Useful Sites for Aspiring World of Warcraft Players

This week Byron "Messiah" Mudry takes a look at some of the great websites out there that help World of Warcraft raiders and aspiring raiders improve their game. While these sites and resources are not for everyone, they are almost mandatory reading for anyone who really wants to take their game to the top level.

Players of any game now take the amount of information that they can gather outside of the game itself almost for granted. Just like any video game there are many great World of Warcraft sites that the majority of players have never heard of. While there are the sites, like our very own Ten Ton Hammer, that cater to the average player and focus on the over all game, there are many more that focus on raiding and character improvement.
Some of the sites I want to discuss today are sites that many raiders use as reference and tuning tools to help them improve their abilities in game. The other sites discussed are also useful for tuning but have the added advantage of helping you narrow down who should and should not get invites to a raid or group, when you are forced to PUG players.

These sites are not for everyone, as many players simply seek to play the game.  Playing the game and succeeding at some level is good enough for them.  There are also those that want to push the limit and to excel. For all those that really want to advance and improve their play, these sites should be considered required viewing. is a site that many DPS fanatics swear by.  While DPS is always fluid and changes based on each fight, rotation and situation, what this site does it try to provide a base line estimate of what gear is better that what other gear.  Taken as a base estimate and not absolute gospel, it is amazingly useful.

Head slot item rankings for non-hit capped Death Knights..

For many players this is the site to use for gear planning.  You can go into each slot and see where the item you have ranks and its relative DPS and make a plan on what to replace it with.  If a current item provides 100 DPS and the next 3 are listed at 102, 105 and 125 then you can make the logical choice to not bother wasting time on the next 2 very slight upgrade items, but instead focus on the largest DPS upgrade item.  For many players this makes gear choices much easier, since it is not always clear how much damage +crit adds compared to +hit, +haste, +attack power or +spell power.

One important thing to keep in mind is that to be truly representational you can not just accept the default stats that the site inputs.  You really need to import your own characters stats to get the best match.  A prime example of when this is critical is when a DPS character is hit capped.  When not hit capped, the site ranks +hit gear very heavily since you need to be hit capped to do maximum damage in raids.  However if you are hit capped, then further +hit gear does not help you, it hurts you by taking item points that could be allocated to some other useful stat and continues to put them into +hit.  This means that you constantly need to refresh your list based on current stats as you change gear and enchants around.

While this site initially started as a DPS only site, they have several classes healing builds online as well.  This allows you to rate healing gear for those classes as well.

This site is a character comparison site that attempts to relate gear, gems, and enchants to a gear score.  In addition it shows which gear, gems, and enchants can be upgraded and where you can find those upgrades. 

Dëspairs WoW-Heros listing

When starting to raid this site is a great way to look at and rank your gear, and to find improvements.  Sometimes things slip no matter how closely we look at our characters.  This site provides a second set of eyes to look over and point out what can be improved. 

One great use for a site like this is when forced to PUG players for a raid or instance.  How often has it happened that you have to revert to looking for group since 1 or 2 players did a no show for your 25 player guild raid, you grab 2 from LFG only to find out they are in blues and greens.  With this site you can do a quick search on their name and find out a relative score that should give you a rough idea on what you can expect.

MessiahÂ’s recommendations:

While not absolute since different classes and specs function differently at different gear levels, this is what I look for when pugging a player. NOTE:  I am very harsh on expectations, since I want fast no issue runs, so these may be viewed as high by some people.  To me though, if I do not know anything about the person that I am inviting, I would rather be tough on gear in the hope that a better geared player at least understands how to play since they got the higher level gear.  This is not always the case, but thatÂ’s a whole other story, and potential article!




Level 80 Instances



Vault of Archavon



(Spider, Plague, Military  wings)



Naxxramas (Construct wing and upper level)



Eye of Eternity






A note on gear score to keep in mind, it can be cheated! Just because you have a higher score does not mean that it is actually better gear.  Players attempt to get higher scores by mixing in higher level items in slots from off-specs, for example a DPS paladin equipping an item level 200 ring meant for healers just to get a higher gear score.  It can be as simple as a tank equipping all their highest level gear at once even though in that gear they have less avoidance or defence than they require or can get in a few lower level but better itemized pieces of gear. 

Also, gear score does not always (or even often) relate to player ability.  It is not uncommon at all to have two players both playing the same class and same build, and have the one that has a lower gear score do more damage, more healing, or tank better.  This is due to player ability, and no amount of gear will make a bad player good.  A good player can however make bad gear look good.

What this means is that while gear scores from this and other sites are useful, they are not gospel and should not be taken as such.

A look at what has to say about Dëspair.

This is a character improvement tool that has been around for a while.  You can enter your (or any other) character name and get a report on that character.  It provides a brief synopsis on what is good and bad about the character based on its current talent build.

The site provides a list of improvements that are possible such as gems, enchants, and gear.  If you have missed a gem socket, put a wrong color gem in, used an improper enchant, or any number of other minor errors, this site will clearly point them out.  It also links to with build in filters to help find better gear for each armour slot.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, near the bottom of the page it provides a gear score to help compare that character to others.  It then also equates the gear score to two sliding graphs that show the content that the character can logically participate in and which content has the next logical gear upgrades in.

A standard report filtered to show just boss fights, after all who cares about trash.

This is by far my favourite site out there for raiders.  Wowwebstats is a site that collects and correlates Warcraft combat logs into insanely useful web pages that display everything you could ever want to know and more about raid or instance run.  Many players ask “Why would you want to know all of this?” My comment back is why wouldnÂ’t you? 

When raiding, there are a few types of players. To vastly simplify, there are those that are happy to gear up enough to get through and beat a raid and there are those that must lead In every stat, whether itÂ’s being the top DPS, best tank, or best healer.  These are the players that must constantly improve to satisfy their own internal drive.  These are the players that strive to live the army motto online “Be the best that you can be”.

This is a site for those that strive to be better than everyone else.  If you spend 1000Â’s respeccing, regemming, working on rotations on the combat dummies, trying healing or tanking rotations, all to pick up 2 or 3% efficiency, then this is the site for you.

A more detailed look at Dëspair

You can get into any number of tuning tools on this site, drilling down to what you did in each fight.  While complicated to learn to use the simplest thing to do is log one run, change something, log another run and then compare yourself from one run to the other.  This allows you to quantify how a change helps or hurts in a fight.  It also allows you to compare against other players.  For example if you play a hunter, and you have the same gear score and talent build as another hunter, but that hunter does 3400 dps in a raid, while you only manage 2400, you can start digging in to find out why.  Some simple things to look at is where each of your damage comes from, how often each is using each type of attack, the length of time in combat attacking, how often you are each using trinkets and cooldown abilities, and much more. While the first thing to do is always to ask the other player for help, sometimes seeing is believing, and seeing hard numbers usually helps.

One of the most important uses of this tool is to help raid leaders and guild officers analyze runs to find out who is doing what, and who they should be spending time helping.  If a guild is struggling on a fight, you can attempt the fight several times and then analyze the logs to see what is truly going on.  Maybe one person is not doing enough damage, healing or getting caught by some effect too often.  Many times this can be missed in the heat of a battle.  Looking at it after the fact is generally far easier for players.

Dëspairs warcraftrealms report

This is a site that many guilds use when recruiting players.  When you have run with someone a few times and are thinking of inviting them to your guild permanently, it is always a good idea to check out their past history.  This site allows you to search any character and find out all sorts of historical information. 

The thing to look for here is what guilds they have been in and how often they have switched.  If you are recruiting for raids and they have been bouncing from guild to guild, they may not be the best person to invite, since they are likely to grab some loot and bail.  While this is not always the case, there can be extenuating circumstances behind guild hopping, you should at least ask at that point.  On the other hand, they may have only ever been in 1 or 2 guilds previously, it may be a good idea to ask why they are looking at changing and what their expectations are.  Either way, going in with some knowledge about the character gives you something to talk about.  After all any guild invite should be move involved than typing the persons name into the invite box.

The Loading GuildOx page

Once you have started raiding and are making progress, many players find it useful to have something to compete against. Guildox provides just that competition. You can use it to look at your guild or any other guild and see where they are and how they rank, either against others on your server or in the whole world. Competition is almost always a good way to get ahead. Many guilds look at their progression rank, and decide that if they were number 10 on their server, they want to try to beat it with the next raid released. This leads to players pushing harder and competing against themselves, past performances, and other guilds to constantly improve.

One of the great things about guildox, is that it will provide ranks for both 10 and 25 man raids. This means that even if you are from a small guild you can still compete against other guilds evenly, by just looking at the 10 man content. Many other ranking sites simply look at the 25 man content when determining guild ranks.


These are just a few of the great raiding sites out there.  As a player and a raider you should always be looking to improve, and these sites can help.  There are many other useful ones out there, such as the elitist jerks, wowjutsu, Skeleton Jack (for Death Knights), Maintankadin (for Paladins), Big Red Kitty (for Hunters), and many more.

A key thing to keep in mind is the quote “Stagnation is death”.  When you stop attempting to improve you will start to decline.  With that in mind, always try to learn more, it can only make you a better player.

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