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Why does everyone want to DPS?

You see them in the arenas and in the battlegrounds, looking for groups in Ironforge and Orgrimmar, and complaining on the forums and their blogs. They are ret paladins, balance druids, enhancement shamans, and shadow priests who would like to see their class be able to DPS in raids. But why does everyone want to DPS? Tanks and healers are precious commodities, and DPS are a dime a dozen.

I talked to a couple people in-game who had switched from one role to another during their time in WoW. Most of them agreed that DPS was more attractive than healing or tanking and gave a number of reasons:

  • DPSers don't have as much responsibility. Unless you pull aggro, you're probably not going to directly kill anyone as a DPSer. Healers get blamed a lot for wipes.
  • All classes are pretty much forced to learn how to DPS just to level, but may not learn tanking and healing until they get in instances (if ever.)
  • DPSers get to be right in front of the boss and directly contribute to the death of the enemy. (Note: not true for dagger rogues, who get to spent every boss fight staring at the boss's backside.)
  • The DPS role is seen as the more masculine and aggressive role, instead of protecting and healing, which are seen as more feminine roles. Or, as a female elemental shammy friend of mine said, "Guys just like to punch things." Oh, now I'm all gender-confused, because I also like to punch things.
  • DPSers can show off their individual skill and power by comparing crits and DPS meters. What are healers and tanks going to say? "Wow, look at how much aggro I held on the mob?"
  • There are simply more DPS classes than tanks or healers.

To be fair, there are also some unique challenges for DPSers:'

  • Do you know how many of us there ARE? Try getting a guild invite as a rogue or hunter.
  • Because there are so many DPSers, we're rarely praised and often mocked, since we're seen as easily replaceable. "Don't complain -- do you know how many mages would kill to get into this guild?"
  • Some healers see DPSers as big, dumb brutes who push buttons mindlesssly. This hurts our fragile self-esteem.

So I'm turning the question to you guys. Why is DPSing more popular than tanking or healing? Which role do you like the best? What could be done to even out the balance a little more?

Census above courtesy of warcraftrealms.com, level 70s on all servers.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Raiding, Leveling, Classes

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