In my last post, Was Alexander Savage Too Hard, I focused mainly on the mechanics that made this raid tier so difficult. We’ve often seen mechanics rehashed between raids, but lots of different things go into tuning a raid tier’s difficulty, including healer checks, tank checks, and DPS checks. When Alex Savage was first released, there was a lot of controversy about the very tight DPS checks, which trapped some of the world’s best players behind a wall of gear for a good amount of time. Very few groups could clear the third boss without farming the previous, easier bosses on a weekly basis. This received a lot of criticism from the community— mainly that these checks were ‘artificial’ difficulty added to the raid. Content is a bit scarce right now as we wait for 3.2 to release, so I think it’s a good time to discuss this: Should DPS checks be lowered?
Throughout this raid tier, I’ve seen both sides of the DPS argument. For awhile I was in a static that would spend entire lockouts on Faust alone (send help…), giving us little time to actually work on the main boss itself. I’m a bit ashamed to say that a lot of random groups I threw together performed much better than my actual static. That same group, give or take a few people, was also incapable of putting out the DPS to make it through the add phase in A3S. On the other hand, I’ve been with groups that can tear through any DPS check thrown at them without a problem. There’s obviously a large variation of skill in the raiding community, but should DPS checks as stringent as Alex even exist?
Frankly, yes. This is the currently the hardest raid in the game, and it should be a challenge. As a healer, I’ve been in so many raids where middling DPS players can’t or won’t take responsibility for their role in raid. They blame their enrage wipe on the Scholar for not DPSing enough, or even the White Mage for not allowing the Scholar to DPS enough. They blame the tanks, while their own DPS is sub 600 on easier encounters like Thordan.
There’s a distinct lack of responsibility taken by a large number of DPS players in this game, largely resulting from pride, a lack of accountability with DPS meters in lower tier raid groups (more on this in a future post), and other raid members’ willingness to pick up the slack. This mindset plagues Midcore raids to the point where DPS is largely considered an ‘easy’ job. This is ludicrous, because every job in this game is equally difficult when played to its fullest capacity. DPS is only ‘easy’ when you’re not doing your job properly. When we lower the DPS requirements, we give stubborn, average DPS players a free pass without demanding anything of them in return.
The DPS checks in Alex were nothing to sneeze at before everyone had the gear to tackle them. They forced people to clean up rotations, optimize what they were doing, and generally improve their gameplay. People who didn’t figure it out weren’t exactly left behind—most of them were carried by gear and better players through the content, like always. But keeping the check that high gave plenty of players more time than usual to improve, if they so desired.
I wish that I could say that this is here to stay, or that it’s good for the community. Unfortunately, asking average DPS players to tighten their rotation and improve often leads to public outrage and the alienation of the Midcore raiding community (which has already happened in many ways with this patch). Not everyone plays the game the same way, though, and I guess I can’t expect every DPS player to want to play as competitively as I try to play my class.
Frankly, I’m not sure that a DPS check as stringent as Alex can exist except in the highest tiers of raid. Too many players are casual raiders (if they raid at all), and Square needs to work to keep them on board with the raiding scene. We need multiple raid tiers— something that the developers are aware of, but can’t deliver given the size of their studio. Hopefully this can be addressed in the future, but in the meantime, I’m glad Square gave us a taste of what being competent on our classes looks like.
What role should a DPS check have in raid? What constitutes an easy or difficult check? Comment below, and don’t forget to follow!