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.