Tobold's Blog
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thought for the day: DPS is like PvP

Playing a tank or healer is like PvE, you only need to overcome the specific, fixed challenge of keeping aggro or keeping the group alive. Playing a dps role is like PvP, you are fighting to keep on top of the damage meter, to do better than the other dps in your group. Discuss!
Your oddly self-referential analogy only works if you boil everything down to that which can be perceived as competitive and that which cannot.

In that sense, PvE is like PvP. Even tanking and healing is like PvP because you can perceive a competition between you and other healers/tanks to get the best gear the fastest or complete the newest or hardest content first.

Seems like a weak way to draw a similarity between them, considering they share the most important mechanic in the game: combat.

PvE is like PvP in the sense that they share two letters: "P" and "v". These two letters signify a player fighting something--the differentiator is what controls that something.

So yes, PvE is like PvP... But didn't we already know that?

Maybe I'm missing some profound insight here--as it stands, I don't see the depth or insight in the analogy.
I'm not sure that maximizing your spec (which your found on the forums), your gear, and running a spell rotation (also from the forums) is comparable to the action/reaction dynamic usually found in pvp.
PVE is not like PVP.

In PvP, you are your role + tank.

It's a different game altogether, and never have I felt it was similar.

This analogy doesn't seem to fit.
DPS is easier to compare between palyers and thus in some groups more competition is involved.

Healing and tanking is also quite competetive, but you need a good raid-leadership who is able to do it. Thus in most casual raids it is not very common to compare tanks or healers.
Playing a Tank or a healer is like PvP, you constantly need to adjust your actions, and which abilities to use, according to how the encounter evolves. Many parts can not be anticipated. (moving the boss, taunting, defensive cooldowns for tanks; anticipation of damage dealt, who got hit, silly rogues that sit in front of cleaving mobs, etc...)

Playing a dps is like PvP, you have a mostly fixed rotation of abilities you use to kill skull. And if Blizzard would allow you to have a macro that would make you move 5 yards everytime DBM tells you that you're in fire, you wouldn't even need an intelligent body behind the keyboard.
I raided as a rogue when level 60 and then 70 were endgame, and switched to a healer priest for level 80 raiding.

When working on new content, I found DPS a lot less stressful than healing. Learning fights as DPS was generally easier than learning them as a tank or healer. And when things went wrong and we wiped, it was seldom DPS that was to blame.

But once content was farmable, healing became easy and relaxing. Whereas DPS, while I suppose I could take it easy and relax, there was always the possibility and the desire to compete against my fellows to try to be the best I could be.

As a healer.. you can't really do any better than keeping everyone alive. But as DPS you can always strive to better your performance.
If the other guy wants it to be a competition with you, then it's PVP. Otherwise it's not, your just dick waving.

Competition can happen anywhere, as long as there's consent. It's a bit like sex that way!
Not sure I'm understanding what you're trying to say here.

So DPS is like PVP in terms of how playing the auction house is PVP?

Totally even.

I am not playing against anyone else when I do any kind of PvE content. Getting the mobs to die is what count, i.e. defeating the environment. And to do that you play as well as you can. If people think DPS meters are important to them so be it. But I don't really care.
I agree.

Playing DPS is competitive. You want to be in the top three damage dealers!

And in doing so it's similar to the PVP competitions. Either an arena ranking or the old ladder system.

In one case you want to be on top of the DPS meter, in the other you want to be on top of the arena rankings.
I recently said something similar, but about tanking, not DPS.

In most Heroics at the moment, the tank isn't playing against the mobs - the mobs are trivally easy to control in a situation where everyone's playing their role well. However, what makes tanking a Heroic harder, mostly, is the DPS - attacking targets you haven't touched, overaggroing, spamming AOE in inappropriate situations, etc.

Hence, tanking feels very much like you're playing against the other guys.

(These days, I really like tanking Heroics with DPS in blues - they're usually grateful for a smooth run, gratitude being in short supply on the Dungeon Finder, and they don't unload 6k DPS each on the second, third and fourth caster mob in a group.)

I agree, however, DPS also feels a lot like PvP these days - you're fighting for the top of the meter, with the fear of getting abuse for your "low" DPS if you're bottom, even if that "low" DPS is 2.5k in a Heroic. And god help you if the tank's out-DPSing you, even if he's threat-specced and in all 245s and up.
{Im probably not getting the pun or sarcasm in this thought for the day post but ill respond anyway...}

The equation works only within a very confined reality: that is, one solely based on quantifiability of player performance. Which, as we all know, is absent for tank and healer (hm, im guessing this is the point somehow), since they work without a commonly agreed upon yardstick. In a more real presentation of wow (or any other game) DPS is (ofcourse) nothing like PVP. And it wont be as long as mobs are totally predictable and have no AI to speak of. (my opinion: we need AI based on genetic algorithms).
I don't know. I don't feel any particular need to top the meters. I know about what I can do on a regular basis, and I keep Recount handy to see how I'm doing versus what I know I'm capable of doing, not what others in my party are doing.
A common misconception. Dumb dps is dead dps. DPS that stands in the fire burdens healers. DPS that grabs aggro causes wipes. DPS that ignores mechanics (like mirror of reflection) hurts more than helps!

Another point, AOE dps may be higher than single-target but if all the mobs collectively die more slowly, it is not effective dps. I would take a smart but lower dps-er over a high-dps idiot any day.

PVP is just as much about well-timed CC, damage mitigation and healing interrupts as it is about dps. So the analogy is really a stretch.
Hugh, my tank isn't particularly well geared, at least to today's standard, and I agree, overzealous DPS is the only problem I have controlling mobs in heroics.

Yesterday, I had a HoL run where 4 of the 5 people left the original group and I ended up being the substitute tank. I felt like a substitute teacher. I'd pull packs of mobs specifically to give us a path through before Loken, not to full-clear the place. All the pats were gone, so it was just static packs left. I made it through fine, yet somehow everyone else managed to aggro everything behind me WHILE I was pulling the next pack.

The party wiped and then disbanded, much to my relief.
I first thought DPS was a "race" or a competition to get to the top.

But that isn't so, what if you could take a talent that would raise the RAIDS DPS by 1,000 damage a second, or take another talent that only raises your personal damage by 100.

While that would be a better strategy to make sure you are higher on the dps (negating them the bonus of your buff, and raising your own dps via another talent) but you see on a whole that is a losing strategy overall.

Group mentalily works best, and when a DPS sacrifices his own dps to raise the raids dps, its much better.

Ex. I hated refreshing the scorch debuff as my mage, hoping the other mages would do it, as it would lower my dps during the time casting scorch while the other mages are getting the benefit of my buff.. but after a while raid leaders and class leaders can tell who is being "lazy" and just interested in their own dps charts, kick those people out.
While DPS can be a competition between players, it's a friendly competition where no one is making the others' job more difficult.

But the tank is often fighting the DPS for aggro. I sometimes feel like I'm engaged in indirect PvP when I'm tanking, especially with DPS that intentionally do high-aggro things.
As a dedicated DPSer (only fiddling with tanking on a low level alt, atm) I look at Recount only to compete with myself. I want to know if my DPS and Damage output is as good as I can get them. If I've got new gear, spec, or enchants I want to see if they made a significant improvement. Otherwise, I don't pay much attention to the meters of others.
DPS can be PvP.

A majorty of DPS classes want to be the highest DPS, in essence beating the rest.

If people didn't care about being number 1 then we wouldn't have so many nerfs.

PvP can simply be competing against some one else. It doesn't have to be in direct combat against them. The Auction House is often referred to as a PvP enviroment because you are in direct competition with all the other sellers trying to make money.

Thinking that the only form of PvP occurs in Arenas or BGs is awfully close minded. If anything people should be looking to expand what is labeled as what since the MMO genre is changing so much lately.
Competing for top DPS in an instance is PvP the same way competing against your team for top HKs is in WSG.
I think this highlights the problem with PvP in WoW. The people you're competing against aren't the people you are playing against.

How often you beat the other faction in WoW has no real impact on that other faction. Winning more than losing means you get ahead of the people on your own faction who are losing more than winning.

On a purely mechanical side I don't think DPS is anything like PvP. PvP is about being able to react and observe quickly. Spot the dangerous classes and what they are doing and respond to it with counters. DPS is about a static optimisation of your spells against scripted opponents. Raid encounters are always the same difficulty. PvP encounters aren't.

In fact, tanking and dps are more akin to PvP if anything. As dps you are only really goverened by you and the mechanics of the fight. As tank and healer you need to react to the rest of your team getting things wrong: managing a quick taunt back off the dps who over agros, getting the heals into someone who's being slow to move out of the fire.
As a tank, holding aggro has nothing to do with fixed requirements of the instance and everything to do with the dps in your group.

I think this is part of why there is a tank shortage. As you gear up, healing and dpsing to the specific requirements of the instance get easier. Likewise for surviving as a tank. But holding aggro, unfortunately, never gets easier if the dps are gearing up at the same pace as the tank. This can produce a lot of stress on the part of tanks and may contribute to the current shortage.
DPS is like playing in a Golf tournament (indirect competition) and PvP is like competing in a Judo tournament (direct competition). The psychologies of indirect and direct competitions are quite different. All other things being equal, direct competitions are more intense and more confrontational. This is largely because direct competitions make losses more personal and more difficult to rationalize. If you also consider that -individuals that like feeling in control- and/or –individuals that are conflict averse- are overrepresented within the population of RPG’s players, these differences become even more exaggerated in terms of their impacts.
Tanking is much more like pvp then pve... your typically fighting the three moron DPS who can't control their agro, focus a mob or be bothered to use their agro-dump/immunity/misdirect ability.
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