In this post I'm going to go over some resources that anyone can use to do extraordinary single-target DPS. This is not a guide to any specific rotation, and doesn't completely replace that sort of guide, but it might show you how to find, through your class discord, a better guide than you've used before. Reading this post should show you how to get a general idea what your goal DPS is according to Simcraft, evaluate what you're actually doing with Warcraftlogs, and learn how to get there by peeking at others' logs and using Checkmywow. Feel free to ignore this ridiculously long post and skip straight to pasting your Krosus
log into your class Discord
; just be aware that if you ask these people about gear they'll (perhaps rudely) tell you to sim it yourself, and you're much more likely to get a useful response if you can ask about a specific feature of your logs like uptimes or casts rather than "why is the damage number not larger?"
Simcraft's high numbers might seem meaningless at first; after all, you aren't a machine and you aren't fighting a target dummy. The truth is that you don't have to be a machine in order to get within 10-20% of the figure that simcraft claims on fights like Krosus and Augur, and learning how to do that is also going to set you up for success on fights with more uptime interruptions, target switching, and general chaos. Several of us are routinely beating our simcraft (this is much easier for melee to do, admittedly), and several of us are 30-60% short of it. There's no secret trick or inborn talent required here: just a bit of work to figure out what you're trying to do, whether you're doing it, and what tools and techniques are going to get you where you want to be.Simcraft
Download the program: http://downloads.simulationcraft.org/SimcSetup-715-02-Win64.exe
(or if you prefer a version other than the windows installer, you can find other nightly builds at http://downloads.simulationcraft.org/?C=M;O=D
or a guaranteed bug-free but possibly outdated version at http://simulationcraft.org/download.html
). Once it's installed you should be looking at a welcome tab, with Import, Options, Simulate, Results, Overrides, Help, Log, and Spell Query. We're only going to worry about the Import, Simulate, and Results tabs.
I recommend also picking up the simcraft addon here: https://mods.curse.com/addons/wow/simulationcraft
which adds zero overhead as it only runs when you type /simc into the chat bar in-game. When you do that, your artifact weapon traits will open (it has to do this to figure out what you have there) and a dialog box that is already highlit will pop up on top of it. Simply copy the code there with ctrl-C and ctrl-v into the "simulate" tab at the top of the simcraft window. With this addon, you can easily switch out items and talents and view the simulation results side by side without the tedious process of logging out to re-import from armory.
Whether you used the addon or the "Import" tab, you should at this point have a big pile of text in the "Simulate" tab. Simply click the little "Simulate!" button at the bottom right. Your computer might stutter for a second, but fairly quickly you'll have a "Results" tab with a whole bunch of information, including what your hypothetical damage is and some colorful charts and graphs that explain how it happens. If the number it spits out seems impossibly high, that's awesome news
. The bigger the difference between what you're doing now and what the machine thinks you can do, the easier it's going to be to make a big improvement quickly.
The side effect of all this, of course, is that if you can sim yourself twice, once with a gear piece or talent and once with an alternative, you can answer any "which is better" question once and for all. Just be aware that some things are more of a pain to match with Sims in real-world gameplay than others, such as on-use trinkets that don't line up nicely or can't be used with one of your other CDs or short-CD abilities that cost a GCD you can't always spare. It's often not actually worth dealing with a more complex (albeit theoretically optimal) option.Warcraftlogs Analysis
Like Simcraft, logs can either be a powerful tool or a frustrating source of unreasonable expectations. It's all a matter of figuring out what exactly you're looking at, and learning the full array of options so that you aren't just looking at damage numbers but what actually goes into them. First things first: find yourself in a Krosus or Augur log by either typing your name into the bar at www.warcraftlogs.com
then clicking on a boss, and then clicking on a particular parse, or in Tassera's calendar of uploads: https://www.warcraftlogs.com/guilds/usercalendar/23135
(I have this bookmarked, and recommend you do the same). You want to find one where you didn't die or DC or have a cat jump into your lap; it's more informative to learn what you're missing on a fight where things seemed to go generally right than one where you already know that things went wrong.
Now that you're looking at a log, let's go over what the various parts of the page do. The far left of the very top bar has the logo, which will take you back to the main page, then a series of three lines which flies out a menu if you want to look at statistics or rankings, a magnifying glass to bring out a search bar which works exactly like the one on the front page, and (finally getting to something useful) the creator and date of the log you're looking at. On the right side of that bar you'll see an alliance icon next to "so and so's personal logs." This can be useful for quickly bringing up other nights of raiding, particularly if you want to see a raid you weren't personally present for.
At the left hand side of the next bar down, which has a dark blue background, we have the name of the boss right above either "Kill (duration)" or "Wipe (duration)" depending on whether we all died. You can click on either of those to bring out a dropdown and switch between bosses or pulls, respectively. At the right of this bar you have several icons titled Analyze, Compare, Problems, Rankings, and Replay. Analyze is the most obviously useful, but Compare can be valuable as well and I'll mention that later. For now, make sure you're set to "Analyze" or else the next two bars I'll describe won't be present and this won't make any sense.
Next bar down, black background, far left, there's "All Friendlies," with Friendlies and Enemies just below it. You can click on "All Friendlies" to change it to your own damage, or click on "enemies" to look at what the mobs were doing to us, and then click "All Enemies" to see what a particular mob was up to. At the right of that bar are more icons for Tables, Timelines, Events, and Queries. Leave it at tables for now, but again I'll bring this up later.
One more bar to go! Same drill, left to right, Summary, Damage Done, Damage Taken, Healing, Buffs, Debuffs, Deaths, Interrupts, Dispels, Resources, Casts. Most of these should be self-explanatory, but I'll highlight some that I feel are particularly useful for evaluating performance. You've probably already seen the summary page, but if you select an individual player (by clicking "All Friendlies" from the bar above and clicking their name) you can see talents and gear, which can be very useful particularly since legendaries can explain some things that might otherwise seem very odd. Moreso than Damage Done, Casts is where you can find out exactly what you're doing, especially CD usage. The Deaths section becomes spectacularly informative if you select an entire series of fights (by clicking the small "Kill (duration)" text I mentioned above) as it produces a full table displaying survival durations as a % of fight durations, or, if you select a particular player, their last moments rendered as a table of damage sources. This gives you a quick way to find out how an otherwise-puzzling death happened.CheckMyWoW
Checkmywow.com is a straightforward web app which, for an automated process, does a pretty remarkable job of evaluating your play. It doesn't provide the depth that direct comparison does, but it can cover a lot of ground quickly. Just be aware that it doesn't really understand priorities, so it might complain that you aren't fully utilizing some short cooldown that you're actually better off not fully utilizing because you have better things to do.
Just find a link to a log, then copy the part right after warcraftlogs.com/reports/ in the url. Paste that into CheckMyWow, and off you go. I'd give a more elaborate description, but at the time of writing the site seems to be down so I can't very well go step-by-step with a process that I can't currently replicate. Check this space, though, because it will hopefully be back.Warcraftlogs Comparison
Note: I'm putting hotlinks in instead of images, but those links are going to show you MY comparison which isn't going to help since you aren't me. They're just in there so that you can very easily check to see if what I'm describing is what you're looking at.
Since you're already an expert at managing the Analysis section (if you aren't feeling particularly expert just yet, just keep clicking on things until it starts to make sense; there's nobody looking over your shoulder judging you and you can't break anything) it's time to take a look at the Compare icon, next to Analysis, that I told you I was coming back to earlier. Ignore the first two sections and look just below where it reads "Or you can search for parses similar to yours using the options below." Select yourself, and leave the rest as it is. Unless you're at a particularly unusual ilvl, you'll get a long list of players who were in an almost-identical situation and did a ton of damage. Make sure that the talents/trinkets icons look similar to yours; the two on the far right, in particular, are their legendaries, and if those change your rotation a bunch they can make comparison less useful. So long as you pick the first person on the list with a similar setup to yours, if their DPS is high you're likely to be looking at a good performance which you can probably learn something useful from. This is easier to find at higher ilvls if you're looking at heroic parses, but normal parses might have a broader selection (and better matches) if you're at a lower ilvl.
Before you get started, click Summary
to see if there's a giant difference with substats or tier pieces. This can throw some things off (resource and proc generation in particular) so it's worth keeping in mind, even if not necessarily worth searching for another parse to compare with. You'll see your information on the left and the other person's information on the right. Artifact level can explain a raw difference in damage per cast, and relics (in the gems and relics column of the Player Gear section) can affect all sorts of things.
With this info in mind, head on back to the damage done
. The pretty squiggles on the line graph at the top might seem meaningless, but if there's a major difference in the size of the initial spike you might want to head over to Casts, then click Events
and see if there's a big difference in your openers. You could have looked at the events for Damage Done and seen something similar, but it would have information you don't care about (dot ticks, autoattacks) and lack potentially important things like offensive CD usage. If you prefer a more visual version, Timelines is another way to look at this. If you use either of these, don't forget to go back to Tables and Damage Done when you're through.
Below the squiggly lines, you'll find a very useful table with abilities as rows and columns including Amount, Casts, Avg Cast, Hits, and Avg Hit. You can sort by any of these, but be aware that Avg Cast and Avg Hit are sorted without regard to whether it's in the thousands (k) or millions (m) so you wind up with some of the most important abilities to look at at the bottom. If the other log has a whole bunch more casts of important (high damage per cast) abilities, particularly CDs, that might be telling you about something you need to change, but it might also be telling you that they have tier or a relic that affects it.
section at the far right will include things that don't do damage, which may be some of your major CDs, so it's a good place to check if the other player was getting an extra one in. Another thing to watch is Buffs
, which is another option on the bar. Similarly, Debuffs
can be useful, but if you want to see the ones you're applying rather than stuff the boss did to you you'll need to change "Gained by Friendly" at the top right to "Cast by Friendly." The incoming debuffs can be good to know, though, because you might have fewer casts or gaps in uptime if the boss is setting bombs on you constantly. Finally, resources
(if they work; DH fury was broken last i checked) can let you know if you're generating or wasting more than your counterpart. Just click the drop down at the top left where it says "hit points" to select what you're looking for.Class Discord Servers
Discord is a combination voice chat and old-school IRC-style web chat program. The class discords mostly use the latter feature. Make sure you check up on any readmes; some of the class discords will boot you if it's obvious that you didn't read any of the stuff on the left side (channels like "rules, read this first, guides," etc). Some of them will require you to register an account somehow, after being bombarded with the bubbling cauldron of stupid that is The Internet at Large. I won't explain that process because I haven't done it myself. If you made it this far down the post, I can hopefully trust you to manage; if you have any questions about using the Discord app (which I'm not sure you even have to do, since there should be a web version) feel free to ask me in game.
The class discords tend to have the most up-to-date info, links to the best guides, and often a ton of players who are there for the express purpose of talking about the finer points of your class or spec.