What: Rawr is a formulation based executable application that models several classes and rolls. The project was originally started by Astrylian as a Feral Druid tool, but many developers have been added to expand the tool to other classes. Dopefish is the current Moonkin developer on the project.
Where: You can download the tool from Rawr's website here. They also maintain a thread on the Elitist Jerks forums to document changes and handle questions. You can find it here.
How to Use: I'm not going to go in depth here for two reasons. First, Rawr is a little more complicated then can be easily explained here quickly. Second, they already have very good documentation on their web. The two main things you will want to look at are the Rawr Video and the Rawr Help section. If you have additional questions I suggest you go to the Discussions site. You can search the topics. If you don't find your answer, you can post the question yourself.
- Documentation: A tool is useless if potential users can't figure out how to use it. I do think that the current documentation can be expanded and improved, but what they have is great. At the very least it is much better then the documentation for WrathCalcs and Simcraft. I posted several links in the How to Use section. What I like most is the discussions site. It's nice to be able to ask a question if you don't understand something or search the questions that other people have already asked.
- User Friendly: Rawr is the most user friendly tool I've seen out there. Since it has a GUI interface, even people that are not that computer savvy should be able to use it effectively. On top of that, it allows you to download your profile from the Armory to get started quickly.
- Functionality: Rawr has some neat little functions that you won't find on other tools. The Optimizer is a particularly cool feature. If you select the gear pieces you have available to you, clicking the Optimizer will tell you what is the best set of gear possible. You can also swap pieces of gear in and out to see how they will impact your DPS. You can also change up your gems and enchants to see what affect that will have.
- Alt-Friendly: If your like me and have a couple of alts one of the nice things about Rawr is that you can use it to evaluate several classes and specs. The tool doesn't cover all specs, and I don't know the quality of the other modules, but Rawr is a good place to start if you want to evaluate your Alt without downloading another spreadsheet.
- Black Box: Unless you understand C# Rawr is a just a Black Box that you put numbers in and have numbers spit back out to you. Since I am not a programmer I don't understand the guts of the program, and I don't like the fact that I don't know how it got from point A to point B.
The reason I don't like it is because every tool makes assumptions and has limitations. If you don't understand those assumptions and limitations it is impossible to account for them in your choices. I know this won't be a big deal for some users, but I like to know whats going on behind the curtain.
- Calculation Questions: I am not saying they are wrong, and according to Dopefish, with the exception of trinkets, the calcs in Rawr are the same as the calcs in WrathCalcs. However, I have experienced unusual results when using Rawr. For example, this was a couple of upgrades ago, but when I first put my profile into Rawr it recommended a MF/SF rotation with no IS.
Obviously this goes against the conventional wisdom and raises some questions about the tool. However, Dopefish says that Rawr.Moonkin has been reviewed and fact-checked by third party reviewers. At this time they are unable to find what is causing the differences between the tools.
- Out of Date UI: The big question I had when I first looked at Rawr was if it was updated for the 3.2 version of Eclipse? The current UI doesn't give a good indication that it is, and the current UI shows DPS results by Rotation. However, Dopefish says the current version of Eclipse is fully integrated into the tool.
Rawr is a very nice tool for evaluating upgrades and the different gear options. The documentation provided and the User Friendliness of the tool sets it apart from the other options.
That said, I do have some small concerns about the calculations. I think they are probably directionally correct and can accurately predict most gear upgrades. However, some of the results provided are confusing.