Party Parity

…or the functional equality of the GCD in a group setting.

There is something wrong with me. Probably many things, but in particular I succumb to an odd compulsion – when I start reading a blog, I eventually go back and read the archives.

All of them.

From day 1.

I need help. Or more time in the day.

Blogs on tape? Read by Scott McNeil. Yummy. /tangent off

I’ve been perusing back copies of Megan’s Out of Mana and in some of the older posts the idea of parity comes up in relation to PvP. She makes wonderful equations out of priests battling each other and which ones make the better use of their GCD, the ones that break parity and come out on top.

The thought occurred to me, if you can break parity offensively in PvP, could you do so supportively in PvE? It’s really just a different way of looking at resource management at a group level.

What follows is probably common sense to you all and you’ll hopefully agree or flame me as appropriate.

Take a task that needs to be completed and two players of the same class have the option ability to perform the task.

Two mages and a curse to be removed, two hunters and a mob to be kited, two warlocks and an elemental to be banished. Apples to apples comparison.

Success probability for each pair should be roughly the same, I can’t think of any ability/talent/stat that would increase the likelihood of 1 mage being able to remove a curse any better than the next mage (I now expect Blizzard to announce that Remove Curse will be linked to Spirit, require 17% hit rating, and have a new icon in the next patch, you know, to make it “interesting”).

I’m ignoring haste and the use of add ons, this is my make-believe hypothetical world and we all have a 1.5 second GCD, neener neener.

To avoid wasted GCDs, it is best that one mage be selected as a primary for the curse duty, the second can fill in if needed. We don’t need 2 people spamming Remove Curse on the same target, one cast would be wasted.

So between 2 mages, how do you choose which one to stick with curse removal?

You have to weigh what each mage could do in the space of that GCD.

If one mage does 1000 DPS and the other does 2000 DPS, it’s a pretty obvious solution. The group loses less if 1k removes the curse instead of 2k.

I hear the whiny voice of a DPS whore (I have one locked away in my heart, we all do, don’t lie), “But, but, but, if I’m that 1k DPS mage my DPS will look even worse! I’ll never get better! The other kids will laugh at me!”

Let’s take each in turn:

  • Looking worse – To anyone that judges solely off a DPS chart, yes, you’re going to look bad, until you get good. If you are truly concerned about impressing those sorts of mouth breathers why are you even concerned with providing utility? Go back to wiping for hours because no one in your raid is a team player.
  • Never get better – Pfft. Standing in one place and casting perfect rotations *cough* Patchwerk *cough* is hardly a test of skill. Likewise, casting perfect rotations and ignoring the curse that’s crippling your raid is not a demonstration of skill. “Ooooh! lookit my DPS! i r 1337! why r u guyz all dead?”
    DPS alone =/= skill. Skill is staying out of the fire, kiting the add back to the tank, protecting the healer, not aggro’ing that patrol, assisting the tank, CC-ing that mob off to the side, doing DPS, and looking good while doing it all. (Blood elves get a bonus on that last part.)
    Skill develops from challenges, rising to meet them and sometimes failing. I’m never going to learn how to kite zombie chow if I don’t do it. You’re never going to learn to multitask and provide raid utility if you never do it. The first few times it will suck. Bad. It’s harder to add utility to a developed DPS whore playstyle than it is to learn utility as you go; habits made from narrow horizons (DPS tunnel vision) can be tough to broaden.
  • The other kids laughing – Stop admitting that your momma still dresses you and quit being a tool. Nuff said.

Moving down the grocery isle, apples to oranges!

Curses are flying around again, but we have a mage and a resto druid in a 5-man group with some random tank and 2 more DPS. Both the mage and the druid can remove curses, both cost a GCD, and both cost the same percentage of mana.

Who should be removing curses? 9 times out of 10, I will say the mage.

Again, you weigh what each would be doing in the space of that GCD.

Yes, the mage will lose a GCD of DPS. But there are 2 other people filling that role in the party.

There is a chance that the druid is just standing around, twiddling his roots, waiting for the HP to drop. But…there is only 1 healer. If the druid uses the GCD to remove the curse, that’s 3 DPS DPS-ing, a tank tanking, a healer that isn’t healing and may not be able to get off an emergency heal when the mage pulls aggro.

In a raid, you’re usually looking to your raid leader or class leader to determine who goes where and does what. Hopefully, those leaders are running calculations in their heads about this sort of thing and make intelligent decisions when assigning roles.

If you’re in a random PuG, the leadership may not be so leader-y or intelligent. Take the initiative.

Placing the good of the party above your DPS meter may not win you the approval of the DPS whores, but it may land you in the good graces of a healer or a tank that noticed what you did.

Who’s friend list would you rather be on? The one where you’re stuck in trade chat all day, “3 DPS LF tank and heal” or, “Hey I’m a tank/healer and I need a non-retarded DPS to run with us, you in?”

Non-DPS whores of WoW unite!

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