A Class Act

March 26, 2009

I recently commented on this post over at Spinksville and got a response from the man himself. Rather than take up a huge column space with another comment I thought I’d take this opportunity to make a whole post out of it to try and explain my “inconsistency” with regards to my thoughts. Spinks does a really good job of writing out objective posts backed up by solid arguments, I am probably a little too emotive in the way I perceive things, this is not meant as a bash to him at all, I have a lot of respect for his opinions but I am going to try and set out my own arguments to back up what I have written, hence needing the extra space afforded me by using a proper post of my own.

Firstly, lets look at where my objectivity comes from, what point of view gives me the experience that I will be relating. I am going to ignore my vanilla WoW experiences, I didn’t really know the game and didn’t interact a whole lot with anybody, so therefore I only have my time spent on Alliance since TBC to go off. This is the first point at which I’ll admit there maybe some failings, Spinks is on Horde, I’m over on Alliance, we all know the generally accepted argument that Horde tends to have better players than Alliance, while Alliance get most of the kiddies playing the “pretty” races. I’m not getting into that argument here and I don’t really have enough Horde experience to prove otherwise, but I do miss not being Horde!

I have two level 80 characters, Bouaza the Priest and Lekktra the Shaman, both Draenei. Bo has had a lot more playtime than Lekktra and has been a healer for pretty much her whole life, therefore I have a lot of experience of groups from the healing point of view, this is where the majority of my play experience is coming from. Lekktra has been 80 for almost two weeks now and is unashamedly DPS, this is giving me a completely different experience and viewpoint on how a group works (or doesn’t work). So, there you go, I’m not an end game tank of any level (although I did tank Prince Malchezzar once when our MT was away and I got to use his toon to get the raid to keep going, yes, we did down him too!). I have a Death Knight, a level 33 Prot Warrior and a very low level druid and Paladin, my tanking experiences are not worth mentioning, this may colour my views, just warning you.

Right, onto my argument, DPS is OK for Ret Pallies and Death Knights, the other two plate wearers, but I have a problem with DPS Warriors. I’m going to try and argue this to the best of my abilities, no offense intended to anyone, especially not if you chose a DPS warrior, this is just my opinion, yours may differ and I have no problem with that, it’s your game to play as much as it is mine.

Argument the first; RAGE!!!!!!!!

This is really probably going to turn out to be the crux of my argument when I try and think about everything. It’s the basics of the Warrior mechanics, you want to use those abilities then you’re going to need a bar full of red stuff. Remember, I’m looking at this from a healer point of view mainly. How do you get rage, well, there are talents that help you get in and you have a skill you can pop that generates some and you can charge into combat. That gets the red bar filling up, the other options are hitting stuff and getting hit in return. For a Prot Warrior he wants to be beaten around like a dogs chewtoy the more he gets pounded the more rage he has to slam his shield up some guy’s ass thus maintaining a high threat. For the DPS warrior being hit is a bad thing, ignoring stances, the DPS warrior will not have as much mitigation as the Warrior, heck, he may not even be wearing full plate so if he gets hit he’s instantly going to take more damage than the tank. Rage diminishes over time, so the Warrior needs to be in combat hitting (or being hit) for a lot of the time to maintain his ability to fire off those skills that are going to allow him to make a meaningful contribution to the group. In solo play getting hit is fine, but in a group if you’re getting hit then generally you’re doing something wrong.

I’ve been in a number of fights whereby the only person to die during the whole instance is the DPS warrior, normally getting one-shotted by bosses. Spinks may be right, I may just have come across the nublet kind of DPS warrior, but I have never seen once do anything decent in a group. As a healer you know when a DPS warrior is in the group that they are going to be taking almost as much damage as the tank (personal experience here) and every single time you have a choice over who to heal it’s going to be the tank, hence DPS warrior death. I rank one Utgarde Keep where our DPS warrior died 4 times, no-one else did, just the DPS warrior. Whether this is down to skill use I don’t know but I’ve seen many a DPS warrior challenge the tank on threat generation and once they pull it off the tank that low mitigation means they get dead quick. I put this down to them needing rage and therefore really being dependant on being up close and personal.

On the other hand we have Paladins and Death Knights. Paladins have a very good melee DPS spec as do Death Knights (in fact Death Knights can do a decent job of tanking even with a primarily DPS spec), the difference here is that Paladins run on mana and Death Knights have their Runic Power and their Runes to use. Runes have a cooldown but don’t rely on getting an axe to the face, Retribution Pallies get Replenishment to keep their mana up (and that of the group) and use that mana for their spells, which they regenerate quickly and if things go pearshaped they have their bubble or even Lay on Hands. Neither of these classes need to be in melee to generate their primary abilities.

Argument the second; heals

Blood presence DKs are getting healed as they do damage, Paladins have healing spells that allow them to keep themselves alive. Yes each group has a healer and that should allow the group to stay topped off but primarily you’re going to want to keep the tank alive first and foremost, then the healer needs to keep themselves alive, healing DPS comes in last place. I’m sure we could get into a long discussion about Warrior and Death Knight talents that allow them to provide self healing. Pots do not count, they can’t be relied upon due to the Wrath changes which limits you to 1 per fight.

Argument the third; DPS

The reason to take a DPS warrior is down to them contributing meaningful DPS to a group. I’ve heard tales of DPS warriors hitting the tops of damage meters. I’ve already espoused in previous posts that simply being at the top of a damage chart is not the be all and end all of the group. Yes, being at the top probably means you’re alive through everything so have the maximum time to hurt things. However, this doesn’t show anything regarding the possibility of the DPS warrior (and any other DPS for that matter) constantly stealing aggro off the tank to ensure his place a top the meter, the only reason he gets there is because a healer who’s on top of her game makes sure that no-one dies allowing the warrior to keep the pewpew despite things being harder for the group as the DPS dude focused purely on the fact that his name needs to be at the top.

In my experience of having DPS warriors in a group they haven’t done anywhere near the output of other DPS classes, sure dual-wielding two-handers looks cool, but if you’re throwing out crappy DPS you’re pulling your weight in the group. Again, I’m willing to admit I may have just been with bad players, but it does seem to be a trend that some of the worst players I have come across all seem to be DPS warriors… I have yet to see one make a meaningful contribution to the group.

Argument the fourth; group benefits

Death Knights fall down here too, I’m going to agree with Spinks here and be a bit inconsistent, I’m of the opinion that even though the Hero class can do DPS, I’d much rather see them tanking, yes it’s a harder job than doing DPS but still, I’ll be much happier with a DK tank than a DK DPS. In terms of group buffs their not really bringing a whole lot other than the aura. Pallies however provide blessings, auras (ok yeah, only if you’re close to them) as well as replenishment and a backup healer. I love ret pallies, sorry, that’s an emotive side of the argument here, /slapwrist. Warriors have shouts but…yeah… don’t really see them doing all that much but I’m open to a counter here due to my lack of warrior specific knowledge. This is my opinion and experience, not a definitive “thou shalt not be a DPS warrior” post.

Argument the fifth; a class act

Winding this up now as I realise this is somewhat of a mammoth post. Paladins are a hybrid, they currently have three valid talent specs, they can do decent DPS, can tank well and can heal well. Death Knights are a Hero class, the first one and are therefore different to the other classes, their specs are not so clear cut, however, I fall majorly on the side that they are excellent tanks and that should be their top role. However, I know that most people with one use it for DPS which I am OK with even if it jumps in the face of reason. I’ll admit to being inconsistent on this point. Warriors, well, warriors are not hybrids, their not a hero class, according to Blizzard’s design they are there to tank. Personally I’ve always viewed their DPS specs as primarily for PvP in the PvE environments warriors are tanks. So, if you wanted to do PvE DPS (I know Death Knights are recent additions to let’s ignore them as much as we can) why pick a Warrior? Is it a case of wanting to play a warrior because they sound cool and then realising that you don’t want the responsibility of effectively leading a group? If I really sit down and think about this I can’t think of any reason to pick a Warrior as a pure DPS class choice, all the other classes (ignoring Death Knight remember for all the older characters we have out there) bring something else to the party and generally do better damage with better survivability. I know there are others in my guild who think the same as me, I cannot see any compelling argument for a DPS warrior opposed to another class.

If I had a friend who played a warrior and was DPS would I bring him to the group? Well, yes I would, I still advocate bringing the player not the class but this isn’t a post based on that argument.

I’m going to stop now as I probably haven’t made this half as coherent as I probably should, hopefully I’ve kept the emotive side of things out of it and made proper points that I’ve explained well enough.

I’ll re-iterate one more time, this is my opinion only as I have experienced things. If you want to be a DPS warrior then go for it, I await the day for someone to prove me wrong and I’m not going to write someone off for the choices they make in a game. It’s not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, do what you do to get enjoyment out of your leisure time as long as it doesn’t involve being an ass to others.



  1. […] Bo@Vampiric Embrace riffs off this with a thoughtful look at why he’s not fond of dps warriors in raids and prefers them to tank.  Or in his words: DPS is OK for Ret Pallies and Death Knights, the other two plate wearers, but I have a problem with DPS Warriors. […]

  2. you have valid points. but then again i must say you have been with a bad warrior. i have many gripes over the warrior class. i think blizzard isn’t putting too much attention on them. sadly. they have their uses in raids though. and i’ve seen fury warriors doing ridiculous amounts of damage/DPS, and surviving to the last.

    again i feel that blizzard has a thing against melee classes. which should not be. but then it’s them making the game. i guess in one way or another, they can dictate it over those who are making them rich. LOL!

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