Monday, September 6, 2010

DPS Basics

So my blog has not died, i just have not posted in a while because of some outside circumstances. I had this post ready for a bought a week cause i was having issues bringing it over from a word document to here but i figured it out now and then about a week after I finished I went on vacation for a week and a half so here i am with a day off and im going to at least post this and update my telents post so that it is correct and current again.

This one is not as directional as the tanking one was because my thoughts on tanking are fully developed and my thoughts on dps are developed from tanking. Some of this post (parts of the agro portion) sound like a rant from a tank and I thought about removing it and rewriting it but I think that it shows some of the frustration that I have with dps sometimes. That being said I think most of it is neutral and probably a good thing to read. Here we go.

1) Know Your Abilities
This is what I believe to be the most important thing that ANY new player should do. It is especially important for those with more responsibility in fights such as tanks and healers and dps with special roles. When I say know your abilities, I don’t simply mean the ones that are used regularly by your spec but all of the abilities you might ever use if you played every role you are able to. You should never say to yourself, “I know all my bear form abilities so I am set to tank”. Tanking is about being prepared and one of the best ways to do that is to know your class extremely well. An Example: did you know that if you want to root 2 mobs it is possible to do it, pull with entangling roots and then cast natures grasp on yourself. You can refresh roots without the NG one breaking and you can redo NG by having that mob hit you again. Now a lot of people may be saying to themselves what useless information that is and I will admit that it is almost completely useless for PvE. I have never used it and probably never will but I know that I can.

2) Know your Talents
With the overhaul coming to talent trees in Cata this may not be as important but I will still list it here anyway because for the time being I believe that it is very important. Different from the abilities, you should know the talents trees of the specs you play inside and out. I will probably never play resto so I only really know the top three tiers that I use for feral but in my feral tree I know tons of details. When I finished levelling to 80 and was creating my raiding spec for WotLK I spent almost an hour and a half combing through the talent tree individually looking at each talent and researching it. I came up with the cookie cutter build for druid tanking at the time all by myself and I know the pros and cons of every talent. Now that may have been extreme but knowing all my talents like that I have had to adapt to changing talents only very slightly and I knew what they all did and was able to make a very educated decision about my spec. It is not good enough to simply go to elitist jerks and copy their spec for the patch, sure your spec may end up looking the same anyway or you may want to use that as a very strict guideline but do something yourself so that you know what your talents can do for you. You may not need an hour but do 20 mins and have a better knowledge of what you are putting points in. You decided that you want to tank, now you have to do some work to get ready.

3) Know How to Pick Gear and Weight Stats
This is easy and only takes about 15 min to find out. All you want to know is maybe your 4 or 5 most important stats and their weightings relative to each other. There are lots of guides out there that will tell you what gear you should use over another and I use them quite frequently but when I am out in a raid or an instance I know my stat weights good enough that almost every time I will pick the better piece anyway. This is definitely worth your time.

4) Know the Other Classes
This knowledge will be very general. Know the other classes buffs, major debuffs, big cooldowns, and the basic abilities used at max level for each spec. You don’t have to be able to have a thought provoking conversation about the ins and outs of arcane blast and arcane missiles and how they relate but at least know that they are used by arcane mages. The exception to this is the four tanking classes. When it comes to the tanks you want a better knowledge of their abilities so that you can react better because messing up in regards to another dps may cause you to lose a little damage but messing up when it comes to timing in regards to a tank will most likely leave you face down on the ground not moving a whole lot. Just saying.

5) Aggro
So you all knew that this was coming but here is the problem that I have. There are just too many parts of this topic that I want to share and not all of them are negative so grouping them all together wasn’t really an option. At the same time they all seem very important and I want them near the beginning, so you can see my dilemma. I did come up with a solution however...SUBHEADINGS!!!!!!!
5a)Don’t Pull Aggro
Yeah we will just get this out of the way early; you all saw it coming anyway. There is never a good time to pull aggro off the tank. Often you are only focusing on what you are attacking and how much damage you can do (don’t lie to me I dps too) and you don’t pay any attention to much else because you believe that the tank will magically always have aggro. Its people like you that cause problems. At any one time a tank is keeping track of any number of things such as the number of mobs, their positioning around him, any adds coming, paths of pats, healer location, location of himself relative to dps, mob abilities, boss abilities, fire on the ground, and probably more things I can’t remember. Ok now tanking is not the hardest thing in the world and keeping track of lots of those things overlap with one another however you should try and shoulder more responsibility and make the tanks job a little easier by not riding their tail on threat. There are exceptions to this such as high burst situations but most of the time it’s not a big deal and it isn’t even really that hard to do. Most times all that is required is a small bit of patience and then you can go nuts. Tank threat is generally not a problem after they have aggro but when the target is bouncing between them and a dps it makes it very hard.

5b) If You Die, It Probably Is Your Fault
When you stand in fire do you blame the healer for your death? When you jump from too high and die do you blame virtual gravity? When you auto-run into the boss and die do you blame ready checks? I would think unless you aren’t all that intelligent you probably answered no to all those but there is one last question that begs asking. When you pull aggro and die do you blame the tank? “but Jey that question is not even the same at all”. Well I believe it is, and this is coming from me as both a tank and a dps. It is your responsibility to stay alive. It is the responsibility of the tank to keep aggro off of everyone, not you. If you are dumb enough to simply pull off the tank then you deserve to die. If the tank loses aggro and multiple people die that is their fault. More often the former and not the later is the case. Man up and take responsibility

5c) If You Pull It Prepare To Tank It
Many tanks have the mantra that if you want aggro you can have it but many times it is out of the tanks control. I often am guilty of this in heroics as I simply do too much dig too fast due to dps scaling a lot better in heroics. Every time I pull however I expect that I will have aggro of whatever I am attacking until it dies that way I am not surprised to have it for the remainder of the fight but always pleased when the tank pulls it off. If I really do not want to pull off I can wait a few moments and then attack or can wait till I get high aggro and then lay off but it is always within my power to stay below the tank more so than the other way around.

5d) Use Threat Dumps Proactively
Ok so when I say threat dumps I mean stuff like tricks and misdirection but also things like feign death and soul shatter. If you have any abilities that allow you to get rid of threat or to make it go on to someone else you should use them early rather then when you have already pulled off of the tank. Some people like to say that the mob will run to you then be out of tank range and when you threat dump it will go to another dps or the healer and potentially cause a wipe. While I highly doubt a healer will have high enough threat to cause the mob to go to them it is very possible to go to another dps. These things should be used before you pull aggro but when you are very high on threat allowing you to get the most use out of them. Using these dumps or threat wipes around 100% threat is a good place because you are getting very close to pulling but everything is still on the tank. Hunters and rogues...use tricks and MD often. As a tank nothing makes me warm up to a dps more then getting their threat so I don’t have to worry as much. I currently am levelling a hunter that is level 77 and I can’t use misdirection enough, I just love the ability and it has made a couple really bad instances successful.

5e) Know Tank Aoe’s
This could very definitely go out of date with Cata but for the time being it will still hold true. Each tank has some abilities that they use when they are tanking multiple mobs at the same time. Knowing these and being able to look for them before opening up on the group. I was thinking hey I can make a video about that but I had already read a post about that on the wayward initiative that was about this exact topic so here it is.

6) Don’t Tunnel
This is probably the number one thing that gets dps killed on fights in raids and instances. Just by the nature of the role, dps do not need as much awareness as tanks and healers. Dps only watch two health bars and most often that just becomes one health bar. While doing damage to the boss is important it is not the only thing you have to watch for and this singular need to do dmg to the boss is what leads to tunnelling. You should always know what is going on in the fight so that you can react pre-emptively to some things or just be able to react in a timely manner to everything else. Most often the people who get hit by bad stuff or die in fires are dps. Yes I realize the ratio of dps to tanks and healers is very skewed but dps are usually the ones that stand in things. Just work on knowing what is going on around you and you will be much better off.

7) The Best Player Is Not Always Highest On the Meters
How many times have you seen a dps link a dmg meter parse in order to show that his e-peen is the biggest? Probably countless. That is probably not a player that you want with you in a raid. The way most dps choose to show their skill is by linking dps meters and this is rarely an indication of a good player. If you want recognition don’t link meters. Generally if you link meters people ignore it and don’t really care but if you do good during the fight and have the highest dps then people around you will make comments. The best dps are usually the ones that are consistently near the top of the meters, switch targets when they need to and keep quiet. If someone is overbearing and bragging they probably don’t realize that no one wants them there. The most successful dps I ever played with was always highest on the meters by a wide margin, followed all the fight mechanics almost flawlessly and didn’t say much at all over vent or raid chat and I found myself wanting to raid with him again.

8) Switch to Adds
When your raid leader tells you that you need switch to adds you need to do it. I cannot even count the amount of times that I have been in a raid and we have wiped repeatedly to getting overrun by adds during a boss fight. For something so simple to wipe the raid is just dumb. I realize it sucks to switch at almost any time during the fight. I play a feral druid, trust that I know but I would way rather kill the boss then wipe repeatedly just because I don’t want my dmg to drop.

9) Special Jobs Make You More Valuable
If you get tasked to do a special job during a boss encounter never complain. Yes you may lose damage but it will make you far more valuable to the guild. Most special jobs during boss fights require you to pay attention to more than just the boss and they help you to develop your awareness. Also if you become good enough you may soon find that you become irreplaceable. I’m sure you have noticed that good tanks and healers seem to be guaranteed a spot in raids and in most cases they probably are. You could have a spot like that if you are the guilds go to guy for dps tasks that they don’t feel comfortable giving to everyone and that may be all you need to be guaranteed a raid spot.

10) Happy Tank Happy Life
There should be no reason that should be causing a tank to be unhappy with his group. Most tanks dread tanking heroics and for good reason. Lots of dps are colossal losers and just make you infuriated. Now obviously this is not always that case and there are people that renew your hope in dps but the fact remains that a lot of them don’t. No matter how annoyed you are you should hold your comments to yourself. Go into guild chat and make fun of him, talk with other dps in the group behind his back, w/e you have to do but don’t voice that directly to your tank because if you keep him happy you will have a far better run. I have had tanks that suck, they make the run long and annoying but in almost every case I have kept those comments to myself and I think that it helps. I know that it is extremely hard to not say anything sometimes but unless they tank starts blaming others for something that is blatantly their fault but only if you are positive that it wasn’t your own.

11) Give Some Compliments
This will not make you a better player or improve your game experience directly but from a tanking point of view this can help you more than you think. If your tank or healer is doing a good job it is very usual that you simply note that and carry on with your life and never think about it again. If they are doing a good job let them know. It is always nice to hear that you are doing well from your guild but hearing it from a complete stranger is usually a lot better. And if every dps did this for all the good tanks that they came across then there would probably be more tanks out there that were doing a good job and more tanks in general thus making your queue times for randoms shorter.

That’s all I got right now but same with the tanking basics post I will update it if I think of anything else and if you give me ideas that I like I will throw in your name beside the title.

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