See I am still here!
Karch has been doing a great job answering his readers questions (why don’t I get questions? Oh yeah, I had one about whether you should stay Fire spec back in TBC. Apart from that they are just questions about help getting $millions out of Nigeria)
Anyway he had one the other day about how to fix low DPS, which prompted me to respond asking when do you know if your DPS is too low and does it really matter.
Now admittedly if you are only doing 1,000 DPS and you aren’t doing burning crusade content at level 70, then your DPS is too low.
I have seen on various forums that numbers such as 1,200 – 1,400 is acceptable for starting heroics and 1,400 to 1,600 is acceptable for starting Naxx.
So beyond that, how low is too low?
I saw one forum post where the Mage was excluded from guild raids until he hit 3,000 DPS. The problem was that as FFB spec in a mix of heroic and 10 man gear he was so reliant on crits to hit 3k, that he wasn’t in a position to get up to get 3k more reliably.
Using myself as an example, FFB, mix of quest, heroic, 10 & 25 man gear, I am only averaging 2k DPS in a Naxx run. Sure some fights I am notching up. 2.5 or 3k, but then on other fights 1.5 or 1.8!
It probably doesn’t help the the 1st & 2nd meter place winners are pulling 3-4k DPS. There isn’t much left for me to kill when they wind up. Hell sometimes I am at best equal with our Pally tank (though that maybe because he is dual specing Ret and letting our Warrior tank take a few hits).
Maybe it doesn’t help that I am pretty casual. I haven’t even started on Hodir rep for the shoulder enchants, and I am often running to catch up during trash, or just can’t be bothered popping cooldowns.
- How/against who do you measure it?
- What fights are acceptable measuring posts.
- What can you do about it?
How/against who do you measure it?
Do you compare yourself against other Mages?
I am usually the only Mage in our raids, so unlike Pugnacious Priest, I am not in a position to have a meter war with a Magely colleague.
Even if I do find myself with another Mage, they are often another Spec, so what do I make of the comparison then?
Assuming I have a Mage, that is the same spec, will they be the same gear “level”? If not, how do I compare?
Note: I do wish that tools like WWS allowed you to put in rating for yourself as a search criteria for other raids/toons with same level of gear. So much better than just randomly searching through WWS reports in the hope of finding someone to compare against.
Against other classes?
Back in Kara days, I used to compare myself to our Rogue. He was my benchmark. Just before the great nerfs of TBC, it was 50/50 which of us would be on the top of the meters.
Around that time a shaman mate, with a lot more time than me, leveled and badged out his toon and was either up there or beating both of us.
These days, the only time I come close to either of the is if the rogue forgets his poisons, or they both go AFK (or die… I pray for them to die every fight… Just kidding)
How do you take gear into account?
I have already touched on this, but can you compare a toon in heroic gear with one in 10 man gear?
Compare 10 man gear with 25?
Compare Naxx with Ulduar (or anything in between)?
How would you baseline each of these gear levels?
What fights are acceptable measuring posts?
Some fights are AoE, others tank & spank, others high movement, others your role is utility.
Then there is the difference in fights.
Which fights do you baseline yourself against?
When you quote or compare your DPS, do you pick the one where you hit 3k through AoE, or 2.5k via tank and spank, or 2k in high movement, or 1.6k because your other utility is more important than your DPS (and should be acknowledged as well)?
Trash or boss, whole run or specific fights?
Do you look at whole run, Trash fights, individual Boss fights, all Boss fights or only Boss kills (WWS will give you all these breakdowns)
I know some trash fights the Rogue has cleared up the trash before I can find my ISHOUlDWIN! button. I read somewhere that in a 20-30 second AoE fight, the Rogue with his AoE daggers will slaughter casters. After the 30 seconds Mages will overtake, because we aren’t dependent on energy.
Some boss fights I am running for my little squishy life, or sucking mana out of the ether while the Rogue just chop chops away. The reverse is also true of course, sometimes the Rogue is bolting from Boss AoE, while I look on and laugh, my biggest concern being whether I can get my hand out of the chip packet in 2.5 seconds.
What can you do?
I figure that there are some old standards to improving performance, as well as some new options. At one point in my playing career I would have said that the first two of the following were the cornerstones to DPS improvement, but now I wonder if a sloppy option 3 is better than a perfect option 1 or 2.
1. Stay alive
In fact from a DPS standpoint, in some fights, your best option maybe to dump your load and die. Big damage over a short period of time = high DPS.
But let’s face it, your real objective isn’t high DPS, it’s high damage.
3,000 dps for 1 second is only 3,000 damage contributed to a fight. 2,000 DPS for 10 seconds is 20,000 damage, over 3 minutes 3,600,000.
So DPS is great if that’s the only number that counts, but longevity will always be better in the long run.
Of course if you can combine DPS with longevity, you have nothing to worry about.
2. Use cooldowns
Use them like you got ’em!
If you are 10 minutes away from a boss fight, you could be blowing your cooldowns 5 times on trash, the overall numbers for the run will look much better.
On a boss fight, you need to know how long that fight is going to last. You need to blow your cooldowns as many times as you can while ensuring they are ready for that last 35% of the bosses life.
When the boss hits 35%, you want to pop those cooldowns and drop that boss while raising your numbers.
3. Dual Spec
If my FFB Spec will unreliably give me 2 – 2.5 – 3k DPS, then, if nothing else, change to Arcane for the 3-4 minute fights to reliably get 3-4k DPS. Of course longer fights (or different style fights) if your mana management and gear is good enough.
Others are considering moving from Arcane to Fire+TTW specs for the same reason.
But is it want you want to do… Does it really matter?
I’m not talking RolePlaying here… I can’t Roleplay my way out of Gnomeragan, I have grown up fire, and base a lot of my identity as a Mage on being Fire (It was hard enough to go *cough* Frost *cough* Fire Bolt.
Am I too old school in loving my Fire, and hesitating to go Arcane just to rock the damage meters?
Should I stay true to my great balls of fire, or consider Dual Spec just another cooldown?
A Mage helping a Tank to Tank?
Completely urelated, but I thought worth giving a plug.
If you are a Mage doing the Hodir encounter, help your tank out by doing insane DPS and going way past their aggro…Just coordinate it with them 1st!
Check out the the tactic at Tanking Tips
Gnomer and Out!
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