Thursday, April 9, 2009

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad DPS?

The answer would be me (and no, I'm not talking about arena; that's a whole different animal). What do I mean, then, if not PvP? I'm talking about the difficulty in changing from a healing perspective to a DPS perspective

Besides one or two isolated cases, I have never done serious DPS. I've done a few five mans on Bellbell, one Karazhan, a few Outlands dungeons on Sugarcake, and one stint in Karazhan as a Boomkek. Since I began actually understanding how the game was played, I've been healing. I have learned through what annoys me or my tank some of what DPS does, but more what I should not do. That's why I'm mortified if Cinnamon has his Growl on, or if I hit the wrong mob, pull aggro and die.

I've spent two years working on my healing. I'm far from perfect, but I'm always striving for it. So placing myself in a DPS position is a practice in suppressing my urges to drop out and heal (especially when I'm playing Bellbell and I don't believe the healer is doing a sufficient job; it's easier to resist when playing Sugar since she can't heal anyone but her pet). Unless there are marks, and there often aren't, I haven't learned how to prioritize targets to kill. Obvious exceptions would be bosses; I've spent too many times explaining why you should kill the adds on this boss and not on this boss to not understand those.

Organized DPS is also a supremely unforgiving environment, at least in the PUG world I currently reside in. Not due to the game itself; without CC being a requirement or necessary except in the most extreme cases, DPS is free to go all out with relative abandon, its only focus being "kill that big spider thing, and maybe get somebody webbed off the wall." DPS is most unforgiving due to meters; the highest placed person is touted, the lowest place is ridiculed. This makes a highly hostile environment for the new 80, the undergeared, and the inexperienced (or newly respec'd). I've seen, and tried to prevent, people being ridiculed or their opinions being invalidated due to a couple hundred points in damage difference.

Besides, everyone seems to expect you to just know what to do. Perhaps not on boss fights, but they expect you to understand how to use a DPS rotation, how to spec, how to gear, how to gem, and just what to do. And though I have many of the concepts understood, putting them into practice is an entirely different animal. I've improved with Bellbell, I believe, but Sugarcake is Beast Mastery, and managing both melee and ranged components (competently) is almost overwhelming. I barely avoided breaking two CC's by quick switching Cinnamon's targets, while I accidentally pull the mob with the least threat on the tank and forget that Oh yeah, I can feign death.

With Bellbell just reaching level 77, I have a lot of catching up to do, and only a little time to do it.


Kayeri said...

Bell, I know exactly how you feel... on my Livejournal, I posted a recent thing with my 71 rogue doing her first real dungeon... Utgrade Keep.

and also being a healer from the moment I entered the game, all i can say is .... DANG!!! This has really upped my respect for dpsers. I certainly didnt have any issue with them before, since they actually do the killing, but i never realized how much there was to it.

Attack rotations, target switching, aggro management... its kinda overhwelming for the one who's new to it all.

And like you, I have to learn which stats are most important, in what order, and gemming, enchanting, all of it... I've been leaning heavily on our 4k dps raiding rogue for it, but a time will come when I must be able to manage myself... :) Fortunately for now, he seems delighted to mentor me...

Barrista said...

Nice to hear some love for us dps out there.
Now I'll tell you my secret.
I have been collecting holy pally gear since I hit 80, but I'm terrified to try it out. Why?
Substitute the word healing where you used DPS!

Healing is most unforgiving due to meters; the highest placed person is touted, the lowest place is ridiculed.
(The healers I run with compare and watch their healing meters.)

And especially:
Besides, everyone seems to expect you to just know what to do. ....they expect you to understand how to use a healing rotation, how to spec, how to gear, how to gem, and just what to do.

Everything you wrote is exactly how I feel about trying to heal for the first time.. same fears and thoughts. So good luck to you!

Skully said...

I'm afraid to DPS as well, healing is my comfort zone. I was a holy pally in BC and I'm now a tree.

My alt mage is starting to do heroics and I'm finding it difficult.I have done all the research: spec, rotation, gear, etc. But once show time starts, I fumble and stumble. And to think that I have heard people say over and over that DPS was easy. I guess that would be true if you don't want to excel or be competitive.

My plan was to PUG heroics as much as I can like I did on my druid because that was such a good learning experience. But I'm so intimidated that I have so far only done instances with my guildies.

Lissanna said...

That's why I spend a lot of time trying to teach new players how to play druids effectively, with various guides I work on writing. Even then, you still need to practice the new style of buff/debuff/cooldown management. It's not just a one button spamming world for DPS anymore!

Celairia said...

DPS, Healing, and Tanking I've found were all a lot more complicated than I thought -- and I haven't even started healing yet! But here's a big, evil secret:
Everyone sucks and screws up. "In the beginning," you say. But everybody makes a giant gaffe. I've multishotted trash packs that we weren't actually about to pull. I've Death & Decay'ed pats into our waiting squishies. And I'll inevitably kill the tank from misreading his health bar (I'm used to LEFT being good!).
But leap into it, and just don't go over aggro! Let the rest of it fall into place with time. Nobody expects you to know exactly what to do right off the bat. ;) Just have fun, and you'll find a rhythm.

Delos (Dave) said...

Much like any healer, the beauty of playing a moonkin (if that's the route you're going) is the contributions you make to the team that aren't your primary role (dps). Some of the most rewarding experiences I've had while playing a moonkin have been healing while the MH is CC'd, decursing without being asked, and CC'ing on a bad pull until the tank can catch up. It's all about your situational awareness, which as a healer I'm sure you have plenty of!

The hardest part for you will be putting faith in your healer to get someone (even yourself) through spikes since you have been watching health bars for so long. Shifting in and out of moonkin takes a big chunk of your mana, so the decision shouldn't be taken lightly. It's definitely one of the more difficult things to learn about playing a moonkin.

Let us know how it goes!

Kayeri said...

Barrista, the one thing to remember about ANY meter is that they dont tell the whole story. As a healer, what you must remember in the end is, "Did I do my job?" If you can say "Yes," you have done well.

I got meter-spoiled early on in Karazhan, druids shine in there. Well, then we hit ZA and our resto shammie came on board, and I wasnt the meter star any more. That was depressing until I got over it.

So if you can manage your assignment and throw out an extra heal here and there to assist another healer when they need it, you are doing great, no matter what the meter says. :)

There's more to it, of course, assignments can really affect the meters and hopefully your raid leader knows where to apply which heal classes to their greatest effect, but thats what it comes down to in the end. :)

Delos (Dave) said...

Well don't I feel sheepish. I thought you were talking about DPSing on your druid, but I see now that it was about your Retadin :)

The Raider 101 Retribution Paladin page is pretty strong, so you should check it out. Also check out Eye for an Eye and Retribution, two fantastic ret paladin blogs.

Good luck :)

Antimoni said...

That's exactly how I felt when I started my Death Knight and said to myself "I'm going to be focused on DPS as this character." I played a healy priest for 4 years so it was SO different to be melee DPS! I had my druid as a tank before, and kinda OT DPS for Kara but nothing special/serious. Stepping into the raids for the first time - I was super nervous!

But you know what - if you are DPSing to the best of your ability then it will show no matter what gear you have. Just do some simple research on your class and do the best you can!! People mainly ridicule the puggies with +spirit enchants or really have NO idea what they are doing.
As a Raid Officer, we only drop people from our group if they are seriously lacking in DPS. We just removed a hunter because he was not really trying to DPS - we had Tanks beating his DPS. :/ Things like that are worrisome!

But really - do not fret so much! Everyone makes mistakes, I have totally done stupid things as a DPS, Tank, and a Healer - and hell sometimes it might not be your fault to begin with! (Most people will not own up to their mistakes.)