I wanted to share some tips for the Classic optimizer that will help you get the most use out of it. This isn’t a starter tutorial (you can find that here), it’s more about the nuances you’ll come across for different roles and specs.
TBC does not have explicit “specs” like retail WoW — you can pick whatever talents you want and play however you want with those talents. But we found that it is really convenient to keep the idea of a “spec” on the TBC optimizer. Here’s how it works for TBC:
When you import a character from the addon, we inspect your talents to take a guess at which spec you are probably using. Most of the time this will work just fine, but maybe you are using an unusual build — no problem! Use the spec picker up by your character name and the “Import from Addon” button to change to the spec you want to optimize, and you’re good to go.
The first time you import your character, we’ll automatically populate your talents for you with that spec. After that, you’ll have to manually adjust your talents to be what you want them to be. This works exactly the same as the optimizer for retail WoW. We do it like this for a couple of reasons:
- You have the flexibility to pick any talents you want for whatever spec you want, e.g. you could pick Fury talents for your Protection warrior spec.
- The optimizer allows you to create multiple setups per spec. It is very common that you will want to save different talents with each setup. If we were to automatically overwrite your talents whenever you import… it would get very annoying very quickly.
So bottom line: keep your talents up to date on each of your setups! The optimizer adjusts for every talent in the game.
Spec Is Important
The spec you have chosen determines how the optimizer behaves. For example if you are a paladin, choosing Holy will optimize you as a healer, Protection as a tank, and Retribution as a damage dealer. It doesn’t matter what talents you pick — you could choose Holy spec and then select all Retribution talents… we’re still going to assume you are a healer. This approach gives you maximum flexibility to use any build that you want for any role.
Warriors are Snowflakes
Warriors in TBC are super special. For example, a lot of people like to tank while dual-wielding with a mostly Fury build. We can handle all of these builds through the use of spec and the toughness slider on the strategy picker (more about the toughness slider below).
- Arms spec: we will assume that you are using a 2-handed weapon exclusively.
- Fury spec: we will assume that you are either dual-wielding or using a 2-handed weapon, but not using a shield.
- Protection spec: we will assume that you are using a 1-hander and a shield.
Now that we know what kind of weapons you want to use, the toughness slider tells us how you want to play:
- Arms and Fury spec: if the toughness slider is all the way to the left (DPS), we assume you are a pure DPS; any other value we assume you are tanking
- Protection spec: we assume you are always tanking
Whether you are tanking or not has an impact on things like your chance to be parried and rage generation. The toughness slider controls how much emphasis you want on defensive vs. offensive gear. You can do really offensive or really defensive builds with any warrior spec.
In TBC they were called Combat rogues. But we left the labeling as Outlaw… because it sounds cooler.
Yeah so… not really a thing, but you can use the spec as you see fit. If you have the Improved Fireball talent, the optimizer will score/play like a fire mage. If you don’t, it will score/play like a frost mage.
If we recommend equipping a level 45 Wolfshead Helm, that is correct. It’s BiS.
Gearing Strategy Picker
The gearing strategy picker is the first option in the Best in Bags and Best in Slot feature, above your talents. This controls how the optimizer will behave for your character. At launch, there is only one strategy per spec. It is likely that this won’t change — we are going to focus more on customization options than creating multiple strategies. We think that makes more sense for how TBC plays.
There is one important option in the strategy picker though:
For tank specs and all Warrior specs, you will see a toughness slider under the strategy when you open the picker. You can use this to control how much you care about offense vs. defense.
This slider is completely relative — there is no “correct” place to put it. Move it up or down until you get a blend that you like. We default it to the toughest setting for tank specs, but that is not meant to be a suggestion. Please change it to what you prefer!
Ranking gear for healers has always been tricky. For TBC we’re using an old but popular and effective approach: you tell us roughly what your spell usage breakdown looks like, then we choose gear for you that works well with that play style.
We have some reasonable defaults for each spec, but you should customize as you see fit! Your raid team may require that you play differently, or you may just prefer a different approach. To change your spell usage:
- Click on the “Customize” tab next to the Set Up tab for Best in Bags or Best in Slot, or click the Customize Strategy button below the Find Best in Bags or Find Best in Slot button in the Set Up step.
- Check Customize your healing spell breakdown (shown below)
- You will see a default set of rules. Remove them and add new ones as you see fit. Note that you can re-order the rules, but it has no impact on the optimization — it is purely for your own organizational purposes.
Easy as that! Then optimize and see your gear suggestions change to match your spell breakdown.
Note that we have also included decurse spells in the list. If you tend to spend a lot of mana on decursing, add it to the list and that will be factored into the calculation.
Unusual Best in Slot
You will notice that our algorithms pick about 95% of the same gear as you’ll see on pretty much any TBC Best in Slot guide out there. But every now and again you’ll see a particular item that the optimizer seems to like more than what you are used to seeing.
Most people’s first reaction is that it must be a bug. Feel free to tell us about such cases and we’ll look into it! But let’s say that we look at it and there is no bug — the stats look correct, estimates of any special effects look correct, and so on. Now that begs the question:
If this mathematical formula picks 95% of the same gear as everyone else, but then picks this one item that is different… maybe that different item is better than everyone thinks? I know… blasphemy! There is no room for new thinking in TBC! But it would be kind of weird for a purely mathematical system to be selectively incorrect… you’d expect it to be systematically incorrect.
Anyway — just some food for thought. Let us know if any anomalies that you find on our forums, but also keep an open mind!