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    Simming Your Character Like a Pro: Maximising DPS Output for Every Encounter Type

    If you've been raiding or doing mythic+ dungeons for any length of time, chances are you've heard talk of simming thrown back and forth among your group. You might have heard people talk about using Ask Mr. Robot to find the best gear, or using Pawn to determine which item is an upgrade at a glance. Perhaps you've been told to "just use simc". Maybe people have made fun of you for your trinket choices, or legendary selection.

    There are videos and guides out there that go over some of these things. In this guide, I'm going to go through everything you need to know to sim like a pro and maximise your damage throughput, step by step with nothing left out - without spending a single cent on any paid services.

    Step One: Preparation

    To get started, we'll need to download a number of things. As World of Warcraft is a constantly changing game - with balance tweaks being made, patches being released and new items coming out, it is important to keep everything up to date to have the best chance at success.

    Software: SimulationCraft

    Simulationcraft, or Simc, is free software that simulates raid and player damage in World of Warcraft. There are a lot of variables that can be tuned - and this is exactly what we want. Simc is maintained by developers from all over the world - some working on the engine, others working on simulating those class mechanics and optimal rotations so when you use it, you'll have one of the most accurate sims around.

    To get started, we'll want to download the latest "Nightly Build". As the name suggests, these are versions of Simc that are updated almost daily with bug fixes, implementations of hotfixes that Blizzard makes and any other necessary changes. While it might not be necessary to download every nightly build, I would recommend updating it at least once a week - or after your class has had some hotfixes.

    Download Link:
    Index of /

    You'll see a number of links. For Windows, I would recommend downloading the latest non-installer version on the list - the file with "Win64" in the name and ending in ".7z". At the time of writing, this would be "simc-720-03-win64-16d3e0e.7z".



    Once you've downloaded it, you'll need to extract it to a folder. This can be wherever you want, but you will use the same folder for every update. A "Simc" folder on your Desktop, in your C Drive or any other preferred location is alright. Just remember where it is so you can apply any updates easily.

    Simc is now ready to use, but we don't want to use it just yet. We have some WoW addons to install.


    Addon: SimulationCraft

    This is a small, lightweight addon that will allow you to export your character's stats, gear, talents and artifact weapon progress directly into Simc, without having to log out and load from armoury each time.

    Download Link: https://mods.curse.com/addons/wow/simulationcraft

    Install like any other WoW addon, and keep up to date. Updates will generally only be released with each patch.

    Addon: Pawn

    Pawn is an addon that, when combined with Simc data, will allow you to find the best item for each situation. The default data isn't that great, but we'll make it awesome and customised exactly to your character - and each situation that character will be in, depending on how far you want to go.

    Download Link: https://mods.curse.com/addons/wow/pawn

    Install like any other WoW addon, and keep up to date. Updates will generally only be released with each patch.

    Step Two: Understanding Simming, Simc's Output and Stat Weights

    With Simc extracted and the two addons installed, we can begin to sim. Before we do that, it is important to understand the purpose behind it, and what you'll be achieving from it.

    When you simulate your character, you'll do so with a set of options. Fight length, boss type, latency, "player skill", fight type, buffs, debuffs, amount of enemies, target errors and more. The options you choose will not only present you with a different theoretical DPS value, but can vastly affect the stat weights you'll be shown.

    What are stat weights? These show how "valuable" each stat is, given your current gear. By using these weights, we can determine which items are upgrades, and in what situations they will be an upgrade.

    But be warned - running a simulation is not a one time exercise. Your stat weights will change with each new piece of gear, each new artifact talent unlocked, each talent swap, and will even change with class buffs, nerfs and hotfixes. If you want to sim like a pro and get the most out of your character, you have to be prepared to do the work.

    Let's take a look at an example of a simulation that has been run - all buffs, all debuffs, two raid boss level enemies with a 250 second fight length and 20% variance, light movement on one of my Elemental Shamans.



    For most people, all you'll need to know is the highlighted information and the rest can be safely ignored. The "Ranking" section gives you a rough overview of your stat weights, and the "Pawn String" is a copy-pastable string to import into the Pawn addon.

    One thing is very important to remember. Running a simulation will only give you optimal stat weights for that particular set of gear, in that particular simulated circumstance. To truly sim like a pro, we'll be running a bunch of simulations each time to really get the most out of your character.

    Step Three: Let's Start Simming

    It's time to start. Before you do, you'll need to identify what you want to get out of simming. Do you want an optimal gearset for each encounter type? Do you just want one well balanced gear set for everything? Do you want a set for Mythic+, a set for ST raiding, a set for cleave raiding, a set for meter padding, a set for soloing? Do you just want to know what's best?

    Have a think about that, and write down what you want out of it. For me, it looks something like this:

    >Ascendance Single Target
    >Ascendance 2-3 Cleave
    >Ascendance 5+ Cleave
    >Ascendance Old Content Farm
    >Lightning Rod Single Target
    >Lightning Rod 2-3 Cleave
    >Lightning Rod 5+ Cleave
    >Lightning Rod Old Content Farm
    >M+ Trash
    >M+ Boss


    However, for the purpose of this guide, we'll stick to one talent set, specifically for raiding.

    >Ascendance Single Target
    >Ascendance 2-3 Cleave
    >Ascendance 5+ Cleave
    >Ascendance Old Content Farm


    The first thing we are going to do is log onto WoW. Make sure both the Simulationcraft addon and the Pawn addons are enabled.

    Ensure you are in the correct spec, talent set and wearing your best gear for what you are going to sim. For this example, we'll be starting with Ascendance Single Target on my Draenei Elemental Shaman who's simulations I haven't run in awhile.

    We'll need to get that character data for SimulationCraft to run from. We'll need to type:
    /simc
    into your chat box and hit enter. A dialog similar to the following will pop up.



    The text will already be highlighted. You will need to copy this text using the Copy shortcuts on your keyboard.

    With the data now on your clipboard, go ahead and open up "SimulationCraft.exe" from the folder you extracted it to previously. It is the only program in the folder with an icon.



    Once it has loaded, we're going to start in the "Simulate" tab, which is located at the top of the program. Inside that, paste the information from the dialog box in World of Warcraft.



    DON'T click "Simulate!" yet. We need to set our options. Head over to the "Options" tab, and select the "Globals" tab below that. It's here where the magic happens, and we can fine-tune what situation we want to simulate to get the best results.

    As we are starting with Ascendance Single Target, we're going to pick options that are appropriate for that.

    Option Setting
    Armory Region Not important, but your play Region. For me, that is US.
    Armory Spec Outdated UI. Leave as "Active."
    Version Leave as "Live.", unless you are simming for PTR.
    Target Error Since this is for Single Target, it is "N/A". However, if you are simulating multiple adds, think about how often you are targetting the wrong target, and pick an appropriate amount. The best thing to do is keep is as low as possible, of course.
    Iterations I'd recommend at least 25,000. The more iterations, the more accurate the results will be. It will also take longer.
    Length (sec) If you have logs on your fights, see how long your average single target fights take, and set it to close to that.
    Vary Length % I prefer to use 10%, but 20% is acceptable too.
    Fight Style "LightMovement" is the most realistic for most raid bosses, but you can go into other options too depending on your class and role.
    Challenge Mode Outdated UI. Leave as "Disabled".
    Player Skill Leave at "Elite", unless you really suck at the game.
    Default Role Leave as "Auto"
    GUI Localization Leave as "Auto"
    Num Enemies As this is a Single Target example, it would be "1".
    Target Level As this is for Raiding, it would be "Raid Boss"
    PVP Crit Damage Reduction Leave as "Disable"
    Target Race "Humanoid" is a good default, but if you are simming for a specific boss, make sure you pick the right race!
    Target Type Since we're playing DPS, we can leave it as "Custom".
    Tank Dummy Greyed out for DPS, irrelevant.
    TMI Standard Boss Greyed out for DPS, irrelevant.
    TMI Window (sec) Leave as is, irrelevant for DPS.
    Show ETMI Leave as is, irrelevant for DPS.
    Threads How many threads you want to use when running the simulation. You can leave this at default unless you want to change it to be lower. This will use less of your CPU, but will take longer to run a simulation.
    Process Priority You can leave this at default unless you want to change it to be higher.
    World Lag Set to your approximate "World" latency when you are raiding.
    Generate Debug Set to "None."
    Report Pets Separately Set to "No" - unless you really want them separate and have a good reason for it.
    Statistics Level Leave at "1"
    Deterministic RNG I've always left it at "No." Doesn't make much difference. If you want more accuracy, increase iterations.
    Auto-Save Reports Comes down to personal preference. I set as "No" since I run so many.
    Item Source Order Leave as default, unless you want something else.
    Armory API Key Leave empty.

    Once you've set all that, your screen will look something like this.



    Next we're going to head over to the Buffs/Debuffs tab to make sure Bloodlust is set. If it isn't, check it.



    Now we're going to need to get Simc to scale our stats. To do this, we go to the "Scaling tab". Once inside, we enable both "Enable Scaling" and "Toggle All Character Stats".



    Excellent. Now we can click that nice "Simulate!" button.

    Step Four: Using Simc Results in Pawn

    Depending on the power of your computer and the settings you chose, you could be waiting anything from a few seconds to a couple of minutes for the results of the simulation. Once they are in, you'll see a screen just like the one I first showed. Here are the results for all the settings, and the character I showed above.



    We're going to want to copy the "Pawn String" - but first we'll make some changes to make it easier once we start adding multiple stat weights.

    This is the unedited string (name replaced):

    ( Pawn: v1: "Smitten": Class=Shaman, Spec=Elemental, Intellect=14.34, SpellPower=13.99, CritRating=14.46, HasteRating=12.49, MasteryRating=15.13, Versatility=15.30 )
    Since this was an Ascendance Single Target simulation, we'll change the string name.
    ( Pawn: v1: "Smitten - ASC Single Target": Class=Shaman, Spec=Elemental, Intellect=14.34, SpellPower=13.99, CritRating=14.46, HasteRating=12.49, MasteryRating=15.13, Versatility=15.30 )
    I personally do this inside Notepad, but you can do it inside the Pawn text box or elsewhere.

    Go back to your World of Warcraft window and type
    /pawn
    or open your character pane and select the "Pawn" button in the lower right hand corner. The Pawn window will appear as follows.



    Make sure the big "Manual" button is selected, and then click "Import" under "Share your Scales". A dialog window will pop up where you can paste your string.



    Click "Okay" when you are done and your string will be imported. You'll now notice it in your list of Scales.



    Great! You've now got your first completely custom stat weight profile for your character. You are well on your way to becoming the best player you can be. But we're not done yet. That's only single target. We need to find our stat weights for cleave too!

    Step Five: Repeating the Process

    Simulationcraft will save your last settings. This is great, as each time we want to sim a new item or talent set, we only need to make a couple of changes. Assuming we're keeping our current gear set on, let's head back into Simulationcraft. If you have a different gear set for Cleave/AoE, put that on and copy the output from "/simc" again and paste it into the Simulate tab again.

    Outside of that, we'll only need to touch the Options -> Globals tab now. So we're going to repeat this process for 3 target cleave, 5+ target cleave and old content. For this example, I'll use the following settings for each of those scenarios I want to have weights for.

    Note: After you begin a simulation, you can change settings to your next simulation and queue them up and go get a snack while they all run.

    3 Target Boss Cleave: I might use this for council fights, or fights like High Botanist. The only difference here is that the number of enemies has been increased from "1" to "3". I still consider it to be "LightMovement", but again you can change this as required based on your class and role.



    5+ Target Boss Cleave: Fights like Skorpyron, or other add-heavy fights. I prefer to sim with "LightMovement" and 5 targets, but you can explore other options like "HecticAddCleave" and "Beastlord".



    Old Content: I use this for when I'm doing old content, like EN where bosses die in close to a minute - or less. I choose one target and a custom 75 second fight length, keeping the +/- 10% variation.



    With all that done, we have our weights. Mine look a little something like this.
    ( Pawn: v1: "Smitten - ASC 3 Cleave": Class=Shaman, Spec=Elemental, Intellect=24.98, SpellPower=23.65, CritRating=31.07, HasteRating=27.07, MasteryRating=21.96, Versatility=26.10 )
    ( Pawn: v1: "Smitten - ASC 5+ Cleave": Class=Shaman, Spec=Elemental, Intellect=43.10, SpellPower=41.26, CritRating=64.23, HasteRating=43.68, MasteryRating=30.55, Versatility=43.91 )
    ( Pawn: v1: "Smitten - ASC Old Content": Class=Shaman, Spec=Elemental, Intellect=18.89, SpellPower=18.23, CritRating=19.24, HasteRating=17.98, MasteryRating=19.40, Versatility=20.31 )
    Notice how much variation there is between the stats, and how different stats are better in different scenarios? This is why simming for multiple situations is important. We'll import them into Pawn, just like we did before.



    Step Six: Determining Actual Upgrades with Pawn

    You open your backpacks and see these little green arrows on your gear. Is it an upgrade? Maybe. Let's take a look.



    I've got three items here. A ring, a pair of shoulders and some pants. Let's mouse over each of them and see what they say.



    You'll notice each of these stat weights now inside your tooltips. "Elemental" (or the spec you are currently playing) are the default Ask Mr. Robot weights. The other ones are the custom weights you've added.

    Anything that says upgrade for "Your Spec Name" should be ignored if your custom weights aren't underneath it. It is not an upgrade. What is an upgrade is anything that has custom weights.

    When determining an upgrade, the first thing you'll want to do is find items which will provide an increase to most, or all of your weights. From these example items, that would be the pants. It provides around 15% benefit to each of my weights, so no matter what it is an upgrade. Those are something that should be equipped right away - provided it is not breaking a set bonus.

    Now at this point, you should be simming all over again. There is a new item, which means stat changes, which means weights change. A pain? Absolutely. But it's what you have to do if you want every ounce of DPS from your gear. If you don't care that much, maybe you can just sim once every 2-3 upgrades, or after a day of playing, or after each raid with your new gear. Find out then what will be an upgrade and what won't.

    With that said, there are times you can choose to skip over upgrades. Is an item only providing a 1-3% benefit for cleave/AoE, while removing 10% for Single Target? If you only want to maintain one set, it probably isn't worth the upgrade. If you are maintaining multiple gear sets, it still might not be an upgrade. Not every cleave/AoE fight has constant adds spawned, so the larger ST benefit would outweigh the small cleave/AoE benefit.

    If you are building multiple sets, start finding what has the highest throughput for each scenario and create Equipment Sets for them.

    Sims and stat weights will give you a good indication of what you want, and what you don't need. But they should not be relied upon on their own, and should always be confirmed with real world, in-game testing on both dummies and in actual raids.

    Words of Warning

    Trinkets ARE NOT taken into account in Pawn. Neither are set bonuses. It purely looks at stats. If an item tells you it is a 15% stat bonus increase, but you lose your 4pc set bonus - it is NOT an upgrade. You can equip that item, sim again and see the DPS difference.

    I hope you enjoyed this guide. I know it is long, but if you put in the effort, you can really increase your damage throughput.

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  2. Thanks Soapbox, Dante, hackerlol, Eryx, Ashoran, TheGods, Kenneth, Alondra, advanta, grekb, morgoy, cukiemunster, HunterHero (13 members gave Thanks to Smitten for this useful post)
  3. #2
    Soapbox's Avatar Legendary Founder of Soapbox Rotations

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    Great guide!

  4. #3
    hackerlol's Avatar Git Gud ShoutBox Dweller
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    Good job!!

  5. #4
    Ashoran's Avatar Banned
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    This is fabulous!3

  6. #5
    Smitten's Avatar i want to believe who even plays wow anymore 🤔
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    Thanks guys. I'll be adding more information later on how we can use this information effectively on other websites.

  7. #6
    Alondra's Avatar Active Member
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    Very detailed guide its obvious a lot of work went into it . Thank you!

  8. #7
    advanta's Avatar ★ Elder ★ CoreCoins Purchaser
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    This looks far, too intelligent for me to ever understand. Nonetheless great job, max rep.
    Some extremely hot girls I bribed to advertise my youtube channel:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCID...UqELfuSIhMXEnA

  9. #8
    JhonnyQ's Avatar Contributor
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    Great stuff ^_^

  10. #9
    jimmys96's Avatar Legendary
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    Raidbots
    lots easier to use

  11. #10
    Smitten's Avatar i want to believe who even plays wow anymore 🤔
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    Originally Posted by jimmys96 View Post
    Raidbots
    lots easier to use
    Raidbots is easier to use because it has a nicer web interface, but doesn't allow extensive customisation, queueing and only short sims. The site is also down an awful lot - too much to be considered reliable in my experience. Better to know what you are doing because Simc will likely be around a lot longer than Raidbots. Give a man a fish...

  12. #11
    morgoy's Avatar Active Member
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    Simply put, fantastic work! Max rep!

  13. #12
    Yutilk's Avatar Member
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    Maybe it's just me but the curse link is not working.

  14. #13
    sklive's Avatar Member
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    Originally Posted by Yutilk View Post
    Maybe it's just me but the curse link is not working.
    Wow, old lottery sambad is live now.

  15. #14
    sklive's Avatar Member
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    Originally Posted by JhonnyQ View Post
    Great stuff ^_^
    Actor Tiger Shroff and actress Tara Sutaria starrer action-drama film ‘Heropanti 2’ is all set to release on Amazon Prime Video. Did little master voting live today

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