DPS versus Meaningful DPS – What is the Difference?

Last night was a highlight night for my guild, Conquest on the Ner’zhul server.  (GM would want me to tell you we are recruiting!! See link on sidebar.)  After many weeks of work, we finally downed LK on 25 man to much celebration.   So now that we have both 10 and 25 man LK kills, we can start working on hard modes for ICC and Ruby Sanctum, which may be out this week.

After going back through the fight, I noticed a couple of things.  First, it seems like my DPS was not as high as usual.  I don’t know if it was the excitement of getting to the finale of that fight that I started messing up rotation or what, but it was lower than I’m use to.  Plus, there is a lot of movement which is never good for a moonkin.  I will have to go back and look at my World of Logs to see if that holds true since Recount can be a little messy. 

The second thing that I really noticed was I was using my cooldowns at better times.  After talking with my GM about squeezing every last bit of DPS out and using the cooldowns at better times, I changed several things up.  First, I tried to use a Starfall right at the beginning of the fight before he summons ghouls.  That way, the tanks wouldn’t be upset about me using Starfall.  Second, when running in, I tried to use my Starfall to take care of any remaining orbs, the last Raging Spirit, and the LK at the same time.  Third, I tried to hit all the valks and LK with my Typhoon to get the snare effect and more damage on LK.  Fourth, I saved my Starfall for the second set of valks because the defile hits almost the same time as the valks.  (But honestly, after using it on the run in, it was pretty much ready for the second valk phase anyway.)  Finally, as the vile spirits were moving towards us in phase 3, I tried to Typhoon and Starfall if cooldowns were up.  Changing my cooldown schedule may have contributred to a lower DPS, but we got the kill.

This got me thinking about the difference between DPS and meaningful DPS.   Could I have used my cooldowns at will and not think twice about it?  Sure.  But would we have lost people on the second valk phase?  Ore would I have not been able to snare the vile spirits or the valks?   Did I give the healers enough time to heal somebody to save them in phase 3?  These are questions that will never be able to be answered. 

Could a lower DPS result in a boss kill?  I would make an argument to yes, it could.  However, for this to be true, it has to be meaningful DPS.  First, it has to be adding DPS to the part of the fight where the group has been struggling.  During the kill, it was the first time we made it through the phase 2 without losing anyone to a valk.  Just changing cooldowns to allow me to hit Starfall during the second set of valks may have saved us from losing people. 

Second, it has to be focused on the correct mobs.  I can get up to 10k DPS on a single valk, but if it is not against the one that is about to drop a player, it means nothing.  This means focus firing the right target and helping the raid group out as much as possible.

Third, it has to be the right raid focus.  This goes back to personality types I talked about a couple post ago.  The narcissistic asshole only cares about DPS, but does not think about meaningful DPS.  The goal of the game is to down bosses and make progression.  If you down the progression boss, nobody will care if you DPS is slightly lower than usual.  It is how you contributed to the raid group and that the group succeeded.  This is no more true than Blood Queen.  How many times has you group had a mind control because someone was focusing on DPS versus getting their next bite in?  I know it has happened several times in our raids.

The final thing that helps to bring DPS and meaningful DPS closer together is familiarity.  The more you do a boss, the more you get familiar with the mechanics.  I remember my first Rotface on 25 man where my DPS was around 4k.  With better gear and more familiarity with the fight, I am constantly getting about 10k DPS on that fight now.  I’m sure the more familiar I get with LK, it will improve.  Even in my second 10 man LK kill earlier this week, my DPS went up from about 7k on the first kill to about 8k.  As you get more comfortable with a fight, the meaningful DPS increases.

In the best players, DPS would always be both high and meaningful.  I’m nowhere near one of the best players and can freely admit that and is something that I’m working on myself.  When I can learn how to keep high DPS and move, it will be incredible.  However, until that time, I am willing to research, contribute, use what I know to the best of my ability, and continue to get kills.  Even if it means a little lower DPS than usual.

So, overall, it is important to look at every fight to not only maximize your DPS, but to maximize your meaningful DPS.  The more meaningful the DPS, the more you are contributing to the raid group.  This in turn will lead to more progression and more goals met.            

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