I don’t normally follow Blog Azeroth but I happened to pop over there looking for a link to something else and I found that a topic up for this week was how to survive as a melee DPS. I actually believe that surviving as a melee DPS is very simple.
No. I’m serious. I leveled as a Boomkin. When one is playing caster DPS one basically stands around tossing spells at the boss. Occasionally one has to pick up an addie or chase after the boss if the tank kites him somewhere. But as caster DPS you don’t have to pay a lot of attention to the nitty gritty of the fight. You toss up Hurricane or Blizzard and let it channel on the trash.
As a consequence when I switched my spec to feral at level 80 to play cat I had a difficult time in instances. I would die. Often. My instincts were to just hang in there, mangling and shredding everything. Although I didn’t know it at the time I actually had the perfect attitude for a tank. Only I wasn’t geared as a tank. The results were predictable.
What I had to learn through harsh experience is the cardinal rule of feral. A dead cat does no damage. You lay there on the ground pushing up the daisies, pining for the fjords, and your dps is exactly zero. You are a deceased cat.
My first reaction to this mystifying problem of dying was to wonder where the hell the healer was because wasn’t it the healers job to heal me through all the damage. But even I had to concede that the healers main reasonability was to the tank, not me. So the next thing I started to do was to use various tools at my disposal such as Lifeblood from my herbalism profession and Barkskin whenever it was off CD. This helped.
But I still was dying more than I liked. Then a funny thing happened while I was in the forum. I was playing with a bad tank who couldn’t hold arrgo. The result was that I was chasing the mobs and the bosses every which way. But I noticed something odd. I wasn’t dying. I wasn’t doing as much damage because I couldn’t land my power moves but I wasn’t dying. And when I considered the issue in a break between bosses I realized that yes, there was a reason why I was living on the run.
I wasn’t standing in the colored goop.
And this dear readers is when I learned the secret to melee dps survival:
run the instance with a bad tank.
Here is the long and the short of it. As melee dps you should only be taking killing damage in two situations. (1) You got arrgo from the boss or the tank failed to pick up adds. (2) You stood in the goop/got caught in the aoe. I have yet to be in an encounter where the melee dps took damage—damage that a proper healer can’t heal through—unless one of these two conditions are true.
In situation number one the best solution is to run…with your toon right out of the instance. Because either your tank doesn’t know what the heck he or she is doing or you significantly out gear them.
In situation number two running is your best option as well. Almost all aoe can be ran away from if you know it’s coming and it’s your responsibility as melee to know it’s coming. Second, running away from the fight is a very obvious signal to the healer that you are hurt. Healers can get tunnel vision too and forget about the dps. More times than I can count I have fled the fight with less than 10% health and within seconds got zapped by a heal. The healer may have even had me on their radar and those precious seconds were the difference between a failed heal on their part and me living.
I understand that in some people’s minds running is a cowardly thing to do. Let’s be honest here. What the worst that could happen if you run away? You don’t do any more damage. Well, if you are dead you are not going to do any damage either. So if you run away you are no worse off than you would have been if you had hung in there a second or two and died.
Like all rules this has an exception. If you are at 1% on the boss hang in there and sacrifice you body. One or two seconds more of damage might prevent a wipe. If not, you gave it your best show and can hold you head up.
There is an old saying that “discretion is the better part of valor”. That’s the code of the melee dps. You first priority is to live. Dead cats do no damage. Although, based upon experience in party chat, they tend to tell a lot of tales.
2 hours ago