Thursday, July 26, 2007

Incoming!

In a normal 5-man dungeon run, what's the most important ability for stopping incoming damage? Power Word: Shield? Not even close. Shield Block? Nope. Devotion Aura and Resistance Auras? Nuh-uh. None of those even come close to stopping the incoming damage that Freezing Trap, Polymorph, and Sap do.

I heal. I don't do anything else. I would not feel comfortable tanking even a level 60 instance, and if I tried to DPS I'd probably do less damage than the actual tank. Thus I'm very sensitive to incoming damage (as well as debuffs, which are also prevented by CC), because it's what I'm working to undo. In general, classes that can heal or tank don't have very general CC (druid and priest CC is fine when it works, but in most situations it doesn't.) This means that the three DPS slots are also CC slots. In general theory, you don't want to sacrifice too much DPS for CC because you'll have trouble on bosses, but in WoW you don't have to do that because the best CC classes are the best DPS classes.

For better or for worse, this has made me somewhat cynical about 'off-spec' dps - cats, moonkin, DPS warriors, elemental/enhancement shamans, and retadins. Even if they're keeping up on DPS, even if they're not pulling aggro, there's something that doesn't show up on any chart, which is all the damage and havoc that the mob that's frozen or sheeped or sapped -didn't- cause because it was crowd controlled. Aside from the fact that the mob wasn't hurling debuffs and doing damage at the time that healing was most intense - the early middle of a fight, when all of the free mobs are alive and kicking - it was another target that the tank didn't have to try to build up aggro against, allowing him or her to focus more on the primary kill, which allows the DPS classes to responsibly do more DPS. Crowd Control is such an absurd boon to the party, and I really don't think it gets the love it deserves.

That said, I've had plenty of good experiences with cat druids and enhancement shamans. (Ret pallies and DPS warriors are usually edged out of parties I'm in by the fact that me and (often) the tank would be competing for plate drops, I've never grouped with a PvE elemental shaman (are you guys out there?), and all my experiences with moonkin have been mediocre at best.)

What good kitties and enhancement shamans (who I really wish there was a shorter name for) lose by not having CC they make up by being arguably -better- on many bosses (ones that don't require CC, which is most) because they can off-heal, and I am excited when they do. (I also appreciate having a DI target.) As long as there's -some- CC, in most places there doesn't need to be three people that can do it well. (Which is good, because otherwise Warlocks - who I love - would be left out in the lurch in any instance that doesn't have lots of elementals, though I have grouped with one warlock who was very, very good with seduce, which I now consider to be a heavily underutilized ability.)

2 comments:

Michael said...

Good post.

The way I see it, there's really only 2 group roles in WoW, damage dealing, and damage mitigation.

Damage dealing is plain old DPS. Damage mitigation is more complicated, it includes the damage mitigated/avoided by tanks, the amount healed by healers, and as you mentioned, the damage prevented by Crowd Control. Also included are abilities such as spell-interupts such as sheild-bash and a rouge's Kick, to prevent spells from being cast, and any kind of debuffs that can be placed on mobs, such as disarm, enfeeble, or slowing effects such as frost-bolt or blizzard.

In TBC instances, the de-facto standard group seems to be:

Tank
DPS/CC
DPS
DPS
Healer

I'd realy love to see if a non-traditional group, say, like 5 frost mages could run an instance without wiping a ton. They should be able to polymorph up to 5 mobs at once, and with 5 frostbolts and 5 frost-novas, odds are good most mobs could be chain-frozen and kited effectively. The only problem with a group like this would be 7+ mob pulls, and Melee-heavy boss fights where the boss can't be kited well.

Keystone said...

Don't forget the water!
I've had group invites that I swear only came because they needed water!

I don't mind it though; I like modeling myself after The Waterboy (great movie)