Note: I'm going to use the term "spreadsheet" hereafter, but this isn't designed to exclude projects like Rawr or iDPS; its simply a whole heckofalot shorter to type "spreadsheet" than to list "spreadsheet/calculator/simulator/modeling tool/etc." every time.
Before I being, I'd like to make a distinction. A typical spreadsheet actually has 3 major components:
- Input - A means of entering your gear, gems, enchants, reforges, talents, buffs, and preferences into the sheet.
- Damage Calculator - A way of distilling the information in the first part down to a DPS estimate.
- Output - Something that takes the results of the damage calculator and presents them in a useful fashion. This usually takes the form of gear comparison (sometimes using EP, as in my spreadsheet; sometimes not, as, for instance, Rawr does), but could include other things as well (cycle comparisons, talent point valuations, etc.)
Now, usually, these are all baked into a single tool for a variety of reasons that I won't get into; but fundamentally, there's no real reason that has to be the case. You could theoretically take Mavanas's or Vulajin's sheet and attach the gear selection and recommendation page from my sheet onto it. It'd be a lot of work and you'd need to make some minor adjustments here and there - there are certainly reasons it hasn't been done - but I think it is useful to think about the problem this way. To see why, consider the problem of Rawr - it historically has really had no real rogue modeling in it (though that's started to change recently). Part 2 was missing - so it was useless. But that doesn't necessarily mean that parts 1 or 3 are bad, and hence we can look at them and see what we do and don't like about them, setting aside for the moment that the whole thing doesn't actually work.
With this in mind, lets discuss for a minute what we do and don't like about the various spreadsheets that have existed. We've seen quite a bit of diversity in spreadsheet design over the last couple of years - just off the top of my head, we've had:
and possibly one or two others that I'm forgetting. And these exhibit a wide variety of designs and features - some of which are good, and some of which are not. Hence, the questions I'd like to consider - with particular consideration to pieces 1 and 3 above - are:
a) Which aspect(s) of these sheets do you particularly like?
Which aspect(s) of these sheets do you particularly dislike?
c) Are there any features you've seen in tools from other classes that you'd like to see included in rogue sheets?
That is: set aside which sheets are or aren't the most accurate for a moment and ask: assuming all gave perfect answers, which one(s) would you be using, and why? Which one does a good job of allowing you to enter gear? Which gives the most useful information in terms of answering the questions that brought you to the sheet in the first place? Do you prefer to be able to enter your cycle, or should the sheet calculate it for you? If you could change one thing about one of the sheets above, what would it be? Do people prefer spreadsheets, or standalone programs? What do people think of the notion of a webapp? How about an in-game mod?
Basically: we're probably going to be building some new tools completely from scratch over the coming weeks and months. This is your chance to request from the authors of those tools what features you'd like to see. Tell us what your ideal sheet would look like.
The other point I'd like to talk a little bit about is the actual process of writing the stupid things, and in particular see if there is interest in developing some tools collaboratively. That is: my sense is that there are probably a number of you reading this who have thought at one time or another that it would be fun/interesting/whatever to work on a sheet, or looked at something one of the existing authors is doing and said "well *I* could do better than that". And here's your chance.
See, personally, my interest - and my strength - is in part 2. Oh, I write the other parts of the sheet because they're necessary, and I put a fair amount of time in them because I think they're important... but really, its not what I'm good at. And since my time to work on such projects is going to be limited in ways that it hasn't been in the past, what I've started to wonder is: would it make sense for me to work entirely on the modeling component, and let other people write the other pieces? And are there people out there that would be interested in doing so? And it occurs to me that I'm probably not the only person in this position. So it seems like it might be worth seeing how many people there are who might be working on part - but not necessarily all - of a spreadsheet (or modeling program of another sort - again, it doesn't need to be written in Excel), such that the people interesting in writing one part of a sheet can meet up with the people interesting in writing the other parts, hopefully resulting in us getting more better sheets faster.
So if you're interested in working on a sheet - seriously interested, and willing to put significant time in (this isn't something you can do on an hour a week) and really own a piece of it, and really feel like you'd be good at it, feel free to post in this thread and let us know what parts you're interested in working on, any restrictions on what you're willing to work on (i.e., if you're interested in doing a webapp but not a spreadsheet, or vice versa), and any other information you think might be helpful. And if you see someone interested in working on something that would complement what you're interested in working on, feel free to contact them to try to set something up. I'm not trying to force anyone to work with anyone they don't want to, I'm just interested in seeing if there are people interested in working together to try to get a couple of decent tools going, and seeing if we can do it a bit faster than we did at the start of Wrath.