Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Broadening The Horizons

Recently I decided to broaden my horizons from tanking into the other roles in the World of Warcraft. As it stands I have 5 max level toons:
  • Goreblades (Protection / Arms) Warrior
  • Founderz (Feral Tank / Feral DPS) Druid
  • Forsakndeath (Blood / Frost) Death Knight
  • Forsakenbelf (Protection / Retribution) Paladin
  • Rafikki (Restoration / Enhancement) Shaman

Of these five, only one have I played raided with on a consistant basis--my Warrior. However as more fights have been requiring only 1 tank and my usual tank-mate Gordrin (Yes, the same Gordrin who contributes here) has a healing off spec, it has been less then hinted at me that I needed to actually learn what I was doing in the DPS department.

The Before Time
All through Wrath of the Lich King I had my DPS off spec. Actually, I was called on to use it many times when we could still run 10 and 25 man ICC in the same week. However, to say that I had an off spec was really being generous. Half to three-quarters of my gear was always still my tanking gear, and on a good fight I would top out at maybe 3-4k DPS (yes, that would put me BELOW the tanks--hell, almost at the healers level). Not very much was ever expected of me, and I just coasted on the "I'm a tank, I am not expected to DPS much" card.

Once Cataclysm went live, I began to notice in the raids and 5 mans that I was involved in that plate DPS gear drops a lot more regularly then plate tanking gear does. That, coupled with a lack of plate-wearing DPS in our raids resulted in me completely (well ALMOST completely) being able to wear a full set of DPS gear when I was asked to switch specs for certain fights. however, still subscribing to the "im a tank, deal with it" DPS mentality, it had no gems, no enchants, and i had no idea of a rotation. This is how I played until about two weeks ago.

The Now Time
After raid one night, I overheard a discussion in vent between some other raiders about how the raid went that night. What surprised me (although it shouldn't I guess) was the way they talked about the tanks. They put the person that I was tanking with up on a pedastal because his tanking was flawless. When they started talking about my performance (still unaware that I was listening), they had little to complain about in regards to my tanking, but when it came to me using my off spec, I think the phrase "poor DPS is better then no DPS" was used to sum up what they were saying. When someone pointed out that it was my off spec, one of the people said that, "it shouldn't matter. The numbers [I] was putting out was a disgrace for the level of gear that [I] was wearing." They pointed out that none of it was gemmed/enchanted/reforged, so I was not winning any brownie points for raid utility.

Now, before I continue with this story of worthlessness, there is a crucial piece of information that is missing. Goreblades is a middle child, and suffers from classic middle-child syndrome. Everything that I have ever done has been over shadowed by either my older brother have done it before, or my younger brother doing it better and cuter because he was "the baby." Now back to our regularly scheduled character assasination.

So, when I heard all this my first instinct was to be devestated. Here I was, working and doing well in my chosen craft (tanking) and I STILL was standing in someone elses shadow. Given this tanks enormity of success in Malice, it was a BIG shadow. So, having qqed a little to my Malice mentor (Titleist), I decided that there was only ever going to be one way and one way only for me to be viewed as an equal to this other tank, and that was to be better then him. Step one of that needed to be improving my off spec.

The Transition from A Meat-Shield to a Hammerstrike
The first step on my road to improvement has been my spec. I started with a Single-Minded Fury Spec. I went to the training Dummy and got my baseline DPS .... doing everything i thought i should be doing and looking at the numbers from there. I spent an even 5 minutes whacking away on the dummy, without looking at my recount, going for broke. At the end of five minues I left comat, looked down and saw that I did a whopping 5.5k. One work came to mind--PATHETIC.

So, I opened my spell book and went to my Jewelcrafting. I went to cut some gems, but then realized that I didn't know what I needed to cut--but I knew where to find out, I logged out of World of Warcraft, and hit him up. Mr Robot gave me a laundry list of gems and enchants that I needed to get on each piece of gear, as well as some reforging suggestions. I also copied down Mr Robots preferred SMF spec and then logged back into the game.

Getting back into the game, I gemmed, enchanted, reforged and respecedd and went back to the same dummy. I am not sure if going ot the same dummy matters or not, but wasn't going to add any unecesssary variables that I didn't have to. I set the timer on my watch for five minutes, cleared my recount, and whacked away again. whack. Whack. Whack. All the while again I was ignoring my recount I did again what I thought I was upposed to be doing. When the buzzer sounded, I left combat and looked down at my recount now. 7k. REALLY?!?!?! I logged out and walked away from the computer.

7k DPS. Seriously. After I got done yelling at the computer (because it was OBVIOUSLY the computers fault) I decided that some reading was in order. So I went to Tankspot and I went to Elitist Jerks and started taking notes on anything warrior I could find. After I woke up from them putting me to sleep, I read over the notes I took and decided to give the training dummy another couple whacks since I know had a rotation to work with.

Again I logged in, again I set my watch, and again I cleared my recount. Whack. Whack. Whack on the dummy for another five minutes. 8.5K. better, but still not where I wanted to be. So I thought for a second and then remembered the 2 handed mace I got off of Magmaw the week before. I saw that I had copied some information about arms, and I thought "Why not? Couldn't be THAT bad."

I respecced, which meant re-gemming and reforging again. Went back to the dummy, reset recount, hit START on my watch, and whacked away yet again. 9.8k. Almost there. Just a few more tweaks, and I should hit 11k -- which was my goal because it will mean that i have doubled my DPS output in a single week.

But before I ran any more simulations, it was time to test it out in battle. After all, I wanted to know what I could REALLY do when it mattered -- buffed and against an actual living, breathing boss. SO I went into BoT with the expectation of using my new spec at some point that night.

I got my chance on the Twin Dragons of Sparkling Doom. Since we only need 1 tank, I went to my Arms spec and braced myself for battle. My knuckles were white, my teeth were clenched and I was sweating up a storm. Several clicks (yes, I am an ability clicker ... get over it), some strafes and a few near deaths later, the Twins were dead. It was time for the moment I had been dreading -- the moment of truth. I looked down at my recount and was beside myself as I looked down to find myself (my bar is set so I only see five people at a time.) What I saw made everything worth it though ..... "5. Goreblades 10388" Not only did I do 10.3k DPS, I actually out DPSed people whose main spec was DPS.

As ecstatic as I was about this (believe me, I told anyone who would listen), I knew my work was far from over. I looked through the recount log to see what I was using and what I was not using, and made some changes to how my bars were laid out. I macroed a few abilities to add Heroic Strike much the same way I do for tanking, and knew I needed another fight to test it. I didnt have to wait long for my chance.

The next night, we got to Atramedeas in BWD. Again, only 1 tank, so again I switched to arms. Though not nearly as nervous this time, I was eager to get this going. Whack, wham, run, jump, dodge, dead dragon. Feeling I did a better job, I looked at my recount ... "4. Goreblades 11436."

Not only a Victory, but a resounding success in more then doubling my DPS output in less then a week.

I know I have more work ahead of me, but seeing how well I have done here gives me a sense of not only encouragement, but accomplishment as well. Now that I am over the 10k DPS hurdle, I find myself shooting for the 15k ........ and I am chomping at the bit to make that work.

1 comment:

Emmanuel ISSALY said...

Gratz ;)

Notice that using keybinds instead of mouseclick for the abilities you spam will grant you an HUGE dps boost :)

Also, the raid dps will be higher than the dummy because of raidbuffs.

Nice and funny read!