Thursday, March 26, 2009

Someone Post Meters

“Someone post meters plz”. I used to cringe whenever I read it. These days, I merely sigh. Not because I hate statistics. I run the Recount addon as well, and check the results after a raid. No, I sigh because I know what's coming. In between all the random chatter, one inevitable sentence stands out:

“I deserve that item, cause I was highest.”

I always pug VoA-25 and OS-25, and I regularly see the aforementioned situation unfold before my very eyes. Sure, you were highest DPS, Mister X. But you also followed Archavon around after his jumps, ending up in his dust cloud. You came dangerously close to the stairs, as well, at some point. And you never even tried to dodge the rock shards targeted at you, even though there were a few other people right on top of you. All in all, you may have done the most damage, but you unnecessarily stressed the rest of the raid in the process. And that’s something the meters won’t tell you.

The upcoming Patch 3.1 is, of course, accompanied by class changes, some more severe than others. And while it’s still under development, “buff X, nerf Y” and comparison topics are popular. The most recent popular one being “Hybrids vs Pures”.

The main point of the debate is whether or not hybrid classes (Shamans, Warriors, Druids, Priests, Death Knights and Paladins) should be able to do just as much DPS as the “pure” classes (Rogues, Hunters, Mages and Warlocks). After all, the Pures can only DPS, whereas Hybrids can respec and perform as another role if DPS isn’t needed. So, in return, because the Pures can only DPS, they should be the best at it.

In one of these Hybrids vs Pures topics on the official forums, Ghostcrawler fought the urge to reply and lost. One of the things he said was this: “We don't think there would be many pure DPS players unless they knew that it was theoretically possible for them to "win the meters." The risk of being useless would be too great.”*

That sentence perfectly states what's important to players these days. Damage meters. I can’t help wondering: is that really what the game is all about, some statistics monitor that keeps track of your damage output? And what if your name doesn’t come up on the top (or below a certain someone who you don’t want to be below), all hell breaks loose? If the answer is yes for you, then please answer the following question: when did you stop loving your class?

Back when I started playing, I rolled a Warrior as my first toon. I leveled him to 20, but during that time I never really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the game, but didn’t like the class. I started experimenting with other classes, and ended up rolling a Paladin. It instantly felt good. The Paladin was the perfect embodiment of the melee fighter with some spellcasting capabilities that I envisioned. The seal system, which gave you a buff when activated, but turned into a debuff when judged onto an enemy, was intriguing and ingenious. It fit my style perfectly, and if anyone would ask me what class I played, I could proudly say “Paladin”. And during my entire playing time, that hasn’t changed.

Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Do you play a Rogue because you were promised to be the best of the raid, or because of the kick-ass backstabbing, mutilating, shadowstepping sneakyness that your class has? I certainly hope the latter.

There’s too much focus on statistics meters these days. Granted, it’s a nice way to keep track of your performance, and might help you improve your playing style. I even encourage that behavior. But it’s often taken to extremes, becoming “meter madness”. The meters become the only thing that counts, and people feel that they deserve things because of their high DPS.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the flexibility. Stopping a broken loose mob in its tracks before it reaches the healer, interrupting a spell, dispelling a debuff as a DPS. Anything outside your main function that saves the raid from a wipe or brings back order to a chaotic fight is worth more than a high number on the DPS meter. I regularly commend fellow raiders whose on-the-fly acting has saved the day.

Disable that Recount addon for a change. Raid without it, and just focus on completing the task at hand. I’m sure that you’ll enjoy yourself much more.


*Although a very interesting topic, the Hybrids vs. Pure debate isn’t the focus of this post. It might prove interesting enough for a future post, but I’m letting it play out a bit more for now.

7 comments:

  1. I've raided without recount, and its a lot more fun, just enjoying yourself. Mainly I run it not to try and max out, but just to see where I am in relation to everyone else, and if I'm really doing as well as I think I am or if I need more coffee. Certain fights though, just turn the damn thing off, you'll only make yourself sad. (ie. Melee DPS who is not chosen to go Melee on KelThuzad)

    PuG's usually have "I was highest so its mine", which is why I never PuG raids, always guild runs. It's usually as fair as possible, balancing between good dps/average dps/best dps, who has good dps just becuase of gear, whos undergeared, so on and so forth... I mean if, say, Betrayer of Humanity drops, it only makes sense to give the best DPS melee weapon ingame atm to your best DPS, but aside from bigticket items like that, its quite fair.

    Anyway, to get back to the topic, yeah, every second or third run, if you have recount, just turn the damned thing off and enjoy yourself.

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  2. Sometimes in the heat of Wowing we forget why we rolled Class X and why it stuck on us like it did. Thank you for reopening my eyes to the reason why I play what I play. :D Excellent post!

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  3. Hey bud,

    I agree 100%, although I have recount installed, I only check it after the fighting stops. Mind you, only to see how I am doing. Chasing the meters is not what it's all about.

    Personally, I think making sure a healer doesn't die from a shade because I pulled it off is more rewarding than so-called "imba-dps" whilst half the raid wipes.

    The task at hand is always more important than topping the charts.

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  4. I have a post on my blog about recount and what I feel is its real purpose. Most people will stare at it and think "if I can only get phat lootxyz, my dps will improve". By not clicking on their bar, they fail to see how many misses, dodges, parries or glancing blows they have. They have only seen a change previously in the number or position of that pink, blue, or yellow bar with new gear and so they don't realize that a gem or some buff food can help just as much and they are likely easier to get.

    This doesn't mean that I think you should stare at the bar position. I know that if I worried about that I would never be happy. I'm usually asked to tank/heal for the back in the 4-Horseman. Doesn't do a lot for ret pally dps. I try to heal myself a bit for those 3 seconds in Loatheb. I like being able to repent a caster from a distance in hUP and other heroics. (I will admit to have a love/hate relationship with buffs.... or maybe it's just the whining when someone doesn't get it when they think they should).

    @Peregrin:
    I actually got Betrayer of Humanity last night (dkp system). If it would have been a /roll and someone lower than me won it, then so be it. If you always give it to the highest person, then at some point you are going to be carrying some dps (at least with fixed groups such as raiding guilds).

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  5. @Peregrine: Assuming you're trying to gear up evenly as a guild, the person with the lowest DPS would get the epic weapon, as it would be the biggest upgrade for him/her. This is the case with our guild currently, although I don't mind too much. I have pretty much everything already from the current content we're clearing as a guild.

    @Barrista: I went and read your Recount post, and I liked your viewpoint. Like I said, I encourage checking statistics as a means to improve yourself. We certainly agree on that point. But I don't like the way some people take their performance to the extreme, and mix it up with a bit of greed. It's a double-edged sword.

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  6. Good post with an important message. I play a warlock and continue to do so no matter the buffs/nerfs/balance/dks/etc. ;) I still contend that although our population numbers are low, the ones that truly love the class (like myself) are still playin' 'em and loving it.

    And it is unfortunate that people use Recount and other measuring tools (such as wow-heroes.com) in a less than helpful way. In regards to wow-heroes, I've heard people talking about their "rank" and how they are top 10 or whatever in their guild. But they don't seem to really understand that it's a guide for gearing up, not meaning you are better than someone else.

    And, people certainly forget that with Recount, those damage numbers aren't taking into consideration the utility that might be in play. Watching the wall for webbed raiders, for example.

    ~Syrana

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  7. As you know, Vaad, I'm primarily a healer, but when I finally get back to enhancement with dual specs I doubt this will change. I have completely removed Recount as an addon. On those runs when it matters to me how I do, and how other people do, I run combatlog and use WWS afterwards. This means that *during* a fight I can't see who's ahead of me, who's behind me, and get tempted to do something to move myself up (even healers get meter-happy). However, *after* the fight I can not only see people's dmg done, healing done, dps/hps etc, I can also see dispells, interrupt abilities, buffs etc.

    Just out of interest, when someone posts meters in raid, particularly when they get stupid about it, has anyone seen someone post the dmg in meter in response? Good way to deal with it, it seems to me. "Well you may have been the highest dps but you were also the highest melee on the dmg in meter, so I'm giving your loot to that rogue that knows how not to stand in fire."

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