17
May
10

Tyranny of the Spreadsheets

I’m a hardcore spreadsheet fiend.  After each gear upgrade, I plug it into one of the EJ spreadsheets and flip around many possible gear choices until I have found the best gear arrangement possible, and I have also planned out future upgrades.  Its something I enjoy.  In general, I don’t question the results of the spreadsheets.  If they say something is a dps improvement, then I assume that its correct.

I recently got a few upgrades (Cultist’s Bloodsoaked Spaulders, Heartpierce, and Shadowvault Slayer’s Cloak).  I put them into the spreadsheets and found that they combined to make a nice upgrade to my overall dps.  So I enchanted, gemmed, and equipped them before our foray into ICC this week.

On Festergut (a great ICC fight for rogues) I’m watching my combo points… 3… 5.. ENVENOM!  And there are still 5 combo points there.  Envenom again and they are gone.  Was it dodged?  Has my expertise dropped?  After the fight, looking back at my combat logs, I saw that my Envenoms had been resisted 19 times in one boss fight!!  Open the character page and see that my expertise is… WHAT?!? Seven?  My expertise is seven?  And look at my hit rating! Its down to 245!

Turns out that those three upgrades had dropped my hit rating by 80 and my expertise rating by over 100!  I hadn’t bothered to check because the spreadsheet told me they were upgrades.  Most of the really high-end gear is low on hit and expertise, which is an odd trend for rogue gear.

Looking thoroughly through my combat log I see that my attacks are being dodged and my poisons are being resisted.  Yet my dps is at an all-time high (12.5k on Festergut).  Very curious.

The spreadsheet crunches numbers.  That’s all.  Yes, it does notice when you drop below certain crucial hit caps and will then recommend gemming for +hit, and I hadn’t gotten that low yet.  However, the spreadsheet doesn’t “feel bad” if you are missing a lot, or feel the annoyance of missing, as long as your overall damage output is bigger.

For rogues, the general advice has always been to get above the Poison Hit Cap and also try to get Expertise up to 26.  However, with current mechanics and itemization, it looks like that is not always the case.  I tested it on a combat dummy and then saw it in action on Festergut.  Despite the low hit and expertise, my dps output is higher now than if I had them both capped.

What does that mean for gearing?  Does the age-old advice about hit and expertise caps still apply?  I’d say… sometimes.  The math of WoW has gotten very complicated.  If you’re using spreadsheets to compare gear, then you can safely take the advice of the spreadsheet, even if it goes against your own instincts.  However, if you’re just eyeballing the gear and making choices based on your gut, then the safe play is to keep your hit and expertise up near the relevant caps.

Tip:  if you use the spreadsheets, remember to set up the raid buffs properly based on your raid composition.  If your hit is low, and the spreadsheet thinks its still OK, it won’t recommend for gemming hit.  But then in your actual raid if you don’t have the proper debuffs on the boss or buffs on yourself, the results could be quite different than expected.

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10 Responses to “Tyranny of the Spreadsheets”


  1. May 17, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I used to use Rawr religiously, but I’ve kinda fallen away from it lately. For starters, I hated not knowing when something dropped if it was an upgrade or not. I found myself completely unable to think for myself. I’d have to keep Rawr running on my computer as well as on my laptop next to me…one loaded with my Bear set, the other with my Cat. As soon as something dropped that I could use, I’d immediately have to check it against both sets. It was a huge hassle.

    When it comes to my Cat gear, I take hit and expertise very seriously. I don’t know how Rogue rotations work, but I know a missed or resisted attack in a Cat rotation can easily drop dps output by several hundred. We don’t have a lot of wiggle room. My current Cat gear is still well over hit cap (although I’m getting closer and closer to that not being true), but I have a ton of +20 Expertise gems in my gear to keep me at that particular cap. And that’s even with 2/2 in Primal Precision (which gives me 10 Expertise).

  2. 2 Ringa69
    May 17, 2010 at 10:40 am

    im kinda the opposite. i look up loot lists and have a general idea of what loot drops off bosses that is good for me. then whenever an item drops from that particular boss i will roll on it. i have many items stored in my bank that if i do get a good upgrade i can swap items in and out to achieve the min caps. (i totally believe in the min ratings, this is because rng is a real bitch most of the time for me). then i will go hit on a training dummy for 30 mins or so to test the new setup to gauge the new dps to see if i get an improvement or not. as i always say to myself “Spreadsheets are perfect for a perfect world of warcraft, but training dummies are you real life friends for life”.

    i will agree that some people will call me a loot bitch but from my experience it is easier to have the loot and swap around what you want, then it is to spend a tonne of gold on gems to get your stats to where you want them.(just want to point out that i dont take all the loot. i only get loot that isnt upgrades or no one wants. i do respect other people and the loot they want.)

    i would be interested to hear the variation between having a bad rng dps parse to having a good rng dps parse.

  3. May 17, 2010 at 11:04 am

    The all-time high DPS numbers might have something to do with the 15% ICC buff, unless your guild chooses to turn it off.

    Anyway, I confess I don’t religiously go for the magical number 26 because I don’t believe it will impact my DPS any more than a second of losing focus or something and pressing, say, slice and dice instead of envenom.

    That said, 7 is a bit too low for my liking, I like to stay above 20 to make sure my abilities are still reliable.

    Also, how come you are so low on hit o.O ? I have about 500-ish on my gear at the moment.

  4. 4 mediumsizedrob
    May 17, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Luckilly for some and sadly for others, with the stat changes coming in cataclysm, it seems that spreadsheets and hardcore theorycrafting won’t be necessary. I think it’s fun to do, but at the same time it seems a little stupid for the stats to be so convoluted that you need a math degree to figure out what is best for your toon in a video game like WoW. It will be interesting to see if things really are simplified to the point where EJ is no longer needed.. I somehow doubt it, but things will definitely be easier to figure out without complicated math.

  5. 5 Hamacus
    May 17, 2010 at 11:44 am

    I feel your pain though at the moment my current gear allows me to meet the caps. This weekend 6 nice Rogue gear pieces dropped in an ICC 25 pug…too bad I was on my Priest :( I had a nice tall glass of haterade for the Rogue that got all 6 :p

    Looking at the gear that dropped though I would have had to juggle things around to hit one cap without going way over on the others. I too am a Spreadsheet/RAWR addict and always have my laptop up and running on the side and don’t roll on gear unless it is going to be a good upgrade for my main spec.

  6. May 18, 2010 at 4:55 am

    Personally I don’t rely too heavily on the spreadsheets… I’m Combat currently, but with the low amount of armor pen on my gear (~350 currently) I’m gemming AP atm… but pulling around 8k DPS in current gear. But – I have the caps (aside from ArP), and 2 awesome weapons (Bloodvenom Blade and Scourgebourne Waraxe) with a heavy Rupture build.

    /agree with mediumsizedrob – it’s become a nightmare to calculate what gives you the best dps. My rogue may be an alt (Warriors FTW :D), but imo the simplification to stats should make this convoluted system much easier to understand. But increasing already painful to hit caps will suck :(

  7. 7 Drdoalot
    May 18, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Tbh, if you’re expertise and hit are that low you should probably gem for them, even if the sheet hasn’t told you to. Alot of sheets automatically have hit and expertise hemming disabled because programming caps is hard. Except in very rare cases, expertise will always have an obscenely high ep value.

  8. May 20, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    I have mixed feelings about hit and expertise. I feel like I need to get them capped, but I remember from back in the TBC days when I didn’t know how important they were. I was severely under-capped in hit, but I pulled the biggest numbers there were in our raids. I was so far beyond all the rest in terms of crit and AP so they outweighed my lack of hit.

    I’m sure you’re experiencing something similar now. I never matched it with my spreadsheets though, I wish I did.

  9. May 24, 2010 at 4:23 am

    I have to say I love the EJ DPS Simulation spreadsheet and I too religiously update it on every gear upgrade and ocnstantly poek around and play with gear to see how my dps will improve. :P It’s addictive.

  10. 10 bundee
    May 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I think what happens is that the spreadsheet calculates the overall value of stats given a certain weight each, and the dps works accordingly. If you’re hit and expertise capped, you’re used to landing hits for a certain amount of damage. But as you start picking up different gear based on said spreadsheet (which trades some of that hit/exp for arp, crit, haste, etc) your DPS goes up but your combat logs read differently. Maybe you don’t land as many attacks as often, but the ones that do hit a lot harder and crit more often.


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