When it comes to the performance of a class in WoW, this is mostly, and in most cases wrongly, reduced solely to the DpS that the style of play can achieve. This is understandable insofar as numbers can be compared quite easily. Whether an anesthetic, a sack or a slowdown is better is often difficult to say and depends heavily on the circumstances. But that 5,000 DpS in a boss fight on a target is better than 3,000 DpS, that makes sense. Even if there are of course exceptions from time to time.
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To determine how much DpS a class or style of play can achieve, there are basically two useful methods, both of which have their strengths and weaknesses. Of course, we could also just look at our recount, Skada or details in play. But let's be honest with ourselves. What we and our teammates do is only in very few cases what is really in the class. There are innumerable reasons for this. From unsuitable equipment to unfavorable combat situations to your own playful ability.
Hence, we usually look to either Simulations by, for example, Simulationcraft or on the logs that were achieved by absolute top players under the best conditions. Both have, that is said at this point, only partially valid for "normal" players or the numbers achieved by you and your fellow players in the raid. There are too many other factors that play a role. However, it can certainly be used as a guide to what the actual classes and playing styles can achieve under perfect conditions. However, there are sometimes big differences between what simulations and what logs say. We therefore want to take a look at these differences and also explain to you how which lists are created.
Simulations vs. logs – what is actually what?
In the simulations these are purely theoretical values. These are calculated by computers. All possible talent and equipment variants are calculated and the theoretical best way of playing is determined. The whole thing doesn't happen just once, but many millions of times. At the end of the day, the computer can tell you which talents, which equipment, legendarys, media and also which priority list are responsible for the "theoretically" optimal damage. Even procs are included here. Incidentally, these results are also the basis for almost every class guide that you find anywhere on WoW (buy now € 14.99 ) will find.
What comes out in the end is an exact list of which class could cause how much damage under really perfect conditions. It is of course important to define the framework conditions beforehand. In the vast majority of cases, it will be a five-minute fight with no distractions and a goal. As if you were working on the training dummy for five minutes. This doesn't have much to do with raid practice, of course. Neither do you have the perfect equipment, nor can you just damage the boss for five minutes without moving or the like.
At logs it is, however, real results. Every player can access their logs created via the WoW client on sites such as warcraftlogs.com upload where they are then clearly presented. A wide range of players with different equipment, different talents and, of course, different skills is created here. By processing in various rankings, it is then possible to see which talents, armor items and legendaries the players were able to use to cause the most damage. But there are some disadvantages here too.
The damage often varies greatly and scales with the length of the fight. The faster a boss is dead, the higher the DpS as a rule, since the frenzy or your own cooldowns were active longer in percentage terms. In addition, it is difficult to see whether any external circumstances had a significant influence on the DpS. If a mage has to carry out any debuffs permanently or if he spends half the time in the block of ice, his damage will naturally be lower.
So the results show less what a class can theoretically achieve, but more what the players can really squeeze out of their specs. Nevertheless, these values are much more interesting, because they do not reflect the perfect conditions of a simulation, but what really happens within the walls of the raid. We can also look at the lists of the various bosses and see, for example, which bosses and which talents may make more sense – even if the simulations say something different.
A look at the differences
Let's now take a look at the differences in the result. To do this, we grab the most prominent of all simulation results that you come across again and again when looking for DpS lists in the current raid. The list shows the potential of all play styles if they stubbornly hit a boss for five minutes, wearing the best talents and the strongest equipment available in the raid (including legendary). And of course the optimal pact, soul bond and medium is also chosen.
We contrast this with the logs from the Starving Destroyer. This is a boss in Castle Nathria, whose fight usually lasts four to five minutes, requires little movement and you have a single goal from start to finish. So this fight is probably the closest to the framework conditions of a simulation. We limit the logs to the best percentage of all players so that we don't see what average players achieve, but what, in the optimal case, is achieved in reality. From this best percent we take the mean. One could also simply use the maximum value ever achieved. However, this would probably be less meaningful than the average of the upper percent due to immense proc luck or an extremely short fight in which the player received a lot of support, for example from the soul of power or the like. Although one can argue about it.
(In the brackets behind the DpS value you can see the place in the relevant ranking.)
Where do the differences in the numbers come from?
What is immediately noticeable is the fact that the real numbers are well below those of the simulations. There are several reasons for this. On the one hand, very few players already have the perfect equipment together (also thanks to the reduced loot). On the other hand, people are not machines. Even if you don't make a single mistake in combat, external circumstances such as delays in the Internet connection, for example, will not come close to the theoretical figures.
On the other hand, even a simple fight like the one against the starving destroyer is more complex than hitting a doll. The melee fighters have to get away from the boss through mechanics from time to time, ranged fighters briefly spread out. All of this costs one point of damage or the other, even if carried out perfectly.
So if you notice yourself that somehow you can't get the DpS values from simulations in the game, you don't have to worry. It is perfectly normal.
Where do the differences in the order come from?
Now we know why the log DpS are lower than the simulation DpS. But why is the relationship between the classes changing so dramatically? Some ways of playing fall or rise up to twelve places in the tableau.
Again, there are of course several reasons. But all are based almost on the same basic idea: How many things are there for the respective class in this fight that prevent you from being stubbornly able to play the perfect rotation on the boss?
In this special fight, melee fighters have to get away from the boss every now and then, ranged fighters have to split up in between and run against the sack. This means that melee fighters generally slip further away from the "theoretical maximum" than ranged fighters. Agile melee fighters such as demon hunters fall less off than slow melees. Play styles like paladins can now and then simply stay with the boss thanks to strong cooldowns, unholy death knights or ferocity druids benefit from DoTs or ghouls that continue to do damage. It is similar with ranged fighters. If you lose less damage while running, you slip less and come closer to the theoretical maximum.
But it's not just the fights that prevent you from stubbornly playing through the rotation. The class itself can also have an influence. Some ways of playing are traditionally (although arguable about) more complex and require more attention to play. This of course makes it harder to get the best out of it. Then there are also those classes in which an error can cause the DpS to collapse completely. Such logs will then hardly be found in the top one percent.
The choice of player also influences the differences. Absolute top players always choose the spec that promises the highest DpS – no matter how small the difference is. As a result, the differences between the supposedly best specs of a class are usually smaller than with the others. Good to see, for example, on the hunter, where accuracy comes much closer to the theoretical maximum than animal rulers. With magicians, on the other hand, it seems at first glance to be the other way around. However, you have to keep in mind that many of the top players had decided on fire before the Frost style of play got its necessary buff and are still in the fire spec due to equipment and legendarys.
Simulations and logs are two fundamentally different things that both try to do the same thing: to educate us about the performance of a class or style of play. At least if you reduce performance to pure numerical values. Both paths choose a different approach and still have their right to exist. However, one must keep the circumstances in mind when looking at and rating such lists. Theoretical simulations usually help to identify the best possible talents, equipment and play styles. Real logs then put the results of the simulations to the test and show whether they differ from the theory for different bosses. Simulations can be transferred to other circumstances more easily, since these can be adapted. Logs, however, are fixed. If I want to know in advance how a class will perform under condition XY, logs will only help me to a limited extent, while I can change the simulation in this regard. However, in order to find out for a specific boss which talents are recommended or which class does more DpS than others, one should rather use the logs.
In both cases, however, it is important not to make the mistake of accepting the numbers unfiltered as the ultimate wisdom. They need to be interpreted. This is true in many ways. If you can't reach the maximum values in your raid, you don't have to be a bad player. Too many other factors play a role here and in most cases it is not the maximum DpS that kills a boss, but the proper playing of the mechanics.
Nor should the rankings be viewed as set in stone. A passionate Frost Death Knight will perform better with his spec than if he forces himself to use an unpopular and inexperienced Unheilig style of play.
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