Thursday, January 12, 2012

FWSC: Upgrading from 4T12

In my last post I addressed the value of the 4T13 set bonus because before it was buffed in PTR patch 4.3.2 it was widely regarded as very weak and several people asked me if it was a set bonus people should strive for or just ignore it and use other gear.

I think I answered that question sufficiently last week, but I was surprised by how many of you asked when we should upgrade from 4T12, and weren't even concerned about 4T13 yet. I had assumed (somewhat wrongly) that upgrading to 2T13 was a given based upon my experience and where items fell on my gear list. After thinking about it a little bit, I realized it's not that easy.

In the past, upgrading gear between tiers had usually felt fairly clean to me. The values of the set bonuses did very some, but that was usually small and the difference was made up for with improved stats. However, with this tier, I didn't take into account the significantly weaker set bonus and I didn't realize that the ilevel upgrade was as small as it is. So, lets stop making assumptions and start looking at some simulations to see what the results actually are.

My Methodology:
  • All of the results generated below were generated out of SimulationCraft using the simc-430-6 build.
  • The gear sets used in the simulations were based upon my own. It was primarily a mixture of Heroic T12 gear and Normal T13 gear, but I did not have a single piece of the T13 Moonkin tier set due to some extremely bad luck with guilds. I chose these gear sets because it was clearly a realistic set up and was easy for me to upgrade the gear.
  • iLevel gains were minimized to avoid confusion. For example, my T12 helm was from Normal mode, so I chose the T13 LFR helm as the upgrade in my analysis.
  • I made a few changes to the default rotation used by SimulationCraft. The main change is that I had it cast Starsurge on cooldown rather then only in Eclipse.
  • All results are from a Patchwerk style simulation.

The Results:

First lets look at the values of the different set bonuses. These will be a little different then what I presented last week, because I'm using a different gear/glyph set up and a slightly newer build of SimulationCraft. While there are differences, I don't think they are significant.

4T12Only 2T12No Set BonusOnly 2T13Live 4T13PTR 4T13
% Change2.05%1.71%1.75%1.23%2.54%
Avg DPS34,93134,22833,65234,24234,66435,111

As you can see, both T12 set bonuses are better then the T13 bonuses that would replace them (at least until 4.3.2 is released). When we trade 4T12 for 2T13 currently we are giving up a 2.05% damage increase for a 1.75% damage increase, for a net loss of 0.30%. When trading 2T12 for 4T13 it's even worse with a net loss of 0.48%. The 4T13 set bonus does get significantly better when 4.3.2 is released, but we are not there yet, so lets see if improved ilevel can make up for our weakening set bonus.

This list represents a series of simulations I ran to see the value in transitioning from 4T12 to 4T13. It includes both the set bonus changes and the ilevel changes.


iLvl RankSets UsedSlots UpgradedAvg DPS% Change
244T13 LiveS,L,H,G35,3050.02%
244T13 PTRS,L,H,G35,7551.27%

Column Definitions:
iLvl Rank: Represents how much my total ilevel increased in each simulation.
Sets Used: Indicates which set bonuses were used in the simulation. If the 4 piece is used, then the corresponding 2 piece was used as well.
Slots Upgraded: S=Shoulder, G=Gloves, L=Legs, H=Helm
Avg DPS: The average DPS from the simulation
% Change: The percent change in average DPS when compared to the previous iLvl Rank.

What this Table Tells Us:
  1. Upgrading isn't bad: In all but one occasion, upgrading my gear in the simulation resulted in higher average DPS. The one time it didn't increase DPS, the decrease was just 0.06% which is really insignificant. And remember, these simulations were done using the minimum ilvl upgrade possible.
  2. How You Upgrade Matters: The one time average DPS when down was when I upgraded using the two weakest tier slots (shoulders and gloves). When upgrading with the larger tier pieces (Legs, Chest, and Helm), the change in Avg DPS was more significant.


As long as you use some common sense while upgrading your gear, you shouldn't see any significant DPS losses from going from 4T12 to 2T13 and beyond. That said, depending on what loot system your guild uses, it doesn't always make sense to go for an upgrade right away. If you have a choice, focus on upgrading the larger slots like Legs and Helm, before the smaller slots.


Murmurs said...

My only question, Graylo, is which upgrade path you choose for your testing. I don't think it's ever been a question that the ilevel difference between T12 and T13 made the latter better, the question instead has been that going from Heroic T12 to Normal T13 isn't a significant enough ilevel increase to make it worth the upgrade.

The rule of thumb thus far has been that you should upgrade to like Tier levels. Normal to Normal, Heroic to Heroic, with Raid Finder not being worth it. With the PTR changes, it should make the off-transitions (Heroic to Normal) plausible while making the like-transitions more noticeable.

Graylo said...


All of the jumps I used were just a 6 ilevel upgrade going from Heroic T12 to Normal T13 except one item that was a normal T12 to LFR T13.

As you can see all of the jumps either had very little impact on average DPS or were an upgrade. So the general rule you suggested is wrong according to the simulations I did.

That said, obviously its a bad idea to go from T12 heroic to T13 LFR since it's an ilevel downgrade. Also, it's probably not worth it to go to great lenghts to get the 6 ilevel upgrades in most cases because it's a fairly small upgrade.

In short, it's not a bad idea to upgrade now even if it's just an off-transition, but it's better to do it in the big slots like Head, chest, and legs.

Anonymous said...

Based on what I have seen - so it would actually benefit me if I upgrade from regular lvl378 4set to 2 of T12 (lvl378) and 2 of T13 (lvl397) then.

I tried it yesterday at the dummies and my DPS went up. What I have observed though is that it takes a little bit longer to eclipse...

I have never had a chance to win anything from LFR.

Ian Darke said...

Thanks for the R2 article! It looks like going from heroic 4T12 to 2T12/T13 or 4T13 won't be worth doing until closer to heroic 4T13. Note: when I say, "worth doing" its because we use EPGP and I could get more "bang for the buck" by upgrading trinkets, rings, etc.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post again, Graylo!

Though seeing the actual transition and how very little it affects dps makes me a little sad, it's greatly appreciated to see (and not be confused for once!)

Dignam, US-Crushridge

Kam said...

Just an update:

I obtained the H Chest from Ultraxian last week.

All my gears are boomkin 4 piece T13 regular gears (lvl 397), with the H Resto Chest.

Other than that... nothing much was changed. However, my DPS didn't go up, in fact, my DPS dropped. I run with the same group of people every Wednesday (pally, warrior, DK, Hunter, mage and a druid healer) - but not sure why?

Compare with that, my other boomkin's DPS is better with lvl 384 (chest and shoulder = 397, legs and hands = 384) gears with some trinkets that are lower gear score (she runs with a SPriest though - which it shouldn't matter? DK, mage, Spriest, warrior, pally).

I am totally lost. as you can see, I love boomkins and I have 2 of them. how come the one with lower ilvl and lower gear score do better than the other one?