Topic (Sticky) DPS and you - A guide
This is a guide I worked on for a bit. It comes from having to really watch and see just how many people in Cataclysm do these constant errors in dungeons and raids that I thought would be good reading material.
You can find the edited and nice and dandy version at Tankspot's DPS forums:
A note: By no way am I stating that you guys don't know this already. Consider this a guide for people to look, read and see if you honestly recall those days where all of this was needed and common knowledge! By all means, take it for what it's worth and discuss amongst yourselves. I figure the more enlighten the DPS world of WoW is, the better PUGs, Raids and other groups could be when needing to group together to defeat the vast monsters of the World of Warcraft game.
DPS and you : A guide to learning the Cataclysm way.
Hello fellow DPSers! I decided to write this in the holiday spirit to explain to you all the differences in which you should start learning when it comes to Cataclysm dungeon exploring and raid exploring. To some of you, this is common sense and that people should always know. But I see time and time again while running dungeons some DPS that simply do NOT realize that the changes that were brought to Cataclysm are not just aesthetical. Below will be some average rules and guidelines by yours truly trying to explain to you, as a DPS, just what exactly has changed. Also, I will explain changes that have happened between Tank, Healing and DPS synergies in which you should be aware of. The more information you have, the more aware you will be of the situation when it arises and better to deal with this information.
DPS – a name or a responsibility?
To many, DPS simply is numbers. Numbers popping up in front of us are always good. Red numbers are bad, green numbers are awesome and yellow numbers and white numbers. We see a world of numbers and we tend to get so engrossed that we forget the basic foundation of what a DPS should be doing.
Now, Wrath was far and well known as a successful expansion for Blizzard. However, it has spawned a new generation of gamers that do not necessarily bode well in the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm ideal. This guide is for you guys. Wrath and Cataclysm are two different beasts and this will help new individuals as well as the veterans to understand where some people are coming from and perhaps glimpse into how people think.
Back in Wrath, all we DPS needed to do is maximize our damage. Let’s be honest: Healing was pretty much a joke with healers having mana to last you a long while and threat was a non issue unless it was a mechanic in the game. This has made DPS only focus on one thing and that’s to dps. Oh, you took damage from some AoE attack? No problem, healer can top that. Tank is getting a little low on threat? No problem, call a threat increasing attack like Misdirect or Tricks of the Trade and have that issue resolved. CC? Psh, AoE the suckers down, the tank will take the aggro no problem.
This is not the same in Cataclysm.
One of the fundamental things that people need to realize is that with the changes done to the world, Blizzard has made it that dungeons will now require CC. This is especially true for Heroics. Some of these fights will require you to dust off some old tools that you never used back in the Wrath days and to start learning how to proactively learn how to use them.
1) Learn to use the Crowd Control tools that you have off your bars!
One of the biggest problems I’ve noticed nowadays is that people have simply forgotten they had CC, or furthermore, how it works. The DPS class has been given tools to CC mobs. The exceptions on this would probably be the Warrior class and the Death Knight class, as they don’t necessarily have great CC (Intimidation Shout and Hungering Cold are not great CCs. I don’t care how you look at it, they’re not; not with that much of a cooldown on a skill that lasts less time than it does to kill one mob.) Many people need to start relearning their tools and to understand when to use them. Which brings me to my next point:
2) Practice using your CC!
This is paramount: If you do not know how to properly use your CC, put yourself in the situation outside a fight. Go find groups of two or three and try to CC the targets properly that will provide the least amount of problems for your group and yourself. This will allow for smart and good CCing.
Edited by Earthshield on 12/20/10 1:03 PM (PST)
3) Talk to your group!
You have no idea how much stress I have to put on this point. Talk to your group when you CC! In fact, talk to your group period. Get out of the mindset of being on your own and being the lone wolf. It doesn’t work in a situation in which you have to deal with other individuals. Dungeons are made so that everyone works together. Even if it’s just a PUG, it doesn’t mean you cannot talk to your tank or your healers to make the run go smoothly. Also, look and see what kind of tank you are dealing with. Some tanks prefer to do their CC first, while others like to have their CC done after they’re done establishing aggro. Either way, you should talk to your tank as well as other members and establish who you will be using your CC on.
4) Establish your targets!
See those nice lil icons people liked to dink around with? Use them to good use and establish your own icon and say that you will be CCing this target. Yes, the tank normally leads the assault but if the tank hasn’t been in the instance, and you have, the tank will appreciate what targets will be out of the way while he does his job and you will show that you are able to CC properly. Showing this will actually mean a lot more than sitting back and letting the group explode due to your arrogance that a tank should do all the marking. It is a team effort, not just a tank effort, and as DPS, you must be smart about it.
Having established a few rules, there are some more that you can look as you go along and this list could indeed grow. But some of those key essential rules are vital to look at and understand. Now, let’s go into the relationship that you will have with your other groups: Your tank and your Healer.
Healers – a love hate relationship
Ever sat back and wondered why healers are just not healing you anymore? Do you seem like you’re always taking damage and yet you have no idea why the healer isn’t giving you those heals they used to back in Wrath? Well let’s sit down for a moment here and read a bit about what happened in Cataclysm to healers.
Healers were in a situation in Wrath where mana was nearly infinite. Yes, there were times healers had no mana and this was due to a lot of problems, but the general term of healing really stayed along the lines of “I can do anything and keep my party up.” This led to a drastic change in Cataclysm where healers now have to worry about that blue bar. Which means, unfortunately, DPS, you will have to keep yourself alive as much as you can and NOT exhaust your healer’s mana. Let me go into detail:
Healers have 3 sorts of healing:
Single target healing: This is pretty much their heals they use to keep one target up. You have a quick heal, which uses an enormous amount of mana and is quite inefficient, you have a medium heal which is the average heal they’re using for tanks and you have the slow and high heal which takes forever and requires the caster to stay put while doing said heal. So, all three heals are to be used in certain situations. Those situations require them to heal the tank, who is taking constant medium damage. The fast heal will kill their mana pool, while the slow heal may risk a tank’s life by using it.
AoE healing: This is a type of healing which is slightly below average, but heals a bunch of people and costs about as much as a fast heal. This is why this should only be used in AoE situations. Healers cannot constantly use these AoE heals because the tank and you took damage and as such, you seriously need to watch yourself again.
HoT healing: This is where you might get some reprieve. HoTs allow a healer to drop one on you and let that hopefully heal your damage. However it is up to you to stop taking damage and as such, it is not a heal that will absolutely let you live if you constantly continue to take damage and not have to worry about dying.
Edited by Earthshield on 12/20/10 1:11 PM (PST)
All three healing situations won’t help you if you do not have one thing:
Constant awareness of your surrounding!
I have to say that this is insanely important. I don’t know how many times I have to say this being a problem that can easily be fixed.
The biggest culprit? Lack of attention. The DPS is prone to watching their numbers and making sure their rotations are in check. This means we are really not paying attention to a lot of things. This needs to stop.
In WotLK, you were able to stand in a zone and take a bit of damage before getting out and know that the healer will keep you alive because the Healer has the mana to use on you. This is no longer the case; with mana so important to them, Healers will be stressed enough to worry about the tank taking a big hit and not surviving when doing so. This requires you to be smart and not to stress your healer more because you’re not noticing you’re standing on a hot red zone and you take red damage.
Some fixes to make your view a bit more bearable when it comes to taking any type of damage would be to customize your UI so that you actually 'see' the damage coming in on you. This does mean clearing anything that could be clutter in your screen so you may actually see certain graphics that may indicate not to stand in that area, or a way to show that your health is being lost due to an AoE attack or a zone. Certain suggestions can range between a HUD or other tools that would show the number of damage you are currently taking. Remember, a good UI can help you in the long run.
One of the biggest problem I see is the above scenario: standing in damage dealing zones. You can’t do this anymore. The healing examples I gave you above should give you the idea of why you can’t do this anymore: mana cannot be spent to heal you because you wanna stand in fire and keep DPSing.
Begin the thought process of how to live through the entire fight.
This honestly hasn’t changed any expansion. Wrath simply made it so much easier to deal with. This will change and has change with Cataclysm and as such you seriously need to change the viewpoints of what your job is. A DPS is to give damage to the enemy and help down the creature, but you are no good dead or dying. Nor are you good stressing your tank and healers due to standing in stuff that can be avoided. Strafe, move with your keys, your mouse, whatever you move with. Move OUT of it, then resume DPSing.
Do not and I repeat, do not presume the healer will save you.
The Tank: Smack that Aggro higher!
Tanks are a creature that we also have a love/hate relationship but it is not as defective. Some tanks can bear with a bad DPS because they know how to deal with it. In Cataclysm, it’s going to be a different sort of; it mostly is because the tanks will want CC due to lower gear and health output, and the DPS are still wanting to AoE and do so much damage. This is where the discussion of talking with your tank and discussing what is the best thing do to for them comes into play.
Edited by Earthshield on 12/20/10 1:12 PM (PST)
1) Discuss the idea of what the tank will do before the start of the instance.
Oddly enough, some tanks will not want CC because they prefer tanking without the CC and it is more efficient. For some reason, I see a lot of times that Paladins really don’t need that much CC. I ran one Vortex Pinnacle with no CC because the Paladin would simply break it and keep tanking all of it. At first I thought maybe the tank was just terrible and would like to break CC because he can and has the Wrath mindset, but the more I noticed, and talked to my healer, the more we realized that the paladin actually knew how to mitigate most of the damage he was being done and the healer really wasn’t as stressed as he could be.
This can lead to some DPS being frustrated while CCing and noticing the tank doing nothing but breaking them, which then can lead to the DPS simply saying ‘eff it’ and never CC again. You can’t think this way; you have to discuss it with the tank. Instead of letting frustration build up, why not talk to the tank and ask him if he’s just better off wanting to tank the whole thing or CC. If it turns up that the healer really is too stressed because of the tank taking too much damage, then the healer may speak up and ask for the CC afterwards. But it is never too late to ask the tank what his preferred tanking method is. Remember you are a team for the time you are in the group, and as a team, it is up to all of you together to work together and make things work out the way people are most comfortable. Besides, if it turns out that it’s no CC, it’s then a lot more fun to just AoE the crap out of everything.
2) Watch your threat. It’s actually becoming important!
Changes were done in Cataclysm which have modified how certain of our threat increasing abilities work, such as Misdirection and Tricks of the Trade. They no longer permanently give you the threat one class causes, but simply give it to you for a set amount of time, then remove that threat afterwards. This may cause spikes at some points in the fight that you will want to be mindful of. This means you will definitely want to reacquaint yourself either with the Blizzard threat meter installed in the game (this means moving the mouse over a mob and showing the nameplate with the threat meter) or you can download one of many different threat meters out there; Omen is the most popular one out there but there are some more available to you.
Also, be aware that now, you will want to have a hand on your aggro reducing talents even more; pulling aggro will not let you live long, if at all. Most of the time, two shots will be enough to kill you. Tanks may have great reflexes when they see their mobs pulled off, sometimes it just happens that the tank is out of CDs cause you were pushing the threat roof and it turns out that mob that you hit loves to smack things in the face hard and you faceplant. It is your responsibility to watch the threat and work with the group to fix this. Vanish, Feign Death, Soulshatter among others are all there to lower your threat. Yes, there are some classes that will have no ability to reduce threat like Warriors, but in a situation where the tank is hitting three mobs and the rest CC’ed, switch your target and let the threat decay away while you kill another mob. It’s better that the mob gets killed a bit slower instead of the mob turning around and killing you, which will make the whole fight slower.
3) Work with your tank with marks!
Tanks are aware of their role in a party. But as a DPS, that doesn’t mean you can’t be active with them too! Designate a mark for yourself and tell the group that this mark is yours and whatever mark you use, will be the mark that you CC. Furthermore, if you know the instance and everyone else doesn’t, why not say that you will mark the targets that should be DPSed down first? Normally any healing class that isn’t CCed are the ones that should go down but with new instances, this means new names and as such, we’re still not certain of every mob that can heal individuals. As such, be proactive and actually tell the tank that you will CC and guide people if necessary. If the tank is fine with marking everything, great, makes your job easier. However tell the tank that you’re able to mark and save time. If all DPS are marking their own targets and the tank marks his own, it makes marking faster and pulling faster, and as such, should make the run faster.
Well, I hope this enlightens some of you. It’s a refreshing new start to an expansion and as such, we have to be ready for the idea that some people are not as knowledgeable as others when it comes to playing in a group. Group play requires coordination and working together to make the party work and just simply going gung ho will not be great for your party.
Edited by Earthshield on 3/1/11 8:44 PM (PST)
Try to be proactive and be aware of your surroundings. Bring your own healing potions and bandages, a la Vanilla, and heal yourself. As a DPS, it is your job to do damage, but as a player, it is your job to survive and do your role as well! Let us all go out there and help other players understand so thaty they can get an idea of the new changes, and as a community grow stronger with the knowledge and help each other out.
If you liked this guide, feel free to spread the word. Also, I have recently opened a Twitter account where I will add thoughts and ideas when it comes to WoW and other things. I would sincerely feel honored if you all wished to post on this if you wanted to follow me.
@Krenian. Hope to see you there!
Thanks! Who knows, just trying to enlighten some DPS out there. We all need a recap of what we need to do sometimes.
Also, this doesn't just go for DPS, but tanks and healers too when it comes to the CCing. Communication is key and I believe with a solid communication, this'll make Cata runs a lot smoother.
I am typically pretty abrasive to anyone that posts these kinds of things, but at least this one is very well written. This forum is supposed to be about class mechanics but it is constantly bombarded with people trying to lecture the roles on how to play. Maybe they should sticky this so we at least have something to point people to when they inevitably post another poorly written "dear dps" rant.
That would hurt my head. I know tons about DPS. Healing is a distant third and you really don't wanna see my tanking prowess (read 0.)
I can understand how tanks run and what tanks do because I work with many tanks being an author of Tankspot, but dear gods I don't envy their positions sometimes.
Healers, I know a bit more thanks to my stint as a resto druid. That's why my healing part of the guide is a bit more understanding of all of their new mechanics because I got to play them in Wrath for a bit and understand the changes that came through with Cata. I feel bad for our healers that simply cannot keep damage going because some DPS are sitting in a pool of fire.
You should, it's a nice read and only seven pages long typed. It's a fun 10 minute read if you're an average reader!
It's mostly for all us DPS to actually sit here and remind ourselves that we are more than just DPS and it's to each and everyone's responsibility to work proactively to make runs fun. The point of the guide is to just clarify and act as a tool for people to read and go..yeah, that's right, it does work like that. Let's see if we can put in practice.
Hopefully it helps out!