Friday, January 30, 2009

DPS Numbers Need Context

Ferraro's recent conversation with a random priest reminded me of an exchange I experienced last night with a death knight. I was forming a pick-up group for Obsidian Sanctum 10-man, starting with 5 people (myself and 4 guildmates), and needing 2 healers, 2 tanks, and a ranged DPS (since the DPS I all ready had were 2 melee and a ranged - I was hoping to leave Tenebron up, I needed some AoE). In response to my trade chat spam of "LFM OS-10 need tanks and heals," this death knight whispers me...

DK: need DPS?

Josh: ranged only

DK: oh

DK: but i do over 2k dps!

Josh: I don't care how much DPS you do.

DK: why are you such an asshat @_@? (that's a direct quote)

Josh: because your DPS number means nothing without context

DK: how am I supposed to tell you my DPS?

Josh: you don't

DK: huh?

Josh: what buffs did you have? what boss were you fighting? without context, your DPS value is meaningless.

DK: so what's the correct way?

Josh: just don't disclose a number

DK: ur like that cat in alice in wonderland

What's the point in all this? When attempting to entice someone to invite you to their group, telling them how much DPS you did once is not very useful. For example, if I ran a DPS meter when I fought Thaddius, I might see that I did 6,000 DPS. Should I go around telling people that I can do 6k when trying to join a PUG for Malygos? Absolutely not! The fights are very, very different, and the Thaddius fight inflates numbers greatly because of the polarity buffs.

Linking a WWS report is informative. Then the recipient can look at the entire situation - what boss was killed, how long the fight took, what buffs you had, and so forth. Without this context, your DPS number becomes a mutant statistic, a number who's relevence has been warped and lost. Interested to know more about when a number crosses the line from useful to impractical? Read Dr. Joel Best's Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activitists. Without correct context, any number can melt into absurdity, as Dr. Best notes.

So what should you do when trying to snag a PUG invite as a ret paladin? Well, simply saying "I'll go" in response to trade chat spam will usually suffice. If the raid leader presses you for details, dish out your relevent ratings - unbuffed attack power, hit, crit, expertise, haste, & armor penetration. If he or she still wavers, then you can fall back on a statistic, but carefully. Use Patchwerk, as he's a standard DPS check, and be sure to include detail on the size of the raid, what relevent outside buffs you received, and how long the fight took. For example, I did about 3,300 DPS on a 4 minute Patchwerk-10 kill with Blessing of Might, Blessing of Kings, Gift of the Wild, and Horn of Winter, and Sunder Armor on Patchwerk. Yea it's cumbersome, but at least it's useful.

That said, I'd just stay away from telling people how much DPS you do. If a raid leader presses you for a number and doesn't care about the details of how that number was formed, he doesn't know what he's asking for, and you might not want to be in his raid anyway.

EDIT: More evidence of my untapped blogger ESP abilities - BRK just posted this about how asking for a hunter's stats before a group invite is folly.
/creeped out


Honors Code said...

"Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital." - Aaron Levenstein

Rohan said...

DK: ur like that cat in alice in wonderland

I think you should have taken him for this line alone.

Josh said...

Nice quote, I like it.

I'm not gonna lie, I considered it. I'm not sure if being compared to the Cheshire Cat is a compliment or an insult in this context though...

Bummer said...


Thats way too much info to tell someone, even though the context is very informative. I believe just base stats are the best indicator of abilities. For dps = based atk pwr, hit rating crit. For Tanks = def cap, hps and avoid. For heals, mp5 and + heals. etc. I agree that the straight DPS #'s can widely vary, especially when comparing AoE and single target Dmg; Huge difference. When I'm forming a group and recieveing tells w/ a DPS #s, I immediatly shift+click their name to see the class. Both pieces of information are still relevant and can be used to form an opinion of weather or not their DPS is quality.

This dude shoulda realized that there is WAY TO MUCH MELEE DPS floating around, and many groups are LF ranged. ~ ~ ~@ssH4T rofl...


Megan said...

LOL. Tell me you invited him anyway.. Cheshire Cat FTW.

Anonymous said...

Josh - I'm totally in favor of asking and giving a DPS number. Context improves it, sure, but I know that on normal (non-Thaddius, non-Loatheb) encounters, I do an average of X. I'll give that number. Would stats be better? Maybe, if the RL understands them for all classes - he probably doesn't, and doesn't want to spend the time anyway.

One of BRK's commenters suggested that a RL asking for a DPS number was hoping to be boosted through the raid. More likely the opposite! How is he supposed to build a good raid with good results, unless he finds good people? He could tab out and Armory ever Tom, Dick, and Harry, or he could just ask someone what kind of DPS they do.

At this point (since I've been Ret the last two weeks, I'm on the receiving end), I tend to tell people something like "I did 2500 DPS on Archavon 25 the other day." It tells the RL what he wants to know, and provides a reasonable context.

I know from previous discussion here that I may live in the land of milk and strong 25-man PUGs, but the Naxx25 PUGs I've run in want to know what to expect from you, because they are serious about clearing content. Last night I ran with the same group as last week and we one-shotted all bosses until KT (we were REALLY melee-heavy, and even still we nearly had him - it was almost 1am, so the RL called it for the night).


Algorython said...

"I think you should have taken him for this line alone."

If he'd used real words, I'd agree, but using "ur" drops about 1000dps off of my estimation of his worth.

Tonic said...

I usually tell my approximate gear level (i.e. ilvl200/naxx10 epics) and try to make my skill and contribution clear. Not everyone knows what kind of stats to expect from specific classes or specs, so I don't really like posting stats, though mentioning being hitcapped seems to be a good way to show you know how to gear at least.

Anonymous said...

@ tonic, that would be if being hitcapped meaned anything for ret pallys these days....

Tonic said...

Yeah, I considered adding " least (for the uninformed)", but sadly there's no edit feature here :)