Thursday, April 30, 2009

Motivation out of the Box

Today I part-pugged VoA again, this time on my balance druid. It was a lot of fun, and a whole new challenge entirely.
My boyfriend (Thrornir) came to tank, and we had a couple of guildies who wanted to come as well. We needed 4 more, so I jumped into LFG, and quickly we had found a second tank, a second healer, and the last 2 dps we needed.

I found myself checking the gear quickly, but then remembered how well it went yesterday, and figured we would be able to do it anyway. We would find a way.

So we went in, killed the first couple of adds, and though I thought we were doing fine, the pug healer obviously didn't agree. She started whispering me that we had to lose the DK and one of our rogues since they were both low on dps.

At the same time she started insulting the DK in raid, so I whispered her and asked if she could please be a bit nicer. She obviously took offense, but I ignored the objections she made, and checked recount. I saw that the DK was doing about 2.2 K dps, and the rogue she was talking about was doing about 1K dps.

Both of these players were guildies and we were in vent at that point. I asked the rogue what was going on, and she started laughing. She had forgotten to retalent, and said that she had now stuck points in, and that it would go better.

So we took down the couple of exploding adds, and they went down easy with only 4 and 5 stacks respectively. I checked the rogue's dps again, she was still at about 1K dps, but I shrugged. We had easily gotten those adds down so we should be fine on the boss.

Once again the pug healer didn't agree, and let me know in whispers. I told her that if she didn't want to stay, that she was free to leave, that we would be ok to find another healer, but she didn't say anything in me.

Instead she was starting to harass the rogue about her dps in whispers. I got the whole story on vent, and my guildies were getting a bit annoyed with the healer, but hey you need two healers so we stuck with her.

We buffed, ate fish (yay fish!) and pulled. About 2 minutes later we were all on the floor, but in a sort of cheerful mood. Most of the people there had not managed to kill this boss before, but we had gotten him down to about half on the first try.

So we ran back in, buffed up and started again. We wiped again, but this time because the tank on Emalon died due to lack of healing, from, guess who, the pug healer. Wiping is part of the whole learning process, and though I know what to do with this boss now, as said most of the group were there for the first time.

So we were running back in for the third time. And all of a sudden one of the pug dps remarks that we wouldn't be able to do this anyway, and left the group.

For a short moment I was a bit confused, but then the pug healer started to announce in raid that we should drop the DK and the rogue, and that we had just lost our second best dps.

I removed her from the raid.

In say I told her that she was about the most negative person I had come across in a looong time in the game, and that she and the group were obviously better off going separate ways. That negativity was about the worst thing that can happen to motivation.

She called us morons, and said we were rude (talk about an oxymoron). Then she started again to me in whispers about how we just had to kick the rogue. Then she said the thing that made my red flag go up. "ooooh, she's in your guild, now I get it."

Yes, the rogue was in my guild, but seriously, with her attitude I would rather take 10 rogues of 1K dps than one mediocre healer with a bad attitude.

I told her once again that it was her negativity that had made me remove her from the raid, but she started about the dps once more. I was pretty amused by now, after all, the second time we wiped because she couldn't keep the tank healed.

What I said however was: "Well, it seemed to me that the dps was doing fine, until the tank died."

It was quiet for a moment.

Then came her reaction: "We only had 2 healers, this is a 3 healer fight, oh I'm so done with you!"

I managed to squeeze in a. "Uhm, this is always done with 2 healers" and then got message that she was now ignoring me.

I burst out laughing in vent and told the story. My guildies thought it was hilarious. and were happy that I had removed her from raid. The pug healer had been harassing dps, but a soft poke of critique on her own job she obviously couldn't appreciate.

And though it was funny, here we were once again with 2 players short. The guildie who played the DK offered to bring his main, a druid healer, to replace her. And we managed to get 2 new pug dps.

We now had a raid with 2 tanks, 2 healers, 2 ranged, and 4 melee dps. The first thing one of the newly joined rogues said was that we were very high on melee, and that it would be practically impossible.

I told her we'd be fine, and she luckily didn't say anything further.

We tried a couple of times the normal way (adds to one side, boss to the other), but got blown up and wiped a couple of times. Unfortunately the rogue did have a point, we were rather high on melee. And melee loses a lot of dps when having to run to and from the adds.

So over vent we discussed some ways to see if we could change the tactics a bit. We decided to tank everything on top of eachother and the adds tank would run out for the nova together with the dps.

I announced the strategy to our pugs, and got some scepticism, but they were willing to try.

It worked like a charm, and about 5 minutes later Emalon was dead on the floor.

Lessons to learn from this?

1. Negativity in your raid, whether pug or guild run, makes you fail.

2. Think out of the box, and you can do what a lot of people would see as impossible.

Which brings me to the next topic: Motivation, but that will be for a different post.

(And oh, I'm sorry Mandy, we killed him again without you :( got one unsaved character left though!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


The title is part of a line I just saw flashing by in trade chat. The whole line was, "Need 1 more for heroic Occulus. need DPS. GOOD DPS. It made me scuff a little.

What is good dps? 2K, 3K...I have to say when I look at the rogue in my 10man doing 5 to 6 K on some bosses in Ulduar, 2 or 3 K seems sort of crap.

Another one I just saw was, "Need 2 more dps and a healer for 10man VOA, YOU WILL BE ARMORIED!" (yes the capitals were there I didn't make them up *sigh*)

As if you can see by looking at gear what a player can do with that gear. My hunter is very crappily geared (she has mostly quest blues still) and I pull off that 3K dps, whereas I was grouped with a completely 25man Naxx geared warrior earlier this week who couldn't get to 2K (and then I'm even being generous on the numbers).
I did a pug 10man VOA earlier today. Had 5 guildies come along, 2 dps of whom I knew they could pull off 4K dps on Emalon, one of our guild's MTs, and a mage who had just turned 80, but hey it was a guildie so I knew even he could pull off 2K or so.

We found another healer and some dps, and then we had to find a second tank of course. This was a bit of a problem since it was going towards 4 am server time, and the crowd had thinned out quite a bit. Eventually we found a DK who said she had never done the fight before, but that she was willing to try. Me and my guildies looked at her hitpoints..24K, and sighed a little, but took her anyway. We had nobody else so we just had to make it work, right?

So we went in, got all buffed and started pulling adds. This was the time to see if the pugs had the dps to pull this off. The first trash pull went down with only 4 charges, and over vent my 4 guildies and myself were pretty relieved. This would work, we would make it work.

We got to Emalon and assigned the DK to tank the boss off to the right, while our pallie MT would take the adds off to the left.

About 10 seconds later the fight was over and we were all biting dust. This would be slightly harder than we had thought.

So we went back in and rethought our tactics. Our pallie MT would just tank it all, and the DK would dps. We set up for the pull, it seemed to go fine, and then poof, MT dead, and 5 seconds later we were once again checking out what taste the floor had.

We shuffled back and forth a little, not entirely sure on how to solve this problem. Meanwhile the DK had told our MT that she really wanted to tank, and if we could please give her another chance. So instead of following the normal setup and rules for this fight, the MT gave her two of the adds to tank, and he would take 2 and the boss.

I had to say, by this time I was sceptical at the least, and had already announced that if this wasn't going to work this time that we'd just have to find another player to fill the tank spot. But, our MT insisted and to be fair, the DK was turning out to be a really nice person, and even apologized for her lack of gear.

We got ready to follow the tactics as suggested, buffed up, and pulled. And you know what?

We pulled it off, the DK neatly took the 2 adds she had been assigned, but not only that she also picked up the extras if needed, made sure the healers weren't interupted and I could see that she was keeping an eye on where the healers were when she had to move. She was completely aware of what was happening in the fight, and around her, and even of the positioning of the other players around her.

5 minutes later Emalon lay dead on the floor and we handed the DK a pair of tanking legs. It's been a long time since I saw someone this happy with a piece of loot, and it made me so glad we stuck with it.

I guess what I'm trying to say with this is that gear checking is fine, but do give people a chance. This DK looked as if she would be blown over by the first hit from the boss, but we made it work and she showed that she was low in gear, but definitely not in skill. It was a good reminder for myself as well to not judge people from the outside.

And honestly...if you're so good that you feel you can judge others, surely you can help them to make it work, no matter what their gear is, right? ;)

Alanni from Icecrown, you're probably not reading this, but your guild is lucky to have you, thanks for doing such a good job.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Raiding is Top Sport

Sometimes you have to be reasonable, sometimes you just have to rant. I needed to rant.

Lately I've been getting more and more annoyed with people who feel that they too should be getting all the pretty shinies, and that they too should get access to the better gear.

Unfortunately these people aren't always willing to put in the effort it takes to get to this content, and if they do get to go they often cause the rest of the raid trouble by simply not being prepared.

It makes me wonder...I mean if you look at people who play top sport..they have to train, right? They have to spend hours and hours, and more hours on getting ready for that specific match where they face the competition.

And if you play a team sport, like basketball for example, how would your team feel if you just didn't show up quite regularly for whichever reason? Or if you forgot to bring your shoes so you'd have to run around barefooted?

Well, I can tell you, your team would take it the first time, especially if you had a good reason. They might even be really nice and put up with it a second time. But I can promise you, if you continuously not show up, you will not be playing in that match you do show up for, you'll be benched.

So why, why, why do people feel gaming should be different? You have a goal in this game as a team, and as a team you have to see if you can beat that instance. You can have an off evening, but once you start having an off month you should be benched. For the good of the team.

Raiding takes not only the many hours you spend in the instance. It also means you have to spend time to get your consumables and enchanting in order, that you have to keep doing heroics and lower end content to keep yourself from getting rusty and get the badges you need for gems and other items. But most of all, it takes commitment and a willingness to improve. To look at yourself critically and wonder what you can do better next time. Even if there were no wipes, go through those logs and check what you did and if it can be done better.

I respect the casual player, I really do. But honestly, if you're a casual player then don't expect the hardcore loot.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

10 things on my WoW Wish List

Every now and then I let my mind wander and think what additions I would make to WoW if I could choose. Some of them are serious, some of them definitely aren't, but here comes my WoW Wish List.

1. Purple Wartiger
I can't help it, I love the colour purple. I found myself commenting on the white war talbuk, and how that was the only okishly looking talbuk because it has purple, I want a purple cat.

2. Body Painting
With Noblegarden having started today I got entirely in the spirit of world events, and wouldn't it be the coolest if we could just go about and body paint each other?

I would so start with painting a red nose on Varian Wrynn, since he must have been drinking to crank out all that nonsense. I would also probably bring my paint to Freya and cross her tree friends so that maybe a shredder would come by to chop them off. So many ideas...

3. Cocker Spaniel
I love dogs, but due to me and my boyfriend both having a full time job it wouldn't be fair to own a dog, since the poor thing would simply not get enough attention.

Unfortunately the closest thing to a dog you can get in WoW is a worg pup, and I don't think it's too much to ask for a cocker spaniel, a brown and white, fluffy cocker spaniel. (it would be even cooler if he really started lifting his leg when there were trees around *grin*)

4. Gnome Catapults
Wouldn't it be the coolest thing to load up your little friends and just throw them at the boss?
Of course we sort of have something like that with Flame Leviathan now, but hey if I can carry all those mounts around, I'm sure I can carry a pallet of gnomies around to pelt at my enemies.

5. 10.000 embolism mount (embolism = emblem of heroism)
Gathering up embolisms just isn't worth it anymore at the moment, all Blizz has to do is make it possible to get the repair mount with 10.000 embolisms and I think we're all happier, right?

6. LFGuild in LFGroup
There currently is a looking for guild channel in the game, but it's just not being used. Worse yet, once you're in a guild you won't be in the channel so a poor guildless person can be spamming in the channel all the he/she wants but unless the recruiting guilds specifically sign up to the channel they won't be heard.

Of course I know that there are pretty cool options for matchmaking, but it would still be sort of cool to have a guild recruitment option in the LFG panel.

7. Customized Lockout Times.
Lets face it, Tuesday isn't always a good day to have your raid reset. It would be nice if the lockout time would start ticking the moment you get locked to the first boss. That way from the moment you kill the first boss in Ulduar for example you have one week until reset, no matter which day your first kill was.

I do understand that this might be hard for technical reasons specifically, but I can hope that maybe one day in the future it will be possible.

8. Groupsize 5+5 = 10 + 10 = 25?
I have absolutely never understood how Blizzard decided to go to 25mans. Dungeons are 5, then we now have the 10man, but for 25 you all of a sudden have to leave tanks and healers behind. Though dual spec has solved some of this problem, it still hasn't solved the fact that you will either need to have 5 people sit out every week, or find 5 extra people every week.

My wish is that Blizzard will balance the groups better. 5 man = 1 tank, 1 healer, 3 dps, 10man should be 2 tanks, 2 healers, 6 dps, and then 20man = 4 tanks, 4 healers, 12 dps.

9. You no take candle!

I want a kobold raid boss that shouts, "You no take candle!" every time he does a special attack with his massive candle weapon, and that drops an epic candle tank mace, colour pink, of course.
10. Holy Form
Shadowform for shadowpriests, holy form for holy priest.
I know, I know, lamos! But this is my wishlist and I will darn well put my wishes on it!

So how 'bout it, what are you wishes in WoW?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Beast called WWS - DPS

So you like big flashy numbers and blowing things up eh? Well today i'll show you a little about WWS from the perspective of DPS. I'll use rogues specifically (since that is what I play as my main after all) but the things I'm going to show can be applied to any class. I'm going to give you some fundamental rules of DPS, and while WWS won't always tell you if you are breaking these rules, it will give you an idea if you look through it, on how to improve or maximize some of these rules.

Now first off I'm going to mention that WWS isn't a tool that you can use to compare yourself directly to someone else and say "so and so is better then me" or "look im 15% better then this person", what we want to gain from the report is area's for self improvement, ask yourself "How can I squeeze out another 100dps? or another 1000 dps?".

Each fight is different for each class, and some fights suffer more for having movement in them, some bosses can silence, etc. When looking at a WWS report you have to understand the mechanics of the fight as well as the data you are looking at. The number one rule you have to remember here is "Dead DPS do no DPS". If your more focused on the flashy numbers then you are that fire you're standing in, then you aren't doing your raid group any good at all.

So that makes Rule #1 - Don't be dead. Don't stand in the "fire".

Shy and Thror have all ready talked about navigating WWS so I'm going to assume you've read their posts here and here. Here is a sample Patchwerk Kill on 25 man. I choose a patchwerk kill to show you because it eliminates movement from the equation and for the most part you don't have to worry about being threat capped.

You can see from this I've blurred the names but you can still see that dps varies, and the rogues are in positions 2, 14, and 19 when sorted by dps. From this screen we can see how the rogues did in comparison to the rest of the raid, thought we are more interested in how they did it. So if you go to Browse -> Raids & Mobs -> 3 Rogues you will see the class summary page shown below.

Ive removed the names but Rogue 1 was #2, Rogue 2 was #14 and Rogue 3 was #19 from the initial dps stack in the first screenshot. Here the first thing that we can notice is that all the rogues were present for the fight, and none of them died during it, but Rogue 3 only has a 57% DPS time, which accounts for his lower over-all damage even though his DPS is higher. The DPS time measure how much of the fight you are actively attacking, where presence just means that you are there.

Now im going to ignore the DPS time for the rest of my explanation and show you things to look for where you can improve, so continuing down the class summary page you can see the types of attacks each rogue made, and from that you can infer their spec. Rogue 3 used sinister strike as their main combo-point generator, Rogue 1 used Shiv to generate combat points (no longer viable as of patch 3.1 so don't try) and Rogue 2 used a combination of backstab and sinister strike.

The White numbers on this page are the Average Damage and Crit% of each of the attacks, where as the green numbers represent the # of hits, and %damage that the skill did for your overall damage.

Rogue 3 used wound poison and deadly poison, rogue 1 used instant poison and wound poison and rogue two used instant poison on both weapons. Rogue 2 also did not use rupture. This brings me to rule number three.

Rule #2 - Understand your class mechanics.

If your looking for improvement and you can see other members of your class using a different rotation then you, take the time to ask them why (you are raiding with friends and guildies right? I'm sure their willing to help you!). Without going into the mechanics of why I well tell you that typically a rogue will always want to use rupture on a boss fight, and also always use deadly poison on their offhand weapon. (Rogue one in this case in an exception to the rule, using a spec that is no longer viable, and would also use deadly poison now as well)

Now continuing on, you can look at the individual pages for each rogue going
Browse -> Raid & Mobs -> 3 Rogues -> Rogue Name

You'll see several tabs on this page, Abilities, Buffs & Debuffs, Energies & Dispels, Breakdowns. Lets go look at Buffs & Debuffs. Below Ive included a side-by-side comparison of Rogue 1 and 3.

This screen will show you what buffs you had up, and what percentage of uptime they had. This screen can be important for seeing how often your trinkets proc, and for checking if you made use of all your available cooldowns. In this side-by-side you can see both rogues have bladefurry and killing spree. Both are on a two minute cooldown, and from the first page we know that the patchwerk fight took 3 minutes and 27 seconds. Bringing my to my next rule.

Rule #3 - Maximize your available cooldowns.

The final screen im going to show you is the Energies and Debuffs screen.

Ive edited this screen to show you all three rogues at once, though normally you'd have to view this individually. What this shows you is that all three rogues have combat potency and relentless strikes (two skills that give you more energy and therefor let you do more damage). What you can also see here is that rogue 1 gained more energy through both skills then the other two rogues, and while im not going to explain why that is, I will tell you that it has to do with skill rotation and the way the rogue is spec'd. For improvement ask yourself, "How did they get in more attacks, regain so much energy, etc". Inspect those you raid with, see if there are difference in your spec, or glyphs. If you see someone of your class doing more damage and you'd like to know how, ask them! Most people are more then willing to share that information with you. Which brings me to my final rule.

Rule #4 Discover the optimal Rotation / Spec / Glyphs

What I want you to take away from all this is that while WWS is a comparison tool and can allow you to see how you're doing compared to the others that you raid with, nothing will improve your DPS more then asking questions and communicating with other members of your class.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Understanding SA in Raiding

Situation awareness, or SA, is the perception of environmental elements within a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status in the near future.
One of the biggest things that I see going wrong in raids is movement. There are whole mods out there to tell on people who didn't move on time, and who caught a flame wall on sarth. There are mods that are supposed to help you move, DBM will give several signs of warning, and I even remember an entire mod telling you where and when to move on Sharaz. Or how about the little flash game that helped you learn what the constructs were doing.

The consequences of lack of situational awareness are that players either:
  • become really careful and dedicate most of their time to moving, and forgetting what they came to do (dps/tank/heal), ending up not being useful for the raid.
  • or, and this is the more common one, they forget the moving, focus on their core job, and consequently die because of standing in "insert random bad stuff here".
In short one of the biggest hurdles players have to take is not only in being good, but being good in the situation. Making sure that they will move out of this, into that, away from here, and towards that is really really important in the game.

So how do you really learn this situational awareness thing that is so important to raiding? The sad answer is that I don't think you can really learn it. However, I do believe there are little tricks that can make your life during raiding easier if your situation awareness is lacking. These tricks involve work and time investment, but they can definitely help you improve.

3 stages in SA

1. Perception
The first step in achieving SA is to perceive the status, attributes, and dynamics of relevant elements in the environment. Thus, Level 1 SA, the most basic level of SA, involves the processes of monitoring, cue detection, and simple recognition, which lead to an awareness of multiple situational elements (objects, events, people, systems, environmental factors) and their current states (locations, conditions, modes, actions).
For World of Warcraft this can be translated into seeing the visual cues of things happening, hearing the audio cues and actually noticing and recognizing them. By knowing where people will be standing, and where you should be standing at every point of the fight.

This can be learned by repetition, by becoming familiar with the fight and by doing it many many times. The problem is of course that if you take longer to learn than others that you will be the cause of wiping the raid while learning the fight, and we all know how shitty that feels.

To prevent this from happening you can do what most raiders do, find a video of the fight. Watch it, not once or twice, no a hundred times if need be. Find a player in the same role as you and watch what this player does. Where does he go, why does he go there, at which moments does he move, etc.

Watch it often enough that it doesn't only get to recognizing when something is about to happen, but that your whole internal body timer is set to go 'there should be a flame wall now' and that 2 seconds later that flame wall happen.

2. Comprehension.
The next step in SA formation involves a synthesis of disjointed Level 1 SA elements through the processes of pattern recognition, interpretation, and evaluation. Level 2 SA requires integrating this information to understand how it will impact upon the individual’s goals and objectives. This includes developing a comprehensive picture of the world, or of that portion of the world of concern to the individual.
Now we'll take it one step further. You now know what will come, now try to understand why the fight has been created like this, why Blizzard introduced a flame wall right at that moment. Did the boss react to an internal timer? Did he reach a certain point of health, what was the trigger?

Most of the times you can find this information on the various sites that describe the specific boss fights, sometimes they even mention it in the video you've been watching, but what is important is understanding.

Only through understanding can you interpret what is happening, and actually react when some other player is not reacting like was planned on the video.

If your MT healer dies (hah! he didn't watch the video you did!) and your raidleader tells you to switch your healing from the OTs to the MT you will need to know where the MT is at that point, what the movements of the MT healer were etc.

Understanding what a boss will be doing next is vital in quick reaction in unexpected situations. Which leads into the next step.

3. Projection.
The third and highest level of SA involves the ability to project the future actions of the elements in the environment. Level 3 SA is achieved through knowledge of the status and dynamics of the elements and comprehension of the situation (Levels 1 and 2 SA), and then extrapolating this information forward in time to determine how it will affect future states of the operational environment.
From knowing to understanding to anticipating. In this third step you get to use all the knowledge and information you got from the video and the practive to anticipate on boss moves.

You know when loatheb is going to drop his anti-heal aura, use this knowledge to think one step further. Casting your heal takes 2.5 seconds, so when you start casting your heal in anticipation of that shield to go down you can land 2 heals in the time of the aura being down instead of 1.

And of course Loatheb is one of the most obvious examples, but there are many many bossfightst that work like this.


This doesn't come from any known theory other than my own, but if you're having trouble with situational awareness, then make sure that the only environmental input comes from the situation you want to be aware off.

Don't have the radio on, don't watch TV in the middle of raid, chat on msn with some of your friends on the other screen, etc. If you know you're having trouble with moving then don't divide that much needed attention over 3 different activities, stick with raiding at that point.

The quotes in this post all come from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Beast called WWS - Tanking

I'm not a tank, I dabble with a druid sometimes, but I generally just heal tanks. So I figured it would be best to have an actual tank write the part about WWS and tanking. Thrornir has been tanking with our guild ever since paladins became viable tanks, and we are currently standing at 5/14 in Ulduar 10.

We'll be discussing interpreting WWS for tanks in this part of The Beast called WWS. My name is Thrornir, the paladin tank mentioned in Shy's confessions, and I'll be your writer today.

This might look familiar from the first post – This is the Damage In section from WWS, and it's one of the basic tools you can use as a tank. Overall, the first use is simply picking out the tanks involved in a raid if you're looking at someone else's WWS – unless things have gone horribly, horribly wrong, the people with the most damage taken were tanking.

Clicking on the tank's name brings you to the personal information for that specific player.

The top section provides two useful bits of information. The first is your DPS – in a general sense, the higher your DPS, the higher your threat is. If the DPS classes are complaining about being threat capped, take a look at your DPS. If you're doing a third to a half of the DPS of your best DPS, your threat output should be fine. If it's lower then that, your highest DPS might have to start slowing down to avoid pulling the boss off you – or are finding out what the floor tastes like when the boss turns and smashes them. If you are doing well on DPS, make sure you've kept your tanking buff/stance/form/aura turned on. On trash I've heard other tanks (and done it myself) forget to turn on their threat modifier and wonder why the mobs are going wild.

The more important part of this section is the death times. Clicking on the time provided brings you to the correct section of the logs with the events leading up to your death as explained in the first post.

The Dmg. Out section lets you take a look at what your most effective moves are. This has to be tempered by knowledge of your moves of course – while AoE attacks might end up first and second from fighting trash, they're less powerful when you're only fighting one enemy.
In the example above, the fight used is Kel'Thuzad, from the main tank's perspective. Shield of the Righteousness is the highest DPS move used, with about the same number of uses as Hammer of the Righteous and Judgement of Vengeance lagging behind by only a few casts. However, it does about the same damage as the other two abilities combined. This lets you see that on single target fights, you want to make sure you're using this ability as often as possible for higher threat. Meanwhile, Judgement of Vengeance wasn't hitting for very much. This is where you need to know your abilities – while the Judgement isn't your highest DPS (and thus Threat Per Second) attack, it provides a variety of raid buffs and debuffs depending on your talents, so the paladin in question wants to cast it regularly because of the benefit to the raid group as a whole.

Let's take one last example from the above image – Exorcism. If you look at the average damage, it's above Hammer of the Righteous, but it was used only 3 times instead of 29. Part of this is due to a longer cooldown, but if the paladin finds a spare moment, he should try using Exorcism when its up to increase his threat.

Here's one of the two biggest sections for a tank – your incoming damage breakdown. This example is also from Kel'Thuzad.

The first thing to explain is the breakdown. After selecting a player and the fight you're interested in , click on the name of a damage type to expand the information presented. Before expanding the Physical section, you can see that the tank took 234k over the fight, suffered 40 physical strikes, which was roughly half of the attacks made against him, and those strikes tended to hit for 6k. Further, the physical damage taken was mitigated by 15% - for physical attacks, this is a combination of blocking for classes that can do so, and shielding effects such as trinkets and class spells that absorb damage.

The expanded breakdown provides a wealth of further detail – the biggest hit taken was 7.7k, no critical or crushing blows were taken, and of the 47.4% attacks that missed, 6.6% missed outright, 17.1% were parried, and 22.4% were dodged, with one lone attack being fully absorbed by something (a full absorb from a priest shield, for example.)

The final four columns detail the mitigation totals – resisted is found when taking spell damage, and is a result of resist gear or the appropriate aura, totem or spell. Blocked damage comes, rather logically, from blocking incoming strikes, while absorbed damage comes from spell effects that absorb damage.

You can use the provided information to compare your performance week to week, as well as how effective your gear is for a boss. Using Kel'Thuzad as an example, we have the main tank stick on his frost resist set, which results in roughly 150k frost damage that he simply doesn't take. Meanwhile, the physical damage he takes goes up, but far less then the frost damage that is reduced. This is where you want to compare your logs one week to the next, to make sure that not only is a tactic viable, but providing greater benefit then the original tactic.

To touch on one last point – WWS is a great tool for comparing your performance from one raid to the next. It can also be used, but in very limited fashion, to compare yourself to other tanks. When you do so, remember that no two raids or encounters is created equal. The damage taken during Kel'Thuzad is quite different if you are tanking adds or fighting Kel'Thuzad himself.

Damage taken between raids differs because of different healers, different buffs, or different tactics. So remember WWS is a tool for improving your tanking performance, not a surefire way of saying 'x player or class is better then y player or class'.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ulduar - resources overview

I started this as a little overview page for myself for while my group is progressing in Ulduar, and then decided that it might help others as well.

I will update this post if more information becomes available, and feel free to leave a comment about anything you wish to see and I will update this list.

The topic will also receive a linkie in the sidebar for easy lookup.

Changes since 3.1
how to acticate hard modes
overview page of Matt's ulduar healing guides
Overview of all bosses at World of Raids
Ulduar - full map
MMO Champion - overview
World of Raids - Ulduar Full Clear Videos

Flame Leviathan
healing flame leviathan by Matticus
World of Raids
Ulduar 10 for Dummies - Flame Leviathan

XT-002 Deconstructor
MMO Worlds
healing-xt-002-deconstructor by Matticus
World of Raids
Ulduar 10 for Dummies - XT002

MMO Worlds
healing razorscale by Matticus
World of Raids
Ulduar 10 for Dummies - Razorscale

Ignis the Furnace Master
MMO worlds
World of Raids
Healing Ignis by Matticus
Ulduar 10 for Dummies - Ignis

Iron Council
World of Raids

MMO Worlds
Tankspot (video)
World of Raids

MMO Worlds
World of Raids

World of Raids

World of Raids

MMO Worlds
World of Raids
Tankspot (video)

World of Raids

General Vezax
World of Raids

World of Raids
Tankspot (video)

Algalon the Observer
Algalon Kill Video

Monday, April 20, 2009

Laying down the Rules

Wordy Warrior says it pretty well in her post. Every guild needs structure and rules to be successful. I'm going to expand on this by saying that every raid group needs a subset of rules.
You can have a set of rules that works great for your guild. And if you have only 1 raidgroup within the guild you can expand the guild rules with raid rules. In my guild we ran Naxx25 with 2 groups, and had 4 10mans running it. We now have several groups running Ulduar, and we have a subset of rules within each group, as well as overall guild rules.

10 Things to think about when setting up Raid Rules.

1. Goals
When you form up as a raid group it is important that the initiator lies down the first set of rules, and maybe these aren't even so much rules, but more general goals that the organizer wishes to achieve.

If you organize a raid with the goal of beating new content in Ulduar, and you find yourself with a group of raiders who just want to do Naxx for the fun of it, neither the raiders nor the organization will be happy.

2. The Road
Make sure that you also think about how you wish to achieve these goals.

Wordy Warrior mentions in her blog post that they sometimes "purposely let people die for laughs." In my book that wouldn't be fun at all, but I know that one of our other raid groups finds it completely hilarious as well. I would be completely annoyed with people every time this happens.

Different people need different approaches and before everybody gets very pissy with each other about how things are organized and done, it is best to make clear how the raid will be run, and make sure that people who run in that group are agreed, or in the least ok with it.

3. Meet in the Middle
If you don't have all noses pointing in the same direction, then make sure that you can at least come to a general agreement.

One part of your group wishes to do Naxx10, the other part wants to do Ulduar, agree that you will do one today and the other the next time. If you cannot unite the two parts into an agreement then don't start the raid group. You will simply make people unhappy and it is doomed to fail.

4. Leadership
In a lot of cases in WoW you will find that raidleaders are the ones who took the initiative to get a group together. However, you generally need more than just one leader, you also want a lead tank, a lead healer, and a main assist.

Often these roles are filled in a natural way when people who are suitable to do this either prove themselves during raiding, or when they step up to fill the role. Don't try to hurry finding your leadership, if people just aren't right for the job it's no use forcing it onto them. If you have to, or the situation calls for it, then try to make it a temporary situation, since in the end neither the leader, nor the rest of the group will be happy with it for too long.

5. Rewards
Make sure that you know why your raiders are raiding, and set up a loot system accordingly. One raid group can be perfectly happy with free roll and trusts everybody to have a sensitive mind about it, and the other group can feel the need for a more structured loot system like for example DKP.

One big thing that you want to prevent here is that loot becomes the reason for problems later on. My opinion in this?
Loot is to progress in raiding, it is not an objective on its own.
6. Left Out
Being asked to sit is one of the shittiest things to experience. For those who have been asked to sit, I can assure you that the other side, the actual asking, is at least as horrible. However, if you have 11 people for 10 spots the game simply doesn't allow you to bring all of them.

7. Performance & Preparation
It is important that everybody in the group is aware of what is expected from them performance wise. I know that for my guild there have been situations in the past where people were addressed on their performance and they didn't even know they were doing badly, because they had no idea what was the expectancy.

Some raid groups expect everybody to do their own farming, others have a guildbank that provides, and others do it within little groups. In the end it is important that people know what prepared means, because they can show up and be all ready to raid in their point of view and still have gear ungemmed.

8. Attitude
If 9 of your 10 people are cussing like saylors, and the 10th cannot stand swearwords you can bet on having a group of 9 soon if people aren't aware of this. If half of your group is always strictly on time, and the other half is always late you will also have an argument on your hands.

9. Enforcement
Make sure you follow your rules. If they need adjusting then adjust them officially, and follow them again. If people don't follow the rules they have accepted by accepting the invite to the raid then this should be pointed out to them, and if this doesn't help harder measures should be taken.

Protect your raidgroup from running sour by just letting things slip. Once you have rules, those rules are there for everybody, no exceptions.

10. M&Ms
I often think that PuG groups are like M&Ms. If you stick your hand into a bag of M&Ms blindly and pick out 10 of them, you're likely to get different colours. And sometimes these colours go great with each other and sometimes you get a blue in between all the brown and yellows.

Still you can try to get the objectives clear as much as possible, and try to get a group of people that does complement each other. All you have to do is keep your eyes open when you take the M&Ms out of the bag.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Beast called WWS - Healing

In the first part of these series I explained the general parts of WWS, and I'm pretty sure that most of you can find how much damage in total or how much healing in total you did. However, WWS can offer much more. It can answer many questions players ask themselves.

How was my mana regen? Which abilities did I use the most? And consequently, should I adjust my talents because of the abilities I used?

In this part of the series I will go into how a user can get all the information needed out of WWS to analyze their performance.


Let me start by saying that the tab heals is definitely not the most important statistic to look at for a healer. It gives only a raw indication of how much healing has been done, but in the end it says nothing about for example how often you died, let your targets die, how much damage you prevented, how you spread out the healing, etc

The other negative aspect of looking only at the raw healing numbers is that several spells are still counted towards the person who got healed instead of the person who threw out the spell; prayer of mending is an excellent example of this.

It is definitely still worth mention however, because it does give that raw indication. After a while you'll learn to recognize your numbers and already by looking at these numbers you'll be able give a general estimate on how you did.

click on the image for a larger view

You can see in the above screenshot that Mist and Terpsichore were the two healers of this 10man, and at first view you would also say that Mist did better since there is a lot more raw healing.

Another thing to point out in this view are the numbers for overheal. You can see here that Mist did only 28% overheal, and Terpischore 42%. One thing to keep in mind here is that hot overheal is not logged as overheal, hence the overheal numbers for druids are generally pretty low.

Then in the last column you can see dispels. In this view it doesn't differentiate between magic, poison, curse, or disease dispell, they all go into the same bucket.

Up Close & Personal

WWS can help when you are unsure about where you have to stick your talent points. Of course there are cookie cutter build out there for every class, but every person heals in a slightly different way, and to make sure that your talent points fit with your healing style you can take a closer look at the abilities you use during raid.

As explained already in the first part to go to a player's specific abilities you can click on the name, or find that player through Browse > Raid & Mobs.

The view you get now already gives a lot more information on what this player has been doing during the raid.

The part that we will look at here is the middle section; Heals.

click on the image for a larger view

Notice how it says Terpischore & Morris at the top, this data is for the priest and the shadowfriend.

You get a view here of how much total healing each ability has done, what % that ability was off all abilities used, what the average healing output was of this ability, the average crit%, the biggest heal done with this ability and how much overheal.

Of the abilities used you can already see that we're following the priest. Another thing you can quickly see here is that this is a discipline priest since the 4th biggest heal is penance, which is a deep discipline talent.

What you can see straight away (if you know how holy nova works) is that this priest probably was in a pretty melee heavy raid since holy nova is the 4th biggest heal.

With this information you would think that this priest's biggest heal is Flash Heal, it actually isn't. And here we go a bit deeper into how to extract information out of WWS.

This priest was a discipline priest, so the PWS was most likely buffed through talents. Unfortunately the logs aren't recording absorbtion talents yet, so to see how much 'healing' this priest did with the PWS the only guidance we have is the healing from the Glyph of Power Word: Shield.

This glyph gives 10% of the damage absorbed as healing. Absorption never crits, healing does. So you need to take away the crit from the healing the glyph did and then you can calculate back to how much absorbtion the PWS has done.

In this case:
394.500 (total healing by glyph) / 109 (9% crit) * 100 = healing the glyph did without crit (10% of all damage absorbed) = 361.927 * 10 = total damage absorbed = 3.619.270

So the PWS absorbed more damage than the Flash Heal healed.

So from this information can find that this player should start by taking any talent that increases the absorbtion done by PWS and the healing from Flash Heal.

I can of course go through every ability like this, but I think you get the point of looking closely at which abilities you use.


Without leaving this view I would like to point out the healing done through Forethought Talisman. There aren't many items in the game that give you such direct indication of how useful they are, but WWS can still give you an indication which stats you should improve.

Crit is an excellent example. At a certain point it simply isn't useful anymore to stack crit, since it will give you a diminishing return. When you reach that point you have to maintain your crit, but stack spellpower perhaps, or mana if you end up oom often.

There are mathematical equation that show where this tipping point lies, and I won't go into those here, but WWS shows you if you have reached that tipping point.

Who heals whom?

As a healing lead I love this page. It shows me exactly if people followed the assignments I gave, or if their heals went all over the place. The information can help when you're trying to find out why some people keep dying, if your healers are bored, if you can actually trust people to follow what you told them to do, etc.

The only problem I have at the moment is that all the logs available to me currently are from Naxx, and yes we got bored. We also only had 2 healers so it's always a bit harder to see who healed whom specifically since those 2 healers simply have to heal everybody. I will give it my best shot, and if anybody has any questions feel free to just ask them in the comments.

Click on the image for a larger view

Focus is the first number you look at. The larger the focus, the more different people have been healed by this healer. So if you have a MT healer with a high focus, you know this person hasn't been MT healing only.

There may be many good reasons that this healer wasn't MT healing even though he/she was assigned to do so, so I do advise to not just take the number and start shouting at this player. However once again it is an indication of what the players have been doing during raid.

For personal use, you can take a look at what your healing assignment was and if you succeeded in following it. If you were meant to raid heal, but your healing focus is still around 1, you need to ask yourself why this was. The other way around as well, if you were supposed to heal the tank, but you find yourself with a healing focus of 7, you need to wonder why you were healing so many different people.

The bottom part of this screen is also rather interesting as it tells you how much healing everybody received. Tanks should normally be on top, and dps should be below there. If dps shows up on top you need to ask yourself if there was a good reason for this. If specific dps players always show on top you might just need to have a word with these players.


I cannot repeat this enough. WWS is not meant to burn others down, or pat yourself on the shoulder. It should be used as a tool to work on yourself. Yes, you have to compare. Why? Simply because there is no other way to see how others do things, and you might learn from them.

I have tried caution in my explanations of things, but if I did accidentally step on some toes, then please accept my apologies. If you feel that I have missed stuff, or if you would simply see more explanation of one or the other thing, let me know.

I theorycraft my class as much as I can, but I too take stupid deaths that could have been prevented by me stepping out of the fire.

Use it as a tool to improve and to help each other improve.

Friday, April 17, 2009

7 things I love about Blizz

Since there seem to be a lot of "I hate Blizzard they killed WoW" posts around at the moment (and granted the patch isn't working as smoothly as we had all hoped) I figured I would counter it a little by listing the things that I love about our favorite game designers.

1. They created World of Warcraft
Lets face it, they did sort of make this game we're all so eager to play without bugs.

1a. By extension they gave us something to blog about

2. Blizzard communicates with their players
Everybody wants the blue posts, the blue posts give information. And no matter what we throw at their heads they keep coming back and embrace their players again.

3. Ghostcrawler
GC you're the best. You share what you can share, and stay calm no matter what people say about you.

4. Blizzard listens to their players
They don't ask us to test stuff for nothing. If we come up with mistakes they will take a look at them and see if they can reproduce them. If their findings are the same as ours they will change it.

5. Special Touches
Surely we all remember Ezra "Ephoenix" Chatterton, right? Blizzard does good when they can do good. And Ephoenix has not been the only one, there are many cases of where they paid some special attention to those in need.

6. Humor
If you've never been to this site you should definitely try it out. GMs generally have a pretty good sense of humor, and if you don't believe me, as the next GM that treats your ticket to sing a song for you ;)

7. Addons
Not all games allow you to just flip a few addons in and change the way you play the game. Blizzard does, and I'm sure most of us are pretty thankful for that.

All in all, I think with the mess going on with the current patch most Blizzard employees are working their asses off to get the game back into working order. Not only because it is their job, but because they care about this game as much as we all do.

Team Improvement

A couple of posts ago I said I would get WWS guides from the specific role viewpoints, and they are in the works. I have found a tank and dps specialist to describe how they use WWS to improve their gameplay, and I am working on the part from the healer viewpoint myself. So keep an eye out for them, they should be up soon!

For today a different topic: Teamwork.

picture by: lumaxart

Raiding is teamwork, and for teamwork you need to have a team, and to make high-end raiding possible you need to have a pretty darn good team.

There are as many different motivations to play World of Warcraft as there are players, and it isn't only the raidleader's job to work on teamwork. Every raid member should work on keeping the raid motivated and on keeping the team working together as a well oiled fighting machine.

As a team you need to work out what you want to do within the game. Be it raiding the hardest dungeons, arena, battlegrounds, or just a quest, the goal needs to be clear. Only once you have established the common goal you can work together as a team to achieve that goal.

The basic rule here is from the noted behavioral psychologist, B.F. Skinner "Any behaviour that is rewarded will be repeated". I would like to add another quote from Dave Fellman, who says: "Any behaviour that is tolerated, will tend to be repeated."

As a team you have to work out what is accepted and what isn't. When some raid members show unwanted behaviour then make sure that you point this out to the member, not as a person but as a group. The individual member should be made aware of the fact that the team doesn't appreciate the shown behaviour.

Each raid member is responsible for their specific task. If every member truly feels like it is their responsiblity to keep up the good work for the good of the team, they are more likely to keep it on a high level.

Tip: Have different people call out the movements, and you will see that they generally take the fight a whole lot more serious all of a sudden.

Compliment eachother on a job well done, it will make you feel much better about the victory you have just achieved.

Within a team every team member needs to be able to trust the other team members to do their individual job. Often when people start distrusting eachother there are several things that can happen:
  • They start picking up parts of other people's jobs and start missing out on their own respective job
  • They quietly distrust this person and become dissatisfied with the team, causing motivation to waver
  • Or they openly start an argument about it, causing the atmosphere in the group to become less good
The only way to handle distrust in a good way is by speaking about it openly, which brings me to the next point.

Communicate dissatisfaction, strategies, happyness, raid hours, availability, and I can keep the list going for a while. Just make sure that the rest of your team is aware of what is happening.

Weakest Link
Finally, there is this saying that a chain is only as strong as the weakest link. I completely disagree with this saying.

One person on their own might be weak, but with the right type of support they can become stronger and a solid part of the team, so much even that the fact they individually are the weakest link is no longer noticable within the team effort.

In my opinion the whole team needs to work on growing the individual member, and in turn each raid member has the responsibility to work on becoming as strong as they can be.

The Flow
When all of this teamwork talk comes together you get into this state that is generally called Flow. The definition wikipedia gives is: "Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity."

The Flow is that place your raid was in when you got undying or immortal effortlessly it seemed. It is what you want to strive for as a team, and you will see that raiding just becomes that little bit easier, more fun, and more rewarding as a player when you manage to find it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

First Impression (Ori)Flame Leviathan

First off my apologies for the no post day yesterday. I had to go to an Oriflame party. No idea if this is a known thing all over the world, but what it basically means is that someone hosts the advisor of the product at their house, and they then give demonstrations and afterwards you get to try it yourself. So after cleansing my face (was it dirty then?) we were allowed to fiddle with lots of makeup.

When we got ourselves all messed up with foundation and the likes we could take a look through the brochure. I took off the colours of my face again, and I swear my face was dirtier than before I started 'Cleansing'.

So I didn't get a chance to go to Ulduar until today before work a bit (cat woke me up early anyway) , and we went to do 10 man Ulduar with a bunch of alts to get a taste of how the engines were working.

None of us has done anything on the ptr and we actually didn't expect to take anything down. After all 'we were just going to have a look'.

Looked up some strategy and though some of it was a bit confusing at the start, it quickly turned out not to be too much different than riding Wintergraps vehicles. Took us a total of 3 tries which seemes remarkably too easy again, but we'll see what the rest of the bosses look like friday evening when my raid group will go in for real.

Some random quick pointers for those who go in the first time:
  • Kill the 4 towers (flame, nature, storm, and frost).
  • You can see where the towers are by looking at the colourful swirlies in the sky, if they turn white the tower is down.
  • Use 2 people on choppers to keep the tar down in front of him
  • Have at least 2 siege engines, and have them go in first
  • Make sure to pick up the catapulted people on your chopper
Tomorrow or tonight a bit longer post, got work to do now. In the meantime check out this video, I can't seem to stop listening to it, it's great!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Confessions of a Priest

After reading this post from 'The Wordy Warrior', and specifically about misdirecting healers *tisk* I felt it only logical that I replied with my own confessions as a healer.
Picture by cursednight
1. I'm a show-off

Every time I see a slightly rare mount I cannot resist showing off my rare mounts. I have quite the collection, and my guildies are already (half)jokingly saying that they don't want to bring me to places where mounts drop anymore, since I am guaranteed to win the roll.

Some of the rarer mounts that my priest rides: Raven Lord, Blue Proto-Drake, Blue Drake, Swift White Hawkstrider...oh my I'm doing it again..see!

2. I can curse like a sailor

Generally the only person hearing this is my boyfriend sitting next to me (he's a paladin tank, how handy, eh?). But sometimes, just sometimes, a bad word slips while my push to talk key is pressed down. The funniest part? I have been told several times already that I actually sound cute when I swear. Must be my Dutch accent ;)

3. I cannot resist killing flagged lowbies

I'm a healing priest, lets face it I don't kill too easily. But when there are flagged lowbies around I just get this itch and I have to, just have to holy fire them. It gives such a satisfactory feeling to see the lowbie horde lying on the floor afterwards.

The picture is me with some other alliance guildies having a nice picknick in Thunder Bluff after having killed the banker, the auctioneer, the vendors, and a couple of lowbies deciding they thought it was a good idea to flag. Mwuahahaha.

4. Oooooh...flowuh!

Yellow dot, must get. I don't even want to count the times that I got, not only myself, but also my boyfriend killed when I saw one of those yellow dots show up on my minimap. To my defence though, it got us lots of extra xp from the stuff we had to kill to get to the flowers!

5. Byebye DPS

Yes, I have let the tank or the dps die on purpose. Sometimes as a healer you have to make the decision to let one die so the other can live. Sometimes you just...uhm...forget to heal the dps standing in the fire again, after you have told them many times to get out.

6. Grid's special spots

I might get killed by some in my guild for this, but hey it's not called confessions for nothing, right? Since I'm the raidleader I also get to switch people around in groups. As I use grid I have a pretty specific order of putting people into the groups, and with most buffs gone raidwide I nowadays order by importance for the raid.

Group 1 is tanks, tank buffs, and myself. After this the groups are ordered by dps. So if you're in group 2 you know you're doing pretty okay and are getting my healz before the dps in group 5.

7. Yum, Yoghurt!

I live in Europe. When I get up for raiding it's generally 5 am in the morning. By 7 am get really hungry, and cannot resist getting some breakfast. The problem is that I am generally also the loot master, so even while I can get through some fights without saying too much I do have to call out rolls once the boss is down. It has happened more than once that my mouth was unladylike full and that if someone had sat accross from me they would've had yoghurt with muesli flying around their ears.

I even had my spoon flying over the table once because I put it down too fast so I could press the right buttons

8. Neat Freak

The guild bank must be spotless. I just cannot open the guildbank and see glyphs piled here and there and everywhere. I've spent many hours just rearranging the items in the guildbank.

9. OMG the cat killed the tank!

We have two cats, and I love 'em both to death. Now it just so happens that one of my cats likes to sneak in between me and the keyboard and then tries to play to game for me (read likes sticking paws on the keyboard so that he gets attention). This bad habit has killed several of my raid members already since cats unfortunately don't always seem to know when they can lie their head down at the space bar or not.

10. I hate gnomies too!

I used to play a gnome warlock. In fact she still is there somewhere hanging around at 70. But gear look so darn ugly on a gnome! I just cannot bear to play one anymore. Which ends up placing me for an immense dilemma since I do like playing the seriously don't want to know how many times I have been tempted to delete the level 70 gnome warlock to just start fresh with a human. I guess I'll just have to keep praying Blizz will allow racial changes one day.

The Beast called WWS - General

Most raiders know about WoW Web Stats (WWS), but not everybody knows how to read the wealth of information these logs provide. I will write a series of posts on how to read WWS.

The first thing you need to remember about WWS is that it is a tool. It is not the WoW bible for pointing fingers at people, or to burn people to the ground. Use it as the handy tool that it is, and you will be able to improve with the help of the information it provides.

Even if your raidleader might already run logs and post them to a public place so all raid members can access them, it is always good to run your own logs every now and then. They can also be a very handy tool when you're working on analyzing your character and are for example just shooting at a target dummy.

Getting Started.

Going to the general website the first thing you get to see is an overview page and some of the most recent logs posted. In the top left corner you can find the link help where you will find how to install the client and upload the logs.

Once you have gotten your logs uploaded, and you have selected the log of your choice you will come to a page that looks something like this:

The "Split" button lets you choose which fight(s) you wish to see, just one boss, all bosses, all defeated bosses, etc. Fairly straight forward, not much to explain.

The "Browse" button however gives more options. This button allows you to choose which information you want to take a closer look at. Mousing over "Charts" you get the following options:
  • Charts
    This is where you get an overview of the different outputs of the logs. Through the tabs below it you can go for Damage Ouput, Incoming Damage, or Healing. If you click on columns you can configure which information you want to see next to eachother.
  • Raids & Mobs
    Here you find a split between the different classes in the raid. It allows you to quickly look at all raid members of the same class, and mousing down one more level you can also select specific players. Though this is also possible by clicking on a name anywhere in the log.
  • Who heals whom?
    Here you find the healing output done to and by the different players in the raid.
  • Who hits whom?
    Who has been doing damage to whom (or what in the case of several bosses).
  • Abilities
    An overview of all abilities used during the raid (or encounter if you selected a specific subset under split). A subdivision is made through the tabs at the top.
  • Browse log file
    This option allows you to go through the actual log, action for action, as it has been recorded in game. Notice that the names are still clickable so you can go from a specific log line straight to the character you want to know more about.
    TIP: If you have run into bugs in the game, it is specifically handy to note down the time so that you can always show the GM the specific logs where it went wrong.
In the next part we will look at the logs from the views of the different roles the game offers, starting with the healing role. Feel free to ask any questions and I will always do my best to answer them.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Time with a capital T

Raiding is something that takes time, a lot of time. It is also something that you cannot do on your own. If your raid group goes raiding in a time slot that you cannot be there make sure that you let people know the earliest possible.

Less and less people know how to plan, and how to actually follow appointments they've set up (I blame mobile phones, but that's a different topic) but if you say you will be there, then be there. If you are 1 minute late for your 10man you have just wasted 9 minutes out of people's lives. If you are 1 minute late in a 25 man you just wasted 24 minutes.

Imagine having to wait that time at the dentist or the doctor's office, wouldn't you be annoyed?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Get out of that....uhoh

A bit of a lighter post after all the analysis, but definitely not a less important topic!

Boom! Uhm...didn't you hear us over vent?

Now...start counting the amount of times you have seen this happening in your raid.

Go ahead..I'll wait.


Yes. Too often.

Movement is everything in the game. Don't stand in fire, don't stand in poison, do stand in the energy field Maly just threw stand in --- don't stand in. Most fights require you to move a lot, regardless of the class you play.

So how do you get yourself to move fast enough while keeping up the dps/hps/tps? By forgetting about your dps/hps/tps for 2 moments. Yes you heard it right, I'm saying it. It is better to not focus on your primary role for a moment and get the hell out of whatever you need to get out off.

Dead player = 0 output

Got that? no dps/hps/tps at all anymore when you're dead.

Now that we got that said. Make sure that you know the fight. Every boss will be the same every time you fight him, and they will not suddenly get new abilities. (really? yes, really)

If you know when to expect effects that you need to get out off, you can build a rotation around it, cast your instants while you have to move, make sure to be prepared. (insert Illidan: You are not prepared!)

The next thing that is rather important is to not get your fingers tied up in a knot. Moving your buttons around every week may look pretty, but most of the times it's not helping you when you really need to find that one button in the heat of the moment. So know where your movement buttons are.

Also, there are several ways of moving in the game. I generally move by using a combination of my mouse and my wasd keys, but I have been getting reactions like 'what how you can not move with your mouse only?!" Make sure to find the right way for you, and get well acquainted with those buttons, you will need them a lot.

Finally, there are several class specific abilities in the game that are designed to help you get away from where you are (blink, disengage, demonic circle, sprint, etc).

Analyze, analyze, and to top it off some Analysis

Picture by: Júlio Reis

Everything you do can be regarded as a project. Some are big some are small, but from setting up a company to getting a burger at your favorite fast food restaurant can be seen as a project. For every project you need to know where you are and where you want to go, before you can look at how to get there.

If you go grab that burger you know that you are in the stage of hungry, and you want to go to the stage of satisfying that hunger with a burger. By the time you’ve settled upon a starting point and a goal, you can start thinking about how to travel the road.

To know where you are you need to analyze. Most analysis isn’t even conscious analysis, but analysis is nonetheless a integral part of decisions you make, and projects you undertake.

This is also true for improving your game play in World of Warcraft. To get an idea of where you can go, and how to get there you need to know where you are standing now.

During my education I have been stuffed with various methods of analyzing, but to me one has always remained the clearest and easiest to apply to most every situation. The SWOT analysis.

“SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving that objective.”

- Wikipedia
Within the World of Warcraft there are various ways of defining the strengths and weaknesses, but any SWOT analysis must start with defining a goal or target.

Once again don't go tell yourself that you should be doing 9K sustainable dps on your rogue by tomorrow, I've yet to discover the rogue who can keep up those numbers (Thaddius...maaaaaybe), but make sure that you set yourself an attainable goal, because nothing is more frustrating than trying to achieve something that is virtually impossible.

Once you've defined the goal, you can start sticking things in the SWOT grid.
  • Strengths: What are you good at, what are the strong points of your class, your group, your guild, etc
  • Weaknesses: What are you not so good at, what are the weak points of your class, group, guild, etc
  • Opportunities: What are options open to you to overcome your weaknesses? Is there perhaps better gear? Do you need to move better, different addon, etc
  • Threats:Are you using a wrong addon? Is your screen cluttered? Are you comparing with the right class/people? etc
Every SWOT analysis will be different depending on the situation, the class, and the person playing that character. Take also into account your personal situation, are you frequently free to play several hours or do you have a partner/family who cannot stand the game? What about your concentration? Do you get tired of playing one character too soon?

Try it at home, it will give you insight about not only your game play, but also into your character, class, and social environment.