Category Archives: Raiding

Who Are You? (who who who who)

I spend a lot of time writing about my guild, my raid, my Druid, my healing habits on this blog. Now, I want to hear more about you! I want to know who is reading and what you’d like to see more of.

I went a bit poll-crazy here (that’s what she said), so please indulge me and let me know more about you and your guild.

Now tell me what you want (what you really, really want).

Thanks everyone! Feel free to tell me more in the comments.

Timing is Everything

Today we got the news that patch 5.2 will be dropping in the last week of February. Usually, I’m not too critical of decisions made by Blizzard. In fact, I usually am on the verge of being a Blizzard apologist. This game has kept me interested and entertained for 7 years, there’s not much else I can say that about. But I have to say, sometimes their timing just sucks.

I think Tier 15 being released after less than 5 months is too soon. Much too soon. I would like some more time to work on T14 heroics, I feel like my raid can progress more before we run into a brick wall and are itching for the new tier to come out. And I don’t think we’re alone.

WoWProgress has tracked the progress of ~39,000 guilds. Of those, 29.5% have completed all normal modes and 1% have completed all heroic modes. This isn’t a lot. I think many guilds out there would benefit from a little more time in the current tier.

I had this exchange on Twitter once I learned about 5.2′s release date:

5.2 release date from Bashiok
Releasing a new raid tier every 5 months is an admirable goal, but all raid tiers are not created equal. The quantity and quality of the content available need to be taken into consideration when deciding when to push out the next tier.

Let’s take Tiers 8 & 9 as an example. They were current content for roughly the same amount of time, but they shouldn’t have been. Ulduar was a beautifully designed, lore-rich raid instance with great boss fights and clever ways of accessing heroic modes. TotC was a single room with no trash mobs and only 5 unique fights. Three and a half months in Ulduar did not feel nearly long enough.  Four months in TotC was enough to make me never want to step foot in that raid again.

Having only 5 months in the particular case of Tier 14 is problematic for three main reasons:

  1. The tier is HUGE! 16 normal + 16 heroic encounters is a lot of bosses to work through, the most bosses we’ve ever had at one time. Five months isn’t enough.
  2. Aside from the raids, players have had a ton of content to work on since the launch of Mists – gearing, rep grinds, dailies, lesser charms, dungeons, scenarios, challenge modes, new BGs, arenas, brawler’s guild, pet battles. Of course I can’t speak for everyone, but I feel like it’s only recently that I’ve had time to take a breath and spend more time doing non-raid related things or working on alts. There’s still a lot I’d like to do before jumping into the gear/valor grind to prepare myself for a new tier of content.
  3. It means we’re going to be subjected to front-loaded raid content for the 3rd expansion in a row.

There has been a very obvious pattern for the release of raid content over the last 3 expansions:

  • The first tier of the expansion features a large number of unique raid bosses, spread out through multiple raid instances.
  • The middle tier(s) feature less raid bosses in less raid instances and are current for a shorter amount of time.
  • The last tier is a single raid instance and is current for a very long time before the next expansion is released.

Unless some major changes in priorities and allocation of resources has taken place in Mists, I’m anticipating these trends will continue and we’ll again be in the final tier for much longer than anybody wants to be.

When thinking about the ideal amount of time to spend in one raid tier before the next is introduced, we really need to consider how many encounters are in that tier. Let’s take a look at the amount of time each tier lasted and compare the length of time to the number of encounters available:

Tier 7  (5 months, 18 encounters – 3.6 encounters/month)
Tier 8  (3.5 months, 23 encounters 6.6 encounters/month)
Tier 9  (4 months, 11 encounters – 2.75 encounters/month)
Tier 10 (1 year, 26 encounters – 2.2 encounters/month) 
Tier 11 (6.5 months, 25 encounters – 3.8 encounters/month)
Tier 12 (5 months, 14 encounters – 2.8 encounters/month)
Tier 13 (10 months, 16 encounters – 1.6 encounters/month)
Tier 14 (4.75 months, 32 encounters – 6.7 encounters/month)

*I’m counting heroic versions of bosses as their own encounters, and have not included world bosses or the bosses in VoA/TB*

I think that everyone can agree that 1 year in ICC and 10 months in Dragon Soul was way too long. By comparison, Ulduar and Tier 14 were current for far too short a time. I think a good ratio for boss fights to months spent in a tier is around 4:1. That’s about 1 encounter per week. The raid tiers that are around this ratio (Tiers 7 and 11) are the ones that made me feel neither rushed, nor like I was sitting around waiting for new content for an inordinate amount of time.

Raid tier release timing could be much better. Just because PTR testing is complete, doesn’t mean you need to release the next raid content patch immediately. You can hold something back. Slow down the release of the first couple tiers (but keep working on the next!) so we don’t have to spend a year in the last one. Just imagine how much more enjoyable raiding in Wrath could have been if the release schedule had been just a little bit different. Spending 6 months in Naxx, 6 months in Ulduar and only 9 months in ICC certainly would have made my raid time in Wrath more fulfilling and resulted in much less burnout at the end.

Putting an end to Tier 14 so soon is a bad idea.

Evaluating Holy Paladins with World of Logs

The second part of my updated Guide to Evaluating Healers with World of Logs focuses on Holy Paladins. Thank you to Jacii, one of Apotheosis’s amazing Pally healers for reviewing and contributing to the post.

(This post may be easier to read, with less squishy pictures, over on the guide page).


Here are specific things to look for when analyzing holy paladin logs. It’s best to look at specific kills or attempts in order to get meaningful numbers.

Healing Done

Paladins are great tank healers and are also very strong at healing the raid when they are grouped close together. They have a number of utility spells and cooldowns to juggle. Holy Paladins should be evaluating not just on their output but also how well they make use of their abilities.

Healing by Spell

World of Logs Paladin healing done

There are a number of things to look for on this screen, including:

Spell selection – Is the paladin using all their available spells?

Paladins have: Divine Light, Holy Light, Beacon of Light, Holy Shock, Holy Radiance, Word of Glory, Light of Dawn, Lay on Hands, and passive healing from their Mastery – Illuminated Healing. They also have either Eternal Flame or Sacred Shield (level 45 talents) and one of Holy Prism, Light’s Hammer or Execution Sentence (level 90 talents). Healing from all of these spells should be seen on most fights. The only spell that is not typically used much is Flash of Light due to it’s poor mana efficiency (though it can be excellent on fights where mana doesn’t matter so much).

Top spells – A paladin’s top spells will vary based on the fight and their assignment, though Illuminated Healing will generally be at or near the top on any fight, along with Eternal Flame if the Pally has taken it.  For fights that are heaviest on tank damage Beacon should be doing a lot of the healing. When the raid is grouped up, Holy Radiance will often be one of the top heals even if the paladin is assigned to tank heal.

Overhealing – Overhealing is dependent on spell. Spells like Beacon of Light and Holy Radiance will generally have high overheal, which cannot be avoided so it is not a useful metric to look at. However targeted, single target spells such as Divine Light and Holy Shock should be low on overheal.

Notes on specific spells:

Divine Light vs. Holy Light
Two slow, direct healing spells. Divine Light costs 3x the mana and heals for 3x as much and gives Holy Power if cast on the Beacon target. The amount these spells are used will depend on the fight and damage taken. Check the amount of overheal on these two spells. If the overhealing on Divine Light is too high (nearing or over 40%), the paladin may be wasting mana and should be relying more on Holy Light. Paladin have so many other spells to use, and group heals that transfer through Beacon that you may not see a lot of use of either of these spells.

Holy Shock

World of Logs Paladin-Holy-Shock
Holy Shock should be used on cooldown to maximize Holy Power gains. Though it won’t be on top in terms of healing done, it should be near the top in terms of number of times it is cast. It has a 6 second cooldown, or 4 seconds with 4T14. Compare the number of direct heals to the maximum number of times it can be cast.

Holy Radiance and Daybreak
Daybreak is a buff that you get every time you cast Holy Radiance.  The buff will make your next Holy Shock cast within 6 seconds duplicate into a second heal that will heal all targets within 10 yards of the initial Holy Shock target. If Holy Radiance healing is high, but Daybreak doesn’t make up at least a few % of total healing, the Paladin is likely not using Holy shock appropriately.

Word of Glory (or Eternal Flame) and Light of Dawn

Paladin-Eternal-Flame,-Light-of-Dawn
These are the spells that use up Holy Power. Word of Glory/Eternal Flame should be used more often when tank healing or people are spread out, while Light of Dawn becomes more useful as people are grouped up, or damage is more bursty. One of these spells (or a combination of them) should make up a significant portion (20%+) of total healing. If they don’t, the Paladin may not be using their Holy Power optimally.

Lay on Hands
The first thing to look for is whether Lay on Hands was used at all. In addition to providing a huge amount of healing, with Glyph of Divinity LoH also returns mana. Though it may not get used on every fight, it should be used on most fights. A lack of LoH over a raid night should set off warning bells.

Tier 3 Talents
Tier 3 gives Paladins a choice of 2 new healing spells (yes there are 3 options, but Selfless Healer is the wrong one).
Eternal Flame – This spell replaces Word of Glory, turning it into a 30 second heal over time. If the Pally has this talent, it should account for a lot of their healing, especially if they apply the HoT to as many raiders as possible.  The HoTportion of Eternal Flame transfers to the Beacon at 50%.
Sacred Shield – This provides a shield (can only be on one person at a time) which absorbs damage every 6 seconds. If the Pally takes this talent, SS should be up on their primary target all the time.
You’ll also want to check the uptimes on these spells. (See next section)

Tier 6 Talents
Paladins get a choice of 3 new heals for their Tier 6 talent. These talents have very short cooldowns, and should be used often. Use can be delayed for predictable damage, or in combination with an output cooldown.

You should see healing from one of the following:
Stay of Execution (from the talent Execution Sentence) – Single target heal over time. 1 minute cooldown. This is a good choice on fights with very heavy tank damage. You can see the number of times this was cast on the Buffs Cast screen.
Holy Prism – Can be used as a single-target heal or a small area of effect heal. 20 second cooldown. This is the only option with a mana cost.
Arcing Light (from the talent Light’s Hammer) – An AoE ground heal that lasts 17.5 seconds. 1 minute cooldown. Light’s Hammer is a good choice on fights where the raid is grouped up and more AoE healing is needed. Light’s Hammer’s heals transfer to the Beacon target at a rate of 15%.

Buffs Cast

This screen will tell you how often a paladin is using their cooldowns, along with the uptime on key abilities.

Paladin-buffs-castBeacon of Light – Paladins’ signature ability. Should be up all the time. If it’s cast pre-pull and never put on a new target, Beacon will not show up here. Make sure Beacon healing is present in the Healing by Spell tab.

Eternal Flame – If specced into this, it should always be up. Look for 95%+ uptime.

Sacred Shield – If specced into this, it should always be up. There are two buffs that will show up for Sacred Shield. You want to look for spell ID 20925. Uptime should be 90%+.

Guardian of Ancient Kings – When activated, it will heal the target of your next 5 heals and everyone within 10 yards of them. 5 minute cooldown. Will generally only be used once per fight, but can be used more on long fights. This should be present on every boss fight. GoaK will show up as a pet on the Healing Done screen.

Avenging Wrath – Increases healing and damage by 20% for 20 seconds, 3 minute cooldown. This should be used often, generally 2-3 times per boss depending on the length of the fight.

Divine Favor – Increases haste and crit chance by 20% for 20 seconds, 3 minute cooldown. This should be used often, generally 2-3 times per boss depending on the length of the fight. Can be paired with AW for a super cooldown. Click the # next to each of these spells to see if they’re being used together or separately.

Holy Avenger (optional talent) – Makes Holy Power abilities do 30% more healing and generate more Holy Power for 18 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.

Devotion Aura – Reduces magic damage by 20% and prevents silences and interrupts for 6 seconds. 3 minute cooldown. This should be seen on any fight with raid-wide magic damage. The chart will tell how many people were affected by it (which will include pets and things). Click the # next to the spell to see a when and how many times it was used.

Divine Protection – Reduces magic damage taken by 40%, 40 second cooldown. With the Glyph of Divine Protection, it will also reduce physical damage taken by 20%, and will reduce the magic reduction to 20% as well. This should be used often, whenever the Paladin is taking significant damage.

Divine Shield – Used in emergencies, it makes the Paladin invulnerable to damage. It won’t be used often, but if you find the paladin is often dying without ever using it, there is a problem. DS can be used with Hand of Sacrifice to prevent unfortunate deaths..

Hand of Sacrifice – This is great for times of heavy tank damage. Paladins should be making regular use of this. It has a 2-minute cooldown, but if specced into Clemency, the spell can be cast twice before incurring a cooldown.

Hand of Salvation/Protection/Freedom – These are situational spells. They probably won’t be used too often, but I see their proactive use as a sign of excellent raid awareness.

Hand of Purity (optional talent) -  If the Pally is specced into it, you should see it used on fights with hard hitting DoTs (like bleeds or magic effects). It has a 30 second cooldown.

Trinkets – If the paladin has an on-use trinket equipped, check the cooldown on it and the amount of times used. They should be used the maximum amount possible.

Paladin-Power-gainsSeal of Insight – Has a chance to give mana back on melee swings. Should have 100% uptime. This does not always show up under buffs. If it doesn’t, check the Power Gains table on the Buffs Cast screen. Since the paladin will not always have the opportunity to melee the boss, this may not be a big source of mana.

Divine Plea – Restores mana over 9 seconds at the cost of reduced healing, 2 minute cooldown. If glyphed, the spell has no healing penalty, but a 5 second cast time. This should be used often. If a paladin complains about running oom, but doesn’t use this close to on cooldown, there is a problem.

The Best and Worst of Tier 14

Today I wanted to take a look at boss mechanics in Tier 14 – not bosses, but individual mechanics. Overall, I’ve been very pleased with this tier of raid content. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed most fights overall, but some mechanics tickle my fancy more than others and some just make me mad. I asked on Twitter what other people thought, and they were full of opinions!

Twitter on boss mechanics

I may be writing this a little prematurely, as Tier 14 isn’t quite over and there are heroic fights I haven’t seen yet, so feel free to tell me if you think I’ve left something out.

The Worst Boss Mechanics

In this list, “worst” can mean a few different things. Some are mechanics that I think are poorly designed and don’t work very well. Some are things I just find to be an excessive pain in the ass.

1. Elegon – Energy Vortex line of sight (Heroic only)

I actually enjoy the Heroic Elegon fight for the most part, but line of sight is just not a fun thing to deal with. If the line of sight mechanic worked seamlessly, it might be okay, but it doesn’t. There are a ton of issues that cause this to be much more of a burden than it should be. Step out of the inner ring to heal up someone stunned by Destabilizing Energies and it takes the game a second or two longer than it should to recognize that you should be able to heal them. Same when you go back in. I’ve run into problems when trying to rez people who die right on the border many times, usually having to reposition myself half a dozen times before I can actually cast on them (and the console in the room provides an extra barrier). I’m sure that not being able to damage Elegon while resetting stacks or running out with an add isn’t much fun for the dps either.

2. Stone Guard – Jasper Chains

These are just a major pain in the ass. Melee isn’t a fun place to be on this fight in the first place, and forcing healers and ranged to run in there to collapse chains makes it even worse. The variable nature of this fight can make Chains a piece of cake or a raid wiper. If you don’t get a Jasper Petrification cast that will allow you to break chains, you can find yourself in a situation where almost your whole raid is stacked up on top of each other. Trying to avoid all the Mines and Puddles that will inevitably spawn right on top of the stack of people, all while trying to not get too far away from your Chain partner gets a bit ridiculous. Also, the fact that 10-mans don’t have to deal with Jasper Chains 25% of the time is BS.

3. Amber Shaper – Mutated Construct

People generally aren’t fans of vehicle fights. They want to play their character and use the abilities they’re familiar with. For me, I don’t mind so much becoming a construct in phase 2. I interrupt a few things, get dps’d down, then go back about my healing. But in phase 3 it gets annoying and boring. Press 1 on cooldown, interrupt yourself with 2 every 10 seconds or so, eat a puddle occasionally. I’d really rather be helping to keep my raid alive.

4. Lei Shi – Hide

I have yet to participate in a Lei Shi fight where I don’t hear a handful of dps moan about Lei Shi hiding right after they’ve popped their cooldowns. Phases that occur in random order can make fights dynamic, but in this case it mostly just frustrates people. I also don’t find the way of getting her to reappear (hitting her a certain amount of times with AoE spells) very interesting.

5. Wind Lord – Wind Bombs

Usually I enjoy fights with many “stay out of the bad” mechanics, but I find Wind Bombs too punishing. Insta-wipe mechanics suck. Having one person’s mistake kill half of the raid is pretty brutal. I’d be good with a Wind-Bomb one-shotting the person that hit it (or even killing the people within a certain radius), but potentially killing everyone? Blech.

6. Blade Lord Ta’yak – Unseen Strike

This mechanic is more of a pain in the butt than it should be and is easy to screw up. It sounds simple enough – damage gets shared in a 15 yard cone around the target. But in practice, determining where the cone of effect will be is not so straightforward. With a bit of lag, where the target is standing on your screen can be quite different than where they are on their screen. Plus, the knock-back doesn’t always send you in the direction you think you’re going to go, and getting punted into tornadoes is no fun. A small change like making the Strike hit anyone within 5 yards of the target (in any direction, not just behind them) would be a big improvement.

7. Sha of Fear – Everything on the main platform

I love long boss fights, but not when it just means doing the same thing for 15 minutes. I guess the shrine bit of this fight is okay, but everything on the main platform is super dull. Are you a tank? Here, stand in this light circle. Healer? Stand around and be bored until the boss gets to about 20% and there’s a bit of healing to do. Strafe out of circles occasionally. Dps? Well, you guys at least have some movement to do, going between the backs of the adds and the safe zone (but honestly that sounds more annoying than interesting). This is not the epic, end of tier boss you’re looking for. Move along.

The Best Boss Mechanics

 The best mechanics are not just the ones I enjoy the most, but also the ones I found most innovative and creative. A lot of them are new ideas that we haven’t really seen in raids before.

1. Blade Lord Ta’yak – Storm Unleashed

Based on the feedback I’ve seen this isn’t a popular choice, but I think this mechanic is great fun. I think it’s especially fun as a healer, as we’re not just concerned about getting to the end of the hall as fast as possible, but also have to continue to heal all the way along. I like mechanics that make people focus on survival and quick movement. Storm Unleashed is also one of the few places where I find Demonic Gateways useful and not an annoyance.

2. Garalon – Pheromones

Another one that doesn’t seem to be a popular choice. I like this because it gives some of the dps (and sometimes healers) extra responsibility. I like the coordination required to get a good kiter rotation going and the fairly strict positioning requirements. The consequence of messing up passing the Pheromones is punishing, but not overly harsh. As a healer, I like occasionally having a target other than the tank who requires focused healing.

3. Feng – Stolen Essences of Stone

Fights in tier 12 and 13, with a few notable exceptions, didn’t challenge tanks a whole lot. Feng was a huge change of pace. Though I have spent a raid night or two cursing Feng’s existence, now that my raid has this fight down I really like the mechanics of it. Shroud of Reversal requires very good timing. Nullification Barrier requires both good timing and proper positioning. And while using these new abilities the tanks have to do all their normal tanking stuff too.

4. Elegon – Touch of the Titans/Overcharged

This is a mechanic (or combination of mechanics, really) that emphasizes personal responsibility. You want to always have that 50% damage and healing taken buff, but you also don’t want to get your damage taken debuff so high that the healers start screaming or you can get one-shot. The mechanic could have been made even more interesting if the damage done buff and the damage taken debuff increased together.

5. Will of the Emperor – Devastating Combo / Opportunistic Strike

The Devastating Combo puts a lot of emphasis on positioning and fast reaction time. What I like most about it is that it gives a real incentive for avoiding all the strikes. Not only do you get to avoid damage (important, but not exciting), but if you successfully avoid all of them you get rewarded with a big damage ability (big numbers, woo!) This is an ability that mostly affects the tanks and melee, but even the healers can get in on the action too.

6. Grand Empress Shek’zeer – Dissonance Field

This is another one that emphasizes personal responsibility. When you get Cry of Terror, you need to go into once of the Dissonance Fields. You can still take damage while you’re in there, but cannot be healed at all. Stay in there the whole time and you’re likely to die when the Field expires and explodes. But spend too much time outside the Field and Cry of Terror will be really hurting your raid group and the Field won’t go down quick enough. I like this mechanic because it forces the DPS to pay a little more attention to their health than normal. It also makes the healers pay close attention so that when the person in the field steps out, they get a heal quickly so they can go back in.

What mechanics in Tier 14 have stood out the most for you?

A Bad Raider

What makes someone a good raider?

There is a lot that goes into it. There’s performance – using the right spells at the right time, not standing in bad, doing well on meters, having good reaction time. There’s preparation – knowing the boss fights ahead of time, having proper enchants and consumables, having the best gear possible. There’s personality, which may be more of a concern to some people than others – people who are pleasant to be in a raid/on Mumble with generally make for a better raiding experience, and people who can constructively problem solve when things go wrong are appreciated.

There has been a lot of discussion through this expansion about how much should be expected of raiders. There was the debate about effort vs. reward for 300 stat food. There has been debate on the requirement of doing LFR. There’s been debate about dailies, rep grinds and valor capping.

Today I read a post by my friend Stormy, who was talking about how annoyed he was by the continual daily and rep grinds. Here’s the quote that inspired my post (which is specifically addressing mandatory faction grinds) :

If you’re in a raiding guild and you’re not doing the most you can to maximize your gear, enchants, valor points, etc., you are not pulling your weight. You can call them “optional” all you want, but if you’re a raider and you’re not doing them, you’re bad and you should feel bad.

(Note: This actually wasn’t the main point of his post, and my quoting it is not an invitation for you to go tell him he’s wrong if you disagree).

Confession time!

Dailies and rep have not been a priority for me this expansion. I just got exalted with Shadow Pan this week. I’ve only been exalted with Golden Lotus for a few weeks, and I’m not even Revered with August Celestials yet. Operation Shieldwall? I think I just hit honored. The first two reps I got exalted with were Tillers and Cloud Serpents, the two factions that give me nothing to assist me in raiding, but whose dailies I found the most fun. And this from someone who considers themselves, above all, a raider.

Maybe this makes me bad, but honestly, I don’t feel bad at all. In fact, not burning myself out doing things I consider chores in a game that’s supposed to entertain me makes me feel pretty good.

I do think personal experience (and luck) had something to do with my apathy towards dailies. Sha and Garalon were very good to me. So were raid bosses. A week or two into raiding I think I had 2 pieces of gear that could be upgraded by rep rewards. For those two pieces I would rather wait and hope for boss drops than spend an hour (likely more since I’m a healer who is terrible at killing quest mobs) every day for a few weeks doing something I didn’t enjoy. I also have a bit of a mental block about buying gear – I want to tear my spoils from the claws of an enemy I’ve vanquished, not purchase them from a cuddly panda vendor. But that’s another story.

So I return to the original question. What makes a good raider?

To me, gear is the last thing on the list of what makes a good raider – within reason of course, someone in greens would not likely be of much help to their raid team on heroic boss progression – and the thing I’m least concerned about (not unconcerned, just least concerned).

The performance someone puts into the actual raid is what I consider most important. I try to stand in as few fires as I can, I try to keep everyone alive, and when I heal a raid I strive to make everyone else’s job easier. The best gear in the world isn’t going to help me if I have no skill. Of course I’m not perfect – sometimes I heal x when I should heal y, or I stand in front of Garalon’s swipe because I’m trying to be in range of the kiter and the rest of the raid so I can heal all the things. I think my energy is better spent trying to improve on those things than a piece or two of gear.

If I ever felt that I (or my raid) was being held back by this view, I would change my tune. But I think I’m doing just fine (truth? a symptom of me suffering from high self esteem? who knows!) I’m pretty sure no one in my raid has ever thought to themselves (or said to me) “Gee, I wish Jasyla had better gear, she needs all the help she can get.”

The fact is, there are only so many hours in the day. And despite much evidence to the contrary, WoW is not a job (at least not until someone starts paying me). I put a lot of time and effort into this game. I raid 9 hours a week, I’m GM of a guild, I’m a healing lead, I write raider reviews, I do log dives of my own performance, I interview potential recruits, I do guild bank stuff, I spend a lot of time trying to optimize my healing, I write guides on this blog that I hope are helpful to other players… Plus, sometimes I like to just play and do things in game that have nothing to do with raid prep or guild management. 

Some people can do it all, but for others, the question of effort vs. reward arises.

I have a choice (really, it is a choice). I can cram dailies and valor capping – things I do not enjoy – into my schedule and slowly but surely become burnt out and start hating the game. Or I can just not do them if I don’t feel like it. I can accept that being 2 ilvls lower than I could be or getting the extra socket in my Sha-Touched weapon 2 weeks later that most is an acceptable trade-off for maintaining my sanity and desire to play. I also suspect people perform better when they actually want to be in a raid than they do when they’re sick of the game. Seems like a pretty easy decision to me.

Does this make me a bad raider? Well, maybe. But I’m cool with that.

Evaluating Resto Shaman with World of Logs

The second part of my updated Guide to Evaluating Healers with World of Logs focuses on Resto Shaman. Thank you to the amazing Vixsin of Life in Group 5, who reviewed the post and shared her wealth of Shaman knowledge with me.

(This post may be easier to read, with less squishy pictures, over on the guide page).


Here are specific things to look for when analyzing resto shaman logs. It’s best to look at specific kills or attempts in order to get meaningful numbers.

Shaman are versatile healers who can do well at either tank or raid healing. They really excel on fights where people are grouped up and they can make the most of spells like Healing Rain and Chain Heal. Though Shaman do not have a huge assortment of healing spells to choose from, they a lot of buffs and cooldowns they need to manage throughout fights.

Healing by Spell

World of Logs - Shaman healing doneSpell selection – Is the shaman using the appropriate spells?

Resto shaman heals include: Healing Rain, Chain Heal, Greater Healing Wave, Healing Wave, Healing Surge, Riptide, Unleash Life, Earth Shield, Healing Stream Totem, Healing Tide Totem, Restorative Mists (from the cooldown Ascendance) and passive healing from Earthliving and Ancestral Awakening.

Top Spells

A shaman’s top spells will vary by fight, assignment and raid size.

In a 25-man raid, a Shaman’s top heals will generally be Healing Rain, Healing Stream Totem and Healing Tide Totem. On fights where the raid is tightly grouped Chain Heal will be up there, while Riptide will be higher on fights where people are more spread out. Earthliving and Restorative Mists can also provide a sizable amount of healing.

If the Shaman is assigned to tank heal, you should see more direct heals, like Greater Healing Wave, used.

In 10s, where tank vs. raid healing assignments are less stringent, Shaman will likely cast a variety of both single-target and group healing spells. Because there are fewer people to stack up in 10s, Healing Rain and Chain Heal will not account for as much healing as they do on 25, and you will likely see Riptide and Greater Healing Wave accounting for a lot of healing.

For any assignment you should also see healing from Earth Shield and Unleash Life, though they are unlikely to provide more than a few percent of overall healing.

Overhealing

Spells like Healing Rain and Earthliving will cause Shaman to be fairly high on overhealing, this isn’t something to be concerned about.

Notes on specific spells:

Unfortunately, the Healing Done and Buffs Cast tabs don’t give much useful information on many important Shaman spells and cooldowns, so use of the Log Browser is often needed. I’ve provided query strings that you can paste into the Log Browser to find the spells you’re looking for. Just remember in each one you need to replace the name “ShamanX” with the name of the Shaman you’re evaluating.

Earth Shield
Earth Shield should be up on a target all the time (more information in Buffs Cast section). The shaman’s direct heals are more effective on their Earth Shield target.

Healing Surge
Due to the high mana cost, Healing Surge should not be used as a staple heal. When it is used, it should have low overhealing compared to HW or GHW, otherwise the Shaman is wasting mana.

Unleash Life

WoL - Shaman-Unleash-Life
Unleash Life provides a small, mana-free heal and buffs the Shaman’s next direct heal by 30%. Healing Rain is included in this, so you should see Shaman casting Unleash Life before each Healing Rain. If Unleash Life use is low (or absent) there is a problem. Check the number of direct heals for Unleash Life – though use will vary per fight, you should be seeing at least 2 direct heals per minute of fight.

If you want to dive a little deeper, you can also check to see if the shaman is casting Unleash Life before Healing Rain in the Log Browser. Paste the following query (be sure to replace the Shaman’s name):

[{"spellNames": ["Healing Rain"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}, {"spellNames": ["Unleash Elements"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}]

Then you can check the timestamps to see if Healing Rains immediately follow Unleash Elements casts.

Healing Tide Totem

WoL - Shaman Healing Tide Totem
Healing Tide Totem is an optional talent but because it is a very powerful cooldown, it’s what most Shaman will use on most fights. You should see a significant amount of healing from it on each fight. The number of heals the totem will do is dependant on haste levels when it is dropped (and is a little buggy, I believe), so there’s not an exact number of ticks you can look for. It will generally heal between 25-35 times per use.

HTT has a 3-minute cooldown and Shaman should be trying to get maximum use out of it.

Healing Stream Totem

WoL - Shaman Healing Stream Totem
WoL displays the healing from this very strangely. The Crits and Direct Heals columns are showing the same heals. The Ticks column is showing the number of non-crit heals. To get the total number of ticks from this, you need to add the numbers from the Ticks and Direct Heals columns. Like Healing Tide Totem, the number of times Healing Stream ticks is dependant on haste. You should generally see about 9 ticks per cast.

This is a powerful smart heal with only a 30 second cooldown, so you should see it cast often. If a Shaman’s healing is low, not using this spell enough is often the problem.

To see how many times the spell was cast, use the Log Browser, paste the following query:

[{"spellNames": ["Healing Stream Totem"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}]

Spirit Link Totem

World of Logs - Shaman Spirit Link and Steon Bulwark

This is another powerful cooldown that should be used on any fight. It has a 3-minute cooldown. To tell at a glance if it was used, check the general Healing Done tab. It will appear as a pet under the Shaman’s name. To see how many times it was used, you’re going to have to use the log browser:

[{"spellNames": ["Spirit Link Totem"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}]

Stone Bulwark Totem
Stone Bulwark is an optional talent. It has a 1-minute cooldown and should be used often if the Shaman is taking damage. To tell at a glance if it was used, check the general Healing Done tab. It will appear as a pet under the Shaman’s name. To see how many times it was used, you’re going to have to use the log browser:

[{"spellNames": ["Stone Bulwark Totem"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}]

Mana Tide Totem
Mana Tide is another important cooldown, not just for the Shaman, but for the rest of the healers in the raid. The only way to see how many times it was dropped is with the Log Browser. Mana Tide has a 3 minute cooldown and should be used as much as possible.

[{"spellNames": ["Mana Tide Totem"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}]

Call of the Elements
Call of the Elements is a talented 3-minute cooldown that resets the cooldowns on all totems will a cooldown of 3-minutes or less. It should be used as much as possible so the Shaman can get in extra uses of Healing Stream and Stone Bulwark, as well as utility totems like Grounding or Tremor on certain fights.

The only way to see how many times it was used is with the Log Browser:

[{"spellNames": ["Call of the Elements"], "eventTypes": [6], "sourceNames": ["ShamanX"]}]

Buffs Cast

This screen will tell you how often a shaman is using their cooldowns, along with the uptime on key abilities.

World of Logs - Shaman Buffs Cast

Earth Shield – Earth Shield should be re-cast whenever it runs out. However, on fights with heavier raid damage, the Shaman may prioritize other spells over refreshing this. Look for uptime of around 80% or higher for raid healers. For tank healers, uptime should be close to 100%.

Ancestral Vigor – Whenever a Shaman heals a target, the target’s maximum health is increased. Since the Shaman should always be healing, uptime should be close to 100%.

Riptide – If the shaman is tank healing, Riptide should have an uptime close to 100% overall. You can look at the tank’s Buffs Gained screen to see the uptime of Riptide on them specifically. When raid healing, uptime will be lower but should still be around 70% or higher.

Tidal Waves – Tidal Waves triggers when Riptide or Chain Heal is cast. Since Riptide and Chain Heal are two of a Shaman’s main spells, you want to see high Tidal Waves uptime. If focused on the tank, uptime should be over 90%. If focused on the raid it will be a bit lower, but should still be over 70-80%.

Earthliving – Every heal has a chance to trigger Earthliving. The only thing to look out for is that there is healing from Earthliving present. If it is absent, or extremely low, the shaman has likely forgotten their weapon enchant or it has run out in the middle of the fight.

Ascendance – This is a major cooldown that copies and distributes all healing done by the Shaman for 15 seconds. It has a 3 minute cooldown, and should be used often.

Spiritwalker’s Grace – This spell allows the shaman to cast while moving for 15 seconds. It has a 2 minute cooldown, it should be used on movement-heavy fights.

Astral Shift – If the Shaman didn’t spec into Stone Bulwark Totem, they will probably have this. It has a 2-minute cooldown and reduces damage taken by 40% for 6 seconds. It should be used when they’re taking a lot of damage.

Ancestral Swiftness – This spell makes your next healing spell an instant cast and has a 1-minute cooldown. If the shaman has this in their spec it should be used frequently.

Elemental Mastery – Another talent on the same tier as Ancestral Swiftness, this increases haste by 30% for 20 seconds and has a 2 minute cooldown. It should be used often.

Ghostwolf – This allows Shaman to move faster and how often/if it’s used will depend on the fight. You should see it used on a fight like Blade Lord, but not so much on more stationary fights like Wind Lord. If a Shaman is not using this, they are missing some opportunities to get around/out of bad faster. However, they also shouldn’t be using it too often as you can’t heal while in Ghostwolf.
Fire/Earth Elemental – If the Shaman is using the talent Prime Elementalist, an Elemental should be dropped once per 5 minutes of fighting (Fire Elemental can be dropped once every 3 minutes if glyphed). *See end of section for for more on this*

WoL - Water ShieldWater Shield – Water Shield provides passive mana regen along with mana return when the shaman is hit by an attack or critically hits with a healing spell. If it’s up all fight, you won’t see it in the Buffs Cast table, but the active mana returns will show up under Power Gains.

Telluric Currents – This is an optional glyph which causes Lightning Bolt casts to restore mana. If the shaman has this glyph you should see mana gained from Telluric Currents under power gains.

Other things to look for:

World of Logs - ReinforceWorld of Logs - Reinforce
If the Shaman has specced into Primal Elementalist their Elemental can channel a healing buff onto them. If you check the Buffs Gained tab, you should see the buff Reinforce (if an Earth Elemental is dropped) or Empower (if a Fire Elemental is dropped). This has a maximum uptime of 60 seconds per Elemental cast, the aim is to have it up as long as possible.

Evaluating Resto Druids with World of Logs

Last year I wrote a series of posts on how to evaluate raiders, specifically healers, using World of Logs. I’ve finally started updating the guide for Mists of Pandaria, starting with – what else? – resto druids!


Here are specific things to look for when analyzing resto druid logs. It’s best to look at specific kills or attempts in order to get meaningful numbers.

Druids are primarily Heal Over Time (HoT) healers with great mobility and a decent amount of utility. Though Druids have generally been considered raid healers, they can also be strong tank healers.

Healing by Spell

World of Logs - Druid healing by spell
There are a number of things to look for on this screen, including:

Spell selection – Is the druid using all their available spells?

Druids have: Lifebloom, Rejuvenation, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Swiftmend, Healing Touch, Nourish, Tranquility, Wild Mushrooms and passive healing from Living Seed. Depending on spec they may also have: Cenarion Ward and/or Force of Nature, though these are weaker than the other available choices in most cases.

Healing from Lifebloom, Rejuv, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Swiftmend and Tranquility should be seen on every fight.

Healing Touch, Nourish and Wild Mushroom: Bloom may not appear, or appear only sparingly. Whether Nourish is used a matter of personal choice, though it will not provide much healing. Healing Touch should only be used in combination with Nature’s Swiftness. Wild Mushrooms may provide some healing on fights where mana is tight or the raid is stacked up.

You should not see healing from Renewal; this is a poor talent choice for a healer.

Top Spells

A druid’s top spells will vary depending on the nature of a fight and how spread out the raid is. Wild Growth and Rejuv will generally be at or near the top. When the raid is tightly grouped up Swiftmend will provide a lot of healing on fights where the raid is grouped up, but less when spread out. Tranquility can also be one of the top spells for healing done when it is timed well and can be used multiple times throughout a fight. If the Druid is tank healing, expect to see Lifebloom and Regrowth higher on the list.

Overhealing

Druids will generally have fairly high overheal because of the nature of their HoTs. This isn’t something to worry about. Lifebloom and Rejuv tend to have quite high overheal while you should see lower overheal on smart heals like Wild Growth or direct heals like Regrowth.

Notes on specific spells:

Lifebloom

WoL - Lifebloom

Uptime is the key metric here. Lifebloom is our source of Omen of Clarity procs and provides a steady stream of heals to whoever it’s placed on (usually a tank). Allowing a 3-stack to fall off, unless it’s timed perfectly to provide an emergency heal from the bloom, means you have to waste time and mana building the stack back up. Lifebloom uptime should be in the 90-100% range on most fights.

Tranquility

WoL-Tranquility

The first thing to look for is whether Tranquility was used at all. It is our best spell in terms of HPS and HPM and should be used on every fight. With a 3 minute cooldown it can be used 2-3 times on most fights.

Next look at the number of direct heals – Each Tranquility should tick 20 times. If this number is not a multiple of 20 it means Tranquility is being interrupted. This is most likely due to casting it at the wrong time and needing to move mid-cast, or interrupting it before it finishes.

Overheal should be fairly low, but the HoT portion of the spell can increase this number.

Swiftmend

WoL-Swiftmend

Check how many times Swiftmend was used by looking at the number of direct heals. Swiftmend has a 15 second cooldown (12 with the T14 4-piece bonus), so it can be used 4 or 5 times per minute. It’s unrealistic to use SM every time it’s available but it should be used often (especially if the Druid is specced into Soul of the Forest).

Note: Swiftmend has two different spell IDs. 18562 is the direct heal, while 81269 is the ground healing portion (previously known as Efflorescence).

Cenarion Ward

If the Druid has this in their spec, the most important thing to look for is overheal. If the overhealing on the spell is very high, the Druid is not using it optimally.

Direct Heals
Direct heals should not make up the bulk of a druid’s healing, but Regrowth should be used fairly often. Low use of direct heals will likely mean that Clearcasting procs are being wasted.

Buffs Cast

This screen will tell you how often a druid is using their cooldowns, along with the uptime on key abilities.

World of Logs Druid buffs cast

Lifebloom – As noted above, uptime should be as close to 100% as possible.

Harmony – This is Druids’ mastery which increases the effect of all HoTs while it’s active. Harmony should be up as much as possible, look for 95%+ uptime. If uptime is much lower, the druid needs to cast more direct heals to keep it active.

Barkskin – Barkskin can be used once every 45 seconds. It should be used often to mitigate damage taken (though not necessarily on cooldown).

Tranquility – As noted above, Tranquility should be used on every fight. The amount should be a multiple of 20, indicating the druid channeled the spell for the full duration (Note: There are 2 Tranquility effects listed, the one to look at is spell ID 44203).

Innervate – Innervate has a 3-minute cooldown. It should be used at 70-80% mana the first time, then whenever it’s off cooldown to get as much mana as possible.

Ironbark –  This is a damage reduction spell Druids can cast on someone else, it has a 2 minute cooldown. It should be used on every fight.

Clearcasting – Compare the amount of Clearcasting procs to the number of Regrowths cast (this is found in the Healing by Spell tab). The Druid should have at least as many Regrowth casts as CC procs.

Trinkets – If the druid has an on-use trinket equipped, check the cooldown on it and the amount of times used. They should be used the maximum amount possible.

The following are talents, so whether they appear in a Druid’s logs is spec-dependent:

Nature’s Swiftness – This spell makes your next spell with a cast time instant, larger and mana free. It has a 1 minute cooldown. This spell is often used for emergency heals, though if the Druid has it in their spec, you should see it used at least a few times on every fight.

Incarnation – Incarnation has a 3 minute cooldown. In your average 4-7 minute fight it should be used twice. A third use can be squeezed into fights that last longer.

Nature’s Vigil – Nature’s Vigil also has a 3 minute cooldown. In your average 4-7 minute fight it should be used twice. A third use can be squeezed into fights that last longer.

Heart of the Wild – If the Druid has this in their spec, you may not see it used. It’s generally only used on fights where the Druid has the room to stop healing and do some damage. Otherwise, it’s just taken for the intellect buff.

You should also check to see if the Druid is using abilities given to them by Symbiosis. For the list of those, check here.