Excitement! Tuesday has rolled around and you’ve opened your weekly chest. But suddenly you’re faced with a problem: you don’t know whether your currently equipped gear is better than what you’ve got. Maybe you have a couple of new pieces from raid, and you’re not sure which stats are better. What now?

One of the easiest ways to determine if a piece of gear is an upgrade is to run a simulation of your current gear against your new gear to see which is the better option. Maybe these pants have stronger single-target stats, or that trinket is better for multi-target fights. What’s “better” changes with talent builds, rotations and any number of expansion specific factors. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to use the Simulationcraft addon in conjunction with raidbots.com to run simulations on gear, talents, stat distributions and dps. Feel free to click on the pictures to make them larger.

Disclaimer:

Sims only give the maximum damage output and they almost always assume perfect play and all possible damage buffs. Just because your sims show your character at a certain amount of dps doesn’t mean that you will automatically reach or even get close to that number. Assuming perfect play, most folks will be within 5-15% of their sim, due to a combination of non-optimal buffs, procs, downtime and getting targeted by mechanics. If you’re not within that range, chances are that you’re missing a major part of your rotation.

Getting Started

Step #1: Download the SimC addon available at the following link. We suggest using the WoWUp Client or another download manager to make this work easier. Assuming you’re using an addon manager, you can move to Step #3.

Step #2: Once downloaded, extract the files from compressed folder that was just downloaded and place them into your addons folder under Interface>Addons in your World of Warcraft files, that can be found under the retail version of your WoW install.

Step #3: Close WoW and then reopen it. Log onto your desired character and type in /simc into the chat box and then hit the Enter key. This should display a pop-up full text that is already highlighted. Copy this text, since you’ll need it later. The hotkey ctrl+C can be used to do this.

Step #4: Make your way to Raidbots. There, you’ll have the options of Top Gear, Droptimizer, Gear Compare, Talent Compare, Quick Sim, Stat Weights, and Advanced.

Step#5: Once an option is selected, you have the choice of selecting a character via the WoW Armory, or you can can paste the text from step #3 into the 2nd box. Additional options will appear depending on the options selected.

Gear Compare, for example, will ask you to provide different gear combinations that are manually entered in and then compare them to your current gear that your character is wearing. Other options, such as Top Gear, may use all of the gear straight from your bags instead. Once you’ve selected your options, if they show up, scroll down and hit the Green button near the bottom of the page. Quick Sim is used for the example here. You can change the parameters for each kind of sim to see how your spec matches up for different fights. Fight durations, number of bosses, fight style and more can all be changed under the simulation options buttons. This is especially useful for specs that use dots as their main source of damage and specs with longer cooldowns that don’t line up with the usual 5 minute fight duration.

Step #6: Once you hit that green button at the bottom of the page, the sim will begin. Not much to do until it’s complete. There is some priority given to those that support raidbots via their Patreon, but it isn’t necessary to do so to get the full benefit of running these sims, unless you’re running a ton of simulations. When the sim is complete, you should get a screen similar to the one below. Of course, it will vary based on the simulation option chosen earlier. You can mouse-over the icons under your character’s portrait to read the specific piece or talent used.

Legion DPS Sim Example

Notes on how to use Simc and Raidbots

Unless some more advanced settings are used, most of the results given from raidbots are for single target fights with no movement and no mechanics with a 5 minute duration, known as the Patchwerk fight style. Feel free to adjust the fight style and number of bosses to fit the fight you’re simming for. Just because a character does well on the simulations does not mean your performance will immediately reflect it, nor does it mean that the results will be present in all situations. This is mainly to provide an ideal testing environment due to the lack of satisfactory test environments in-game. View the results instead as a goal to reach rather than a starting point.

Furthermore, the results will not tell you how a rotation is being done with certain talents. This means that if you have ‘perfected’ your current rotation and you feel your numbers aren’t where they should be, something needs to change in your current rotation before you start trying out other talents/stats to make sure that you are doing what you need to. You can run a Quicksim and enable the Detailed SimC Report option under the More Options setting. When that sim finishes, you can scroll down and find a sample rotation that the sim used that you can use for your opener. It won’t tell you the reasons why it’s using specific abilities, but most of the APLs for each spec are constructed with help from folks that write the Wowhead rotation guides.

Determining your Top Gear and Talents

Generally speaking, you will want to use the Top Gear sim to determine if an item is an upgrade. By default, all your equipped gear is selected. You can select additional pieces to sim, or deselect pieces you are wearing. You can select different gear enhancements, such as gems or enchantments,  as well as change your selected talents. The sim will show the top combination of all of the above – gear, talents, and enhancements.

We suggest running at least one Patchwerk and one Hectic Add Cleave sim for each combination you are trying. You may need to start keeping multiple gearsets depending on if you are running dungeons, single target raid fights, multitarget raid fights, and more.

Conclusion

Raidbots is not the only source of sims, but it is the most readily available for doing so. Feel free to see if other simulation applications such as magicsim for Shadow Priests as they could end up fitting your needs better. Finally, simulations are not the be all, end all. Simulations can use your gear to show potential, but it is up to the player to prove that potential is reality.

Raidbots and other simulations like it are best used to simulate dps. Healing for healers and damage prevention for tanks have too many variables needed to actually run reliable sims for healing and tanking respectively. A site known as Questionably Epic can be used for simming healing output, but not every spec is available on that site. However, you can still use raidbots to simulate your dps for most healing and tanking specializations. This can help push damage checks in progression fights, but do be mindful that those two roles have other duties to perform during fights.