Thursday, November 20, 2008

Learn to DPS n00b!

Rhus, my "little bear," is a small-group tank. I've raided enough on her to know I like it and would like to find a part-time (as my health permits) off-tank role in a raiding guild, preferably QSS but I'm keeping my options open. My only concern is dps. The role in a 25-man I'd like is one somewhere in that #3-4 tank/dps slot. Except I am so accustomed to solo-cat/group-bear that I've spent next to no time dps'ing. I need practice.

Enter Typhia, the Death Knight tank. Typhia is power-leveling for his guild, Edge.

This should be a win-win situation for me. OrdoSerp now has two mains who tank as their preferred role. Having Typhia around for group activities or for 10-mans when we get to them, means I have no pressure. For a while, I was the best tanking choice for OrdoSerp. Sometimes, however, that meant I was the only tank available for our group. Now, I can tank, off-tank, dps, even off-heal. Tonight, we blasted through Azjol-Nerub & Ahn'kahet. Typhia tanked and I dps'ed. We've done the opposite in both places with great success.

Now, let me emphasize that I know tanking. It's instinct. I rarely even look at my abilities/spells. I just click the right key in rhythm with the global cooldown. If I knew then what I know now, my first toon would have been one that could tank instead of my beloved hunter.

Furthermore, Bear tanks dish out a lot of damage right now. I'm out damaging other party members on AoE pulls. I also know my group. I react to their presence instinctively. I know that Stofnar, the Retadin, is durable, boosts my damage and can take take orders like "Protect the healer" or "Heal me" with great responsiveness. I know that Sofea, the Frostmage, will inevitably pull the #5 mob in an AE pull off of me. I know it so well, I can usually plan for it. I know that in "wave" fights, Calendriel's dots are always on someone, making it a safe bet that I should move toward her when mobs spawn.

Unfortunately, none of this is true when I switch to cat and take a dps role. Getting behind a single target and staying there is surprisingly disorienting right now. There's absolutely no time to get into anything like a rhythm. By the time I get a few shreds in and pop a finishing move, not only is my target dead, everything else is dead. The AoE took care of that. My damage & dps is dismally low in these fights. The truth? I feel like I'm spending more time trying to find the ass-end of a mob than I am fighting. That's just frustrating.

Boss fights or complex pulls with extra adds, it does get more interesting. On those pulls, things happen. I could end up cycling through a real attack rotation on a "stable-positioned" boss. I could end up switching to bear to help the DK pick up some mobs, even steal them from him while the healer tops him off. I could pop up to remove poison, back-up heal, or become the shit the party looks bad "tranquility!" The healer's in trouble. No problem. The healer's dead. No problem. My weak trash damage become forgotten thanks to pure utility.

Clearly, there's life for single-target cat to raid and put up good numbers. What I lack is experience in this role. I will get it. The question is about my real place in raiding. Is that what I really want? Do I really want to be the "extra" Off-tank because my class is so naturally good at it? Or do I need to be true to myself and say No! I'm a main-tank or #1 off-tank kind of guy. I'm the kind of guy who focuses on bear talents and bear responsibilities.

I will need real, honest opportunities to slay dragons. I need to pounce and shred them. To build combo points using max-dps rotations. I need to do this in such a way that I am making the most out of my situation in the new world of AoE instancing. Because there's no such thing as a sheep pull anymore.

The easy answer tonight would have been for me to bring Beroth. He would easily put up 1.2-1.4k dps on trash pulls instead of my weak 6-700 dps). But Beroth is like an old shoe. I know everything there is to know about the toon. I don't plan on raiding with him. There's no lesson learned. Rhus is the best choice.


Karthis said...

I'm not really sure what you're asking here.... if anything.... of if this is just a stream-of-conscience discussion with yourself. (Those are fun too.)

A few comments anyways:

1. DPS on trash is irrelevant. Period. Don't sweat that a cat can't out-dps other classes on trash. Hell, in raids I dps trash in bear gear precisely so that I can save the raid if stuff goes poorly.

2. Switch to bear for AOE pulls. Steal one mob with growl, then go insane with swipe.

3. Don't get used to AOE trash. Maybe it's possible in normal dungeons, but once you set foot in a heroic of a raid, you'll be back to crowd-control pulls and single-target DPS.

LRNs said...

Yeah, stream...

Sometimes, when trying to figure something out, I like to get my thoughts out there. Others may have the same issues as me. And others, like yourself, may have helpful thoughts.

This really helps. Thanks Karthis

Mardigilian said...

No more sheep pulls?


Maybe Blizz loves warriors after all.

LRNS, welcome to my world. A few things I've found helpful (and that you've probably already figured out, but just in case). Start behind the main tank, or just off center if you don't want a big bear ass in your face. Time your charge/pounce to connect just as the tank is getting a handle on skull. Just keep running and pull a 180 as you come out the back of the mob. If I've got the rage I like to hit whirlwind as I'm passing through the mob or pop a shout if I don't quite have the rage for WW. Not sure what druid finishing moves are like--are there any that buff you? Use those early (2-3 CPs) on the first mob, otherwise your friends are going to gleefully waste them. At this point you'll be facing the bane of all melee DpS: locating and closing with X before the rangers drop it. I can't count the number fights Mard has spent just running from one mob to the next, hoping they'll last long enough for me to gen some rage. Sometimes it pays to go ahead and start working the third target if you know you're not going to make a difference on X. If you still find your DpS isn't contributing on AoE pulls, do something else debuff or buff (again no clue on druid abilities)--Is the healer going to pull a mob? Make sure its moving slowly (or bear up and off tank it). Drop bleeds or armor debuffs on later mobs so they'll go down faster. Remember you're a druid, you can do everything.

Epicurias said...


i came here from a link from "teeth and claw" and couldnt help but notice this post. I was having a similar problem and was really beginning to doubt that Kitty DPS has any place in instancing/raiding. This was until the king of all re-specs, giving up on most of the bear talents, including "thick hide", and all of the solo talents, like extra stealth and MotW. This allowed me to focus totally on instance dps, and with excellent results. My DPS increased by more then 70%. I can now lay down good burst damage at 1.4-1.6K DPS, and will always have my fair share of overall damage (usually between 18-22%). This is a vast improvment on the 9-12% i was doing b4 respec. I appreciate that this may not be perfect for you if you want to keep your tanking spec, but i have worked out, by the time i hit lvl 80, i will have enought talent points to still buy some of the "oh sh*t" bear talents, such as survival instincts, and therefore still allow me to off-tank once i have the gearset.

The prolem we all face as druids is the balence of our multiplpe skills, I decided to make dps my main aim, and then fill tanking roles where possible. It seems that you have tried the opposit.

With regards to the "stuff is dead before i get there" issue, that can cause problems, but i have found that target selection is key here, start on one target (pounce, shred etc, get your CP up to 3 or so, hit Savage roar, and move to target 2, and start the killing)

In responce to your issues of spending so much time getting into position, i have one simple solution, that once i got used to it, solves "most" of these problems... Feral Charge ... "whats that, im behind you instantly even though i was 15 yards in front of you just now...OK !"

Not sure if this will be of any use to you, but its just my 2 pence on feral dps.