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When You Have to ‘Sim’ Yourself

I remember the days when character stats were simple. You had strength, dex, int, and those usual stats. You might have even had a few percentages represented as ratios based on those major stats. When you found a piece of gear, like a sword or a new pair of boots, it was obviously an upgrade or a better items -- or it wasn't. For quite some time, this transparent and easily observed way of understanding your character's stats hasn't been present in WoW. Things have seriously evolved... or mutated.

To best understand your gear and what's an upgrade, or to even make heads or tails of it at all, you must do what the cool kids call "sim yo self". To simulate yourself you download an addon gives you a bunch of gibberish representing every facet of your character. You then plug that into a website like Raidbots where it parses all of your data and determines, based on various criteria, how your character performs.

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What may have looked like an upgrade to you because it has more of a main stat like strength may actually be a downgrade. Why? Because of something liked "stat weights." In simple terms, the value of a stat in terms of how much of a DPS increase you'll get from more of that stat fluctuates as you gain more in another stat.



I recently helped a friend sim himself for the first time. I'm by no means an expert myself. I simulated my character a few times in Legion, but quickly abandoned the idea because it was too complicated. They've only recently streamlined the process to what it is today.

My friend, like me and many of you I'm sure, was very casual in his approach to stats. He equipped what he thought was the best gear for him. He didn't even know what stat weights were, and certainly didn't know how to simulate what kind of damage he <em>should</em> be putting out.

After walking him through the whole process, he discovered he was significantly below his potential. He sim'd a little more, swapped some gear, etc., and eventually saw at least a 20% increase in his output. That's significant. In his words, "Keen you should write a blog post about how difficult it is as a casual player breaking into having to sim and everything else. I found the experience very eye opening."

How very, very right he is that it's eye opening, and that it's overwhelming for casual players. The very idea that players must literally export their character, simulate in the cloud, then return to the game and plug in stat weights in order to play their fullest is unsettling to me. I say this as someone who wasn't going to touch the idea of simulating, but recently benefited from the significant beneficial impact it has had on my gameplay. By simming myself, I was able to determine better talents to use with my gear, and even use better gear that appeared significantly inferior.

In my opinion, I think this process goes too far. Maybe I'm old school, or simple. I liked the ease of knowing an upgrade immediately, and having absolutely zero doubt about it. I liked playing the game and having no doubt that I was playing it well. External tools like this seem to take away from the experience, despite -- again -- being someone who has become better at my character because I use them.

Thoughts? Do you like the idea of needing to simulate your character to answer simple questions like, "Is the sword that drops in this raid an upgrade," or "Which talent is better to use on this boss?"  If you ask those questions in the Warrior Discord, they'll use the emoji that states: "Sim Yo Self".

  • Misaligned says:

    It’s poor design. Blizzard had said they were going to address this in BFA and that ilvl would be king, yet I have gear that is 15 – 20 ilvls lower and still better for me according to sims. That’s ridiculous.

    And how does one determine what’s best for trinkets? You pretty much have to sim this. There’s no way to tell by just reading tooltips.

    And what about WoW in general? The fact people are expected to do this kind of thing to be competitive or even just pulling their weight in midcore raiding is pretty absurd.

    I do it because I’m competitive and like to push myself to be the best I can be in whatever role I’m playing but I hate it. I use Ask Mr. Robot with a premium account to make this process as easy as possible but even then it’s a pain and feels like their design is poor to necessitate this kind of thing by the community.

    • Keen says:

      Despite them saying they wanted to fix it, I see them falling into the same trap they’ve fallen into with DBM (For the uninitiated, Deadly Boss mods, a mod that basically tells you how to fight a boss while you’re fighting it). Now Blizzard practically designs boss fights with DBM in mind. I feel like they’re now designing stats the same way.

  • Caldazar says:

    I don’t mind things being complicated and not immediately obvious, but the current system in wow with azurite traits is beyond reasonable and completely ridiculous.

    I am of the mind that, in general, 10 ilvl improvement should always be better, and if you look up stat priority on a site like icy veins you should handle smaller upgrades. The remaining 1-2% final improvement should be found by simming. So simming is only for the real min maxers, but your main strength should be quite obvious to fiind ingame.

    • Keen says:

      In my mind, gear should be so blatantly an upgrade or not that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to not see it. But I’m also one of the people who advocate characters over items. Unfortunately, WoW has become so item heavy — too many items — that they’ve created way too much overlap.

      I have in my bags this very minute four pairs of boots. The stat overlap has become so convoluted that I can’t figure out which one is better. Versaility? Crit? Strength? Haste? They all increase my damage. They all make me better. That’s the problem.

  • Bhagpuss says:

    This is plain idiocy. It self-evidently limits the process to an elite, which is the exact reverse of the ethos upon which WoW’s success is built. If the intention is to retrench into a cosy bunker, where all the world but a select few can safely write WoW off as the comfort-blanket of an unfortunate cadre of helpless obsessives, then this is the way to go. If there’s any thought left of maintaining a brand image of casual-friendly, open acess lighthearted popular entertainment then forget it.

    Burn it down and begin again. Applies to other MMOs too.

    • Keen says:

      WoW has become this incredibly strange experience. On the outside is the facade of running quests and queuing with complete strangers who never talk to each other to complete a dungeon quickly. On the inside, if you wish to do 80-90% of the actual ‘content’ in the game at any ‘serious’ level, or rather if you care about how your character performs in any way, you must jump on the band wagon.

      At this point, to change anything they WOULD have to burn it down. To which, I say light’er up.

  • coppertopper says:

    Until Blizzard somehow works this ‘sim’ function into the game itself (like they have in the past with the better mods) it’s ridiculous to expect a player to have to go this far outside the actual game to figure out their most powerful build. But hopefully they don’t just dumb down stats or remove elements of them that interplay with each other – just make the ‘sim’ business part of the UI somehow.

    • Keen says:

      That would be quite a task. I’d be fearful that building the ‘sim’ into the UI would give them even more reason to make ridiculous decisions with things like azerite traits and trinkets which, as they stand now, are impossible to determine without crunching numbers.

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