It is all the rage these days to disavow any regard whatsoever for damage meters. One is expected to denounce their use, purge them from one’s system, deny them access to your chat window, and make fun of those using them.

Well, I say, nuts to that!

care_meter If you are DPS, this is your instrument

Neil Armstrong did not land on the moon by looking out the window1, he used instruments – and Buzz Aldrin calling out other instrument readings.  Lindbergh didn’t even have a front window, he flew across the Atlantic on instruments. There are automobile races where the participants don’t even depart at the same time – they completely use instruments to determine who won.

In short, a reliable instrument is worth any number of other observations.

And a damage meter is the DPS role’s instrument of measurement.

You need to know if you are performing properly

The DPS role is dependent on its numbers, whether you take them subjectively or absolutely is irrelevant.  But of the two, an absolute reference is much better than a relative one. Numbers are absolute. You can feed them into spreadsheets, save them off, compare them to each other. You can make multiple passes and chart your progress or lack thereof. Your damage meter is your friend. If you were doing 20K last week on a particular boss, and only 18K this week, you have something to look in to before you’re the cause of an enrage-timer wipe in the future.

woodentargetdummy.png Target dummies are liars

"Well, fine", you say, "turn it on for your target dummies, I got no problem with that, but using them in a live encounter is bad!"  To which I say, pfah!  Target dummies give you a baseline, but they don’t take anything into account that you get from a live boss. You won’t see all the group buffs, or group procs, or even be able to use your execute abilities such as Kill Shot or Decimate. You might as well just sit there with autoshot, the approximation will have the same level of accuracy (and much less variability!).

No, a live boss (or live trash, if that is your interest) is the only way to truly gauge your performance in a raid setting. And since things vary depending on raid make-up, procs, and the like, you will need multiple samples.

Well, you don’t need to run it for everyone

Yes, you do.

You are not a single unit. You are part of a team. And how you perform relative to the rest of the team is important, if for no other reason than that of self-preservation.  For if you’re performing in line with the guys at Elitist Jerks, but behind that of your guild (what, you think that EJ is infallible? Lol.). You may be in danger of being sat without realizing it.  Because if you’re part of a serious raiding guild, I guarantee that your Raid Leader is watching your performance.

The more you know …

wol_feature-300x173 But that’s what World of Logs is for!

It is indeed, and in my opinion it is a far more accurate instrument than Omen or Skada, provided all members contribute logs (if it’s just you, then it’s on par with the other two, not better). But you probably won’t have WoL for all of your Heroics, trash runs, and so forth. You need all the things. Else your dataset is incomplete.

A damage meter is always there.

People use them badly!

They do indeed. Jerks spam chat with them all the time. But not you, right?

And the damage meters don’t do that automatically, so if yours does, it’s totally your fault. You are misusing the instrument. Stop it.

What idiots do with damage meters is not my concern, and it is not the fault of the damage meter. Get over it.

tyson_badass I don’t need a damage meter to know how well I’m doing

Yes you do. You will always do better with solid statistics than you will with a "gut feeling".

But if you just want to use the Force, have I got a game for you.

It might also be that you’re a PvPer and see no need. I contend that you don’t even belong in this conversation. Fire up All Healers Must Die and go do that honorable thing you do.

There are valid performance issues.

Yes, there are. But not for me, and not for most people that I know of. If, however, you are one of those people, and cannot afford a computer made after 2001, then by all means don’t run with one, because for certain it does suck CPU cycles.

You already have problems and damage meters are the least of them, but, whatever.2

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.

TromboneIn general, however, a damage meter is a valuable and useful tool for DPS self-improvement.  Feel free to sneer at the idiots spamming party chat, and feel free to kick people that get hung up over somebody else’s DPS in a PUG3.  But don’t blame the instrument for these things.

After all, both Tommy Dorsey and myself play the same musical instrument. But nobody has ever proposed that the Trombone be banned because of me.4

Your damage meter is your friend

If you’re serious about self-improvement in a raiding environment, you need to use your damage meter to its fullest to provide nice, juicy data from which you can draw useful conclusions, and then apply those conclusions in such a way as to improve your performance (or detect bad decisions of that sort).

This is my damage meter. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My damage meter is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My damage meter, without me, is useless. Without my damage meter, I am ineffectual. I must use my damage meter wisely. I must DPS better than the boss that is trying to kill me. I must kill him before he kills me. I shall.

My damage meter and myself know that what counts in this raid is not the DPS we do, our meter dumps to raid chat, or the noise we make. We know that it is the overall damage that counts. We will do massive damage.

My damage meter is human, even as I, because it is our life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its range, its triggers, its filters and its scope. I will keep my damage meter prepped and ready, even as I am prepped and ready. We will become part of each other. We will.

Before the Light, I swear this creed. My damage meter and myself are the defenders of my world. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.

So be it, until victory is ours and there is no enemy, but peace!


  1. He looked AT the window, which had guide markers on it! []
  2. I also recommend 800×600 resolution. []
  3. We did that last night, and when asked why, the reason given was "Insufficient Beardiness." The fact that the mage in question was so quickly votekicked speaks for itself, however. He was an insufferable bore. []
  4. Well, my neighbors. And maybe my mom. []
4 Responses to “In Defense of Damage Meters”
  1. The thing about damage meters is this: people need to know how to look at them casually during a fight. It is like a speedometer in a car. When driving your attention should be on the road, but you do peek at the speedometer and the rear view every once in a while to make sure stuff is all in line to where it should be.

    • Grimmtooth says:

      And this is exactly why the article is not “In defense of people misusing damage meters”. Problem is that people seem to conflate the two. Instead of addressing people misusing the things, they boast “well *I* don’t use no steenking damage meter and if you do you’re a bad player.”. To which I had a nut-laden retort. :)

    • Lyraat says:

      Great analogy :D

      I don’t like seeing UI’s with damage meters on them. I ran with Recount hidden. After every fight, “/recount show”. If I wanted to check my dps during a specific portion of the fight–burn phase, e.g.–I would unhide it. Otherwise, Recount was not on my screen and thus not tempting me.

      Omen has a damage meter component? Maybe they updated it; been a while since I used it. Used to be the only way to tell you were doing good dps via Omen was when it screamed, “Danger, n00b! Your dps pulled the boss off the tank!”

      • Grimmtooth says:

        You’re right, Omen doesn’t do that. The reason I got confused is that I used to run with Omen and Recount overlapping the same space – both had the ability to auto-hide so I had one hidden during combat, the other out of combat. I think I got that trick from Hydra.

        Before that I did the same as BRK did with that bit of space – window with combat log – and got absolutely nothing out of it. The man’s a diva.

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