Things I don’t miss about WOW:

  • Meters
  • Cookie cutter specs, where if you don’t use it, you FAIL
  • Highest theoretical DPS

Seriously, I may kick in the crotch the next person who talks about highest theoretical DPS.  This concept is ridiculous because it assumes we’re all automatons (or 22 year olds with the reflexes of a coked-out ferret) and will PERFECTLY execute whatever it is.  We will never have lag.  We will never miss a debuff dropping off.  We will never mismanage our mana/energy/photontorpedoes and run out at a crucial moment.  Nope.  PERFECT.

Well that’s just BULLSHIT.  I’m a person, not a theory.  And things just don’t work that way.  I’m not saying that I need an easier rotation and that I will automatically do better with that, because I’m incapable of the theoretical DPS perfection.  I’m saying that different people click with different specs and styles.  Something that is difficult for you might be easy for me, and vice versa.

Let me give you an example: in WoW, cat DPS is generally considered to be difficult.  There are bleeds to manage and energy and combo points and self-buffs and debuffs and… well you get the idea.  However, cat and I always clicked.  When I read my first cat raiding guide, upon hitting max level (I think it was 80 at the time), I was just like… oh, I’m already doing all those things, carry on.  To me, it seemed so natural.  My GM at the time called me a kitteh savant.

Now, shadow priesting?  Forget it.  In fact, forget anything where I have to string together casts.  Even if it’s a 3 button rotation, I will fuck it up.  I can’t shadow priest. I can’t boomkin.  I can’t elemental shaman.  Just terrible.

Enter SWTOR.  And as I’m twirling around through the levels with my Sentinel, it is known that Watchman DPS is the raiding spec.  Mmkay…  So I watchmanned and I was OK.  It wasn’t that hard to grasp, but at the same time, I didn’t feel any sort of love.

Due to a bug, I ended up respeccing Combat to try it and, holy shit, it was love.  It was like with cat – I didn’t have to really concentrate on where I was in my rotation, I just KNEW.  When something interrupted me or knocked me back, I got right back on track and didn’t flail around like LOLWUT?  And I kicked some major ass, much more than with Watchman.  Sure, watchman may have higher theoretical DPS, but in my hands, Combat has way higher dps than Watchman.

I was reminded of this phenomenon when I was trying (and failing) to do dailies with my smuggler.  I had specced scrapper and I was just SUCKING at it.  Dying all the time.  It felt like I was hitting the mobs with a wet napkin.  My companion tank was constantly whining that he was going to dieeeeee – and this was AFTER I re-geared both Corso and Bowdaar.  And I couldn’t use a non-tank companion because I needed to be behind whatever-it-is, so I needed a tank to take up the mob’s attention.  I always found myself out of buttons to press because it seemed like everything was on cooldown.  I just hated it.

So fuck it, I switched to Dirty Fighting.  Now, I know that dirty fighting is better for crowds, is more mobile, and doesn’t rely on positional attacks, so it’s already innately much more suited for dailies… but it wasn’t just that.  It felt right in a way that scrapper did not.  I was specced that way for about 5 minutes and I was already easily adapting to things like not having a gap closer or dealing with groups of various compositions.  It was easy.  There was no fumbling and pausing like “um, what do I do next?” Oh, and I didn’t die.  I pwned.

The point of my dumb story is that if you are sucking at something or you just hate it, ignore the guides and just damn well try something else.  It might work!


Theoretical DPS — 14 Comments

  1. One of our guildies always runs custom specs/rotations that only work for him, but are completely unusable by anyone else. Ages ago, someone got him to try out a standard build – and the result was a disaster / immediate respec. I’m not sure if its because he’s an Aussie (higher latency? innately awesome?) or just a personality thing.

    PS: I’ve seen my ferrets on a sugar high and they don’t exactly have raider reflexes. More like “I’m so happy I just bounced off the couch, into the garbage, and am now flinging trash everywhere” reflexes.

    • “PS: I’ve seen my ferrets on a sugar high and they don’t exactly have raider reflexes. More like “I’m so happy I just bounced off the couch, into the garbage, and am now flinging trash everywhere” reflexes.”

      You so deserve the name Mythbusting right now.

  2. I agree. A few points:

    1) New blog layout is sexy
    2) No meters makes Targeter happy
    3) The copious amount of talent points lets me feel like my spec is completely my own and not a cookie cutter
    4) Elemental Shaman operate at a higher level of consciousness and very difficult to play. I was an Elemental Shaman through most of Wrath (now Enhancement x2 and an Elemental on the way). I don’t blame you for not being good at Shamanin’. Cuz we Shaman are reedunkulous.

    • Woot! Glad you like it! I figure almost nobody comes to the actual site AND it looks enough like the original (color scheme and all) that nobody would actually notice.

  3. Yeah, this is why my sage is running Telekinetics instead of Balance… because when I specced out of Seer to polish off the last few levels faster, it was INSTANT LOVE. I couldn’t go back to Seer and I couldn’t function in Balance even though balance is supposed to be “theoretically” higher. But um, I do TK thanks.

    BUT I don’t have the troubles with Scrapper you do. Although now I’m a bit afraid that if I try Dirty Fighting I won’t be able to go back!

  4. Great post! This is so true. I played WoW for 4 years before switching to SWTOR and by the time I hit max level with my Balance Sage and went into my first Operation, I felt 10x more comfortable than I ever felt with my main character in WoW. I can promise you it’s because while playing WoW I was using specs and rotations recommended by popular bloggers. I’m not saying those bloggers were wrong, I’m just saying I was trying to conform to playing a certain way instead of just picking talents that sounded fun to me and playing based on what I enjoyed doing.

    Don’t get me wrong, I did take some advice on where to put my talent points with my Balance Sage because … ugh … crunching numbers to see what benefits me the most … ugh … do not want … math r gross. But, once I got that advice and understood what each talent point would do, I tweaked a few the way I wanted to and I kick ass at Balance (in my opinion). But, as Iyeri mentioned above, a lot of dps Sages prefer Telekinetics.

    So, to sum up … yeah, I agree with you completely.

  5. I am a machine of DPS, as a Cookie Cutter Gunnery Commando, I stand as a Tower Defense of pure damage. My rhythm is divine when it comes to my rotation, so much so that I experimented with the different pitches that each canon makes when firing Hammer Shots, Grav Rounds is music to my Ears. I never miss a beat when there is unexpected movement or changes in dynamic, it follows its own “Moving Rotation” of Sticky Grenades, Insta-Plasma Grenades, followed by any non- casting Round and a slew of Hammer Shots. Some of us are country and others like Rock’n’Roll.

  6. No metres or extreme theorycrafting really is very nice, and yet so easy to overlook because it requires you to notice the absence of something. Yet how nice is it to do a flashpoint and not know a thing about how much dps anyone is doing, just that you’re winning? I love it.

  7. Man. So much word. I enjoy theorycrafting, but it does all tend to become unrealistic.

    I played WoW from vanilla through the beginning of Wrath, as a warlock. For most of the time I was raiding, I was an affliction lock. I was also… kind rubbishy at it? At least at the beginning of Wrath, there was all this talk about how affliction was the NUMBER ONE DPS SPEC in theory. But you had something like 5 or 6 dots to manage, and you couldn’t clip them, or you’d lose dps… you also had Nightfall procs, Haunt, etc to manage. So you basically had to be a perfect machine of hitting buttons at exactly the right time.

    And in most raiding situations, you just could not do that. You were too busy, I dunno, not standing in the bad, or bandaging yourself in a 10 second window, or using a specific sort of damage ability, to worry about whether you have 5 or 3 seconds left on a dot. To no one’s surprise, then, I was often at the bottom of the dps charts, being comparably geared.

    Eventually, I realized I was never going to live up to the line graphs on Elitist Jerks, and respecced Demo. And you know what? I was doing respectable DPS again.

    In SWTOR, well, I’m healing, so it’s a little different. But some of the same issues come up. I was reading this article that was all “you should be keeping two stacks of Slow-Release Medpac on every party member at all times… refresh in the last three seconds to keep both stacks up” But… S-RM only lasts like… eighteen seconds. Sometimes timing that just right is dang tough on the tank. Forget the other three party members.

    • Holy crap, every party member? That article wants you to run out of energy, srs. That’s not practical at all.

      • Yah, srsly. It was aimed at PvP, so maybe they figure you’re not going to worry so much about running out of energy so much as not dying. But at 15 Energy a pop x four people x 2 stacks, that’s, well, more Energy than I have to cast all at once.

        And the more you stagger them? The harder it is to keep up. Surprise surprise.

        This is the post in question:

        To quote: “Try to ultimately be rolling two stack SRM on up to 4 players, 3 is a more reasonable number.”

    • A perfect rotation or dot tracking is even more unrealistic in THIS game since the tracking tools are beyond heinous. I remember double-rolling lifeblooms after a use of THE TREE before they nerfed it. As in “I can’t flippin keep up those two flippin lifeblooms.”

  8. It’s worth pointing out that realistically, this has always been the case. In WoW, for most Dps there was always a “best” spec. But if you were up 10% as some “suboptimal” spec and were clearly beating the tank, then you were pulling your own weight. The idea of this so-called optimal spec is gutter trash perpetuated by morons who get off on fapping their gearscore and raid achievements about in /trade.

    Frankly, toolbags like that are not worth the trims carrying their internets.

    • True. I think there was a slightly better chance of the “perfect” rotation in WoW because there were some addons that were incredibly “hand holding.” There were several for Kitty druids that would tell you, based on some algorithm, which move you should do next. It was more DDR than game, where it told you what to press, and you pressed it. I think those kinds of mods are “training wheels” and, while I’m not happy that there are NO mods/macros in SWTOR (cough mouseover) it does cut down on hand-holding a player who isn’t thinking for himself through a perfect rotation.