Damage Meters Considered Harmful


For years I have labored under the sad assumption that Goto Damage Meters are Considered Harmful, and it has pissed me off collectively for at least 15 years, so, yeah, let’s have it out.

Assumption: Damage Meters are BAD!

The basic underlying argument is that damage  meters allow certain toxic individuals to make LFD / LFR a toxic wasteland and therefore are bad in and of themselves.

As an engineer this upsets me in a number of ways.

  • Damage meters are a source of data. And ONLY a source of data.
  • Data is intrinsically GOOD.
  • People that make damage meters a source of shame / hate or other kind of disrepute are the problem here, not the meters themselves.

Okay, that last point is pretty much the sole point of this article.  Which is:

People are BAD!

In that, people are the problem. Damage meters are software. People using software are the problem.

There are a lot of people advocating that there are mitigating circumstances but I disagree.  Here are my Ultimate Thoughts on the topic.

  1. Damage Meters provide data.  And only data.
  2. Actual people use that data to improve things in some way
  3. Not actual people (from here classified as trolls) use that data as a method to harass actual people.
  4. Some people support (2)
  5. Some people support (3)

In case it wasn’t clear, we support (2).


Ultimately, damage  meters provide a way of gauging one’s performance. In engineering terms, “metrics”. And anyone opposing that kind of data is, ultimately, in my humble opinion, on the wrong side of the equation. Basically, I view that kind of person as less interested in improving things in general, and more interested in forwarding some sort of undisclosed agenda.

This argument resurfaces occasionally. People not very involved in the game, or people with no history, tend to re-discover this topic from time to time.  All I can say is, locate a classic WoW blog, look at their blogroll, and educate yourself before opening the mouth.  I welcome the opinion, but prefer that it be informed. Right now, there is a lot of bullshit flowing on a topic that has been settled for years (as in, so what?).

Posted on May 18, 2022, in Addons, Broken promises and shattered dreams, Geek culture, Haters gonna hate, I don't wanna get off on a rant here but, IYKYK, O teh dramaz! and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I agree with you in that Damage Meters aren’t designed to hurt anyone (unlike guns, wait how did we get to that?), just produce data. People can use the data for evil or for good, but that goes for pretty much any tool and we wouldn’t be angry with a rock for someone throwing it at us, right?

    I personally love damage meters and have used them for years to improve on my own min-maxing (not so much anymore though). Where I play now in Classic I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone refer to damage meters to imply, or straight out say, anything toxic. But maybe in a game environment that is generally more forgiving people will also not feel the need to call someone out for not doing the right amount of damage. If the boss dies anyway what does it matter? So maybe overall game design can also be to blame for how Damage Meters are used.


  2. I’ve only really been involved with two raiding teams, and neither weaponized damage meters to that level – there might be a little bit of braggadocio from time to time but it was in good fun. Eff the Ineffable was a bit more serious than my “home” guild but then they just used the tool like it was supposed to be used. “You see to be low for your class, how can we help”, that sort of thing. (and did I ever need help!)

    At the more competitive levels I think you’ll see more of this sort of thing, though. The more competitive, the more likely they are to look the other way if someone acts up, and those people are also just the sort of people that misuse their tools.

    I don’t raid any more, but I still use damage meters, just to keep an eye on my progress. I take great satisfaction if I pop up in the top five for world bosses, but don’t really share that info around – though if my Disco priest out DPSes someone I may anonymously shitpost about it in Twitter or something 😀


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