Back to Basics: Becoming one with the Combat Log

One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone asks “how did I die“. Ice radiates out of me as I ask them what their combat log says. Then we have to wait 15 minutes for them to scroll until they find what they’re looking for.

It doesn’t have to be that way. There are addons available that will tell you what’s going on (I think the popular Recount can be configured to let you know how you died), but it’s so easy to use the built-in Combat Log.

Now, if you want the “illiterate arrogant bastard” setting, you’ll need a bit of that Imagination addon (which, unfortunately, cannot be downloaded from any websites). All other information is right there, on your UI, in front of you.

You can find your Combat Log hiding behind your chat box. If you mouse over the top of the box, you’ll discover your Combat Log tab. Now, you can either leave it where it is, or drag it out somewhere. I have mine pulled out to the bottom right corner to my screen because I like to keep an eye on it at all times and I would hate to lose my gossip feed any important chat information

When you have your Combat Log where you want it, right click on the tab and select “settings” and a fancy menu will appear.

The “filters” the menu speaks of are different settings you can choose based on the information you want to receive. You can edit the default ones (What happened to me, Everything, etc), but for fun, lets start one from scratch. Hit “Add Filter”, name your filter whatever you want and “Accept”.

Next, under the very first tab, “Message Sources”, check “Done to: Me” and “Done to: Pet”. If you also want your log to tell you about the damage you and your pet are doing, check “Done by: Me” and “Done by: Pet”. Of course, if want extra information, feel free to check whatever you like. Just remember that the more you check, the more crap will be in your log.

Under the next tab, “Message Types”, you can select the type of information you want your log to tell you. I have everything checked except “power gains” and “extra attacks”. Again, customize to taste, but you’ll want most of these options checked.

The next three tabs are mostly cosmetic, so it’s all up to personal taste.

– I have the “Colors” set to default.
– Under “Formatting”, I only have “verbose mode” checked but I do turn on timestamp as needed. Timestamp is ugly as heck, but it’s nice to know the timing on the damage you’re taking as well as on the heals you’re taking.
– Under “Settings”, I have everything checked. All this page does is put a shortcut to your filter on your Log’s shortcut bar.

Once you’re done, hit “Okay” and be on your way. It’s as easy as that.

And there you have it! Enjoy not having to ask how you died ever again!

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10 Comments on “Back to Basics: Becoming one with the Combat Log”

  1. Oh my God. Please make more posts like this for those of us who are severely retarded and try to change our UIs by drooling emphatically on our keyboard whilst poking our nose repeatedly against the computer screen.

    I have long wanted to fix my combat log so that it’s, oh i don’t know, USEFUL, but I needed step by step visual instructions on how to do it. You are my hero.

    Okay, enough worshipping at your feet. With these settings, will I still need to shuffle through the vast amounts of “Power Word: Awesome Fades from Jessabelle” that all seem to follow after my death? I hate how it lists all the different buffs I had that disappear after I die. Seriously, I’m dead. I know. I get it. I just want to know HOW I died without shuffling through 18 pages of faded buffs.

    • Ophelie Says:


      I mean no insult to anyone’s intelligence! I find the Combat Log to be one of those tools that players forget about but that can be so useful when used right. I also don’t find it intuitive, even though there’s tooltips when you mouse over stuff. The first time I configured it right, it was by accident. When I lost my settings, it took me forever to figure out how to get it the way I liked again. There’s still some things I can’t get quite right, such as even though I have “power gains” unchecked, you can see by the screenshot at the top of the post that it still tells me when I get mana back. (I think I might have to get rid of “other” under “periodic”…hmmmm)

      The settings I have will still have all the “fades from”. To get rid of those, unchecking “Auras” under the “Message Types” tab should do the trick. (I don’t know why I bother to keep Auras checked. I don’t use my Log to monitor my buffs. I think I’ll go uncheck that too.)

  2. Matticus Says:

    Best. Post. Ever. Maybe people’ll stop bugging me to link my death logs.

  3. I use recount and World of Logs for Death Analysis. Where modifying the combat log display truly shines is world pvp. I have a “Horde Hunter” setting which screens out anything except what nearby horde players are doing. So if a horde player gains mana from a blessing, has a buff go up or fall off, pretty much anything, I know their name, and what they’re trying. Quick /tar gives me their location, and then I have the initiative.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Oh that is very cool! I never stopped to think on how to use the combat log outside of a raid context. Thank you for the suggestion!

  4. Windsoar Says:

    This was a great post! I personally use Eavesdrop for my combat log needs (I can get it a bit smaller, and I find it much easier to decipher than whole sentences of text).

    That being said, next time I hear “How did I die,” I’m sending that raider here.

    • Ophelie Says:

      Hehehe. Teh combat log: telling people how they died since the beginning of WoW.

      I’ve never heard of Eavesdrop before, I’ll have to take a look of that. (I kind of like whole sentences though. There’s an option to make the default log shorter, but incomplete sentences drive me nuts.)

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