Tag Archive: Simulationcraft

In the last post we got your character into the tool and ran a quick simulation and briefly looked at the output.

Now I’m going to take you down the path I first went down with SimulationCraft, and that is gear evaluations. Tier upgrades are pretty straightforward, but if you ever want to evaluate side-grades, I always found SimulationCraft to be an informed and unbiased third party. I especially liked it for trinkets, since the numbers on those are much tougher, at least on the interesting ones.
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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.
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My favorite external tool by far has to be SimulationCraft.  There are so many facets to it and it’s incredibly powerful.  It can be daunting to people who have never used it before so I’m going to be starting a series getting people into the tool and transforming you into a real power user.

Trust me knowing SimulationCraft will not only improve your knowledge of your character, this game, and your gear, but it will be helpful to reading this blog!

Here’s a basic outline of this series and what to expect

  1. Get simulationcraft up and running with your character data.
  2. Understanding SimulationCraft’s available options.
  3. Understanding a parsing the output of a SimulationCraft run.
  4. Using CharDev to compare gearing choices
  5. Running SimulationCraft for a batch of configurations
  6. Advanced SimulationCraft applications

I don’t think I’ll run this series every post for the next few weeks, but expect me to trickle these out as I can.  Anything you’ve ever had a question on and want me to cover?  Let me know in the comments.

Tools I Use

I want to write a brief post about what tools I use when playing and why they’re useful to me.  This won’t list my addons as that’s way too large a post for this.  Rather I’m going to focus on the tools I use outside of  the game to help me gear and play my character effectively.

First tool I use is SimulationCraft.  As far as I’m concerned this tool is indispensable for any DPS player, and I really recommend you become familiar with it.  You can download it here: http://code.google.com/p/simulationcraft/

Next tool I use is World of Logs.  While this is designed for parsing raid logs, and I use it for that, you can also use it for training dummy analysis.  Having the data on the site there is a lot more useful than the data in your meter.  Recount has some good number crunching in it, but still doesn’t reach the level that World of Logs does.  Check out World of Logs: http://www.worldoflogs.com/

I love the simplicity of CharDev.  It does exactly what I need it to do, and that is model my toon by swapping in/out gear, talents, glyphs, etc.  It’s made all the more awesome because SimulationCraft can import from it as well.  Primarily I use it for holding onto BiS wish-list setups, or for one up quick simulations with a lot of changes to my primary character. http://www.chardev.com

For gear comparisons I prefer Loot Rank (powered by Guild Ox).  You can use wowhead for this, but I like the Loot Rank filters a little more than wowhead’s.  SimulationCraft gives me easy links to both, so it’s equally accesible for me.  Check out Loot Rank: http://www.lootrank.com

As far as database sites go, nothing really beats wowhead for my use.  I use to use the profiler on there as well, but  that seems to be lagging behind on Cataclysm support so I’ve stopped and moved to CharDev (see above).  Still, the site has all the best information on every single item in the game.  http://www.wowhead.com/

Doing any reputation grinding?  WowJuJu can give you great insight on how much longer you have on your rep grind, what you can do to get rep with any given faction, and what your standing is with all factions.  http://www.wowjuju.com/

Gearing Up In Cataclysm

I have been playing this game a long time, but I have been playing it at a high level for a relatively short time.  When the WotLK expansion hit, it was a gear-continuation expansion.  Players who had the highest tier items from BC could and did raid right away in Naxx with those.  BC and Cataclysm are gear reset expansions.  Highest tier level items in WotLK won’t carry you to max level, never mind raiding.

What WotLK did was give many more people in the game a taste of the elite life.  Anyone who wanted to could have an entire suite of purples and you could pick up the game in the last few months of the expansion and still kill Arthas.  Coming into Cataclysm, people want to still have that but things are tougher now.  In this post I want to explain my gearing strategy for the expansion.

I have three levels of gear I’m looking at right now.  First is a BiS-ByZone profile, next is a BiS-PreHeroics, and finally we have a BiS-PreRaid profile.  The idea being this:  I want to get an idea of what is going to be an incremental upgrade for me as I go along, as well as what is going to be the best in slot for normals, and best in slot for heroics.

We start by going to our favorite theorycrafters Elitist Jerks.  They have a great column in there for current Simulationcraft numbers.  I’ll have a post dedicated to how to use Simulationcraft later on.  It’s a valuable tool, and when you know how to use it, the better you will be on understanding parses from it.

In that forum post, the OP updates with the latest results.  All results are run assuming BiS gear for the current tier.  What you’re looking for is the section on stat weights.  Assuming you are using the build in the simulation, these stat numbers are good enough to start from when it comes to weighing the different stats.  The parse also gives links to lootrank and wowhead to filter out gear and give it a numerical dps value to you.  I prefer loot rank so let’s head over there.

Initially loot rank shows you the top 15 items for each slot based on your stat weights from all the gear currently available.  There is a box to type in your character name and realm name.  Do that and it will add your currently equipped gear piece and the calculation of that piece so you can see how much of an upgrade it is for you.  There’s also check boxes up top to filter out what gear is shown based on how it is obtained.

Here’s where the fun, manual part of the process takes place.  I have a spreadsheet on Google Docs, with a tab for Quest items, normal 5-man items, crafted items, and reputation items.  I uncheck all the items on the Loot Rank page except quest items and re-submit.  Now I have a list of all the crafted gear available and it’s relative DPS value in comparison to my currently equipped stuff.  I write all of them down and sort them by zone so as I quest in a zone I know if a piece is an upgrade or not.  I immediately disenchant all the things that aren’t upgrades.

I do this same thing for reputation items, normal 5-man items, and crafted items.  It’s important to realize two things.  First, uncheck the box that says “include reforged value”.  What ends up happening is nearly every item is reforged to hit giving it a much higher actual value, when realistically you might just end up over cap if you reforged everything.  Reforging should be done latter to fill in any wholes your gear and enchants don’t take care of.  Second thing to remember is that crafted items have two filters, crafted BoE gear and a separate filter for crafted BoP gear, so make sure the check out the gear your profession can make that’s BoP.

Now that I have this huge list I can move through and level and know at any moment if that item I’m getting is an upgrade for me or not.  I know before I ever start questing a zone, or enter a new dungeon, what items in here are relevant to me, and which are not.

Hopefully this helped some people clarify things for themselves on how to approach gearing.  This concept applies to new tiers of content as well, but it’s a little different for me then, and I’ll write up a post later on about coming up with your own BiS list for a raiding tier.