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:
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.