DPS is easy. All you do is sit there and spam two or three buttons, and watch shiny numbers show up on your screen.
It takes no skill.
DPS is easy, it’s low stress, and you don’t even have to pay attention to what you’re doing. So you could watch TV and raid or something.
Well. Almost all.
We do watch shiny numbers show up on our screens. That is true.
But the rest of it is LIES. Borderline HERESY.
Dare I say… BLASPHEMY?
I could just as easily say that main tanking a raid boss is easy. All you do is use the same few abilities over and over again, and just produce as much threat as possible.
I could say healing the main tank is ridiculously easy. Just cast the exact same heal, over and over again…
But you don’t see me saying that, do you? You know why? Because it isn’t easy.
“But as main tank, you have to be able to react within seconds if something goes wrong!”
“But you have to be able to move in a split second!”
“But you need to switch targets rapidly!”
And DPS people don’t?
Allow me to bust out the car examples. For some reason, these vehicle analogies just work.
Here we have two vehicles. One is a Prius, one is a mini van, and the other is an F1 racecar.
All three cars serve the same basic function. They provide a way to go from point A to point B. The Prius is designed to do so economically and efficiently. The mini van is to designed for multiple people, and for comfort.
The racecar is designed to get from point A to point B faster than the other racecars. Millions of dollars are spent to wring every possible millisecond of speed from this vehicle.
Picture this F1 vehicle as a DPS class. We are geared, tuned, and trained to do one purpose and one purpose only.
Passengers? Don’t bother, they’ll be dead in a few seconds.
The driver’s comfort? Screw him, he could die for all we care, so long as he can get across the finish line first. Why don’t we cut off his legs to cut down on weight? He doesn’t need to walk.
This is the mind set of a DPS class.
Try talking to a mage about mp5 and mana regeneration. It’s like trying to talk to a french guy, and the only french words you know are “warranty”, “extent”, “this” and “dinosaur”.
Try talking to a mage about being uncrushable, and they’ll respond with “I CRUSH PUNY PALADIN DPS!” followed by cackling.
Try talking to a mage about the need to downrank spells, and you will merely confuse them. (Why the hell would you downrank a spell!?)
Try talking to a mage about Block value, and they’ll get pissed off about Spell Reflect.
A DPS class contributes directly to the length of an encounter. The longer a boss is alive, the more healers have to heal, the more chances a tank has to suddenly find himself in a sudden “OHGODNO” with no cooldowns, the higher chances somebody has to suddenly die…
In other words, shorter fights lead to less time for things to go wrong. Which typically means less things actually do go wrong.
It’s understandable where this assumption that DPS is easy comes from. Tanks and healers have to pick their gear, gems and enchants with two things in mind. Tanks need to simultaneously worry about their own survivability and their threat output. Healers need to be concerned with not only the amount they can heal, but for how long they can keep healing for.
DPS care only for how much DPS they can put out. There is some consideration for longevity, but it’s an afterthought, not an actual concern.
Remember that patch when Icy Veins was introduced? Raiding fire mages across the world happily abandoned Clearcasting, which essentially provided you with 10% cheaper spells, to pick up an ability that let them cast 20% faster for 20 seconds. Were there second thoughts? Briefly. Right up until we actually activated Icy Veins for the first time. Mages have never looked back.
In this regard, a DPS class is somewhat simpler. There is no balancing act, there aren’t any trade offs to make… it’s all about damage output. Absolutely nothing else is relevant.
A tank who doesn’t produce very good numbers on a DPS report? Irrelevant. If the boss dies, the tank did his job fine. A healer who doesn’t produce very good numbers on a DPS report? Largely irrelevant. If the boss died and nobody else died, they did good.
A DPS who doesn’t produce good numbers? S/he’s looking at being benched on the next raid.
No skill? BAH! DPS takes a lot of skill to do correctly, just like anything else. The stereotype is there because it is incredibly easy to be a bad DPS player. It isn’t hard to be a rogue, run up to a boss, and then mash Sinister Strike over and over again. It isn’t hard to be a mage and chain cast Scorch for all eternity.
Neither of those methods will produce much, damage wise. You know why? The strategy they are using is utter stupidity, that is why.
A proper DPS player will expend a great deal of time researching how, exactly, s/he would be able to produce the biggest numbers possible for their chosen spec/class. They will then spend a great deal of effort perfecting the timing of various abilities to produce the best damage per second they can.
This is why Dr. Boom is so popular for ranged classes. It allows us to get a rough idea of the amount of damage you can put out, and allows us to try new things in a risk free environment.
If you haven’t tried Dr. Boom yet, I heartily invite you to give him a try. Turn on your damage meter (if you don’t have one, stop lying) and try stuff!
As a quick example for fire mages, try this out: chain cast nothing but Scorch for 60 seconds. See how much damage you did. Now try casting Scorch just often enough to build and keep the Scorch debuff, and spend the rest of the time casting fireball. Compare the results.
DPS don’t need to pay attention? Keep believing that. Feel free to sit back and watch as a DPS class who isn’t paying attention wipes your raid over and over again.
DPS? Low stress? One of the best jokes I’ve heard all year. A DPS class lives every day with the knowledge that s/he can be replaced at any time by anybody.
Let’s face it.
Every single class in this game is a DPS class. Some of them are able to spec into healing or tanking; without exception, every single one of them can spec to become a ruthlessly effective damage dealer.
As a tank? You’re nearly indispensable. There are few tanks in the world, and even fewer good ones. If you don’t show up to a raid, the raid will find it incredibly difficult, if not outright impossible, to progress without you. It can take literally weeks to replace a good tank.
Healers are almost in equally high demand. There are more healers than tanks, but only slightly more. If a healer misses a raid, it’s not the end of the world… still potentially disastrous, but recoverable. It can take days to replace a good healer.
As a DPS? If you don’t make a raid, it will take the raid approximately ten seconds to find a replacement. Twenty, if your guild leader types slowly. It can take up to sixty seconds to replace a good DPS player.
Low stress? Sure. There is nothing stressful about the fact that anybody in the game can replace you in as much time as it takes them to type “i can dps”.
Suffice to say, DPS isn’t as easy as you think it is.