Do You Know Your DPS Footprint?

Posted: April 22, 2008 by Kendricke in General Game Concepts
Tags: , , , ,

I was having a discussion with a friend over lunch about Earth Day and the amount of attention the environment is picking up in the last year or two by retailers. At some point, we started to discuss our “carbon footprints“. There’s a lot of talk these days about carbon footprints. In a nutshell, that’s the amount of carbon dioxide you and I and everyone else on the planet produces through our daily activities. The carbon footprint is actually a combined total determined by our primary footprint (directly caused) and our secondary footprint (indirectly caused).

Why am I bringing this up on a site dedicated to gaming?

As we our discussion naturally turned to gaming (as it almost always does), we began to try to discuss the contributions support classes make to groups and raids that is often unquantified by most players. We started to talk about parsers and running some controlled experiments on the Everquest II Test Server to verify exactly how much of a boost some debuffs really produced. As we dug into the math, I started to realize how little most players really understand the impact they have on overall damage totals.

In short, we’d started talking about our DPS Footprints.

Though MMO’s certainly aren’t as important to say, all life as we know it, there’s a certain simple logic in the idea of a “footprint” to help us understand the overall way we interact with the virtual world around us. The idea of a “footprint” is one that’s relevant to the way we view characters in MMO’s. Just as it’s relatively easy to discuss and understand the primary carbon footprint many of us produce, it’s much harder to wrap our collective heads around the secondary footprint.

When we get into the subject of how much better a Brigand can increase the overall DPS of an Everquest II raid, we’re really discussing those secondary, indirect numbers that don’t really appear over a monster’s head. At least the brigand still has a chance at coming close to the top of a parse. Yet, I can’t help but wonder if it’s possible to fully quantify the full impact that brigand brings to a raid.

The more you think on it, the more you realize how deep the rabbit hole can go.

For example, let’s take the lowly Templar. As a primary healing class, we’re not exactly going to be topping out any damage parses as a general rule. That said, a well played and decently geared Templar can put out some considerable damage without any assistance. That direct DPS could be considered part of the primary DPS footprint.

In fact, you could probably toss in the massive physical mitigation debuff the Templar gets as part of that primary footprint, even though it’s less direct damage (by reducing the physical mitigation a monster has, the amount of physical damage against that monster will increase from everyone in the raid engaged in melee or ranged physical combat). Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to quantify the additional damage that comes in due to this debuff working.

Even beyond those primary abilities, what about secondary footprints? One of the buffs we templars receive increases melee (and now ranged) skill. These skill increases mean less misses from anyone we place the buff on. Isn’t that an increase in damage? How much?

We also have a divine debuff attached to one of our normal cast spells. This ability is often overlooked because so few classes actually produce divine damage. However, for those who do, wouldn’t the increased damage from this debuff be significant enough?

Another relatively minor debuff is a wisdom debuff templars have attached to a damage over time spell we have. Since Wisdom affects all spell resistances, lowering Wisdom means lowered spell resistances which means more and harder spell hits. Again, we have no idea how much though.

In fact, if we were able to quantify the amount of additional damage that comes in from a group or even a raid due to those additional abilities, it might be quite signficant. Spread this around enough support classes and those damage numbers we see in a parse might start to look fairly anemic.

After all, who cares if you pushed 4,000 DPS on that last parse if we find out that the healer over there managed to produce 6,000 additional DPS just from buffs/debuffs on other members of the raid force…and that’s not counting the direct damage the priest produced!

What if we could know that, though? What if the game had a built in tool which told you not only how much damage you produced, but how much damage you helped others to produce? After all, in virtual worlds addicted to bigger and larger numbers, wouldn’t it be nice to find out that the real VIP on your raid wasn’t the guy who just performed 5,000 DPS, but the team player bard who had a DPS footprint of over 10,000?

  1. Terqelton says:

    Interesting thought.
    While it might be relatively easy to assign proc damage to the buffer, increased DPS from stat buffs, mob debuffs, etc would likely be harder to quantify.
    To carry this one step further, what I would find more instructive, is seeing your actual “DPS footprint” in relation to a theoretical maximum. In that case, your “DPS footprint” is inevitably married to group composition – or rather, maximizing your actual footprint to approach your theoretical maximum footprint is group dependent. A good raid leader will at least have a feel for the interaction of the two.
    Of course, knowing that would lead quite a few guilds to min/max their entire operation, now hainvg real numbers to back up the assertions. Some people would like knowing that information, while I am sure that others wouldn’t.

  2. Xalmat says:

    It’s not as easy to quantify as it sounds.

    For example, suppose you have a spell that decreases a mob’s divine resists by 1000. That 1000 has a different effect if the mob is level 10, 50, 70, 80, 85, and so on. The higher the level of the mob, the less effective any given debuff is.

    Plus, if the mob has insanely high divine resists to begin with, 1000 might not even take it into the negative resist range (you won’t see *any* DPS increase until a mob’s resists are brought into the negatives). Therefore you might see a lower resist rate (and therefore higher overall DPS increase), but you won’t see a direct increase in a spell’s output.

    Then there’s the whole buff others thing. Suppose you have a buff that increases one player’s Haste by 25. Sounds good, until you start messing with the diminishing returns curve. If one player is sitting at 0 haste mod and gets the buff, it will be a more powerful effect on that player than someone sitting at a 100 haste mod. And if someone is sitting at 200 haste mod (the cap), the buff is wasted.

    It’s not cut and dry at all, and there is not simple way of making it cut and dry.

  3. Xalmat says:

    second paragraph, the first “DPS” should be “damage”, sorry for the confusion.

  4. Kendricke says:

    It’s not cut and dry at all, and there is not simple way of making it cut and dry. – Xalmat

    I absolutely agree. It’s almost impossible to quantify, even if there were in-game tools to assist. After all, if a group is put together to boost haste, how can you quantify which haste gave that first 25% and which gave the diminished final 25%? You can’t.

    Now, that said, to paraphrase what Terquelton said, a good player will at least have a feel for it.

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