Preface: I'm the maintainer and moderator of the Ebon Hawk DPS leaderboard thread.
You should probably read my wall of text that I put above
the actual leaderboard. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered when talking about DPS balance. I'll try to break these down into categories:
- Single-target on-demand burst
- Single-target sustained damage
- Sustainable AoE damage
- Sustainable burst-moment AoE
- Execute windows
Dummy parses measure exactly one
of these categories. If you have a spec which excels at *all* of these but falls behind in single-target sustained damage, is that unbalanced?
My ideal group has an armor debuff in rotation (ideally from more than one raid member), at least two (preferably three) ranged, an off-taunt, off-heals/battle rez, moderate executes, Inspiration, and fairly strong sustainable AoE. There's a lot of ways you can get this. I really like the following:
- Gunnery Commando
- Sharpshooter Gunslinger (with ability to respec Hybrid or Sabo for some fights)
- Focus/Combat Sentinel (situational respec)
- Hybrid/Tactics Vanguard (or a Focus Guardian; or a perfectly played Balance Shadow)
Tactics Vanguard is quite far behind the other specs in terms of single-target sustained damage (for that matter, so is a Focus Sentinel), but they're still on my preferred list because of the strong AoE, the situational burst and the off-taunt. A Focus Guardian can fill this role well as well, and allow the sentinel to remain Combat spec. The main thing I don't like about the Vanguard here is the lack of execute (which is why I lean toward the Balance Shadow assuming absolutely perfect play).
Note that I do change this for some fights. Dread Guard is all about…not melee. Dash'roode is a fantastic fight for melee that are not sentinels, especially AoE melee (I love my DF Scoundrel on this fight).
These aren't exactly FOTM specs. My ideal group doesn't stack four Gunslinger or four Sentinels (though my guild has enough roster depth that we could actually do that). Not everything is well measured by dummy DPS.
With that said, there are a few things about the current DPS balance that I feel need adjusting. Off the top of my head:
- Shadow DPS requires utterly flawless play to even put up viable numbers, much less competitive (and this is on a *boss*; shadows will never compete on dummies)
- Focus Sentinels are almost 10% behind the other two specs in terms of single-target DPS (this is not a balance check shared with Focus Guardians, incidentally)
- Assault Commandos are a running gag
- All Vanguard specs are quite low on the totem pole for real bosses, since hybrid spec requires some really magical RNG to get its best results. They also lack a gap closer
- Sage DPS is somewhat behind (5-6%) in terms of single-target DPS, though they bring moderate AoEs and (in the case of Balance) a moderate execute together with off-heals
These are easy things to tweak though, and I have confidence that Bioware will see the light on Shadows soon (which is, honestly, the most egregious of these issues).
At the end of the day, I can and have taken every
one of the DPS specs into both HM raids at one point or another, even shadows. I've taken nearly all DPS specs into Nightmare modes (including shadows). That says something right there, since I wouldn't be able to say that in clear conscience pre-2.0 (lol scoundrel).
Remember, it doesn't matter if all or none of your DPS group got onto the leaderboards. What matters is that the boss is dead.