Alex edited this page Oct 8, 2016 · 2 revisions
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Angry Bar Charts

SimC is run near continuously on our latest code base to automatically re-generate the charts that so many players love to hate. Through the years I have seen countless posts from players and Blizzard devs making passionate pleas (sometimes threats) to end this practice.

The depth of angry emotion that the spec ranking bar chart generates is quite remarkable. The histrionic emotion is generally rooted in the mistaken belief that SimC is either (usually) "garbage" or (sometimes) "gospel" despite numerous attempts to explain that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

The 13th Labor of Hercules

Before we consider the apparent disparity between the classes, let us consider the problem that Blizzard devs face: 12 classes, 23 dps specs, talents, and item progression. PVP vs PVE. Mythic vs Heroic vs Normal. Quite frankly, given the circumstances Blizzard has done a spectacular job at class balance!

Damn Lies

Now let us consider the words of Mark Twain: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." We report a simple Average DPS in the spec ranking bar chart because it is visually messy to display overlapping distribution curves. However, if one was to examine those DPS distribution curves in detail one would find significant overlap among the various specs.

If the Stove is Hot...

To sum up: We have a tool that is misunderstood generating a chart that is misunderstood representing a task that is misunderstood. This general lack of understanding leads to violent discourse initiating frequent appeals to have the chart terminated with extreme prejudice.

This begs the question: Why oh why does SimC publish this data!!!???

A Poke in the Eye

The purpose of the spec ranking chart is to provoke a reaction, preferably a really really angry reaction. I want the viewer angry enough to pore through our voluminous data and say: "Hah! You messed up cooldown X!" or "You moron! Your action list is all wrong! You need to use ability Y instead!" I welcome the bile, the (creative) cursing, the ranting and raving, because usually there is kernel of useful information that I can extract to improve our models.

The spec ranking chart has proven to be one of our most important drivers of code quality. It is like waving a red flag in eyes of a rampaging bull. If it means I get trampled from time to time, so be it. That is just the cost of doing business.

SimC devs work for the users that understand that our models live in space between gospel and garbage, but we are not above taking advantage of those that live on extremes to help us in our task...