Half way through the second page I couldn't read anymore because things were getting too cyclical. However, it did remind me of something we did in WoW to mess with parsers years ago.
I played with a wildly eccentric rogue (think hybrid between DRK damage and THF play style in ffxi) who went by the in-game-name Bodes, and he was one who would vigilantly push for the Top Damage spot every event. In WoW, it's very common and practical to use damage metering tools, and it's widely accepted as a simple way of seeing overall effectiveness of a group of players, but in almost every case, the "top damage" spots were not the best players, but instead the ones who were willing to "do things wrong" just for the sake of inflating those numbers, weather this means staying in the fire a little longer to get more swings, letting an enemy charm you where, while charmed, your damage is 100x what it normally is while killing your own party members, or becoming a living bomb just for the sake of that giant A.O.E explosion adding into your final tally. A few of us had multiple characters with different job classes, and we'd even have a sort of pact to keep one another alive as a higher priority over the "lesser" members of our guild (wow version of linkshell). Don't get me wrong, we all had fun doing these things, and we were good enough to win even with those... alternative methods... but it definitely wasn't the most "right", most "beneficial" or "sportsmanlike" method of playing.
Bodes was genuinely frustrated whenever he didn't place in first slot, and some events were designed to very largely favor a certain job / class or damage type (enemies who can only be damaged by fire, bosses who's scripted way to be fought involved a mage stealing their super powerful buffs that made their damage go 'way' up etc). Generally we'd rotate who placed first depending what gear we found that week, what new rotation we could come up with, or what 'strange thing' we could exploit in each event, however, there was a period where a couple weeks or so straight where Bodes kept placing third or fourth in the ranks (at the end of the raid, those few % difference could represent millions of points of damage, so even though it was only a small %, it added up quickly). We needed to get him out of that slump because it was really getting to him, and our casting jobs (mages / warlocks) were getting really overly cocky (largely because the fights in those instances pretty much required those jobs to win, and melee were a non-factor).
At the time I was a marks/survival hybrid Hunter, far and away the best build of a hunter for maximum damage output at the time (sustained 40-50% crit was ridiculously easy to achieve). For those of you that don't know, Hunter is sort of like an FFXI Ranger job if FFXI's Ranger was given full strength BST pets. But, as a marksman/survival hunter, my pet was only a fraction of my damage, and I could easily go an entire event without it and place in the top few % (back then, this was out of 25-40 people, depending on the event). My point is my pet was not my core damage, but if parsed, it would produce a few % worth of overall raid damage which, at the end of a long event, is really a **** of a lot of damage.
To get Bodes out of his rut, We decided to have some fun and circumvent the system a bit. Parsers often ignore pets because they don't fall under the "character name" of the person dealing damage, so even though often times job+pet can out parse most 'job' only classes, it's also often ignored, and in some cases even outright declared as insignificant and unimportant (these FFXI posts I'm seeing seem to do that as well). We decided to name a bird pet I was using at the time "Bodes", and set it to spam an ability called screech (a really low damage attack that acts as an attack-power debuff to the enemy, that made a delightfully ear piercing sound non stop) just because we thought it would annoy people more that way (... sorry, wow has a tendency to bring out the worst in all of us). At the end of the raid, for the first time in weeks, Bodes was #1 by a good margin, and a surprisingly large % of his damage came from an ability that was tracked as "screech". We had successfully fooled the damage meters into adding my pet's (my very weak pet mind you, since I had not set up my job for pet damage) into Bodes' damage, and that small margin was enough to take him from fifth/sixth to first with some to spare. He eventually gave it up when at the end of the event our leader was questioning why he died twice as much as anyone else (as an unanticipated side effect, all my pet deaths counted as his, lol). When it was all said and done, we were pretty surprised to see how much damage came only from that crappy "screech" ability.
So, my point is that if you don't just up and "dismiss" pet damage, more often than not, equally geared, equally skilled pet-job players (+pet) vs standard-job players, will favor pet jobs if played well. But parses are only a part of the story... a small faction of the visible spectrum of pet jobs vs normal jobs. I've played many pet jobs, and was even a person who would 'only' play pet jobs for a while, just because I really liked the idea of having company, or at least the illusion of an ally, with me all the time when I played (I've come to the realization over the years that I solo far more than the average player). These days I'm not nearly as stubborn in that regard and I've grown to love nearly all forms of jobs the MMO spectrum has to offer, though I do find myself pushing away from the caster classes as I get tired of the whole 'mp dependency' / 'try not to get interrupted' thing (a byproduct of many WoW arenas and too many years of FFXI's BLM I suppose). Having this wide array in my history gives me a much broader view than most, and I can say without a doubt, doing things "with a normal alliance" is just easier to control and understand. There are some enemies that, even though they get "parsed" the same, aren't as easy to kill with a pet-centric group because things like spike-damage potential rely on twitch abilities of the player during small windows of opportunity that just can't translate into a "pet" properly, and since the 'master' will almost always undoubtedly do 'less' damage than it's non-pet-job alternative, those (often essential) windows become more difficult, and put more weight on your non-pet-job teammates shoulders.
All of that being said, In FFXI, I've seen players that are great at pet jobs, great as stand-alone 'normal' jobs, and people who can play the 'master of none' hybrid roles with such finesse they make the people around them who play distinct min-max roles look... terrible. One thing stands out as an absolute truth in FFXI, a truth that does not carry over into the "WoW" space. While it's true that a parser isn't the "be-all-end-all" determining factor of success in either scenario, it's pretty much a necessity in WoW to determine where your problems are and how to fix them. FFXI is NOTHING like that in any way shape or form. In FFXI parsers mean almost nothing, since there are so many varied abilities that you can depend on that 'dont' directly inflect damage, it's always, without a doubt, going to favor one of a few direct-damage jobs with relic/mythic/etc weapons, not because they are 'better' at the job, but because they only have one role to fill and will never offer up anything outside of that role. There's a reason "pet-centric" linkshells exist in FFXI, and they see a great deal of success in what they do, but to say they play 'like everyone else' is not ever going to be true, as they frequently use completely alternative methods to achieve victory that "standard" game-play doesn't allow. WoW has gotten much better with pet job integration over the years, but FFXI will never catch up I'm afraid, so the "throw pets at it" tactic is just easier.
My point is, A melee will love a bard because they will boost a Melee's damage and end-of-the-day parse. But the general populous won't love a pet-job even if they offer up just as much overall benneficial damage increase for two reasons:
1) The pet is an additional liability that S/E imposes far too much restraint on (long recall for wyverns, entirely crazy gear requirements for puppets, retardedly high perpetuation requirements to even consider SMN viable on top of limiting MP pool etc).
2) Often times you aren't directly helping them feel better about themselves, while also "seemingly" doling less damage yourself on a per-hit basis. The never-ending conflict you see in all MMO's : The Warrior wants to feel bigger and hit harder. Plain and simple.
Edit: Found this image in with some old saved wow pictures. I had left it on melee only so his damage was inflated more, but turned on screech for a trash pull just to see how it faired. Once we realized it added in, we left that ability on, wish I had a picture of the end-results (even had a seperate addon that showed specifically how much my pet output was independantly, so I believe we figured it somewhere between 4-5% of his overall damage, which is WAY less than the % of pet damage BST/PUP/SMN has in FFXI - just to give a rough idea). Click Here to see an image to prove this is not false. Note I was still second despite us messing around and my pet damage not counting towards my own damage Edited, Oct 29th 2012 4:06pm by FUJILIVES