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.
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".