Most people who’ve reached level 80 in World of Warcraft will be using some kind of damage per second monitor. Recount, or one of the other alternatives available, are useful tools to determine how much damage, or healing, or various other factors you’re doing in a raid or instance group. The problem with useful tools, however, is that they can also be used by useless tools.
Like Gearscore, Recount is an easy way of making sure what you’re doing is working. It’s also an excellent way to see if you’re improving. If a new piece of gear gives you +30 spellpower but drops 35 crit, it’s nice to have something running which can tell you if your overall damage has increased, without having to resort to the complex spreadsheets and equations the folks at elitistjerks.com are so fond of. They can, in short, demonstrate the usefulness of your character, and their progression.
The problem comes in when people start treating Recount like a highscore table, and it becomes a competitive event rather than an attempt to cooperate and complete content. For example, most classes running heroics as a DPS Role have some way of boosting their figures beyond their ‘usual’. They might drop their cooldowns on trash mobs, they might start blasting away before the tank has the mobs under control. They might also end up dead in no time at all, or at least give the tank and healer the start of a migraine.
Likewise, if you’ve a relatively inexperienced or low gear tank and/or healer, you might want to tone down the ol’ DPS. Especially in heroic or regular instances. Being able to pull 11,000 DPS is admirable, but is it really required in Heroic Utgarde Keep? Is it going to cause more problems than it solves? Most cars have a speedometer that goes up to at least 120mph, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be trying to go that fast in most situations. If you’re getting through the instance smoothly and efficiently, that should be more than sufficient.
Conversely, try not to look down on those with less DPS in the party. It might be easy for me to say this, given my main is a mage and usually has no underperformance issues to worry about; but you do get a lot of snobbery from some players, especially since the advent of the Looking For Dungeon tool. Unless you’re dealing with the likes of the occasional hunter who stands at the back like a waxwork dummy and expects the 300 DPS his pet is doing will suffice, low DPS players shouldn’t be that much of a burden.
Use Recount and its cousins like you’d use any other addon. Use it to enhance your gameplay and, hopefully, to advance and progress your character. Don’t let it become a fixation, where you’re playing Recount, with a World of Warcraft Screensaver.