Shared Topic: Surviving PvE as a Melee DPS

Oh dear, another shared topic that’s out of my reach. Not because I’ve never played a melee DPS- I do go retribution once in a blue moon. It’s rather because every time I wave a two-hander around, my screen immediately looks like this:

Never fear, though, for through these extremely enriching and mind opening experiences, I have learned a thing or two about surviving in the PvE world as a (dead) melee DPS! When your face spends more time on the floor than staring at boss crotches, your beloved teammates begin to trample your dead self with insults and threats. You see the line “You have been removed from the group” more often than you read Chuck Norris, anal and gay bar jokes in trade chat. Your illustrious Guild/Raid/Melee DPS leader pulls you aside and explains that you must either learn to stay alive or leave the guild. Yes, it’s very difficult to survive PvE as a (dead) melee DPS. Fortunately, I know how to do it.

I’m excited to share with you today my take on Skip‘s Shared Topic suggestion. 5 Tips Surviving PvE as a (dead) Melee DPS is what I’ll call it. For more technical, more insightful and clearly less useful takes on the topic, I strongly urge you to check out the thread on Blog Azeroth.

Now down to business:

1- Get a “HEAL!!!!111one!” Macro

Sample of heal macros:

/s Heal!!
/y Heal!!
/g Heal!!
/p Heal!!
/ra Heal!!
/bg Heal!!

You can use one, several or, preferably, all of those lines in your heal macro.

Next, drag your macro down to your bars, or hotkey it, or mousebind it, however you happen to play the game. Just insert this macro into your regular rotation and all will be good. Every healer you encounter will thank you for it! There’s nothing healers appreciate more than being reminded that you exist and require heals.

2- Train Your Mind: Upon Dying, Your First Thought Should Always be “Who Can I Blame?”

This is an extremely important reflex. Your teammates, they are quick to yell at you the second your face hits the floor. They’ll blabber nonsense like “why can’t you get out of the fire?”, “control your aggro!”, “learn to play!” and a few lines that don’t meet the PG-13 rating of this blog. To get you started, here are some examples of people you can blame:

The Healer(s): Obviously they weren’t paying attention to your macro. Or to your health bar. When in doubt, blaming the healer(s) is a safe bet.

The Tank(s): If you suspect you were killed by a mob, then it must mean your tank(s) couldn’t carry aggro in a bucket! Quickly inform them of this. If you group with them again, be sure to call out “bucket check!” before the first (or every) pull.

The Last Person Who Was Targeted by a Boss Ability Before You Died: Another fair bet, the last person getting Legion Flamed or targeted by Orange Goo must not have reacted quickly enough and killed you. It’s important to call this out on vent, using the most accusatory tone you can muster. If your teammates do not believe you, just repeat yourself, speaking louder. They’ll believe you eventually.

The Raid/Party Leader: They didn’t tell you to move or stop attacking! They need to learn to communicate better. Inform them of this.

Blizzard: This fight is fundamentally discriminatory against ret paladins. It was designed for you to die and rack up a repair bill. So what if the other retribution paladin survived? They just got lucky with the RNG. Or they’ve got connections with Blizzard.

Your ISP/Computer: This is the lamest excuse, but when all else fails… There’s not a whole lot they can say when confronted with your enthusiasm for raiding but current difficult financial situation forbidding you from purchasing a new computer or switching to a reasonble ISP. Make sure you never let your guildmates know when you buy a new computer or they’ll suspect something. Lag lag lag lag. How you’ve gotten me out of trouble over and over and over again!

3- Heroics: Kick Them Before They Kick You

If you read blogs at all (and if you’re reading this, obviously you do), you know that kicking is common practice in random heroics. Heck, if you’re a melee DPS who dies often, you’ve likely experienced this firsthand. A lot. Therefore, it’s important to watch that little “dungeon finder” debuff. As soon as it runs out, vote to kick whoever seems like they’d be the most problematic. That mage who does too much DPS. The snarky healer who expects you to eat after a rez. If everyone is silent in the group, vote to kick whoever happens to have the highest gear score. (Note: Gearscore is an absolutely essential addon when it comes to survival as a dead melee DPS.) Gear with the green “heroic” label on them also warrants an insta-kick.

4- Run a Lot of Heroics to Get Your GS Up

As mentioned in my last point, if you’re to survive as a dead melee DPS, you need to get the Gearscore (GS) addon. Then, just chain heroic after heroic. As you accumulate badges, purchase T9, T10 and other gear from the vendors. Don’t worry about spreadsheets or potential DPS or whatever. You’re dead all the time, so who cares about that? You can even buy offspec gear if you feel like it. The point is to get the highest ilvl gear possible.

Once your GS is close to or above 5k, advertise it in trade chat. 5.3k GS pally LF good group daily random! At the beginning of each instance, be sure to point out everyone’s GS, especially if its lower than yours. If anyone criticizes you for dying, point out that you have 5k GS and are clearly amazing.

5- Talk. Constantly. I mean, Constantly.

It has been brought to my attention that chatty rogues are not a phenomenon exclusive to my guild. In fact, they are fairly common. Why? Because, rogues, in their squishy, squishy leather, die all the time and have learned to attract attention elsewhere. Your death will be completely forgotten if the raid is suddenly busy listening to you argue with the rogues over set bonuses. Or criticizing the positioning on the current boss. Or rambling about whether Sunday night is a good time for an alt run. Or sharing who would win if Taylor Swift and Beyoncé got into a jello wrestling match.

And there you go. Armed with this information, you are now fit to survive in the harsh, cruel world of PvE as a (dead) melee DPS! All thank you messages can be directed with donations to my (imaginary) paypal account.

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24 Comments on “Shared Topic: Surviving PvE as a Melee DPS”

  1. Hempia Says:

    Phew! That’s a lot of work. Glad I’m not a melee DPS! :D

  2. Rhidach Says:

    I found this post hilarious, and yet terrifying. Because there are people out there with this macro, I just know it.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I was inspired by many true stories!

      I’m hoping I sound ridiculous enough that even the densest of player won’t take my macro suggestion seriously.

  3. Antigen Says:

    I agree, Gearscore is absolutely essential. In ICC the other night, we stopped the raid for about 5 minutes because everyone who didn’t have the addon (baddies) wanted to know their GS.

    This information is CRUCIAL if you’re going to down the Lich King’s minions.

  4. Rahana Says:

    I am glad I stopped playing retribution and went to Restoration shaman, this new theorycrafting seems really, really complex. Question, does my enhancement offspec follow these rules too?

    Great post, amusing as heck! Thank you!

    • Ophelie Says:

      For the most part, this kind of theorycrafting is applicable to anyone who spends considerable time with their face on the floor. When it comes to floor players, it is really bring the corpse, not the class.

      The main difference is that if you take a screenshot, you would have to change the “2 handed axe” label to “axe in 2 hands”. (Or whichever is your weapon of choice.)

  5. Will Says:

    While it’s obvious that this is a more tongue-in-cheek post, it’s also something that I’ve been thinking about lately, actually.

    As I believe I’ve mentioned in previous comments, my main is an 80 Hunter, and I have an up-and-coming Death Knight; currently sitting at level 68.

    I haven’t done any grouping on him yet; neither Instances or group quests. (I cackle inwardly when I can take down at-level or slightly above-level Elites by myself with the Death Knight.) But I digress.

    I’d love to DPS some instances with him. It’ll be fun getting the “Stay BEHIND the mob” idea into my head as a melee, though…

    But I’d really, REALLY like to try my hand at Tanking one day, just to see how I’d do after being solely a Ranged DPS for two years.

    However, the things I’ve read about and personally experienced as far as the Random Dungeon Finder goes make me rather hesitant to try it. I worry that people would be unwilling to put up with my going through the learning curve, especially in these days of the “Go go go; we have to finish ten minutes ago!” chain-pulling mentality, even if I’m upfront about my inexperience at the start, which, of course, I would be.

    I know that this is a bit off-topic, but would you or any of your readers have a tip or two on being a first-time Tank (or melee DPS) in the current Dungeon scene?

    • Dristanel Says:

      My tank is a DK, but he was 80 and gearing up long before LFD came out. Still, the same basic principles do apply. People are more inclined to rush now, but in my opinion, there are a few things you can do:

      1. Run with your guild.

      Obvious solution, I know. And not always viable. But your guildmates aren’t going to get into a snit about you moving too slow. And if they do, well… maybe you need new guildmates!

      2. Run normals.

      This is what I did before setting foot in a heroic. This was before Stoneskin Gargoyle, so it was absolutely mandatory to even reach the defense cap, practically. I remember running many a normal HoL for Seal of the Pantheon.

      In general though, normals are a good place to learn your stuff. They have the same layout and usually the same mechanics as their heroic cousins, and in normals you’re probably going to get some sub-80s still. Those people will generally not feel like you are wasting their time if you take more than 15 minutes to clear a dungeon.

      3. Be honest and sincere.

      Speaking as a healer, this is one I personally appreciate. Tell people you’re still learning. Be open to criticism and suggestion. Try your best to ignore the morons.

      4. Queue during peak times.

      From what I understand of the LFD tool, it assigns groups based loosely on gearscore. (omg Gearscore /download) However, if you’re queueing at an ‘off’ time, especially if you’re a tank, you’re liable to get tossed in with people who have much higher gearscores than you simply because the system can’t find anyone else. This can be a good thing. A well-geared healer will have an easier time keeping you alive. But well-geared DPS tend to just spell trouble for a learning tank.

      If you queue during your server’s peak time, you’re more likely to be evenly matched.

      5. If all else fails, screw ‘em.

      You can get an instant queue as a tank. If you’re truly trying, I have no problem with you exploiting that fact. I’m not saying kick people who refuse to go at your pace, but if you’ve got DPS running ahead and pulling because they’re getting tired of you being too slow, ask them to stop. If they don’t, politely thank the group for their time and tell them you’d prefer to do the run in a more patient group.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Dristanel really hit the nail on the head and even thought of a few things I wouldn’t have!

      I want to reiterate the part about being honest and sincere. New tanks get worried about admitting that they’re new, but I’ve seen a few tanks with a “I’m new, please be understanding.” macro they use at the beginning of a heroic. While there’s generally a bit of teasing, it goes over really well for the rest of the run and is particularly helpful for healers since they know what to expect.

      As for melee DPS, I really recommend you check out the other replies to the Shared Topic, since those bloggers actually play melee DPS and have some real tips to share.

      • Will Says:

        Thank you for the tips. :)

        An “I’m a new Tank” macro is something that I had long ago decided to make once I decide to start doing Instances with him. Being open and upfront about it not only seems logical, but I think it could serve to filter out the jerks that just want to go in and get it done. And it seems pretty obvious that even if I DON’T come right out and say that I’m still learning, the fact would make itself plainly clear as the run goes on…

        Something else that I’d been wondering, but forgot to put in my original comment. I’m currently taking a break from leveling so that I can work on his Mining/Blacksmithing. It was bad enough not being able to mine the Outland ore; I don’t want to have to pass by Cobalt and Saronite too.

        Would craftable Tanking plate (either made myself or gotten off the AH due to my impatience) and quest rewards with tanking stats be good enough to do some low-70s Normal Instances as a tank, or should I go through a few as DPS and grab whatever Tank gear the actual Tank doesn’t need?

        Thanks again for taking the time for me. I really appreciate it. :)

        • Dristanel Says:

          The Cobalt set (Tempered I think? I forget now…) should be more than adequate. There are also some nice quest rewards, like pauldrons from a quest in Transitus Shield.

        • Ophelie Says:

          The Cobalt set was what I used when I started tanking heroics! As long as you have 535 defense (or 540 if you want to run Naxx/raids) and pull one group at a time, you’re fine for pre-ToC heroics and definitely fine for the normal stuff.

          On top quest rewards like Dristanel mentionned, you should also check out some of the faction reps. And the Auction House! BoE blues sell for next to nothing and you might get lucky with some cheap epics as well.

          • Will Says:

            Thank you both very much for the advice. It’s really helped to allay a good portion of my worry. :)

            Some people, it seems at times, forget that everyone was new at their role at one point. (Lord knows I was a Huntard until at least level 30.) But I like to think that the good people outweigh the bad.

            Thanks again, and I apologize if I accidentally took this post off the rails with my little tangent…

          • Ophelie Says:

            Oh yeah, how dare you talk about WoW on my WoW blog!

            I love discussion in the comments and it’s especially awesome when others get involved.

            While people who subscribe to comments here might complain about sort of off-topic comments, I have no problems with them at all. The day I start complaining about discussion here will be the day I delete this blog.

  6. Dristanel Says:

    To actually comment on the post (sorry to go off on a bullet-point reply there!), I laugh at this because sadly, it’s true in many cases! I really did see someone with a group/say/yell macro ‘requesting’ healing. I hit him with a Sacred Shield and when he ‘asked’ again said “Huh, it’s not healing you? Maybe you need to get hit more…”. I’m a mean person, I don’t really deny that.

    I love melee classes. Especially melee hybrids. I have a paladin, DK, and shaman all with melee DPS dual-specs. But man do I hate being melee DPS in this game. If I’m not chasing something down I’m running out of something or backing off of something. Hunter, I can see stuff going on around me. I play zoomed out with the console command and it’s still easier for me, on the hunter, to anticipate things and be ready to move. Melee… I just tend to get smacked in the face. A lot.

    That said, I have a bad habit of running into melee even in holy spec when bored or desperately needing Seal of Wisdom returns, so…

    • Ophelie Says:

      Ooo unless its a specific fight where you have a set position or healers need to be at max range, meleeing for mana is perfectly acceptable!

      I have the same problems as you when I play melee dps. You would think that being a part time tank would teach me to dps close to the boss, but nooOOOooo.

      Most of these suggestions were taken from true stories, including the heal macro.

      There actually was an addon back in BC that asked for a heal when your health got too low. I haven’t see it around in awhile, the creator must have received some petitions from angry healers.

  7. Luffy Says:

    OMG so awful awful melee isn’t just in shadowburn! I’m just mortified and annoyed whenever I try and do something on my DK. Whenever I see a group advertising in trade I ask them to go and they’re all like “no thanks, we’re full” and then keep spamming trade. But I sort of get it. I should have rolled a better alt. qq

    • Ophelie Says:

      LUFFFFFYYYYYYYY!!!! (That is so much fun to say!)

      Awful awful melee is everywhere :( (Actually, awful awful anything is everywhere, but I was tempted to say that no, no Bloodlust is lovely and you should come and join me on Ner’zhul because you are awesome.) I think the impossibility of getting groups is mostly because everyone wants to play dps warriors, ret paladins, rogues and DKs. Why, I don’t know (healing and tanking ftw!), but it seems all groups and guilds have more melee dps than they can handle.

  8. Skip Cocoa Says:

    Hehe, well done.

    Your stories of time spent on your face were a lot of my inspiration for this topic, so I was excited to see what you’d come up with.


  9. [...] Surviving PvE as Melee DPS–A shared topic can be literal or figurative… or just plain fun. [...]


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