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In Defense of Damage Dealers

In Defense of Damage Dealers

Recently, Adam posted an article about how healing in LFR isn’t fun. I’m inclined to agree with him in principle, even though I’ve only done LFR on my main, a Warlock. However I disagree with some of the things he said, especially since I’m a damage dealer and apparently that means I’m one of the “. . . seventeen selfish, incompetent morons waiting to blow up the damage meters, stroke their epeens, and get their harmful ejaculate all over the raid.”

Well, I don’t know about that. As a damage dealer, I take just a little issue with the sentiment. Let’s take a look at the problem a little closer.

In LFR, the encounters are obviously easier than normal difficulty. This can be achieved in a number of different ways such as reducing the health of the boss, reducing incoming damage, or completely removing mechanics altogether. Adam listed a few examples, and I think Ultraxion’s situation is the most common one.

On normal, and at content-level, Hour of Twilight would kill you unless you used some defensive cooldown, but you could get away with it in LFR, and I vividly remember running Dragon Soul in LFR. Before the pull the healers would ask everyone to click the Heroic Will button for Hour of Twilight, and every time I’d see half the raid take a large hit to their health pools. The healers were then forced to heal everyone back up.

Why? Was it because the DPS didn’t care? Was it because they were so focused on trying to top the damage meter that they didn’t want to stop DPSing for even that brief moment? For some, either or both of those reasons could’ve been the culprit. However, I also noticed something else as I watched the health meters go down. Some of those people, the ones who were hit by Hour of Twilight, did hit Heroic Will. They just hit it too late. Whether it was lag or a misunderstanding of when the button should be hit, these damage dealers were trying to follow the mechanics, but ultimately failed. And, I believe, they had no idea they were failing.

What’s a healer to do when he or she sees someone fail to hit Heroic Will? They’re too busy healing the raid to say something in chat, and what good will it do anyway? Someone already said hit the button, everyone knows you’re supposed to hit the button, and this guy’s just some asshole who won’t follow directions, right?

Like I said, maybe, but maybe not. What if the damage dealer has tunnel vision while DPSing? He’s too distracted mashing keys to notice his health goes down every time Hour of Twilight is cast. Or maybe he noticed but thinks it’s supposed to go down, and Heroic Will makes it not kill you.

Having done the green fire questline, I feel like it’s a sign that I’m generally pretty good with raid awareness. And yet I’m still guilty of missing things. When Adam and I did Scholomance on Challenge Mode, I recall being hit with Instructor Chillheart’s Frigid Grasp without having a clue it was happening. For those unfamiliar with the fight on Challenge Mode, the wave of ice that moves across the room is a tight DPS check.

You need to trigger phase two before it hits the group or you’re done. Our group’s DPS was cutting it really close, so the ice wave would force us into a small area. On top of that, there are patrolling trash mobs to either side which we were trying not to aggro to save time. I saw Frigid Grasp appear on the ground and I moved just out of reach, but not too far away to risk aggro’ing one of those trash mobs.

Except that apparently I didn’t move far enough away.

The tank piped up and said “You can’t get hit with that.” “I got hit?” I asked. “Twice” responded Adam. D’oh! It was then I learned that the texture on the ground was a little misleading and the area I thought was safe actually wasn’t. Had the tank not said anything I probably would never have noticed, and Adam merely fixed my mistake for me.

It’s especially easy to miss damage on a Warlock because of Soul Leech. It gives me an absorption shield as I do damage. It’s really hard for me to notice that my absorption shield went from 200k to 10k.

Some of the problem, when the person isn’t trying to be an ass, comes from the fact that damage dealers can go through a fight and have no idea they did something wrong. It harkens back to what Adam said in his article. Avoidable damage needs to kill people. Or, at the very least, it should be very obvious. LFR shouldn’t mean that Hour of Twilight doesn’t kill a player, but instead the cast time should be longer and the duration of the Heroic Will should be increased. This allows players to have a longer amount of time to react and it gives the player some wiggle room if the ability was hit too soon.

I don’t think death should happen at every missed avoidable damage situation, but it couldn’t hurt if it occurred more often. During the Council of Elders encounter in Throne of Thunder, Frost King Malakk will cast Frostbite on raid members. If the player afflicted with it does not stand close to other players, reducing the stacks of Frostbite, the player’s screen gets covered in a blue hue. It’s nearly impossible to miss. Having similar in-your-face mechanics that make players aware of mistakes is good.

I leveled a resto Shaman during Wrath of the Lich King. I invented a game when the tank was being an asshole called “Let’s see how low I can keep the tank’s health without letting him die.” It would drive tanks nuts because they would always be so close to death, but I wasn’t wiping the group and wasting everyone else’s time. Besides, if it came to me playing that game, the tank deserved it.

I understand healing frustrations. Besides, I get an earful from Adam any time we do LFR.

People, in general, are assholes. I say it all the time and I won’t try to convince you that most of the people in LFR are just confused about mechanics. That being said, it is true some of the time. Not all damage dealers ignore fight mechanics to make a healer’s job more difficult. I think that once people have played long enough they become jaded and bitter. They assume the person knows better and he or she just doesn’t care.

Next time someone messes up an encounter mechanic, consider whispering them and mentioning how the fight is supposed to go. I think you’d be surprised how many people are receptive to that kind of feedback when it’s not coming out as “lulz, learn2play you fucking noob.” That being said, if someone is intentionally screwing things up, feel free to play Bingo.

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  1. Felade /

    I like healing LFR. Gives me a chance to flex my healing muscles:)

  2. Gondlem /

    The other thing to note about avoiding damage in LFR (or not avoiding it, as the case may be), is that if damage doesn’t have a realistic chance of killing you or otherwise harming the raid, and it’s a DPS loss to avoid it, it really is just bad play to do so. To take the Dragon Soul examples from the post you’re responding to, why would I move out of the black pool on Morchok or hit my special action button on Ultraxion when not doing so won’t kill me?

    I did Heroic Ultraxion the week it came out, led other players through the encounter and developed a strat for it, and before I ever set foot in a pug LFR I knew perfectly well how to do the fight and when to hit my button. I still never did it in LFR, because porting myself into another realm and losing three seconds of DPS time for no reason seemed like a poor choice. Not because the only thing I care about is performance on the meter, but because my job is to kill the boss as quickly as possible.

    I also healed Dragon Soul LFR at times, and frankly I preferred it when people didn’t avoid healable damage because it gave me something to do. I never really understand the mentality that as a healer it’s more fun if people don’t take damage. What’s the point of being in the raid if there’s nothing to heal?

    I’m sure it’s a mindset issue, but as a damage dealer I feel like it’s my job to avoid dying while doing as much damage as I can to the important targets, and it’s a healer’s job to ensure that if damage I take is healable (within reason) that they do it. Nothing in LFR really hits hard enough to kill you, so I really don’t try and avoid damage in LFR at all.

    • I did Heroic Ultraxion the week it came out, led other players through the encounter and developed a strat for it, and before I ever set foot in a pug LFR I knew perfectly well how to do the fight and when to hit my button.

      I think this might be where there’s a disconnect. In order to do Heroic Ultraxion on the first week it was available, you must’ve been pretty well-geared and in a well-coordinated raid. That might give you the impression that the healers are well-geared too, but that isn’t always the case.

      LFR is comprised of 25 people. Two are tanks, six are heals, and 17 are allocated for DPS. If all 17 damage dealers decided to stay out during Hour of Twilight, are you sure the healers could keep up? If the healer had just enough of an item level to enter the raid to begin with, there’s a good chance he or she would run out of mana.

      So if all 17 damage dealers said to themselves the same thing you did, I think we can agree that there’s a good chance a wipe is possible. And I think saying only some of the damage dealers can stay out introduces the slippery slope of which damage dealers. It’s a group of 25 strangers who have no way of communicating verbally. That kind of coordination may not be possible.

      I’m all for outgearing mechanics. During WotLK I used to chain pull to my heart’s content when running 5-man heroics because the gear allowed it. It was fun and efficient. I’m also an advocate of ignoring certain mechanics in a guild group because you know how your group’s dynamics work. Obviously in a normal raid players needed to be rotated to stay out during Hour of Twilight, so that mechanic couldn’t exactly be ignored, but you get my meaning.

      Nothing in LFR really hits hard enough to kill you, so I really don’t try and avoid damage in LFR at all.

      And this really hits at the heart of what I’m trying to say. If we assume that healers have been taking an undue burden in LFR to heal mechanics away (and I recognize not everyone feels this way, but let’s assume), I think making the damage kill the player is one of the only ways to make people avoid the damage. Anything less and players will continue to ignore it.

  3. Shawn /

    Not all damage dealers are like that in LFR though.

    As a damage dealer, I consider that I’ve done my job successfully if I am #1 on damage done and #10 (or #25, depending on the raid size) on damage taken.

  4. Jason /

    I think that overall, this is a good post and raises some very valid counterpoints to Adam’s article, which as a healer comes across as a solid bitchfest. Not completely without merit(there’s a reason I don’t heal LFR any more), but very much a bitchfest.

    The thing is, however, that you both fail to draw a solid divider between is assholes who ignore mechanics(tunneling on horridon, ignoring crimson wake, etc) and those who are either ignorant of the mechanics(because LFR allows them to be) or are in their for the first time and have not experienced the mechanics.

    Individuals in the first group, who invariably complain about healers being bad, or tout how awesome they are at DPS really need to have their LFR privleges revoked, or given a token which puts them in a queue with people of similar ideology.

    Individuals of the second two groups need to be taught. They need to be informed about the mechanics of the encounter, that by following the mechanics(stack for frostbite, spread out for biting cold) the run goes smoother, we get done faster, and life is good. If they choose to stay ignorant, then they can go and run LFR with other people who like ignoring mechanics.

    • I tried to separate those two groups of people in my article. Whereas Adam focused on DPS intentionally ignoring mechanics, I tried to focus on the more innocent players.

      The problem with having a system that separates queues for “asshole” DPS is detecting and enforcing it. If a DPS tunnels Horridon or ignores Crimson Wake, is it because they’re bad? Is it because they’re doing it on purpose to inflate their DPS? How could you know?

      And because of that inability to tell, the easiest solution, and in my opinion the most effective, would be to introduce some sort of death-inducing mechanic. What if, while adds are up on Horridon, he gained a damage reflection shield? If you DPS’d him with the shield up, you kill yourself. What if Crimson Wake flat-out killed the person it was focused on?

      This solves the problem with both kinds of DPS. If you’re learning the mechanics and something kills you, attention has been brought to it and you can avoid it in the future. If you’re trying to inflate the damage meter, now you’re dead and your DPS will be crap.

    • Yeah, it’s a bitchfest. That’s why it’s posted under “Rants.” If it were a more thoughtful article, we’d have posted it under a different category.

  5. Ahlstrom /

    I think it’s fun to stand in non completely-lethal stuff, people are usually full HP during LFR anyway, why not make some more dps and give the healers a bit of workout.

  6. CJGibson /

    Avoidable damage that gives DPS reducing debuffs would also tend to be noticed by DPSers. If suddenly you find your DPS rotation getting screwed up because that chill blast added a 5s cooldown to all of your abilities, you’d be aware that you stood in something.

    • This is very true. In fact, when first killing the trash before Empress in Heart of Fear, I suddenly became locked out of my spells because of the debuff that adds a cooldown to each ability. It was an issue with the debuff not being dispelled, so it’s not a DPS mechanic, but the same concept could easily be carried over.

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