Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Perfect Example of Improving DPS

BigRedKitty posted a perfect example of what I was talking about in the last two posts.

A hunter named Jeor has been trying to improve his DPS. His complaint:
So again I have to ask, what am I doing wrong? what is the secret that no one is telling me? is it my shot rotation? something about my build or gear? is there a special macro that no one is telling me about?

The key element here is that Jeor doesn't know what he's doing wrong. He's not stupid or unwilling to improve. However, the game has not provided him with any of the feedback he needs in order to improve.

BRK talks to him, tightens up his spec (Beastmaster), changes his shot rotation, and does a little re-gemming, and the results are staggering. Jeor provided WWS parses for Gruul attempts for the week before his tweaking and the week after. He jumps from 451 DPS to 964 DPS, a gain of over 500 DPS!

Look at Jeor's first week shot mix. Not using Steady Shot enough? Check. Missing shots? Check. Not using Kill Command? Check. The same hunter mistakes, again and again.

Compare to his shot mix the next week. Now that's acceptable DPS.

BRK's post was very useful precisely because of the WWS parses, only 1 week apart. Feedback improves your play, and DPS players don't get feedback from the game, so they have to go outside it (to BRK in this case) in order to get the feedback they need to improve.


  1. Agreed to a certain extent but if u are a member of a decent guild , i.e TK/SSC+ then you should discuss why you are not top dps with your other class members.

    Samownall World of warcraft

  2. As a ret Pally, and not being a hardcore Uber-player, i find that my DPS is well lower than what it should be.
    Installing Damage Meters helped me tweak my approach somewhat, so I have already improved, but I want to go further.
    Can anyone recommend somewhere to read up on tips for making the most out of my class, spec, and gear? Thanks!

  3. Elitist Jerks. Best site for any kind of stuff like this in general.

    This topic is the main ret pally topic. Be warned its almost 1900 posts long, so its a pretty daunting read. I would suggest starting somewhere near page 40 or so, as that is after the changes in 2.1.

    Also be warned that the people on that forum are very serious theorycrafters, so there is a lot of stuff you don't need to worry about. But it does have a lot of good tips throughout it about playing ret.

  4. The problem with Elitist Jerks is, that while it's heaven for theorycrafters, it's really hard when all you are looking for is an "executive summary".

    Someone to basically say that these 1900 posts basically boil down to "X", rather than having to follow the intricacies of the argument.

  5. I'd like to theorize that the game *does* provide a feedback loop for DPS players. If a boss isn't being burnt down fast enough, eventually the healers will run out of mana. Then the tank dies and the whole group will wipe.

    Other times (depending on boss), the battle just gets harder and harder until a wipe occurs because the boss can no longer be killed.

    If this continues to happen then it should become an obvious feedback to DPS players that they're not doing their job. The hard part is getting people to see that.

  6. @Mingo: Yes, it's a sort of feedback but only a "binary" feedback: you only get to know if you pass or don't pass that boss... There is nothing in that that will help you *know* what you're doing wrong, so these set of posts are true: the game, directly, doesn't show you *what*/*how* to improve! All you get is "something is wrong" but knowing *what* is it, does usually take you outside of WoW.

    It doesn't even help that there's no easy way to try different specs: you need to go to a trainer, re-spec, spend those talents again, wait for the next raid (as usually you won't find outdoor soloable mobs that last as long as a raid boss and that you still can kill), and then find out that it's an even worse build than before and rinse and repeat...

    The only notable exception, but that's only for ranged DPSers, is the now famous Dr. Boom that provides a way to test your ranged DPS for long periods of time. As for melee DPSers, there's no such "tool", that I know of...

  7. the melee equivalent of dr boom is deathstalker vincent in SFK, you can beat on that mob for hours and he will never die, actually, you can range dmg on him too

    works for alliance only of course =/

    but i have tested my dmg/dps on him since way before BC..

  8. And how did the officer learn how to do so much damage?

    By reading up on it.

    Its not hard to find out about wws and recount. Its also not hard to find out that beastmaster is the best raiding dps spec.

    Most people are lazy, it would've been better to teach this player how to fish rather than giving it to him, because in subsequent patches this hunter is goign to end up sucking again.

  9. Then comes the question: how do you learn about it? There's nothing in-game that says "Read EJ or Blessing of Kings for more information". Yes, you can start by going to your class forums but you don't get any hint on what you are doing wrong.

    Take for example a healer. If a healer notices that his mana pool depletes to fast, he knows he need more IC regen. If he's incapable of keeping a small group alive, he needs more +heal. He doesn't have to go anywhere to read that he needs x% crit or y ic mp5 or z +heal for raid. It might be quicker to know this in advance (like from reading it at EJ or BoK), but the healer can get his way around without external influences.

  10. Hmm what this is showing me is that DPS actually takes a lot more brains and initiative to play well. More than it does to play a tank or healer well. As tank and healer might have results slapped in front of them, so they can correct easily.

    The DPS game is more subtle and requires keener observations and more diligent research.

    This is why I saw the initial thesis as flamebait. You seem to dismiss DPS as lazy or stupid, when in reality they have a much harder job getting their game right.

    Good tanks and healers should be praised, but good DPS really had a lot harder puzzle to solve.


  11. Really nice posts about dps improvment. As a warrior tank myself I totally agree with the concept of every fight is a test to see if I do it right or not.

    Loosing aggro to dps => slap em or increase threat rotation

    Loosing aggro to healer => Up the gear and increase aggro.

    The bad part is that its almost impossible to get to the good gear in advance since as a tank (or healer) you have to be in par with the event (5 mans, specifically heroics). As a dps you hit the roof for threat even with sub-par gear and can join harder events earlier. And thus get better gera to join even harder ones.

  12. Interesting topic, interesting debate.

    @Jason: I don't think that "Hmm what this is showing me is that DPS actually takes a lot more brains and initiative to play well." by any means.

    I do think, however, that DPS is underrated. The mechanics behind DPS are as hard as the ones behind tanking (and probably healing too, but I have no experience there). The thing is that a weak tank is a recipe for disaster, whereby you can do with a weak DPS in your team.

    I generally say that tanking and healing are the "pillars" of a team, but the DPS is the oil that makes the machine move smoother.

    It has to be said that the TBC raids value high DPS more that the previous ones used to; there are plain enrage timers, more subtle enrages like Gruuls or even some fights in which you must burn adds very fast like Curator or the demonic chains in Illhoof.

    A good raid leader, however, will know the importance of a high DPS team :)

    Back to the main post's point: it's true that the game provides you no "feedback" on how well or bad you do. But I don't see that as something wrong: this encourages the community. People discuss it on the forums, or on other places like this blog or the Elitist Jerks, or even on the guild's own forums.

    Also, this allows the clueless to play the game in a casual way (I know a few people who enjoy the game yet have never gotten past level 40-something) without the hassle of a negative feedback.

    - Galladan (Argent Dawn)