Does DPS = Dumb, or Tanks/Healers = Jerk? Not Really

A recent topic on the Blizzard forums has gotten me thinking. DPS is currently at odds with healers and tanks. Tanks and healers seem to have garnered a serious ego problem. They think, since DPS is dime-a-dozen, we’re noobs, losers, and poor players. I’m a DPS pally, as everyone who reads here knows, so this obviously stung. This is my response, away from the runaway train wreck the original topic has become.

DPS are common because they are the best leveling and soloing class. Also, every class has a DPS spec they can go in to. Can warriors heal? Can priests tank? No. Therefore, healers and tanks are a specialized breed, only available from certain classes, played by players of a certain mindset. You have to want to tank or heal, and you can only learn to tank or heal in a group. We’ve all been DPS, to some extant, leveling from 1-80. You may group allot, but you’re going to find yourself on your own sometimes, and healers and tanks have it rough alone. DPS is the cruise control of leveling; just line up the bad guys and watch them fall.

My opinion of instance groups, as it pertains to this topic, is that we NEED each other. Personally, as a ret pally grouping as DPS, without a tank, I’m dead. Without a healer, I’m dead. We DPS are not alone in this symbiosis (if only by definition of the word); you tanks can get the crap beat out of you without us DPS to drop those mobs you aggro’d. Healers are either going to be bored or dead ithout some DPS between themselves and the tank, depending on if the tank ever kills his draws or if he eventually gets killed. Likewise, tanks and DPS alone can’t get very far. Just DPS and healers are usually a fatal combination. People, we’ve gotta work together.

DPS players are often disrespected – especially us retribution paladins – because we’re so many, and as such we have more bad apples. Believe me, I’ve had poor tanks that can’t hold aggro, and healers that got every one killed because of their ineptitude. I know healing is hard, I’ve done it a number of times. It’s a headache, and that stress is a primary reason why I dropped my holy spec in favor of a PvP one. I’ve never tanked, and I don’t intend to. Tanking, in my experience, requires some degree of instance knowledge and experience to manage pulls – something I’m usually unable to bring to a group.

Unfortunately, I’m a bad example. I usually describe myself as a hammer; a simple, blunt tool for breaking things. Point me at a target, tell me when and how hard to hit it, and I’ll do my job. That is my level of DPS skill. I don’t ruin runs, and I’m compliant and amiable, but I give DPS a bad name just with my extremely basic approach. This can lead others to see me as stupid or a newbie when I just have a basic, working strategy for success.

This is a really touchy subject for some people. There are folks who would swear that there are no ‘real’ players who play DPS, and there are others who would claim that all healers and/or tanks are jerks. I think of it this way: we’re all DPS at heart. DPS is like any other role; you have to work at it. If you’re healing, it’s to keep those who put effort into maxing out their DPS alive so they can kill your enemies. If you’re tanking, you’re also doing it to keep the dedicated DPS out of harms way so they can clear the way to success. I saw a few slandering quotes on the original topic that spawned this post. One that struck me was ‘tanking is a job, healing is a passion, dps is a game.’ I see it more like what it was probably intended as – a concentrated war effort. You need the heavy tanks to clear the way for the soldiers, you need the soldiers to kill the enemies, and you need the technical staff to keep both the tanks and soldiers on the front lines. If any part of that harmony falls out of place, the battle can quickly go belly up. So remember, you’re standing by your allies so they’ll stand by you… and if you want to be selfish about it, remember that if they’re not standing by you, you’re dead. Period. Doubt me? Go solo ICC and lemme know how that goes. The rest of us (who can and will play nicely together) will be waiting for you at the top.

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