How to Melee DPS Without Making Healers Cry

This is a guest post by Shazrad of Zul’jin. One of the best players I’ve ever had the pleasure of raiding with. ~Lodur

As DPS it’s our job to do as much DPS as possible.  We can’t do that if we can’t stay alive. We can’t do that if we are irritating our healers to the point that they think it would be more mana efficient to res us rather than heal us. In truth, nothing irritates healers and raid leaders more than DPS who have little or no situational awareness.  With that said lets break things down a bit.

To start with let’s break down what DPS really is. I know what some readers are thinking.  “DPS means DAMAGE PER SECOND dummy!” I’m sorry but you are wrong.

It stands for this:

  1. Don’t stand in things that damage you
  2. Placement, placement and placement
  3. Stay alive

Any raid leader will tell you I am right.

Matt’s notes: He’s right.

Those 3 things are the most common obstacles that melee DPS face. Your rotation can be perfect. Your spells can be up without missing a beat. Yet if you fail in any of those 3 areas you become useless to your raid. In order to help you better understand what each item means I will break them down for you.

  • Don’t stand in things that damage you - This sounds easy. I guarantee you that almost every raid leader will agree that standing in fire/defile/desecrate/ (insert random boss ability here) causes 90 % of raid DPS deaths. Standing in things that damage does not just mean health dropping. Some things cause your attacks to slow, some cause you to miss more often and so on and so forth. There are rare occasions where standing in something will give you a DPS boost. Those instances are so rare, it’s best to just not stand in anything that appears on the floor during a boss fight. If you’re not sure, ask. No good raid leader will be mad at you for asking but you can bet that you will hear it if you don’t ask and die repeatedly to the same thing when all you really need to do is move.
  • Placement, placement and placement – Where you stand is just as important as where you shouldn’t stand. This typically means that unless told otherwise melee stands BEHIND the target, casters stand off to the side or behind the target. DPS who stand in front of the target are dealing with cleaves, parry, and everything else the tank is dealing with. It’s not somewhere you want to be on most fights. Always know where you need to be and be there and you will be loved by all. (Disclaimer: I probably still won’t love you I’m anti love unless you’re a chicken salad sandwich.)
  • Stay Alive – No matter what you must live. Dead DPS is not DPS; it’s a corpse. Corpses (unless you’re a ghoul) sit there and rot. So do whatever you have to do to NOT die.

If you can do these three things you are already a step ahead of the game.

Tips and Tricks:

In this section I will go over some basic things that will help you survive.

  • Keyboard Turning – Its bad! Do not do it. Keyboard turning is using your arrow or A and S keys to turn. This method of turning is to slow. Instead use your mouse to turn. Right click your mouse and move it to the left or right. It’s about 100000 times faster. Keyboard turning is just too slow for raiding. The abilities that bosses throw when you need to turn and burn hit so hard that if you keyboard turn you will most likely die. Dead characters are useless.
  • Jumping out of Damage – Its bad do NOT do it. Jumping in World of Warcraft is not like jumping in the real world. When you jump the game records your position. When you land it updates your position. So when you jump out of damage the game registers you in the damage until you land. In most cases your jump is farther than you actually need to go. This means you are taking damage the entire time you are in the air. It’s bad. Don’t do it.
  • Strafing – Is useful. When fighting most bosses they have a tendency to throw stuff right at your feet. Try to get in the habit of strafing left and right to move out of the damage. Moving this way is easier and faster than turning and moving.
  • Zoom Out – Zoom your camera out as far as you can. This allows you to not only see what you are doing but you can also see what’s going on around you. Knowing what’s going on in a fight is the key to winning.
  • Situational Awareness – Without this you might as well go back to soloing Dead Mines. Get yourself a good boss mod. Set it up so that the information it provides is easy for you to see. I try and keep all my important alerts right around my character. This way my eyes are always on what my character is doing. Try to avoid sticking it way off in a corner somewhere. With it up there you are having to constantly take your eyes off the action.  Also make sure you enable the audio alerts. These sounds will draw your attention to important details even if you’re focused on something else.
  • Stay Behind – Unless your raid leader tells you to specifically stay in front of a boss attack from behind. Attacking from the front causes you to miss more often (except in certain special boss fights).  Bosses also often have cleaves and other nasty effects that will usually kill you in a single hit.
  • Ask Questions – Do not be afraid to ask your raid leader a question. I know this is cliché but “There are no stupid questions unless you don’t ask them.” So ask. Even if you have asked before. Do not go into an encounter with a question. Unasked questions are the same thing as not knowing what to do. You will likely die or even worse you may wipe the entire raid out because you didn’t know what to do and didn’t have the guts to speak up.
  • Get Some Mods – There are plenty of mods out there that will help you with every aspect of a raid. Mods like Power Auras Classic and GTFO can be set up to let you know when you are taking damage. Deadly Boss Mods and Big Wigs are extremely good at letting you know when to move. These are just a few examples of mods that can help you know when to move.

Final Thoughts:

In closing there are three things I would like to stress:

  1. Anything on the floor be it fire, funky red glowing circles or a big fluffy blue line is probably bad. Get out of it unless your raid leader says to stand in it.
  2. Know the fight before you start the fight. Watch a video, read a strategy, ASK YOUR RAID LEADER! Know when to move.  Don’t be that guy…
  3. STAY ALIVE NO MATTER WHAT. If you die you are useless to the raid.
Raid Leading 101: Maximizing DPS Uptime

Raid Leading 101: Maximizing DPS Uptime

Normally, most bosses are kept still. There’s a cleave effect or some other ability which makes it difficult for tanks to herd them around. Every so often, a boss comes along where even though it isn’t necessary to move them, it can sometimes be extremely beneficial. In this week’s Raid Leading 101 post, I want to highlight a little trick that Conquest used during our first kill of Professor Putricide. It’s a really minor adjustment that our raid leader came up with and looking back now, I almost wish I had thought of it first. Who knew something so simple and minor would’ve helped out so much?

Initially, we had a DPS problem. We were having a difficult time burying slimes and phasing Putricide within a timely fashion. We were rocking six healers at the time. The raid was taking obscene amounts of damage and many players were struggling with avoidable damage. I myself hit a streak where I went 9 consecutive attempts being hit by Malleable Goo on the same night. That’s some serious tunnel vision going on.

If we downgraded to five, we’d solve our DPS issue but our stressed healers were going to be stressed even further. We found a way to help resolve these issues and it’s nothing to do with player substitution or gear. It was all due in part to improved movement and positioning.

In last week’s post about Placement and Direction, blogger What’s My Main Again made an excellent suggestion:

If I may make a suggestion on putricide… after the green ooze dies you waste a lot of time moving all the way to the other side of the room. Just have everyone move to the center. Ranged can dps the gas cloud as soon as it spawns and then melee can quickly switch after it targets someone. This also makes it easier to run back into the orange corner for the green ooze.

We’ve actually been doing that for a while, but I wanted to elaborate on that further and illustrate how we tackle it.

The orange ooze

We’ll use the Professor Putricide example.

WoWScrnShot_031010_113848 

When the orange ooze was active, we used to tank Putricide on the far right very close to the green wall. Our melee DPS had to run the length of the room to open up on the orange ooze when it fixated on a target. It was during these parts of the fight that we were able to close the gap on our damage. In order to do that, we made two changes.

First change: Instead of tanking him on the right, we placed Putricide closer to the middle where the pattern is. The orange ooze spawns, it locks on to a target and goes after them. If it happens to be a melee player, they still have plenty of time to hustle it and kite it around the room. Regardless, we cut the distance the melee had to travel to DPS the Ooze by half! They didn’t have to run as much. There was more DPS on the ooze meaning it died quicker which led to more DPS on the boss.

Second change: Instead of simply keeping Professor Putricide stationary, our Putricide tank was instructed to keep Putricide as close to the orange Ooze as possible. The reason? It allowed for incidental AoE attacks from melee to hit multiple targets. Chain Lightning would help. Divine Storm would help. Cleave, and the list goes on. The orange vials that the Professor drops wouldn’t be a problem since the entire melee group is constantly moving alongside the Professor and the orange Ooze anyway.

While it doesn’t seem like much, those two changes were enough to help put us over the top on our kill.

The lesson here is when working on a boss, try to set your tactics up in such a way that will cause the boss to take extra damage. Again, not every encounter will allow for this, but the possibility is there. Put those AoE strikes to maximum effect whenever it is feasible to do so.

If you’re curious, here’s a video of our first kill up:

Conquest_Professor_Putricide from Dannamoth on Vimeo.

This is from the perspective of one of our top mages. Look at how our tank gradually follows the orange ooze around. We have a set path to use when orange oozes are up that involve running toward the green wall, up to the table, then down the orange wall.

Also, excellent use of Invisibility during tear gas phases. Such cheater DPS!

If you look closely at the end of the fight, there’s about 6 or 7 players still alive. Yeah, we barely scraped by on this kill.

Last night, we managed to take down Sindragosa on 25. I want to stab my eyes out. We managed to get a video of it as well, so I’ll see if it can be placed up somewhere.