A quick introduction on how to set up and use MaxDps: a WoW addon for improving your DPS rotation
Improving DPS is the number one goal of any damage dealer in World of Warcraft. Fortunately, there are many resources to help with this goal; everything from written and video guides to addons. In my last post, I took a look at one of those addons: Hekili. This time around, I want to look at MaxDps Rotation Helper, an addon alternative to Hekili.
How does the MaxDps addon work?
As a rotation helper, the purpose of MaxDps is to help you cast the right spells at the right time. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of a rotation, I would encourage you to check out my Rotation Beginner’s Guide article.
To help you with your rotation, MaxDps adds a visual cue to your action bars which tells you what spell you should cast next. By default, the next offensive spell you should cast appears in a white circle and important cooldowns are circled in green.
Once you press the spell circled in white, it will update and the circle will jump to the next recommended spell.
Here is an example of MaxDps on a Boomkin. You will notice the one white circle for the recommended cast and green circles which indicate that my cooldowns are up.
You can also set up an icon for the spell suggestions by using the Weakauras addon. I created a YouTube video that walks you through setting up MaxDps and the icon if you are more of a visual person.
The rotations in MaxDps come from something called SimulationCraft action lists. These Action lists are created by running computer simulations of combat and spell order for every class in the game. The result is a theoretical best cast order for your specialization.
It is also important to note that MaxDps does not work below the maximum level. The author of the addon cites 3 reasons for this: it is too much work to implement, you don’t need to maximize DPS while leveling, mobs die fast anyway.
How to install MaxDps
Installing MaxDps is pretty straightforward and can be installed like any other addon. If aren’t sure how to install addons, feel free to read my guide on How to Install WoW Addons in 2021.
MaxDps requires you to install 2 different addons —MaxDps Rotation Helper and your classes’ module as well. As an example, if I was using MaxDps on a hunter, I would need to download the main addon and the MaxDps Hunter addon.
If you forget to download the class module, the addon will not work and you will get several errors in your chatbox when logging in. If MaxDps gives you the error, “Failed to enable addon!” you can usually fix it by making sure you installed the proper class module.
MaxDps for Classic WoW
At the time of writing this article, I tested MaxDps in both retail and classic. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the addon to work in classic because I couldn’t find the class submodule on CurseForge. Additionally, the addon hadn’t been updated in over 7 months (April 2021).
If you are looking for an addon like MaxDps for classic, check out Conflict Rotation Optimizer Classic (ConROC).
How to use the MaxDps addon
Using MaxDps is pretty straightforward. After you have installed it, you log in to the game and enter combat. You have to be in combat for the recommendations to start showing. From there, you just press the recommended spells and MaxDps does the rest.
You can perform some basic customizations to the appearance and performance of MaxDps. To access the basic options, you can open the menu with ESC, click ‘Interface’ and then select the ‘AddOns’ tab.
Within the MaxDps options, you can change how fast the addon updates recommendations, the appearance of the overlay on your action bars, and custom glow options. You can also change the shape of the action bar overlay to a star or aura around the abilities. Here is an example of what it looks like when you use the “Starburst” shape instead of circles.
For more advanced users, you can also use some of the debugging options available on the tab.
For more advanced users, you can open the full list of options with /maxdps and define custom rotations.
Defining a custom rotation requires you to understand your optimal rotation and how to code it into the options window. While I know how to code in several programming languages… the idea of coding my custom rotation feels overwhelming, but if that is your cup of tea, go for it!
Is MaxDps Good?
Like I mentioned in my article on Hekili, there is a love-hate relationship in the player base when it comes to rotation helper addons. Some players credit them with taking the game to the next level, while others see them as a crutch that will hold you back in the long run.
My opinion falls somewhere in the middle. I think rotation helpers can be useful as you begin playing a new class and try to get a feel for the rhythm of the spells.
In a recent article I wrote, I tested MaxDps against 4 other rotation addons and found that most of them could increase my DPS. If you want to read about my full test, you can check out Best DPS Rotation Addon in WoW!
Ultimately, rotation helper addons are like training wheels on a bike. They can help you get started and learn to cruise, but you will want to learn to play without them eventually. A big part of this has to do with knowing how to adapt to certain fights and improve your situational awareness. It can be hard to dodge the fire on the ground if you tunnel on the circles on your action bar. Once again, that is my opinion. I would be interested in hearing about your experiences with rotation addons in the comments.
Final Thoughts and Important Links
Overall, MaxDps can be a helpful addon as you begin learning your rotation. I like the way the circles on the action bar guide you through which spell to cast. Following the pattern feels a little like you are playing Guitar Hero while doing damage.
If you want to use it as a learning tool, I think you would need to be really focused on understanding why each spell was being recommended. To be honest, I found myself zoning out and pressing the recommended key without thinking about why. If your goal is to improve your DPS, you need to know what to cast and why.