May 19, 2015

Damage Done or DPS?

Video Games

I quickly mentioned that I had picked up World of Warcraft again shortly after the “new” Warlords of Draenor expansion was released. Basically my roommate talked me into giving it a go and a few of my buddies joined me.

The guild I’m in is getting larger as we progress through Heroic Blackrock Foundry. We have a solid base of healers and myself and our raid leader are pretty damn good tanks. Our DPS however could use a few more members, especially if we want to make it to Mythic at any point in the foreseeable future. But, how can we judge if they’re doing good enough damage to be of use to us, or should we sit them for some of the harder bosses because they’re not performing up to par? As one of the officers it’s part of my job to help make these decisions about the trial raiders we bring along to our raid nights.

I’m going to preface this by saying that logs of any kind are the best for evaluating individual performance after raid night. However, if you want a quick snapshot there are plenty of addons that provide meters for a plethora of metrics. The two most popular addons are Skada Damage Meter and Recount. They’re very similar and I’m sure there’s a few other reputable meter addons that you could use instead.

Up Time vs. Potential

Honestly, this is a pretty simple concept, but I have had to correct quite a few guild members and PuGs about why they are not doing as much damage as they think they are outputting. Basically the whole point of this post is to say that the guy doing the most Damage Per Second is not always the best damage dealer in the raid.

In the previously mentioned meter addons you can shuffle through a few different options to display. Two of these are the ones that damage dealers will be drawn to: Damage Done and DPS. Damage done displays a graph based on how much damage each raid member has done to the boss and generally shows the DPS you did inside of the bar with your name/class color on it. DPS shows a graph based on the DPS you did during the fight and nothing else.

This was the day Insomnia tried using Cataclysm on Operator. It worked o.k.

This was the day Insomnia tried using Cataclysm on Operator. It worked o.k.

Damage done is always the mode you’ll want to be viewing for accurate data about how well you’re playing as a player or in comparison to the rest of the group. This is because damage done accounts for the total damage each person did to the boss. If a player dies during a fight they will do less damage to the boss, but their DPS will stay the same as when they died. (note that there are some damage meters that continue counting time dead as time spent on the boss and this lowers your DPS).

This means that a player can pop all of their cool downs, inflate their numbers, and then die, and if you’re watching DPS instead of Damage Done they’ll look like they’ve damaged the boss quite a bit more than they actually have. On the flip side, that guy pushing 18k DPS in BRF Normal that lives through a fight can actually out perform a player 20 item levels higher than him that cannot perform simple mechanics because he did more damage to the boss during the fight.

Sure there are times when seeing raw DPS is helpful, but for the most part if we’re measuring based off of performance we’d want to be watching the Damage Done metric like a hawk. I’d rather a damage dealer that can complete the mechanics and stay alive than one that provides a ton of DPS but dies halfway through the fight.


This concept can apply to plenty of real life scenarios. Would you rather the more reliable car that may not be as fast or as good looking, but gets you from point A to point B reliably and on time? Or would you prefer the car that rips the road apart, but will burn out halfway to work?

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