Sunday, April 25, 2010

How to become the bestest dpser

About half a year ago me and Love wrote a little guide as to how to become a better dpser. This is because we constantly come into contact with people who are good players, but just don't get their dps all the way. They asked themselves "what am I doing wrong?". And when they couldn't think of an answer they turned to people around them. The answer, from me and Love anyway, was this guide. Some things might sounds obvious, and if you are a good dpser they are obvious. These tips are meant for anyone who's thinking "why isn't my dps as good as it should be?".

Know your skills
As soon as someone tells you that your class needs a certain stat or has to use a certain rotation you have to find out why (and there are alot of sites out there telling you how to play your class the best way, google it and look them up!). Why are those stats the best and why is that rotation the best? Why should you use some skills and not others? In what way are your skills interacting with eachother? The more you know about your skills, the more you'll be able to adapt them to new situations and come up with new solutions by yourself. One of the biggest mistakes I see people do is using the same rotation and same skills no matter what situation they come into. That is rarely the best thing to do (remember all this depends on your class of course). Or gemming "just because internets said it was the best". Know your skills like the back of your hand and now why some stats are better than others.
Remember that a rotation should be seen as a starting point, which needs to be adapted depending on the situatuon.
Think about - Why do I start with this skill? And why this next? Which skills work best with this and that debuff and why? What skills have the highest sustained vs highest burst dps? How much extra damage do I gain from placing this debuff first and is it worth the time it takes? And so on...

Plan ahead
I use the word "plan" very lightly here. Optimally any "planning" should really come naturally. Sort of like when driving a car or anything like it. When doing a turn you "plan" to slow down, switch gears and so on (I don't have a drivers license so I don't really know :P). The same goes with dps, you must know what the next step should be at all times, preferably without having to think about it at all of course. The more time you spend thinking about your moves, the more time you waste not doing dps!

Look at your surroundings. Chances are big you've already fought the mob you're fighting a hundred times before. You should know exactly how much damage it can take before it dies and if it has any nasty skills you need to keep in mind.
When the tank has engaged the mobs you should've already evaluated the following;
- How many mobs are there? Aoe or single target dps?
- How much damage can the mobs take? Take the mobs time to live into calculation. This is crucial for good dps, since a mob that dies very fast won't be worth casting long term spells on.
- What kind of skill do the mobs have? If you have several targets and one of them lowers your dps by skills such as spell reflect or high avoidance, it might be worth switching to another target.

Tempo Tempo!
Nothing annoys me so much as seeing people take breaks between their attacking. I'm not sure if they have to go ask mum if it's ok to attack the second mob too or what they're doing, but it sure as heck aint helping their damage. As soon as the first mob is down, preferably even before that, you should know what to do to the second target, and do it!
If you're uncertain what the next best move is, do something while you're thinking. Even if what you're doing isn't the best choice, it certainly is better than doing nothing. This is especially true if you're a caster since you don't do any damage while not casting (unless you're an affliction lock). Melee classes can at least auto swing some while thinking, as long as they target something.

Don't forget to start the next skill in the row as soon as the first one has ended. As melee this means button mashing, just keep pressing those skills, no need to pause. As a caster this means you have to let your spells go seamlessly from one to the other. You don't have to wait for you first cast to end to start the next one, you can chain casts by starting the next one when the first is nearly ended. The best moment to move around when you're a caster is after (or during) using an instant cast, when you're waiting for your gcd to complete. Using your skills efficiently without pulling aggro is what being a good dps is all about.

When you know your skills fluently and know when and how to use them it's time to keybind everything. I'll give you suggestions, and they're only suggestions. It must suit your playstyle of course. The point is to "click" as few skills as possible while fighting. No one wants to play with a clicker, for a reason. Having to move your cursor to a skill takes way longer than just simply pressing the button on the keyboard. Imagine walking around by clicking and you'll understand why people don't like clickers for skills either. But that also means that skills that are normally only used out of combat or very rarely don't have to be keybound. Such as different resurrection spells or buffs like PWF, motw, blessings etc.

Look down on your hands. Think about where you'd be able to put a keybinding. As it is there are alot of keys on the keyboard not being used for much important. It will feel a little iffy at first, but I promise, you will get used to it as long as you pick the keybindings yourself.
Don't forget about combination keybinds! Such as ctrl+x, alt+x or shift+x. The function buttons are great for keybinds too.

Yepp I've told you before. Use addons! Here are some types of addons that you should consider using;
- The ones that help you keep track of your skills. That show you when something procs that needs you to use a special skill or tells you that something is off cooldown so you can use it again. Such as Scrolling Combat Texts, OmniCC, DoTimers, SexyCooldown.
- The ones that help you keep track of your character. How much threat are you doing? How much rage do you have? What debuffs and buffs are you gaining? Such as Scrolling Combat Texts, Omen, MyThreat, EasyRage.
- The ones that help you keep track of your surroundings. What are the mobs doing to you? What will they do to you in 3 seconds if you don't move asap? Such as Deadly Boss Mobs, DeusVox, WitchHunt.
- The ones that help you get whatever you need as fast as possible. If you need a health potion while fighting something you hardly want to dig for it in the bags. Such as Autobar, Geist.

These are some pointers that I hope might make you a better dpser, if you think you lack something.


  1. One thing that you forgot to mention that actually makes a lot of difference.

    Stacking CD:s

    Stacking for instance haste cd:s/pots during BL and such really up the dps alot.
    This is because many cd:s acctually stack multiplicatively and not additively.

  2. Absolutely, one could say that it belongs under "know your skills". Knowing in what way your skills affect one another and how stats and buffs in turn affect them so that you fully know the best way to use their synergy together is what it is really about. Although of course I have made a very simple overview and stacking cd's is one of those things you'll have to do to really become good. Maybe I'll make a more "in depth" post ahead, sort of the next step in becoming a good dpser, with more advanced tips such as yours. Thanks for the point!