Lament of a DPS-Starved Raider

When I’m bored and working on leveling a random non-priest alt, I will typically take the time to seek out and read guides specific to that class to better understand how to level efficiently, perform well in instances, survive in PvP, etc. Today I came across a decent rogue guide that made a particular point that rang true with me.

From Osiris’ Guide to Playing a Rogue:
(This is a great little guide for rogues, btw. Well written and to the point.)

More DPS equals faster kills equals less tanking equals less healing. In all of the forums I frequent there are often posts where rogues are claiming that “Damage meters are only about e-peen”. The rogues that make these posts are looking to justify not having to drive for excellence at what their class was designed to do. Is e-peen really just overcompensation for self-esteem? It might be in a lot of cases. Is too much emphasis on the damage meters counter productive? Yes, it can be. But if you’re not specced properly, enchanted and gemmed from head to toe, don’t run damage meters or SW:Stats and don’t put a solid effort in pumping out damage, then don’t wonder why you’re not getting invites.

Now, I know this quote mentions rogues specifically, but I feel that is speaks to most of the DPS classes out there.

In my mind, there are two kinds of DPS classes. There are the “Meat and Potatoes” DPSers (rogues, mages, locks, etc.) who do the bulk of the DPS in a given raid, and then there are the “Utility” DPSers who have to off-tank, off-heal, etc., and were brought along mainly to be able to fill both that role and DPS as needed.

Shadow priests (like me!), obviously, fall into the later category. They are utility DPS. They are brought along for their raid debuffs and party mana regen. Sure, they can do some respectable damage at the same time, but their damage-dealing capabilities do not scale well into later raiding, thus making the decision to bring shadow priests to raids based not on the damage they can individually provide as much as how significantly they can increase the raid’s overall DPS. A shadow priest could sit at #1 or #2 on a damage meter, but it would likely mean that the rest of the DPSers would be slacking. (These facts should hopefully not come as a shock to anyone.)

But let’s just concern ourselves with meat-and-potatoes DPSers for a moment…

Now, the quote above makes the DPS leader in me want to scream: “YES! YES!!! A THOUSAND TIMES, YES!” in heartfelt agreement. A DPSer is there to …. wait for it … … *drumroll* …. … DPS! Big surprise, right?

My beef is that I don’t know why this comes as a shock to some people in higher-level (or “progression”) raiding. This has been the problem with my guild’s raids as of late. When transitioning from one level of raiding to the next, certain raid encounter DPS minimums get raised and the base level of DPS output per individual DPSer increases. However, we still have a small handful of people who do not take the time or effort to properly gem and enchant their gear. They do not understand their class well enough to spec or spellcast well. To be fair, this isn’t the case with all our DPSers, just with a small few. The fact remains that they are making progression more of a challenge for us than it has to be. They are holding us back.

One of my better friends from my guild recently /gquit. He played a rogue, and the one that consistently sat at the top of the DPS charts. He didn’t leave on bad terms; he simply desired faster progression, a feeling we all understood. His leaving really has been weighing on me heavier than I expected. Sure, I will miss his guildchat commentary, and spending time in raids with him, but I have to ask myself: at the most fundamental level, could there be more to it? Am I just jealous that he will see more of Sunwell than I probably will?

For as much as I complain about it, I do love my guild. I’m not at the point of wanting to jump ship yet. But every raid where I place highly on a DPS meter, I know it is not as much a result of my individual success as it is a result of the collective failure of others. And every time that happens I become a little more fed up with the situation.

The question remains: How do you make people care about their raid performance? Do you dock DKP? Threaten to /gkick? How do you convince the chronically underperforming DPSers to change their ways? They know where they are on the DPS meter, and they know what is expected of them, but refuse to work any harder, citing: “As long as the boss dies, what does it matter?” (The difficult piece for us is that the lowest-performing members are the guild leader and the longest-standing officers.)

I can complain about the problem, or I could do something about it. And while I’d like to do something about it, I’m just at a loss of what to do at this juncture.

6 Responses

  1. Guild leader and officers? Ouch. That’s a toughie. As a policy, my guild doesn’t want to know about these kinds of issues (it’s considered too “hardcore”) so the best we can do to address them is post general topics to the forums like “here’s a great blog entry I found about maximising dps as a rogue” and “just thought I’d share this info about how to spec as a healing priest”. You might find that’s enough to spur them into action, but I wouldn’t hold my breath — it hasn’t worked for us so I don’t know that it will work for you. You could maybe talk about it with the guild leader or the raid leader in general terms — something like “I’ve noticed we’re struggling in this encounter because we are falling short on dps. What do you think?” Tell them to get recount and let them see if for themselves at the next raid. Failing that, you could try recruiting a third party in your campaign — maybe a class leader who carries authority and who could get away with saying things you couldn’t, like “have you noticed your dps is a lot lower than the others of your class. Why do you think that is?” If that isn’t enough to spur them into action then you have to assume they are either uninterested in improving their performance or not capable of it. If you find a strategy that works, please write about it because I’m sure there are dozens of guilds with similar dilemmas.

  2. The officers are the exact people who should be sorting this out. If they can’t organise their own character to be properly prepared for the raid should they really be tasked with leading the raid? Use something like WWS and post and discuss details of it on your guild forum. Say things like “your frost bolts are hitting for X, where as properly gemmed and enchanted mage’s frost bolts are hitting for X*110%, you are gimping yourself before you even try to play the game.” The Damage meter should look like this:


    and not like this:


    ie you will get the most (and easiest) improvement in DPS by improving the damage of your weakest members. Blind whoever is lagging behind with science and verifiable facts, rather than just saying that someone is lagging behind in DPS.

    Once people have managed to come to the raid properly gemmed, enchanted, and with the right consumables, if there is still a DPS problem then you might have to start looking at rotations and overall performance. WWS can help here too, as can the class guides. Ultimately respeccing may be necessary. I know i had to change from putting in a shabby performance as an affliction lock to putting in a reasonable performance as destro, just because the play style is easier.

    I’d encourage you to stick at it with your guild. With a bit of effort and diplomacy I’m sure you can get over the DPS challenge.

  3. Personally, what I’ve tried to do in the past is take one or two people aside in private conversation and talk to them about upping their damage. I find that by focusing on a couple of people it is easier to make improvements since you can spend more time addressing where they are falling short instead of making generalizations. It takes a while, but when you help four or five people in a 25 man raid and see their DPS go up by a couple hundred it makes a big difference and it encourages others to figure out why those people are doing so much more damage.

    This does take a lot of knowledge about other classes, knowing what gear they need, ability rotations, etc – but I don’t doubt that you already have a good feeling for these things!

  4. Long time reader, first time poster. :)

    I find when it comes to training range dps Dr. Boom in Netherstorm is a great place to have workshops on spec, spell rotation and gear. The mobs in Blasted Lands which become immune to damage after a few hits (Servant of XXX) are also a good place to train DPS class, assuming you have a few heals to throw.

    I too have been in many a casual guild, where the top 10 players in the guild are worthy of the best high end content and everyone else can barely beat tanks in damage, barely heal a 5 man without everyone dying, or might as well be dps because they aren’t holding aggro. Most casuals will hit that plateau, people leave, new people replace them, they return to the plateau and the cycle either repeats or progression happens until the next plateau. Casual raiding, sadly, carries the inherent belief that raiding requires no effort.

    *sigh* I’m going through the same thing now in my newest guild, yet again, and I’m waiting for the ranks to be purged and begin again.


  5. Seems like your guild in general is more casual than you’d hope for. The officers in my guild all sit on top of the DPS chart, they hoard items/enchants :) but they put it to good use. And me as a shadow priest, usually don’t get into top 3. You probably should take charge rather than putting up with this issue, afterall, a good shadow priest is welcomed in any raid.

    Most of the time however, low DPS can be fixed easily by change to gear/talent, a warlock in my guild went from affliction to destro and upped from bottom DPS to #2, simple as that. To be fair, a shadow priest uses 5 skills to DPS while a warlock uses 2, there is no reason why they shouldn’t pass us (same goes for most other DPS).

    On the other hand, I’ve seen very well geared ppl getting passed on damage, to me that’s just unacceptable; those nice gear might as well goto someone who can do better.

    But yea, it’s a game, so if you’re playing for progression, then either your guild improves or you move on. If you’re playing with friends, then I guess you wouldn’t mind stuck in BT and not seeing Sunwell.

  6. I should have really qualified my post better: this is about a character that I raid with casually, in a casual guild.

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