Evaluating Raiders with Warcraft Logs

There is a new combat analysis site in town, and its name is Warcraft Logs. It has a ton of functionality and is a great tool for evaluating logs.

Here’s my guide on how to use Warcraft Logs to dissect and improve raid performance.

  1. How to Upload a Combat Log
  2. The Warcraft Logs UI
  3. Basic Raider Evaluations
  4. When Things Go Wrong
  5. Class-specific resources

How to Upload a Combat Log

1. Create an account
If you want to create reports with Warcraft Logs, you need to make an account.

Warcraft Logs homepage

The sign-up button is in the middle of the screen.

Warcraft Logs sign up

Fill out your info, check your inbox and click the link to activate your account. Log-in to get started.

2. Join or create a guild (optional)
Warcraft Logs guilds

At this point, you can create or join a guild to upload your logs to if you want to.

Warcraft Logs - Battle.net integration

Warcraft Logs has battle.net integration which lets you log in to WL with battle.net and will automatically fetch your characters and add you to the correct guild (if the GM uses automatic management).

If no one has created an account for your guild yet, you can create it. Select Create, then fill in the information.

Wwarcraft logs - Create a guild

If you create the guild, the site will consider you the guildmaster. On your Guild Management page, you will have access to an auto-join code (or URL) that you can share with your guildmates to allow them to upload logs to your guild’s account.

Warcraft Logs - Automatic management

Alternatively, you can switch to automatic management. If members link their accounts to their battle.net they will be placed in the guild automatically.

Warcraft logs - Join a guild

If someone else has already created an account for your guild and is still using manual management, ask for the auto-join code/url, and use the Join button on the homepage.

Warcraft Logs also has a very nice feature – personal logs. If you don’t want your logs associated with your guild (or you aren’t in one) you can just upload logs to your personal account. This is very handy for people who want to run logs to submit with a guild application.

3. Start uploading
Warcraft-logs-iconBefore you can upload any logs, you need to install the uploader application, along with Adobe Air, if you don’t have it already.

When you are logged in to the site, there is an option to Install Client in the top nav.

Once you’ve installed the client, open it up.

Warcraft-Logs-uploader

You have two options for logging. You can upload an existing log or you can live log (which is much more useful). If you want to live log your raid, use the browse box to find the log folder (not the actual file) and press the Go button.You can also use the split feature to split and archive the log file.

Important: If you’re the one doing the logging, make sure Advanced Combat Logging is enabled in game. This option is in the menu under Systems > Network. If this is not enabled, you won’t be able to access all the cool features of this site.

If you’re live logging, be sure your combat log is running in game by typing /combatlog or using an addon like Loggerhead to take care of this for you.

Warcraft Logs Basic UI

When you open a Warcraft Logs report, you’re going to see something like this:

Warcraft-logs---Start-screen

This one screen contains a huge amount of information and options to explore the data further. Let’s take a look at all the things we can learn and places we can go from here.

1. Fight
Use this dropdown to choose a specific boss to examine. The dropdown just below will allow you select a specific attempt (if there is more than one).

2. Friendlies or Enemies
Here you can choose between seeing your players, or seeing the mobs in the fight. Use the dropdown to examine a specific player or mob. You also have the option of seeing all players of the same class at once.

3. Phases
If the fight has multiple phases you can examine them individually.

4. Query bar
The options here give more detailed breakdowns of different aspects of the log like damage, healing, buffs/debuffs, interrupts, dispells, etc. The Replay tab at the end will let you watch how the fight went down, including all player and mob movements, health levels, and debuffs.

5. Graph/Pins
Use this to see a graphical representation of healing and damage (both done and taken) throughout the fight. Use the dropdown choose which things you want to see on the graph. The dark blue bars show when Heroism was active, red bars show player deaths and orange bars shows in-combat resurrections.

Warcraft-logs---graph

Pins let you get a really detailed look at what is happening. Pins allow you to string multiple queries together and review very specific information.

6. Views
There are three main views to analyze the combat information. Tables view shows all the information in table format. Events view gives the events from the combat log. Fight analysis is awesome and pretty much does your work for you.

7. Raid composition
This one is straightforward. Gives a listing of each player involved in the fight, sorted by raid role.

8. Summary charts
Simple breakdowns of damage and healing done by each player, along with damage taken by ability and player deaths.

9. Filters
This is a really cool feature that lets you ignore events after a certain number of players have died. So if you don’t want to see what was done after a wipe was called, use this.

Basic Raider Evaluations

*Note: Screenshots and data are from MoP so the UI is a little out of date, but this will still give you a good idea of things to look for and how to look for them. For the most part, the big changes to the UI are the move from dropdowns to tabs.

Warcraft Logs is a great way to display and sort combat data. To get the most out of it, it really helps if you know what to look for. Things that will help your analysis:

  • Fight knowledge – The damage abilities that can be avoided. The dps priority. If dispels or interrupts are important. If you know the important parts of the fight, you can tell if any raider is performing adequately.
  • Class knowledge – Which abilities a raider should be using. Whether a certain class is strong or weak on each fight. Utility/damage reduction abilities the raider could be using. Important damage/healing/survival cooldowns.
  • Assignment knowledge – Was the Priest assigned to heal a certain group of people? Was the Hunter assigned to kite/slow mobs? Was the Rogue on interrupt duty? Were ranged assigned to kill adds while the melee stayed on the boss?

When looking at any raider’s performance, it’s best to look at single boss kills (or attempts) specifically. To look at a specific fight, choose it from the dropdown at the top of the report.

WarcraftLogs choose a pull

For this example, I’m going to look at my own performance on heroic Thok.

Damage

Since I’m a Hunter, I’ll look at the overall damage meter first. Some things I’m interested in knowing:

  • Am I doing appropriate dps for my role?
  • How does my damage compare to the rest of the raid?
  • Am I hitting the correct targets?
  • Am I using the correct abilities?

Select Damage in the Summary dropdown.

Warcraft Logs Damage Done

 Second on the damage meter with 344k dps. Not too bad. Before I let my head get too big though, I need to apply my knowledge of the Thok encounter. It is very hunter friendly. Or rather, unfriendly to non-hunters. In phase 1 he does a raid-wide interrupt, which hurts the casters and healers. Hunters don’t get interrupted. In phase 2, the runs around and gets too fast for the melee to keep up with. Again, not a problem for hunters. So a hunter really should be at the top of the meter for this fight and there may be a problem if they are not.

Warcraft-Logs---Damage-done-bar

You may notice that the damage done bar is two-tone. The bright part of the bar shows the damage done by the player. The darker parts shows damage that came from any pets or summons.

Now I’m going to dive a little deeper into my damage output. To do this I can either navigate from the query bar: All Sources > Hunter > Jasy or I can just click my name in the damage table.

Warcraft Logs - Select Source

Here’s what we see:

Warcraft Logs - Damage by ability

Here we can see exactly how much damage each of my abilities did. Since I was Beast Master for this fight, my pet had the most heavy-hitting abilities. Of the abilities that aren’t auto-cast, Kill Command and Arcane Shot are up there, which is good. I can see that Serpent Sting had a 95% uptime (I’ll go more into uptimes soon). The graph at the top shows how much dps each ability was doing during the fight.

Now we’ll look at the damage Done to Enemy tab.

Warcraft Logs - Damage Done to Enemy

Thok is the big bad with almost 2 billion health, but there are some adds that spawn throughout the fight. In phase 2, there is a Kor’Kron jailer who must be killed. I didn’t touch this guy at all – which is fine, since he gets killed by the melee. In the second phase 1, a group of Cave Bats spawn and become the priority kill target. From the graph you can see that the majority of my damage was done on the Cave Bats while they were alive. In the third phase 1 people can get Ice Tombed and need to be broken out. I did a teeny little bit of damage to the Ice Tombs. My numbers alone won’t give the full picture, so lets look closer at all the damage done to the Captive Cave Bats.

In the Query bar, select Damage > Done By > All Sources > To Captive Cave Bat

Query-bar-nav

Now we can see how my damage to the Cave Bats stacks up against the other dps.

Damage-done-to-cave-bats

Looks good. I’m a fair bit behind our Destro Lock (they cheat), but ahead of the rest of the pack. It looks like I was doing my job here and focusing on the priority target.

Now how about those Ice Tombs? Does my tiny bit of damage to them means I was ignoring my poor fellow raiders who were encased in ice and letting others do the heavy lifting? Sort of.

Ice-Tomb-Damage

 As you can see from this table, there were only 3 Ice Tombs with a total of less than 4 million health. One of the other hunters and one of our tanks snapped those things pretty quick. I could have switched to them faster, but there’s only so much damage to be done.

Buffs and Debuffs

Now we’ll look at buffs and debuffs. Some things I want to learn from this are:

  • Am I using my cooldowns? Am I using them at the right time?
  • Am I keeping any DoTs or necessary debuffs up on the boss at all times?

Fist we will look at my cooldown use by using the dropdowns in the query bar: Buffs and Debuffs > Applied to > Jasy > By Jasy

Warcraft Logs -Buffs

A number of these things are buffs I have no control over, like Capacitance and the buff from my scope. But we can also see the cooldowns I do have control over – Rapid Fire, The Beast Within (applied when I use Bestial Wrath), my agility potions, etc. Clicking on any ability will give you a visual display of when the buff was active. Cooldown reduction trinkets and tier set bonuses have made it a bit difficult to tell if someone is using their cooldowns as much as possible. For the sake of analysis, I hope these things go away next tier so we can just divide the length of the fight by the cooldown length and add 1 to tell the maximum number of uses.

A quick glance at the buffs page tells me a number of things:

  • I’m using Rapid Fire consistently – likely on cooldown.
  • I pre-potted so I could use 2 during the fight
  • I used Disengage 5 times, giving me the Posthaste buff – likely so I could chase Thok around quicker in phase 2.
  • I misdirected twice.
  • I didn’t use Deterrence at all. I could have prevented some damage (at the cost of not being able to do any myself).

It’s not only important that I use my cooldowns, but that I use them at the correct time. In the second phase 1 of the encounter, Cave Bats spawn and need to be burned down quickly. We use Heroism at this point to facilitate that. If I was smart, I’d also be making sure my damage cooldowns were used. Let’s take a look at that specific part of the fight to see if I used my cooldowns on the bats.

How do we do this?

I know that this damage spike occurred while the bats were up from my previous look at the damage pages. So I can highlight it right here by clicking and dragging that part of the fight to constrain the time range of the fight I’m seeing.

Damage-spike

If I want to be a bit more exact, I can go back to the Damage > Done by > All Sources > To Captive Cave Bat page and select the time range from there. Once it’s done, go back to your Buffs Applied page.

Constrain-time-frame

 Now we can see what cooldowns I used while the bats were up.

Buffs-cast-on-bats

Click the + signs next to the abilities to see represented on the graph. You can display multiple buffs at once. By looking at this, I can see that I did a good job of making sure my cooldowns were used to kill the bats quickly:

  • I Misdirected as they spawned.
  • I used a potion, which was up for almost as long as the bats were.
  • I used Rapid Fire, Fervor and Bestial Wrath.

Now let’s look at the debuffs that I applied to the boss, by going to: Buffs and Debuffs > Applied to > Thok the Bloodthirsty > By Jasy. Remember to Reset the Zoom on the Time Range.

Warcraft Logs - Debuffs-applied

As a BM hunter, I didn’t have a ton of debuffs to apply, but there are a few. Things I can tell from this screen:

  • My Serpent Sting was up on Thok for 94% of the fight. I can see the places it dropped off on the graph. The biggest gap happened while the bats were out.
  • I cast Widow’s Venom on Thok twice – this is important to reduce the healing he takes when he eats the jailed creatures. The first time I cast it, it was only up for a second, if I dug further I could find out that it was overwritten by another Hunter.

The Hunter’s Mark uptime isn’t all that meaningful, since it’s reapplied automatically by certain abilities and buffs all ranged. If I was to check Buffs and Debuffs > Applied to > Thok the Bloodthirsty > By all Sources (or all Hunters) I’d see that Hunter’s Mark was up on Thok for the whole fight.

Damage Taken

In addition to performing their primary role, each raider should also be trying to avoid taking unnecessary damage. Thok isn’t a great fight to use for this, as there isn’t much that can be avoided, so I’m going to look at an Iron Juggernaut fight instead.

Let’s look at: Damage > Taken By > Jasy >From All Sources and click the Taken by Ability tab.

damage-taken-by

Of the abilities listed here, Borer Drill, Ricochet and Mortar Blast are things that can be avoided. I took very little Mortar Blast damage, so I’m not going to worry about that. Borer Drill damage looks a bit high though, so I’ll compare my damage taken with the rest of the raid.

I’ll go to: Damage > Taken by > All Friendlies > From All Sources > With Borer Drill and click on the Taken by Friendly tab.

Damage-from-borer-drill

In context of the rest of my raid, I didn’t do too badly with Borer Drill damage. However, since I am a highly mobile class who should be standing 8 yards away from everyone else I should have an easier time seeing and avoiding this effect than others (like melee), so there’s room for improvement.

Healing

What? Hunters don’t heal. Nope, but they can still do a number of things to keep their health up.

Let’s go to: Healing > Done by > Jasy > to Jasy

Hunter Healing-done

I used 2 Healthstones and used Gift of the Naaru on myself twice. Thok is a very healing intensive fight, so every bit helps.

If I want to get even fancier I could look at other ways I helped keep myself healed by going to: Healing > Done by > All Sources > To Jasy and click the Done by Ability tab.

Healing-done-by-ability

What healing spells do I have some control over? Lightwell and Gift of the Serpent. I can also choose whether or not to stand in things like Efflorescence and Healing Rain, but those two are the ones I have to actively click on/run into. We did not have a Holy Priest in raid, but it looks like I took a lot of healing from Gift of the Serpent. Let’s compare to the rest of the raid.

Go to: Healing > Done by > All Sources > To All Friendies > With Gift of the Serpent and click the Done to Friendly tab.

Gift-of-the-Serpent

Looks like I was grabbing Monk balls like a champ.

When Things Go Wrong

The Fight Analysis tool is amazing and pretty much straight up tells you what’s going wrong without you having to dive into the logs so deeply. It’s very descriptive. This is only available for current raids.

Warcraft-Logs - Fight-analysis

There are some features of analysis that are common to all boss fights. These include:

  • Your raid’s average item level compared to the minimum average ilvl needed to beat the boss. This should give you some idea of whether you have the gear to take this boss down.
  • Potion Use – If people are supposed to be using potions during the fight, you can see who is slacking here.
  • Tanking issues – Non-tanks that die to melee hits. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the tank’s fault but it shows people having aggro when they shouldn’t.
  • Slow deaths – People who died over 5 or more second. This could indicate a healing issue.

Each fight also looks for a number of specific things, like avoidable damage taken, whether personals were used during big raid-wide damage abilities, or tank swaps happened too slowly. Each mechanic in the fight is examined.

Warcraft-Logs-issues

For mechanics where there were no issues, the section will collapsed and it will note that your raid has “passed”. You can still expand these to learn more about the mechanic and how to handle it though.

Sections of the mechanics that caused issues will be expanded by default and give you a detailed explanation of the mechanic and how it should be handled. Specific players who had an issue with the mechanic will be listed, along with important info like deaths or number of hits received. It also may give you the option to use the Replay feature to see how that mechanic impacted the raid.

Deaths

If you want a more thorough look at deaths, click on the Deaths tab at the top.

Warcraft-Logs---Deaths

This page will show you:

  • A graphical timeline of all deaths. Red lines indicate player deaths, orange lines indicate combat resurrections.
  •  A table of each death, including the last three hits the player took as well as the damage and healing taken during that time. If the last 3 hits show abilities that should be avoided, it’s likely a GTFO problem, not a healer issue.
  • If you want to dive even deeper, click a player’s name and you will see all events of healing and damage taken since the player was last at full health.

Class-specific resources

If you’ve written or know of a class specific guide for Warcraft Logs and would like to see it linked here, let me know.

5 responses to “Evaluating Raiders with Warcraft Logs

  1. Just wanted to say thanks for the excellent article. I’m trying to get better at analyzing my own logs and this was very helpful.

  2. I was wondering if you could help me out with a problem I am having with warcraft logs. I have been logging my guild during raids. Everything goes well and before the raid starts i check to make sure it is running fine. At the end of the night I go to post logs and not every boss fight shows up. Do you know of anything i could do to fix this?

  3. Hello! Thank you for this article,its really helpfull! But i have one question please. Is there a way to see a players gear and talents on the specific fight? I mean i see older logs but i cant see what items-talents players use so i get a good view of a players DPS. Thank you in advance!

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