I should also mention here that I think there is a middle-of-the-road type of dps'er not usually spoken of in various guides and forums. Some, but not much. What brings this to my mind is an alt enhancement shaman of mine. This little duel-wielding, totum packing dreanai can easily get in your face or smack you from a distance. In most situations, he is using both melee and range quite effectively. He is in his 40's now and starting to show off his abilities. Still a bit of a mana hog, but becoming quite powerful.
Ranged DPS...my favorite. (no surprise there) We stand quietly on the outskirts of the fight and nuke the targets for all we're worth. Even in the 2-3k dps range, we do a bundle of damage which is usually at or very near the top of the meters. I love this play style, I can mostly see the whole fight, the big picture, and can often avoid taking any significant damage in the process. Add to this the extra moonkin armor, spell buffs and procs from shapeshifting, well, we can take a few hits and just brush them off like little annoying insect bites. Stop right here, and don't think it!
About the only flack I ever receive from a healer is the rare whisper that they are chain-healing and I am not in their line of sight. Not that I particulary need the heals, but I will try to re-position myself for their concerns and peace of mind. After all, they are doing their raid role the best they can as well. As a ranged dps'er, I stay out of fires as much as possible, even though I can handle some damage taken. Also, I don't depend upon the healer, they have enough to worry about with the tank and melee dps (imo). I come prepared, buff foods (well fed) always. Extra flasks and potions for health, mana and spell power. And in a tight spot, I am fortunate enough to be able to self-heal a bit. From soloing so many levels, I've learned to take care of myself. This 'coming prepared', and not being dependant upon the healer, I believe is one of the better contributions (outside of dps) I bring to the group, especially for the healer. AND, this is the contribution I believe all DPS'ers should bring. Don't be so dependant upon the healer. Get out of the fires. The healer(s) are not gods and/or goddesses, they can become over-taxed and die. And if you're going to blantly stand in fire and/or pull aggro away from the tank, well, I hope the healer let's you die. We all make mistakes from time to time, but that is no excuse for plain stupidity. I remember reading a sig quote some time back which is quite appropriate here:
"I can heal tanks.To all the healers I've had the distinct pleasure of raiding with, "Thank You!" Your abilities and efforts are most appreciated.
I can heal dps.
I can even heal healers.
But I can't heal stupid"
The Tree of Life form image was borrowed from one of my reading sites, here's the article it was attached to:
wow.com shifting perspectives:the forest and the trees