Friday, May 21, 2010

DPS Scaling in Icecrown Citadel: Intro

Some changes to DKs have been obvious.
The T9 four piece bonus was vastly overpowered and needed to be nerfed. Even after the changes, many DKs (including myself) had a hard time letting T9 go. Even after I had 4-piece T10, I still used T9 in aoe situations for a while. In other words, early T10 gear was underwhelming and DKs didn't get much better in it.

Other changes have been more subtle.
Over the past couple of months, my guild has progressed past normal Lich King kills deep into heroic modes. Our raiders are sporting many shiny new pieces of gear. My gear is solid; enough that not only does normal ICC10 hold nothing of interest gearwise, normal ICC25 has no upgrades, and HICC10 has only a couple of side grades. And yet, I've watched my perch on the dps charts slide from 1-2 for most full night's runs to 3-4 and it's to the point now that a 5th or 6th place finish isn't unusual. A guaranteed top-3 spot on tank and spank fights has turned into frequent forays onto page two (below 7th) on my recount.

Has my guildie's gear changed enough to cause this? No. Our gearscores have remained fairly similar for the past several months. Itemization? No, ICC is itemized quite well for DKs. Skill? Did I just start sucking, or my guildies get dramatically better? Doubtful.

So, with the slide of my spot on the charts, I've started wondering if this is consistently the case.

A while ago I briefly mentioned that a fellow DK had looked at melee and argued that mutilate rogues, fury warriors, and combat rogues were comfortably ahead on the Saurfang and Festergut fights, while kitties and ret paladins edged out unholy/blood DKs, followed by enhancement shammies and distantly by frost DKs. Skill/gear aside, shortly pre-3.3, I was happy with DKs being relatively close to other melee classes. Warriors were probably a bit high, and enhance a little low given that all but rogues are hybrids, but still in general with most raiders in 264 gear, the gap wasn't too bad. It was still possible for a good DK to keep up with most of the other classes.

Has it really changed that much since then?

So, I decided to take a look.

Information is readily available out there, and I chose World of Logs because it's the parser that my guild uses, and looking at different classes for each fight is very easy to do. Of course, not all guilds put their parses on the site, and not all guilds choose to make their parses public, but the sample is large enough to be considered fairly well-representative of the whole in my opinion.

I'll take ALL of the 'viable' dps specs this time including ranged as well as melee. I'm going to include EVERY boss fight in ICC25 (except gunship). I'm looking at BOTH normal and heroic, because the fight dynamics change from normal to heroic (just as one example, many melee classes can stay in and dps duing bone storm on normal but can't on heroic). I'll take the top 10 dps for each class/spec, and obtain an average. Would a larger number be 'better'? Perhaps. Here, I'm only interested in the upper range of what a spec 'can' do - so 10 seems sufficient.
Since I wrote this part of the post, I've laboriously been crunching the numbers. So far I've looked at normal ICC25 Marrowgar through Putricide. And the results are interesting! Some, I expected, and others, I did not.

I'm going to keep crunching the numbers for now, and post them as soon as I can!
I'm afraid there's so much fodder for discussion that I'll probably have to break up my response to the data into more than one post.

For now, stand by.
More to follow!