10 comments on “Seeing White: The Lament of a Melee DPS

  1. I switched from my rogue to my mage as my main shortly after BC was release because it didn’t seems as fun anymore. I was doing less damage with comparable gear. This could be one of the reasons why it just felt wrong. A different weapon may have made all the difference. As this is really a condition of melee combat itself, unless the entire melee mechanic is reworked, I don’t see how it could change.

    • This post was excruciating for me to write, because you can usually make numbers do anything that you want. But when I was done I felt pretty strongly about what I had found, and even more interesting was that the Legendary effect was a big part of the reason that Warriors, Death Knights, and Paladins had excellent DPS in Wrath.

      Since looking over all of that info I came to the conclusion that legendary weapons are actually bad for the game, and so is forcing melee DPS to be completely dependent on weapon speed, weapon DPS, and special weapon procs, rather than the primary and secondary stats we should be focusing on.

      And you are right, this can’t change this without a complete overhaul to the melee combat system, and the barriers to it are pretty significant. You would have to work with global cooldowns and swing timers in such a way that your character was not sitting there doing nothing (which is visually unappealing), and make sure that melee characters aren’t instantly killing clothies.

      That’s why I mentioned in my post that I was really excited to see Monk combat, because we would see Blizzard’s interpretation of martial art combat. Unfortunately it didn’t test well and they scrapped it.

  2. I really had no idea about the complexity of the melee combat…that sounds a little airheadish but, well, I’ve always favored casters (or my hunter) to melee. I have leveled a warrior, pally and dk to max level (well the dk was max level last expac). I always felt that I didn’t play them well, because my damage was never comparable to people who were trying to teach me. So the warrior and pally went prot, and the DK is a bank toon left on the server I used to play on.

    I think perhaps if I put as much research into them as I do my healers, I would do somewhat better, though I tend to be really bad at rotations. I have came a long way from the hunter who thought “a flagged player” meant putting hunters mark on them though…./facepalm.

    • Well, consider also that ranged combat has equal complexity. What I’m really questioning here is why some specs, each expansion, have to rely heavily on white damage for DPS when the numbers show that higher white attack damage leads to lower overall damage almost every time.

      Also, think about this. Auto-attack takes absolutely no effort whatsoever. So if white damage takes up 15% of your overall damage (and you have no control over it), that means the player controls only 85% of the opportunities to maximize their DPS (and this includes Hunters too, some of which are Auto-Shot All-Stars). On the other hand, a caster is in control of 100% of their DPS.

  3. Excellent, thoughtful post! I honestly hadn’t even considered the Legendary weapon aspect before. Even in Dragon Soul, Gurthalak is so ridiculously optimal for Unholy Death Knights due to it’s high white damage output and minion proc that I had to take my LFR Gurth over a normal mode Ataraxis.
    It felt dirty, but the math says that by stacking up mastery LFR Gurth will outperform Ataraxis in Unholy by a respectable amount.

    As interesting and fun as these proc based and/or Legendary weapons are, I feel that they are more harmful than helpful for the game as a whole.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Kal. I’ve been keeping up with your blog but the commenting system had messed with my feedback.

      I’m really torn on things like Gurthalak, Maw, etc. Without interesting proc effects in-game weapons can get rather boring. And to be honest, I like mechanics that change our gearing strategies. The fact that Gurthalak was so powerful might be a problem, but the fact that a weapon (or tier bonus) could change stat weights is extremely cool in my opinion.

      A good example of a bad example is the DK T13 4 piece bonus. How much more fun would Frost DPS be if once you got the 4 piece bonus it then moved mastery up in stat priority AND made Frost Strike the preferred ability when the bonus was active during a Killing Machine proc. It would add a welcome level of complexity for good players looking to maximize their output. These are the kind of things missing from our class that would go a long way to making DK DPS more interesting and dynamic.

      I guess ultimately I don’t want to lump proc weapons and legendaries into the same category. And Legendaries need to be more legendary and less of a grind. It destroys class balance to have them so accessible, one of the only times you’ll ever hear me advocate for less accessibility for anything in WoW.

      • First, thank you for your kind words about my blog! I was really excited when I saw you as part of NBI, because I feel that with the silence of several DK blogs over the last year, we as a class need some fresh authorship. I’m really excited to be a (small) part of the new generation of them!

        Second, my reply!
        I’ll agree with you that proc based gameplay does indeed add a great deal of fun and complexity to many specs. In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that these procs shouldn’t be based upon gear, but rather be introduced as further variation to glyphs, talent tree skills, or through other easily attainable means.

        Take for example the DK T13 2 piece bonus- It is such a HUGE quality of life improvement for the typically feast/famine Unholy spec that it probably should just be baked into Unholy in general.

        In my round about way, the point I’m trying to make isn’t arguing against the existence of procs. They’re wonderful! Rather, I believe that far fewer of them should be based upon your gear. Attaining specific gear through an RNG based system shouldn’t have any effect on how fun our spec is to play (DK T13 2pc), or how viable it is for raiding (Unholy with Gurth).

      • In general I agree with you. I’m actually working on a different post regarding weapons and loot tables, because if things don’t change mechanically for melee they need to have a way to get these game-changing weapons without relying on RNG as you mentioned.

  4. I played a DK for about 3 months at max leveling in Wrath and I discovered that I was HORRIBLE at Melee DPS. As a healer I know that I complain about you guys and Mages the most, but in the end I know that Melee DPS definitely gets the shit end of the stick. As the post describes, in addition you often are not favored in boss mechanics, which is a shame. There is nothing gamer-sexy than watching a DK or Ret Pally own on DPS.
    Thanks for the great post, I now know WAY more about melee DPS than I ever previously thought I would,.

    • Melee was in a scary bad place concerning mechanics right at the start of T11. If you had a melee heavy group with no Frost DK (hmmm, like my guild did….) then even Magmaw was a gigantic pain in the ass during entry level raiding. I had to respec just for my guild to kill him, and was stuck in Frost spec until Gurth dropped in LFR.

      The thing that really sucks is that any boss mechanic that would favor melee would do so in such a blatantly bad way that I’m not sure there is a good solution.

      I really love melee DPS. I’ve been playing paladins and warriors (and now DKs) in every game since Diablo, and since I’ve been the main tank for my guild for 4 years (holy shit, that’s longer than I realized) and counting I know I won’t be shelving them in favor of my mage or incoming shaman and warlock.

      I tried to avoid as much QQ in this post as I could, but I can’t help but get a little annoyed every time we pull Yor’shaj, and in order for our shadow priest to switch targets she just turns her camera while I’m running across the whole room.

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