Gamers without Remorse
How to improve your DPS without upgrading your gear.
May 5, 2011Posted by on
How to improve your DPS without upgrading your gear
As many of you are getting ready to raid, I wanted to talk to you all about DPS and how to improve it. Now it’s easy to say “get some upgrades” and “improve your spec and rotation.” These things are the obvious methods for increasing DPS output. However, it’s not the only way. I don’t (at current time) have the best gear. I don’t run a lot of experts, but I tend to do very well on the DPS charts. It’s because of some basic knowledge of how to do that extra bit.
How you play is what’s most important. If you look at the top DPS parses, you notice that there’s always a disparity between top raids and your average raid. It’s not really gear related, since everyone has access to the same gear after a time.
This guide assumes you know the basics of your class, itemization, and what consumables to use and when to use them.
Know what abilities to cast ahead of time
Simply knowing what you’re going to hit before you actually hit it and being ready to do so will make a lot of difference in your DPS. This reaction time is one of the biggest things that prevents you from doing your maximum DPS. Know your rotation. Don’t just think about it, but really know it. Know what abilities to use and when.
Maximize Your GCD Use
One of the biggest components to doing top DPS is the number of GCDs you execute in a fight. If you look at the parses of some top guilds and compare them to yours, you’ll notice they fired off more abilities than you did. What you are likely doing is waiting until your global cooldown is up then hitting the button. Your next ability being fired off is exactly “Latency + Reaction time.” When added together, this could be a lot of abilities missed over the course of a fight.
Latency affects your DPS. Most of us know this, but sometimes it’s difficult to understand why and how. When going through your rotation, most people (who are not using macros, we’ll talk about those later) wait until close to the end of the global cooldown to queue up their next ability. While this is good most of the time, this will sometimes give a little gap between abilities if you take into account your latency. That small few ms gap can add up if you consider that gap between every (or most) global cooldowns. This could be the difference of 500 global cooldowns in a fight and 550. That’s 50 additional abilities you could have used.
How do you avoid this? If you watched or listened to one of the best DPS in the world while they were playing, you’d probably hear them repeatedly mashing their buttons as fast as they can. This is for a reason. To try to queue up the ability as fast as they can, they repeatedly mash the button they’re going to use next. This reduces the chance of that delay.
Some DPS use the G13/15 macros from Logitech or applications like Autohotkey to simulate button pushes very quickly. It’s not detectable, but it is indeed against the TOS of rift (botting).
Planning your movement and what you’re doing while moving
Every fight requires you to move. Knowing when you’re going to move, where you’re going to move to, etc can help in improving your performance. There are things you can do while moving to help DPS or help improve your DPS later on. Such as, a mage using Warlock can use Sacrifice Life: Mana while moving so you dont have to do it later while standing still, thus giving you more DPS time on the boss, which is better overall DPS.
In fights like Plutonus, you know when and where the boss is going to be moved. You know how far, and where you’re going to be in a minute. Knowing this pattern in fights like this and others can allow you to move quickly and accurately. Less reaction time means more dps time.
Your hardware also makes a difference. Clearly your ISP speed and your frame rate can affect your DPS. If you’re seeing a slideshow during raid, then you probably either need to upgrade your hardware or adjust settings. But when I speak of hardware, I speak of gaming peripherals.
I use a G13 and Razer Naga Elite. This gives me a number of advantages that I wouldn’t normally have using the a-typical Keyboard and Mouse setup.
The G13 provides me with the analogue stick. This is very important in increasing DPS, as it affects your ability to move and DPS. Normally when you’re using a keyboard and mouse, you are making use of 3 of your left hand fingers for movement. Those fingers also generally hit your 1-5 keys. Because of this, you’re often restricted as to what you can do while moving. The G13 allows you to do most of your movement with just your thumb, freeing up those fingers for abilities. I often can strafe and move out of things while keeping my full rotation up.
The Razer Naga Elite is a mouse designed for an MMO like Rift or WoW. There are two settings on the mouse for those thumb buttons. NumPad and 1-0. It really doesn’t matter how you have this setup, so long as you’re using it to hit cooldowns and reactive abilities. This basically takes the time away from having to click those cooldowns. If you’re not using G13 macros or Autohotkey, putting your Reactive abilities bound to your Naga keys will help you hit those abilities faster, and hitting those abilities as fast as you can is one of the biggest differences in 1400 and 1500 DPS in some cases.
I can write a whole article on how to craft an effective macro. However, to keep this somewhat short, we’ll just cover the basics.
Macros in Rift work very differently from what you may be used to from WoW. Here are the key differences (this part taken from Taugrym’s Blog):
There is no WoW castsequence equivalent in Rift
In Rift, you can put as many cast statements in a macro as you want, and Rift will cast the 1st ability that is usable (i.e. not on cooldown, conditions met, etc)
That second point has huge implications and allows you to write a “spam” macro like this:
Reactive Ability A
Reactive Ability B
Cooldown Ability C
Cooldown Ability D
Spammable Ability E
This helps reduce the need to use something like a Razer Naga, but not entirely. Sometimes having those abilities on your naga buttons still helps fire them off faster than you would using your macro. So even if you’re spamming your macro buttons, you still want to spam that ability button as well to (even if not using a naga) to help fire hose off sooner, thus reducing the time you’re sitting on that ability.
The biggest and most important thing you can do is manage your cooldowns properly. This sounds easy, but takes some foreknowledge to execute properly.
First, stack your cooldowns. If you know we’re going to be using raid-wide cooldowns that will increase overall raid DPS, you want to make sure you have your personal cooldowns for this period. Use them all during this. This means you dont want to macro your trinket, for example. “Maximum uptime” doesn’t mean “Maximum DPS” in most cases. Using your trinket when you know you’re going to be stacking with potions, raid cooldowns, etc means you’ll gain benefit beyond the few times you’ll use it.
For example, if you have two cooldowns, one that grants 10% to Attack or Spellpower, and another that gives 10% attack speed, stacking them allows you to hit harder more often while stacked.
If you know that the raid will be stacking cooldowns during a certain phase of a raid encounter, and you know if you use your cooldown early they’ll be up in time for the raid cooldowns, go ahead and do it, but your priority is to ensure your cooldowns are up by the time the raid will be popping the group cooldowns.
There are some fights where there’s a point where you will get a boost in DPS, either by the boss not moving or by a DPS increasing buff. Knowing when these moments will be in a fight, and knowing to use cooldowns during that moment is also key to getting more DPS.
In WoW, I used to use an addon called “Heatsink” that monitored your internal cooldowns of your procs for trinkets, enchants, etc. This allowed me to time out stacking those cooldowns better by letting me fire off abilities right before they go off cooldown, thus avoiding the latency+reaction gap. However, in rift at this time, we do not have anything that does this. So, you have to be aware of when those procs happen so you react to them properly.
I’ve heard you can setup custom triggers in some parsers to tell you when something procs, but I’ve not tested this.
Do your research. Know which spec is doing the most DPS right now. Check your combat log and parses to see if your macro is working properly (if an ability isn’t being used at all, it’s not setup right). Find macros, ask people who are doing more dps than you what they’re doing.
Doing more DPS is in your hands. You can improve if you try. There’s a lot of resources and information out there, you just need to seek it.