*NOTE: When reading this article, please keep the following in mind: I have played a hunter for 3 years, at various levels in the casual/hardcore scale. I have a tank alt who gets regular use, although I would not consider myself an expert by far. I will address this issue mainly from the DPS/tank perspective as my healer is only 60 and I have no instance experience on him yet. I’m also grumpier than usual due to the fact that the DC blizzard has kept me snowed in for 6 days now. Snowpocalypse lol. WTB [Sunshine], pst.
Guys, I have to say this. I can’t keep quiet anymore. I bite my tongue when it comes up in the WoW LJ communities (well, mostly). I stayed mostly quiet through the “tanks and healers should get the biggest rewards” fiasco. When I hear “DPS is a dime a dozen” “DPS is expendable” “LOL your queue time is long, have fun with that!” I just make a face and think about kittens and my ability to hit 4k+ dps in heroics as the gimp hunter spec in triumph emblem gear without pulling aggro and that lifts my spirits.
But now, my friends, I have annoyance. You see, I read today’s guest post on WoW.com and my teeth began to grind. Why? Well, there are several reasons.
First of all, DPS aren’t expendable! We aren’t a dime a dozen! People who play DPS are all over the place, sure. DPS classes are everywhere. That’s why our queue is so long, ‘cuz there are so many of us! But GOOD DPS, who control aggro and take a hit for the healer when they need to and still pull numbers that would make an IRS accountant stand up and go “Holy crap, that’s a lot of zeroes!” – they’re a little harder to come by, and they’re as valuable to a successful team as the harder-to-find tanks and healers. With that said, it’s from that perspective – the perspective of a good, experienced, considerate DPS player – that I’m writing this article.
THE MAIN STUFF:
Please don’t misunderstand me – it’s not that it’s a bad article, and I’m not attempting to belittle what tanks and healers do. I have a tanking alt, so I have some idea of how hard that role, at least, can be (my healer still needs leveling, sadly). The article also contains a lot of excellent advice for any pugger, which is why you should all go read it! But it also makes several assertions that make me frown a little.
“This [aggro] becomes challenging when the tank you’re with is relative newbie in the grand scheme of things. Maybe they’ve just recently hit 80, or raiding 10-man Naxx is the highest they’d ever like to go. Either way, if you’re pulling aggro, it’s not the tank’s failing. It’s yours. (Yes, even if the tank happens to be a Death Knight.)”
If you, the DPSer, are being an idiot, going balls-to-the-wall when you outgear the tank by like 1000 gearscore points, or when you can SEE that he’s in Naxx gear and you’re in T9/T10? Well, yes, that is absolutely you being an inconsiderate derfwad, and if you’re being an inconsiderate derfwad you can’t complain when you end up watching the fight from your cozy spot on the floor. Check the tank’s gear at the start of the instance and adjust accordingly if you outgear him.
But if you’re ramping down your dps, using your aggro dumps every cooldown, and you’re still pulling aggro? That’s not all the DPS, that is a shared issue. There’s only so much a still-learning tank can do when the DPS is all WOO-HOO BIG SHINY NUMBERS! Likewise, there’s only so much we can do to compensate for a new, inexperienced, or undergeared tank. The tank bears responsibility for going in a bit over their head, just as an inconsiderate DPSer bears responsibility when they don’t do what they need to do to make the tank’s job easier. Please don’t tell me it’s my fault for pulling aggro when I’ve done everything I can possibly do to de-aggro (and keep in mind, feign can be resisted and Shadowmeld doesn’t always work).
And if you’re equally geared, and your autoshot pulls aggro even after you’ve just done your MD/FD/Shadowmeld aggro drop trifecta? I’ve had this happen to me, and I can honestly say that it’s not my fault.
Moral of the story: Yes, DPS can be silly about numbers. We like big numbers. That’s how we keep our raid spots! But every now and then tanks do lose aggro, and it isn’t always our fault.
“Odds are, three out of five, actually, it’s DPS exhibiting bad behavior the majority of the time it occurs. Remember, you probably spent anywhere from 12 to 40 minutes during peak times waiting to even set foot in the dungeon. You certainly don’t have to be a saint, but it’s definitely in your best interests to behave yourself.”
If real life followed pure statistics 100% of the time, sure. And yes, I do realize that most of the player base is DPS, which increases the likelihood of running into a bad or asshattish DPS. But we are far from having the monopoly on rudeness. I can think of several tanks I’ve run with over the course of my 3-year WoW career, from my lowbie days in vanilla to my first heroics in BC to the ICC heroics, who were so stupendously unpleasant that they had me near tears, terrified that I’d make a mistake and get ripped a new one for it. I’ve met obnoxious DPS too, but somehow it’s more horrifying when the tank is the one being a turd.
It’s even worse when your crime is simply being inexperienced, or just doing what humans sometimes do and making a mistake.
Tanks and healers, please, PLEASE treat the rest of your team well. We DPS players are doing what we can to make your experience smooth and pleasant; please respect our time and effort and do the same for us.
“People typically appreciate constructive criticism, but offer to provide it first — in private. Bring some etiquette to the fight along with your buff food. Your temporary team will greatly appreciate it; even if they don’t say so.”
This is good, solid advice, but it applies to the whole team, not just DPS. Again, why are we emphasizing the DPSers’ need to be polite and non-trollish? As I said before, it feels just as bad to be reamed by a tank (or a healer, for that matter) as it does by a DPS.
So, if you see me, your friendly neighborhood beast mastery hunter, doing something stupid? Tell me so I can fix it. All I ask is that you not be an ass when you point it out. Just say something like, “Hey, Shiz, I’m having some trouble here, could you do/stop doing (insert thing here)?” I don’t mind being told I’m doing something wrong; as a writer, as someone who is learning to draw, I’m used to criticism. What I do mind is being yelled at and made to feel like an idiot for making a simple mistake (because yes, I am painfully aware that even with my Twilight Vanquisher title, I still suck at Heigan’s dance of death).
Respect your tank. Respect your healer. Respect your DPS. We’re all in this together, yes? Be kind to your group members, regardless of their role. Who knows, you might run into them in LFG again. Would you rather be remembered as a good person who was encouraging and a pleasure to work with, or as a raging loon who had your group wanting to reach through the internuts to throttle you for the entire run?
“Situational awareness. Say it with us now — situational awareness.”
Again, this goes for everyone. I’ve seen tanks, healers, and DPS alike die to void zones, lava walls, blizzards, flamestrikes, and other Bad Stuff. Just as DPS don’t have the monopoly on rudeness, we also don’t have the monopoly on tunnel vision, escaping one just to have another spawn under us (I hated Illidari Council – the Super Bowl of Not Standing in Stuff – and Sarth+3 for that crap, btw), or just getting overwhelmed by the information on our screens and missing something (i.e., noobing it up). I would even venture to say that situational awareness is even more important for the tanks and healers than it is for the DPS – enrage timers aside, you can win a fight with a DPS down, or one or two, or a handful, if you’re in a raid. If you lose the tank or healer? Unless the gods of the WoW universe happen to smile upon you and grant you a miracle, your group is most assuredly toast.
“Consider holding off on sharding those old tier pieces. Rocking those instead of your shiny new duds will help make the experience a much more enjoyable one for all. This also has the added benefit of keeping these ‘old’ encounters interesting, and further allows you to perfect the strategy of your class. Already sharded your old stuff? Roll greed on suitable lower-level replacements. Having a quality lower level set does a DPS good, and the in-game equipment manager makes it a breeze.”
I can see the point here, but I have mixed feelings. I’m a hunter, y’all. At no point in my WoW career have I ever had to keep a second set of gear. Even when I was raiding Sunwell and shooting sharp pointy sticks at Kil’jaeden with one of the top 10 guilds on my server, I never needed or even considered building a second set. Why? Because I knew how to control my aggro. Sure, I’d remove bits if I was running with much lower-geared friends – I’ve been known to remove my pants for friends who have new, undergeared tanks – but in a heroic or raid? It’s not going to happen, not because I’m a jerk who wants to make it harder for the tanks and healers, but because I just don’t have the stuff.
Plus, a GOOD DPSer shouldn’t need to downgrade anyway. Half the fun of playing a pure DPS class is seeing how high your numbers can go before aggro is an issue, and please trust me when I say this: We are in heroic/raid gear. We have been doing this for a while. We know how to do this.
Tanks, healers, we put our lives in your hands. We trust you. Please trust us too. I do realize and acknowledge that at this point in the game, many of us are so used to running with ubergeared guildies that we don’t realize we’re making your job hard. If we’re going at it too hard and you need us to back off, ask us! But if we’re doing our job and not pulling aggro, please trust us as we trust you.
“Take the time to learn what stats you should stack, why, and how they benefit you. Completely understand the mechanics of every single spell in your spellbook. Once you have this knowledge, you’ll be able to effectively apply it.”
Again, that applies to tanks and healers just as it applies to us. Intellect doesn’t help a warrior. Defense doesn’t help a tree. MP5 doesn’t help … okay, I’ll admit it, my healer is only 60 and I am not sure who MP5 doesn’t help. The point is, there are horror stories involving pretty much every class and role rolling on gear that is COMPLETELY wrong and bad for them. As I’ve already stated, DPS does not have the monopoly on this. We simply have the most visibility because we make up the biggest part of any party or raid.
Yes, there are bad DPS out there. I’ve run with the ones who made me cry because they couldn’t break 1k dps and were wearing gear that was totally wrong for their class and spec. I’ve met a few rude ones. But it’s not just DPS that do this – we simply have greater visibility when we mess up or when we’re arrogant arsehelms because there are so many more of us than there are tanks and healers. But you know what? It’s a group. It’s going to take all 5/10/25 of us working together to get through the stuff those crazy Blizz developers throw at us. So instead of singling out one role for yet another lesson on manners, please respect each other. Treat your group the way you want them to treat you.
Don’t be a dickwad.