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The DPS-tard (Flavor of the Month)

April 16, 2010

(Another Wall of Text, but this time I have an actual argument! Hooray!)

Yay for more fascinating journeys into Armory Data Mining!

Reading the results presented by Zardoz’s app and comparing them to my personal experience as a tank doing heroics, I’ve reached a couple interesting conclusions regarding the classes in WoW. More specifically, how Flavor of the Month (FotM) works.

Paladins are at the very top of the chart, followed not-so-closely by Death Knights and Druids. We have all commented or heard someone talking about how the game is chock-full of Paladins right now. It’s a safe bet to assume they are the Flavor of the Month amongst the classes, and have been for a while now.

The “original” FotM class was the Hunter. Easy to level, easy to solo things with (specially as Beast Mastery), and pretty powerful in the endgame even without paying much attention to it. They got to run around with guns and wolves and all sorts of neat tricks for when things go south, shooting survivability through the roof. A lot of people played Hunters, many of them without much skill. That’s where the term Huntard came from, describing the unfortunately popular unskilled, annoying Hunter.

Then Wrath of the Lich King hit us, and suddenly Death Knights were the absurdly popular class. Really easy to level, hard to kill, easy to solo things with, and very powerful in the endgame even without much skill or practice involved. In fact, it’s assumed that a lot of the Huntards of the past switched to Death Knight, creating the so-called Death Knoobs and Deathtards. They were so powerful and so popular, Blizzard ended up nerfing them to bring them in line with the other classes.

I believe the official term is “to the ground, baby!“.

Either way, Death Knights took a few hits in performance to bring them down a couple notches. More importantly, the people who had rolled Death Knights for how easy they were to play and achieve good results with were left hanging. Death Knights are now a fairly balanced class: easy to play at a basic level, but hard to top the charts with. The problem is, of course, that the [noum]-tards also lost their source of inexpensive badassery in the process, as Hunters became quite a lot more difficult to play with the fall of Beast Mastery.

Enter the Paladin class! More specifically, the Retribution spec: from the point-at-and-laugh-heartily DPS spec in Burning Crusade, to the powerhouse of today. Highly survivable, good damage potential and essentially the same One Rotation to Rule Them All whether killing Trash or Bosses. Even though they are not considered to be a top tier DPS spec in Icecrown, seeing big numbers all over their screen matters a lot to the [noum]-tards, and Paladins provide that in spades in the trash-filled Heroics of today. When you consider the sheer power of Protection and Holy Paladins they can dual-spec into, it’s really no wonder Paladins became so popular after DKs got nerfed. So, what do we have now? The newest phenomenon in [noum]-tardness: Loladins!

So, is it a problem with the class? Sort of. It’s actually more about the players.

The problem with the class:

Short and sweet: Paladins are too simple to play right now. Except when healing (unsurprisingly, their least popular spec), Paladins have tools for pretty much every situation. Good damage and good survivability while DPSing, good survivability and good threat while tanking, all fitting in a simple priority system/rotation. They have all it takes to be badass, for a very small investment in effort for it.

The problem with the players:

This is the big one, folks! Forget Huntards, Deathtards, Retardins or whatever Flavor of the Month-tard Cataclysm will bring us!

What we have are DPS-tards in general.

In this Dark Age of Recount and GearScore, evaluating the performance of a tank or a healer is as hard as ever. Yet, measuring the amount of damage someone puts out, and how much ilvl 264 gear someone has on them has never been easier. DPS, compared to other roles, is a much more “relaxing” position. You get to blow/bash stuff up with near impunity, and you always have at least two other guys to compare yourself against. And you have the time to look at Recount and check whether your name is at the top.

Free time and competition in an anonymous environment with people whose egos are directly proportional to their EPEENs (I love that April Fools joke, have you noticed)?

Bad combination, made even worse by the current meta-game. Ironically, information is now so easy to find, people don’t make an effort to process it anymore. They just accept what they read on ElitistJerks or Wowhead or whatever resource they find appropriate as gospel, without caring for the many mitigating variables present in all the “what’s the best spec for my class?” threads.

Everybody knows what the best spec for Mages is (“Arcane! Duh!“), come around in an non-optimal spec and even people who have no idea why Frost isn’t considered a good Raid spec are going to be laughing you off the Heroic. And even if you top the charts, people are so convinced they can’t make mistakes that they will simply assume everybody else sucks and put the blame for their inferior performance on lag, bad fight mechanics or what have you. Even if they don’t make any effort at all to improve and spend 95% of the fight standing on Fire and/or chewing on the floor.

The DPS-tard

Don’t hate Hunters, Death Knights, Paladins or the next Flavor of the Month Cataclysm will inevitably bring. Instead, pity their condition and hope Blizzard will make them more complex to play. Effectively, that nerfs the class in a way that won’t punish those who really know how to play it, and it will greatly reduce the amount of [noum]-tards pressing random keys and thinking they are invincible and unbeatable. Who knows, it might even force them to stop and think before Leeroy Jenkinsing their way through Northrend and annoying everybody in the process.

There’s a good reason you don’t see a lot of clueless Rogues running rampant through dungeons nowadays and still pulling big enough numbers to sustain an enormous ego: it takes effort and thought to get to that level. There are a lot of tools they need to know how to use to achieve all their damage potential, and good timing can make or break their DPS in dungeon. It’s not the kind of thing the [noum]-tard enjoys doing.

(Disclaimer: there are Roguetards out there. I know, I’ve heard all the stories of Combat Rogues in Mace Spec wielding Daggers.)

And since we’re talking about Rogues… has anyone seen a Rogue still gearing up recently? It’s been literally months since I’ve last seen a Rogue sporting less than top-tier gear. Actually, I haven’t seen a lot of Rogues recently. Either everybody who has a Rogue or wanted to level one already got geared up to the point of not needing daily Frosts anymore, or there are less Rogues out there overall. Interesting.

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