Theorycrafting – Warrior spreadsheet vs Maxdps

Who doesn’t like theorycrafting? Well, honestly, there are quite a few people who don’t enjoy spending hours crunching numbers and formulae. For the majority of the population, these pursuits take a backseat to actually playing the game. Even so, when in an instance or raid, most people like to know what a particular drop will do to their DPS. This is where the DPS calculator comes in, so that us mere mortals can take advantage of the numbercrunching efforts of others.

Enter our contestants of today. In the red corner, Landsouls spreadsheet from the Elitist Jerks forums. In the blue corner, MaxDPS.com.

Landsoul bases his sheet on the discussions and findings of the EJ hive mind; in other words a solid empirical database of knowledge, coupled with a lot of maths and numbercrunching. The result is quite possibly the best model of fury DPS outside Blizzard HQ. The downside is that the sheet isn’t exactly quick or easy to use for a first timer, especially not during a raid.

MaxDPS is the brainchild of Nuuga who has worked on it since 2006. It’s ever evolving and is continuously updated whenever classes are changed or new gear released. When you put in your stats it’ll give you a ranked list of gear based on your choice of instances. In other words, a very quick and easy way to check gear, even during raids. The downside…well, how well does it really model DPS? Is it accurate?

Which naturally enough leads to a comparison test between the two. Now, some people will say “but you’re only comparing two arbitrary computations!”, and yes I am. However, for now I will work on the assumption that Landsouls spreadsheet offers the most accurate modelling of fury DPS and mechanics, even if the numbers are off. For any simulation, there are assumptions and tradeoffs and we will in fact look at those at a later date.

For now, we’ll stick to comparisons between simulations. As a base for the following, I’ve put in the numbers and stats for my own current gear, including the most common buffs we have in my guild. We are currently working our way through Ulduar 10, so the gear is a mixed bunch of Naxx 10, Naxx 25, and Ulduar 10.

Landsouls sheet returns the following:

  • Overall DPS: 2752
  • White damage: 758
  • Heroic Strike: 302
  • Bloodthirst: 646
  • Whirlwind: 473
  • Bloodsurge: 231
  • Deep Wounds: 340

So far so good. Let’s see what MaxDPS gives us:

  • Overall DPS: 2619 (-133)
  • White damage: 535 (-223)
  • Heroic Strike: 443 (141)
  • Bloodthirst: 551 (-95)
  • Whirlwind: 459 (-14)
  • Bloodsurge: 435 (204)
  • Deep Wounds: 195 (-145)

The numbers in parentheses are the differences between the two. It’s pretty clear that the two do not really agree on anything. MaxDPS has significantly higher values for both Heroic Strike and Bloodsurge, but also very much lower values for the white damage and Deep Wounds.

There are several factors that can explain the discrepancies between the results. MaxDPS only takes raw stats for example, so weapon and item procs aren’t likely to be taken into account. Things like the Berserking proc, or the Loatheb’s Shadow on-use, or the Mirror of Truth proc (I could go on and on), will not be modelled by MaxDPS.

This is unfortunately not all. For one thing, we don’t know the exact rotation used by MaxDPS which is really the big unknown. The rotation description is woefully lacking on MaxDPS (it still says “Bloodsurge on BT proc” for example), so there is no joy there. What we’re left with is a largely unknown model which outputs numbers significantly different than a model widely accepted to be as accurate as we can get.

Let’s take an example from real life. I still offhand with the Claymore of Ancient Power. Now, suppose that I replaced that with a second Ironsoul

According to Landsouls spreadsheet, the breakdown would look like this:

  • Overall DPS: 2834
  • White damage: 780
  • Heroic Strike: 325
  • Bloodthirst: 665
  • Whirlwind: 492
  • Bloodsurge: 239
  • Deep Wounds: 332

To put the new data into MaxDPS we need to take the raw stats for the new gear configuration and put them into it. Essentially, we trade Crit Rating for Armor Penetration and Attack Power. And hey presto, MaxDPS spits out the following for us:

  • Overall DPS: 2751
  • White damage:539
  • Heroic Strike: 494
  • Bloodthirst: 569
  • Whirlwind: 481
  • Bloodsurge: 473
  • Deep Wounds: 194

We’re not as interested in the raw numbers as we are in the differences between before and after, so let’s take a look at the differences between the Claymore offhand and the Ironsoul offhand. I’ve denoted gains with a “+” and losses with a “-“. Landsouls spreadsheet is listed to the left of the slash, MaxDPS to the right.

  • Overall DPS: +82 / +132
  • White Damage: +22 / +4
  • Heroic Strike: +23 / +51
  • Bloodthirst: +19 / +18
  • Whirlwind: +19 / +22
  • Bloodsurge: +8 / +38
  • Deep Wounds: -8 / -1

As we would expect, our Deep Wounds damage goes down due to the loss of Crit Rating. And then it starts getting interesting. We see huge boosts in Bloodsurge and Heroic Strike for MaxDPS, but not a very big increase in white damage. Since Bloodsurge is an instant Slam, any increase in damage from it will either come from a)more frequent use or b)an increase in Attack Power. An increase in Attack Power would show a limited DPS gain, and it would also show up on Bloodthirst damage, so we’d expect to see a slight boost to Bloodsurge and a larger boost to Bloodthirst.

One example maketh not the theoretical DPS however. For the second example, let’s take the default set from the spreadsheet (as of 29.07.2009). It’s not entirely the BiS posted in the EJ forums, but it’ss close enough for jazz. To remove any “noise” from the calculations, we’ll furthermore remove everything but Battle Shout (vanilla version) and Rampage. We then get the spreadsheets results:

  • Overall DPS: 3556
  • White damage: 872
  • Heroic Strike: 493
  • Bloodthirst: 866
  • Whirlwind: 588
  • Bloodsurge: 282
  • Deep Wounds: 452

MaxDPS gives us:

  • Overall DPS: 3523 (-23)
  • White damage: 521 (-351)
  • Heroic Strike: 745 (252)
  • Bloodthirst: 714 (-152)
  • Whirlwind: 582 (-6)
  • Bloodsurge: 700 (418)
  • Deep Wounds: 260 (-192)

Again the parentheses show the difference between the two results. While MaxDPS nearly agrees with the sheet on overall DPS, the ability breakdown is quite different. The one exception is Whirlwind, where MaxDPS nearly agrees with the sheet. Of special note is the white damage contribution, which has gone down (!)

So, MaxDPS doesn’t in general agree with Landsoul’s spreadsheet. It still provides a gear list based on slots, with quick overviews of stats and drop place. Is it as updated as the sheet though with regards to gear? And the answer is: pretty much, but not quite. It doesn’t get updated quite as frequently as the spreadsheet, and so it might take a while for very new items to show up.

After all of the above, it’s fair to ask: “Aren’t we comparing apples and oranges here?” And the answer depends wholly on your viewpoint. These are two very different animals. On one hand we have a spreadsheet made to be as accurate as possible, and to include as many of the mechanics as possible, and on the other hand we have a simple-to-use gear interface for showing gear in a ranked fashion. On one hand we have a tool for the numbercrunchers and on the other we have a tool for the person who needs to see whether Gear Piece X is an upgrade, before the Need/Greed timer runs out thankyouverymuch.

If you’re looking to tweak your gear, spec or to see what a bit of kit will do to your DPS, then Landsouls spreadsheet is the better of the two. Likewise, if you’re in a raid/instance and a piece of gear drops that might just be an upgrade, although possibly not, then Landsoul is again the better. MaxDPS most likely cuts some corners with the calculations and ends up some numbers that are…well, let’s call them puzzling. On the other hand, if you look at MaxDPS as a quick and dirty guide to gear, for the raider or dungeoneer who has been caught unawares or unprepared, then it does come into its own. It’s as simple as clicking an icon and looking at the list. The ranking system may be off, but the list is still there.

Verdict: Landsouls spreadsheet snatches this one with its more accurate and believable model of warrior DPS.


6 Responses to “Theorycrafting – Warrior spreadsheet vs Maxdps”

  1. 1 Slaynn
    05/08/2009 at 00:37

    Good write up. This is something that I was wondering about but was too lazy to do myself. I would like to see how RAWR stacks up to these two. I think it’s a happy medium between the complicated spreadsheet and the simplicity of MaxDPS.com.

  2. 5 Phusion
    06/08/2009 at 22:22

    I’ve been less happy with maxdps’ results lately. It sure would be nice if landsoul would do a google docs or, better yet, an open office port of his spreadsheet.

    • 6 Kihara
      07/08/2009 at 07:57

      Landsoul used to have both an Open Office compatible spreadsheet and an Excell compatible one if memory serves. But I think the two programs are different enough that its a hassle to keep updated (for an example, import a Word document into Open Office and notice the differences), especially with weekly updates.

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