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WoW.com Guest Post: From manners to mechanics: Five tips for DPS in heroics

In the next installment of our guest post program, WoW.com welcomes Kelly Krehbiel. Kelly plays as Galestrom, a Night Elf Hunter on the Turalyon realm. A proud member of <The Elders of Turalyon>, he's been playing the game for a little over a year. "The coolest thing to me, is really having fun with this game." His guild makes it simple, he says. "They're some of the most helpful and knowledgeable people I know, and they really make it easy to have a blast." In From Manners to Mechanics -- Five tips for DPS in heroics, Kelly explores how you can be at the top of your game during your random heroic dungeon runs.

It's a known fact that we DPS are a dime a dozen. If we leave an instance (or are kicked), another waiting DPS immediately steps in and the fight goes on. For us, things are a little different. We're waiting several minutes to run heroics, hoping to close out our dailies before the 'Enter Dungeon' button finally arrives.

While it's true we're easy to replace, there's no question we bring value to the fight. If we weren't around, it would take a significant amount of time for the tanks and healers to get the job done. Thankfully, enrage timers keep us in business we're handy to have along, so it behooves us to ensure we're doing our part.

From the way we carry ourselves, to the very mechanics of our class, there's a few tips we can use to make sure we're getting the most out of our heroic runs. After the break, we'll show you how to do just that.

Know Your Manners

Nobody likes a troll.


Odds are, three out of five, actually, it's DPS exhibiting bad behavior the majority of the time it occurs. Remember, you probably spent anywhere from 12 to 40 minutes during peak times waiting to even set foot in the dungeon. You certainly don't have to be a saint, but it's definitely in your best interests to behave yourself.

How to pull it off

Treat others in the instance as you'd like to be treated. People typically appreciate constructive criticism, but offer to provide it first -- in private. Bring some etiquette to the fight along with your buff food. Your temporary team will greatly appreciate it; even if they don't say so.

Know Your Role

Only when the tank has DC'd or died, may you attempt to turn your DPS class into a tank.

Aggro. Chances are fair that your tank is well aware of it, and you should be too. As DPSers, our job is to deal as much damage as possible without drawing the ire of whatever we're hitting.

This becomes challenging when the tank you're with is relative newbie in the grand scheme of things. Maybe they've just recently hit 80, or raiding 10-man Naxx is the highest they'd ever like to go. Either way, if you're pulling aggro, it's not the tank's failing. It's yours. (Yes, even if the tank happens to be a Death Knight.)

How to pull it off

If you haven't already, install a threat meter. If you aren't aware of how much threat you're putting on the boss, you can't adjust your rotation to ensure that you aren't pulling aggro. Next, adjust your strategy. The point of heroics isn't to top the DPS charts, it's to gain a few emblems and a chunk of gold. Pace yourself to suit the makeup of the team you're running with. Everyone will have a great time as a result.

Know What's Up

Situational awareness. Say it with us now -- situational awareness.

We've all been witness to folks dying over what many might classify as a momentary lapse in mental cognition. Chances are fair that you've been struck with this rare condition yourself from time to time. It happens to the best of us. Many times, we quickly recover and avoid a gruesome death. Sometimes, we don't.

It's this lack of recovery that has become a little out of hand. Some might even call it egregious. All of the fights give you plenty of time and opportunity to not die. The only difference between the dismal failure of dying in a pool of pixels -- and living to point and laugh at it, is situational awareness.

How to pull it off

First, install a boss mod. These won't help you to pay attention during the trash, but they really enhance situational awareness during boss encounters. Next, don't stand in the flames, smudges, green clouds, black circles, lightning, swirls, impales, cleaves, or flames (did we mention flames?). Check for falling stuff, and most of the time; don't stand in that either. Just pay attention to what's going on. It might be counter to the casual experience you're trying to have, but it sure beats dying -- and possibly causing a wipe.

Know Your Gear

Sometimes, it doesn't make sense to equip the best of the best.


If you're regularly running the Icecrown Citadel or Trial of the Grand Crusader raids, then chances are pretty good that you're quite over-geared for many of the heroic instances currently in the game. At this gear level, not only are you facerolling every monster you encounter, but you're likely pulling aggro fairly often in 5-mans. Especially if the tank is not yet to a comparable gear level. This can be fixed by slightly turning back the hands of time.

How to pull it off

Consider holding off on sharding those old tier pieces. Rocking those instead of your shiny new duds will help make the experience a much more enjoyable one for all. This also has the added benefit of keeping these 'old' encounters interesting, and further allows you to perfect the strategy of your class. Already sharded your old stuff? Roll greed on suitable lower-level replacements. Having a quality lower level set does a DPS good, and the in-game equipment manager makes it a breeze.

Know Your Class


There is no shortage of excellent information about the mechanics of your class. Go Read It.

Playing the role of DPS well means learning as much about your class as you possibly can. Nothing draws the ire of a group more than a DPS player who doesn't know their class.Take the time to learn what stats you should stack, why, and how they benefit you. Completely understand the mechanics of every single spell in your spellbook. Once you have this knowledge, you'll be able to effectively apply it.

How to pull it off

Chances are fair, if you're reading this; you're well on your way. Follow the news of your class from resource sites like WoW.com. Google is also an excellent resource, and will inevitably lead you to some of the most in depth theorycrafting forums on the net. Several other sites compress and refine this information. Get out there and dig it up. If you haven't already, you'll notice a profound difference in the quality of your gameplay.


Bringing this knowledge to the Heroic will help guarantee a solid round of "thanks" after the fight is said and done. Applying each of these will make you an asset to the 5-man team, enhance your overall experience, and paint you as a model for DPS everywhere.

Filed under: Guest Posts, Analysis / Opinion

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