Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Difficulty of Gearing a DPS

I have been out of the blogging loop for so long now, I had to practically re-learn most of my blog. I changed my comments right in the middle of my hiatus, so I'm still not sure if they're working correctly. I try to respond to most comments, but since I also haven't been writing much, I can't expect many comments. At any rate, if I don't respond to a question posted, just e-mail me.

Now, on to the current subject.

I've been playing my Resto Shaman for quite some time now. I had pretty much retired Leiandra, my mage, and even dabbled a bit with my druid tank. For a change, (and to be able to attend both GDKP runs we've been holding), I decided to pull the mage out of moth balls, and gear her up for ICC.

And amazingly, it's not as easy as I remembered or thought it would be. For all of you Gear-score people, she's about at a 2500 GS. Not horrible, but certainly has a lot of upgrades to get. Heck, she can even get a ton of upgrades out of the ICC 5-man instances. Heck! There's still about 250 Emblems of Triumph that would finish out her 232-ilvl gear. But it is absolutely insane the amount of time that I have to wait in the dungeon finder in order for me to get in an instance.

With both my healing shaman and tanking druid, I may have to wait up to 1 minute to get in an instance. Now, 1 minute is usually only if I have chosen specific dungeons to run. The random dungeons is pretty much instant group. In fact, they might as well change the button for tanks and healers to be "Join Group Now".

DPS, on the other hand, seems to take a little longer. I've waited around for 15 minutes before finding something else to do, and that's for the random dungeons. I can't even think how long I would have to wait if I chose a dungeon that people don't want to run, like say.. The Nexus. (which I happen to enjoy, but that's a whole different post.)

And I suppose it all makes sense. 60-70% of most raids are DPS. 60% of 5-man instances are DPS. If there were equal distribution of specs for each class, then you'd probably have about 66% of players doing DPS, but... I'm guessing it's a lot higher. Just a guess (with no data to back it up), I'm guessing that it's more like 80-90% of people want to just kill stuff.

In a class like a mage (or warlock, or rogue, or hunter), this is almost the reverse hybrid tax. (If you're not familiar with hybrid tax, see here.) Any of the hybrids out there can simply change spec, run the 5-mans on one of the easier specs to get into 5-mans, and be out of the instance before the pure dps classes can even get in an instance.

So, what's the answer? Well, the fastest thing is to make friends with a non-hybrid. If you're really good, you'll make friends with a tank AND a healer, and have them run heroics with you. At that point though, you'll probably get swamped with whispers if you throw out in trade chat, "LF 2 DPS for...". (In all honesty, there's such an over-abundance of DPS, it doesn't really matter how you finish that sentence.) And this brings me to my final point. As an effective tool, and compared to how well it works for healers and tanks, I'd even go as far as to say that the LFG tool is almost broken for DPS.

Which really brings it back to the root cause of what's fun to most people. The majority of people don't like to tank and heal. So, is there anything that Blizzard can do to make these roles fun? I know they've taken a look at healing in this regard. As far as what I've seen from Cataclysm Beta posts though, it seems they've merely tried to make healers not stare at bars as much. You actually have to look at the environment around you as well. But we shall see...

To sum up: Gearing a DPS? Get a pocket tank and healer to do it quickly and efficiently. :)