Monday, March 14, 2011

Reforging and Stats With Mr. Robot

You may or may not have been following the comments on my previous reforging post, but basically you'd see that I'd been having a bit of back and forth with Mr. Robot himself. I actually am rather impressed with how he/she/it has integrated within the community. Rarely do we see such a level of feedback from a resource site. At least, I don't, and it's nice to see a site that not only apparently trolls the Warlock blogs, but also takes our comments to heart and works to make the tool better for us. Kudos for that.

I think Cynwise would agree here, as I've been roughly following the same conversations on his blogs and some of the tweets floating around. The exciting news is that Cyn basically made a comment along the lines of how it would be nice if we could get the same service for PvP gearing, and Mr. Robot said "we'll get right on it." Awesome stuff, and I look forward to seeing that functionality.

The other good news is that when I'd originally written my spotlight on the resource here at the blog, we got several comments where players basically advised to "take it with a grain of salt." Mr. Robot apparently does not approve of salt usage, for they immediately got to work in tweaking their Simulator values to get as accurate of a weighting as possible. There is a great write up that runs through what they did here. For a math-heavy article, it's very accessible and worth a look if you're curious. It is interesting to note that they're using Drain Life as a filler in their Sim. We discussed this a little in comments, and the basic point is that between DL and SB, the DPS is going to be nearly the same. The question then should be do you use use the Shadow and Flame buff that SB's provide, or would you be better off with the healing from DL? I predominantly use SB's (we use my S&F in my ten man), but will use DL if my health ever becomes an issue or I sense that the healers are struggling.

For my part, this sort of attention to detail has gone a long way toward assuaging any fears I may have had with trusting the weightings. Now, I was probably more trusting to begin with, since I tend to the more casual side of things and, after taking the plunge and following the advice, seeing my DPS shoot up almost 2k. There is no substitute for a great personal experience.

Currently, I've utilized the suggestions of Mr. Robot to optimize my raid gear on my 'lock. I recently attained the tier pants through a BH raid (was the only 'lock in a 25-man, huzzah!), and was extremely happy with how I was able to rework things to make use of the upgrade. Before the addition of reforging, the pants might not have been an upgrade (since I was hit capped already and they come with a healthy chunk of the stuff). Now, hit gear is great even when capped, allowing you to optimize other places with more freedom.

There are a few minor things where I'm running sub-optimally. You see, prior to finding Mr. Robot, I had been following the old, pre-Cata method of gemming and enchanting for hit. I suppose you could say that I simply found the concept of reforging everything a little daunting. I'm not a spreadsheet jockey when I game. I didn't want to be spending a bunch of time on calculations. Having been alleviated of that responsibility, I'm now trying to get rid of all those hit gems I had. For the most part, I've just redone everything and been fine, but there are a few pieces that I know I'm going to replace that I hesitate to redo just because it can be so darned expensive. My old crafted epic pants were one such item, so replacing them was doubly good as it forced me to re-gem appropriately. So, while I'm not a perfectly optimal player, I've certainly gotten a lot closer thanks to the site.

I've even started using it to help me shore up my DK for PvP. Now, I know they're still working out a true PvP stat Sim/weighting, but I've figured out a few things you can do in the mean time. Unfortunately, you can't really add resilience and it's a hard stat to weight anyway. Also, stat capping is a lot different when you're only dealing with other players that are at your level. All of the default caps they have built in assume raiding. So what I do is drop the weight of those stats to the same level as my top stat. Thus, I can still optimize and it won't have me reforge to hit a cap I don't need. That is to say, on my DK, I keep all my Mastery, Hit, and Expertise pretty much as-is. Then I look to see what haste I can dump into one of those stats as needed. Crit is decent, but not as good as Mastery right now, so I may reforge some of that too. At the same time, I like to keep a healthy chunk of crit, since I find it pretty useful in PvP for killing blows. Crit makes it hard for healers to anticipate.

Needless to say, I'm anxiously awaiting the proper PvP solution, though as Cyn has noted, PvP weighting is not nearly as simple as PvE. With the attention that Mr. Robot has given to detail, though, I have high hopes. Any solution promises to be useful, even if it does require me to dust off the old salt shaker. There really aren't many PvP number-crunchers out there that I'm aware of.

(Side Note: There are ways for you, the reader, to be able to help Mr. Robot with their projects. They have a great forum where feedback is strongly encouraged. Think something is off? Give 'em a post. Like I mentioned, they're great with feedback and could especially use some help on the PvP front if you're a number-cruncher in that area.)


  1. I know that I was able to improve my performance by about 2k as well. I sent a somewhat clueless guildie to the site for his pally (prot/ret) and he got some odd results (ret enchants for prot) and I think it was user error.

    The concept of using DL like SP use MF is interesting. I don't know how easily I would be able to try to integrate that into my rotation. So much of an aff lock rotation is muscle memory. >.>

    I wonder if it is even worth it outside of sims.

  2. Yeah, I can't speak personally to any of the other classes right now, but if there are doubts, check out the forums. There seems to be a good repository of questions there.

    If your group isn't using your S&F, DL is supposed to be slightly better DPS, but would require some muscle retraining. It also gives you life back, obviously, which is a perk.

    The only reason I'm concerned about it with regards to stat weight is that SB's may value crit a bit more.

  3. I'm not having an issue with staying alive. Even on Chim where everyone's health is low, I have the highest health next to the tanks. That is just from my passive healing going on.

    I only ever drain life when I know I need to. During the feud phase in Chim I will DL once I'm done bandaging. Even then with the hit debuff I don't always hit him.

    I also use the glyph of corruption so the extra nightfall procs usually mean I can get off 2-3 shadow bolts at once.

    I just don't know if it worth it.

  4. I agree with your "feeling." I feel the same way. However, if you look at the EJ sims as well, DL generally comes out slightly ahead, I believe.

    Like I said, I don't foresee switching due to use of S&F. Also, as Mr. Robot pointed out in the article I linked, I fall among those not nearly skilled enough for such small differences to really matter.

  5. LOL same here my friend

    I call myself faillock most of the time.

  6. Thanks for recommendation!

    I would agree with your assessment that using SB filler would slightly favor crit more. I want to run some actual tests to verify, and then I will add a "quick link" to weights for DL and SB filler down near the stat weights.

    My prediction is that it will have a very minor affect on actual gearing, since we are really focusing on maximizing hit and haste. That doesn't lead too much wiggle room in the crit/mastery department.

    I think that it is worth noting that you can maintain the S & F crit debuff while using DL as your main filler. You are always going to use nightfall procs - which will keep it up most of the time. And you can just toss in a SB when you don't get any procs and you need to refresh the debuff. All those DL ticks make it very likely that you will maintain S&F purely with nightfall procs, though. You are also able to use a spec that picks up mana feed:
    Not a huge boost, but it is a nice little bonus to life tap less often.

  7. Awesome, thanks for being so "in touch" with the community. It's rare to find that in a resource site, IMO.

    I agree with your prediction on the filler, but the "quick link" will be nice if it works out.

    Also, you're completely correct that I "could" maintain S&F while draining. That just adds another something to watch on top of taking care of not clipping. It's been pointed out that all this can be made a lot easier with the right addons and such, so for people who are interested in that route it's totally do-able. I'm casual enough that I can get away with the simpler S&F filler and for minimal DPS loss, so I'll take it.

    I do need to look into the possibility of taking mana feed, especially with the looming changes of 4.1 and the felpup. More on that in the future though...