This post will take a look at Wrathcalcs. Future posts will take a look at Rawr and SimCraft. These are the primary tools that I know about. If you have suggestions for other tools I should look at post them in the comments.
What: Wrathcalcs is a formulation based Excel spreadsheet that models Moonkin DPS. It was originally created by Adoriele to be the successor to Efejel's very popular TBC Moonkin spreadsheet. It doesn't have all the functionality of the original Moonkin Spreadsheet, but the guts of the calculations are still there and have been improved upon. The spreadsheet is now being maintained and updated by Hamlet.
Where: The best place to pick it up is from the Moonkin PvE Think Tank post on the EJ forums. It is at the bottom of the post. You can find it here.
How to Use: The novice user only needs to worry about two tabs in the spreadsheet, but both tabs provide both input sections and results outputs.
- Character Sheet (Inputs): This is the primary input section of the spreadsheet. There are multiple sections you need to fill out.
- Current Stats: Input your stats as you would view them on the Armory. These are your base stats without buffs and not in moonkin form.
- Gear: Allows you to select set bonuses and idols. Make sure you don't select more than two set bonuses.
- Other Sections: They are fairly self explanatory. Select the talents, buffs, and debuffs you use in a raid
- Character Sheet (Outputs): The Character Sheet also displays the Marginal values of Stats, Buffs, Talents, and Glyphs. This can be very handing when making quick gear choices.
- Rotations and DPS (Outputs): This is the output section of the spreadsheet. It gives you the expected DPET of each spell as well as the DPS and DPM of several sample rotations. It also gives you the marginal value of each stat for each spell available to you.
- Rotations and DPS (Inputs): There aren't many input fields on this tab, but two of them are very important. The "Eclipse Rotation Type:" is set to Lunar Truncation. This means you are using WiseEclipse or are canceling Lunar Eclipse in a similar method manually. The "Moonfire (Eclipse):" is also set to refresh MF during Eclipse. If you don't do this then you will want to change it.
- Constancy: The big advantage of formulated results is that given the same inputs the out puts will always be the same. Therefore it is very easy to see how changing those inputs can impact the results.
Want to know how much of an improvement a new piece of gear would be? By changing the stat section you can get a quick estimation on how it will affect your DPS.
- Availability: The other tools available require you to download executable files and such. This can be a little confusing for some people and will cause some to worry about viruses and keyloggers. The nice thing about Wrathcalcs is that it comes in a format that a lot of people are familiar with. Also, it is very easy to find and start using.
- Open source: All of the calculations are open to be viewed by the user. Assuming you have a basic knowledge of Excel, you can follow the cell references and figure out how the calculations are done. This makes it easier for you to understand and modify the results if you so desire.
- Documentation: Other than the original forum thread there is very little documentation in or about Wrathcalcs. Most of it is self explanatory if you have an understanding of Excel, but I would like to see a better explanation of the spreadsheet from the authors. I don't think it needs to be extensive, but a quick guide on how to get started would be helpful. I would also like to see some explanation of the output fields on the Character Sheet tab.
- Unuser Friendly: Making changes in the spreadsheet is not quick and simple. Trying to evaluate several pieces of gear requires you to do the math personally and then modify the stats accordingly. This can get complicated if you're making several changes and this will increase the probability of mistakes.
- Formulated Results: Formulated results are great, but they are not the most accurate results available. Formulated results are based averages and expected behaviour, but have a hard time measuring actual behaviour with the inclusion of random events.
For example, we don't know when Eclipse is going to proc. We can determine how long it will take us to proc it on average, but actual results are going to vary. That variance will average out on its own, but our spells and abilities don't operate in a vacuum. There will be times when we have we won't extend Moonfire to 24 seconds because we couldn't cast Starfire while trying to proc Eclipse. The precasting phase of an Eclipse rotation will be extended because you have to refresh DoTs. The buff phase of Eclipse will be limited at other times because you have to refresh DoTs or go with out the buff they provide.
We over come these obstacles by making assumptions, but those assumptions are not correct 100% of the time and affect the results.
Wrathcalcs is a great tool for giving you a ballpark figure when evaluating high level DPS questions. It is also great at giving you definitive and directionally correct answers to those questions. If it says a change is a DPS increase or decrease you can be reasonably confident in the results, and it is widely available on a platform that is well known to many players. As long as you have some experience with Excel you shouldn't have any big issues with using it.
That said it is not the most user friendly method of evaluating more specific questions like which piece of gear is better, and you can find more accurate information on stat valuation using SimCraft.
(edited by Flamedor)