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State of DPS in Firelands page 2

Brian Wood

Overall Firelands DPS by spec

Here we're going to look at the total for all Firelands fights in each of the four raid types. This includes every boss fight in Firelands, which means there are some odd mechanic fights that skew results. On the other hand, this is the absolute true measure of the amount of DPS across all fights that a spec is capable of actually producing.

In the interest of conserving space and keeping the graphics usable, I'm using the icons to identify the specs. To make things more clear, the bars are also the traditional color of the class (à la Recount), but here is a quick guide to the different spec icons.

And now with that under our belt, we can move on to taking a look at the actual data, starting with all Firelands fights.

Remember here that those poor-performing specs will have an exaggerated negative trend. In general what we're seeing here meshes pretty closely with what Ghostcrawler said about melee DPS. We see fury warriors doing great, but they were already flagged for a nerf (though of course, then they'll benefit from the melee AP buff). Combat rogues also appear to be doing pretty darned good.

Otherwise, it's the ranged leading the Firelands charts: shadow priests, 'locks, balance druids, and maybe hunters. Very interestingly, 25-man heroic shows a pretty exaggerated version of what we're seeing in all the other top 100 raid types, and I have to wonder if that's for mechanical reasons (keep in mind that heroic modes are often mechanically different fights) or if it has something to do with that very top tier of guilds.

Interestingly we see ret pallies and feral druids sitting very, very close to right on the median across a lot of these graphs. With the plans to buff melee AP across the board, I wonder if that implies that the designers want to actually raise the median bar. Certainly it looks to me like the melee can take that AP buff without bumping the ranged out of their slot in the raids -- assuming the fury nerf (and maybe combat rogue?) and assuming the 4.3 boss mechanics are approximately the same degree melee-unfriendly as in Firelands.

Incidentally, here is what these four graphs look like if we pile them all on top of each other:

One of the other things that this data makes very clear is which DPS specs are hurting. Even if the exact amount behind isn't clear from top 100 data, the fact remains that frost unholy DKs, BM hunters, destruction warlocks, subtlety rogues, maybe SV hunters and certainly mage specs requiring more than two buttons (I joke!) are all in need of some kind of DPS help.

It's interesting that we see more ranged DPS specs hurting than melee -- though of course also more ranged DPS specs doing well. Ranged are just all over the map.

Baleroc DPS by spec

One of the things that this data is not showing us is the target dummy fight -- we're clumping together all the single-target fights with multi-target fights with AOE fights and with crazy-flying-through-the-air-supercharged mechanics. And there's more to DPS balance than just the big picture (though I'd argue that the big picture is pretty important).

With that in mind, here are the same charts but looking only at the Baleroc fight:

Interestingly, when we look just at Baleroc data, we see a much more balanced DPS spread -- in particular, a heck of a lot of specs hovering really close to that median line. Again, when we move up to 25-man heroic, the spread becomes more distorted.

Balance druids break out in 25-man heroic, but for all the rest they're hovering just a bit above the median. Arcane mages and demonology 'locks do consistently very well, with marksman hunters and elemental shamans doing OK but never really pushing more than 10% above median. We see mostly the same cluster of classes underperforming, though not by as much. In particular, unholy DKs, BM hunters, fire and frost mages, and destro warlocks are all pushing pretty consistently more than 10% below median.

Of course, this is just one fight -- it's a pretty good one to measure, but it all depends on what the mix of fights in the raid tier is. And this is one area that Blizzard knows far better than us: The balance of classes and specs depends a lot on the mechanics of the bosses that we're fighting. Will the new 4.3 raids bring us a similar mix of mechanics? Is it possible that they'll be even more melee-unfriendly, and that's why Blizzard feels melee is going to need the extra 10% AP across the board, even with so many at or above median?

What does this data tell you?

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