Monday, November 2, 2009

Caster vs. Melee: The Battle of the DPS

Of the raids I have experienced I have done them as both melee dps and caster dps. I love to hear people say, oh well everything is so much easier for melee and others say that ranged dps have it much easier. It seems as to me that I have a distinct advantage of experience this game in the eyes of both, not by my own choosing but chance of the toons I chose when I began playing this game.

I would like to argue that both types of dps have problems in some fights while the other side excels. Neither is distinctly easier or has a better dpsing life than the other. The game is well balanced and many fights cater to one or the other, or neither in particular.

RANGED- Ranged dps generally have to worry about cast times, and all have a mana pool that they must work with. You would think that since you are ranged and don't really have to move that you can just stand there happily and spam cast spells. In many fights this is the opposite of true. Melee need to understand, when they are running around all of their attacks or spells are instant casts, they only have to think about the global cooldown, not long cast times when they are forced to move. Many times when I am on my mage I have to interrupt a 2-3 second cast in order to blink out of some fire or ice, or poison, etc. Trust me this weighs heavily on my dps because most of my long spells hit/crit anywhere from 8-13k so interrupting one is not favorable, but this happens many times in one boss fight. Even my elemental shaman has to interrupt a spell in order to quickly get off an interrupt. It goes for AOE damage as well. For my mage it is channeled for my shaman it is a cast. For both it is interrupted when something appears that I have to move out of.

Also, many ranged have more jobs than melee that they must worry about. As a mage, at least, I have to worry about counter-spelling in many fights, many times spell stealing buffs that could increase damage on a tank, and sometimes crowd control is needed in a boss fight. if I'm playing on a melee dps I don't have to stop casting a possible lengthy spell to get an interrupt off, melee simply interrupt after an attack and before another attack. It does not weigh as heavily on melee dps.

Another downfall of being a ranged dps is a mana pool to worry about. Sure in most boss fights it is no problem and we don't have to worry about it, since most ranged are geared when they start to raid. But what about those long fights? Or when we die and recieve a brez and begin with hardly any mana? Well this can make a huge difference trying to take the time to build back mana, for a mage by evocating or a mana gem. While melee can just pop up and dps away.
On top of all that, us ranged dps are generally wimps! Most ranged dps wears cloth, and are considered squishy. We have to be much more aware of standing in fire, or poison clouds, because we die much quicker. Ranged have to be a little more aware of their surroundings as far as AOE damage goes.

Please Note: None of this really applies to hunters, are they like the ultimate mix? I don't know too much about them so I can't argue what trials they face during a boss fight.

MELEE- So clearly after all of that the melee have the true advantage? Not so much... So many people complain about melee dps, saying that they just get to dps and don't have to worry about their surroundings because they just follow the tank. LOL. Sorry but this cracks me up. Yes as a melee one distinct advantage is that you have instant attacks and you don't ever have to worry about interrupted cast times in order to move. Think about this one large disadvantage of being melee: In many fights the boss moves around, all the while the melee should be expected to just keep right behind him no matter where he goes. Well guess what, this game has lag, which means sometimes you think you are there but you are out of range, and many times the tank moves the target and you have no idea what the tank is thinking so you can only attempt to keep up and continue attacking. Although you aren't facing cast times, you are facing keeping up with the boss, and for sure going out of range at some point if you are not very aware of where the boss is at all times. It is even worse when the ranged pull aggro. Should I run, should I wait? All the time the ranged are happily dpsing away. Oh and guess what shocking thing I have noticed when I am a kitty, sometimes the tank is not aware that you, all the melee dps, is taking damage and the tank should really move the boss. Instead it is up to you to notice and move your own ass out of there.

Think about this fight: In XT my kitty has to run out when she gets a gravity or light bomb. My mage one blink and dps away, or the group is already spread out so no worries just keep dpsing. While my poor kitty is doing nothing but running back and forth not accomplishing any damage. Oh yeah and don't forget about those wonderful boss fights that the boss does a knock back/stun. For melee this interrupts their dps, and forces them to run back losing dps time, lucky kittys with their feral kitty pounce don't have to worry about this one as much as those poor death knights. One more fight I would like to mention that melee is at a distinct disadvantage is Emalon in VoA, I mean really we have to run out of Nova run over to the add on the other side of the room, when do we get a break? My mage... umm rotate and dps away.

Another rule to melee dps, ALWAYS stand behind the boss. In many cases this is impossible. Not only does this test your expertise rating, which should be capped but tests your dps. Ok so many melee don't have to be behind the boss to do their maximum damage but druids definitely do, and some specs of rogues. And I would be pretty confident in saying that most dps will go down when melee is forced to stay in front of the boss, due to the wide amount of different stats you require to do maximum dps in front of the boss, expertise and armor penetration, who even knows what that is? Also many times there is a debuff placed behind the boss, like a fire from those stupid snobolds in ToC, ok so now where do I stand? Another melee dilemma which decreases dps.

I have noticed that some fights such as XT and the Twins in ToC are awesome for my mage, my dps is wonderful. Fights such as Malygos and Hodir seem to be great for my druid. So let's stop arguing about how the other side has it so much better. Each class has its own difficulties they must learn to overcome to compete as a dps. From my own experience, it is well balanced in a dungeon overall, and my dps equals out to about the same on both toons. If you are a good player you can achieve amazing dps no matter what class you play.