Best in Bags and all of the other gear-advice on our site is based on simulations and a lot of math. This comes up with ‘right’ answer, mathematically. But that doesn’t account for our human likes, dislikes, and specific scenarios that we might want to gear for. A while back we released some extra features that let you customize the results. Everyone really liked it, so we’ve expanded on it even more. Yellowfive (our developer) took some time to explain the newest customization features for you.


General Approach

The general idea when customizing is this: you tell us the couple of really important things that you want to customize, and we’ll fill in the rest based on our gearing strategies.

Best in Bags and Best in Slot have a “Setup” tab on which you start. This hasn’t changed — you specify the “high level” things here, such as which general Gearing Strategy you want to use, which talents and major essence you prefer, and a handful of common options. Then we have added a second “Customize” tab. You can go to this by clicking on the tab itself, or pressing “Customize Strategy” below the “Find Best in Bags” or “Find Best in Slot” button.

This new Customize tab has a whole bunch of new options, all of which are disabled by default. You can turn on/off whichever settings interest you. The rest of this post will describe each setting in detail.

Secondary Stats

One of the most common things that people want to change is which secondary stats they prefer: Critical Strike, Haste, Mastery, or Versatility. Our optimizer uses a lot of math and statistics to choose a good balance of these four stats, but in reality, there are many different allocations that work nearly as well. Now you can easily experiment with any combination.

When enabled, you will see a pie chart of the four secondary stats. You can drag the ends of the dividers between the pie slices to change how much is allocated to each stat.

Stat distribution weights for World of Warcraft, BFA

The pie shows you a typical amount of secondary stats that you would have on high level gear. You then tell us, if you had that many secondary stats available to you, how much you would allocate to each stat. A few notes:

  1. You are essentially defining a “ratio” of stats — if you have much lower item level gear than this, we will scale it down for you, and keep the relative amounts the same.
  2. The dividers move in 1% increments.
  3. You cannot allocate less than 5% of the total to any single stat. Practically speaking, it is really hard to end up with less than this in any given stat due to how the game puts stats on gear (almost every item has two secondary stats on it).
  4. It follows that you cannot allocate more than 85% of the total to any single stat. Same idea — this “restriction” doesn’t limit your ability to customize, instead it protects you from choosing impossible stat combinations.

This is not a “rating perfect” allocation!

By this we mean that you are not saying “get me exactly 1437 Critical Strike rating and 833 Haste Rating.” That’s not how it works, and that’s not the best way to think about stats. Instead think of this as a rough “target” for your stats. We’ll try to get you as close to this target as possible, and use our own statistical models to resolve any “tie breakers”. Depending on the gear available to you, a little trial and error may be required to get things how you like them.

Minor Stats

Minor stats are Avoidance, Leech, and Movement Speed. The main source of these stats on gear is as a bonus stat on items that can be Warforged. We let you customize how valuable each of these stats are to you by telling us roughly how many “item levels” that stat is worth to you. This is best explained via an example:

Minor stats iLevel tradeoff in Battle for Azeroth

Say you have a pair of ilvl430 Guantlets of the Mega-Puncher, no minor stats or socket on it. Then you get a second pair of ilvl425 Gauntlets of the Mega-Puncher but they have Avoidance on them. Which is better? If you think the ones with Avoidance are better, set the Avoidance slider to +6 or higher. If you think the higher item level ones without Avoidance are better, set the Avoidance slider to +4 or lower. If you think they are worth the same, set it to +5.

You can also go all the way to zero to make a minor stat worth nothing to you. The max value is +10 — anything above that would be highly improbable.

As with secondary stats, some trial and error may be required to find settings that do what you like. There are a lot of calculations going on under the hood that will add a bit of “fuzz” to these minor stat options.

Gems and Enchants

These are some fairly self-explanatory options to give you stricter control over how gems and enchants are chosen.

Customize Gem and Enchant Rules

You can force the optimizer to always use Critical Strike gems, or always use jewelcrafter gems regardless of how we think they score compared to regular gems, and so on.

Important note: the gem and enchant “threshold” option on the setup step is automatically disabled if you use any of these custom gem and enchant rules. The threshold is incompatible with these options for various technical and logical reasons.

Gem and Enchant disabled

Azerite Powers

This section gives you complete control over picking different combinations of Azerite Powers. It is a priority list of rules that you want the optimizer to follow. There are three types of rules that you can make:

  1. As many as possible: stack as many of this power as possible (the most you can get is 3, one on each slot)
  2. Exactly one: get exactly one of this power, no more, no less
  3. Zero: never pick this power under any circumstance

Custom Azerite Trait rules

With “as many as possible” and “exactly one” type rules, you also specify how many item levels you are willing to sacrifice to get that power. For example, if your highest item level azerite item in your Head slot is ilvl 445, but you would rather use an ilvl 430 item with your preferred power, then you are willing to sacrifice up to 15 item levels to get that power.

The optimizer will start at the top of your list of rules and work down, trying to meet each rule as it goes. Meeting any higher priority rule is always more important than meeting any number of lower priority rules. For example, if it is possible to meet your first rule only with one setup, or your second and third rule with another, the setup that meets the first rule will always win.

“Zero” rules (excluding azerite powers) can go anywhere in the list — we recommend putting all your exclusions at the bottom of the list to keep things organized. These rules will always be met no matter what.

Special note: The Upgrade Finder won’t take these custom rules into account. Setting a custom rule doesn’t assign a numeric value, which is necessary for ranking items in the upgrade finder. Instead, we suggest that you use the search box filter on the upgrade finder to search for items with your preferred Azerite Powers.

Special Items

This section lets you control the value of special effects on trinkets and other items. When you enable this section, a list of special items will load. Initially every item is disabled, and we show you roughly what our gearing strategies think each special effect is worth.

It is worth noting that the specific ranks and values we show as our defailts in that list are not the final ones used to rank your gear when we do Best in Bags. We use simulation data specific to each gear combination to do our final gear suggestion. This list shows just one of those data point sets.

When you adjust the value, you are essentially overriding the simulation value of specific special effects that you like more or less than our default strategies, and letting our default strategy handle everything else.

Trinket Rankings - BfA simulations override

How to use this feature:

  • To customize the value of an item, check the box to the left of it, enter a new value in the textbox at the right, then press enter. The list will re-order based on your new value. If you increased the value, it will show a green bar (like Zoatroid Egg Sac in the screenshot). If you decreased the value, it will show a red bar (like Trident of Deep Ocean in the screenshot).
  • You can uncheck the box on the left to reset the value to the default based on simulations.
  • You can filter the list with the search box right above the list, with the same filter options found on the rest of the site, including:
    • Source: Filter by zone, boss name, etc
    • Stat: filter by a specific stat
  • You can also type ‘custom’ (no quotation marks) into the search box to filter down to items that have your customized values.

Ranking special item effects is very difficult… you should be aware of a couple things when using this feature:

You are ranking only the special effect

The value that you enter is not for the entire item including its stats, it is only for the special effect(s) on the item. For example, say a trinket has +500 strength, and on equip: gives you 1000 crit for 20 sec, 1 rppm. You are ranking only the 1000 crit proc effect. Do not include the value of the 500 strength.

You are ranking the effect at a specific item level

We show each item only once in the list, at a common but high item level that you might see it drop. Rank the special effect appropriately for that item level. We will automatically scale your custom ranking up or down to higher or lower item level versions of the item. Most special effects in the game scale predictably with item level, especially over small item level differences.

Additional Notes

As with some of the other settings, some trial and error may be necessary to get things ranking how you like. This is not a “perfect” ranking — e.g. if you say a special effect is worth 2.13% of your total score whereas our default thinks it is worth 1.01%, you won’t necessarily see exactly a 1.12% increase in score (assuming nothing else changes). It will be close to that, but there are a lot of things going on under the hood that are beyond the scope of this article to explain.

It is better to think of this as a “relative” ranking — increase the value of something that you want the optimizer to favor until it does so. If that means setting it 0.5% higher than you think you “need to” that is fine. The goal here is to get the optimization that you want, not find some magical combination of numbers.

There are a few special effects that you cannot override, notably the Mechagon logic loop and bit band combos, and the punchcards. Sorry… those are just too complicated to handle, and we have very solid rankings for those already. It is very doubtful that you would need to change them.

Lock and exclude specific items

Once you click the “Find Best in Bags” button, you will see the results screen, like the one below.

Best in Bags - Find your best gear


From the results screen, you can do a couple further customizations. These aren’t new, but worth pointing out in this blog post since it’s all about customization.

Locking items, Gems, Enchants, and Azerite Powers

Any item (or gem, etc) suggestion can be overridden by clicking on the suggested result.

Lock and exclude gear, gems, enchants, and azerite powers

For example, click on the Logic Loop of Recursion ring to bring up the list of items that I own. Then choose another ring, Thornwoven Band for this example, and it will lock in. This is indicated by the orange lock icon next to the item in the results view.

Items can also be excluded, which is handy if you just don’t like a specific item. In the item list, click the ‘no’ symbol to the right to exclude it.

After you make these customizations, click the green “Re-Optimize” button below the results to get a new set of results that follow your rules. You can also clear all exclusions and unlock everything with additional buttons below the results view.

Thanks Yellowfive, now a message from Zoopercat

I added screenshots to Yellowfive’s tutorial. If anything is unclear or you want more visuals, let me know on the forums. Any further questions or feedback can be directed there as well. (I also encourage leaving happy notes, as Mr. Robot and our 3-human team gain Stamina from positive feedback).