Should We Lower Raid DPS Checks?

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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.

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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!

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4 thoughts on “Should We Lower Raid DPS Checks?

  1. Unfortunately, I have not seen any evidence of these DPS checks actually causing the DPS to improve themselves as a player. Instead the tanks and healers have the burden forced onto them.

    To illustrate I’ll use examples from my own experience on the 2 fights you have pictured.

    T12: a melee DPS decides to improve his DPS, he manages to improve his parser numbers but actually becomes even worse of a player while doing so. How? He decided he was not going to disengage from the boss to position tethers in the final phase. Instead he sends pheonix egis through the party, easily causing 3x the amount of damage compared to handling the mechanic properly. Sure he has improved his own DPS, but not by becoming more skilled, instead he turned the boss into a fucking training dummy by choosing to perform zero mechanics. Who has to get better to pick up the burden of this extra raid damage? The tanks and healers.

    A4S: a caster insists on being in range of battle litany to increase his DPS so he starts off the pull from the same spot as the melee. However unlike the melee who have moved from that spot to attack the hindleg, this caster immediately drops leylines on that spot and stays there. Guess what happens when discoid orbs spawn next to him? The WHM who is solo healing a MT in DPS stance now has to intercept the orbs in the 5 yalm distance where their detonation does not hit the caster or the melee, all while having to deal with what happens when a ground AoE blocks off that small gap. Instead of losing a small amount of DPS to movement or researching his job and picking a swiftcast opener to allow for repositioning at the beginning, this caster has now forced the WHM to use some weird PoM + Cure III method to deal both himself and the BLM when discoid orbs spawn in that position.

    All the good DPS I have met have been good since before attempting the content, from day one they analysed the fight from all roles and figured out ways to maintain a DPS as close as they could to a dummy parse while fluidly handling mechanics. The DPS that have had the attitude of pushing as many of their responsibilities as they could onto other roles have maintained the same attitude and never bothered to improve themselves. Sure both of these have cleared A4S and parse a similar amount of damage, however I know which one puts those numbers out due to their own skill, and which one I refuse to ever raid with again.

    1. Honestly I’ve had that exact thing happen to me many times in A4S, so I know exactly what you mean. I guess ultimately, bad players will keep being bad players, even if the check forces them to put out better numbers. Thanks for commenting!

      1. You seem to play WHM based on your other posts, respect for that. I honestly think that the final DPS burden of the raid always ends up getting picked up by the WHM in the end:

        – SCH cleric stances for 60% of the fight to help with DPS, burden of solo healing gets placed on the WHM (refreshing 3/4 DoTs and shadowflare while spamming broil the rest of the time does not seem very hard to me)
        – Tanks tank in DPS stance with STR accessories to help with DPS, the WHM is now solo healing while effectively having 20% less healing potency and margin for error compared to healing a tank in tank stance.
        – DPS still not being met, WHM has to DPS in cleric stance while solo healing.
        – DPS do not perform any mechanics to keep DPS uptime, these mechanics must get picked up by WHM
        – DPS screw up and make mistakes/die, WHM is forced to expend extra mana and GCDs since SCH already used their swiftcast on shadowflare

        I’m just a simple dragoon but I try to have good situational awareness and understand the fight from the PoV of every role, I’ve always noticed and been vaguely aware of this trend but A3S and A4S absolutely made it plain obvious to me.

      2. I do play WHM, and I totally agree with what you’re saying, to a certain extent. It’s weird, because it’s one of the reasons I really love the class, but also one of the reasons I get really frustrated playing it. Ultimately a lot of the DPSing responsibility falls on the WHM’s shoulders, even if the WHM isn’t adding a whole lot of DPS themselves. Thanks again for commenting!

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