Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The curse of DPS

I think probably the most significant stressor for a DPS player, especially us pure DPS classes, is that we really have nothing to hide behind when we perform poorly.  Damage meters are right there on World of Logs after the raid, and unless you had a specific responsibility to take care of during the fight, there's nothing more to say.  You either did good damage or you didn't.  Tanks and healers have difficult, stressful jobs too, but I think it's fair to say that there's no single, objective measuring stick for those roles.  Evaluating a tank or healer's performance on a given fight is always going to be more involved and more complex than "this one has the biggest number!"
I am personally pretty disappointed about my November 10 performance, even though it was just a ToC25-normal farm night.  The new guild was nice enough to give me a couple nice upgrades before the raid, and my damage-done numbers didn't reflect those upgrades like they ought to have.  Looking at the logs afterward was pretty depressing, and it always takes my brain a bit to stop flailing uselessly and start trying to figure out what I could have done better.  Getting a handle on that flailing and coming up with solutions is an important part of things, though, so here's what I've come up with:
  • Most importantly, double-check my DPS assignments with the class lead.  The new guild does some things differently from the old guild, of course, and I think I spent time (for example) DPSing targets that didn't have melee debuffs on them.  DPSing the correct targets should yield improvement.
  • Remember that I've appointed myself the IHM/GoHM hunter, and as such, the other hunter can optimize his glyphs and spec because I'm covering the mark.  Assuming equal gear levels, he should be at least a little ahead of me.  I'm only really in trouble if he's way ahead of me.
  • Depending on fight, reign in my ctrl+1 reflexes.  By which I mean I have a really strong habit of having my dog attack whatever I'm targeting, even on Gormok or Jaraxxus, where it makes more sense for him to stay in melee and consistently DPS one target the entire time.
If I can keep this stuff in mind for the next raid, I should be more in line with the DPS I'd expect from a hunter at my gear level and that, in turn, should help me recover my DPS self esteem.  I think it can be important to remember this sort of stuff as a hunter.  I felt pretty bad looking at logs after a guild run where no one has said anything negative to me.  If you're a player that pugs a lot of raids, the sort of chest-thumping mouth breathers that like to boast about VoA performance can make things pretty miserable.  Keep in mind that you know your gear, class, and latency better than that warrior tank does.  Keep expectations for yourself reasonable, look for improvement where you can, and don't sweat the socially maladjusted troglodytes.  And if anyone would like to share their strategies or stories about confidence recovery, I'd love to hear them!


  1. I see what you mean by being disapointed in your performance. I often look at my output and think "ugh ? that low ! wtf ?!" But don't worry, it often happens when new in a raid. Especially if you want to show your new guild you're worth it.

    I had a look at your WoL.

    Did you know you missed many buffs ? Might : only for the last 3 bosses, druid buff : the same, Horn of winter : 47% of the time, Int buff : 4 last bosses...
    I couldn't find any buff food or flask either.
    First, check your buffs. No Ret Paladin or BM hunter = no increased damage, as a MM hunter, you gain nothing from the unholy DK magic buff.
    This raid was great for casters. But as a hunter, you missed many important buffs (that you should have had...).

    I read somewhere that the glyphed and imp HM was worth only from 3 hunters in the raid, else it was better if you take more points elsewhere to increase your dps. But I can't find the source. You may have to check that.

    I checked your armory and saw nothing special. I'm not good enough at MM spec (I'm surv) to tell you if your shot rotation is good.

    But I can ask you some questions : did you moved a lot during the raid ? Were you nervous ? Did you fail sometimes ? How is the main assist going in the raid ?

    Moving as a MM decrease you output greatly, because lots of your damages are autoshots and steady shots.

    When nervous, you tend to be not focused enough on your rotation, and watch the fight to much.

    Failing is not good, not because you failed and your guildies can be angry at you, but because when failing, you lose your focus on the fight and can mess up your rotation.

    And if you have no Main Assist, you will lose time to find the right target. I noticed your output is not that high on the Champions (in my raids, you have the hunters on the top, then everyone else...). are you ccing ? If not, were you having problem targetting the next focus ?
    Try a macro : /assist "insert Main Assist name here"
    You lose dps on Jarraxxus when switching target too.

    I think your problem comes from switching targets. That will be highly important on heroic modes if your guild do heroic ToC. That's what you should focus on. Try not to lose too much dps when switching, which is a pain because it mess up your rotation.

    Anyway, don't worry too much. Do your job, don't fail, and your confidence will come back.
    Hope I helped... :)

  2. Wow! That's an unexpectedly thorough response!

    Re: buffs, man, I forgot to check that - I guess I just assume that all buffs happen all the times. I do have 99.5% uptime on horn of winter for beasts, but yeah I don't have any pally blessings for beasts or anything. That's actually good to know.

    Re: HM, Zeherah's website thinks that I do better damage just on my own with glyphed/specced HM, so I'm keeping it for now. The guild's other hunter just specced into it though, and I'd be happy to move those points elsewhere, so if he wants to glyph for it I'll go back to glyphing AiS.

    I'm confident in my rotation, when I just stand there and push buttons I do very well.

    I try not to move too much and stutter-run when I do. I was having problems with target-swapping on champions though, so although I don't think this raid uses an official main assist, I may start assisting off of someone, especially for that fight.

    Anyway, thanks for the long comment! We did h-beasts/jaraxxus last night before the reset and we're going back into heroic tonight, so I've got another chance to do well.

  3. Glad if I was of any help. :)
    About the HM, I've never really checked its efficiency when glyphed and specced, being a Surv hunter.
    Good luck !


If you're seeing the default Blogspot comment form, please be aware that I use Disqus for comment threading, and your comment will be imported into that system. Thank you very much for commenting!