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Somehow I Doubt it’s Over 9000!

February 11, 2009

I normally eat my lunch during the working week at my desk, this allows me to abuse my companies appallingly slow Internet connection to browse through the WoW forums (we block games sites at other times). Normally said forums are nothing but a hotbed of detritus and references to the current memes resounding with “This thread is both new and interesting”, “l2p nub” or “less QQ moar pewpew” (meaning no disrepect to the blog of the same name). However, every once in a while a real gem comes up and while I won’t encourage it’s complete reading it raises a point that I have been discussing with guild mates recently and actually stands out at making a half-decent blog post, odd for me to say the least. So, what is this mysterious topic? Well, here it is.

My answer is both a yes and a no, leaning more on the side of no.

I’ve always been a fan of add-ons and have constantly loaded up my WoW folders with all kinds of various modifications that leave nothing of the normal UI in view. Over the past few weeks I’ve been clearing things up and trying to make a decent UI that is clean and spartan, giving me access to the things that I use and removing the excessive clutter that has dominated my screen over the past few years. I am generally happy with how things have turned out but have no doubt that things may change slightly. I have changed a few mods and removed a few, what is one of the add-ons that has been consigned to the “disabled” section? Recount.

Recount is a decent add-on, it provides a lot of information that can be useful, however, the biggest problem I find with anyone running this add-on is that people tend to “chase” the damage meter. They are looking at it purely with the fact in mind that to be a decent player that they need to be at the top and doing the highest DPS, in fact, if their DPS is lower than some perceived standard that player is deemed sub-par. While for soloing or testing on a Target Dummy I am sure Recount would be of great benefit, using it in a group setting causes all kinds of issues, after all, someone is going to have to be at the bottom. I tend to look at a group in terms of success, have we actually managed to clear the content we’re in. If the answer is yes then I don’t really care if the Ret pally was a few hundred DPS of what would be expected at his level, hey he might even had a talent build he created while drunk, if we win then we all win regardless of anything else.

I’m not suggesting for a minute that everyone go and respec themselves to a sub-par spec or start wearing level 1 cloth gear, talents and appropriate equipment are core to the game, but I don’t think you can solely judge a player by what the damage meter tells you. let me give you a real world example of this. We have a Druid in our regular groups, she started out as resto for all of Northrend after being a healer through our old raiding days, this was when Bo was specced Shadow for levelling. When I respecced Healing to cover a gap for an Azjol-Noob group we eventually decided that I would stay as a healer and that our Druid would try out being a Laser Chicken. The bonus to spellpower and crit % was seen as being a great advantage when we have no melee other than the tank and a buttload of caster DPS. It took time to collect the approriate gear and a transition phase while the new spec was learnt and reworked to a state that she was happy with. However, when looking at the DPS meters at the end of the fight she was always beaten in damage done by the tank, the theoretical “I should always do more damage than him” class. I know our guildies in real life, the tank and Boomkin in this example are infact married to each other. Saturday night saw an amusing spilling over of WoW into RL and them having a large spat on my sofa about this. What we all tried to explain (much to the amusement of my non-playing wife) was that there are other mechanics going on in the damage meter so that it cannot be taken as the be all and end all of group mechanics. She is comparing herself to Lisuri our Warlock who is always right up there unless we run with any class that massively outgears him. Lisuri’s spellpower is over 2000 whereas the Boomkin is around 200 or so lower, then we get into critchicken buffs which enhances spellpower and crit chance. This then further buffs the advantages the Warlock already has and that is just looking at a pure mathcraft response. There are numerous times when Steller has off-healed during a disconnect or other unforeseen occurance. Not topping the damage meter or even topping the tank will show the fact that a player is willing to look out for the group and go out of role to ensure success. I have grouped with them both many times and relayed the fact that I have never judged her on the fact that her DPS has been lower than anyone elses, if we clear the place and do what we set out to do then that is good enough for me. Less QQ more pewpew indeed. Through another respec and some more gear upgrades as well as seeking further advice on her class and spec she has improved even further and is now rising up those oh so abhorrent damage meters.

I still don’t run with one, I know my class, I know my spec, if we clear what we’re doing then I don’t think anyone can really say that I’m not doing my job. People can get far too zealous in wanting to top the stupid thing and will inadvertently pull aggro or go against the tactics for a fight just so they can boost their personal damage stats. Running and instance or a raid is all about teamwork, making sure your name is at the top of that little meter is not about teamwork, it is about personal glory and stroking your e-peen ego. Kill the boss or don’t kill the boss, we win or we lose, if we lose it’s normally obvious what is going on and we work as a team to overcome it, it’s not a case of look at Recount and kick the low DPSer. Everyone has to learn at some point, so the next time you’re sitting there staring trying to eek out that extra 10 or so DPS that will see you climb the meter take a thought for the other people in your group, turn it off and play your best with others.

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