Archive for the ‘World of Logs’ category

Troubleshooting – “Help! Why are my numbers low?”

September 24, 2011

I don’t get questions very often. Not blogging much anymore will do that. But over the years, there’s been one question that’s come up a lot:

How do I get my numbers up?

Its cousin question is worth mentioning too: “This paladin is new to my guild and their numbers are terrible, what are they doing wrong?

Obligatory Side Note on Healing Meters

Do I really need to say that healing meters should be approached with caution? After so many essays around the WoW community about how healing meters work, I’m probably wasting my typing energy, but to avoid having to clarify things later on, here’s your basic “how to look at healing meters“.

When looking at healing logs, look at the big picture. Healing meters are a detail in that big picture.

Let’s look at this snapshot:

The random pally is slightly behind the random druid. Not a big enough gap to send out alarm bells. Different fights and different healing strategies might give one player more healing done than another. Heck, I’ve seen Baleroc logs where the Death Knight tank was way ahead of any healer on the meters.

But there could be a problem. The random pally could have let their assignment(s) die while goofing around, blowing cooldowns. They could have kept healing after a wipe was called. They could have been spamming healing on themselves while standing in crap. The recorded segment might even have been too short to get a clear image of the general healing output.

The random pally’s numbers aren’t a problem, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that random pally is problem-free.

As for “You”, You’s numbers are a problem. But maybe You died early. If it’s a one-time occurrence, it’s nothing to be concerned about. But if all of You’s healing meters look like this, then this post is for You.

Your numbers are low because…

1) You’re not casting enough

I’ve got Codi‘s cheerful voice stamped in my head from the Raid Warning Holy Paladin Roundtable: “ABC! Always be casting!

This is the main problem with low numbers. You’re not going to get any healing done if you’re not casting heals. (Duh)

Case in point, lets look at the amount of casts from each paladin from the above snapshot:

Random Pally:

You:

You cast 7 Flash of Lights while Random Pally didn’t, but otherwise:

Random Pally cast 21 Divine Lights while You only cast 8.
Random Pally got 163 Beacon of Light transfers while You only got 69.
Random Pally cast 28 Holy Shocks while You only cast 14.

Get the idea?

Lows cast numbers are usually cause by one or more of the following:

- Waiting for damage: This is super common in new holy paladins. Don’t wait for damage. Unless you’re pressed for mana or you’re clearly not expecting any damage, you should have holy lights and holy shocks going at pretty much all times. Also learn each fight’s damage patterns to anticipate when to start reving up those massive heals.

- Bad healing frames: You need frames that leave enough room on your screen to see the fight, that make targeting heals easy and that let you see the buffs/debuffs you need to track. If you want a big selection, Grimmtooth wrote a fantastic frames comparison series. Otherwise, I suggest using whichever addon the other healers in your team use. That way, if you need help, you’ll have a few experts at your disposal.

- Bad computer/internet: It sucks, but you wouldn’t play hockey with a broken stick and broken skates, would you? If your equipment is so bad that you’re not able to do anything in raids, hold off on the raiding until you can get some functional equipment. (The good news is that the equipment requirements for raiding 10 mans at a casual level aren’t that high.)

- Low haste: Actually, when huge discrepancies occur on healing meters, gear differences will be the most minor factor. I mean, gear will up your numbers, that’s why we get gear and gem it and reforge it. But among the other low healing output culprits listed here, gear will have the least effect.

Your numbers are low because…

2) Your Beacon Strategy Needs Tweeking

Now that you’re casting more, have a look at who you’re casting Beacon on. If you’re unsure of how to visualize Beacon (and other buff/debuff) uptime, I’ve got a detailed how-to at your disposal.

- Keep it up: On the picture here, Beacon fell off. Beacon should be up at all times. All times. If your Beacon is falling off, find some frames that show you clearly how much time you have left on Beacon.

- Choose your target carefully: Beacon of Light targets should fit in with your healing strategy. When you’re talking about strategy in your healer chat pre (or post)-pull, bring up your reasoning for your Beacon target so your teamates can work with it. While Beacon alone won’t keep a tank up, it’ll still be a major part of your healing and it’s very important to do it right. You can read about choosing a Beacon target here (it’s a bit dated and was written with 25s in mind, but the gist of it is still applicable).

Your numbers are low because…

3) You’re Not Using Cooldowns

When briefing new paladins, I often stress the cooldown rotation aspect of paladin healing. We’re like tanks that way: we’ve got so many cooldown that we’re not healing anywhere near our full potential if we’re not using them regularly.

The cooldown usage for “You” here was actually pretty good (especially considering this was a 4 minute Ragnaros attempt). Divine Favor or Lay on Hands didn’t show up on the list, but otherwise, You was using their toolbox pretty extensively.

When remembering to use cooldowns is an issue start practicing. Run some 5 mans or some battlegrounds and hit your cooldowns whenever they come up. Once they become second nature, reflect on the opportune moments to use them. But get in the habit of actually using before you start sitting on them “just in case”. We have so many cooldowns that you’ll usually have at least one available for emergencies.

Your numbers are low because…

4) You’re Using the Wrong Spells

This is the least likely to responsible for low healing numbers. After cooldown and Beacon usage is out of the way, our healing is pretty straightforward: Holy Shock on cooldown, Holy Light as a base heal and Divine Light as a major-damage heal. Some paladins use Flash of Light when in an emergency. (I’ve seen some use Flash of Light as their base heal, but I wouldn’t. It’s a lot of mana wastage.)

But if you want to get technical, lets look at “You”‘s spell breakdown again.

Holy Shock wasn’t used on cooldown. Holy Light should have been cast a lot more. A lot more. There was mana wastage with 7 uses of Flash of Light – if there were truly 7 emergencies during that attempt, at least several could have been avoided with a more consistent use of Holy Light.

As for Holy Power sinks (Word of Glory vs Light of Dawn), Word of Glory is the typical option in 10s and when healing a non-Beacon target. Light of Dawn is fantastic in 25s (though there has been some tweeking with the Holy Power sink spells so I don’t know if Light of Dawn still offers more tank healing via Beacon than Word of Glory) and has some leverage in 10s when the team is grouped up for major splash damage.

Your numbers are low because…

5) You’re Not Judging Enough

Random Paladin:

You:

Unless there’s an excruciatingly healing-intensive moment, Judgement should be used on cooldown. On cooldown.

The first paladin here judged 12 times, the other judged 7. Something’s not right.

While Judging won’t directly increase your healing done (the tiny self heal you get from judging is insignificant) the effect it has on mana during the fight is noticeable. More mana means more freedom to use bigger heals and less Divine Pleas, which will influence your output (and usefulness).

I keep a button with Judgement on my bars so I can see when it comes off cooldown, but you’ll find that with some practice, you’ll feel the rythm of paladin healing and will just know when you can cast it again. Keep the attack target targetted (or have a Judgement macro that assists the tank) and bind Judgement to an easy key (I move with ESDF, so I have Judgement bound to “R”, it’s super easy to hit).

So Cast, Judge and be Merry

There you have them: the keys to keeping up with your teammates in terms of healing done. Don’t stop casting, put some thought into your Beacons, use your Cooldowns, pick your spells properly and judge. That’s all there is to it.

Holy Paladin 4.1 Mastery with World of Logs Pictures

May 5, 2011

Patch 4.1 brought on some changes to our Mastery. Two changes:

1) Shields last 15 seconds instead of 8.
2) Each point of Mastery increases the amount absorbed by 1.50%, up from 1.25%

These changes triggered the following question: Should I still avoid Mastery?

My generic response was: “I don’t have any logs to look at and I haven’t had the chance to read about others’ experiences, but the changes look pretty minor to me.

Now that I have looked at the discussions on Elitist Jerks and Plus Heal, or rather the lack-thereof discussions, my answer is pretty much the same. I find that, with the exception of intellect/spell power which pwns them all, the value of all our throughput stats is somewhat subjective. Haste is generally preferred as the few extra casts during a fight are more practical than unreliable Crit procs or the mini-heals during global cooldowns Mastery shields offer.

One person on EJ brought up logs of someone who was getting some nice bang for his buck out of Mastery, which I felt like talking about.

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Deaths Overview Game – The Solution

October 12, 2010

Yesterday I posted the following image and challenged everyone to figure out how these two players died simultaneously:

Everyone who volunteered an answer (including a couple of guildies over vent last night) was on the right track. It’s impossible to tell exactly what happened from the very limited information, so I was really impressed.

The solution after the break! (Sorry people reading from feedreaders, I can’t manually truncate posts that go to readers.)

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World of Logs: Looks at Deaths (featuring the Lich King)

October 11, 2010

Note: I’d like to give a big thanks to Kurn for her help is preparing this post. <3 Even without seeing the logs, she was able to catch some things I didn’t.

So I received this question the other day:

We’re working on Lich King [10 man] and we’re dying a lot to Infest, especially when I [disc priest] get picked up by Valks. Can you show me log-reading tricks so I can figure what our healers are doing wrong?

Like any other question I get, I immediately countered with “Can I post about it on my blog?

It’s a bit strange writing about World of Logs (and the LK fight) this late into the expansion, especially with the patch coming out tomorrow and most everyone being stalled for a few days. Hopefully, though, WoL won’t face too many changes. While the fight will soon be obsolete, I’ve got my fingers crossed that working with WoL will essentially stay the same.

As usual, if any of you readers see something I missed, feel free to weight in. Only keep in mind that the raiders in these parses are not my thick-skinned, accustomed-to-being-blogged-about guildies. Most of them don’t know they’re making an appearance here, so please be tactful. Also note that they have killed Lich King and this is really just an exercise in WoL reading.

Also, if you’re looking for more about parse reading, please see:
A close look at World of Logs (Kadomi – Tank Like a Girl)
An Intro to WoL: Wading through the data (Vixsin – Life in Group 5)
The Next Step with WoL: Healing Analysis (Vixsin – Life in Group 5)
Raid Rx: How to read healing parses (or meters) (Matticus – WoW Insider)
What Can Healing Meter Tell You? (Sydera – World of Matticus)
World of Logs and Evaluating a Paladin Healer: Some Basics (Yours truly)
Lets help this Holy Pally not suck at Putricide (Yours truly)

Step One: Looking at the Fight

After an evening of wipes, you’ll want to look at any attempt that lasted longer than a minute or two. For the sake of this post, I’m going to pick Try #5. At 5min47s, it’s long enough for stuff to happen, but short enough to make the graphic editing simpler.

Since I’m looking at deaths and, thus, causes of wipes, I want to take a general look of what happened during this attempt. World of Logs graphs different aspects of the attempts, notably your raid’s damage output, your raid’s healing output and the damage taken by your raid. To get an overall picture of a multiphased fight like the Lich King, I’m going to go with Damage Taken.

And now you see a nice collection of squiggly lines with a few straight lines cutting through them.


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World of Logs and Evaluating a Paladin Healer: Some Basics

August 15, 2010

This post will be long, very long, but shorter than it should be. I could do a whole series on using WoL to evaluate a holy pally, but I won’t. See, I’d do one good post and neglect the rest. So I’m going to talk a bit about the first thing I check when we get a new holy pally running with us: buffs cast.

I’m keeping the images small to keep them from stretching my page too much, but feel free to click on them to see them better.

Finding Buffs Cast

To reach the Buffs Cast screen, select a player from the menu on the top screen: Player -> Paladin -> Playername

Then you’ll want to choose a particular fight to audit. Here we’ll pick the longest Sindragosa attempt.

Once you’re in a players’ screen and have chosen a fight, click on the Buffs Cast tab.

It’s as simple as that!

What to look for

In the Buffs Cast menu, the first column on the left lists the buffs cast by the player during the fight. All of them are of some sort of interest, but we’re going to focus on three for now:

Beacon of Light
Sacred Shield
Judgements of the Pure

These are the three basic “buffs” that any pally should have up nearly 100% of a fight, if not the whole fight. To look at them graphically, hit the pound (#) sign next to the buff name. You’ll notice Sacred Shield (SS) is mentionned twice. It’s because the proc that happens when SS is up is also called Sacred Shield. Pick the one with the highest uptime and least amount of applications.

Once you do that, you should see a graph with green bands under it. The graph represents the entire time of the fight and each band represents the uptime of an individual spell.

What to Make of It

Let’s have a look at this paladins buff uptime.

Judgements of the Pure was up for nearly the whole fight, which is good. In healing intensive or in cast restrictive fights, the buff from Judgements of the Pure might fall off. It’s nothing to stress about if it’s quickly reapplied, such as in this case. If, however, a paladin goes for big chucks of the fight without Judgements of the Pure, ask some questions.

Next, let’s look at Sacred Shield. You can see it was up three times, with large chunks of fight in between. This isn’t good. If there are several holy paladins in the fight, this could mean a lack of communication causing the paladins to overwrite each other’s Sacred Shield. To know who was targeted by a buff, mouse over the corresponding green band. You can check on all the holy paladins in the raid to see they’re shielding the same target. You can also check if your paladins are selecting reasonable recipients. The main tank is typically the first choice for an SS, but anyone taking periodic damage can benefit from the spell.

A paladin’s usage of SS will say a lot about their playstyle. After reading a lot of logs, you’ll quickly notice that neglecting the buff is a pretty common fault. A paladin that keeps a Shield up along with their healing is often a sign of someone who goes the extra mile and makes sure they’re wringing every bit of healing out of their character.

Finally, Beacon of Light. I picked this particular log because I know this player struggles with Beacon of Light usage. This Sindragosa attempt is no different. Beacon of Light was used twice and kept up for less than half of the fight. This isn’t acceptable. If there’s a spell that should be up at all times, no exceptions, it’s Beacon of Light. Most of the time, it’ll be on a tank (again, to check who’s being Beaconned, mouse over the corresponding green band). In some healing intensive fights, the paladin will need to direct heal a single tank, but Beacon should still be used.

But This is Heroic Sindypoos!

I’ve yet to try Heroic Sindragosa because I can’t raid these days, but from reading parses from successful guilds, I’ve noticed that it’s not polite to rack of stacks of Instability. One could play devil’s advocate and suggest that maybe this paladin was crippled with Unchained Magic throughout the attempt.

Lets take a look at that. Select the “Buffs Gained” tab. Under the middle column (debuffs), hit the pound sign next to “Unchained Magic”.

The buffs you’ve already selected will stay on the graph, and you’ll add Unchained Magic uptime.

We can see this paladin had Unchained Magic up three times. We can forgive not refreshing JotP/SS/BoL anytime the debuff is up, but any other downtime is fair game for questioning.

Observing debuffs uptimes can come in handy for other fights too. The post-getting-smashed-by-malleable goo debuff on Putricide comes to mind. You can sometimes use this trick to spy on Dreamwalker stacks as well. I’ve frequently caught my guildies lying after the fight… They don’t know that I know. (It’s not always listed as a debuff though. No idea why sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.)

Other Points of Interest

Using the buff list, you can also see whether the paladin was using an appropriate aura (on this parse, notice that Concentration Aura was used, typically you’ll want an aura that fits bests with Aura Mastery, so on Sindragosa, Frost Resistance Aura would be preferable), whether and when they used any cooldowns (check especially for Aura Mastery and Divine Sacrifice, neither were used here) and, in the case of a holy light paladin, how often Light’s Grace was active.

You can also monitor Divine Plea usage. (For you non paladins, Divine Plea regens mana at the cost of a 50% healing reduction.) When was Divine Plea used? Was it offset by another spell? Compare the timing of Divine Plea with healing bonus or mana cost reduction cooldowns such as Divine Illumination, Hospitality and Avenging Wrath.

Remember That Parses Only Tell Part of the Story

I’ll admit I’m guilty of completely ripping players apart by their logs. Then I proceed to get ripped apart for my logs. The thing is, always question before blaming. There’s more going on to a fight than what you can read on paper (or on computer screen). From logs, you can find pointers, repeated mistakes and so on. But they’ll only tell you so much.

I also need to add the disclaimer that this post only goes over a tiny part of what you can get out of World of Logs. For evaluating a paladin, though, I seem to run to the buff pages before I view the heal meters, the damage taken meters and the brute, untouched combat log. I guess one could say the buff page serves as a starting point, as the “once upon a time” part of the story.

Lets help this Holy Pally not suck at Putricide

January 20, 2010

Healing meters have to be taken with a grain a salt. Or rather with a whole block of salt, iceberg style. What do I mean? Well, the overall effective healing done page on WoW stat tools like World of Logs does give us some useful information, but the bulk of the usefulness is hidden below the surface.

In other words, I was a bit concerned by the meters in our Putricide attempts last Monday. I started tearing them apart, trying to figure out the problem(s). As I was having the time of my life (I love, love, love stats!), it dawned on me that I should share how I go about exploring poor performance.

Overall healing done for Putricide attempts

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