I think it is time to do a dps webring for all the poor dpsers out there to get into the action of the questionnaire-meme that has been going around. Someone has probably done this already, but I haven't seen it. Here is a dps version, answered by Love also known as Eldhorn, the Feral Cat Druid. I also now know that Miss Medicina originally started it all, way back in 2009 (wow, time flies when you have fun).
1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary dpser?
Eldhorn, feral dps druid. I've mained a feral druid ever since Vanilla and never deviated from that path, although I often had to go resto back then because any other spec sucked. There have been times where I didn't feel like the class was rewarding enough in comparison to how much effort it took to become really good, but in the end I stuck with it because it feels like there is always room for improvement.
2. What is your primary group dpsing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
10mans primarily, but I do run 5mans every once in a while to remind myself of why I don't like it. It usually turns into a swipefest where bosses die so quickly that I never get a proper rotation rolling, but every once in a while I get to boost friends alts in ZA/ZG, and that might actually be fun.
3. What is your favorite dps skill for your class and why?
Ooh, tough one. It depeneds a lot on situation. For fights where a lot of low-health adds will gather, Swipe will have to be it, since it's very effective high-burst aoe. The reason I enjoy it in raids and not in 5 mans is because there is actually some challenge in using swipe in raids, when trying to find the perfect opening to do aoe without dropping everything else that is going on in my rotation. For longer fights, where the boss is unavailable some of the time, or where you have to run away, Rip rins my heart, despite it being nerfed over and over due to PvP. PvE nerfs due to PvP <3
4. What dps skill do you use least for your class and why?
My highest level feral skill should obviously be a tool to aid me in my dps, or survivability, which equals dps. But it aint. It's a semi-sprint that can contain trace amounts of utility. Stampeding Roar, oh how I loathe thee. It's not so much because it's bad, because it's not, it's because it was supposed to be my ultimate ability. It's not an ace in the sleeve, it's more like when the last act of a circus fucks up, it completely ruins the entire show.
5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your dps class and why?
Uptime. And we have it for several reasons:
We are easy to heal, thus we can brave the fray for a little longer without having to bail out for fear of the next teeny tiny aoe thing to kill us.
We have high survivability with Barkskin and Furwall, both useable in Kittycatform.
Very high mobility. We can stick to the boss like shit sticks to fur, and we can dodge like Neo when need be, with Dash, Charge, Skull Bash, all to avoid stuff and get back on target in less time than any other melee.
6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your dps class and why?
I'm not sure I should get me started on this one, so I'll try to be brief, and I'll most likely fail.
Feral Charge doesn't work half the time.
Positional requirements for dps messes with things in pretty much every fight. Shred still only being useable from the back is acceptable, if only they'd design any fight with that, and with melee in mind.
We have to stand in melee range. That's a serious drawback, and you can't not agree, because you would be wrong.
Our core mechanic, bleeds, is nerfed over and over, due to it being too good in PvP. This makes our Mastery undervalued, and gear itemization wonky and/or trivial.
Ok, on the whole I'd say PvP is our biggest weakness. Not that we are bad in PvP, since I don't know anything about that. PvP balancing messes with PvE, and I'm sorry PvPers, but I don't care that PvE ruins it for you. It's a PvE game, learn to live with it, or don't.
7. In a raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best dps assignment for you?
Sticking to the boss, focused bursts of aoe. Not interrupting. I would love to interrupt if I had Wind Shear, and when I play my shaman I always volunteer for Kick-duty, but as a feral it costs me 1/4 of my total max of resources, and I can definitely spare that if need be, but all other classes can do it cheaper and/or with a smaller dps loss.
8. What dps class do you enjoy dpsing with most and why?
This is a question that could simply be answered with "All that give me buffs", but a more interesting angle would be those that change my fighting style in the most positive ways.
I'd go with Enhancement Shamans then, since they have Healing Rain, that isn't very powerful in itself, but with my 20% increased healing taken, and high mobility (I can stay in the rain and move around to accomodate for other melees easily), I can use it well to keep me topped without too much help from the real healers. Enh Shammies can also switch to semi-big adds without too much hassle and less ramp-up time than me, and I can deal with aoe to cover for them not having any. Awesome tag team.
9. What dps class do you enjoy dpsing with least and why?
I think the most obvious answer, yet again, is "whoever doesn't give me any buffs". To be a little more specific, I could add that whoever also has high temporary aoe burst might be less useful with me in the group, but then again, if they deal with aoe, I'll just stick to the boss.
10. What is your worst habit as a dpser?
Ouch, soul-searching isn't my forte, but I would say that I'm taking too much space.
DPSers are like children, should be seen (on the meters), but not heard. And I make a lot of fuss over positioning, threat and everything in between, and not even half of that is actually relevant for the raid. I want to think that I make this sound worse than it is, but in reality I could probably solve most of these issues silently. Maybe that's not so much a problem as a dpser but from me as a person.
11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while dpsing?
Threat. I admit ferals have high burst damage, and that I could hang back a bit, but hanging back isn't fun. It's something I do because I have to, and I don't like those "have to's". They way Cower works is counter intuitive and it doesn't feel like it's actually designed by someone who knows how feral threat works. Hunters don't use their feign anyway, so they could give it to us, I think.
12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other dpsers for PvE dpsing?
13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a dpser?
Recount (Deaths, Damage Taken, Damage Done breakdown), World of Logs, also raidbots.com/comparebot to check my logs for what I can do better. I mostly compare myself to other feral druids, then with other melee, and eventually also any other dps (just to weep a bit). I like to analyse which aspect of a fight is best handled by me or another person in the group for example.
14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your dps class?
That our ratings matter. At the moment you can reforge full Crit and I wouldn't notice on logs. If you would reforge as far away from optimal setup as possible, it would still be differences so small that they are within standard deviation of a max reforge. Blizzard seem to be on the year long misconception that feral bears have free access to druid utilities like Innervate, Tranquility and Combat Res, and also generally over value our possibilities to self heal. All those tools aint that good.
15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new dpsers of your class to learn?
Uptime. The rotations are simple enough, but it seems some people who play Feral forget to use our biggest strength, and often end up doing shit dps and go tanking instead (I like to think most feral bears are failed feral cats). Finding skilled feral dps is like finding a gnome in a toy shop. Over the six years I've spent playing feral I've encountered perhaps three druids as dedicated to dpsing as me, that they actually got passed the learning curve and got really good. I don't think many people choose feral cat as their first mains, and when they jump on it from after having tried something else, it just comes out as too much hassle.
16. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a dps player?
I've been playing this role for several years now, so my lowest level is fairly decent. I can have a really bad day and still perform well.
My weakness is that I dps from the bottom of my energy pool, rather than from the middle. This makes me less flexible sometimes, if I have to switch targets and interrupt. But it's so comfy! I can zone out for 3 seconds and still not cap out energy.
17. Haste, Crit or Mastery, and why?
I'll probably get some Hit and Expertise when I can be bothered. Always nice to not have to hear that *CONK* sound from parries as often, or to miss a Rip three times in a row.
And yes, I can't get parried from the back, but many bosses require me to dps from the front, or at least within the 240 degrees that is considered Shreddable on some bosses in Firelands but where I still might get parried.
18. What dps class do you feel you understand least?
I think I have a general grasp of how all dps classes work, but I think the one I would do worst on if I just logged in to a max level toon and started playing, would be DK. I've only ever played one a couple of levels and then I got my ass handed to me in pvp by a two levels lower DK. This was back in the days when Blood was a dps spec, but still. It threw me off then, and since I am slow with trying new things (still going strong with my feral druid after six years) I just never got around to it again. Rogues and warriors are similar to how druids work, but DKs differ more, so that's why I probably wasn't very good at it.
19. What add-ons or macros do you think are the most important, if any, to aid you in dpsing?
Making all abilities macros, with /startattack in them. That's most important for questing and such, but starting to swing away while waiting for Energy to come up is also important. Macroing trinkets and cooldowns together so that you can pop as many cooldowns as efficiently as possible is also a good idea.
I also use Ovale to help me with rotations when there's too much going on to be able to fully focus on my skills, so I lean on it to gain environmental awareness. Very useful. Good old DBM has saved me from certain death a couple of times, and we all know there is nothing more devastating to your dps output than not dealing damage. Because you're dead.
20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
Answered in 17.