My love affair with DoTs

dotsI have a vivid memory of a particular time when I was playing vanilla World of Warcraft when I heard or read one of Blizzard’s developers pour on the hate for damage-over-time (DoT) spells.  I mean, this guy really, really hated them and did not hold back on how he thought they were cheesy and annoying to balance.

I wish I could find that original quote, but what I remember best is just how angry I got at him in return.  At the time, I was playing a Warlock, a class that was more or less all about DoTs.  And I loved my ‘lock.  There was nothing more satisfying than loading up an enemy with a bushel-full of DoTs and watch him tick down until his demise.  What I was hearing from Blizzard (or at least this one dev) is that my preferred playstyle was bad in some way and despised by the very people who put it in the game.

I’m sure my memory exaggerates, but it’s stuck with me, because every time I play a DoT-wielding class, I feel like I’m rebelling against this dev and any others who are part of the anti-DoT set.  Go Syp.  Be that hardcore James Dean of the virtual worlds.  Oh I totally am.

Along with hybrid classes and pet classes, any class that primarily deals in DoTs is one that is actively wooing me in MMOs.  I’ve never been a guy who loves to hit the big crits and go all-out for direct damage, anyway.  I’d rather do more damage over time and have that delayed gratification of seeing my enemy wither away no matter what it does.  It’s just so dang satisfying.

One of the reasons that I love RIFT is that it allows me to make DoT builds as much as I like.  My cleric has two separate DoT builds that I alternate between, and I love both dearly (my Cabalist/Druid one is my favorite, though).  I’m not hitting the enemy in the face; I’m cutting its legs out from underneath it and laughing all the way to the loot bank.

It could also be that I have an intrinsic love of multitasking — of getting more than one thing done at once.  Knowing that I’ve triggered several attacks that are ongoing while I’m doing something else entirely is bliss.  Add a pet to the mix and I might as well be a slobbery, tail-waving dog.  Who plays video games.

The flip-side of DoTs are HoTs — heal over times, and yes, I love those as well.  My RIFT Warden and WoW Druid both primarily healed with HoTs and it was terrific for many of the same reasons that I gave for DoTs.  The tradeoff of time for a greater overall effect (and sometimes less mana/power usage) is worth it to me, as long as I’m willing to plan ahead.


12 thoughts on “My love affair with DoTs

  1. Nick Foster (@goldenhornet) July 17, 2013 / 9:25 am

    Oh man, you just made me really miss my Dark/Dark/Dark Defender from City of Heroes. Debuffs and DoTs stacked to melt stuff without them being able to do anything about it. Good times.

  2. Syp July 17, 2013 / 9:52 am

    Ohh yeah, DDDs were awesome!

  3. Hexxis July 17, 2013 / 10:11 am

    “Go ahead, run away. You’ll only die tired.”

  4. Syl (@Gypsy_Syl) July 17, 2013 / 11:04 am

    I hate DoTs. they’re a sneaky, cowardly way of killing – a bit like poison.
    Can you tell how much I used to love Afflocks and Rogues back in vanilla WoW BGs? 😀

  5. Tyler F.M. Edwards July 17, 2013 / 12:02 pm

    DoTs are a lovely thing. I wouldn’t want to have to rely on them entirely, but multi-DoTing is a joy nothing else can quite match. Spreading your DoTs across your foes, watching them whither and die as their very soul is consumed.

    Oddly enough, I never liked HoTs, though. Burst heals all the way.

  6. skapusniak July 17, 2013 / 12:58 pm

    The true (un)holy trinity:

    – Mez (the *real* mez, not that wimpy stuff that breaks on DoTs and takes longer to recharge than it lasts)
    – Debuff (and I don’t your measly 1%-2% nonsense, I’m talking ‘ha, ha, ha, you can’t hit me!’ as an AoE)
    – DoT (it stacks! of course it stacks! why on earth would it not stack? and also debuff, and mezz, and do extra damage because the targets is mezzed?)

    Yep, I miss City of Heroes too.

  7. Rowan July 17, 2013 / 2:11 pm

    Do NOT google “hardcore James Dean” unless you want an eyeful. 😛

    I’m with you, though. The only way to ‘Lock is to “Afflock” as Syl put it. I can understand the balancing issue though. I have found that DoT are essentially like AoEs. they’re really only super effective if you multiple targets. On a single target, I’m as much about high-crit nukes as the next Mage. Or at least a combo of DD and DoT, like my Shadow Priest.

    You’d probably love the Priest Deck in TSW. All DoTs, and then some more DoTs on the side.

  8. Syp July 17, 2013 / 2:31 pm

    I’ll have to check that out!

  9. flosch July 17, 2013 / 4:13 pm

    I can’t give you a DoT hate quote, but I can give you one that talks about how designers come to the conclusion that players typically prefer direct damage. Which of course is a lot less controversial and exciting as a statement, but I just read the article yesterday, so I still had it in mind: (at the very bottom)

    I can’t tell you what the surprisingly deep reason for this is, though. Haven’t read the followup post yet.

  10. carson63000 July 17, 2013 / 8:46 pm

    Have you played a bleed-heavy class in GW2? The way those little damage numbers spray out of the mob, it’s almost like it really is bleeding!

  11. Tyler F.M. Edwards July 17, 2013 / 9:35 pm

    If there’s one thing I miss about GW2, it’s building double digit bleed stacks in a few seconds and then dancing around like an idiot until everything dropped dead.

  12. kiantremayne July 18, 2013 / 2:03 am

    GW2 Engineers are masters of stacking up the conditions, i.e. DoTs. Use the right combination of abilities and your opponent is bleeding AND burning AND poisoned AND confused (taking damage every time he uses a skill)… all at once!

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