SimC - No it's Not . . . .
This is a problem . . .
Look, MoP is totally awesome thus far. This isn't an "I hate the game, devs suck" thread. This is more an appeal to both the player base and the Devs around a long standing issue:
Thesis: The Gap Between SimC Results and Blizzard's Statement on DPS #'s Creates a Real Problem in the Player Environment
SimulationCraft Results, and Blizzard's "Black Box"
For those who don't know, SimC is a longstanding tool used by theorycrafters to better understand the interplay between class mechanics, gearsets, and encounter environments. It's also used by the WoW playerbase at large - including the writers of various "guides" - to predict the "actual" DPS a given spec/subspec can do. With no official published numbers or simulator from Blizzard to counter those results, it's what gets accepted as "fact" by a large margin of the WoW playerbase (most of that coming second hand - primarily from player written guides - not directly from the results).
Ok Boomerang, WoW Players Accept SimC DPS #'s As Fact, So What???
Here's the problem:
Look at those results as though they are "fact", what do you "see"?
- Hunters "suck, and suck badly". Their best spec is 18% "behind" the top spec.
- If you're a raiding guild looking for ranged, you're "an idiot" not to bias towards affliction warlocks and any mage spec.
- If you're a guild looking for melee, UH DK's and WW Monks "need not apply"
- Like Ele or Balance? "Too bad your spec sucks"
- If you play a destro lock, "you must suck", because Destro "is crap" and "Afflic is the only way to spec"
- And it goes on, and on, and on . . .
Within a couple of weeks as players go from leveling to looking to raid, these whispers will become the "common wisdom" touted by a majority of players.
But Boomer, We Forum Goers Know that SimC Isn't Necessarily Accurate
Yes, you and I are aware of this. You and I are also aware that we constitute a very small fraction of the playerbase. Think smart people don't repeat these findings? They do. Go look up the destro guide for icyveins. How about many hunter guides for MM? Look up a couple of guides for UH DK's. In just about each one you'll see a comment about the low SimC DPS. Sometimes they'll quote it as simmed DPS, other times they'll simply list it as "DPS" leaving out the fact that it's a result of SimC.
"But Blizz Said All the Specs Were Balanced!"
Yes they did, in the Beta Forums. The same forums that are now gone. There is essentially no evidence to counter the SimC results. And we all know that Blizzard making a statement that "all specs are balanced within a couple of % of each other" is never going to sway anyone as long as there are results from SimC that show numbers that can then be compared to each other.
"But It's Not Blizzards Job To Debug Community Simulators"
This is perhaps the most logical yet bizarre argument I've heard. Allow me to explain . . . In my job I must always be conscious of what are called "conflicts of interest". In doing so, I'm trained that I must guard against not only actual conflicts of interest, but the PERCEPTION of a conflict of interest. Why? Because from the outside, they look exactly alike, and both create a huge problem. So even though I know that one of our folks isn't being bribed, it's still a huge problem if they take a gift from someone who could benefit from a contracting decision they make. Someone on the outside just sees them getting a very nice gift, then a contract being awarded to that person who gave the gift, and comes to the conclusion that a bribe has taken place. The perception becomes reality.
What does this mean for "balance"? If the players and the communities around the game don't experience the specs as balanced, then it doesn't matter if they actually are. The appearance of imbalance is as damaging to the enjoyment of the game as the specs actually being imbalanced. (Frankly, I'd argue more because it sets up "Blizz is lying to us" type of arguments which erode community trust in Blizzard).
Players act as though the game isn't balanced, and thus all this nonsense goes on that makes players feel like they "have to respec" and "can't play what i want to play". "Bring the player" becomes "bring the right spec". It gets oppressive, creates "camps" among players, etc, etc.