We will not be continuing our combat logs for Legion. I’m not saying ‘never’ – but they definitely aren’t on our current plans. Keep your eyes peeled for cool collaboration projects between us and Warcraft Logs.
The types of tools we build
We like to give you tools to optimize your character. The gear optimizer and ranked gear lists are a clear winner. We wanted to build other tools around the gear picture.
So we brought gear into the combat log picture for Warlords of Draenor. As you remember, no one had offered that before (or during the entire expansion).
Why hadn’t this been done before? Gear data wasn’t in the combat log data and the only way you could get it was by linking addon data with log data (which we did for every log where someone had our addon). It turned out to be really helpful. We were able to help compare you to someone who had similar gear and the same set bonuses activated. We were able to show you how much damage was done with certain trinkets. Compare you to someone with the same talents. And so on. It quickly became really popular, and we loved it as much as you all did.
For Legion, we jumped into the simulation scene. One of the main uses for simulations is to rank gear, which clearly is useful for us. We also wanted to make it more accessible, so anyone could generate personalized weights with the click of a button. And of course, now we are able to rank trinkets (and other proc items) directly from simulations. So you’ll see a huge improvement in our trinket rankings for Legion (compared to Warlords).
As we worked on this simulator during the entire alpha/beta of Legion, we started to wonder if we could keep up with both the logs and the simulator. With a team of 3 people (a developer, a theorycrafter/designer, and a researcher/community-outreacher), we have to choose our focus wisely. We can either mostly keep the simulator up to par while also handling combat logs, OR we can make sure the simulator is the best tool ever.
We take pride in our tools and don’t like to go ‘half in’ on them. So we are discontinuing the logs in order to focus on making sure the simulator is always in tip-top shape. More on that in a bit.
A review of our combat logs
Our approach sort of bit me in the butt. Though I still think it was the right decision. Let me paint the picture here:
We started our combat logging site during Mists of Pandaria, and Warcraft Logs was in development at the same time (we just didn’t know it). Our first focus was bringing gear into the logs and we also wanted to launch some features for casual players first (like the boss inforgraphics). After that, we planned to spend a few weeks or a month adding on the hard-core features, like queries, analyzing full rotations, etc.
When Warcraft Logs launched a beta before either site was released, we saw it was a really great site, with a talented developer. We reached out a talked a bit. Since he already planned to serve the hard-core community with query features (and more), we decided not to go forward with our hard-core features.
We already had a unique angle: gear. It was a huge hit during our beta testing. And since we like working with other fan sites (not against them), we decided to leave the hard-core features to Warcraft Logs, so they too could have a unique angle.
Sadly, some people started to spread the message “AMR is only good for casuals.” Which as I’m sure you know, is far from the truth. Although, while we were the only ones to have gear data, we didn’t have the hardcore tools, so you can see how this happened.
This also looks (and feels) a bit like a half-hearted effort went into our logs. And we don’t want you (or anyone else) to feel that way. We want you to have confidence in our tools and know that we always make them the best out there. We just happened to make a business decision in order to ‘play nice’ and it back fired a bit. Like I said, I still think it was the right decision, but I definitely have my work cut out for me to reverse some of those perceptions.
There’s one more thing we took into consideration. Gear is very important to logs, like we were able to demonstrate in Warlords. For Legion, Blizzard agreed to include gear data directly into the log data, so you no longer need an addon to link the two. That means any log site you upload to will automatically see your gear. Warcraft Logs is already a great site, supported by a talented developer, and now that it can get gear data in Legion, you’ll have everything you need when raids open.
WCL + AMR: Collaboration
Remember how I said we like working with other fan sites? Here’s a perfect example of how that pays off – for everyone, especially the community.
Kihra (at WCL) and I have been chatting and together we have some cool integration ideas. We have data he can definitely use, and he has data we could do cool things with too. So stay tuned as we both come up with even more stuff for you all to play with.
Simulations & gear
This brings me back to something I said earlier: as a small team we focus our efforts on where we can make the biggest impact. We’ve long wanted to make accessible and hardcore simulation tools, so as most of you know by now, we did that instead!
Simulation results are used to rank gear, so why not build it right into our gear-ranking system? Why not indeed! So we did that. For example, all trinkets, relics, legendaries, set bonuses, and anything with a proc is ranked direction from simulations now.
And this turned out to be perfect timing. With all of these titanforged possibilities, you might be wondering how an upgraded version stacks up against other items. We solve that. And we’re very excited about it (so you’ll probably see me running around talking about it).
We also built some features for the hardcore theorycrafters. For example, our batch simulations automatically create every combination of anything you want to test. How do some talents affect trinkets? Test it out. Legendaries and artifact traits? More tests. It takes about 10 seconds to set up each test, so that theorycrafters (yes, you too!) can look at anything they want.
While what we launched is a pretty full suite of tools, it’s just the beginning. We have more features and more options coming as legion progresses. Next up: modeling actual, real bosses from Emerald Nightmare in the simulations.
You can also have confidence that our simulator is very top notch. We test it, and then when that’s done, we test it again. We compare results to in-game damage. We double check all hotfix data with actual in-game data. We are ridiculously thorough and it shows. A lot of theorycrafters are just coming to us now, asking if we know how something works, because our dedication to having the right information is becoming apparent.
To wrap this up: yes, this is a very accurate simulator. But you don’t have to just trust me, you can verify it easily with our reports, searchable logs, and open-source spell wiki. “Trust, but verify” right?