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Am I a Hypocrite?

March 5, 2009

Historically all I’ve done really is heal, except for a very brief foray into the wilds of Shadow Priesting. As I levelled aside friends fate had placed me into the Healing role and we 3-manned all the instances up to and including the Scarlet Monastery. What I have noticed in my travels and the years that I’ve spent inside WoW is the increasing prevalence to use DPS meters to base performance upon. I have already blogged about the worrying trend that is displayed amongst many characters with the Damage Meter reigning supreme and people being removed from groups because their DPS is perceived to be “below-par” rather than trying to tutor someone who may be a new player and allowing them to step up and improve their game.

I even turned Recount off on my add-on screen, healing means I don’t really need to use it, if I can survive through fights and the group is in tip-top shape then it’s a job well done. However, now I am levelling my Shaman I am doing is as a DPS spec and I love being Elemental, yet when I am in instances I am only watching my threat and trying to kill stuff as fast as possible. If the group succeeds then I succeed. But even this leaves me wondering if I could do better, I’ve read up on stat priorities and spell rotations but how do I actually gauge what these turn into,  should I even care?

After having a good pug group recently I did want to see if I could quantify my performance and try and see if there are areas to improve if it is substandard, hence this week I turned Recount back on for Lekktra only. Let’s go through what happened.

Last night I joined the LFG channel looking for a group to either Violet Hold of Drak’Tharon Keep, the two instances in my level range. After a rather annoying whisper just saying “spec?” I replied I was Elemental, I’d even taken the time to type my usual “Caster DPS (Elemental)” into the comments field when I joined LFG so people would know what I was. Eventually we are standing outside the instance next to the summoning stone with me, an Enhancement Shaman, a Fury Warrior, a Holy Priest and a Prot Warrior. Considering that I’ve always noticed the massive preference for casters having a mostly melee group was interesting and off we went. I buffed myself with my +stam food and got Fortitude off the Priest, no other buffs were had and I think the other Shaman dropped one or two totems the whole time we were there. Personally I have a thing against the Enhancement spec and will admit to having no idea how to play it,  but to me Shamans=Totems. But I digress, we rumbled through the whole thing without much mishap, I happen to really like the place as an instance which no doubt helps. What were the results then? I know that this can be disputed due to sub-optimal specs, gearing issues, class and spec knowledge etc… but in short I topped the damage meter by quite a way.

Personally this means that I am of course happy with my performance in the group and am satisfied that I am doing decent DPS. I was knocking on for around 1100 DPS and ended up over the course of the dungeon doing 33% of the damage, the next person on the chart was the Fury Warrior with 24% and then the other Shammy with 660DPS. To me this means that I was doing almost double the damage of the other Shaman. He usually started fighting before me as the tank charged in and we wait for him to pick up aggro. Now the danger I find here is that I am looking at that other Shaman, exactly the same level as I am and looking at the gact I am almost doubling the output. The temptation is to label him a bad player, poorly geared, improperly specced etc… but the group worked and we didn’t really have a problem in the instance. So, am I a hypocrite to my early postings because I am the one now looking at the damage meters and making judgements based off it, would it have been different in a caster group where I may not have come out on top? Well, without experience of that I can’t say. I don’t think taking pure DPS only as a result to check one’s progress is bad in and of itself, but my DPS would probably come out lower if I was with other casters doing more damage overall and therefore mobs would die faster so I’d have less time to throw out my damage to increase my score. Bragging about “topping the meter” is not going to be a good thing to do until I have more data to ensure that what I am seeing is accurate spread out over a range of group compositions and environments. There are some group pulls whereby I can use Magma Totem instead of my normal Totem of Wrath and use of Chain Lightning is obviously going to increase my damage and DPS accordingly.

In short I’m going to be leaving Recount running so I can try and give myself a better understanding of how I am doing. My guild were certainly happy that I came out on top when I showed them how I was doing. There is still some gearing to come as I level so I am hoping to increase my DPS, at the moment things are looking good for me to hit Heroics at 80 and not make a poor showing of myself but I’ve got to be careful that I continue to view this particular add-on as a tool to better my game and constantly check my progress rather than being the total goal of all I do being to beat other people in the DPS stakes.

I don’t think there are any other add-ons that get used as improperly as the DPS meters are, if everyone viewed them merely as a tool to measure one’s own performance then I reckon we’d see a lot of happier players as groups focussed more on working together and less on which FOTM is topping the meters this week. But still, seeing your name up there certainly is nice.

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