The Return of the DPS Meter
Back in the Summer 2015 I wrote about my flirtation with DPS meters in STO and how they are both a boon and a bane. Eighteen months later I’m still of the same opinion. Chasing numbers is addictive and a source of frustration when you don’t see any significant change. And that is what has happened to me. My overall DPS on my main Federation character has increased from under 5K DPS to somewhere between 23K and 26K DPS. These are perfectly respectable numbers but I hit 30K once and I want to see it again to ensure it wasn’t a fluke. So, I’ve been tinkering with various aspects of my build and regularly parsing my output but the results have been inconsistent. This has led me to do some further research which has highlighted a new set of problems.
I guess the acronym is the biggest clue to my current predicament; damage per second. In STO players are advised to run several specific events to measure their DPS. Namely, Infected: The Conduit (Advanced) and Crystalline Catastrophe (Advanced). These six man events can be run privately or via a PUG. Both events are constructed in such a way that you can engage the enemy continuously from start to finish. There are no waves, therefore no breaks in the combat. Thus, the events can be completed quite quickly. This is favourable because the shorter the combat the higher the average DPS figure. Dying and respawning therefore will lower your DPS output when calculated.
Time is not the only variable. Irrespective of your build and stats, a player’s piloting skills and the way they use their skills rotation has a big impact upon their DPS output. There is an optimum way to proceed through both ICA and CCA and it clearly shows in the DPS meter log files. Attacks with slower cooldowns need to be used at the right time to ensure their availability when next needed. Specific enemies need to be eliminated at key times when running these events. Even something as simple as flying from one side of the map to another, needs to be done correctly, or else you’ll pull aggro and get out of sync with the overall game plan. It isn’t a question of just showing up and shooting.
Then there’s another factor that skews PUGs and has an impact upon DPS parsing. Group imbalance. When you set up a group among your friends, you can ensure that there is some sort of broad parity in builds. PUGs are far more random and you can find yourself grouped with players with both low and extremely high DPS output. Frequently I find myself in a PUG with at least one heavy hitter doing about 50K or higher. Effectively these players will own the event and do the lion share of the damage, thus resulting in a lower average DPS output for everyone else. Similarly, if you PUG with a group of poorly geared, inexperienced players, then again, your stats will be subpar due to the time it takes to complete the event.
It is a shame there’s not another way to calculate your DPS in STO, other than using meters and running these specific events with all their respective variables. I’m thinking along the lines of some sort of virtual calculator than takes the stats from your build and runs them against some sort of mathematical model. I guess it’s either not possible or more to the point, not allowed by Cryptic. I’m sure a little more research will provide an answer, as it has done so far. STO is seven years old and has a keen player base. Many of the things I’m currently pondering, have already been fully explored by veteran players. In the meantime, I’m going to take a break from build tinkering and focus on other goals, other than increasing my DPS. Gaming is supposed to be a source of fun, not anxiety.