On theorycrafted DPS versus ingame DPS

Theorycrafting. Reverse engineering the mechanics of WoW, unravelling what Ghostcrawler & co. have “ravelled”. At the heart of it all is a desire to better our game, to progress faster through the content.

For many, however, this is not an interesting pastime. So, enter the gear guides and performance simulators (spreadsheets, applets, webpages, you name it). There is a whole forest full of helpful sites you can go to, and depending on where you go, you’ll end up utterly confused because none of them really agree.

The reason is simple really. DPS output depends on a combination of gear and abilities (also known as playstyle). It is the interaction of these two factors with the mechanics of the game that produce the DPS. We as players control the two former, but not the latter. We can only guess at the exact mechanics, and therefore we end up with models, based on the creators analysis of observed phenomena. Yes, empirism at work.

More often than not, two models will not agree on the value of certain bits of kit, which doesn’t really help the poor raider who is trying to make sense of it all while desperately looking up the epic that dropped just now. The all important, but underlying, question is this:

Which model should I base my gearing choices on? Which model is more precise?

Big topic, as you can probably guess. And one which does not have a final and inherently correct answer. Sorry to disappoint you, there’s no big revel at the end here. There will be lots of my (probably biased) opinions however. I’ll look at the topic in three ways:

  • Comparing various DPS simulators found on the net
  • Comparing simulated DPS to real DPS
  • Discussing the above, with input from all you people

Why the last point? It’s a question of available data material, which forms the basis of any empirical analysis. I might have a lucky day, or a bad day, and I might have a different playing style than others. So, if you have data, information or other material of relevance, bring it forward and let’s take it from there.

In the next installment, I’ll get down to the nitty gritty and compare two DPS calculators: MaxDPS.com and Landsouls spreadsheet from Elitist Jerks.

Note: With 3.1 upcoming, there will be some hefty changes to theorycrafting for warriors, due to the changes to several of our talents. As such, you can argue that analysing current DPS calculation tools is a waste of time. To that I reply: You’re the one who made it all the way to the end of this article.


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