For the uninitiated, Rawr is a program that players can use to evaluate different pieces of gear. Rawr does fuzzy math things which I am not qualified to talk about and gives a value for every item available to you, with the highest value being the best item. What is optimal may change, however, based on your current gear. For example, if you have capped expertise as a DPS, items with expertise on them will not be valued highly. You can set filters to ignore, say, Trial of the Grand Crusader-25. Finally, Rawr gives an estimate of your DPS on a 10-minute (that’s the default time) patchwerk-esque encounter where you set what buffs you have and what rotation you use.
Rawr can be a little bit intimidating when you first download it, and this guide will help you get started and hopefully make you fall in love with Rawr.
Step 1: Download Rawr and load up your character (File -> Load from Armory)
Make sure your character has the correct gear (i.e. DPS gear if you are a DPS character) when you log off so that you don’t have to go in and change each piece of gear manually. Before you go off and look at upgrades or die of shock at the fact that Rawr is telling you that your DPS is only 2400 there are a few important steps to take.
Step 2: Check off buffs that your raid group regularly has (under the buffs tab)
Since Rawr evaluates gear based on your current stats (including buffs you have), it’s important to select buffs that accurately portray a regular raid night for your guild. If you only raid 10s, for example, don’t go checking off every available buff or you won’t get accurate information.
Step 3: Make sure your rotation, talent spec and glyphs are correct
The rotation is found under Options, just hit the Rotation Details button. Pick whatever is appropriate to your spec and modify as needed. The default rotations are taken from EJ discussion, so if you follow that you’re probably familiar with them already. Review talents and glyphs to make sure everything is up to date (sometimes Armory can be slow and/or stupid). Also make sure to set up any enchants that disappeared in the move from Armory to Rawr.
Now for the good stuff
Those are the basic steps you need to take to start using Rawr. Now you can use it to test out what items are upgrades and which are not. A few things to note before you start that, though:
- Just because an item does not have Strength doesn’t mean it’s not an upgrade (for me, Collar of Ceaseless Torment is pre-25 hardmode BiS)
- Remember that while an item might be BiS with one set of gear it won’t necessarily be BiS all the time (item values are dynamic and change based on your current gear)
- Leather is an option too
- You still have to use your judgment; for example, exclusively following WoW will not always keep you at the Hit or Expertise cap, so if you prefer to keep them capped you have to consider that on your own
The easiest piece of gear to look at for a Death Knight is the sigil. Since it doesn’t provide any complex stats (i.e. Hit, ArPen, Expertise) it’s not going to change very much based on your gear and stats.
On the right part of Rawr, select the dropdown menu next to “Slot: Gear” and choose Ranged
Now you’ll get a numerical value (DPS) for each sigil. The one with the highest value is worth the most DPS. So go out, find that sigil, and now you’ve got a piece of BiS. Other slots, especially head, shoulders, chest, legs and gloves, are more complicated (these are the slots tier pieces go in). The most important thing when using Rawr is to keep an open mind while still thinking critically. Don’t let Rawr make all your decisions for you. That said, it’s a great tool for evaluating pieces of gear and comparing items. This is especially true when comparing Agility items to Strength ones, since it’s usually not obvious (you typically lose a few AP) that one or the other is better.