The tank. The healer. The damage dealer.
This is the holy trinity of WoW. At least one of each is necessary to defeat end game content. Interestingly enough, for early end-game content, only two of these three need be good enough.
Carrying DPS is not a new concept, probably all of us have done it before. Have you ever carried a healer? Carried a tank? Do you even think it’s possible to do that?
It is, you know. Of those three, you only require two of them to be any good to knock over a heroic. You can clear Violet Hold with zero wipes with a poor healer. You can defeat Sladran without a healer. CoS can be defeated wipe free with a barely competent tank. UP can be done smoothly with 20k HP, non crit-capped paladin who doesn’t use consecrate.
Maybe this attests to the ease of the game, but I say nay. Any role, provided they are skilled enough, can carry any other role through content, provided the third role doesn’t suck.
Normally we hear about the tank and healer carrying bad DPS. How come we never hear about the DPS carrying the healers and tanks?
(It’s a feedback issue. If a tank screws up, it’s immediately apparent to everyone. Same if a healer screws up. But if a DPS screws up, unless it’s a very specific raid mechanic (Shadow Crash, for instance), that screw up is going to be picked up by the tank or healer. Usually the healers. But I digress.)
Anyway, my point is, it is certainly possible for DPS to carry the other roles. Obviously an incompetent DPS is not going to be able to carry a subpar healer, but we’re talking competent, skilled, alert, probably overgeared DPS doing what they do best: killin’ stuff real good.
The scene is heroic violet hold. Death Knight tank, myself on deeps and a couple others I don’t remember, and some poor discipline priest in waaaay over his head.
The priest had precisely one epic, the tailored robe, and everything else was an even mix of quest blues and greens. Properly itemized greens (no strength rings for this here priest), but greens nonetheless. To put it another way, I had more than double the priest’s spellpower, and I hadn’t cracked 2k yet (this is buffed, mind you).
It was still a smooth, wipe free run. Technically speaking, it wasn’t even moderately difficult. I mean, we had to do the fights properly without trying for achievements (le gasp!), but as a group we compensated for having a below average healer.
The tank used death strike a lot (this was before the changes/nerfs, back when it restored health based on damage done, about 2-3k heals for the unholy tank) (yes, I said unholy tank), and me, being an arcane mage, pushed my mana as hard and fast as it could go.
There’s something to be said for being burning your entire mana pool, restoring nearly all of it via evocation, mana gem and pot, then burning it back down to zero in less than 50 seconds.
The discipline priest was OOM by then, too. But at least the boss was dead!
The key here was that it wasn’t just the tank or just the DPS carrying the healer. It was both of them.
The facts here are simple. The tank is taking a lot of damage, damage the healer can heal through, but will be completely OOM in roughly 40 seconds. Meanwhile, the rest of the party is receiving nothing. If the DPS was bad, with the tank being the only competent one, the group would not have been able to kill any bosses.
If the tank wasn’t good enough either, that would have put more strain on the already overburdened priest. Either scenario would have resulted in wipes.
The tanks job is to mitigate as much damage as possible. The healers job is to make sure nobody dies, especially the tank. The task of DPS is to kill things as swiftly as possible, without putting too much pressure on the other two.
If a boss dies faster, there is less incidental damage, less damage on the tank, less stuff for the healer to heal. The healer’s job becomes easier, they have more mana to work with, and so forth.
Knowing how to CC, knowing that 2k DPS on the right target is better than 3k DPS on the wrong target, not standing in fire, and so forth; these are all skills that are noticed, and will set you apart from the riff raff DPS.