DPS Failing and Troubleshooting
I Super Suck
So, raiding did not go well for me on our first try. When we got to that stupid council, I started my rotation as perfectly as humanly possible. I made us fail the encounter because my mob would not die. When we finally succeeded, I came in dead last.
I was completely demoralized. I’ve been anxious about switching to DPS from healing already – so I researched like a big nerd. I have read everything there is to read (that I could find) and practiced my rotation as much as possible without a target dummy. And still came in last.
But, as we know, there are no combat logs. What went wrong? Anecdotal evidence is all we have.
- According to anecdotal evidence, my husband’s geared-to-the teeth guildmate who is same spec as I am came in dead last too. Hrm.
- My guildies thought they saw the mob I was hitting evade or bug out and not register damage taken. Interesting.
Theory: Watchman Spec and the Council
In the last week since that demoralizing raid, the husband and I have developed a (reasonably sound) theory that triggering Zen in Juyo form, which procs a raidwide trickle of healing, causes the Watchman Sentinel to get the encounter’s “do not damage” debuff. The husband’s guildmate was successful on this encounter only after switching to a “dumb rotation” (build and spend focus with basic abilities available early in the game, such as slash) in Watchman spec. Using this “dumb rotation”, the target was taken down easily within the time window. After identifying Zen as the most likely culprit, a Watchman would probably be successful using a mostly-optimal dot-based rotation but avoiding using Zen. However, omitting Zen obviously lowers DPS and might be problematic on hard/nightmare modes.
I Fix the Suck
(That is, my plan of attack before I discovered that I didn’t suck and that it was most likely a bug or design issue.)
After QQing and moping, I came up with a plan to do better. Remember, changing all the things can be just as bad as changing nothing if you’re doing it blindly.
1) Change spec from Watchman to Combat. Actually, it was a bit of a nervy thing to do because most theorycrafters right now put Watchman as top DPS and dismiss Combat as merely “viable” (you know, as much as they can without logs). But from actually doing the encounters (ignoring Council), I found that while Watchman may have the highest theoretical dps, it could not live up to its single-target tank-n-spank potential because of how the encounters are designed.
- More than once during the night, I found a DoT-based class is not well suited to the motion-heavy encounters because I could not keep dots “rolling” effectively when jumping in and out of range to avoid “the bad”.
- Force leap was not available to get back into range when I needed it. This is a hypertechnical thing… the Watchman spec uses Force Leap every CD to generate focus. Which means that it’s usually on cooldown when I need it after a knockback. And if I don’t use it on CD to generate focus and I “save” it for getting back into range, then I am gimping myself (making myself focus-starved or using inefficient focus-generators).
- Force leap “in place” still repositioned my toon. Again, something I use in my rotation regularly would change the position of my character, leaving me vulnerable to cleaves and/or knockbacks. I’d have to reposition over and over.
- DOTs + reflect shields = OUCH OUCH TICK TICK OUCH. Enough said on that one. Extra strain on the healers is fail.
2) Adjust action queue window. Why not? If it helps me string abilities together, yes please. I had put it to zero when there was a significant ability delay. Now the ability delay seems to be less of a problem and, to be honest, I’m old and don’t have the reflexes of a coked-out ferret.
3) Reevaluate position of keybindings. Duh.
4) Practice. Respeccing to something totally new right before a raid is completely fail. You’ll be slow and pitiful.
5) Continue gearing. Again, duh. I was going to do this anyway but it did give me the kick in the butt to finish the crazy-jumping-adventure that is a green datacron cube thingy.
Guys, I pwned the everlovin’ shit out of my assignment on the Council.
In the rest of the encounters, I felt a lot more in control of my output and with no ramp up time I was able to burst damage while I was near the boss and not get too frustrated when I was cooling my jets waiting for the boss to stop doing Bad Ability That One Must Avoid.
Now that I know that Watchman is probably bugged/gimped on the Council encounter, I feel better that I was probably not doing craptastic DPS last week. If I so desired, I could go back to Watchman and put out very good DPS on all the things. However, I’m finding Combat preferable for the encounters we’ve done so far.
In conclusion, don’t be afraid to go against “conventional wisdom” and try a different spec if your current spec isn’t working for you. And bugs suck.