[WoW] Where Meters Reign Way Past Their Glory Days

In her latest blogpost “Living by Numbers”, the ever-enthusiastic Mistress of Faff deplores the meters game and status quo of hunter DPS in Warlords of Draenor. This struck a particular cord with me because ever since returning to WoW, I perceive this dissonance more strongly than ever – a dissonance between what is essentially a very casual-friendly game and a rabid, vocal group full of stat zealots. Naturally, the latter is hardly new: WoW has been heavily modded and then datamined, optimized and cookie-cut from the get-go. Yet, having been away for three years and finding things unchanged in that last department strikes me as more incongruous than ever.

I’ve been playing my shadowpriest since the expansion, mostly because I am over healing in WoW and so far it’s been very enjoyable. I run no mods whatsoever and until yesterday, I had not looked into shadowpriest state of play or rotations for Draenor. What I have noticed however is that my DPS seems lower than some people’s I met during quests and dungeons, that it’s hard work for me to get all my DoTs running before everyone else has already killed half of our enemies and that getting silver in Proving Grounds at ilvl 600 wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for my untrained DPS muscles (I did it on third try but without much time left).

meandrag

Me, looking damn sexy in shadow. Anything else I should know?

And that’s okay. Or should be, but it didn’t stop an overeager ingame buddy of mine, coincidentally a MM hunter, to comment on my damage during an Auchindon heroic run, where my DPS was apparently around 10k when his was at 22k. This was a contrast to all the PuGs I have run since returning to WoW and that have been shockingly friendly, successful (not a single disband) and meters-free, to a point where I am tempted to declare the state of PuGs today a 180°-turnaround since I shared my passionate “no-pug policy” on World of Matticus in 2011. The continuous changes that have made this a way more flexible and accessible game over the years have clearly helped turn things around in LFG, color me impressed.

Yet, meter culture persists in some corners of the player base. WoW oldtimers especially and grumpy veterans who have never left the game or never smelled the meter-free roses in other MMOs like GW2 sometime, are clinging to an era where WoW endgame was firmly ruled by numbers and raidguilds. I hate to break it to all the elitist jerks and e-peeners out there but: meters are over. For anything outside minuscule, competetive top-tier raid content, optimizing specs and rotations are not a requirement in order to beat anything in WoW. Players can play whatever spec they enjoy. They can run whatever rotation feels most natural. They don’t require epics with enchants and gems (thankfully both abolished) in every slot of gear. Welcome to World of Wacraft, 2014 edition! Maybe it was time Blizzard did away with these mods altogether? What purpose do they serve exactly?

On the bright side, my brief brush with the meters-nostalgia in WoW has benefited me in two ways: I went to check out current shadowpriest guides and realized that there’s nothing I am “doing wrong”, not even according to those that spend copious amounts of time on numbers. Draenor or not, priests remain late bloomers early into an expansion (as it ever was), struggling with ramp-up time in fast 5mans and versus single-target and multi-phase encounters. I simply don’t compare unless I unleash risky AoE on every single occasion. On the bright side, I never die and make the healer’s job a lot easier.
The even more important realization for me was that I really don’t give a toss. This is a trap that I am simply over. Thanks to so many experiences with other games and communities, I am a better and smarter player today than I ever was and most certainly a happier one. I am playing this for myself and that’s what an increasing number of players in WoW, be they in PuGs or elsewhere, have come to realize as well (shocking truth that it is).

It’s okay WoW players, you can have fun already! Maybe it’s time we re-defined our idea of success.

36 comments

  1. Heheheh! Welcome to my world. My rule of thumb has always been “If the fight ends with me standing up and the monster lying down then I did it right”. Whatever gets you to that point is fine.

    I have never understood why people want to go faster. Is there a bonus for finishing early? Do you get more loot? More xp? A pat on the head? A better grade? No you do not. The sole and only benefit of going faster that I can think of is that you can fit more dungeon runs into a given period but since I personally have usually had enough after one or two runs anyway that’s a meaningless “benefit” to me. As a rule most dungeon runs in most MMOs go at a faster pace then I would choose anyway. I’d rather people slowed down a bit.

    I do agree that each person in the group needs to pull their weight and it’s not reasonable to expect other people to carry you but there’s a huge difference between that and pulling out all the stops all the time to try and hit some nominal target on a leaderboard. So long as everyone pays attention and does their bit everything is going to get done – just kick back, relax and enjoy the ride.

    1. It’s not just that they want to go faster – it’s being ignorant of other classes and playstyles. If you’re DoT-class for example, the faster happy-go-lucky melee go, the worse it will be for your numbers. Not every class benefits from zerging in the same way. Or in the words of economic theory: there’s no profit without deficit. If we can only do 100% damage until a mob dies, it’s mathematically impossible for every player in the group to always do more DPS or be top rank.

      I’m cool with not being first – I know my survivability counts for something and I do well enough to beat the challenges Blizz have set before me. It is very rare that someone actually ‘gets carried’ in a group the way it’s often claimed. It’s just that not everyone is looking to compete against others in what essentially is easy content.

    2. “I have never understood why people want to go faster. Is there a bonus for finishing early? Do you get more loot? More xp? A pat on the head? A better grade? No you do not.”

      It’s not about bonuses (except when it is – see Wildstar dungeons/raid attunement, or WoW challenge modes), it’s about the ever-present culture of efficiency and optimisation. The faster you go, the more you can fit in to your game session. It’s all a comparison to the opportunity cost: if they deliberately went slower, or were happy to accommodate people like you who want to take their time and enjoy the experiences, then that would be time they could have been doing something else! It would be wasting time! That is the mindset that is all too prevalent these days in MMOs.

      1. Ah yeah well, this blog’s signature post (if there is such a thing) is all about wasting your time to smell the roses! :P I’m no achiever, I’m an explorer and enjoyer.

        To be fair, in WS the silver runs (used to be required to raid, now not anymore) came with a timer – but even that doesn’t mean meters would help with all the issues you would face. High DPS can be a cop-out too, players burning stuff down rather than playing according to tactics (often to the healer’s detriment as well, let’s AoE it down olol).

      2. We’re playing games. We’re already “wasting time” by definition. How many high-end raiders out spend hours and hours trying to get that one item with one more fraction of a percentage stat boost because they have to have the Best in Slot? Count me among those who think “efficiency and optimization” are the waste of time.

  2. I never really cared about other player DPS in a 5-man PUG dungeon. As long as they aren’t afk half the time, are paying attention, and not rude – then i’m happy. Obviously my attitude completely changes in an organized raiding environment, as well it should. When you have 20 players to keep happy and one or two are not pulling their weight, then it’s not fair to the other 18.

    Having said that – i like to end every pug dungeon run by thanking everyone and hopefully bringing some civility back. Hopefully it catches on.

    1. Agreed. I’ve not had any bad groups so far and no slackers either, dunno if I was lucky or not but I hope it continues. :) The heroics don’t seem that hard to me personally and the healers aren’t struggling unless there’s clear mispulls. As for raids, most of my mates are doing LFR and it seems to go okay.

  3. Love this post =)

    I do like meters to see how *I* am doing in comparison, but not to question anyone else’s efforts (when I DPS)

    When I tank, I like to run meters because it helps me to understand the kind of group I am in and helps me set the pace. If they are a “low” dps group I won’t pull as aggressively or as intense. If they are super competitive and high, I’ll pull a bit harder and push them more.

    The meters are also handy to see what kind of throughput the healers can handle.

    In the end, like *most* tools, it’s how you use them. As a primary 5 man, LFG tank I use meters to make the run enjoyable for everyone and make in game calls, not to epeen it out. But I have seen them used for evil as well =)

    1. It sounds like you’re my kind of tank! :D Meters can definitely be used for good – if I was doing horribly bad compared to everyone else, meters would make me figure out what’s going wrong. However, if it’s a question of doing a bit more/less than someone else in a 5man run that also depends largely on the packs, am not going to trouble myself over vainglory.

  4. Well…

    “I went to check out current shadowpriest guides and realized that there’s nothing I am “doing wrong”, not even according to those that spend copious amounts of time on numbers. Draenor or not, priests remain late bloomers early into an expansion (as it ever was), struggling with ramp-up time in fast 5mans and versus single-target and multi-phase encounters.”

    This…actually isn’t true.

    Here’s our first Heroic Kargath kill last night, for example: https://www.warcraftlogs.com/reports/fWCn4jk8dKbDm19w#type=damage-done&fight=38

    Clarity of Power is much better than the other level 100 talents and helps with precisely the issue you’re discussing.

    But even if we ignore Clarity of Power…

    “getting silver in Proving Grounds at ilvl 600 wasn’t exactly a walk in the park for my untrained DPS muscles (I did it on third try but without much time left).”

    …I got Gold on DPS Proving Grounds at 588 ilvl on my third try using Auspicious Spirits (which sounds like the talent you’re using).

    My goal is not to try to gloat or make you feel bad, mind you, but several of the bosses in heroic actually have somewhat tight DPS checks before things get completely nuts (such as the third boss in Slag Mines — getting a third “set” of rocks/fire should never happen and makes the fight insanely difficult for a heroic). And speaking as someone who’s healed extensively in both heroics and challenge modes this expansion, it can really, really suck at times. We’ve gone from infinite mana and massive HPS to often struggling to avoid OOMing and frantically spamming just to try to keep people alive…and that’s in heroic dungeons (obviously at this point my gear makes that a non-issue, but back at 610-615 ilvl it would be completely awful — which is the ilvl most healers will be).

    While I realize you didn’t mean it that way, saying “I don’t care about my DPS” is kind of saying “Ha, screw you healers, I’m going to make your life miserable” on some bosses. Notable bosses where this is a problem:

    Auchindoun: not really an issue, maybe Teron’gar
    Bloodmaul Slag Mines: Slavewatcher, third boss, final boss
    Everbloom: Protector trio, Archmage Sol
    Grimrail Depot: Rockspark guy (first boss), Skylord
    Iron Docks: First boss
    Shadowmoon Burial Grounds: first boss, Ner’zhul
    Skyreach: second boss (Arraoakahsghsadghjsal whatever)
    UBRS: Orebender, second boss dragon guy, Ragewing, Zaela

    Keep in mind that I’m not talking about eking out 0.5% more from rotation optimization or doing 5% more damage with a specific talent — I’m talking about doing like 50% more damage. And the difference between DPS doing 10k in heroic dungeons and 15k in heroic dungeons on those fights is the difference between “Hmm, this is reasonably difficult to heal but I can manage” to “HOLY COW IS THIS A MYTHIC DUNGEON HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO HEAL THIS?”

    And while

    “For anything outside minuscule, competetive top-tier raid content, optimizing specs and rotations are not a requirement in order to beat anything in WoW.”

    is true, you’ll still need to be much closer to optimal to complete (not even get medals, just complete) Challenge Modes or do Normal raids (not Mythic, not even Heroic, just Normal).

    “They don’t require epics with enchants and gems (thankfully both abolished) in every slot of gear. Welcome to World of Wacraft, 2014 edition! Maybe it was time Blizzard did away with these mods altogether? What purpose do they serve exactly?”

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to here.

    If you mean the gems and enchants, they exist to customize your gear. Clarity of Power wants different stats than Auspicious Spirits, for example, and set bonuses or future balance adjustments may change that. Then for my healing gear I’d want different stats if I was Holy or Disc. Multiply that across all the specs/classes and then throw in some of the breakpoints with Haste.

    If you mean stuff like Recount/World of Logs, it’s because WoD is in fact tuned assuming people will do at least X DPS. If you don’t kill the third boss in Slag Mines before the third set of fire you’re probably going to wipe — so then the question becomes “Who is dragging the group down and not pulling their weight?” It could very well be everyone or maybe it’s one person at 6k while the other two DPS are at 12k. Or if you wipe on the Protectors in Everbloom you have the question of “Was the healer bad and not healing effectively or were the DPS bad and the healer simply couldn’t heal at that pace for so long?” You need the meters to answer that kind of question.

    To quote Alternative Chat (http://www.alternative-blog.net/2014/12/living-by-numbers.html):

    “This is the biggest overall issue across every spec, and with every class. The game expects you to kill things not just by avoiding bad or grasping mechanics, you need to damage the target until 0% is reached. As long as Devs refer to DPS checks and consider that player utility isn’t just about who can grasp fights the fastest, nothing ever changes. As long as every ability we have and every item we win is about applying stats to base damage, nothing ever changes. Bendak can absolutely dig his heels in on principle, but I can’t in good conscience not do the best I can when I’m part of a team that are doing the same, and for me if that means changing the plans, I will. It doesn’t mean I like it, and I’m pretty certain this shouldn’t be the way things are, but that is the way this game has always been, and will remain as long as numbers are the arbiter of progress.”

    So when you’re by yourself, yeah, who cares, do whatever you want, enjoy the game — but when you’re stepping into heroic dungeons that actually aren’t faceroll and that are rough on healers when DPS don’t do the damage expected of them? Then you’re piling extra difficulty and stress on the healer or expecting the other DPS to compensate for your lack of it. And that’s not for to them.

      1. Lots of text :)
        Am not going to address every single point you’ve made because essentially I feel we’re talking about two different things. This becomes apparent to me when you link raid stats that are fundamentally different from 5man runs where stuff dies very fast during smooth runs. SWpriests are still the strongest at sustaining damage on multiple targets and a raid environment incl. raid buffs is a very different ball game. I am mostly referring to the two CoP-playstyles that I personally use in 5mans (as explained on icy-veins.com for reference), so no I don’t use AS. But comparing raid vs 5man vs specific group situations really isn’t the point for me anyway.

        I think you misunderstand me when I say I don’t care about meters, am not saying I don’t care to pull my weight. I’ve been healing long enough in WoW to know fights can get difficult with low DPS and also stupid DPS doing stupid things and dying. ;) Today I’ve been in midfield around 14k during most runs and I can probably still improve that with a tighter rota and looking into my stats (which I haven’t done yet). However, I think I’ve finished all heroics now and there’s never been horrible wipes or disbands or anything similar. I tend to be the player that looks out for others and plays according to the tactics (such as burning adds down when you should) and while I may sacrifice some output sometime over that, meters don’t show everything do they?

        So yeah, ofc you don’t wanna get carried but there are limits to the optimization craze and nobody should be forced out of a playstyle they enjoy, as long as it’s doing ‘well enough’. The top DPSer isn’t just automatically the benchmark for everyone else. And a run doesn’t have to get boring or annoying for damage dealers just so the healer can have the easiest time; it should be a balanced challenge for everyone and there’s also room for learning.

      2. “This becomes apparent to me when you link raid stats that are fundamentally different from 5man runs where stuff dies very fast during smooth runs. SWpriests are still the strongest at sustaining damage on multiple targets and a raid environment incl. raid buffs is a very different ball game.”

        Actually…not so much. Yeah, raid buffs exist, but you’ll still get most of them in a 5 man these days and you often have a 15% damage buff on top of that if you’re randoming.

        And to quote the Icy Veins reference you mentioned…

        “Against short-lasting enemies, you are quite fortunate since Clarity of Power has very little ramp-up time. If a new target spawns that needs to be dealt with quickly, simply begin executing the single-target rotation on it. If there are many short-lasting enemies, you can use either the 2-4 target or the 5+ or target rotations outlined above.”

        If you’re in a raid situation where you’re sustaining damage on multiple targets then you should be using AS, technically — but we’re not talking about those situations, like you said. CoP is not at any significant disadvantage in 5 mans (especially since you can proc ToF a lot more and can execute mobs with SW:D and then use the orbs to DP another target).

        “Today I’ve been in midfield around 14k during most runs and I can probably still improve that with a tighter rota and looking into my stats (which I haven’t done yet).”

        Which is a massive improvement over 10k, which is what you mentioned in your post :) I thought you were indeed saying “Who cares if I’m doing 10k when I should be doing 15k, whatevs yo.”

        “while I may sacrifice some output sometime over that, meters don’t show everything do they?”

        They actually do (or rather, WarcraftLogs does). Can track your position throughout the entire fight and see every ability you used and at what time you used it. Insanely powerful tool to improve your performance.

        Unless by “meters” you mean “damage meters” only.

        “he top DPSer isn’t just automatically the benchmark for everyone else.”

        Of course, but I’ve seen runs (not this expansion as I haven’t really random queued this expansion) where I see people doing less than half of the DPS they should and they don’t see the issue. Was major issue in Cataclysm heroics where people should have been doing 6k+ DPS and were often doing 2-3k — and thus causing massive problems for the group.

  5. You’re clearly ruining their enjoyment of the game if the boss dies in 2min instead of 3. :P

    Right now I am also doing that, with a meager ~620 iLvl I was shouted at in caps with “ROGUE STOP SLACK” and other stuff recently. I would’ve loved to hug the healer who started to vote kick the tank (despite an imminent waiting time) because he was being an ass to basically everyone.

    And I say that as an ex-raider that still tries everything to maximise DPS. But sometimes 20 iLvl and/or being new to the fight do make a difference and unless I see someone doing only a fraction of their “should be” dps (i.e. not just 10k vs 22k, more like 3k vs 21k) I hardly ever say anything. Unless they’re clearly doing something wrong I might give them some hints if I have a clue about the class, but man, you can do that in a friendly manner.

    1. Hmm yes, that’s the issue I have too – if people are being pests over meters for no apparent reason other than competition or the fastest run possible. Am always happy to get tips and am currently floating around 14k DPS which hasn’t earned me any criticism given that I provide other things besides damage too. I am still firmly in the ‘survival > max dps’ camp even if WoW doesn’t necessarily reward that sort of thing. Experience is an important factor as well.

  6. “For anything outside minuscule, competetive top-tier raid content, optimizing specs and rotations are not a requirement in order to beat anything in WoW”

    I tried my first WoD heroic on the weekend (as a healer).

    10 wipes and a group disintegration because we simply didn’t have the DPS to kill Roltall in the Slag Mines before the ground was 100% covered in fire says that no, some optimization was needed, and that wasn’t top-tier raid content!

    1. How is that a vote for meters? Sorry I don’t follow you.
      Am not talking about failed runs here but the extent of how meters are used nowadays even in perfectly fine runs. Quite obviously yours wasn’t great and there could be a lot of reasons for that – even with good gear and perfect specs it doesn’t guarantee success. I can see why fights can sucks for healers but at Roltall too there are many things that can go wrong that have to do with playstyle, being stupid or positioning badly etc. which then result in loss of damage done. I somehow doubt 10 wipes happened because not everyone had optimal specs. ;) That’s the trouble with meters for me right there, tells you absolutely nothing on its own. Or do you actually know ‘why’ you wiped other than ‘dps sucked’?

      I hope you have a better run again soon!

      1. “How is that a vote for meters? Sorry I don’t follow you.”

        It’s exactly what I talked about — without meters you can’t tell who isn’t pulling their weight. The group was lacking DPS but without meters you don’t know who is the problem.

        “That’s the trouble with meters for me right there, tells you absolutely nothing on its own. Or do you actually know ‘why’ you wiped other than ‘dps sucked’?”

        Meters can actually point out the problems when you look at the ability breakdown. For example, if I see a Gladiator Warrior who never Heroic Strikes then that’s a huge problem. If I see a Shadow Priest who Mind Blasts like half a dozen times on a two minute long fight then that’s a huge problem. Etc.

  7. While I agree with your general sentiment (which is part of why I’m enjoying playing a meter-less game), I can see certain people disagreeing with you… quite violently.

    /grabs popcorn and keeps an eye on this comment section

    1. Hah…enjoy Shintar! ;)
      And yes HOW on earth do all these other MMOs manage without meters? Am not even totally against them but I am very much against what 98% of all players sadly make of them. And if the overall outcome is a good one, why isn’t that enough in a coop game?

      1. Sometimes, those other MMOs manage without meters by making the tuning requirements lower, so people can get away without knowing what the optimum specs actually are.

        The real problem is that without any way of measuring output, how do you tell if changing things up actually improved it? It’s just creating an opaque wall where nobody really understands what is going on, which doesn’t make the game better unless it’s so easy that you can throw any old spec & skill selection together and have it work.

        LotRO had this problem back when I played. I grabbed my companion and changed her talents around… and had no real way of knowing if that made any difference or not. More damage skill vs lowering enemy resistance skill, which is better? It was literally impossible for me to determine the answer to that. I couldn’t even tell if they were doing something or not.

        Meters mean people can answer those questions. That means there will be optimum specs and expected numbers. It has its downsides, but it has significant upsides too.

      2. It may do that for you on an individual level, I can see that benefit. However, the role meters play in a cooperative/group scenario changes drastically because that’s when comparisons are made and conclusions that are all too often just ‘wrong’. Meters require interpretation and deeper knowledge of every single class; most players are great at using meters to see a number and rubbish at understanding them beyond their own immediate performance. Meters don’t make better players and they don’t magically explain or fix wipes.

      3. Do meters get misused – yes. Like every piece of information humanity has ever created, some people don’t know how to interpret it.

        Do they not make better players – No. They do.

        In my past MMO life, I was the healing leader of a progression raiding guild. I was a backup raid leader. I used meters all the time, particularly in 25 and the hideous 40 person raids. Run into a dispel fight and stuff isn’t getting dispelled? What exactly am I supposed to do about that if I can’t tell who is dispelling and who isn’t? Just saying “hey, dispel more please!” doesn’t help anybody.

        When I did see who was having trouble, I was able to take them aside after the raid and help them out with mouseover macros and other tips to make it easier. I also made a competition whereby if anybody could out dispel me, I’d give them flasks for the next raid. Performance improved drastically and we beat the encounter.

        The DPS folks did something similar, though for each class lead it was easier given that healing is even less straightforward to meter read than DPS is. I swear, reading healing meters correctly is an art more than a science, it simply can’t be done without extensive knowledge of what actually happened on a given attempt and who was doing what.

        But the point here is that meters do in fact improve performance when used correctly. I’ve done it personally. I know it works. On top of that, meters provide the baseline required to actually know if performance is improving or not. Without any way of measuring whats going on, you’re in a very binary world of “it died” or “it didn’t die”. On high end progression raiding, that doesn’t get the job done. Us folks need to know what’s happening in detail to figure out what’s going wrong and fix it.

        They’re also used to make the cookie cutter specs & rotations that someone who wants to do reasonably well without putting a lot of experimentation in can use.

        I’ve played games with them and games without them, and in the games without any real way to measure performance I always feel in the dark in a raid setting. I’ve got no idea why we’re not making that enrage timer or why the group gradually dies off or if I’m really the only person who knows what Dispel Magic does.

        Like I said, I think it’s great that they don’t matter to a lot of the playerbase anymore. Were I playing today, I’d probably be in that group. But saying they never do any good is just not true.

      4. I just want to say I completely agree with Tridus. Especially some of the following (in no particular order):

        “Sometimes, those other MMOs manage without meters by making the tuning requirements lower, so people can get away without knowing what the optimum specs actually are.

        The real problem is that without any way of measuring output, how do you tell if changing things up actually improved it? It’s just creating an opaque wall where nobody really understands what is going on, which doesn’t make the game better unless it’s so easy that you can throw any old spec & skill selection together and have it work.”

        “Run into a dispel fight and stuff isn’t getting dispelled? What exactly am I supposed to do about that if I can’t tell who is dispelling and who isn’t? Just saying “hey, dispel more please!” doesn’t help anybody.”

        “On top of that, meters provide the baseline required to actually know if performance is improving or not. Without any way of measuring whats going on, you’re in a very binary world of “it died” or “it didn’t die”. On high end progression raiding, that doesn’t get the job done. Us folks need to know what’s happening in detail to figure out what’s going wrong and fix it.”

  8. I’ve actually had a similar conversation happen between two friends of mine in Diablo 3, when we play together. One of them is heavily optimized and knows the game inside and out. The other likes to pick things because they seem cool.

    Optimizer friend tries to offer tips and advice to cool friend. Cool friend does not appreciate it, and thinks he’s being told how to play, that he’s being a noob, etc, etc. He doesn’t care about doing more DPS so long as we beat the greater rift timers, so long as he’s effective enough that he feels like he’s contributing (and not being carried). He’s not the strongest one in the group (right now that’s me, or my friend depending on which character he’s on), but he doesn’t care. He’s killing stuff and having fun, and he’s happy.

    Optimizer friend doesn’t understand, because to him the point of the game is increasing damage numbers so you can do the higher level greater rifts and move up the scoreboard. He has the best of intentions, and honestly doesn’t understand why someone would sabotage themselves by taking skill combinations that don’t play well together or are known suboptimal. When he plays, he’s constantly trying to beat yesterday’s time, which is how he has fun.

    These two are playing the same game, with the same people (aka: me), at the same time. They are not speaking the same language in how they do it, and it creates this kind of friction.

    Meters are around for my optimizer friend and his type, along with hard modes and such. The fact that they’re not necessary to do stuff these days is awesome for my “cool stuff” friend, but removing them won’t help anything. It’ll just hurt the people trying to push the hardest content, where the extra 2% matters.

    1. Yeah, your two friends just have very different ideas of what’s fun or successful and that’s fine. I would be cool with that too but unfortunately meters are not just for the top 2%; they are used everywhere and rubbed into people’s faces no matter the content. And that is frankly a downside for more people than 2% – if all the unnecessary arguments and frustrations over meters in 5mans ever are any indication. Maybe I should tell the next person that uses meters in a 5man ‘it’s not for you, don’t do it’ but somehow I doubt that will work. ;)

  9. I guess I’m weird, because I’m firmly in the camp that both enjoys a certain amount of optimization but also thinks meters are the devil, especially ones that can be shared/posted to all and sundry.

    First off, meters can be gamed, and can focus players on doing something less important to the combat, just to look good on what is being measured. Maybe frontloading all that dps and rushing makes things more difficult for the tank to take aggro, whereas giving a few seconds leeway for the tank to secure a mob would actually make the run smoother. Will someone looking for a place on the high dps scorechart care? Hell, no, those are precious few seconds damage is not being done! Skill rotate away! Ditto overhealing and wasting mana.

    I’d really rather have something that measures how observant and situationally aware that player is, and how cooperative and communicative he or she is with the group, but nope, can’t meter-rize that yet.

    They run the risk of being inaccurate, if the numbers are not quite right. I remember theorycrafting incidents like this in City of Heroes, when someone finally realized that the Time to Finish Animation was different from the stated numbers on the skills, which totally changed the DPS calculations.

    And the worse is when the meter results are being used to measure and denigrate others for not living up to someone else’s expectations, or as a convenient shortform excuse to say you aren’t pulling the weight, /kick. What does it produce? Elitism, toxicity, impatience with newbies and strangers, closemindedness, reluctance to teach and an expectation that everyone will automatically ‘know’ before being considered ‘good.’ None of those things are good for the longevity of a game, in the long term, players and devs are shooting themselves in the foot that way.

    Having combat info and data made available personally for interested players to spend time looking at isn’t something I’d oppose though. That can be motivation for personal improvement or experimentation. Most of the players who are interested in that sort of numbers calculation also understand where numbers can fall short of telling the whole story. It’s the people who can’t be bothered to think through all the equations and do the groundwork that grab onto meters as a convenient way of charting things, and then promptly misread and abuse the data.

    The big thing is always, exactly what is being measured by meters, and is it really the best way to measure effectiveness? The per second part only makes sense if you are fighting a big static bag of hitpoints and throwing the same skills at it over and over, so you want to maximize damage for that.

    In GW2, for example, you’d look a right fool maximizing your skill rotations for optimal dps and standing there as a giant cloud of AoE damage lands on your head and offs you. Dead = zero dps. You could do lots of damage over time with AoE attacks, but if your opponents heal up and kill you, it means nothing except you look good on an imaginary meter, whereas a single focused burst might down them. Timing and positioning and mobility are intentionally designed in as part of combat effectiveness, making a traditional sum of all X / time taken meter a little more useless.

    1. “And the worse is when the meter results are being used to measure and denigrate others for not living up to someone else’s expectations, or as a convenient shortform excuse to say you aren’t pulling the weight, /kick. What does it produce? Elitism, toxicity, impatience with newbies and strangers, closemindedness, reluctance to teach and an expectation that everyone will automatically ‘know’ before being considered ‘good.’ None of those things are good for the longevity of a game, in the long term, players and devs are shooting themselves in the foot that way.”

      Thank you for saying everything I meant to say, too. :)
      It’s a big issue that DPS is all that gets measured usually, outside of competitive guild runs. Stuff like zero deaths or dmg taken, actually killing the add even if it’s boring and requires you to re-position, adding extra utility/healing when it’s looking bad or waiting for tank aggro – none of them are recorded in DPS meters.

      Like I said further up too, am not totally against meters but the way they’re used most of the time is very poor and counter-productive. As for a good performance, it is just that: a good performance. Good is good enough and it’s not defined by what the ‘top DPS’ does.

      1. I’m with Jeromai! I like being (mostly) optimal and I’m an achiever type, but I don’t understand why that is applied externally. Like, if I want to study the meters and see how my performance changes with different abilities and whatnot, great! That’s awesome! If I want to use the meters as a weapon to call someone out or threaten to kick them or whatever awful nonsense, not great!

        Even when we were doing hard mode, progression raiding we had a rule about not linking meters in chat and not using them against someone. Most of us were running meters (and I knew who generally had the best DPS or whatever according to the charts), but we didn’t call someone out for them. Besides, they still haven’t found a chart that can magically track situational awareness…

  10. My friends and I run meters privately when we do PUGs. We fully expect a run to be completed, even if we have to drag a few people along. I actually like having a ‘poor’ player or two because it makes a run more interesting. Hyper optimized groups run so smoothly that I can’t squeeze that extra level of fun out of my character: emergency off-healing, off-tanking, cc, etc.

    I agree with you, for the most part, though I do tend to play for the meters more than anything. Just finishing a Heroic is a pretty low bar, so doing it hyper-effectively makes for a more exciting experience. I absolutely cannot stand those who try and tell others what to do and how to play though. If I wanted advice, I would ask for it – I assume others feel the same way.

    In other words, I think min/maxing is fine and I like that WoW offers it (to an extent, at least). People need to abide by the Platinum Rule though. Treat others how you think they want to be treated!

    Most people don’t want to be treated like unskilled, ignorant plebeians.

  11. Wall of text warning

    Hmm always a hard topic those meters. Mostly cause it seems both camps are right.
    First, a bit about meters and me: I like my meters, and i like imaginary competitions with whomever i am currently in group with. If i am not on top of meters i try my best to get there if at all possible without simultaneously doing stupid things. This is for ME and not for anyone else, and I am fully aware that “winning” a competition in which I am the only one participating is an empty victory. Even then I still like it. This goes for damage/interrupts/healing done (as a ret i like to participate with “selfless healer” procs when i have empty gcds or tank looks badly off)/least damage taken and whichever other metric i can reasonably measure with recount.
    I am aware that i might run the risk of getting too focused on certain metrics, but I believe that i mainly become better from these imaginary competitions.
    This alone ought to place me firmly in the meters are good camp. Add to this that I also like to analyze raid situations by looking through meters after an encounter (I’m just a casual raider, so ill easily admit that doing so is more of a want than need situation). The information gained can sometimes be invaluable to my self, and sometimes they can be used for better understanding what went right/wrong in the relevant fight. (Did the tanks on butcher take damage from the “gushing wounds” debuff this try, or did we manage to understand the mechanic well enough to set up correctly this time?/ apparently i dies from a lot of damage from “iron bombs” vs boss 1 in highmaul… What deals that damage and is it avoidable?/ why is my pal who just specced holy healing SO much less than the other paladin healer…. Oh he forgot to use this sort of important spell called “holy light”, i think ill tell him). All of these were specific examples from this weekends LAN raids, where meters helped our group or me understand things.
    Granted, a lot of these things could maybe have been fixed by preparing better beforehand (like actually reading on bosses).

    Now the other camp however obviously have a lot of valid points as well. Meters, and to a (maybe) lesser extend ilvl has become a stick to whack people with if they fail to meet some sometimes very arbitrary or straight up ridiculous demands. Tanking a heroic where some barely geared guy is doing 12k dps with two cm/crafted epics/whatnot-geared each doing around 20-25, and one of them starts badmouthing the low one for being a baddie/newb/carry and initiating votekick. Linking meters from fights where the difference is even more visible etc. Healer and other damage guy decides that 12k is too low and bye bye mr decent enough lowgeared guy.

    If not for meters i seriously doubt anyone present would have noticed that the lowgeared guy was doing anything but perfect. The run was quite fast as it were. So without meters the guy would have stayed and had a fast run. With the meters he gets badmouthed, and kicked.
    Are meters to blame though? Tbh I’d answer in the negative, the asshats who decide that their own arbitrary requirements should be enforced, are, however. As someone above me said, information have always been used for bad purposes as well as good.
    Meters are an instrument that on failed fights might provide helpful information about how to improve (sometimes by pointing out what to do differently, but admittedly other times by pointing out who might not be pulling their weight) and on succesful fights might provide a higher bar than success that people have to pass, often for no reason other than to please the ones who already passed it.

    I’d say the first use is a beneficial one, even if sometimes hard on the guy who isnt up to snuff, but the second use is the really harmfull one. By portraying one dimension of “doing it badly” in a way thats easy to flaunt it allows certain types of elitists to filter their groups based on their own, rather than the games, measures of success.
    For some reason i very rarely see people linking “damage taken” or damage taken from ability X though, might be prudent for some to focus a bit less on just the one meter

    Tldr: meters have good uses and bad…. So basically what has already been said by others :-)

    1. No disagreement here. This –
      “If not for meters i seriously doubt anyone present would have noticed that the lowgeared guy was doing anything but perfect. The run was quite fast as it were. So without meters the guy would have stayed and had a fast run. With the meters he gets badmouthed, and kicked.”

      …is a very important point for me. The fact that good is good enough only UNTIL the spy kids are out to make others miserable, and for what? To feel smug and superior. It’s sad and very hard to align with cooperative play. People are already dealing with shitty rat races IRL and pretty much treated after the same, biased and unfair standards like dps meters.

      I don’t need this shit in cooperative games. MMOs are about community for me these days and I am over epeen and vainglory. I don’t wanna make other players feel bad any more than I am gonna feel bad for playing a game the way I enjoy it lol. :D
      And I wouldn’t ask a competitive raidguild to get me on, mind – what I am saying is, leave this stuff out of all the relatively trivial content that constitutes the majority of WoW.

  12. I’m sure I’ve said this before, on my own blog or elsewhere – meters provide raw information, but that’s rarely enough. Information needs to be interpreted, and far too many people are prone to either not interpreting it correctly, or else gaming the stats if they see other people judging (or rewarding) them on specific stats. DPS meters are a classic case – sometimes the thing you can do that most benefits the group isn’t the thing that boosts your own personal DPS score the most, or contrariwise the thing that boosts your DPS score can be actively harmful to the group (e.g. straining the healer by standing in the bad whilst you get another shot off).

    I work in call centre design for a living. Call centres live and die by their MI (management information). But all the horror stories my colleagues tell each other over a beer feature people who focused on one piece of MI to the exclusion of common sense, or gamed the system. For example, the call centre who were measured on how many customers had to wait over 5 minutes to be answered – so if you’d been in the queue for 4 minutes and 59 seconds, they set it up to automatically disconnect the call…

    I don’t dislike information. I dislike dicks who misuse information, and I tend to agree with Bhagpuss – success is determined by “did we kill the boss and loot his epic pants”, everything else is secondary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available