Why would I use Rawr?
Because it is much more reliable than the loot lists. Instead of a fixed value for each stat, Rawr changes the stats it recommends if you no longer need them.
For example, once you are hit capped, it will not recommend items with Hit Rating on them. Once you are expertise capped it will not prioritise expertise. Talent specs are also considered in these calculations, as are the buffs that you can get in your raid.
If you equip an item in the program, it will also show you all the changes to your character. You can see whether an upgrade is really worth chasing or not.
I use it primarily for my feral druid and it works like a charm. There are models for all classes and specs but some are more complete than others. Check the model status page: http://rawr.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Models for the status of the specs your characters use.
This section describes the basic elements of the user interface, how to load and set your gear up and how to evaluate upgrades.
- The first step is to load from the armory. All you have to do is choose your realm and character, then the program will load all your current gear and talents.
- The other option is to load a saved file. It is a really good idea to save your files after working on them because all the buff settings and available items will be kept.
The user interface
The user interface has three primary areas:
- On the left: The gear you have equipped
- In the middle of the equipped gear: Your statistics
- On the right: Lists of items (and other things) that can replace your current gear
Of particular importance is the model that Rawr uses for your character. There are many settings and UI elements that are model specific. For this example I’ll be using a bear druid model.
If you mouse-over the statistics in the middle of the screen there will often be a useful tooltip which explains what the numbers mean.
Working with items
Generally speaking, items that are higher up the gear lists than your currently equipped gear are better. Rawr determines this by calculating your stats with the currently equipped gear and then applying weightings to all stats. When you equip different gear these weightings are updated.
There is a menu at the top of the gear list that allows you to choose which slot you are looking at. This will be a very commonly used menu.
Once you have the appropriate list selected, it is possible to equip gear by right-clicking it and selecting the ‘Equip’ option:
The second way to select items is by left-clicking on the equipped gear. This shows a less detailed list but avoids the need to navigate through the menu system on the right hand side of the user interface.
In the gear lists on the right you may mark an item as being available for use with the optimizer. I’ll cover this in more detail below, but it is useful to do this for any gear you have in your bags or the bank. This can be seen in the screenshot above, where the user is equipping a new item.
Working with enchants, gems and reforging
As well as ranking gear, Rawr ranks enchants, reforging and gems. Enchant recommendations are available from:
- clicking the enchant slot under the item.
- using the menus on the right to choose an enchant. This is where the enchants can be selected for the optimizer.
Gemming recommendations are provided by default in all gear. These will always be the ‘best’ gems, but you may want to try others. Change gems in an item by:
- equipping a custom gemming by right-clicking an equipped item
- clicking the gem in equipped gear and choosing from a list
Optimal reforging is shown in the gear lists, and will be applied when you equip items.
All I’ve covered so far is how to browse item lists and look for upgrades. This is the primary purpose of the tool, but there are many more powerful options and advanced features. There are also several configuration options that can cause confusion if they are not set correctly.
Some of the more important settings are:
- Setting the meta gem requirement. Make sure that the configuration setting to check for meta gem activation is turned on. The screenshot shows where this is:
- Ensure that you have appropriate buffs set on the buffs tab. Check the boxes for buffs you are going to have in your raid group or 5 man groups. Not setting these options will have a large effect on the ratings for gear.
- Setting the survival soft cap for bears. This significantly affects the relative value of stamina and avoidance statistics. Failing to set this led to recommendations for agility gems when tanking ICC, so it is important not to forget this one. Other models may have similar features, but I have not used them.
- Choosing an appropriate target level for many of the options. If you are gearing for heroics then the boss is level 87, not 88 like a raid boss. This will change the amount of hit rating required. The parry haste setting is also in this section and checking this will add significant weighting to Expertise. At the time of posting there are no known Cataclysm raid bosses that parry haste, so turn this off. The screenshot above shows these fields.
As a more advanced topic, Rawr presents the option of shuffling your gear around for you. You can mark all the different gear you have and say ‘give me the highest dps gear set’ or ‘maximise my dodge’ and get the program to give you an entire gear list. This can be really useful when you have a lot of items that look similar in quality.
It is particularly important that you set up the calculations for this step appropriately. Make sure the boss is the correct level and that you have the buffs in your normal raid group turned on. Include your food and flask buffs too.
The optimizer will consider all gear and enchants that have been marked as available. You do that my making sure that the green diamond is next to the item in the gear lists on the right hand side.
When you have finished with your critera, click the Optimize button on the left and Rawr will provide you with a list of changed gear, enchants, reforging, gems and items based on your equipped gear and items listed as being available in gear lists (items with the green triangle selected). Make sure you look at the recommendations carefully to understand why the changes have been proposed.
I hope you found this guide useful. I’ve covered all the basics of Rawr, but there are more advanced features available as well.
Some of the features I didn’t address are:
- the batch tools
- integration with the in-game rawr addon (which is in very early implementation versions at the moment)
- the boss handler
- the item editor – use this to add items that are not in the Rawr item cache
- gemming templates
All these things are covered in the Rawr guides available from the help menu and there are some tutorial videos at http://rawr.codeplex.com/.