How-To AskMrRobot/SimulationCraft

Warlock
I have seen a lot of people over the past few weeks saying multiple things like "Run simcraft and plug in your stat weights before asking Mr. Robot." While this is usually correct, I want to clarify why, and more importantly how, in this post, and how to use AskMrRobot and simulationcraft together to their maximum potential.

I have no affiliaion with AskMrRobot.com or the SimulationCraft program - I have just been using both for a while and learned the following through trial and error. I am going to try and keep this as a general DPS guide instead of a class specific guide, but being a warlock most of the examples I am going to use will be based upon caster dps and warlocks. I don't have any experience using SimulationCraft for healers and tanks, however the steps to use AskMrRobot for these classes to optimize gear as well as get BIS lists remain the same.

I highly recommend that you sign up for a profile at AskMrRobot. Signing up for a profile is free, and easy. They do have "premium" services, however I have never used them so I can't comment on its worth. As always with any site, make sure not to use the same password as your WoW account or your email account attached to WoW. Having an account will save your settings between trips to the site so you don't have to edit options and weights each time you visit.

I. Importing your character from the armory
There are 2 ways to do this.
  • Way 1: Open a browser and go to http://www.askmrrobot.com/wow/gear/usa/<server name>/<char name> replacing Server Name with your <server name>, and <char name> with your characters name. For instance mine is currently askmrrobot.com/wow/gear/usa/kargath/Whyzlock

  • Way 2: Open a browser and go to http://www.askmrrobot.com/. On this page under the WoW MoP logo choose "Optimize your character". In the search box put your character, server, and if necessary change the local. When you are done, hit the "Load" button.


When you load your character, you will be given your current gear list, as well as your gems/enchants/reforges. On the right side you will also be given your stats raid buffed and unbuffed using default settings.

II. Optimizing your settings for your current progression level.
This section is here to explain how to optimize your settings for your current progression level. If you are in quest greens, you are likely not going to be raiding HM tier content without first running a few heroic dungeons, LFR's or scenarios. Changing these settings allows you to choose which pieces of gear AskMrRobot lists as your BIS. As you progress you can change these settings so that you can get lists for the content you are currently progressing into.

  • 1. Click the "Options" button.
  • 2. Choose your gear level. If you are in quest greens, choose Pre-Raid. 463+ gear, choose either Tier 14 or Tier 14 LFR (depending on if you are in a raiding guild or use LFR as your primary gearing avenue).
  • 3. Choose whether or not to include Heroic gear. This is heroic RAID gear, not gear that drops out of heroics. So if your guild is currently progressing through MsV heroic, this should be set to Tier 14, otherwise None.
  • 4. PVP Gear. This is basically self explanatory. Choose the setting that best suits your PVP involvement, or choose "None" if you don't PVP or you don't want to supplement your PVE gear with PVP gear.
  • 5. BoE Crafted Threshold: You have 3 options. None, 476 or Lower, and All. Personally I chose "None" because I cannot afford BoE crafted gear, but your results may vary depending on friends or alts crafting professions or your personal wealth.
  • 6. Exclude Random Items. Choose whether or not to exclude random items. Random items are those items that have a chance to proc random stats when they are created/crafted, this includes gear from scenarios and any gear "Of the" in the name. Bracers Of the Feverflare are an example.
  • 7. Exclude Valor Point Items. Leave this checked unless you want to have nothing but VP gear in your BIS list. If you want to choose at a later time to uncheck this so you can test a piece of gear, you can do so.
  • 8. Exclude Elite Items. Not sure what this includes, just leave unchecked.
  • 9. Excude Seasonal Items. This excludes seasonal items, or world event items. This does not exclude Darkmoon Faire items. Leave checked unless you are willing to wait a year to get the gear being suggested.
  • 10. Exclude Legendary Items. Leave unchecked if you want to include legendary items.

  • 11. Exclude Expensive Enchants. Enchants that cost 10+ sha crystals are expensive, and probably not possible for everyone to get on every piece of gear it suggests. Leave checked unless you have access to the money/mats/recipes for these enchants.
  • 12. Exclude Run Speed Enchants. Choose whether or not to include run speed enchants as a choice for BiS for your character.
  • 13. Food: Depending on your cooking skill or your access to food, choose the appropriate level.
  • 14. Force Hit/Exp Caps. Leave unchecked. This setting can be changed in the next step of this guide if you don't feel like reaching the hit/exp caps.


The options I left out are character specific, fill in what is missing or leave the settings as they are. Once you are done messing with the options, click "Save".

III. Optimizing your current gear.
In this section I am going to go over how to optimize your current gear using a program called SimulationCraft as well as the AskMrRobot Optimizer. This is the meat and potatoes of this site, and if used correctly it will usually result in optimal gemming, enchanting and reforges.

First things first you need to download SimulationCraft. You can find it at http://simulationcraft.org/ The download link is in the top right corner next to the Google+ Icon. For Windows, to install just Unzip the folder onto your desktop or somewhere you will be able to find it. You can find previous versions as well as a Mac version at https://code.google.com/p/simulationcraft/

Next we are going to get your current gear stat weights, as well as your optimized gear stat weights.

  • 1. Load your profile at AskMrRobot.
  • 2. Next to the options button there is an "Export" button. Click this.
  • 3. In the export window, choose "SimulationCraft File".
  • 4. Select All (CTRL+A) and Copy (CTRL+C) the text that is populated in the text box.
  • 5. Open the SimulationCraft folder and open "SimulationCraft.exe".
  • 6. Click the "Options" tab and on the "Globals" sub-tab change Iterations to 10000 (Scaling is too erronius at iterations below 10k).
  • 7. Click the sub-tab "Scaling" under the "Options" tab and check the weights you want to scale, so for a caster dps it would be Int, Spell Power, Hit, Crit, Haste, and Mastery.
  • 8. Click the "Simulate" tab and Paste (CTRL+V) the text you copied from AskMrRobot.
  • 9. In the bottom right corner of the SimulationCraft window there is a Button called "Simulate". Click this. This will take about 2 minutes to complete depending on your computer.
  • 10. When it is complete, you will be given an HTML page with your current stat weights in the "Results" tab of SimulationCraft, leave this window open for now.


For the next step we are going to get your optimized gear stat weights.

  • 1. Load your profile at AskMrRobot.
  • 2. Click the "Optimize" button located above the gems and enchants frame of the webpage. This will optimize your gear based upon the default stat weights for your class and spec.
  • 3. Follow steps 2-10 from above to export and scale your stat weights. Make sure you delete the previous text in the simulation tab before pasting in the new text from the optimized gear (Select all (CTRL+A) then Delete).


Now that you have both sets of stat weights, write down the stat weight "ranking" as well as the Normalized Scale Factors for each stat on the optimized gear simulation. For instance mine would be Int (1.00) > SP (0.82) > Hit (0.58) > Haste (0.40) > Crit (0.36) > Mastery (0.33). The reason I use normalized is that they are easier to read, and stat weights will not change as long as the ratio does not change. You could use 100 int > 82 SP > 58 Hit instead of what I used above, but as long as the ratio between the numbers do not change, then the numbers you choose to use do not matter.

IV. Understanding Stat Weights.
The first thing you need to understand about stat weights is suprisingly enough, the definition of a Stat Weight. A Stat Weight is the ranking each stat (such as Intellect, Spellpower, Hit, Haste, Crit, Mastery) has compared to the others. Using Normalized Stat Weights helps clarify this a bit. Using my stat weights from above, think of Intellect as being the Teachers pet getting 100%, Spellpower getting only 82%, Hit getting 58%, Haste being 40%, Crit being 36%, and Mastery getting 33%. This means that for every point of Haste, I would need 1.21 times as much mastery to beat it. So if you have a choice between 2 pieces with equal stats, one with 40 Mastery, and one with 33 haste, you will see no DPS increase whichever you choose (before reforging). However a piece with 40 haste vs a piece with 40 mastery, the haste piece will increase your dps more because haste is ranked higher in the stat weights.

The second thing you should understand about stat weights is that some stats have soft caps and some have hard caps. A Hard Cap is where getting more then a certian number of a stat (Such as Spell Hit at 5100 or 15%) will no longer increase your DPS. A Soft Cap is where getting more then a certian number of a stat (using haste in this example) will no longer increase your DPS as much as another stat will. Using Affliction Warlocks as an example, the current soft cap for haste with a 5% haste buff from a raid/party member would be 3056 or 12.55% (7.55%) haste. This allows their filler ability Malefic Grasp to gain an extra tick within the 4 second cast time window for a total of 5 ticks instead of 4. Getting 1000 haste you will still only have 4, and getting 4100 you will still only have 5. To gain more benefit from haste after the 3056 soft cap, an affliction lock would need 1661 more haste to gain any benefit from it. Those points could be spent elsewhere such as mastery or god forbid, hit.

The third thing to understand about stat weights is that they can be based off equivalencies, but they are not equivalencies. In my stat weights above 1 int is ranked as 1.00, and Spellpower is ranked as 0.82. This does not mean that 1 int = 0.82 Spellpower (an equivalency). In fact for warlocks 1 int = 1 spellpower. However Intellect scales with buffs, whereas spellpower does not. In this example and according to my stat weights it means that 1 Intellect is 1.22 times more powerful than spellpower.

V. Using your stat weights to find your BiS or upgrades with AskMrRobot.
If you noticed I used italics on your in the header for this portion of the guide. That is because based on your current gear, a BiS or the highest upgrade piece might not be the same as another players BiS gear even if they are the same class. If you are hit capped exactly at 15% and you lose 2% of that hit by removing a trinket where another player is above hit cap by 2% then losing the trinket is going to effect the latter player less then it would you.

Now, lets AskMrRobot.
  • 1. Load your profile on AskMrRobot.
  • 2. Click the "Edit Weights" button.
  • 3. In the popup, enter the numbers you copied from your simulationcraft run from your optimized gear.
  • 4. If your class has a soft cap for haste, enter it as a percentage in the Soft Cap box in decimal format (so for an affliction lock it would be .1255 instead of 12.55% before Tier 14 Heroic gear where 16.65% becomes more viable). You can find soft cap numbers for most caster DPS here: http://www.totemspot.com/vb/entry.php?b=44
  • 5. Click Save.
  • 6. Next click "Optimize" and you will be given a reforge/gem/enchant list based upon your settings. At this point running a simulation using the steps outlined in step III of this guide should net you an increase in DPS.


**Note, Step 7 of Part III of this guide has you checking stat weights. Since you already have them you can uncheck these to speed up the simulation.

Most people won't be able to get every single piece of BiS gear that AskMrRobot lists with the "Find Best in Slot" feature which is why I didn't go over how to use this feature. See step VI in this guide to find the biggest upgrade for your gearset.

VI. Finding the biggest upgrade.
If you have valor points, Elder Coins or DKP burning a hole in your pocket, but you are unsure which piece is going to be the biggest upgrade for you, AskMrRobot makes it a tad bit more simple.
  • 1. Load your profile @AskMrRobot. Goto settings and uncheck "Exclude Valor point items" (skip this step if you are just looking for raid/LFR gear). Also change the gear level and heroic gear to the appropriate levels for what you are looking for.
  • 2. Click the piece of gear you are thinking of buying/rolling on, if it is a ring or a trinket, make sure you repeat these steps for each ring/trinket slot, also ensure you replace the old piece of gear back before changing the other (easily done by clicking the "Load From Armory" button).
  • 3. "Optimize" your gear.
  • 4. Follow the steps in part III of this guide to export the optimized new gear to simcraft and run a sim. **Note, Step 7 of Part III of this guide has you checking stat weights. Since you already have them you can uncheck these to speed up the simulation.
  • 5. Do this for every piece of gear that you believe is a possible upgrade.
  • 6. The piece of gear that nets you the largest rise in DPS/DPS(e) on the results tab is going to be your biggest upgrade.


*Note if there are multiple pieces that net only a 1-200 dps upgrade as long as you are still using 10k iterations or more these numbers can be trusted as accurate as long as the DPS error percentage is below 1%.
**Note If you run a simulation and say found changing your legs would increase your DPS by 1.2k, and changing your helm would increase your DPS by 1k, this doesn't necessarily mean that buying both will increase your DPS by 2.2k.

VII. Conclusion
This is not an all inclusive guide, and there are certainly some things that were left out. If you feel anything should be added, let me know and I will edit this post. Like and Request Sticky if you found this post helpful.
Reserved for Moar!
I'm not sure a ton of people who aren't already aware of how these work will take the initiative to do so because of this, but good on you for writing it all out regardless.

Although, you did say you would go into why it's important and not just how to do it, which you didn't really :P And I'll only say this because I feel like if you're going to spend this much time on it, you have to be really clear that AskMrRobot alone is very, very dangerous. It's default stat weights suck, and even once you tell it exactly what you want it can still get caught up on itself with bad representations of procs and on use items, in particular.

Honestly, I prefer simcraft exclusively, and make decisions from there. You can always sim changes as small as a gem or a different piece of gear separately if you're so inclined (which I don't unless it's something that is difficult to model by hand), but it's also really easy to make decisions based on stat weights without ever going to AskMrRobot as an intermediary.

tl;dr Nice write-up, I would just make it abundantly clear that you need to tell MrRobot everything before you start to trust it at all. And honestly, it's totally possible it's gotten somewhat better over time, but every time I've looked at it in the past it's carried some abundantly wrong information (such as telling me I should gem pure haste in BC, or that DMC:V and MWC were pretty "meh" trinkets -.-)
11/05/2012 07:45 PMPosted by Freohr
It's default stat weights suck, and even once you tell it exactly what you want it can still get caught up on itself with bad representations of procs and on use items, in particular.


I have one thing to add to this. Even if you input your own stat weights obtained from simcraft, Askmrrobot can't take into account how stat weights change depending on your other stats (i.e. mastery increasing the value of intellect, or intellect increasing the value of mastery).

For example, you could have spell power just over the threshold where mastery is worth more than half of what intellect is, and you could be gemming for intellect. If you put these stat weights into Askmrrobot, it will tell you to swap out all your red gems for orange gems and all your orange gems for yellow gems. This will put you below that threshold, and if you go back to simcraft and get your new scaling values, intellect will once again be more than double the value of mastery.
Hey. Just had a quick question. I have been using askmrrobot to change around gear/enchants ect to sim different options by using your method of copy and pasting the simcraft file from askmrrobot. It has been working but just recently I can't paste that info into the simcraft simulation tab anymore. I'm wondering if there is something that changed or if there is another option for doing this other than chardev. Chardev just seems buggy to me and doesn't work that well. I hope you can help.
How do you find the soft capped scale factor for haste? Isn't that needed to plug into askmrrobot?
This is spectacular, thanks so much for posting!
This is an old thread, but since I found it when looking for how to use Simcraft and AskMrRobot, I felt compelled to respond.

In the interest of full disclosure, I've volunteered time in the AskMrRobot forums and even had a chance to break bread with the the founders, so I'll admit to bias. But I find that people who tend to discredit askmrrobot do so out of ignorance of how the tool works. Generally, it's more often user error than robot error that provides any incorrect information.

The stat weights for askmrrobot are derived from a variety of methods. But at the end of the day, they are approximations for a given character. Your stat weights will not be the same as another character of the same class unless you are both the same in terms of gear, gems, enchants, reforges, race, and profession. The key with the askmrrobot default weights is that they represent "best fit" lines that work within a few % of optimal. Of the many reasons why askmrrobot is a "better" tool than simcraft is how quickly it comes to the answer.

Combining simcraft with askmrrobot is a powerful combination as it allows you to use the "optimal" stats generated from simcraft and applies them to the quick calculations offered by AskMrRobot. (Although this presumes that whatever patch of Simcraft you are using is passably correct for your class - which isn't always the case)

Also keep in mind that simcraft's scale values are technically only accurate near the ratings that you are at in a not-necessarily-linear way, which means that plugging in values from Simcraft into askmrrobot are perfectly accurate from a math point of view, but from a min/max standpoint, any gemming or reforging that you do will affect your scaling, so it's kind of a constantly moving target.

The default weights provided by AskMrRobot attempt to take that somewhat into account, and for the most part is wildly successful at providing values that are accurate and reasonable within a small percentage of error. So small in fact, that odds are your internet connection and your personal gameplay will affect your dps more than your true min/maxing in most cases.

Hope this helps. And if anyone from Team Robot sees this and cares to respond/confirm/debunk, I'm ego-less in this. I love the tool, and I think I'm using it correctly, but I will always allow for the possibility of being wrong.

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