While listening to Group Quest #114 on Monday morning, one of my favorite podcasts alongside Convert To Raid, I heard something in passing that sat me back on my butt.

I listen to podcasts while working, and my attention goes to work first. Sigh. Damn priorities.

So, at times I’ll be working busily away and bits of something controversial will be said that blows right by my shields. It sinks into the vulnerable rear areas of my brain, the part where ideas like “wouldn’t it be nice to grind Dark Soil to get Best Friends with everyone on the farm?” come from.

Once that bit of overheard conversation gets down there in the dark, my internal drama bear reaches out and smacks me around a bit, no claws, yelling “Wake up! Shit just got real! HANDLE IT!”

What I heard was a segment on community posts, talking about somebody who wrote a blog post stating that their character in reasonable gear can auto-attack and do 32k damage without having to push any other buttons, so 32k can now be considered the “I don’t give a shit, I’m afking through this LFR, fuck you” level of play.

The conversation immediately moved on to discuss what is or is not a reasonable amount of DPS to expect players to put out in LFR, and I think either Hasteur or DeGei mentioned that top raiders can reliably put out somewhere around 200k DPS, so expectations on “what is good DPS” are changing a lot.

Good points, very good points.

I can’t recall another expansion that saw such a dramatic increase in player damage output in such a short period of time.

This ain’t all that new. We’re used to outgearing content as an expansion goes by. Even in Burning Crusade, there were plenty of jokes about bare ass nekkid bears tanking in 5 person heroics just to get some damn rage generation. “Tanks, drop your pants!” was the common cry. “Tank Naked” was the order of the day.

You know, because of the old system where you had to get hit to build Rage, and if you had awesome gear and maxed Avoidance, you ended up rage starved. You know. /Whistles. Yeah, I know, recap buzzkill. Anyway.

Hmm, a new shirt idea. Big words stating “TANK NAKED”, with a line of dancing bears underneath. Where is my Robert Khoo to monetize this shit? Moving right along…

Yes, I say we’re used to the concept of outgearing content during an expansion, but we are arguably only halfway through this expansion, and the content that is still current has become trivial for Throne of Thunder normal raiders.

Trivial, I say! Bah, humnuts! Or Chestbug. Or something.

Heck, it’s trivial for people decked out in Terrace and Throne of Thunder LFR gear!

I’m not complaining, mind you. The better my gear gets, the happier I am to do daily quests, because I can blow through them (and the mobs) in short order, and feel a bit like a badass at the same time. Which is a good feeling, after getting your ass kicked in a bad LFR or Brawlers Guild fight.

Every game needs to have a moment where you get to feel like a badass, right before it kicks your teeth in.

So yes, expectations shift and grow over the expansion. What would have been hot shit in LFR or normals a few months ago are now the low end of the spectrum.

Still.

The little drama bear thought it heard some awesome chunky drama, and hit the big red “Bullshit alert! bullshit alert!” button in the back of my head.

Seriously? 32k DPS is the new ‘afking through the raid, fuck you’ level of performance?

After the outrage registered, my very next thought was, “Well, what about those of us who don’t have an auto-attack? we no clickie buttons, our damage output is zero. I guess it’s all right for SOME, but we still be activating shit over in this neck of the woods.”

I’ll grant you, I’ve played on my Hunter for the first half of this expansion, and my Hunter has a nice, tasty ranged physical auto-attack. Also, my pet will tear the SHIT out of anything I start attacking, and if what I’m attacking dies and something else is in combat with me, why, it’ll go after the next monster all on it’s own. My pet is a big chunk of my DPS, and he can work almost completely autonomous.

That means my pet ain’t just a button on an attack bar, it goes out there and chews on some ass. Mmm, tasty.

darn right, my Hunter can stand there doing nothing, and my bow goes ‘twang, twang’ at the bad guys, pet goes and gets some Mogu tartare, damage be getting done. Makes me look like I’m doing something. Oh yeah, I’ve got a button I can press too. Pew pew. Or not.

I get it.

But the caster classes I be playing, there ain’t none of that easy mode shit.

I’ve been raiding on the Warlock at around 500 iLevels (with Grimoire of Sacrifice and no pet), and I’ve started doing introductory LFR on my Druid as a Moonkin at the lowest gear levels. /cry

My ranged caster characters? If I don’t hit a button, newsflash for ya, they don’t do SHIT!

My poor Moonkin in particular, it’s rough going. I’m trying to adapt my expectations from the instant casts of the Destruction Warlock with great deeps down to a poorly itemized Moonkin with long cast times for every-damn-thing, and it feels like the gear I’m shifting down to is reverse.

Cast… cast… can’t cast, gotta move, cast… PROCS! Cast… cast… cast…. gotta move, can’t cast, kiss my feathered ass Blizz fucking every fight a move fight, cast…. cast… ca OH SHIT CAN’T CAST GOTTA MOVE FIRE FIRE FIRE PUT ME THE F%^ OUT! Cast….

Yeah, you get the picture.

I am in a mix of 450/458 PvP gear, and a good collection of 476/483 gear from a week of LFR. Some enchants, some gems, don’t have a meta installed in my 458 PvP hat, sue me.

All that just to say, my Moonkin is doing around 35k DPS, raid buffed, with me busting my butt to crank out some damage and not be a complete drain life on the raid.

So yeah, like I said. I heard that 32k damage was the new ‘you’re not even trying’ range of DPS in an LFR, and the little bear in my brain stood up on hind legs and wanted to maul the shit out of something.

So… reality check.

That’s fine to have for a first reaction to something heard in passing, but what were the facts?

I went back and looked at the Group Quest website to see where that community piece had come from. It sounded familiar, but I sure as hell didn’t remember any drama inducing, brain-vessel-bursting posts like that recently.

Come to find they reference it as being from The Grumpy Elf.

Okay, so clearly what I thought I heard wasn’t what I actually heard, ’cause the Grumpy Elf wouldn’t have said that.

No, the Grumpy Elf didn’t say they can do 32k DPS afking through an LFR.

It was 38k DPS.

Well, shit!

But they weren’t saying it as a “this is what you should be doing, and if you’re not you suck” way.

Instead, it was put as a conversation starter. Like, okay guys, this is what I’m doing over here, got 38k DPS going just auto-attacking, what’s going on and why are other players not reaching those same numbers in LFR?

It’s a good question. The Grumpy Elf is playing a Hunter, just like I had been (and still love to), and just like I said, the class has basic mechanics that allow for automatic damage output.

Is it a function of being a physical damage class?

If I consider those classes that have to get into melee range to do DPS, those classes where physical positioning is important, they all have auto-attack damage as a large component of their DPS.

But the auto-attack is offset by the melee classes all having to constantly move their butts to stay within range of the target to do damage.

For ranged classes, there are Warlocks, Mages, Elemental Shaman, Moonkin, Priests and Hunters.

Of all of them, only the Hunter gets a ranged auto-attack. Warlocks and Mages can have pets too, but not an auto-attack. And when you’re ranged, positioning on the target doesn’t matter, you just have to move your butt out of fire once in a while.

Huh.

The Grumpy Elf has a great point. Why the heck are Hunters able to enjoy such a strange advantage?

Is it because of the old caster Wand mechanic, when everyone could auto-attack if they had an equipped ranged weapon, but casters had to use the Shoot spell, and Hunters could just, well, go bang?

But aren’t Wand attacks gone now? I know you can still equip a Wand, but they’ve become main hand caster weapons, there ain’t no separate ‘Wand’ slot anymore.

Hmm…

I know one thing. I like there being an auto-attack on the Hunter. I really like the feel of my Hunter attacking the bad guy with a baseline attack, while I control the timing of when I activate the ‘special’ shots. It puts me solidly in the mindset of controlling cooldowns, with EVERY shot becoming a cooldown.

Maybe what is needed is to bring every class in line with the Grumpy Elf’s ideas.

Maybe it’s time for every class to have an auto-attack, with traditionally ranged spell-casters getting a nice filler.

I know Demonology Warlocks can have a ranged spell auto-attack when in Metamorphoses and, I think, under the influence of the Glyph of tanking Awesomeness.

I think it is time. I think every class should have a baseline auto-attack, with melee being in close where their big damage attacks are, and traditionally ranged classes having a ranged auto-attack.

The more I think about it, the more I love the idea.

Hopefully, that’s something for ‘someday’.

In the meantime… let’s never forget that what is easy mode for one class is most certainly NOT for another. Sometimes, you have to bust your ass just to get a ‘meets expectations’ rating on your annual review.

In case this isn’t clear… I love the Grumpy Elf, and I loved the post once I went back and looked at it and realized that was what Group Quest was talking about. ‘s post. All the attitude came from my hearing a partial conversation by other people talking about it, and then thinking about what I thought I heard.

I still think it’s funny. I swear, I thought that was what they said, yer honor! now don’t go bringing any of your goldarn facts into it.

10 Responses to “All Things Considered Equal… AREN’T”
  1. Tesh says:

    When I was learning the game (well, early on), I thought wands were the magical equivalent of a ranged autoattack. I learned quickly that such wasn’t practical, but I think there’s some logic to that, at least as a framework to hang balancing numbers on. Yeah, maybe that means making those silly staff stat sticks shoot firebolts or something like a wand would, but that can’t be too hard, right?

    • Shane says:

      Wands were mana regen auto attacks… healers would run out of mana and rotate out to wand to regen some mana…

  2. Andy says:

    I think it is time. I think every class should have a baseline auto-attack, with melee being in close where their big damage attacks are, and traditionally ranged classes having a ranged auto-attack.

    That’s pretty much how it works in Guild Wars 2, although you can set any of your abilities to be your ‘autoattack’ (which is … kinda pointless as all except the first one usually have long enough cooldowns for it to not make sense). Every class/weapon set has an ability on #1 on their bar designed for being an autoattack though.

    It works quite well in that game, although the way the numbers are somewhat hidden (no Recount or anything) makes it hard to know how the different classes compare. Still, it’s very nice to be able to concentrate on movement/avoiding stuff when needed and still put out some damage, especially when almost all abilities/spells can be cast while moving.

    Mind you, what works in GW2 might not work so well in WoW, given the very different combat styles, and the more rigidly-defined ways in which spells interact in WoW. It’d certainly be a very major change to the mechanics.

  3. Aestalas says:

    Mages, Warlocks and Priests can have an auto-attack. It requires them to equip a crappy wand. Unless that was changed in this expansion (as I haven’t gotten to my wand-wielding caster toons to know for sure), Shooting with your wand (man that sounds dirty) is an auto-attack until you cast something else.

  4. Matty says:

    Thank you Bear. My melancholic Mage…well…over 40k means she took her vitamins…

  5. Ngita says:

    If you played early enough tesh wands where greater then ranged spell casting. Say any priest sub 30.

    I have my doubts about the 200k as well it seems a litle high. Sure a million dps on a trash pull or even from a tank on bosses that resemble trash fights. But single target? If its top end dps its real top end.

    But I do have to say its irritating to heal a heroic like last night and watch the warlock vary between 10k and 100k depending on how afk he was and I let the shaman drop to 10% hp one 1 boss fight because they where afk standing in fire, zero damage done to boss.

    But my holy priest is pretty good for afk healing, Pom on cooldown on the tank that is the current boss target, same for circle of healing, halo when the whole raid is low, good enough for 30-40k hps and it gives me time for the important stuff like looking for the spot I can do a halo from and break a million damage from a single cast.

  6. Talarian says:

    200k is well within reason for a heroic Throne of Thunder raider who’s decked out in heroic gear. World of Logs corroborates that quite easily. It also pans out mathematically. At ilvl 460, I could pull ~50k DPS raid buffed. At ilvl 495, I can pull ~90k DPS raid buffed. Add another 35 ilvls and one could extrapolate that at ilvl 530 I should be able to pull ~162k DPS, and I’ll be honest, I certainly don’t play to the maximum of my class’ abilities. Remember, the ilvl increase may be linear, but the power curve was deliberately designed by Blizzard to be exponential (see discussions about the Stat Crunch way back in MoP Beta that Ghostcrawler talked about).

    As far as auto attacking goes, Enhancement Shaman suck on the auto attack range. In an average of ilvl 499 gear, I only can pull 17k DPS auto-attacking (despite being able to pull 65k single-target without raid buffs using my normal rotation with no cooldowns), so not all melee classes get a free auto-attack pass. But then again passive damage only makes up about 25% of my overall DPS potential. Less than that if I have to do any sort of movement (in which I’ll be using ranged abilities to get damage while on the move).

    Also, speaking of Robert Khoo, you don’t happen to be watching Strip Search? If not, I highly recommend it. Penny Arcade threw together a reality TV show on the web about choosing the next great comic artist, and it’s awesome. It sorta answers the question of what happens when you put a bunch of nice people in a reality TV show? The answer: everyone is still really nice. And yet it’s still entertaining! Warning, it does have (a lot) NSFW language. Also potentially not safe for cub language.

  7. […] Tuesday, Big Bear Butt wrote a post about how he listened to that podcast on Monday, and their discussion on Grumpy Elf’s post […]

  8. Andrew says:

    Ugh, wands.

    I see them as a sort of gift from the devil. Even when I disable right click’s auto-functionality, they somehow still find a way to engage the /shoot mechanic and I lose valuable time for casting real spells.

    I definitely think that, if it’s going to be a main hand weapon, it should act like one, and have a conventional auto-attack. But, I do think that it needs to be interrupted when casting; otherwise, any incentive to use a weapon other than wand + offhand disappears, and we lose that much more traditional RPG flavor. Caster staves, maces, and daggers would go the way of agility swords for combat rogues.

    Auto attacks for hunters work because those ranged weapons are the only weapons a sane hunter would equip now anyway, and no one has any ither use for them now (and much to the relief if rogues, Druids, and now monks everywhere, though I have DEFINITELY experienced dungeon runs where there was a pregnant pause on a loot roll for an agility melee weapon before a hunter came to his senses).

  9. There has got to be a better way to use casting items like wands. I have the same problem with auto-casting and I find myself playing more defensive just because I don’t want to get stuck and not be able to recover in time to change spells or even retreat a bit to save my @$$. Ive allways been a casting class junkie but in the past several months I have found myself playing my paly and hunter much more.
    Oh well, it is what it is.

  10.  

World of Warcraft™ and Blizzard Entertainment® are all trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment in the United States and/or other countries. These terms and all related materials, logos, and images are copyright © Blizzard Entertainment. This site is in no way associated with Blizzard Entertainment®