First thing you need is to download it.

Go here: http://code.google.com/p/simulationcraft/downloads/list and download the Windows or Mac version.  Once you have it downloaded unzip the file and congratulations you just installed SimulationCraft.

Let’s take a look inside.  The majority of these files aren’t important to you, especially at this point in the process.  I have the windows version, so Mac users this might be a little different for you.

The most important file in here for us right now is SimulationCraft.exe as this starts up the application and gives you a nice little graphical interface to work with.  I will mention simc.exe as well.  That is the command line version of the application, and it’s really nice to work with if you ever want to script some simulations, which we’ll get into later on in the series.

For now, open up SimulationCraft.exe and take a look.

Everything in SimulationCraft flows through the tabs from left to right, and your basic workflow is going to look similar to this

  1. Setup your environment how you want by working through the options
  2. Get your character information in (For now we’ll import from the Armory, but you can import from other locations too, and that ability can be invaluable)
  3. Override anything on your character you may or may not want to change (I often skip this step)
  4. Run the simulation and analyze the results

Skip the options for now, the default is going to be just fine. We’ll go back and fine tune this a little later on. Let’s get your character in and run one!

Go to the “Import” tab and you should see Battle.net (the WoW armory), as well as some other choices.. Go ahead and search that just like you would in your web browser, and once you’re looking at your characters armory page click the “Import” button at the bottom.

This will automatically swap you to the “Simulate” tab and you’ll be able to review the settings for your character. There’s a lot of information here, but basically what this text represents is your character from the armory in a way SimulationCraft understands. This includes your race, level, gear, abilities and other things.

When you’re ready run a simulation by clicking the “Simulate” button at the bottom. What the tool is doing now is actually simulating in-game combat numerous times with your character against a raid boss. It will output a report at the end of the simulation that shows your the calculated average DPS as well as a ton of information about resource gains and losses, how you as a whole and individual abilities scale with stats. It’s a powerful report and take a second to look it over. We’ll go through it in detail.

Now what can we use this tool for. Well I first used it to evaluate tough gearing decisions. I rarely have a BiS setup, and I generally just wanted to get the best gear for me right now. All the people who give you stat weights to evaluate gear on do so for some arbitrary gear setup (usually BiS) and that just wasn’t accurate enough for me.

Next I used it to evaluate raiders in my raid team who I was worried weren’t performing optimal DPS. I could use the output and compare it with WoL parses to take a look at their damage output and see if they were anywhere close.

Next article I’m going to focus on getting your character from other sources besides the armory and cover the options and what they mean to you.

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