Is Burst DPS More Fun?
"More fun" is obviously a subjective term. That is to say, of course this answer is going to completely vary based on individual preferences. However, I'm thinking more on a global scale, as in: Blizz designs a game to be fun for the most amount of people. If the design is such that it favors burst damage, then it must be because they believe that's what the people want. Maybe that's an incorrect assumption, but let's look at some of my rationale.
- PvP = burst. - I think they've been trying to make it less burst dependent for a while now, but there is still a pretty clear benefit to being able to take something out fast. In BGs, burst is a huge deal because PvE gear is so prevalent. Again, they're trying to make this better, but PvE gear was/is so much easier to get, that you completely gimp yourself otherwise. PvP gear tends to give you better survivability, but it just hasn't been enough. You may die marginally more slowly, but you're never gonna live enough to take that flag. I don't really do arena, so I can't speak a whole lot from there, but from a design standpoint, PvP definitely favors burst damage. Why?
- The are more adds during boss fights. - I whined about this yesterday. "Kill the adds quickly" has become an increasingly prevalent mechanic in boss fights. They're not meant to live long enough and they try to overwhelm you with numbers. Fights such as Razorscale and Freya in Ulduar, Lady D and Dreamwalker in ICC, and KT in Naxx are textbook examples of "burn the adds". By necessity, this sort of design direction favors burst.
- Killing stuff quickly feels epic. - Having to deal with large quantities of baddies, going from one to the next, seeing piles of dead bodies... these all lend themselves to a more epic feel. I think this is a big reason why Blizz employs the tactics. We complain about simplicity if it's a tank and spank. The side effect here is that by the transitory axiom of equality, if quick = burst and epic = quick, then we're saying epic = burst.
- Enrage Timers are trending to be shorter. - Is it just me or are we seeing more 5 and 6 minute "DPS race" enrage timers and fewer 15 minute enrage timer marathons? The longer boss fights are usually because of several phases, one of which might be an "add" phase. Short enrage timers favor burst, unless they're as simple as Patchwerk.
- Most "gimmicks" are burst dependent. - Sort of going with the shorter enrage timers and the increase of add usage, most of the gimmicks we see in fights tend to be of the style "Kill X before Y happens". Whether a count down to a massive explosion via stacking buff or a preventative measure to stave of a devastating AoE, the bias falls firmly towards burst damage. So many abilities on boss adds encourage raiders to shift their focus for a small amount of time in order to make the fight even remotely pos-si-ble. And by small amount of time, I mean less than 20 seconds. You can't get into a full rotation, and if you are that means stuff is taking too long to die.