Elemental, Meta, Shaman, Spreadsheet, Theorycraft, WoW

Introducing ZAP!

As proof that you can do pretty much anything if you’re bored enough and have enough time, I’ve finished the first release candidate for my spreadsheet project.

It’s called ZAP! Zamir’s Elemental Spreadsheet!

Yes I’m fond of being glib, especially if the opportunity arises during something that sounds like it should be serious (like say, writing a spreadsheet).

What is ZAP!?

ZAP! main UI

ZAP! is an Excel 2007 spreadsheet which you plug your stats and talents and buffs and such into, and it returns a DPS figure.  That is to say, it reduces elemental shaman DPS to a formula for the purposes of helping a player explore how different factors might affect their damage output.  The design is heavily based on Binkenstein’s SEIC spreadsheet, but it is an entirely new project written from scratch using my own methods and formulae.

It also features a “Sandbox” rotation editor, which allows a user to play around with configuring their own spell cast sequence while adding/removing stats to compare DPS results.

Sandbox editor

Who’s Zamir?

Zamir is one of my various Internet aliases.  It has the advantage of starting with a ‘Z’, which makes it inherently cool.

Hey this looks a lot like SEIC

Yeeees it does.  That’s because I was a long-time user of SEIC and loved the simple, one-sheet UI design compared to the complex designs of other classes’ spreadsheets.  ZAP! is meant to seem familiar and obvious to any previous SEIC users, but I also tried to design the front page from the ground up to be intuitive and user-friendly.  I may or may not have succeeded.

More of the main UI

Seriously though did you just copy/paste from SEIC

OK seriously who are you?  Oh wait it’s me.  OK then.  Well, no.  This spreadsheet is entirely, completely my own work.  I manually typed every formula into every cell based on my own understanding of the maths.  This involved a lot of research and checking and in-game testing.

Having said that, one of the most helpful tools available to me while designing ZAP! was SEIC, because I could check every result my work gave against SEIC’s results.  Frequently this allowed me to quickly track down mistakes or omissions in my own work; sometimes it meant spotting mistakes in SEIC.  So yeah, SEIC was an incredibly valuable resource.  And like I said, it’s the spreadsheet I’ve personally used until now and it deserves a lot of respect and recognition.

What can ZAP! do?

Part of ZAP's output and rotation options

The main feature of ZAP! is returning a DPS figure based on:

  • Your character’s stats, talents, glyphs and set bonuses
  • Your personal and raid buffs, debuffs and consumables
  • Encounter variables such as fight time, heroism use, etc.

It also provides some interesting stats like how many spells you cast and how much mana you used.

ZAP! also features a DEP system where each stat, glyph, set bonus etc. is converted into damage equivalency points – that is, how much DPS they theoretically translate into.  Like SEIC, there’s a tool to compare items/gems/enchants etc based on their DEP, as well as a trinket list which can be sorted according to each trinket’s DEP.

The final feature of ZAP! is the Sandbox rotation editor, which was actually the main reason I started this in the first place.  It’s very similar in style to the pseudo-simulation that SEIC used to calculate DPS, only the user selects which spells to cast and when, any stat buffs to add/remove, and how long the cycle goes on for.

Ultimately, ZAP! is a formulator.  That is distinct from a simulator.  It uses average values, expected results, normalised scenarios, and so forth.  The value it returns is to help you make a choice between one item or another, or between one rotation style and another, and is not a “target” or “maximum”.

Sandbox spell overview

OK so what now

I need some folks to try ZAP! and play around with it to check it works properly and make suggestions/give feedback where helpful so that I can improve it and possibly release it to a wider audience.  You can download it here.  Update: there’s also a compatibility version here.

It’s in Excel 2007 format and I’ve no idea to what extent this is or isn’t compatible with other spreadsheet packages, sorry.

Also, it’s a macro-enabled spreadsheet as it uses a macro to sort trinkets by DEP – opening it without enabling macros will not affect the functionality of the rest of the spreadsheet.

ZAP! – Zamir’s Elemental Spreadsheet


8 thoughts on “Introducing ZAP!

  1. I know it says “please read the instructions” and there aren’t actually any up here yet, that’s something on the to-do list 🙂

    Posted by Charles | November 3, 2009, 7:10 pm
  2. For the record it works in Excel 2003, but it has to briefly convert the file before opening it for the first time (that happens automatically, at least for me).

    Other than that I’ll save the feedback for other people as my limited understanding of shaman mechanics means I won’t be of much use. It looks very snazzy and incredibly intuitive though! Much moreso than the hunter spreadsheet I use, which is a 10 or so tab MONSTER of a spreadsheet.

    Posted by Razz | November 3, 2009, 7:47 pm
  3. Very nice! For the record it opens with OpenOffice 3 for non-Excel users.

    It might just be my noobishness with spreadsheets (forgive me if so), but I can’t find a way to edit the values for raid buffs. I can turn them off (to 0), but can’t turn them back on again. The same thing happens when I try to change Glyph of Lava to 1. Can you help me out?

    Posted by Ark | November 3, 2009, 11:13 pm
    • My guess would be that it’s an issue with how OpenOffice 3 handles data validation. I’ll download it tomorrow and see if I can replicate the problem. Otherwise, you can hopefully turn a talent/glyph on/off by typing 1 or 0, or a raidbuff by typing Yes/No (though some use other values like “Improved” and “Normal”, etc).

      Posted by Charles | November 3, 2009, 11:27 pm
      • There’s definitely some squiffiness with how OpenOffice interprets Excel 2007’s data validation – which is to say, it doesn’t. I think the only way to fix it would be to save a separate version in a more compatible format. I’ll have a go.

        Posted by Charles | November 4, 2009, 3:09 pm
  4. i tried downloading your zap and i cant seem to view it in excel. can you please post instrucitons on how to view it. thanks

    Posted by dyve | November 4, 2009, 1:26 pm
  5. Excel 2003 will run it so long as you have the compatibility pack installed. This much I can verify.

    I will keep playing around with it when free time at work permits (which isn’t terribly often anymore, but I do get breaks :p).

    Posted by Kazgrel | November 4, 2009, 4:36 pm

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