Yesterday’s post resulted in some really awesome comments. It also resulted in a little flak for my deliberately condescending opinion and views. I apologize if anyone was truly offended, but my hatred of DPS has only gotten worse over the years as new MMOs continue to bore me in this particular category.
I didn’t really have a chance to respond to anyone’s comment, so I am going to do so now in one big swoop.
Before I begin, remember this disclaimer:
This is a biased opinion. I feel that I am both informed and experienced enough that my views are worth sharing, but that does not divorce what I say here from my specific point of view or the emotional baggage I may or may not state outright. Take offense at your own risk, and disregard me as you see fit.
Unfortunately, I doubt dedicated, unidimensional DPS classes and builds will ever go away because they pander to such a large proportion of today’s MMO playerbase. You can give them tricks to help a party out in other ways, but in the end the hardcore types will expect the same things of them – break the meters or get kicked. It’s as much a problem of entrenched perceptions and attitudes as it is a problem of content design.
Thanks to The Iron Dagger for this one. I agree wholeheartedly. I am a powergamer myself, but that’s for me personally. I have a lot more leeway for other players, especially since each person comes to a game with their own approach. I’m not about to start kicking people because they can’t squeak out another 3% damage, especially when execution is sloppy all-around.
I am extremely party-minded when I play DPS (or any other class). My best friend is a White Mage, so when we run stuff together, I’ve learned as much as I can on how to make a run easier on the healer as a DPS. Several times within the past month, we’ve had tanks do stupid things that cause their own death, and I’ve been able to tank/dps the situation as a Dragoon to prevent a party wipe (note, my friend is a very good healer and much props go to her for keeping me alive).
This is from Aywren. I’m combining it with MMO Gypsy’s comment below:
But your way of playing a DPS, which is pretty much my experience, is not included in Murf’s scenario. The good DPS does not exist. There’s only good tanks and good healers and sucky DPS in order to maintain the attitude that DPS are superfluous. :)
Quality of play is irrelevant in this discussion, regardless of role. That includes bad Tanks and Healers.
Imagine a family vacation. The two parents are your Healer and your Tank. The three kids in the backseat of the car are your DPS. Whether those kids behave and make it an easier ride to their destination or not, it is still entirely up to the two parents to get everyone there.
Arguing about responsibilities is exactly what I am doing. In most group-based content (as in, not strictly tied to high end, organized, premade play), DPS has a minimal level of responsibility to everyone else in the group. Sure, they can take on more personal responsibility, perhaps even going beyond what Healers and Tanks have to personally contribute, but success isn’t typically dependent on that.
Content design is ultimately the bigger problem, but as long as everyone expects a primary role whose only true job is damage, I don’t see content getting better. As long as DPS exists, then other roles aren’t allowed to contribute significantly to damage since that’s the DPS’s role. Those roles (Healer and Tank) are also stuck feeling far less sexy since they aren’t free to race meters, can’t coast in most groups, and don’t have to stick to a consistent level of play (DPS has a low skill floor, though often the highest skill ceiling).
I think everyone kind of agrees that DPS can and should be useful; Murf wants a role beyond “damage machine” and Arwyren points out some situations where they can be. So it falls to the developers to design games that encourage that.
Courtesy of Clockwork, I definitely agree. There have been past MMOs where DPS reliably had other responsibilities to take on in addition to their primary role. That may be enough in the future, but I am not sure it is necessary anymore. I want a different member of the trinity precisely so the fun of doing damage can be given back to everyone, and not be held hostage to those who most often have nothing better to do anyway.
“DPS is a byproduct of doing your job” – 100% agree. This is exactly how EQ did it when I first began playing MMOs. There was literally only one class that was “DPS” and that was the Rogue, which only obsessive people who had to play a “thief” class in every game ever made bothered with. And even the Rogue had two key non-dps responsibilities – opening locked doors and dragging bodies back to be rezzed.
Thanks to Bhagpuss for this gem. I am also glad I am remembering EverQuest accurately.
Crowd control should matter. Buffs and debuffs should matter. Hybrid options that allow off-tanking, off-healing, etc., should exist. I think allowing dedicated damage dealers to exist hurt the chances of these things coming back greatly, however. There’s less thought put into building a group and less variety in how a group functionally beats content as a result.
The current WoW trinity is odd, and I am always bemused when people act though it was always that way. Back in TorilMUD the basic trinty was a tank (who was also primary DPS), a healer to keep his health bar up, and a support class to use damage mitigation spells such as stone skin.
TAGN shows his age here, but I am thankful for it. When I started off, I started with Ultima Online which had tanks in the sense that someone may grab a shield and try to body block a monster, or healers in the sense that the mages had the utility to cast ranged heals. I don’t want a more open system per say, but older MMOs like EQ did allow a certain degree of flexibility that no longer exists at all. Even the days of “Oh, we have more AOE in this group, so let’s burn down bigger groups” versus “More single targets, so let’s CC and focus” seem mostly behind us.
CoH had buffs, debuffs, and cc, in addition to tank, heal, dps, and reduced dps competitiveness with zero dps meter. It was more about watching what your team was doing and choosing options that synergized with team progress and goals.
Jeromai brings up City of Heroes here, which I miss greatly. If it had less repetitive content, it would have easily been my favorite battle system and approach to a Holy Trinity. Buffers and Debuffers packed some serious punch in that game, and Crowd Control was allowed some degree of use even against higher level mobs. I loved it.
Dunno what your group expects of you, but our DPS are expected to interrupt, stun, and contribute heals/taunts if needed/possible.
This came from Pixelkaffe on Twitter, but I am going to include it here.
I don’t disagree that DPS has a need and can exhibit real use and skill, but my original post was a bit broader in scope and a bit more focused on the typical experience of a casual player (a place I find myself more and more). I’d absolutely love if the bare minimum experience still required DPS to interrupt or CC in most MMOs. The Burning Crusade’s Heroics were a nice balance for me, though I would’ve cut the trash in half and dropped respawns entirely.
Thank you everyone for your responses and debate. I appreciate the lively chat that followed here or on Twitter. I apologize if any of you DPS fans took it personally. As with anything I want to exist, I don’t mean for it to be the only thing that does exist. I’m all for a MMO that caters to me (no DPS) and the continuance of MMOs that cater to any of you who do like DPS.