Rawr is a tool that a lot of WoW players use for figuring out optimal gearing for their character. You can download the program free from their website. First, I want to remind you that programs like Rawr are a tool, but that no tool is better than understanding your class mechanics and using your best judgement about what the right gear setup is for you. This uses math & theoretical calculations to come up with their optimization. Even if you customize it perfectly, there is going to be a difference between what it says and reality – just based on factors out of the creators’ control. It is still, however, a really useful tool, since it can help you see what upgrades are available compared to your gear. I spent some time talking to the person who edits the resto druid version of Rawr, and after learning some stuff from him, I wanted to discuss this tool a little.
Rawr is a customizable tool. Here is what the main page looks like for my druid’s template after I’ve finished setting up all my settings. I uploaded my profile from the armory, so it has all my current gear.
To be honest, I use Rawr more often for my DPS set than for my healing set – this is mostly because I struggle a lot more with figuring out how to optimize my DPS set. However, the resto one is also much less “plug and play” than the moonkin one. The resto version of Rawr has a TON of customizable options, and it takes a long time to set up to approximate your particular healing style.
Healers are like unique snowflakes, and Rawr is able to calculate stat values based on what YOU want it to do. Below, I’m just going to cover some of the basics about the customizable features that you should think about setting up before comparing gear items. There are a lot of things I won’t cover. Rawr’s main page has an instructional video you can watch if you want more help for the basics of how the tool works.
You get to decide what gems go in the gear. This applies to any spec you use the tool for, as the default settings may be different than what you actually use. You can edit the gem template & choose what gems you want it to display in the gear. If you don’t like the options they have, you can customize your own gem template. I select it to show 2 gem types (instead of 3). I also only choose all red, or a red/orange/purple template. I don’t like the Seer’s (int/spirit) gems, as I value spell power more. So, I unselect anything that uses a green or yellow gem in their template. The more spell power, the better! At the very bottom of the menu, you can create your own gem template and insert what gems you usually put in the gear. If you only want it to gem with that template, you can just unselect everything else and only have it use your own personal template.
Choose your own Adventure tabs! The tabs in the middle of your gear aren’t just to display stats. They are there to help you customize your options. The default display shows the stats tab. The talents tab should be filled out based on your armory spec, OR you can manually change it to a different spec. The third is the buffs tab, and the fourth is options. For moonkin, there aren’t a lot of options to choose. However, resto has a LOT of customizable options under the fourth tab.
The third tab is the Buffs tab. You have to select what buffs you want it to assume that you have in the calculations. This picture has a couple of the buffs (ie. imp moonkin form, replenishment sources, etc). All of the buffs in the game are able to be selected and customized. It even lets you choose what kind of flask to use These buffs matter for the calculations, and you have to take the time to set it up. These are not chosen for you by default. Everyone of every spec has to select what buffs they want displayed.
For restoration druids, the options tab has several other tabs: Stats, Sustained Fight, Mana, & Module notes. This is a lot more involved than the moonkin options tab that doesn’t have many customization options in comparison.
On the stats option tab, it lets you select “single Target Maximum Healing Spell Mix” options. There is a huge drop-down menu that lets you pick spells. This is important to select the spell setup you use. There is also a “sustained spell profile” that allows you to select between 4 options: tank healing; tank healing (no lifebloom); Raid healing (only WG/RJ); Raid Healing (RJ/LB/SM/WG/N).
Special effects lets you ignore Nature’s Grace and haste procs from trinkets in the calculations. This will change the value of crit & haste (along with the value of those trinkets). The problem with these items is that it is hard to accurately model them in the calculations. I like being able to have these turned off, but remember that they are still possibly valuable in practice – even if they are hard to model in the software. This is one place where your best judgment is better than what the tool can tell you.
The “sustaned fight” tab has a ton of options. You’ll have to learn this tab just by adjusting options. It does have default settings that you can leave if you aren’t as comfortable with the tool. However, customizing this to your healing will make the calculations more accurate.
Some of the options here include: Maintained heals over time – You can choose how many rejuvs, regrowths, & lifeblooms you “keep active during the fight”. I usually have more maintained rejuvs than regrowth or lifebloom. However, I usually have regrowth & lifebloom on at least one target.
You can choose how you want your lifeblooms to stack: Slow build & bloom; fast build & bloom; rolling no bloom, etc. Cooldown Usage lets you choose how many wild growths & swiftmends you cast in one minute.
Healing Spell Usage: how do you spend your time outside of maintaining the HOTs from the first menu selection? A lot of people will likely have rejuv higher, but this would be where you include how much time you spend casting regrowth, LB, & Nourish, too! For nourish, you should estimate how much it’s landing on people with HOTs on them. “Time strategy” allows you to select how much time you would spend not casting. You can also select your estimated living seed effectiveness.
The last tab with customizable options is the mana tab. Here you get to select options for: replenishment, revitalize, & innervate. The last tab is module notes, but it doesn’t have customizable options.
Final thoughts & conclusions: For gear upgrades, item level matters a lot – so Rawr is going to recommend gear that may not fit your personal gearing goals. For example, if your goal is to hit a certain % of haste, Rawr isn’t going to necessarily keep that in mind when it is doing the calculations. If you only want a belt with haste, but Rawr is saying that this crit belt would be better – go with the haste belt. Also, customizing all these options do matter, but even once you customize it, it’s up to you to decide what is going to work best for you (based on gear availability, and what you see in practice). Some people have commented that it is valuing crit over haste for them. So, this would be one situation where personal decisions matter. Rawr is a great tool to aid you in your gearing decisions, but the final decision is YOURS, and it’s always bad to blindly follow the advice given to you by any tool (including the advice on my blog).I think I’ve said this several times, but it’s important – it is up to you (in the end) to figure out what works best for you.