Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Damage Meters - Why You Shouldn't Care

Following in lock-step with a dual post that Matticus and Wynthea made over on World of Matticus, and despite anything anyone will ever tell you, the damage meter is not the be-all and end-all determination of how well you do. There are some contributions you can make that don't show up in the final box score, as Honorshammer noted in his recent encounter with Teron Gorefiend. Especially as a Paladin, you can do an array of things that will literally make or break a boss attempt. It could be argued that if the fate of the raid is in the hands of one person alone, you're doing it wrong - I'd tend to agree, so let me rephrase. You, as a hybrid DPS'er, have the ability to significantly impact the result of an encounter through methods that do not show in your final damage output. Every class has this ability. Timely kicks from a Rogue during Reliquary of Souls "Essence of Desire" phase will decrease his DPS but significantly raise the raid's success rate. Decurses from a Mage against Archimonde will prevent death to Grip of the Legion, and therefore avoid Soul Charges and angry raid leaders. Personal DPS suffers, but raid success is higher. This is the reason why all raids aren't loaded with only Rogues and Warlocks for DPS'ers - each class has situational skills that they cannot provide, and you must know when, how, and why to use them!

As a Retribution Paladin, your prime directive is to get cozy with the enemy up-close and drive your mace into its backside as hard as possible. Beyond that, you need to Crusader Strike as much as possible to keep Judgement debuffs active for the raid, and supply a set of blessings. Sounds simple enough. However, being a Retribution Paladin does not afford you the freedom to stare at your damage meter and Strike/Judgement cooldowns alone. Abilities like Cleanse, Blessing of Protection, Lay on Hands, Holy Light, and even Hammer of Justice should all be hotkeyed in easy-to-reach places so you can use them at a moment's notice. A timely Cleanse can save a raidmate's life, and if you get to it quick, you can save a healer's Global Cooldown for another heal, possibly saving a tank's life by proxy. That Fury Warrior who died to poison damage during phase 2 of Lady Vashj? You could have Cleansed that, and then he would have been alive for phase 3, allowing the raid to kill 'er instead of wipe at 1%, since he would have brought that much extra damage. Sure, your total damage would have been lower, but you wouldn't have to buff up and pull again. That Rogue who stayed too close to Leotheras when he was about to whirlwind? He just took a bleed! Oh no! Blessing of Protection to clear it off! Why? So that the healers don't need to heal him instead of a tank, and they have more mana later to handle the last 15% of the fight when all hell breaks loose.

Are you sensing the trend? As a DPS, you have a main focus - doing damage. However, as a hybrid DPS, you need to keep your tools always at hand and be mindful of your surroundings. No one may notice you cast that Holy Light on the Mage who got awfully low on HP with his bandages on cooldown, and it won't rocket you to the top of the healing meter. It definitely will keep you from achieving the top of the damage meter. But dagnabit, it will make your raid more successful, and that in the end is what matters. One of the best compliments I ever received while playing was from a former guildmate mid-instance. I had made a comment about our group make-up and how it wasn't ideal for the instance we were running, and that I should probably have been replaced by another class with more crowd control. He responded "Yea, but things always go smoother when you're around." I swelled with a bit of pride, knowing that they would rather bring a "gimp" Ret Paladin to an instance instead of a Mage or Hunter for extra crowd control.

These contributions may not rock the meter, but when you are consistently in the group when things go right, people will put two and two together. Don't bury your head in the damage meter - keep an eye on your raid frames, watch for opportunities to use all those crazy Paladin cooldowns and abilities you have. It's what separates you from a Mortal Strike Warrior, and part of the reason you're in the raid at all. Above all, a dead boss matters more than scoring #1 on the meter - remember that.


Matticus said...

I know Ret Pallies are supposed to be support classes and they're not exactly supposed to be dominating the charts or anything like on typical tank N spank encounters.

But goddamn is it ever satisfying to nail a weapon swing crit, crusader strike crit, and double windfury crit with skill herald. :D

Megan said...

So true! I find that if you didn't snooze your way through leveling 1-70 with a class, this type of thing comes naturally, as well if you're also good at PVP. Multitasking and micromanaging all the other things your class can offer in a PVE encounter really shines.

Josh said...

If you like it with Stormherald, you should see that sort of scenario with full t6 and Torch of the Damned on a fully sundered/debuffed mob! Seeing those numbers pop up is one of the handful of reasons I made the switch from prot to ret. Hey, there's a post topic...

Even the most seasoned Paladin can forget to watch his other DPS'ers backs for off-heals and random cleanses. The death of the pre-BC decursive add-on made raid situational awareness a bit harder - I know there are probably replacements out there for it, but I never got around to playing with any of them. And you're absolutely right in saying that a good PvP'er will have this sort of thing down pat (cleansing, off-healing, timely BoP's, etc.) - where they generally might lack is sustained DPS skill rotations, as damage in PvP is generally more about burst than total damage.

Good job Josh, people like Matticus, Megan, and Rohan actually read and comment on stuff you write! Thanks for the input everyone, I look forward to seeing any reactions to what I write, good bad or indifferent.

Suicidal Zebra said...

That's the reason that I quite like 5-mans instances (when you can find a group) - you need to be on the ball and there's more scope and flexibility in dealing with a run. Sometimes when raiding you can feel as if 'oh, X has happened so that's a wipe', and whilst you may be able to prevent X the only practice you tend to get are on those rare 'almost-wipes'.

On the flip side, smaller instances tend to have more built-in flexibility, and so if a DPS gets creamed, or Healer pulls aggro, or CC breaks early and the mage is deaded there often something you can do to redeem the situation. Regular attendance in Heroics/10-mans with marginally geared team-mates can serve to keep your skills sharp and, in rare cases, feel what it's like to be a true role-hybrid. Well-timed BoP's, LoH's, 'bubble-taunts' and add-tanking have served me and my party very well in the past ([insert petition for 10-min LoH here]).

ghtfd said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.