HP sharing is caring

| Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tamarind over at Righteous Orbs got me thinking about caring. She focuses more on gender issues, which I don't mean to discount, but I'll try to focus on the overall relationships of tanking, healing, and DPS. Her overall theme is one of caring, we all feel safer with a tank who cares, especially if we're the vulnerable healer.

My main is a prot paladin. She's female, I'm male. I feel different tanking on her than on my male warrior or male druid. She's more arrogant and sometimes bossy. Is that just more stereotyping, that a female cannot be protective and leading a group, that she must be aggressive and offensive?

My paladin has a mildly annoyed face at all times. It was intentional. After playing a FHP for a few levels I was disturbed by the way her face did not change whether she was standing around chatting or smashing kobold face. In reaction to this, my belf has a perfect face: it looks appropriate for combat without being too ugly for standing around. But it also doesn't make her look very friendly, a little bit hostile, in fact. I hope that my paladin's offensive personality is due to her appearance, not to stereotyping about her sex-role combination.

I remember being DPS for a female druid once. I felt very safe, as if I was the cub of a momma bear and everyone knows, you do not f- with the momma bear's cubs. At times I've wanted to make a protective female feral, but I have a very strict rule about female tauren: they are only allowed to be played by female humans. I get very annoyed when people break that rule. Yes, it's silly, but too bad.

Why don't we care about DPS?
I don't mean we don't care about how well they play. We do. If we didn't we'd not see "lf DPS naxx 10, 4k+ will be gear checking." What I instead mean is that, at least to me, we care less about the intrinsic value of DPS players. They're just DPS. They're not like tanks or healers. We value them. Why?

I think it's about the sharing of HP. Tanks give their health to the healer, saying to them "I will shield you with my very life." In return the healers say "I will keep you alive, but you must protect me in turn." It is a reciprocal exchange of trust and life. They each owe their existence to the other.

DPS are left out of this. They do not save the lives of the healers. They do not save the lives of the tanks. Oh you might see a sheep on a loose mob, but how often do you see a mage throw himself on top of a healer?

In kind healers are often reluctant to save DPS. After all, DPS frequently create their own problems; they DPS too soon and get aggro, they stand in the wrong place, they don't use bandages or healthstones or potions. The relationship is more one-sided, a bit leeching, with the DPS expecting heals but offering no protection in return.

Can we fix this?
Could DPS be brought into the fold? They could gain some protective capabilities for others. Imagine if a mage could cast mana shield on someone else. Or if a warlock could put soul link on a fellow caster. Make it use the SP of the recipient as a scaling factor with DRs like armor so it would approach 20%. This would make it effective to put it on healers or at least other DPS without making it a huge EH gain for tanks. Even if it only was put on other DPS, it would make DPS more protective and that would make them a little bit more like the tanks and healers.


Anonymous said...

Hurrah, I have inpsired thought, I'm really chuffed.

I think you're right, caring isn't hard-wired into the relationship between DPS and group in the same way as with tank/healer. It *can* be there, though. I remember I was running ToC with a moderately bad PUG and the damn commentator ghoul kept jumping on my face. There was nothing anybody could do about this, it has a dodgy aggro table and I was shielded and could heal through it fine but for some reason he kept going for me. The DPS weren't really paying attenetion to mowing him down, the tank was busy, so the hunter leapt in front of me and stuck a frost trap down. And I felt such warmth towards him, for that, I couldn't express it.

DPS encourages selfish play, unfortunately, I think. What makes me love a DPS is not the big numbers though, it's playing intelligently and sensitively, using interrupts, removing curses or poison if they can, that kind of thing. But the in-game emphasis is always on the BOOM. Most groups will say "wow, 4k DPS man" but they won't say "I love the way you rootsed the mob going for the healer, that was classic".

I mean, stopping to protect the healer gimps your DPS so I wonder if even if DPS classes *had* more functionality for doing so, if they'd want to?

Sweetcherrie said...

Actually while in the raidleader job I do say that, I also see it.

On Anub last week we had a rogue who sprinted way out of the group when he was followed and prevented with that that the ice patch the melee was standing on was broken, allowing us to kill the add on it.

I saw that, and complimented him on a job well done.

But those are the rarer moments. DPS is fun, it's the raw deal. But the whole sharing and caring thing is indeed healer tank mostly.

Christian said...

And, in a sense, the DPS are giving something to the healers and tanks: time. It's not a widely-recognized part of the relationship, but it's vitally important. Enrage timers make it most obvious, but any time a mob dies quicker because a DPS knows what he/she is doing is a time when that mob isn't going to kill the tank.

This view is becoming more prevalent on my server, both in guild runs and in PuGs. For most content, tanks and healers have a rather low bar to reach. Once they have achieved the "keep threat on mobs, don't take stupid amounts of damage" and "heal damage taken for a period of time," their contributions begin to dry up. Even though they can do better tanking and better healing, there is a loose ceiling to their effectiveness.

DPS, on the other hand, can always be higher. Most wipes on my server are blamed on the DPS - partly because they often deserve it, and partly because it's very easy to say "the boss is not dead in X time, he could be dead in X time, the DPS should kill him in X time, DPS harder!" People are really starting to see that DPS not only play an integral role in a group's success, but also that the DPS are usually the easiest to improve.

Or, it could be that the tanks and healers have used their special relationship to just start blaming things on non-tanks and healers. A true anti-DPS conspiracy!

jeffo said...

I think part of the problem with DPS being 'out of the cycle' is that the encounters have changed in a way that KEEPS them out of that cycle. The example of the frost-trapping hunter that Tamarind mentioned used to be very common back in BC dungeons and raids. If a trap wasn't specifically called for on on the pull, one of our guild hunters used to set traps right in front of me before the pull, 'just in case'.

The lack of CC needed nowadays certainly speeds things up, but I think it's taken away a certain amount of the 'group experience'.

Klepsacovic said...

@Tamarind: They have the functionality, they just rarely have to use it. Now you've got me thinking of another post! Very inspiring. :)

@Shy: I wonder if he was always a rogue. I carry a protective mindset no matter what role I'm in, probably from years of tanking.

@Christian: DPs do contribute, but the way they do it isn't so directly for other players, so it's harder to see.

@jeffo: You raise a good point about CC.

Hana said...

I have a friend who has occasionally been called "the only good hunter I ever ran into" by a few tanks and healers I've met. When an add gets lose, he's the guy who Warstomps the add, drops a trap under it, and then Scattershots a second add so that the tank(s) have a chance to get these adds under control before they munch a healer. He never fails to misdirect at the start of a pull. I've even seen him Distracting Shot taunt mobs before to keep them off healers.

But most pure dps classes don't have these kinds of abilities in their toolkit (barring one-off CCs), which makes it difficult for them to help the tank or help the healer no matter much they'd like to.

Kiryn said...

...She? Tamarind? *confused*

Klepsacovic said...

@Hana: CC has spread, but we use it so much less now. We're not trained to.

@Kiryn: That's not "she", that's a typo of "s'he", it's um, a new way of saying he which is considered by scholars to be a proper form of address between bloggers.

Cassie said...

I think many people play a DPS class first and these people can get tunnel vision - they won't spot what it about to cause trouble for a tank or healer.

If you've played a healer before and then swap to DPS... well you know better than to LoS yourself around a corner.

If you've played a tank before and then swap to DPS... these are the hunters that will MD an add that runs that 1 yard out of taunt range. These are the frost mages that can group up all the loose mobs on the tank and then freeze them - all somehow without getting hit.

A good DPS doesn't have the same opportunities to shine, but they do get noticed when it happens.

Klepsacovic said...

@Cassie: I think we all learn, understand, and value our roles. Tanks know about pulling and aggro control and positioning. Healers know all the damage that is flying around and exactly why fire is bad. DPS pretty much just know that they want to be behind the mob.

Anonymous said...

I've taken a few bullets for my healers over the years.. to the extent that they normally macro up a bubble or battle rez.

they know I will intercept, and probably die, rather than them taking the hit...

It's just a shame Mages only take one hit.

Hopefully the mob slowed down to make sure I was dead...

word verification: extinct

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