During an AOE pull your helpful “recount” meter hits 5K and you go OMG! I AM READY FOR ICC! because gearscore and DPS of 5K is all it takes. At least that is what everyone in trade chat has been advertising lately.

Damage Per Second (DPS) is one of the most talked about subjects in WoW. The moment you start tracking it it almost becomes an obsession even if you are just a tank or a healer. The numbers are misunderstood a great deal though. Gearscore also does not make it any easier.

This week our server’s weekly raid is the first boss in ICC which created quite the stir all over the place, from trade chat now asking LFM ICC 5K+ Gearscore, checking gear in the South Bank; to our guildies still farming frost emblems asking, can we go to ICC?

We have about 2 ten mans that can clear the first 3 bosses of ICC. Eventually I think we will even have a 25 capable of entering and getting some loot out of there. I think only our 10 mans will be able to actually kill Arthras, but you never know. However, this week we need about 4 groups of 10s to get most people to get their 5 emblems of frost, and that is not an easy thing to do. What does it have to do with DPS? everything.

While we can teach people how to position, move out of fires, have the perfect strategy, and every flask and special food that should put us where we need to be… in the end WoW is a game on numbers. You need X number of DPS to kill Y boss in Z minutes, not even counting your healers running out of mana.

The first encounter in ICC is very simple once you learn how to do it. There are two things that are complex and one is a simple move out of the fire, and the second one is kill something (in this case bone spikes that just impaled potentially one of your healers.)

DPS also needs to be measured accurately. We have DPS that can in a multi mob pull do more than 10K DPS. They also can do about 5K in situational DPS, meaning moving out of a fire to another spot that you can DPS from. You can do unreal amount of DPS, but if you spend too much time getting back into position to do DPS, your DPS is lost during that period of time. That is why DPS as a number is inaccurate and damage done is more telling of what actually happened when you look at meters.

Those skills need to be learned and practiced, and gear will not get you to those numbers. Raiding is all about that, being able to do things that help the team achieve the goal. Standing in the right place is the first step, but also being able to consume the slice of life assigned to you by your group is essential.

So far we have done 2 ICC runs this week, one mixed with another guild that has been gracious enough to take us all the way up to Festergut so we can get our tanks some gear, and one guild only run that took some tweaking and learning but we killed the boss. I think we still are capable of running a couple of more and have plenty of people that can actually pug ICC for this week (since everyone in the server will be at least trying to do it.)

So be careful of how you measure yourself against those numbers, specially if survibability is the priority in a fight. Doing 5KDPS for the first minute will never compare with someone that does 2.5K DPS for an entire 5 minute fight. When we downed ICC this week as a guild, not just our progression people but regular guildies we did it with teamwork and everyone pulling their weight. We even did it with someone wearing their chefs hat!