Falcifer

Using Shadowcraft

10 posts in this topic

A recent post over at Encrypted Text as well as a few posts on the official forums about how people struggle to match the DPS that Shadowcraft (ShC) tells them they should be doing make me want to write about how I use ShC.

 

I will start by saying that this isn't the only way to use it or the best way or the "right" way, just how I use it.

 

As far as being a way of estimating your DPS, I could get about 90% of what ShC reported in assassination and over 100% of what it said I should do as combat. It might be useful for a very rough estimate (to the nearest 50k perhaps) but only if you realise that 99.99% of encounters involve various mechanics which mean having to move or switch adds or just not attack the boss for a while.

 

I don't recommend using it as a DPS estimate. Having said that, I will uncheck all raid buffs and debuffs (apart from 10% haste buff and 5% spell damage debuff which I provide as a rogue), and use the value as a guide when I try out my rotation on a raid dummy. If I get close, I'm happy. Obviously, if ShC is saying 150k and you're struggling to do 60k, something is wrong. But if you're "only" managing 120k, things are probably okay.

 

It's also not very useful for comparing specs. As mentioned by one of the rogues who works on it (here) the different specs use different simulation models and so aren't reliably comparable.

 

So, on to what it can be used for...

 

Item Upgrades

 

You have 1000 valor points and some new gear, what do you upgrade? Load your character into ShC and let it tell you!

 

Once your character is loaded, you can click the arrow next to each item to upgrade it. It will adjust the DPS value accordingly. Some items are similar in value when upgraded, others are noticeably high or low. Rings, for example are usually relatively low on the priority for upgrades, whereas weapons are often at the top. Upgrade an item in ShC, make a note of the overall increase and then reset the item to 0/2. Repeat this with any item that needs upgrading and you'll end up with a list of items and what their various values will be.

 

I like to convert values to percentages, based on the original value. Mostly because I deem anything 1-5% to be optional, depending on the amount of changes that are needed (mainly when it comes to reforging and gemming).

 

As an example of using ShC for item upgrades, here's a list of a few of my items and their relative boosts to my "DPS";

 

Neck 0.4%

Shoulders 0.6%

Bracers 0.4%

Main hand 2.2%

Off hand 0.9%

Gloves 0.6%

Belt 0.5%

Ring 0.3%

Trinket 1.5%

 

Clearly, in this case, the main hand weapon is the best thing to upgrade. The trinket in question is Assurance of Consequence, so upgrading that will decrease the CD on some spells which, according to ShC, is more beneficial to my DPS than upgrading my off-hand weapon. Upgrading my other trinket gives me something closer to 0.6%. Trinkets from SoO give various side-effects besides just stats, and so a trinket with a cleave effect will likely help more on certain fights (Dark Shamans or the first phase of Galakras, for example). Which is another thing that ShC doesn't take into account; It's not feasible to model every fight, even in a single raid, especially when one raid group might send their rogue on belt duty for Siegecrafter Blackfuse and another raid group might not. I think it's worth keeping that in mind when it comes to SoO trinkets if you're thinking about upgrading them.

 

Reforging and gemming

 

The basics are covered in the Encrypted Text article, but basically stats change every time you get new gear or upgrade an item or reforge.

 

Depending on your gear and whether you have certain items, certain stats will be more valuable than others. For assassination rogues, mastery increases poison damage, which is the major source of damage, so it's usually the highest priority. Once you have the legendary meta gem and cloak, and RPPM trinkets, haste starts becoming more valuable, and the 2-set bonus from Tier 16 gear puts crit ahead. There's a good reason for each of these, and each stat contributes to DPS in a different way. It's useful to understand how they each work so that you understand why ShC tells you to reforge/gem a certain way. I can't say much about combat or subtlety because I've been playing assassination for a long time now (until yesterday) and focused on the theory for that spec.

 

Generally speaking, for assassination;

 

Mastery = poison damage = on-demand, reliable source of damage. Good for switching targets and AoE. Not so reliant on RNG and procs.

Haste = faster energy regen & increase proc chance/rate = more RNG based damage and more attacks. Good for single-target fights with lots of uptime.

 

If you're away from the boss for any amount of time, having a faster rate of energy regeneration is going to mean a lot of wasted energy regen. Also, I think the ICD of trinkets, meta gem, cloak, etc. will have more time to reset, so the haste is going to waste there, too.And when attacking adds which are going to die quickly, there's always a chance that your trinkets will proc at the wrong time, regardless of how much haste you have.

 

As far as I'm aware, ShC models a long, single-target fight and assigns stat weightings based on that. If you find your DPS lacking on fights like Malkorok or Iron Juggernaut, ShC will help you more than on fights like Spoils of Pandaria or Galakras. However, any reforge that gives you an increase in "DPS" will likely be an overall improvement, just don't worry too much if it's telling you to reforge every single item for a +2.3 gain. Again, knowledge of fights and what the different stats are doing for you will help you decide how best to take the advice that you get from ShC.

 

I will typically use ShC to get my hit and exp to 7.5%, and then make a judgement on dealing with haste, mastery, and crit.

 

Despite all of that, if you're not sure, or don't care, about why ShC says what it says, it's fairly safe to reforge and/or gem accordingly. Just click the Auto-Reforge All button and reforge away. As mentioned in the article, it's usually a good idea to reforge before gemming, so that you're not trying to gem for the hit/exp cap.

 

Bonus Rolls and Comparing Items

 

ShC is also useful for checking where to spend bonus rolls, or if you got 2 pairs of new boots in the last raid and aren't sure which ones are better. Or for deciding which pieces of the Tier set to use.

 

For bonus rolls, you can make a list of which items drop that you need/want, and then change your current gear to the new one (being sure to upgrade, enchant, and reforge). Make a note of the new DPS value so that you end up with a list of gear and their relative worth. It's usually worth saving bonus rolls for items you really need (like a new weapon, which is often the biggest upgrade you can get), that final set-piece you need for the bonus, or for any boss which drops a few items so that you have a higher chance of getting something you actually want.

 

Comparing items is similar; load up the different items and see how they match up. Two items of the same ilvl aren't likely to be too different, but if one item has hit and 2 blue sockets, it probably won't be as good as something with else with haste/mastery/crit and 2 red sockets, if you're already reforging away from hit and are still over the cap.

 

As mentioned above, different trinkets have different effects, some of which will be more useful than others on certain fights.

 

For set bonuses, once again it can be useful to make a list of the various combinations. If you have all five pieces (or three pieces) and a couple of non-set pieces, it's a matter of checking the values of the various combinations to find out which one can safely be replaced with a non-set piece in order to retain the set bonus(es) and maximise your gear.

 

e.g. Set shoulders + Set gloves + non-set legs, compared to

Set shoulders + non-set gloves + Set legs

 

will give you a good idea of whether you should use the legs or the gloves to complete the set bonus. Just remember to keep the set pieces for if/when you get that fourth piece.

 

You could also use ShC to check whether the new warforged chest you just got is good enough to break the 2- or 4-set bonus you already have.

 

 

And I guess that's it for now. Sorry for the long-winded post. I hope it's useful to someone. Feel free to post questions, comments, criticisms, etc. below.

 

I will conclude by saying that, yes, most of this is a lot of effort and time, and it's probably not worth the overall results for the majority of players. If you're someone like me, though, who (sadly) enjoys the number-crunching and min-max'ing even when it's not necessary, Shadowcraft is an excellent tool, but it can't teach you how to play or show you the best strategy for a particular fight. A lot of being a good raider is everything else outside of doing the highest DPS. There's a rather good post about raid awareness here, I highly recommend it.

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100% agree with what was said in the start. another thing to maybe add the sim dps that shadow gives you is on a patchwerk style fight. so yea if you can sit in 1 spot and mash the keyboard and do perfect play style yes you will get the results given on shadow IE Iron juggs. says i should do 296k but i can hold on 325k the whole fight. its a estimate on dps not a 100% this is your number. take everything the site gives you with a hit of salt. but Falc thumbs up for this should help ALOT of people if they actually read it...

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My friends, I think we're going to get along just fine. This post is right up my alley; it looks at a major tool in the rogue universe and breaks down how to use it and not abuse it. It's a thorough post, not long winded but complete. Readers who want the real thought out content like this won't be averse to full post like this.

I can't wait to get some of my ideas up here to see what the forum members think!

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Very useful - thank you !

 

SC tells me to change my epic gem when I choose optimize gemming :

 

"Regemming Helmet of the Barbed Assassin socket 1 from Capacitive Primal Diamond to Agile Primal Diamond "

 

And then I choose auto-reforge all and choose auto gem again and it tells me to go back to epic meta !

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shadowcraft pisses me off, constantly. As well as mr robot, on this rogue anyway. Shadowcraft telling me to gemm 100% crit, mr robot telling me to go haste. What is the problem with these programs? Why show such differences with same gear?

Edited by gonlaz

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shadowcraft pisses me off, constantly. As well as mr robot, on this rogue anyway. Shadowcraft telling me to gemm 100% crit, mr robot telling me to go haste. What is the problem with these programs? Why show such differences with same gear?

 

Mr Robot uses a fixed stat weighting. The default stat weightings won't change regardless of what gear you have. I also believe that it assumes BiS gear, or at least full HC.

 

Shadowcraft uses dynamic stat weightings. They change every time you change your gear, and even every time you reforge.

 

I don't know if this is strictly true, but an exaggerated example would be;

 

As combat you'll want to stack haste. AMR will always tell you to go for haste because it's your highest stat. Even if every piece of gear you have is full of haste, AMR will tell you to gem for haste as well.

 

ShC will see all the haste you have already, and figure out which stat will benefit you the most. Maybe you have plenty of haste where the 160/320 crit from a gem will give you 0.01% more DPS than 160/320 haste would, so ShC will suggest gemming for crit.

 

The main "problem" with the programs, which isn't really a problem with the programs, but with the users, is that they don't explain what the different stats are doing. If you don't care, that's fine, and you shouldn't have any issues following Shadowcraft's suggestions for your rogue. You'll probably do fine using Ask Mr. Robot, too.

 

It can be a huge help to yourself if you know how crit, haste, and mastery are affecting your damage. And knowing how they interact with set bonuses where applicable.

 

Also be aware that both tools are essentially optimising your DPS for a tank-and-spank fight. They don't account for movement, downtime, target-switching, AoE, etc.

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Mr Robot uses a fixed stat weighting. The default stat weightings won't change regardless of what gear you have. I also believe that it assumes BiS gear, or at least full HC.

 

Shadowcraft uses dynamic stat weightings. They change every time you change your gear, and even every time you reforge.

 

I don't know if this is strictly true, but an exaggerated example would be;

 

As combat you'll want to stack haste. AMR will always tell you to go for haste because it's your highest stat. Even if every piece of gear you have is full of haste, AMR will tell you to gem for haste as well.

 

ShC will see all the haste you have already, and figure out which stat will benefit you the most. Maybe you have plenty of haste where the 160/320 crit from a gem will give you 0.01% more DPS than 160/320 haste would, so ShC will suggest gemming for crit.

 

The main "problem" with the programs, which isn't really a problem with the programs, but with the users, is that they don't explain what the different stats are doing. If you don't care, that's fine, and you shouldn't have any issues following Shadowcraft's suggestions for your rogue. You'll probably do fine using Ask Mr. Robot, too.

 

It can be a huge help to yourself if you know how crit, haste, and mastery are affecting your damage. And knowing how they interact with set bonuses where applicable.

 

Also be aware that both tools are essentially optimising your DPS for a tank-and-spank fight. They don't account for movement, downtime, target-switching, AoE, etc.

 

Yeah I understand what you're saying. I am assassination. Let's say I have been using reforge lite for 2 years, which I have. My dps dropped each time I used mr robot or shadowcraft, and only on my rogue. I have been playing and raiding in him for 5 years now. I don't understand it but it is a little confusing to the non math guy, myself, and also didn't seem to help.

 

Last night for example. I usually do 300 or better on Heroic Sha, I switched because I was disappointed with my nuroshen dps (of course I went in last in a 25 man team) and after using shadowcraft to reforge and gem, my dps on sha was 226k, so I used mr robot on galakras when I switched to combat (and I usually do 296k or thereabouts) and I was at 253k. So at this point I'm seriously agitated because I am confused now. By the time we got to Naz I went ahead and used reforge lite with my existing gems and my dps increased over what had been going on in the night.

 

It seems that with the Rogue class, the calculations aren't sure what to do other than max out a stat that isn't maxed out at the time you load your toon, however with a druid, mage or lock, I can use mr robot and it works beautifully.

 

That has been my experience. I'm really not understanding why a rogue is so different than these other classes. It could be math, but I'm very familiar with my rotation and class. It seems that with Shadowcraft maybe you have to tweak your rotation a little on the fly.

I knew a guy who was a top tier rogue and he put me in all haste gear as assassination saying it would improve my numbers, because that's what he did. It turned out that it reduced my numbers by about 25k. Was that really me being bad? I don't think it was. I asked him what he thought and then he said, "well with this build you can't miss anything, if you aren't 100% tight it won't work." I switched back and all was well. 

 

Sorry for babbling, just wanted to talk it out. And thank you for the response :)

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Well, if ReforgeLite is working for you, then there's no need to change it at all. If other advice is proving to be "wrong" for you, then there's no reason to follow it at all.

 

Using a raid dummy would give a better idea of the changes, rather than fights, but again only really for single-target DPS. On Sha, hetting imprisoned or sent to the pac-man phase will drop your DPS, and getting the Power of the Titans buff will increase it, so you could do very different DPS with the same character depending on your luck.

 

Ultimately, ShC and AMR won't ruin your character. If someone has no idea what they're doing, the tools should help. If you've found something that works better, stick with it :-)

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To add to what Falcifer said, you also cannot rely on Assassination to provide relevant comparisons fight to fight, just because it's a proc-based spec, rather than a priority rotation.  If you got even one less Dispatch proc, that could offset your DPS by as much as 5k.

 

AMR works the exact same as ReforgeLite.  ReforgeLite takes your stat weights, and applies them to reforging.  AMR goes that bit further and applies it to reforging, gems, and enchants.  ShC again goes further, and tests your stat weights accuracy vs sims at different intervals.

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