WrathCalcs and You: A Basic and Advanced Look at Boomkin Models
- WrathCalcs: A Basic Look
- WrathCalcs: Explanation
- WrathCalcs: An Advanced Take
- SimCraft: Explanation
- SimCraft: Basic Modifications
The purpose of this guide is threefold:
- give a basic look at WrathCalcs modelling,
- show some advanced analyses that can be sought,
- take a look at other models like SimCraft and its correlative conclusions.
I aim to cover the very rudimentary basics of using WrathCalcs as a tool to improve your DPS, and then transition into a short explanation of how WrathCalcs works in order to set up an advanced take on its use. Furthermore, I supplement this model with a look at SimCraft and its own capabilities and drawbacks, showing both models in their own right accomplish their affiliated goal.
The latest version of WrathCalcs can always be found here: http://elitistjerks.com/f73/t114017-balance_wrathcalcs/. Please note that you should always go to the last page to find the most recent copy, as the OP isn't always updated.
WrathCalcs: A Basic Look
- easy to change gear/talents,
- more accurate for longer fights,
- uses fancy maths.
- can be difficult to use for new users (hence this guide),
- does not account for non-Moonkin buff stacking,
- less accurate for shorter fights.
Let's go through the Quick-Start to WrathCalcs, and then get onto finding the most important outputs.
Importing Your Character
Probably the most important and easy part to using WrathCalcs.
- Enter your character's name and realm into the appropriate cells on the top of the Gear Setup (1st) tab.
- In the bottom right-hand corner, change your region to whichever you use (US, EU, KR, TW).
- Click the "battle.net" button directly beneath the Region box.
If you get any sort of error, make sure you've entered your name/realm into the correct boxes, that they're spelt correctly, and that you've selected the right region.
Please note that if you are an OpenOffice, Mac or Excel64 user you will not be able to import your character. Unfortunately, due to technical limitations you'll need to enter your character's gear and talents/buffs manually.
Working Around Gear Setup
The first tab is the one you'll mostly use, in conjunction with the next tab "Main." You can see all your gear is now displayed, including gems, enchants, professions (and talents but they're on Main). Your stats are displayed on top, and these are your viewed stats before any modifiers are applied (for ex. MotW or Leather Specialisation). You'll notice a Manual Adjustments line - this is mostly used if you're looking at stat trade-offs, like if 300 int is more DPS than 300 crit and 200 haste. This is a very quick way to compare items if you know the stat differences already.
On the right-hand side you can see where your professions are selected, as well as a Profile box. You can name your profile whatever you want, the naming has no effect on anything. To create a new profile without deleting the current one simply select the "New" profile, type in your profile name into the "New name" box, and then hit Save. If you save over another named profile, that profile will be replaced with the new one. In order to fully save profiles, you must save WrathCalcs upon exiting.
Changing Gear/Talents & Main tab
Arguably the most useful part of WrathCalcs is the ability to change gear, talents, gems and enchants with ease and efficiency. You can click on the name of any piece of gear and a drop-down box will pop up, where you can change that armor piece to something else. This will automatically update the gems and reforging available to the new piece, and swapping those around is the same as changing gear.
Once you've fiddled with your gear, you can pop over to the Main tab and have a look at some more options available. You can see your talent choices on the left, and the DPS each talent provides sitting next to it. You can turn off any raid buffs you don't have in raid, or even set it to Training Dummy mode to compare your DPS on a dummy. Directly below this function is where certain rotation principles are declared, like only applying your eclipsed DoT per cycle, or your expected Shooting Stars proc waste (for single-target this should be set to 20%).
On the right you'll see the marginal DPS increase from 1 point of a stat. This is where a good deal of stat choice can come into play, and you can notably watch your stat "weights" change as you get better gear.
One thing to note - upon changing anything on the Gear Setup tab or Main tab, you'll need to press F9 (refresh) to recalculate the DPS changes for anything on the Main tab. This is because the DPS contributions do not update dynamically when you change things, and must be worked out again with the changes in mind.
That about ends the basic uses of WrathCalcs - below is a more advanced look on some of the other tabs and what else you can do with the sheet.
Before we go into the nitty-gritty of the model, I feel it's important to look over what WrathCalcs actually does and from there show how you can use it in a more advanced way for analysis.
WrathCalcs is (obviously) built within an Excel Spreadsheet, and works around the idea of a statistical average. Averages are what you expect to see as time goes on and your scope converges. A common example of this would be noting your crit chance for a certain fight was 40%, whereas in your Character tab it says 30%. The next fight you may note your observed crit chance was 50%, and may think your Character tab is in fact wrong. From only two sets of data, you don't have enough of a sample size to adequately make such a claim - you would need to look at thousands, maybe tens of thousands of individual fights and see the same occurrence to be fairly certain of anything. Since this is not reasonable, and most certainly not time-efficient, we turn to the use of models for these sorts of questions. This isn't to discourage the analysis of logs for simple answers like SS proc waste, DoT uptime and eclipse cycles, but it's rather difficult to espouse one talent or one gearing strategy is better than another simply through the use of logs. RNG plays a very large role in top ranks, and can disrupt DPS so much that it's often unclear what contributed to what.
WrathCalcs shows the steady-state equilibrium DPS of a player as time goes to infinity. It computes averages and averages on top of that, and calculates what you would expect to see after analysing more than a million individual logs. While it doesn't account for fight intricacies like stacking non-Moonkin buffs on the pull and throughout the fight, it does show your contribution in an isolated sense. This is why WrathCalcs is very good for building things on, and for giving a clean slate to base conclusions from. At this current point in time, WrathCalcs shows your expected, lower-end DPS for a single-target fight with no movement. We take the information it gives us and work in some logical steps to alter and analyse the output. We aren't saying the numbers in WrathCals are infallible, but more so that they provide a very good backbone for arguments and ideas.
WrathCalcs: An Advanced Take
There's quite a lot you can gather from the inner-workings on WrathCalcs, rather than just secluding yourself to the first two tabs. Sandwiched between the other less-splendid tabs are subtle numbers you may skip over that actually have a profound contribution to our rotation or overall DPS.
Basic Calcs tab
This is where a lot of the initial calculations are made, like averaging out int procs and the expected uptime of ToT trinkets. There's not much you can change around here but it's always useful to see how much uptime you should see from your trinket(s), and your buffed crit/int to compare to in-game.
Overall, not a lot can be gathered from this tab besides trinkets and some buffed stats. You can always edit any cell to see its effect if you so desire.
DoTs/Nukes/Other Spells tabs
These tabs house the average damage and calculations for each of our main damaging spells. Not much here you can do, as most of these cells feed into other tabs.
One of my favourite tabs to look at and fiddle with. The most notable cells here are H32 (cycle time), H39 (damage per cycle) and D42 (DPS before cooldowns), although pretty much all the cells are useful in some way. You can see the effect of movement or using utility spells by adding some seconds to the cycle time cell, or even subtracting some seconds to see how much your DPS can increase with a higher-than-average haste proc uptime. The percentage weight of each eclipse phase (Lunar, post-Lunar, Solar, post-Solar) is available in row 39 by dividing their respective value by the damage per cycle cell. It's always good to know how much damage you expect to do per phase and know when lining up a specific phase with a part of a fight will be optimal.
Another good way to utilise the Rotations tab is modifying the effect of talents. Changing the value of Incarnation/NV and their damage increases can show things like why NV lost a lot of its appeal post-5.2, or how much damage CA gains from combining it with Incarnation. Understanding how a talent affects your DPS intricately is a very good piece of information to know.
A really good way to get to understand how WrathCalcs works is simply by looking at the equations used to calculate each part of our rotation. SS full casts use a Poisson distribution with a built-in sum of geometric series to show the very small chance distribution of actually using a Starsurge hard cast. There are plenty more examples to look at, so I wont spoil them for you.
Gear List tab
Here is where pretty much all the gear is stored, and it's quite a lengthy list. If you're having problems with a specific item, for instance if a stat is incorrect or it doesn't find a value properly, you should check this tab first and find the item in question. Usually any gear-related problems can be solved by finding the issue in this tab and correcting it.
The Gear List tab is also useful for creating dummy items for comparative purposes. Simply add in an extra row in the item section you're using (ie. if you're creating a trinket, add in a row somewhere during the trinket section), and then add in the stats you want. I use this commonly to compare trinkets, tier pieces and sometimes talent interactions to provide a control state. Very useful!
That's about all I can cover with my experience using WrathCalcs, but you can always head over and check Hamlet's thread on EJ for the discussion that partakes there.
- accounts for buff overlaps,
- can moderate fight length and movement,
- can be more accurate to in-game numbers.
- is not Moonkin-specific, and is not updated as regularly as WrathCalcs,
- priority system is not necessarily the most efficient/optimal,
- not user-friendly when trying to alter gear/stats,
- takes a long time to calculate each change.
While both WrathCalcs and SimCraft seek the same outcome, they deviate in their method. SimCraft assesses expected output DPS through many iterations of a particular scenario, and then finds an average. Essentially, it accomplishes the thousands or tens of thousands of log assessments I was talking about earlier. SimCraft goes through and stages a fight where variables are real variables, simulating buff procs and actual spell casts. It follows a priority system, an algorithm that dictates the importance of each spell to be cast, ranging from Starsurge to Moonfire spam on the run. The results obtained on your Results page shows you the spread of DPS over how many iterations you performed, and the probability your DPS will occur at an expected value. DPS spreads will almost always occur in a bell curve shape, as you would assume the chances of you over- or under-performing your stats decreases the further away you are from zero change.
Unlike WrathCalcs, SimCraft does account for buff stacking and overlapping over the whole of a fight, and will show the large burst capabilities in the beginning of a fight. Fight length can also be altered to test for stat/talent interactions with how long the fight lasts. Overall, SimCraft is a very handy tool to look at interactions and fight mechanics like movement and invulnerability phases.
SimCraft: Basic Modifications
Since I'm not completely adept at SimCraft myself, I can only provide a basic look at variations you can make and analyses I've done myself. SimCraft itself provides a comprehensive and straight-forward guide to importing and simulating your character, so I'll go on to talk about changing your character around and interpreting the Results page.
Once you've imported your character, head over to the Simulate tab where most of that data has been translated into usable text.
Going from the top-down, we can see where our professions and talents have been imported - you're free to alter those as you see fit. There's a bunch of pre-combat lines that include potions, a Healing Touch to proc DoC, and enabling Moonkin Form. The next block of text focusses on the meat of the simulation - ie. the spell priority system. If you see any clear ways to optimise the queue and do actually result in a DPS increase, then the guys at SimCraft always like to hear about it. The best way to keep SimCraft up-to-date and as accurate as possible is to suggest things to them!
Below the priority system lies the gear import, where you can change anything around that you like. Unfortunately, it's rather difficult to to tinker with the list straight in the simulation tab, so it's advised you re-import using a gear set from CharDev or Rawr. Regardless, for small changes like gems and enchants you can do that relatively easy. Alternatively, do it in WrathCalcs first, then make the changes in SimCraft.
Once you've made any changes you want, you're ready to hit Simulate! and gander at the Results page.
Interpreting Your Results
First thing you'll notice is that if you increase iterations, your % error will decrease significantly. Using 1,000 iterations will result in around a 0.24% spread, whereas 10,000 iterations shows ~0.08%. These percentages may be different to your own, but the general idea should stick. This follows directly from what I said earlier on requiring thousands of logs to be fairly accurate - you really do need a lot of individual sets of data to make a rather solid argument. You'll also notice with higher iterations the DPS Distribution will be a lot more uniform and smooth. The smoother the graph, the happier you should be.
Your DPET bar graph is also of importance - noting that a single cast of the average Moonfire will do more damage than the single cast of the average Starsurge proc is a significant outcome, but I digress (I covered this in an earlier post anyway!).
Scrolling down, you'll see your damage per spell output similar to what you'd see on World of Logs. Always handy to compare the percentage weights of each spell to your actual logs and measure your own spread.
An important number you can easily gather from this is your SS proc waste. This is found in the Buff tab, alongside your uptimes for any ToT trinkets and the Sinister Primal Diamond. SS proc waste is found very easily here, as it's just (# of refreshes/total procs).
That's about all I use SimCraft for, but I'm sure people with a bit more skill and knowledge of it could suggest more. If you think I've missed a key aspect to tinkering or analysing SimCraft, let me know and I'll add it in!
Both WrathCalcs and SimCraft are very handy tools, and should be used from the average Boomkin to the most elite. These models assist us in doing things we can't easily or quickly do in-game, or simply can't. They help us to understand and assess our class and no model should be used stand-alone: using things in conjunction with each other can only strengthen your idea.
We must always attempt to confirm our tests in-game though. A clear example is where modelled uptime on the Sinister Primal Diamond was significantly higher than actual in-game testing, due to the specialisation modifier not being in place. This is a very nice way in which modelling has helped to improve our in-game experience and point out an inconsistency with our own data.
Modelling is an extremely important part of theorycrafting and enables us to seek out the best way to play, advancing us as a specialisation and as a community.