Combat Dummy Testing and an Idea

It’s a widely known fact that major cities in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms have Combat Dummies; what’s not as widely known is how to effectively use them.  Today I’m going to discuss how to use a Combat Dummy to test your DPS.  Also, a friend of mine had a good idea for how Blizzard could improve the system, and I’ll share that, as well as my thoughts on it.

First of all, I’m sure some of you are wondering why I’m writing on something that seems so trivial.  Well, the fact is, I know many people that don’t use the Combat Dummies.  They are either intimidated by the hardcore raiding guild members that are there, or they just don’t know how to use the Dummies to help them with their DPS.  Those Dummies are meant for everyone, so I thought I would share my testing methods and hopefully help more people use them effectively.

Before we begin, you’ll need some sort of way to measure our performance.  This is done by installing a type of addon called a damage meter.  My personal favorite is the addon Recount.  We’ll be using it for our testing, so you’ll need to install it.  After you’ve got the addon installed and load your game, look for a new information box on your screen.  If you don’t see it, type /recount toggle.  If you still don’t see it, type /recount resetpos.  If you’re still having trouble, it’s likely not activated or installed properly.  Place the box somewhere on your screen that you can see it, but out of your way.

–  Using a Combat Dummy  –

There’s nothing inherently difficult about using a Combat Dummy, but there’s definitely some things that you might not realize at first glace about using one.  So here’s my method and some tips for you as well.

The Testing Process:

  1. Get yourself to a level ?? Combat Dummy. (duh!)
  2. Reset Recount. (or any other DPS meter you’re using)
  3. Use any DPS boosting self buffs your class has.
  4. Start a 5 minute timer.
  5. Begin attacking the Dummy.
  6. Stop at the 5 minute mark, or when you run out of mana, whichever comes first.
  7. Check your results.  If they’re low, you can use Recount to find out why, but that’s another post.


  • Never test on a dummy someone else is using.  Debuffs they put on the target will affect your DPS.  Using the least popular city for your faction will usually take care of this.
  • Don’t use extra non-class buffs.  Comparing your buffed DPS to someone else’s non-buffed DPS numbers makes no sense.
  • Do multiple tests.  Due to it’s nature, the Random Number Generator causes tests performed the exact same way to have slightly different results.  I usually test for 10 minutes twice and take the average.  Testing three times at 5 minutes each is probably just as accurate.
  • If your DPS is based on key cooldowns, wait until they are all off cooldown before testing.

If anyone else has any tips or ideas for DPS testing, I’d love to hear them.

Speaking of ideas, a friend of mine had an interesting idea, dealing with the problem of finding an empty combat dummy.  He posed the idea that Blizzard create a miniature instance that contained combat dummies, that fit the needs of both individuals and a whole raid.  Even if this “instance” was only available in one city for each faction, it would be an improvement over the current system.

Think about it.  You’d never have to worry about whether or not the Combat Dummies were unoccupied.  You could get your raid together and do a maximum DPS test without having to go into Naxx and use Patchwerk, or without disturbing the peace in a Major city. 

Anyway, if you’re not familiar with Combat Dummy testing, I hope this small insight gets you using them and your DPS going up.  If you are familiar with them and you see any detail I’ve missed, please let me know.

– Sam

8 Responses to Combat Dummy Testing and an Idea

  1. Thimble says:

    If they were going to create such a dummy-filled instance and really wanted to let people do serious testing, they’d be well served to include NPCs which could provide any buffs you asked for, and perhaps even debuff the dummy.

    But that might be overkill.

  2. samueltempus says:


    Overkill yes. Good idea though.


  3. I was always under the impression that if you targetted a dummy that had debuffs from other people and then you RESET the Recount and began DPSing, that it would not record the damage from the debuffs.

    But then again, maybe that is why my DPS is so high /facepalm.

    I fail.

  4. samueltempus says:


    It’s not the other people’s damage that’s the issue, it’s debuffs like Sunder Armor, Savage Combat, and Master Poisoner that will inflate your DPS. Debuffs like these don’t require that you be in the party to benfit from them, so your damage will improve if they’re on the target.

    – Sam

    P.S. – Skimmed your blog quickly. I like the clean UI you’re using, and I have in fact wiped a raid…..twice.

    Everyone Fails 🙂

  5. Thanks, that UI is my pride and joy LOL.

    I actually just got another addon that goes really great with it.

    Bloodyscreen! The first time I saw this addon was on Bizzlesnaff’s Six Silent Shadows video!

    Thanks for the info, back to the dummy.

  6. Greywing says:

    I have a question about DoTs like rupture and the training dummy. At the 5 min mark I often still have some DoTs on the dummy and he’ll continue to take damage from these until they run out.

    I would think that this distorts the DPS recount reports as I have stopped with all my other attacks.

    Any thoughts?

  7. samueltempus says:

    That’s a really good point and I don’t think that I addressed how I handle that problem. The best way to avoid distortion is to take the screenshot when the timer runs out, and stop your rotation afterward. It’s really important to do this, as your DPS can go down 50+ just from letting the DoTs tick.

    Thanks for catching my oversight,


  8. p***stheif says:

    I think that dummies should attack back, and if you can kill it you get “dummy” lewt. like grey item wooden swords and s**t. kthxbai

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