World of Logs and Evaluating a Paladin Healer: Some Basics

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.

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28 Comments on “World of Logs and Evaluating a Paladin Healer: Some Basics”

  1. Matticus Says:

    Tell me who it is already so I can go cut them and look for another Holy Pally.

  2. Shubb-Niggurath Says:

    Yay, very interesting post. Thanks Γ  lot !

  3. Enlynn Says:

    I love finding ways we can analyze healers without turning to just how much they brute-healed for, which misses a lot of what healers should be doing.

    I’ve noticed that when others make mistakes, paladin (and often druid) healing can skyrocket as we bomb the folks who should have died. The thing that makes me crazy, though, is that the log gets interpreted as the other healers not doing enough, when really we should be questioning why such a crazy damage spike even occurred.

    We have a new holy pally in my guild, and I promised my GM that I’d evaluate him. This is exactly the type of information I’m going to show, thank you!

    • Ophelie Says:

      Glad to help! Buff uptime is indeed the first thing I consider when I look at a paladin, then buff targets, damage taken and the extra “oomph” (cooldown usage, proper usage of Divine Plea).

      I agree that too many guild leaders rely too much on the “meters” part of logs. It’s annoying because healing done depends too much on damage taken.

  4. Poneria Says:

    This is really neat! I’ve always wanted to know how to “read” World of Logs parses in order to get some real info out of them. (Rather than just going, “Ooooo pretty colors!”)

    I know Vixsin (Life in Group 5) did an intro to WoL post, but I’m still overwhelmed with what exactly I can use to study my guild’s parses (typically just for my own improvement). But seeing what you’ve gotten out of it makes me want to go back and explore a bit more. Thanks!

    • Ophelie Says:

      I’ve noticed that World of Logs can be really intimidating to a number of people. I don’t know how beginner friendly my post was (it’s hard to self-evaluate), but I do try to make it accessible! It did take me quite some time to get used to it too and I’m still discovering new stuff about it.

      I took a very paladin perspective, but as a warlock, you could probably look at DoT uptimes, unnecessary damage taken, proper spell roations (just going on a guess here, I’ve never played nor had to evaluate a warlock!)

  5. Brangwen Says:

    Good summary for the buff tab! Nice work Ophie.

  6. Saunder Says:

    Great Post.
    I for one would really appreciate Parts II and III and so on so that I can improve my own performance before someone who knows enough bawls me out over my fails πŸ˜€

    • Ophelie Says:

      In my head, part 1 was actually meant to be a breakdown of what “healing done” REALLY implies, but what matters most to me is really the buff part.

      I suppose I could play around with World of Logs a bit and showcase some examples of interpreting logs…

  7. Anolaana Says:

    I wish I had uploaded my log of last night so I could parse it myself (and then pick on my mistakes). And gotten logs of the 25 mans. Oh well, wisdom that will never be found.

    You’d probably see my JotP buff down too much and BoL slipping a bit; let’s not divulge into SS uptime! Plea is typically on cooldown because of my excessive casting, so that’s fine. I don’t think I used Aura Mastery or Illumination (kicking myself, it’s so powerful), but I like to use DiSacr.

    Hmm. I have a lot of work to on my cooldowns (still) to do next Saturday in 5 man practice. Just using Plea on CD is not enough!

    • Ophelie Says:

      CD usage comes with time, but you do have to put in a bit of effort for them to become automatic. If you’re still learning, focus on keeping JotP/SS/BoL up.

      If you don’t use a buffs timer, I really suggest you try one. I use BOLT and love it.

      • Anolaana Says:

        I personally use SBF (configured as suggested by Lulia)- although I must turn up the annoying-beep-noise when my beacon is turning off. Sometimes it can get so hectic it drops.

        BoL isn’t much of an issue for me as with plea, but SS and JotP should probably go on a cycle so I don’t forget. Looking at BOLT, this could be a good option to go alongside SBF. It’s certainly a good first addon for the author!

  8. Cloee Says:

    Great post, can’t wait for more.

  9. Rhii Says:

    That’s a great way to evaluate a holy pally aside from just plain HPS. So many raid leaders seem to judge especially paladins on amount healed alone. Buffs are also a great way of seeing what they’re doing with their GCDs.

    I hate seeing that my HPS is a hair lower than another healers and realizing that I’m going to be judged for it, without other things being taken into account. Another one I always point to is dispels. In our ICC group, my usual co-healer is a druid, which leaves me responsible for the bulk of the dispels, since many things in ICC do diseases (Rotface) and magic debuffs (Plague Scientists). Does my HPS suffer a little bit? Sure. Am I more effectively filling my role than if I never dispelled? Absolutely! Do most raid leaders consider that? Nope. 😦

    • Ophelie Says:

      I hear ya, HPS talk drives me crazy. You can get some things from HPS, but unless you’re getting outhealed by the shadow priest, brute HPS is so insignificant because it depends so heavily on the type of damage taken and on healing team composition.

      And what you say about dispelling is very true. In some fights (Lich King for example), a dispelling error can mean a wipe, yet it’s so often overlooked.

      Hmm, maybe I really should write a few more chapters to this post.

    • Anolaana Says:

      I note this too. In LDW, where dispells are especially important, I get mad at the mages that are SUPPOSED to dispell the 15-s CD curse. Instead, they leave me stranded with holy shock and perhaps a chance to restore my beacon. A simple dispel would put me back in business for 1 GCD; what gives?

      • Ophelie Says:

        If I don’t get instantly dispelled on LDW, I call it out. My guild’s pretty good with it, though, I don’t remember having to yell at them often.

        I’d probably be a little shyer in a PuG, but yeah, curses NEED to be dispelled.

  10. Daffnae Says:

    I have only started to skim this post because I am short on time, but please keep the WOL information coming. I am a WOL junkie. I think I spend more time pouring through logs than I spend actually raiding. I’m a holy priest, so I don’t know as much about analyzing other classes, so this is great information for me.


    • Ophelie Says:

      Thank you!

      I’ll try to cook something up in the near future. I do love talking about logs, but I have too many post ideas and no time to write!

      You should consider writing a bit about reading WoL as a priest. There are surprisingly few resources explaining WoL from a practical point of view so I’m sure you’d help A LOT of priests.

  11. […] Ophelie tells you how to analyze the healadin! […]

  12. Aloix Says:

    I love this post, I love WoL and have been eager for more Pally-specific info on proper/deeper analysis of it. Looking forward to more, if you do more πŸ˜‰

  13. jeffo Says:

    One of the best things to ever happen to me was to get in a pug Magtheridon’s Lair run with one of the top guilds on my server a couple years back. I could shrug off (to some extent) the differences in healing done on recount by the fact that their Holy Pally was in T6 where I was in T4. They posted the logs to WWS (which, as far as I know, still doesn’t work) — the separation between he and I went far beyond simple gear differences or assignments, and extended to use of cooldowns like Divine Favor/Illumination and on-use trinkets. I learned so much from that and am a much, much better player for it.

    Unfortunately, it’s too easy for some people to stop at the ‘damage done’ or ‘healing done’ page and not look deeper. Nice post!

  14. I adored this post when I first read it…and I’ve never healed on a Paladin. I found it very accessible as someone who tries vaguely to look at WoL info, but is still pretty new to it. It was fairly easy to apply some of the principles you cover into Disc Priestiness. I tend to look at Healing Done for each fight, the graph of my activity, my active time, and spell breakdown and overheal. Please please finish off this series!

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