“Sim yourself.” More often than not, this is the reply that you’ll get when you ask about the best gear to equip or how stats scale for your character. But what does it mean to sim yourself? Why do we care? And, most importantly, how do we do it?
Because of the way that World of Warcraft is dealing with gear in Legion (e.g., a random chance that a new gear drop will be immediately upgraded in various ways), there are so many variables possible that in most cases there is no single Best in Slot. The gear and attributes that are best for you depend entirely on what else you have equipped and what content you are planning to take on. What this means is, if you are interested in optimizing your DPS for the content that you are playing, you will need a method for figuring out exactly how what you have interacts with any new gear that you might acquire so that you can pinpoint which setup will work best for you.
One of the most effective ways of doing this is by using a program called SimulationCraft, often abbreviated SimCraft or even SimC. It’s available as a downloadable program as well as an in-game add on. Once you get used to simming yourself, it’s not difficult – but it does take a little setting up. Another add on called Pawn is very handy for applying what you learned from your sim.
This is a quick and dirty guide to simming yourself to get the most out of your gear.
The first thing that you need to do is download and install SimulationCraft from its official website.
The next thing is to install and enable the SimulationCraft add on, which is available from Curse.
Note: If you don’t want to use the add on, SimCraft can import your data from the Armory. To do this, follow the instructions on SimulationCraft. Be aware that this is often a less optimal method because not only is the Armory occasionally out of date, but also you will need to log in and out of game to update it, which is less convenient than using the add on.
Open SimulationCraft and select the Simulate tab.
Open World of Warcraft, and make sure that your character’s spec, gear, and talents are set the way you want them. In your chat box type /simc.
This will open a box of highlighted code. On your keyboard, press C while holding down Ctrl to copy the code (if you are on a Mac, press C while holding down ⌘).
Return to SimulationCraft and paste (with Ctrl V, or ⌘ V on a Mac) the code into the Simulate window. Note: you can opt to either 1) paste your code after the code that is automatically in the box, or 2) delete the default code and replace it with your pasted code.
Select the Options tab and then the Scaling tab.
Check Enable Scaling.
We are rogues, so under Stats to Scale, select Agility, Crit Rating, Haste Rating, Mastery Rating, and Versatility Rating.
Click Simulate! in the bottom right corner.
It will probably take a little time for your simulation to run; the more powerful your computer, the quicker it’ll be. When it is done, you will see a screen that looks like this:
Scroll down a little. You will see your talents and artifact build along with a whole lot of other lovely data, but there are two things that are of immediate interest.
The first is your estimated DPS. This is just an estimate based on what you have equipped. Can you pull this number in a boss fight? Can you pull more? It doesn’t matter! The only reason that we care about this number is to use it as a baseline.
The second is your Scale Factors. This tells you your Scale Ranking, which is basically what stats are most important with your current build.
As you can see, according to this sim my stat priority at the moment is:
Agility > Versatility > Crit ~=Mastery > Haste
Those priorities are completely customized to me. By comparison, if you look at a reputable rogue DPS guide like Stjern’s, it will tell you:
Agility > Mastery > Versatility > Crit > Haste
His stat priority is a place to start. With my gear and how I am optimized, my stat priority has now changed. This is exactly why no one can tell you what is best in slot for you without a sim.
When you get new gear, equip it, sim yourself again, and check out that estimated DPS. If it goes up, the new gear is probably an upgrade.
Pawn is an add on that works with your sim data to compare items in-game and give you an idea whether or not a piece of loot is an upgrade or not.
Install and enable Pawn, which is available on Curse.
Open World of Warcraft and you will see a Pawn button on your Character pane.
Now go back to your SimulationCraft results and find the Pawn string, which is right after your Stat Ranking. Highlight and copy the Pawn string, including the open and close parentheses and everything in between.
Back in game, click the Pawn button to open the Pawn window. Select the Scale tab.
You should see a screen with more options. Click Import.
Paste the Pawn string from SimulationCraft into the text box and click Okay.
This will show you your new stat weights. Go back to the Scale tab and make sure that Show this scale in tooltips is checked.
Close the Pawn window. Now, when you look at gear in your bag, you can immediately tell whether or not it is an upgrade based on your sim.
Now you have the basics.
All of these tools, and the theories behind them, were created by the WoW theorycrafting community. Theorycrafters use math to analyze game mechanics. This can give us insight into the way the game works, which in turn allows development of these tools and best practices for playing your class and your spec.
And this SimCraft tutorial is just the beginning. If you want to learn how to hot-swap gear to compare sims, learn how to sim relics, or just learn more about SimCraft and theorycrafting, here are a few resources.
For quick simulations you can also use the Raidbots bot in the Ravenholdt Discord. Just type !sim -h in Discord for instructions. For an online solution, check out the Raidbots website.