Back to Basics: A DPS Guide

Discussion in 'Oracle’s Database (Guides)' started by xRI0Tx, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. xRI0Tx New Player

    Back to Basics: A DPS Guide

    Intro:It’s no secret that the majority of players in this game are DPS, and it is even more clear that it is very competitive. In order to gain an edge or to simply be competent at your role it is very important to master the basics and understand your job as a key member of any raid or alert group. I originally compiled this information for the benefit on my league, but it became too large and it seemed maybe others could benefit from this as well.

    Getting Started

    Might or precision: Damage is separated into two main categories, might and precision. Might damage consists of all yellow numbers you see after using a power. Precision damage consists of all white number seen by using your weapon, or using a combo version of a power in certain power sets.

    “Is your power might based or precision based?” This is a common question in the DC universe, and this can be kind of a grey area depending on how some dps mod their gear or build their rotation. But in general the combo power sets (Hard light, Earth, Celestial, Rage) are the only powers that can actually generate precision damage (white numbers) by using their powers, so they have a distinct advantage by strongly modding for precision. The rest of the power sets exclusively generate might damage (yellow numbers) by using their powers. So most would consider them might based.

    Damage Modifiers: Damage modifiers are a key advantage that separate the dps role from healers, tanks and controllers. Every power used in dps role has a modifier attached to it that will increase your damage done after it by a percentage that is assigned to each power. These can be easily determined by reading the description in the power tree. The drawback to higher damage modifiers is generally an increased power cost. A green splat underneath your health and power bar is the indicator that you are currently using a damage modifier.

    “How can i use this to my advantage?” By ending your rotation with a damage modifier, your weapon will do greater damage. A dps who consistently ends their rotation with a 50% modifier will have an advantage over a dps consistently ending with a 35% modifier.

    Weapon Damage: Having powers is awesome and if i could spam them day in day out i would, but part of achieving greater damage as well as greater damage efficiency is using your weapon to the best of your ability. Since weapon damage consists of all white numbers it is based on your precision. More precision will increase your weapon damage. Weapons all have a damage rating attached to them, each point is equal to 10 precision. Weapon damage in this game is something that is constantly being adjusted by the devs, weapons that do great damage today may not do great damage down the road. Traditional dps weapons are rifle, hand blasters, dual wield, and one hand.

    “Longer combos mean greater dps?” This is not necessarily true. An example would be doing a six tap hold with dual wield to see some huge white numbers from the finishing combo. While the numbers might be large the TIME it takes to reach those numbers could probably be done faster by alternating short weapon combos with using powers.

    Power Interactions: Many powers use power interactions. sometimes they are a small dot (burning), but the main reason for using them is that they will increase the base damage of your powers. Not all powers at your disposal will benefit from a PI but it will help with efficiency, letting you get the most bang for your buck. Read your power descriptions to determine what will benefit you the most, or refer to a guide for your specific power.

    “Can i benefit from other power interactions in the group?” Absolutely. If somebody is setting up a PI that interacts with your power then u will certainly gain an increase in damage from that. An example of this is a tank juggling adds causing the dazed PI which will benefit some mental abilities.

    Base Damage:Base damage is the multiplier that scales with either your precision or might giving you your damage total in your current gear.

    “How can I use this to my advantage?” By knowing the base damage numbers for some of your powers you can decide which burst or dot power will yield you more damage. An example of this is deciding between gauss grenade or napalm grenade from the gadgets power set. Napalm has the higher base damage and it can also hit one additional target before the damage splits. But it also comes with a higher power cost. Depending on your trolls and the situation it may or may not be worth it.

    Line Of Sight:Having line of sight on your target allows you to damage it. If you are out of range you will no be able to do damage. This is where you really need to know the range of your powers.

    “I’m using fear gas but not seeing any damage”. Fear gas is a mid range power that will not hit its target from full range.

    Overwriting: Currently most dot powers have issues where two dps of the same power cannot stack them on a single target. One person of the other will receive credit for the damage, not both. This is a problem that as a dps you need to be extremely aware of because sometimes load outs can be adjusted to work around it, or a dps may need to be replaced to achieve synergy between dps.

    “Common overwrites” Multiple nature, mental and fire dps stacking dots. This can break a raid if they rely to heavily on that damage. Tanks using inferno, wintry tempest or debris field. Trolls using thought bubble or pyrokenisis. This is all just the tip of the ice berg for overwriting powers but it is all manageable.
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  2. xRI0Tx New Player

    Types of Damage

    Burst damage: In dcuo damage done quickly and or all at once is referred to as burst damage.

    “Examples”. Gauss grenade (gadgets), psychic shock (mental), or detonate (fire).

    DOT:In dcuo damage done over a series of ticks is referred to as damage over time. Using the same dot power again will not stack the damage, it will overwrite it creating less damage efficiency.

    “Why would i wait for damage when i can use burst damage?” Dots are very important to many power sets because they generally have a higher base damage than burst damage powers. This creates damage efficiency by using less power to do more damage.

    AOE:Area of effect. AOE powers are powers that hit more than one target. The advantage to using AOE powers is that you can do more damage by hitting multiple targets.

    “The more AOE the better right?” Thanks to a mechanic in this game called damage splitting, the damage from most aoe powers starts to divide between all your targets after so many targets are affected. Commonly between 2 and 4. This also applies to aoe weapon attacks.

    Single target: Pretty self explanatory, damaging powers that only hit one target. They generally hit for higher damage than aoe powers but will only hit one target.

    “When should I use single target moves?” This answer is pretty short and sweet. Boss fights.

    Channeling: Channeling powers stream damage while you are locked in animation. These can commonly be clipped by jumping but will sacrifice a portion of the overall damage. This does not apply to all channeling powers.

    “Examples” Fear gas (gadgets), cryo foam (gadgets), and plasma wretch (rage).

    Cast Time Powers: OMG I just crit for over 5,000 on that group of adds! If your hear this in a raid, chances are that person was using a cast time power. These powers generally have a 3 second cast time and yield a 60% modifier. These are interruptible, so positioning and timing are very important.

    “If the damage is so great why shouldn’t i spam them?” DPS stands for damage over time. The time it takes to get these off sometimes does not pay off if you don’t crit, and if you are interrupted than that time is also wasted by doing no damage.

    “If the risk is so high why should I use them?” The great amount of damage for the power used is very efficient and using the enduring damage home turf mod with let you maintain the 60% modifier which will increase all of your damage done after for 20 seconds.

    35% Finishers: Finishers are single target moves that receive a huge damage increase when your target is below 35% health. These are great to have for those clutch moments at the end of boss fights to get the job done quickly. Not all power sets have one, and not all power sets have a good one. Precision based dps benefit significantly less because it is all might based damage.

    “Not all finishers are created equal” Not all finishers have the same base damage, and not all finishers hit in the same way. This is best demonstrated visually, the finisher for fire (snuff out) hits like this x------X. One smaller tick followed by a bigger tick. The finisher for gadgets (photon blast) hits like this x-x-x-x-X. A series of smaller ticks followed by a large tick. If you are interrupted photon blast will yield you more damage.

    Pancakes: This is not a common term used in dcuo, but it is a good description for common aoe dot powers such as inferno, gravity well, wintry tempest, gulling eruption ect.. These are excellent moves to use early in a fight to ensure you get all your ticks. These powers are also very common in most standard loadouts.

    “When shouldn’t I use these?” You shouldn’t use these when you know the adds are going to die quickly and you wont receive a big enough portion of your ticks to justify the time used. An example of this is when you are cruising through hallways in nexus with a high powered group, or running lower content.

    Beneficial Powers:Powers that are tagged as beneficial have a special characteristic in that they have the ability to clip damaging powers. These powers generally give some kind of buff such as a shield, precision or might increase, crit increase, allow your weapon to apply power interactions, or give your weapon a proc.

    “Examples” Carnage (nature), benediction (celestial), Wired (electric), warped reality (quantum), hard light shield (iconic).

    PROC:Commonly known as a programmed random occurrence. These effects are not widely used throughout DC, but if you are using powers that use them it is important to know how.

    “Example” Both intimidation (gadgets) neo-venom boost (iconic) and menace (mental) are proc powers. They apply might damage to your weapon that does not occur on every hit, so the more you use your weapon the more likely you can receive the full damage. Another example of this are the home turf mods that go in your weapon that will randomly proc with beneficial effects from your chosen mod.
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  3. xRI0Tx New Player

    Putting It together

    Building a Loadout: When you are building a loadout you want to include variety and function for the situations you will encounter in your level of combat. It is very common to include a little bit of everything in your loadout meaning, you wont run burst powers in all you slots, or dots in all your slots, or stack shields and beneficial powers. A combination of all of these will create a more successful combination.

    “Example of what NOT to do” This is a theoretical loadout from the gadgets power set. sticky bomb (burst), gauss grenade (burst), Napalm Grenade (burst), Vortex Cannon (burst), Photon blast (finisher), Bunker buster (supercharge). This is not an example of balance. choosing the best burst damage for the job and supplementing that with buffs, procs, dots would yield FAR greater damage. Variety is the spice of any dps loadout.

    “An example of a balanced loadout” This is a theoretical loadout from the quantum power set. Singularity (burst), gravity bomb (burst), warped reality (buff/PI applier), gravity well (aoe dot), tachyon blast (60% cast time), Oblivion (supercharge). This loadout has more variety and balance simply from having more diversity which lets your powers compliment each other instead of competing with each other.

    Building a Rotation: Believe it or not that monster dps you saw in dox the other night was not just randomly spamming powers and weapon attacks, he knew what he was going to do and when he was going to do it before he ever went into the instance. Executing weapon combos and powers in sequence to set up dots, PI, followed by burst and finishers is called a dps rotation. A common formula for an efficient dps rotation is weapon combo clipped with a power, followed by another weapon combo and clipped with another power. This sounds very basic but the amount of variety you can throw into this is astounding. A good rotation will ALWAYS include weapon combos (combo power sets excluded), if you have dots, a good rotation will let those dots run their full course earning their full damage for the power used.

    “One good rotation will work for all situations right?” Wrong. Your rotation should adjust for when you are dealing with different situations. You should have rotations prepared for dealing with trash mobs, dealing with boss fights, AOE situations, and single target situations.

    “Where can I find a good rotation?” The guides section of the forums contains threads that are always being added to with the most current information for every power set. This includes buffs, nerfs, classic rotations, and things people are experimenting with. A good dps learns from his peers.

    Mods:Mods for a dps are fairly simple. You always want to mod for your affinities (crit bonuses). Always focus on your key stats, precision and might in reds is the safest balance for most powers. Currently precision has an edge over might as far as value. 1 point of precision is roughly worth 2.8-2.9 might. With that in mind modding your yellow and blue slots precision/power and precision/health respectively yields the greatest value, but if your rotation does not have enough weapon combos (white numbers) then you lose that value and would be better off with might/power and might/health.

    “I am might based, shouldn’t I mod full might in my reds?” Currently in T5 the mod values of straight might vs precision/might are hardly in the same ball park. Many of your weapon attacks will hit harder than your power attacks and if you do not supplement that damage with added precision you are losing out. But I strongly encourage you to refer to a guide for your specific power for proper modding.

    Trinkets:Working your trinkets into your rotation is a great way to quickly improve your dps. Common trinkets for dps are currently the trigon trinket, the mogo vender trinket, the central city trinket, seasonal trinkets from the halloween or summer seasonal and your home turf trinkets (sidekick, back up, supply drop).

    “When should I use my trinkets?” Trinkets are something that should always be kept on cool down. Rotating these trinkets instead of using them all at once will keep you on a more consistent buff giving you an edge more often. Trinkets will also speed up your rotation because they can clip damaging powers.

    Survivability:A dps who is alive will always be doing more damage than a dps who is dead. Be aware of your surroundings, most bosses have tells that will give you a short warning that damage is on the way. Letting the tank do his job first will make your job infinitely easier. In a raid setting a dps should never be the first person charging into a fight. Becoming the target from the adds or boss and drawing aggro (hate) is an easy way to have your rotation interrupted, if you can survive the damage at all.

    “Melee or range?” Sometimes this one simple question is all it takes to improve your survivability. If you are over geared for the content and simply running for feats, styles or marks chances are better that your can handle the damage and go melee. If you are running content in your current tier it may be better to stay ranged. Know your limits.

    Consumables: Always be prepared. Having a stack of sodas in your inventory is just the beginning of using consumables to their full potential. Regular sodas will give you back health and power. Using these specifically for power will let you use more power without bogging down the trolls and becoming a liability to the group. Buff sodas are a GREAT way to increase your damage and bridge the gap between you and other dps. Everybody wants to dps and if a little extra farming to craft nitro or flex sodas keeps you competitive than thats what you need to do.

    “What is a PI consumable?” PI consumables will artificially create whatever power interaction you need to use. If you have trouble setting up your power interaction these can increase your damage. Common examples are earth (crushing, dazing) or electric(electrify, polarization). They can also be used as an amazing clip. Currently karmic hex is the shortest animation that can be used as a clip.

    Clipping:Better explained as a cancelation of animation. This is what separates the men from the boys when it come to actual damage per second. What clipping does is speed up your rotation by using that time you would have spent in animation to do more damage.Exceptions to this are weapon animations with charge bars, and cast time powers. Channel powers and finishers may be jump clipped but may negate some if not all damage. Please refer to your specific power guide for common clips.

    Most weapon animation can be clipped by damage powers.

    Damage powers can be clipped by beneficial powers.

    Trinkets and consumables can clip almost all animations.
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  4. xRI0Tx New Player

    Practice Makes Perfect

    Sparring targets: Time spent on a sparring target is never wasted. Testing rotations or practicing clips and working speed can make all the difference. Obviously the best test is working on your rotations in a raid, or alert. But on a sparring target your room for error is 100% and you have no worries about letting down or holding back your group.

    “Why do my damage numbers look different on a sparring target?” They come with a preset amount of defense that is different than the npcs you will be taking on in actual content.

    Power descriptions: Know your powers. Not all information is given to you in your power descriptions. Knowing how many ticks are on your dots can help you time out when to reapply them or knowing when to hold back and let them run their course. Fully understanding the tools your working with gives you an immediate edge over somebody who is using them in the wrong situation.

    “Example” Spamming thought bubble and pyrokenisis into a group of adds in between weapon combos is wasting power not only because you are overriding your own dots, but because you are using single target powers in an aoe situation. KNOW YOUR POWERS.

    Damage Efficiency:At the end of a raid when you look at your damage out, then go the the next page and look at your power in. Less power and more damage is always the goal. This is why we supplement our powers with weapon attacks. This is why we pay attention to damage modifiers. This is why we use buffs and trinkets. Its all about getting the most bang for your buck and no becoming a burden to the trolls.

    “Don’t be a power who*re” The bottom 3 people in power will always receive the power dumps from the trolls. By staying out of the bottom 3 you are leaving more power for the healers and tank and the other troll.

    “Know when to throttle down” If you are running with 2 very good trolls, or running in a 3 troll setup that gives you more room to breathe. When the power is there, be prepared to make the most out of it and throttle down. Burning things down quickly makes things easier on the entire group. Getting that damage out quickly is the very definition of DPS.

    Etiquette:Be prepared to pick up fallen team mates. Always be ready to burn adds off the healer if he gets overwhelmed. Don’t be that guy who is always dying or making the controllers work overtime. It can be the little things that make you an asset to your group. Sometimes objectives are more important than burn, (spears in gates) (orbs on the sentry). Be modest when your damage is good, be ready to learn when you are running with people worth learning from.

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  5. xRI0Tx New Player

  6. xRI0Tx New Player

  7. xRI0Tx New Player

  8. xRI0Tx New Player

    Any feedback is good feedback. I'm definitely open to adding any new information or correcting any errors I may have missed. Home turf, armories and skill point allocation will be coming soon.
  9. leadpaintchips New Player

    good guide so far, I would just put out there to learn how much mana you would be spending for clipping, and how much would be good to spend in a raid setting.
    • Like x 1
  10. Mack10 New Player

    Another good thing about sparring targets is that you build supercharge by weapon attacking them, so you can use them for warm-up as well as practice.

    Excellent guide. Thank you.
    • Like x 1
  11. Echephyle New Player

    Great overall guide and a must read for new players
    • Like x 1

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