How to be good DPS

It Matters

Let’s face it, DPS classes are a dime a dozen. Trying to find a tank or a healer for a group takes forever. However, you can always find a ton of DPS classes ready to go at just about any moments notice in /trade, /lfg, maybe even your own guild. Heck, sometimes they just hang out in front of the instance they want to go in and ask people going in if they are short. “Looking for Work. Will Pew Pew for food.” They’re just everywhere.

So how do you make yourself stand out? Simple. Don’t die, don’t cause others to die, and DO FANTASTIC DAMAGE! I emphasis the last part because that’s the part because people tend sugar coat. Claiming that doing a ton of damage isn’t all there is to being good DPS. Staying alive (do not stand in fire), not pulling aggro (Omen), and not getting the entire raid killed by doing something stupid is what makes you good DPS. And that is true. If you’re so focused on topping the meters (Recount) that you’re willing to put yourself and the rest of the raid at risk, then, yes, you are “bad” DPS. However, those that are able to do the raid dance and pull great damage at the same time are the people that are remembered. These are the people raid leaders will look for when they want to progress or attempt hard modes.

To put it simply, you should not be content to simply survive the encounter. Dominate the encounter! Do all the tasks assigned to you, stay alive, and do your best to top those meters at the same time.

That sounds great, but how do we do it?

Know thy class
You’ve heard this mantra before, but it’s still the first step to even come close to achieving your potential. If you don’t know your rotations or spell priorities, you’re not going to come close to those who know the most effective techniques. Make sure at least one of your specs is tuned for super DPS. Finding this info for your class isn’t hard. Check out WoWwiki.com. Or the forums at Elitist Jerks has a ton of information if you have the time to sift through it all. For Hunters, I’m working on another article with some of the basics. Stay tuned.

Properly gear yourself
Know what gear is best for your class. Know what hit caps you need and try to maintain them as you gear up. Know what stats your class favors and how they affect your spec. Improving your gear (and thus your DPS) is a game of inches. It’s gonna be rare that you’re going to find some huge upgrade that is going to send your DPS through the roof. As your gear improves, your DPS will improve little by little.

Give a damn
I can’t stress this one enough. Care about your damage. Be proud of it (don’t rub it in other people’s faces though). You should want to be Flasked and Well Fed at all times. Blow money on the mats if you need to. Do it because you care. And for the love of God, enchant and gem ALL your gear. I know you’re just a few emblems away from those new pants and you don’t want to spend the gold or mats on new gems and enchants, but that’s just slacking.

Oh, Hunters? Buy the good shit. You can use vendor ammo when your farming, but when you go into raids, hit ‘em with the hard stuff.

Monitor your DPS
Get an addon like Recount or log your raids with something like World of Logs. Better yet, do both. Sure, watching Recount during encounters can be dangerous. You can fall victim to DPS Tunnel-vision and end up standing in some purple goo that kills you. However, having it there is subtle reminder that your are trying to perform here. It keeps you honest and prevents slacking. You want to be toward the top of that thing. Don’t slack. Flex that epeen! Using a more robust logging tool like World of Logs is great for analyzing the post game. You might find some areas where you could improve.

But… I’m doing all this already.

OK, so you know your class, you’ve got decent gear and it’s enchanted to the gills. You monitor your DPS and compare yourself to others to try and better yourself. You give a damn, you really do. As a result, your DPS is pretty damn good. But somehow you feel you’re still coming up short. You’ll find other raiders that are similarly geared that can still surpass you. You’ve even asked them about their rotations and spec and things seem similar. What do they have that you don’t have?

Craft your UI
This is the big one in my opinion. Efficiency of your actions will help give your DPS the boost it needs. Laying out your User Interface in a way that streamlines your job can really tighten up your game. This isn’t something I can tell you how to do step by step. Everyone plays different and you should customize your UI to what feels comfortable to you. I can give possibly give you some ideas that may at least give ideas of what you can do.

  • Using Macros can help you string together some abilities to make them go off together. Using a powerful ability like Rapid Fire and Call of the Wild at the same time can yield some great results. Why not toss any “on use” trinkets you have in there as well. Not only does this allow you to stack abilities to make some big numbers, but you can also take advantage of situations where the boss is susceptible to great damage as well. Using your macro when Icehowl is stunned for example.

    I have some example hunter macros you can modify for your own purposes.

  • Addons are great for adding functionality to your UI. Bartender 4 is a great start. It allows you to add move, scale, and even add more action bars on your screen. You can do some great stuff with it.I’m a big fan of Power Auras. There is just so much you can do with them. Time your cooldowns, test for whether debuffs have fallen off your target, check for buffs that you are receiving. While all of these thing are in you buff bar and on your targets debuff bar, there are a lot of shifting little icons that are kinda hard to see when your also trying to watch your feet and not stand in fire. Power Auras allows you to make custom auras that appear over your character when certain conditions are met. This is great for monitoring buffs or debuffs that you care about most. Plus, the auras are iconic and unique, so you don’t need to read a little tag of text. Which could improve your response time. In addition, by placing the auras over your character, you’re able to watch your character and make sure your not standing somewhere where you shouldn’t be.

    I have some example Hunter Power Auras (which are easily importable) you can modify for your own purposes.

  • One thing to try is increase your camera distance. By zooming out, you can see more of the things that can hurt you and possibly take action early to avoid them. The code below will, once entered, allow you to zoom out further. While you can’t teach “situational awareness,” zooming out might give you an edge on it.

    /script SetCVar("cameraDistanceMax",30)

These are merely suggestions that might help you raise your DPS from average to exceptional. You want to out-perform your gear level. In the end, this may help others recognize you as a skilled player who can bring the pain when you need it.

25 day Call Stabled Pet Cooldown?!

Call Stabled Pet 25 day CDUPDATE: This issue has been fixed from what I can see.

Some of you hunters may have noticed your Call Stabled Pet has a longer cooldown than the 5 minutes listed. How about 25 days!? It’s a bug and Blizzard is aware of it. In the meantime, they offer this fix:

1. Oueue for an Arena Skirmish. To do so, visit any major city and visit the Arena Battlemaster. You do not need to be part of an Arena Team in order to queue for a skirmish.

2. Once the match starts, join it and enter the arena. This will remove the cooldown and allow you to utilize your pets as normal. You do not need to stay until the end of the match and are welcome to leave at any time.

Wow. That’s a hell of a fix. Tried it and it works like a charm though. Hope this bug doesn’t crop up too much till they fix it.

Lord Marrowgar Video

Made a video of our guild’s first Lord Marrowgar kill. We’re coming for you, Arthas!

Soloing Chillmaw for Fun and Profit

Lets Kick This Pig!

I still see a lot of hunters looking for groups to go out and kill Chillmaw. This is a shame because for hunters, Chillmaw is fairly easy prey for us.

For those that don’t know, Chillmaw is an elite frost wyrm that is the object of the quest Threat From Above. In order to do the quest, you need to first be a champion of the Argent Tournament. The quest recommends three people. Most likely a tank, a healer, and a DPS.

Hunters have a built in tank in our pet. We can heal that pet via Mend Pet. We certainly have the DPS angle taken care of. We’re like a one man party! So what more do we need?

1. Tanking Pet
Well Chillmaw hits pretty hard for a typical pet. So you definitely want a Tenacity (tanking) pet. My bear, Burger, fills this spot in my stable. Here’s the pet spec I use for him:
» Burger’s Tenacity Spec

You definately want things like Blood of the Rhino as it’ll make healing him easier. Thunderstomp will help gather the adds that Chillmaw drops during the fight. Wild Hunt increases stamina by a lot and Silverback will help heal him as well.

2. Dual Spec
Dual spec? As a hunter? I thought dual spec was just for hybrids?

Dual spec can be just as useful for your hunter as it is for a hybrid class. You can dual spec for raiding and PvP for example. For me, I like to solo stuff when I’m not raiding (I tend to use my raid spec as my PvP spec anyway). So I spec for Beast Mastery with an emphasis on pet survival. Check out this spec:
» Cotar’s BM Pet Tanking Spec

You’ll notice I opted for Endurance Training over Improved Aspect of the Hawk. We’re more concerned with staying alive here rather than maximizing DPS here. We also pick up Catlike Reflexes. Another commonly ignored talent in the BM tree, but pretty good for keeping the pet alive. You be surprised how much damage your pet can take without needing heals at all.

3. Don’t Forget Glyphs
While Bestial Wrath and Serpent Sting are great BM Glyphs, the Glyph of Mending is going to be key to your pet tanking spec. Mend Pet isn’t a great spell by itself, but enhanced by hunter and pet talents and then boosted with this Glyph you can keep a HoT up on your pet that will heal him up like a pro.

4. Gear Check
Depending your gear, you may want to make sure you get some addition buffs on you and your pet. A food buff is easy enough. Pet snacks as well. You may also want to consider Drums of Forgotten Kings, Drums of the Wild, and Runescroll of Fortitude as these are great buffs not available to a solo hunter. Again, if you got good gear, these may be overkill. I use the drums as I’m a leatherworker and typically have them on me anyway.

5. GO GET HIM!
Now your ready to go kill Chillmaw and his pals. Just Misdirect Chillmaw on to your pet and start shooting. I usually cast Bestial Wrath as soon as Chillmaw hits the ground. Save Intimidate for later. Toss up Mend Pet and then hit Rapid Fire to start working his health down quickly.

As the fight progresses, some of the of the Cultist Bombardier’s will start to dismount Chillmaw. If your careful with Multi-Shot, you can keep them on your pet, but chances are you’ll pull healing aggro eventually and have to deal with them. When you start the fight, drop a Freezing Trap at your feet. This will at least take care of one of the adds when he comes to beat on you. The adds also chuck bombs at you. You can see them coming and you can generally avoid them on the ground. Don’t forget to keep Mend Pet up on your pet.

After you freeze one of the cultist, start kiting the rest. Depending on your DPS, Chillmaw should dying pretty soon at this point. When he dies, try to kite your adds back to your pet. Use Intimidate to get the closest add off of you. Then just blast away and kill the adds one at a time.

Playing DPS, Tank, and Healer all at the same time can be a bit of work. So don’t feel bad if you die the first time. It may take a bit to get the hang of it. When your done, you collect your gold and Champion’s Seals all without having to look for a group and wait for them to show up. Not only that, you’ll find you can now solo lots of elite mobs you may have needed a group for before. So pet tanking spec can certainly come in handy for more than just this one encounter. You might also be able to fill in for a tanking certain encounters when you can’t find a proper tank. Tanking Holiday bosses like the Headless Horseman or Coren Direbrew being prime examples.

I shot a video of this in action. I kinda messed up the end, but I thought it was funnier that way.

Have you pet tanked some stuff extreme stuff? I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment.