely true.

When the expansion first took off the new style of healing made the ranks of healers go the way of the dodo bird but it corrected itself over time as it seems more healers adjusted.

When the expansion first took off tanks had to learn that you can not chain pull the world any more but as they learned how to, you know, actually tank again, it got better.

Healers adjusted to how they need to heal.  Tanks adjusted to how they need to tank.  Damage dealers seem to have still not adjusted to how to deal damage.

In my 100s of dungeons run over the course of this expansion I can honestly say that looking at what I see shows without doubt that being in the DPS role is the hardest role in the game.  If it where easy, the majority of damage dealers would not be so bad.  If, percentage wise, there were as many bad tanks or healers as there are damage dealers we would never even get normal dungeons down, forget about heroics.

Tanks adjusted, healers adjusted, damage dealers still suck, or at least the majority do.  It seems like damage dealers are having a horrible time adjusting this expansion.

The reason for this is stat inflation.  The highs and lows of damage numbers have such a huge range now.  While tanking changed and healing changed dealing damage stayed basically the same.  Pull off your rotation to the best of your ability while avoiding the avoidable and doing the little extras that might be required of you such as interrupting or crowd control.

The average tank did not become better.  They are still average.  They just pull differently now.

The average healer did not become better.  They are still average.  They just choose their healing spells differently now.

The average DPS now stands out as bad, really bad, because their numbers show it even if they are still average.

When a fight is over the tank is judged on if they held aggro.  The healers are judged on if they kept everyone alive.  The damage dealers are judged on their DPS.

They are the only role of the game that can summed up by a number and in the end, that is all DPS is, a number.

I know from my perspective I see more then just low numbers when I see low numbers.  I often say, so and so did only so much damage but he executed well.  I then take into consideration the content and the requirements needed to down the content before passing judgement, or at least I try.

There was a ZA run where we where pulling the packs before the bear.  The hunter laid a trap but the mob did not run into it.  He disengaged toward the trap to the other side of it, distracting shot the mob and it walked right into the trap.  While he was only doing 11K DPS he showed some serious skills right there.  I am willing to bet 99 out of 100 hunters you see in a random would not even know how to do that and that 1 that does know how rarely will.  His DPS was ample for the content we were doing and his skills where surely there.  What he did not have in the numbers department he made up for in the knowledge of his class department while still doing at least the minimum for the content, so I had no problem with him.

When the fight was over someone commented on his DPS being 4K less then either of the other two.  If I where not there he might have been kicked.  I pointed out he saved us from a possible wipe, which it very well could have been.  I've seen more wipes there then I can count.

What this boils down to is that in the end all a damage dealer is worth is the number they put up.  This hunter was worth 11K.  No more, no less.  He was not valued more because of his quick thinking and trapping then another DPS that would have just let them mob pass and think nothing of it even if the fact might be true that his 11K was better then a lot of the other 11Ks you see out there.

Seeing the numbers people put up, even myself as a person that does notice the little things, is what they will get judged on.

DPS doing 3.7K while in mostly 359 and 378 gear and not thinking they are doing anything wrong?  Yeap.  It happens.  It happens more then you could imagine.

Last night I decided I would try to get the ring from the horseman for my rogue.  Sure I never play my rogue but it would give me a chance to get some practice in and have a 365 ring instead of a 333 ring should I ever decide to use him for something.

A little about my rogue first.  Like I said, I am not very good at it.  I am also really rusty having not played it in a while now.  I do not have great gear, as the 333 ring I am wearing points out.  I can usually pull anywhere from 7K to 10K on a fight based on how things go, movement wise and crits and such.  Okay, so now that you know about my limited rogue abilities I will get to the point.

It took me 32 runs to get my agility ring.  First time it dropped I lost the role, the second time I won it.  In those 32 runs I saw one "good" DPS.  Yes, just one.  A mage that that 25K.  On three occasions the healer was 3rd on the DPS charts behind me who usually was second.  I finished first an amazing nine times and third once.  My lowest DPS was 6700 because I was an idiot and did not realize my poisons ran out, I was still second on that run.  My best was 10.9K when a shaman hit hero and was first that time.

There were only two runs total where more then one person was over 10K.  Every single run had someone under 7K, once being me.  All but three runs had at least one of the DPS below 5K.  Four times one of the DPS was below 3K.

32 runs, 2 DPS per run (can't count me as I am the same in each one) means 64 different damage dealers and only one ever got over 12K.

While the content is a joke and serious DPS is not needed it really does show something about the damage dealers in the game.  I do not care what class you are, I do not care if you are in quest greens, there is no reason for being under 5K even more so if you have some 333 normal gear.

More then half the people I encountered where under 7K and 29 runs had a DPS under 5K.  How sad is that for the state of DPS?

Yes, DPS, you are just a number.

And your numbers suck.

Or do they?

The sucky people are the same sucky people we had no problem with in wrath.

In wrath we used to say anything less then 4K was bad when in fact all that was needed to run the dungeons with ease was each DPS doing 1200.  4K was serious over kill, so even if we called it bad, it wasn't and a group of all 4K people would run through there like they where doing a low level run.

Those 4K players where considered average back then.  The better players where doubling that.  Pulling 8K in a wrath heroic was fairly easy.  The dungeons went by so quickly so that 4K player was not even noticed and they contributed more than enough to be considered average even if you did notice them.

Lets fast forward to current time with some massive stat inflation.  Where a better player could easily run through a dungeon doing 8K with no cooldowns, that person can now do 16K.  The average player that was doing 4K is now doing 8K, but actually less then 8K because they now need to move too.

See the problem?  8K is minimum for entry level heroics and the average player is no longer destroying the content, they are barely making the absolute minimum if they can even make that.  Now, add to the fact, if they are the average player they are probably not extremely skilled in other aspects of game play.  So you can not exactly expect them to interrupt and CC on the fly, meaning their 8K starts to stand out a lot more when things are not going down and wipes start to happen.

The average tank can do just fine, the average healer can do just fine, the average damage dealer will make or break a group.

Do heroics with three 8Ks and they can become a challenge if they can not do that 8K while doing their other jobs as well.  Do heroics with three 16Ks and you run though them faster then the speed of light.

When failure occurs, it is easier to look to the charts and see someone doing less then 8K and say, we need more DPS.

What ever you do in the group will not make a difference.  If your DPS is not there, you shouldn't be either.

When all you are is a number, that number better be big and I hate to break it to you Mr. DPS man, all you are is a number in this little world.

The low end of the spectrum is not the 800 DPS player we used to laugh at in wrath, the low end of the spectrum is now the 4K average player from wrath.  That 4K player is now the 800 player of this expansion because of stat inflation.

There is one thing that baffles me however and a new hunter in guild made me think about it.  He has nearly the same gear as me, same enchants as me, same rotation as me because I am the one that told him what to do and he can never get within 6K of my numbers.  He does 12K, I do 18K.  He pulls off an 18K and I was 24K.  His latency is fine so what is the difference?

Is there something else I am missing as to why he is so far behind me?

In the end, the only thing that separates me and him is a number and in the gaming world if people are given the choice, he gets left out because his number is lower.

It happens when you play DPS because when you play DPS, all you are is a number.


  1. This transition started MID-TBC with paladin aoe tanking.
    When I returned after a months-long break mid-WotLK , I wrote my experience down here.

    Later the LFD was introduced. You know the rest of the story.

  2. Great post!

    I wonder what would happen if an addon that kept a score of good dps behavior (like cc, interrupts, avoiding damage, etc) ever became as popular as GearScore. DPS addons already track this, but it would need to be something much more visible.

    The average DPS requirement for dungeons would still need to be lowered, though.

  3. It was a good post and you can tell since then we have seen more of the same. Also, you can tell that they have "tired" to make people spec into different things to help with survivability and the such but it still boiled down to numbers.

    No matter what it will always come down to that. Even if it would be good for DPS to have defensive abilities for optimum performance they (the cookie cutter creators) will tell you to take more damage dealing abilities and leave the healing to the healers.

    In a way, that makes perfect sense. The more damage you do the faster the boss goes down. So while healers are forced to use more expensive heals, the boss going down faster means they will not run out of mana before it is to late. The other way around, they have to throw lesser heals more often and the fight takes longer to down and that could leave them in the same mana perdiciment.

    When it comes to mechanic based fights, which I am about as sick of as I can be now, the faster you get something down the less chance there is for someone to make an error. With instant wipe mechanics the way they are now eliminating any chance for error is the most important thing and DPS is the easiest way to eliminate that chance of error.

    So while they "tired" to make defensive talents more required for the DPS it backfired and turned DPS into an even more important thing. They figured the high damage would make DPS what to take care of themselves, but it made DPS now want to down the boss faster and require even higher numbers.

    This is all something that will be touched on in the high end.

  4. 'It happens when you play DPS because when you play DPS, all you are is a number.'

    /agree with this and the entire post.

    The only time you're not simply a number is in a Guild group, but even then, if you cannot do the numbers, you will end up being at a disadvantage. It is sad that the game in that respect can be reduced to such basics but, the fact remains, if you're in a dungeon, you need to be pulling your weight.