Elemental, Meta, Shaman, Spreadsheet, WoW


Nearly a year ago, I started work on an elemental DPS spreadsheet to fill the gap left in my need for theorycraft-supported knowledge after SEIC stopped development.  A month later I released this on the Elitist Jerks and Wowhead forums as the ZAP! spreadsheet, and ended up basing the vast majority of what I wrote on this blog on its conclusions.  I thoroughly enjoyed the process and found it very rewarding, and it was very significant for me because it gave me something to do at a time when everything else in my life had been put on hold.  And as is usual when I hack together a tool of that sort found that it took on something of a life of its own in my head – so it was not so much a spreadsheet that I wrote as a pet that I looked after, albeit one which sometimes bit me in the shins or left hairballs on the couch.

Given the above, I feel a bit more sad than I probably should do to have to finally decide not to go ahead with my planned 4.x/Cataclysm rewrite and abandon ZAP! for the foreseeable future.  I wasn’t able to get the work done over the summer that I’d hoped, and now my RL situation is just not going to make it possible to put in the necessary amount of work and concentration – especially with the vast amount of stuff that’s still in flux and the astonishing complexity of the developing elemental rotation.

But of course the elemental theorycraft which I relied on my spreadsheet for is not going to dry up: there’s still and will continue to be the SimulationCraft project, various folk have been writing their own models to answer specific elemental questions, and most excitingly EnhSim has recruited Bink to help develop elemental support.  EnhSim is an incredible project and is basically what made Enhancement theorycraft possible with all their complexity in WotLK, so having it support elemental in Cataclysm is very exciting.  I should also point out that it was EnhSim and SimC research that I relied upon to implement fire totem support into ZAP!.

The spreadsheet will continue to be useful until the release of patch 4.0.1, upon which point it’ll be obsolete and I’ll archive the pages about it here on the blog.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who’s given me feedback on ZAP! – whether submitting bug reports, contributing possible solutions, discussing mechanics or even asking questions which helped me get more familiar with the maths and implement new features.  I’d also like to thank all those who’ve sent me encouraging PMs or left nice comments, and of course to once again thank Bink in particular, for SEIC and for all the work he’s done past and present to help us know how best to play elemental.  It’s always been a lot of fun to work on ZAP! precisely because of all the great interaction it’s allowed me to have with y’all.

Edit: Oh, also, WoW Insider has another new elemental columnist in the shape of Pewter, who succeeds the retiring Bink.  Her first article deals with the 4.0.1 pre-Cataclysm patch presently on the PTR and is full of awesome, so go check it out if you’ve not yet!



15 thoughts on “ZAP!’ed

  1. oh wow. I didn’t realise Bink was working on enhsim! Several things he’s done more recently make sense now!

    I’m very sad to hear that ZAP is retiring, it’s been a brilliant tool for me over the last year and I’ll be very sorry to see it go.

    Posted by Pewter | September 25, 2010, 9:54 pm
  2. does wow.com pay their columnists? just wondering

    Posted by Thing | September 27, 2010, 2:56 am
  3. Thank you for sharing with us normies (people who don’t math on their own) your brilliant work! Until you came along I was a bumbling elemental struggling to understand the disjointed EJ posts, that, while often brilliant, were terribly written, confusing, and sometimes just plain …jerkish.

    I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that your theorycrafting and writing style will be sorely missed, but your legacy, at least for me, will be that I now have the tools to pursue my theorycrafting knowlege from other sources, and make much more reliable/confident conclusions without being horribly confused and discouraged.

    I do hope, and I suppose this is selfish, that you will continue to share you musings and ramblings on your blog, because we also enjoyed the non-mathy bits too~

    Posted by Acariel | September 27, 2010, 3:12 pm
    • Thanks, I hope to keep blogging, though there’s unlikely to be much elemental theorycraft content anymore. I’d like to continue to write about whatever I find interesting, amusing or important enough, and if shaman stuff comes up then that’s cool. Hopefully that’ll include topics that get people talking because I really enjoy comments and hearing what folk have to say, but I feel like the elemental guide posts actually discouraged commenting and set a bit of a silent tone for the blog.

      The circumstances which are forcing me to give up ZAP! are also making blogging rather difficult, but I have no plans to “shut down” even if there ends up being a bit of a dry patch (which hopefully there won’t be).

      Edit @ Thing: yes, it’s a proper “job”.

      Posted by Charles | September 27, 2010, 11:29 pm
  4. I never take the time to stop and comment on peoples sites but I had to stop and drop a comment to tell you that I love your site. I find it very unique and entertaining. Keep up the good work. Great post too by the way!

    Posted by wowrarespawns | September 28, 2010, 10:42 am
  5. It has only been in the past few months that I really blew the dust of my languishing Resto/Elemental Shaman and decided to get him geared up and ready for Cataclysm. In that time, I fell in love with the class over again and have decided to make him my main for Catacylsm and let my Hunter take a nice vacation in the Echo Isles.
    ZAP! has been absolutely instrumental in helping me fine tune my Elemental spec and gear and learn the spec properly. So thank you so much for it, even if I only used it for a short time, it was hugely valuable.

    I am very glad to learn that Bink is working on an Elemental side for EnhSim, that’s quite exciting.

    Posted by Shockeye | September 28, 2010, 10:04 pm
  6. This has been the go-to site for me for a good long while. Your blog has been a great resource and fun to read. I’ll keep reading whatever you blog about. Good luck in your endeavors.

    Out of curiosity, will you still be playing WoW when Cataclysm hits?

    Posted by Gubjub | September 29, 2010, 8:23 pm
    • I have no plans to quit WoW, mostly because there are so many good friends who I keep in touch with via the game. But following Cataclysm’s launch I’ll probably not be playing a vast amount as I find the questing / levelling part of the game especially tiring and somewhat unrewarding. Usually when I get a character to the endgame I find it easier to play at a higher level.

      Posted by Charles | September 30, 2010, 1:54 pm
      • Yeah, the grind to endgame can be brutal, but I have to say that I enjoyed the variety of quests and landscape introduced in wrath very much. I expect Cata will be lots of fun to see how the world has changed. That and I’ve wanted to play a goblin since the game came out. Though I will have to level my main to endgame first!

        Posted by Gubjub | September 30, 2010, 2:48 pm
  7. Well…don’t know exactly what to say. Over the last couple of years SEIC and ZAP have and will be a very good source of information regarding the theorycrafting behind elemental damage. Despite the changes that will take place when cata hits many of the mechanics will stay the same. The spreadsheets of Bink and you always gave me inspiration and ideas for the development of my own maths and spreadsheets (for my chars I only use my own spreadsheets. Need to have everything under my control).

    Thank you for your work and dedication over the last months. ZAP helped me solve some mathematical problems. I hope that you will continue blogging and that we will read something about elemental shaman in the future.

    /thx /hug /encourage /awe /luck

    Posted by Taser | October 5, 2010, 1:37 pm
  8. Does anybody still have a copy of ZAP!Spreadsheet?Would like to have it back as I’m back on WotLK.

    Posted by ts3kata | March 7, 2012, 12:00 pm
  9. ZAP Download link? Thanks in advance.

    Posted by Niko | April 29, 2014, 2:06 pm


  1. Pingback: Totem Talk: Elemental mana management for Cataclysm | Warcraft Ink - October 8, 2010

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