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Posts Tagged ‘threat’

Damage vs. DPS

So, I’m sitting at work (that place I go to between WoW and sleep) when an irate Mustafah comes storming into my office and starts ranting with gibberish and spit flying from his mouth and a furious red faced fury that can only be described as both scary and cartoonish ( Yup, I work with Mustafah, who also happens to be a fury warrior from my guild).
“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Stafah! Calm down, buddy, speak English, I don’t understand Rabid Orc.” (See…Mustafah in real life is exactly like Mustafah in game. He’s a fury specced warrior. He’s hot tempered and likes things that get him hot tempered to die. So, since he can’t legally get away with killing things, he tells me to make a blog post.)
“I am so (bleeping) tired of all those (bleeping) (bleepers) that don’t understand the difference between DPS and Damage (bleeping) output! Everyone gets (bleeping) dps meters and completely forget how to (bleeping) play! All that (bleeping) matters is being at the tops of those (bleeping) dps charts. Write a (bleeping) blog about that!”
Okie dokie!

Davlin’s Definition of DPS: A number that tells you the average amount of damage that you have done in 1 second.

Davlin’s Definition of Damage Output: The amount of damage that you do during an entire fight.

What’s the difference?
The confusion comes from the fact that people think that if they are doing high dps that they are the doing everything that is needed of them for that fight. Because of that they fail to realize all the negatives to being at the top of the DPS chart.

If you are concentrating on being at the top of the dps chart, than you are using all of your hardest hitting attacks at the beginning of the fight. Hard hitting attacks cause large immediate quantities of threat. Therefore being at the top of the dps chart means that you have a high threat. Whether or not you are actually stealing threat isn’t important, because being at the top of the chart means that you are making the tank’s threat management much harder because yours sucks.

On the other hand, Damage Output is quite a different story. You can do a ton of your attacks that don’t put you at the top of the dps chart and put out tons and tons of awesome damage. Just ask any hunter. A hunter’s shot that does the most damage? Auto-shot. Why?  Because it fires a constant stream, never giving up and puts out the same amount of damage without stopping for anything. Its not a hunter’s strongest shot, it won’t raise the hunter’s threat level, but it does the most damage OVER TIME out of any hunter shot.

What’s the answer to putting out the most damage?
Sustained High DPS.
NOT sustained highEST dps.
Sustained High Dps. No bursts of “Oh (bleep)!” Damage.

Yes, being at the top of the dps chart is cool. Everyone loves to see that they made that number one slot, but dps isn’t what wins the battle. Dps is specifically meant to be a bench mark, so you have an idea of what type of damage you’re doing every second. If your dps drops, then you should note that you’re doing slightly less damage. If it goes up, you’re doing slightly more damage. You should use it just to keep an eye on your progression.

But if I’ve got a high dps doesn’t that mean that I’ve got a high damage output?

Yes and no. The difference between damage output and dps isn’t that dps doesn’t measure damage, its that dps is directly related to threat (a 1 to 1 ratio with threat per second, or TPS). Dps is an average, so if you do a large amount of beginning burst damage (making it hard for a tank to keep aggro) then you will look like you’ve got a high dps, even when your damage gets weaker throughout the fight. All you’ve managed to do is make the dps meter put your name at the top and make the tank angry because of your poor threat management. On the other hand, if you start with your attacks in a smooth rotation, doing high constant, sustainable, damage for the entire fight, you’re threat will be low, but your damage output will be huge. Yes, you’ll only be second or third on the dps meter, but what really matters is killing bosses, not numbers, because numbers suck.

This leads me into another point, the reason Mustafah was angry in the first place. On a recent Naxx run, the leader of the 25 man raid was threatening to boot people who weren’t at the tops of the charts. This was probably some sort of poorly thought out motivational speech or something, but all it did was illustrate his ignorance across the raid chat. What he should have done (to stick with his theme of rude and cranky) is threaten to boot people who weren’t at the top of the damage output. So what if everyone can make his or her averages look higher. Instead, recognize the amount of damage people are putting out. Keep the folks with high damage output (also known as sustainable high dps), not the people with the highest dps.

I hope that that makes sense, if not please leave a comment and I’ll try to clarify. I’ve read it about 4 times and it keeps making sense to me…but reading it to myself doesn’t make me see it from any angle but mine own.

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The Aggro Table and You.

So, I’m sitting in the lighthouse, yelling again, for the fouth time, for Captain Grayson to leave Jaffa alone, when it occurs to me that a blog on aggro is long overdue. And if those two ever stop fighting I’ll write it…

/waits…

/glares…

/getsupandbeatsthembothsenseless

Ok, now that that’s taken care of…where was I?

Oh right.

What is aggro?

Davlin’s Aggro Definition: Aggro is a ranking system that measures threat generated from a target to determine who to kill first.

An enemy, for demonstration purposes we’ll refer to him as Nexultor, a level 80 Death Knight, has a ranking system for deciding who he’ll destroy. This ranking system is based off of threat. Threat is generated through damage done, healing done, how close you are to “Nexultor,” and by abilities that specifically generate threat.

Let’s throw out an example. Mustafah (fury warrior), Dezaras (prot warrior), Zaralin (resto druid), and myself (buttkickin’ BM hunter of DOOM!!) as well as Jaffa (Blood Thirsty Wind Serpent) all run at Nexultor.

Dezaras is our tank, so he gets there first and immediately uses damage and special abilities to build up a high threat (A tank’s job is to hold threat, through everything, so that no one else gets hurt. Thank you Mr. Meat Shield). Next Mustafah runs in and starts hitting the baddy. Because Stafah is doing high damage and is really close to Nexultor, he’s building up a nice size of threat too.  Jaffa rushes in next, throwing out lightning breath and doing damage as well. Being a good hunter, I’ve turned off his Growl (threat generation ability of pets) ability as to make it ahrder for Jaffa to steal threat.

In the distance is Zaralin, throwing out heals, building up threat with her heals, but not very much because of her range and me, shooting like mad from next to Zaralin, building up some rather nice Damage Based Threat. At this moment, Nexultor’s threat table looks like this:

Dezaras:Highest threat

Mustafah: High Threat

Jaffa: Moderate Threat

Davlin: Moderate Threat

Zaralin: Low Threat

This means that if Dezaras dies or loses aggro for some reason, Stafah is the next choice for the baddy to attack. If Stafah loses aggro or dies, Jaffa is next, and so on. Jaffa is ahead of Davlin, only because of range. Jaffa being closer gives him more reason to be attacked than Davlin.

The aggro table (that’s what the threat chart is usually called) is fluid though. If I start putting out too much DPS (damage per second) than the tank can put out TPS (threat per second) then the table will shift to this:

Davlin: Highest threat

Zaralin: High Threat

Dezaras: Moderate Threat

Mustafah: Moderate Threat

Jaffa: Moderate Threat

Whoa! Davlin, wait a second. You said you pulled threat from Dezaras, why’s Zaralin second on the list?!?!?! That’s because threat is range based as well as damage based. I’m standing next the healer like a good hunter, prepared to yank aggro off of her if a bunch of adds see her. If I go and pull threat, then the current enemy, Nexultor, will run at me, and now, because I’m so close to Zaralin, and thus she’s close to Nexultor, she’s second on the list. If I lose aggro, through feigning death or actually dying, then Zaralin, our healer, becomes the highest threat, gets squashed like the little squishy she is, and we all wipe. This is a classic poor threat management wipe scenario.

How does someone counter this? Well, before WOTLK came out, you’d have to go out and get Omen, or some other threat meter and watchyour aggro build up and then stop shooting, swinging, or stabbing before you stole threat. Since WOTLK though, you can instead watch the colors change around your avatar (cartoon representation of yourself. If you look at the Blog’s Intro Image, you can see Davlin with Full Aggro because of the RED AROUND HIS AVATAR) up in the left corner of your screen.

If it turns yellow, than you’re starting to build up a nice size of threat. If it turns orange than you’re about to pull threat (DANGER DANGER DANGER). If it turns red, thenyou have 100% threat from some mob. The proper thing to do is to slow down or stop your attacks or do some threat diminishing ability until your color changes, allowing for the tank to build up some more aggro, then resume your attacks. This is called “riding the aggro wave.”

As you level, and find yourself running higher instances, you’ll find that there are some badguys that have no aggro table. They usually switch targets faster than politicians change opinions, and a well practiced tank will know how to deal with this. If you’d like a tutorial on threat building for tanks, please request it here and I’ll force Dezaras to write it up.

Hope that helps.

–Davlin

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