But fear not, friends! There are tools out there that will make your lives considerably easier.
Ask Mr Robot
What? Olivia, you nincompoop, Ask Mr Robot isn't an addon, it's a website! Silly brits, always mixing everything up. But you're wrong, since January 10th, there has been a great little addon that tags along with the well-known and widely used website. And since 5.4 dropped, it's started bringing the site's robotic advice straight to your characters in-game! So how does it work? It's very, very easy. Head over to askmrrobot.com, and load up your character details. You'll need to choose a region, as well as a server, and type in your name. Pretty easy so far? You'll need to be logged out on the character in question and Mr Robot will pull down all your gear data from the armory. Since you asked so nicely.
Once he's done that, you need to hit Optimized, which, confusingly, is in the past tense these days. There are drop-downs that let you pick different presets, as well as various other options, but that's for another guide on another day.
Now obviously these reforges, the stat weights, the priorities, everything is taken from askmrrobot.com. There's no option to change these in-game, so you would still have to log in and out to get your reforging recommendations set up with every new piece of gear. Some might find this tiresome, but regular robot users will be accustomed to it.
This has been something of a whistle-stop tour of Ask Mr Robot's addon, but it's so full of easy to use features that I could rattle on all day. However, I have a policy of showing you more than just one method to do stuff around here, so if you're after something lighter I have a couple more addons to cover.
For an addon called ReforgeLite, this does a pretty great job of being really rather daunting to look at. I know several people who have opened this up, taken one look at it, and uninstalled it, never to be used again. Simply because it looks like this:
But it's not exactly intuitive, so let me run through exactly what you need to do. First up, look at the top in the middle. There's a drop-down there called "presets", and that should load up various build options for your current character. Pick one of those, then look at "Target Level" a bit further down to ensure you're after the right one. Then you've got your stats. Say you want to mess around with the preset you chose? No problem! You can prioritize different stats, change caps, whatever you like in the section where the stats are laid out.
Once you're done, hit "calculate". Your game may well hang for a moment, mine does, but fear not, it will return. Next up, you will want to scroll right down on the scrollbar to the right, until you see the button labelled "Show". Hit that button and this will happen:
I have a love-hate relationship with ReforgeLite. It has the advantage of not having to log out and use a website to get reforging done, but its UI layout is so overcomplicated and excessive. Of all the screen space it occupies, you need maybe a third at the most, and that's if you want to play around with the stat weights etc. If you don't, you need all of three buttons. Three buttons, out of the huge initial window. I have no issues with the smaller one that pops up that allows you to actually reforge, though.
Reforgenator should really swap names with ReforgeLite. It's lite, for starters, far lighter than ReforgeLite, and uses the absolute minimum of screen space. However, it has one huge flaw, in my eyes, that I'll get to in a moment. First, let's have a look at the UI. This is brought up by hitting the minimap icon, for me at least opening the reforger window doesn't bring it up automagically.
The next two dropdowns just ask what should be reforged, and again ask whether it's for raiding, dungeons, or PvP. This is simply a level check for things like hit and expertise caps. Now, you've got the recommended reforges at the bottom. This is where Reforgenator falls down for me. Note the absence of both a gold cost and a "reforge" button? Well that's because neither is there. You have to drag the icon from the panel over to the NPC's panel, and do the reforge as specified in the Reforgenator screen. Manually. For every piece.
Now, this is far from the end of the world. And if you're just getting started on reforging addons, Reforgenator is a great little addition. It's simple, not daunting, and easy to use. But it isn't automated. Swings and roundabouts!
A word on stats, weights and caps
I think it's worth an addendum at the end of this column to note that, with the standard build selected for protection paladins, restoration shaman, fire mages and blood DKs, I got the same exact reforging advice from all three addons. I went for the middle haste cap in all cases on ReforgeLite. So I guess what I'm saying is that you shouldn't necessarily go for one over the other based on the quality of the advice. Other classes may vary!
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