While I haven’t really been inclined to get my wookie on and swing a lightsaber, I do follow some aspects of STWOR if for no other reason to have some inkling about what people are getting uptight about.  Usually I end up nodding and saying something like "Some things never change."

One recent controversy did raise my eyebrows, though. There was rumblings about enrage timers, but then a more interesting twist emerged: no damage meters, no combat log.  As so many experience DPSers will tell you, this is pretty stupid.  Here’s one now:

So I’ll come down in favor of DPS races and enrage timers, but only if there are combat logs (and the subsequent parsers and DPS meters) so you can actually FIX the problem if you’re not beating the content. The problem generally isn’t with DPS meters themselves, anyway; it’s with the way some players choose to use them to exclude their "inferiors" from participating in content, and the fact that they often broaden the definition of "inferior" well beyond the needs of the content.

If you think I’m shallow enough to link to this to say I-told-you-so, you’d be completely accurate.

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.

Smug mode: engage.

I’m sure Bioware or whoever will address this to everyone’s satisfaction at some point.  I’m not sure if WoW came with a working addon API out of the box, but given how late it was announced for STROW I’d venture that it was an afterthought and still has some work to go.  I’d advise patience, but that’s not particularly the hallmark of your average STWOR player1. So, good luck with that, I guess.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

That’s not actually what this article is about. Well, peripherally, it is, but only in that damage meters and combat logs are involved and it deals with DPS.  Namely, mine.

A couple of patches ago, we got changes to the Beast Master Hunter spec that promised near-parity with other specs. Then the guild got gutted of over half its overall raiding roster and it became more difficult to judge my performance against those of my fellows. Then there were more adjustments in the last patch, including some buffs to both SV and BM. Then we started inviting some people from another guild to raid with us regularly, which included a SV spec hunter.

I saw that BM wasn’t doing that great at all. He was topping the meters, I was bringing up the rear. My best choice at that point was to focus on utility. I’ve had to do this before, many times, as far back as Kara. Hoping that being useful (rather than deadly) would keep me in the rotation.

Or, I could change specs. Give it a go.

Looking at gear and gems and reforges and enchants, I realized I only had to change one enchant – agi to mastery – to optimize my armor for SV.  Stat-wise, there was virtually no difference.  So, I left myself geared for BM and greased into SV mode.

After looking at the meters, after looking at the combat logs, in all respects, my performance improved. On average, a 3K difference in output, and I’m not really used to the rotation yet.

So here we are at the end of the expansion and I’m having deja vu all over again.  Because this is exactly where I ended up as I started crawling the passageways of Icecrown in the final patch of WotLK. Survival.   BM was the red-headed stepchild of the team; people like me ran it if we had to, but otherwise we used one of the other specs because they delivered what our class is expected to: ranged damage, and lots of it.

So that’s the upshot of my weekend: I guess I’m shifting to SV and swapping my BM pets for a stock of SV. Alas. BM is, by far, my favorite hunter spec, because it’s so darned fun. But sometimes you gotta give up some funsies to get that boss down. And that’s a sad thing. Of all the issues about talents and specs, that is the greatest one of all – that one cannot just play the spec that one enjoys the most and still expect to perform the same as others.  Maybe you get lucky and it works out. Maybe you don’t.

In my case, not so much.


  1. i.e. "Blizzard doesn’t add content fast enough" impatient. []
4 Responses to “Inconvenient Truths”
  1. This makes me a very sad hunter. But, you do what you feel you gotta do.

    Z

    • Grimmtooth says:

      I realize that some people will say that BM is viable for raiding, but I’m obviously no BRK. Even with the 3K improvement, I’m still tail-end-charlie on many bosses.

      My decision – not to be a liability – isn’t the thing to be sad or angry about. It’s that I had to MAKE that decision that annoys me. They tore apart the game and put it back together so that they could make things more tweakable and thus easier to adjust. So the question is: why are there still so many disparities? Not just hunters, but warlocks and mages (all pure DPS, notably) have the same exact problem – one superior DPS spec, two specs for … RPing?

  2. Bob Flintston says:

    Why Blizzard must we have 2 expansions were we can not raid with our big red pets?

    BTW BRK is survival because BM does not do enough DPS.

    • Grimmtooth says:

      Oh, BRK finally caved, did he? No wonder he hasn’t been writing about it, he’s probably as sad about it as the rest of us are.

  3.  
Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Please leave these two fields as-is:

Protected by Invisible Defender. Showed 403 to 32,677 bad guys.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.