“Essential Reading – Part 2”
Whether you are someone who is just taking their first steps towards raiding or someone who is an experienced raider and wants to further improve their performance, this Raiding Guide will point you to the right direction in order to find the necessary tools to optimize your knowledge and gameplay.
We will try to keep this section as up to date as possible with all the latest news and changes. Though, please keep in mind that this guide is by no means exhaustive and there is a large number of websites and resources on the internet to help you with optimizing your character for raiding.
Learn to Sim
If you’re here, you probably have already made your first steps on the Path of the Raids, the Mythic+ or are simply curious about the subject.
In this guide, we will approach how to start to use the different tools at our disposal to sim our character.
But first let’s define the idea of simulation. By looking at the tools used, you can already deduce that it is a generated result from a software. Depending on your needs, it relies on an Action Priority List to generate thousands of preconfigured fights to record everything in order to return the results with the most occurrences. And while it is scarily accurate, it is only the case as long as the real fight itself is an exact replica of the configured one but we will talk about these “problems” later.
Let’s start by the first crucial step : Importing.
Start by going to this channel on our discord:
Set your default server to Draenor by inputting:
Import your character by typing:
Where CharacterName is just your character Name.
You should then obtain a similar result to this after a few seconds:
Go to https://www.raidbots.com.
Click on “Quick Sim” or go to https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/quick.
And proceed to import your character with one of the following ways:
(1) From the armory
Just select your Region, Server and Input your Character Name.
And click on “Run Quick Sim”, then wait for the results.
(2) From the addon
Install the addon found here: https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/simulationcraft
Then, in game, type /simc. You should obtain this kind of window:
Then on https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/quick look for the input panel:
And paste the information you copied from the /simc inside that window:
Then click on “Run Quick Sim” and wait for the results.
There select the version you will use. In most cases the one with -win64- for modern windows PCs.
Note: This is called a nightly build, as it’s name implies, and there is a new version generated almost everyday.
Extract the archive (using https://www.7-zip.org/) and inside the folder, double click on: “SimulationCraft.exe”
Welcome to SimulationCraft and time to start importing.
(1) From the armory
Select the “Import Tab”.
Then as you did with Raidbots, select your Region, your Server and then enter your Character Name then click on import.
You should get this kind of esoteric window:
Then click on “Simulate” at the bottom right corner.
Wait for your computer to finish the simulation and you’ll obtain this window:
(2) From the addon
Install the addon found here: https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/simulationcraft (if you haven’t got it already).
Then, in game type /simc. You should obtain this kind of window:
Copy the content of the window and in SimulationCraft, select the “Simulate Tab” and then click on the plus icon (+) over here:
Proceed to paste the content of the addon inside that window, click on “Simulate” and wait for the results.
Note concerning the add-on:
The main advantage of this method is that you don’t have to log out, then back in, for armory to update. You can just switch talents/specs/gear and launch an immediate simulation to compare which is better.
In consequence, this is the method that we recommend to get used to as it is the least time consuming.
2. Configuring a “fight”
We’re now entering into the “real” world of simulations. As you can easily imagine, it is highly probable that, in some scenarios, you won’t get the full range of buffs the game has to offer, or there will be 2, 3 targets.
For that reason, we will now do an example of a fight where you will have to fight 4 targets for around 2 minutes without a bloodlust and only with an Intellect buff and Chaos brand buff.
- TYPES OF FIGHTS
- HEAVY MOVEMENT
- HECTIC ADD CLEAVE
- HELTER SKELTER
As before, import your character the way you prefer but before clicking on “Run Quick Aim” let’s take a look at the options.
As we stated in the introduction, we will change things up to:
A bit different from a 1 target fight, over 5 minutes with a full row of buffs isn’t it?
You can then proceed and click on “Run Quick Sim” and then wait for your results.
Import your character the way you prefer and click on the “Options” tab.
A bit more “old school” as you can see.
First, in the first column, select the length of the fight or input it directly.
In the second one, select the numbers of enemies/targets.
Then, proceed to the Buffs/Debuffs tab and check/uncheck the boxes as shown below.
Click on simulate and wait for your results.
In this section we will briefly introduce the most common type of fights that are used in both software.
Simple tank and spank, no movement, no special abilities.
Perfect to get the “perfect” DPS range.
Note that if you change the number of enemies it creates a good range for cleave fights and for mythic+. It will require you to find the soft spot of your AOE DPS but it can be done after a bit of research.
Frequent movement, 25 yards every 10 seconds. The kind of fights where you have low activity and have to plan ahead.
Heavy Movement and Frequent adds spawn.
Heavy Movement, interrupt, target switching. It has it all.
3. Reading the results
- DIGGING A BIT DEEPER
- SIMMING YOUR STAT WEIGHTS
Now, that we know how to simulate our characters, it is important to understand the results and a few concepts.
The results of a simulation are an indication of the potential of your class in a given situation. It is just an indication, there are variables that we cannot be simulated all the time, and just to name a few: Spending a few GCDs (Global Cooldowns), running towards a fallen teammate to resurrect him, having to execute a series of mechanics, etc. There are ways to emulate those kinds of events but it is often impractical and time consuming.
Let’s go back to the basics. What does the result of a simulation mean?
Simply put, it is the result of an enormous amount of pass through a fixed scenario to obtain the least variance possible.
So, for example this number:
Should tell us that in most cases our mean DPS on a single target boss while fully buffed will be 1802. In truth, it will be around 1802 DPS in what we call a DPS Range. That range is visible if you click on “Full HTML Report” on the right side of the screen. That new report should look familiar to you if you have experimented with SimulationCraft as Raidbots uses that software to generate its own style of reporting.
As you can see in the “Results, Spec and Gear” sub-menu, there is a column called “DPS Range”.
The reality of the simulation should be clearer now.
The DPS Range of this simulation is, in reality, 1802 DPS give or take by 9.6% margin, which is a big difference from a simple fixed number. This is what that you should aim for in the same kind of situation which, admittedly, makes more sense than a single answer.
It is also interesting to look on the right side and observe the two columns “Active” and “Skill”.
This means that, to obtain that DPS, you will need to be active 100% of the fight timespan, as stated there and have 100% Skill. While the activity can show a lot of variance during a real fight, it is improbable that you’re a player with the accuracy of a professional player, as such, always give some leeway when analyzing those tables.
As a side note, it is possible to change the value of the skill column with the command skill=n, where “n” is a number between 0 and 1; to use it simply input this in Raidbots or SimulationCraft, and replace 0.n by the honest evaluation of your skills.
Here is an example with varying degrees of skill:
You might be tempted to think it is enough. There are, however, a few things a bit more interesting that you can practice.
We have already talked about the DPS Range previously so let’s talk about the damage breakdown.
Other than giving us how your DPS breakdown should look in logs, on details it also indicates something interesting. The count of those abilities and the uptime.
As such, when you’re practicing on a target dummy, practice the right duration and closely take a look at the damage breakdown and the count of the abilities. If you’re too much off from the numbers given by the simulation, you have found something to work on!
Another useful information is the uptime of your abilities (DoTs, Buffs). If the simulation indicates to you that it should be around 99% and you have 80%, it means you have to start paying extra attention to this information as it can drastically improve your overall DPS.
With these, we have discovered another use of the simulations: It makes a perfect “log” to compare yourself to while you’re practicing.
Now that you are familiar with the basics of SimulationCraft and Raidbots, it becomes interesting to talk about scaling your stat weights.
To start, import your character in your chosen software, we will use raidbots for this one, but SimulationCraft has its own option page dedicated to scaling. Just remember to select the stats you want to compare and to check “Enable Scaling”.
Let’s observe the results of a Patchwerk fight for 5 min while being fully buffed.
We obtain 2 results:
1) The list of your stats weights for that particular type of encounter. Here we can see the line “1 point of Weapon DPS will increase your DPS by 10.96”, the same applies for each stat in the list.
In this case we have a priority of:
MH DPS > OH DPS > Agi > Vers > Critical Strike > Haste > Mastery
2) A “Pawn String” which, when imported into the addon Pawn, will help you get an updated list of scaled stats to advise you in choosing pieces of gear.
Let’s do the same but for a Heavy Movement 4 Targets over 5 min:
In this case we have a priority:
MH DPS > Agi > Vers > OH DPS > Crit > Mastery > Haste
A bit different from the previous:
MH DPS > OH DPS > Agi > Vers > Critical Strike > Haste > Mastery
With such results, it becomes increasingly important to have a good fundamental understanding of how your class works and the reasons behind those changes. Here, while a bit obvious, the number of targets is the main culprit, if we look at the heavy movement 1 target results from below, we can see that the priority in itself does not change from the first simulation while the values do.
So which priority should you take into account?
The answer is trivially… Both. Before each fight, you should aim to select the gear that you know is best for the situation you’re going to encounter and ignore what is not. Being able to do that will help you to learn how to judge if a piece of equipment is better for you or not and for which scenario (Major vs Minor upgrade).
Typically, a raid fight will be skewed towards a single-target/focus-priority type of gear while a mythic+, for example, will see the same thing happen towards an AoE scenario.
In short, you need to prepare yourself and make your decision based on both (or more) priorities.
Note : At the date this guide is written, Azerite traits trumps the stats weights on the 3 pieces that have them. Once Shadowlands hits, the value will come back to normal for those as well.
It is by no means an exhaustive guide so I should mention that both options (Raidbots and SimulationCraft) offer the possibility to compare equipment and even allow you to see the evolution of your DPS if you trade one stat for another.
Good luck on your path and I’ll see you in the next guide which can be found here.
Welcome to Gordian Knot!
Thanks to Skilhunter, Athlios and Kenney for their input and help!