Most of the time when we raid, someone ends up running a Warcraft Log (WCL) for us. We’ll paste the link in the #raiding-logs channel and discord, people will glance at their parse number, and move on. But WCL is an amazing tool that can help boost your damage and survivability, if you spend the time to dig around in it. Today I’ll dig into how read the charts to improve your DPS. For Healers and Tanks, you’ll want to pay attention to Method 1 to see how your talents and trinkets stack up with others. Otherwise, feel free to take a nap during today’s class.

Warcraft Logs Basics

When you open up a WCL report, you’ll see something sort of like this. You can click on any fight’s name to see the statistics for it. Let’s investigate Imonar, since he’s a relatively straightforward fight, and is not an easy fight to cheese to pad numbers (we’ll get into how some WCL reports can be misleading later). Click on the Damage Done tab, and scroll down.

Perf% refers to your performance compared to all characters of your class, regardless of ilvl. iLvl% shows how you perform in comparison to those in your ilvl bracket (usually 2-3 ilvls, so 960-962 for example). If your number is orange (95%+), you’re in perfect shape. If you’re purple (75%+), you’re in very good shape. Blue (50%+) is above average. Green (25%-50%) is below average, and grey (<25%) is substandard. Ideally we want people to be purple and up.

How to read your own numbers

Sometimes, looking at the numbers can be frustrating, because you’re not sure what you’re doing wrong or what you can compare it to – doing lots of damage and having grey or green parses can be especially frustrating. Let’s take a look at one of our raiders and see if we can figure out a way to maximize their output (keep in mind, I don’t play any class but druid, so my advice is best taken with a grain of salt into the specifics – but the general info will still be on-point). Let’s tease Lineda today – she gets enough loot drops in a night that it seems only fair 🙂 Click on her name.

Clicking on Lineda’s name will show a graph of HER damage specifically, as well as all her ability casts and procs beneath it. You can see the number of times an ability is cast, the average damage it’s done, crit percent, etc. Her top 3 abilities are Chaos Strike at 20% of her damage, Annihilation at 14% of her damage, and Death Sweep at 11%.

Click on the Summary tab and we’ll get a more in-depth look at Lineda during that fight. Scroll down and we can see her chosen talents and items, stats, and more. There’s other information available as well, but this is what we’ll be focusing on.

OK, so we’ve got all this information on Lineda. But how do we know what can be improved upon?

Easy. We compare it to other Demon Hunters at her level!

Comparing Your Numbers: Method 1

Click the menu button in the upper left. Make sure Antorus, the Burning Throne is selected…look for Imonar, and – opening in a new tab – select the “rankings” button.

Next, make sure you select the proper statistics for other rankings. We want the Heroic boss, for Havoc Demon Hunters, at her ilvl.

The first thing you’ll notice is the top talents, trinkets, and the #1 legendary used by people at this level. That’s good information to keep note of. You’ll want to remember it!

Since we can’t read Korean, and are Horde (LOK’TAR OGAR NO LAME ALLY PARSES ALLOWED), let’s look at Uorokku’s WCL information. He did 2 million DPS – almost twice as much as Lineda. We can see what he’s got for talents and trinkets to the right, but let’s look more closely. Just like before, select his name, and make sure you’re in the Summary tab.

Right off the bat, we can see what the two have in common, and what’s different. Look down at the items. They both have 4-set, so that’s can’t be the discrepancy cause. They both have the same trinkets and the same legendaries. Looks like Linea is doing a lot right so far!

Taking a loot at talents, though, you can see that the first 3 talents are different. Some talents are very dependent on playstyle (for example, as a Druid I take Renewal, even though most people suggest Displacer Beast), where others can change your rotation or strongest abilities. I don’t know Demon Hunters. But seeing a discrepancy like this, you can ask yourself: Is this a defensive talent change? An offensive talent change? Am I hurting my DPS by taking something different in this talent tier? Consider how even a movement ability (like Displacer Beast for druids) might help your DPS by creating less downtime.

Right, let’s see what his Damage Done graph looks like.

Wow, that’s very different! Lineda’s top 3 abilities were Chaos Strike at 20% of her damage, Annihilation at 14% of her damage, and Death Sweep at 11%. Uorokku’s Annihilation is 47% of his damage – 3 times as much damage as his next ability, Chaos Strike. Finally, his third damaging ability is Eye Beam, at 10% of his damage. Lineda cast Annihilation 36 times, whereas Uorokku cast it 118 times.

Generally when something like this happens, it means that your rotation is off. On this fight, Lineda might be best off prioritizing Annihilation as a spender. “But how do I know when I should be casting it? What do I need to change up?”

On the top right-hand side of a WCL report, you’ll see “Tables” “Timelines” “Events” and “Queries”. Click Timelines, and scroll down.

You can see his whole rotation throughout the entire fight! You can then compare it to your own, and see what you’re doing wrong. Maybe you’re using the wrong spender or builder? (Spenders use resource; builders add resource.)

Now, this was all for damage. You can also compare buffs and damage taken this way, but I won’t be getting into that today.

Comparing Your Numbers: Method 2

There’s also another way to compare your numbers. It requires a little less work, and comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

In the top-right hand corner of a WCL report, you will see a “Compare” option. At the bottom, You can search for “similar” parses. You can decide whether you want them to match the raid size, ilvl, fight length, and more.

This will bring up a whole list of parses, and tell you how much of a match they are to your own parse. You can then click on one of these…

…and, in spite of the language barrier, see about the same results: Annihilation should be cast more frequently. You can dive into this view a lot more as well, but I won’t be covering that as much – it’s very similar to the previous method discussed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Method of Comparison

Comparing yourself to the top overall parser (method 1) isn’t always a good thing. Some parses are easy to cheese. For example, top parses on Hounds and Coven often stack the bosses together to get insane cleave damage. But that’s not exactly useful information for us. So, you’ll want to compare yourself to parses who aren’t doing that – and generally, Method 2 won’t have that issue.

Method 2 has problems where there’s going to be more people who have crappier trinkets, substandard legendaries, and missing 2 or 4 set bonuses. As a result, they may have totally differnt rotations or goals, depending on what your BIS legendaries, trinkets, and 2/4 set bonuses are. They get matched with you because of fight duration, raid size, etc. But it’s good for easily looking at stats to make sure you’re on the right track.

You’ll want to look at the best of the best to see what you should be aiming for in regards to gear fairly often. What are the best legendaries? What are the best trinkets? What talents are the most popular? (Just again, be on the lookout for cheesy suggestions)

Check Yourself or Wreck Yourself

Every fight is different. AoE fights, heavy movement fights, single target fights…they will all require different trinkets, talents, and legendaries. Just because you have perfect gear for Imonar doesn’t mean your setup is perfect for High Command! Check yourself on each fight to see what you can improve. Learn from the best your class has to offer. Join class discords and read their FAQs and resources. There’s a ton of resources available out there. You don’t have to do all the work figuring it out yourself. Be lazy, but be resourceful 🙂

Take it Easy

Chances are, you might have to change up your rotation, talents, or on-use items if you want to be putting out more damage. It’s going to take a while to get used to these changes. Don’t sweat it. Nobody is perfect. Spend some time practicing on dummies in your order halls. If there’s another member of your class & spec in the raids, tag-team with them to share resources and practice skills together.

And as always, I’m happy to help anyone with questions on WCL, how to analyze, and more.

What’s next?

First, I’ve added a new post category on the website: Player Performance. I’ll be adding posts to this category like this lesson and the Potions of Prolonged Power analysis. If you don’t want to follow all the Raid posts or the Announcements, you can still keep an eye on this category for gameplay advice!

Tiv (Foxxie) and I discussed how many in the Discord are using Raidbots, but don’t have up to date crucible information. Keep an eye out for upcoming posts about improving the accuracy of your Raidbots sims, and how to use Pawn strings to figure out stat weights!

I will eventually take the time to dig into Buffs in warcraft logs…but those are a bigger pain in the tail-feathers to read and organize, so that’s for another day. We’ll call that a “201” lesson.

Want to contribute? We’re always looking for it! Not only is there a Member Content page, but I’d love to have other kinds of analysis and information for guild members to enjoy on the site. Get in touch!

Apologies to Lineda for singling her out without her knowledge or consent. Big fluffy feather hugs!

Credit for amazingly cute Boomkin artwork to Divine Tofu

(Author note: This post and the attached link are best viewed on desktop rather than mobile due to the size of the content)

A few weeks ago, I added a link to the Raid Announcements channel on discord: a Ministry of Defense WoW Audit.

https://wowaudit.com/us/aerie-peak/ministry-of-defense

This is a useful tool for Raiders and Raid Leads alike. I’ll walk through the basics of each sheet.

Summary

The Summary is not really an important page. It’s a neat comparison to see how you stack up with other Raiders on ilvl, artifact traits, and other (generally) inconsequential stats. There is a useful “missing enchants/gems” box in the upper corner that covers all raiders, but we’ll get to that later. The ilvl shown is “all bag items”, not necessarily what you’re wearing.

Overview & Rankings

This is useful for Raid Leads especially, though is easy enough to read for Raiders as well.

At a glance, you can see whether you’re missing any gems or enchants (whoops, time to go enchant my cloak!), what tier pieces you have / are in your bags, and what ilvl your pantheon trinket is. You can also see your ilvl and artifact traits, much like on the Summary page. Raid Leads intend to pay more attention to this on farm / alt nights to see what bosses we should be focusing on. For example, we can tell at a glance that most people have back pieces (High Command) and Chest (Eonar), but not a lot of people have the head piece (Aggramar) or shoulders (Coven). Depending on raid comp, we may decide to forego or nail down specific bosses for tier sets.

Roster

The Roster page is not immediately useful to a guild like ours. In larger raiding guilds, this would be used to more easily pick who will be filling what roles, who should be on what spec / character for good loot rolls, etc.

Single View

This is the most useful page for an individual to view. You’ll see links to your Raider.io score, Warcraft Logs, and more. Next, you get a quick glance at your missing gems and enchants. You also get to see what you have equipped and can follow Wowhead links to each. On the right you’ll see your tier pieces. In the middle, there’s also some need flavor information about your total collected mounts, pets, reputation, etc.

The bottom column, “legendaries owned”, is a bit finicky. Apparently it only tracks legendaries it has seen you wear, so it’s not the most accurate thing. Also, in the column above, the third relic slot can be tricky as well. I do not, in fact, have an 870 relic.

Raids

The last page, Raids, shows how many of each boss you’ve killed in each raid tier and each difficulty. This is useful for tracking what bosses you need the most practice on, or for understanding why you haven’t gotten certain loot drops yet.

Final Thoughts

Just like addons and Warcraft Logs, the Wow Audit is just a tool. It’s up to you to use it strategically. My suggestion would be to check it before raid starts, just to make sure you have all your best bits in place. You can also have a more informed opinion of what bosses you’d like to tackle in a given night.

Also, as a caveat: the audit sheet automatically updates every 3 hours or so from the armory. This means you need to log out and wait a while to see any changes.

Not a part of the WoW Audit? For the most part, only regular raiders are included (regardless of Raider status) because of limited spots. Show up more regularly and you’ll be tracked! Or, remind Quetzie, and she’ll add you, if she’s forgotten.

Those of you active on the Discord may have noticed a new channel and feature: a Raidbots bot.

For those unfamiliar, Raidbots is a dps simulation website that runs off of SimulationCraft / SimC. (Sorry, tanks and heals, you’re unsupported at this time.) You can download the SimC addon and run your information in game, then paste the result into the site, for the best results.  You can also compare gear in your bags or compare talents to find out what will output the most DPS on a per-fight basis.

We’ve added this functionality to our Discord server to make simming your dps even easier for you!

Quick Sim

A “quick sim” shows your current DPS in a single-target, no-movement style fight, use the following command:

!sim [yourname]

However, the Raidbots commands can be much more complex, allowing you to test almost anything available on the full site.

Change Fight Style

To test your damage in a fight like Varimathras, you might run the following command:

!sim [yourname] -fs HeavyMovement

In this case, “fs” stands for “fight style”. The above simmed fight style is heavy movement.

There are a ton of different options for fight styles :

Patchwerk: 1 boss, no movement
LightMovement: Infrequent movement – Move 50 yards every 85 seconds
HeavyMovement: Frequent movement – Move 25 yards every 10 seconds
HecticAddCleave: Regular add spawns, frequent movement
CastingPatchwerk: Patchwerk that is always casting, can be useful for simming interrupts
HelterSkelter: Movement every 30 seconds, interrupts every 30 seconds, boss invulnerable every 120 seconds
Ultraxion: [no information given] Beastlord:  [no information given]

Change Boss Count

Lots of fights have more than one boss. To change the boss count, just add the -ec command

!sim [yourname] -ec 2

This spawns a sim with 2 bosses. You can add up to 10 bosses with the “ec” command.

Talent Compare

If you’re not sure how certain talents stack up per-fight, Raidbots can lend you a hand.

Each tier of talents has 3 choices. Going left to right, choose the number of the talent on that tier. In the above image, the talents on the left would be 3133232, while the right would be 3133112.

To sim and compare these talents, you’d use the following command:

!sim [yourname] -ct 3133232 3133112

Compare Items

Let’s say that you get a sweet new drop. But, you’re not sure if it’s better or worse for your damage than your current gear. Or, maybe you have a few items to compare.

First, look up your newfound item on wowhead. Select the correct version of your item using the “Item Versions” dropdown, and then click the “links” button. Select the “SimulationCraft” box, highlight it all, and copy it.

To compare the item to one you’re already wearing:

!sim [yourname] -ci trinket1=acrid_catalyst_injector,id=151955,bonus_id=3610/1472

There are two ways to compare items. The first is on an individual basis: “Is this tinket better than this trinket? Is this shirt better than this shirt?”

You can query both of these at once by using -ci for each item you want to compare:

!sim [yourname] -ci trinket1=acrid_catalyst_injector,id=151955,bonus_id=3610/1472 -ci chest=bearmantle_harness,id=152124,bonus_id=3610/1472

You can also compare sets of items. For example, you can ask “Is this trinket and shirt combination better than my current trinket and shirt combination?” To do this, you separate items with a space only (no additional -ci notation):

!sim [yourname] -ci trinket1=acrid_catalyst_injector,id=151955,bonus_id=3610/1472 chest=bearmantle_harness,id=152124,bonus_id=3610/1472

Multiple Queries at Once

Let’s say I want to run a quick sim to see what sort of damage I can do in a fight like Coven of Shivarra – but then I remember that I don’t have my multi-target talents selected.

No sweat! Choose your correct talents, change the enemy count total, and set the boss fight style.

!sim Quetzie -ct 3133112 -ec 2 -fs HeavyMovement

Crucible Information

The first time you run a sim in the Discord, you may get a little error message (even though the sim still runs):

Notice: No Crucible data available. Run a Quick Sim (https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/quick) on the website using input from the SimC addon to populate Crucible data for your character.”

You may also get a warning instead:

Notice: Armory and Raidbots Crucible data do not match. Run a Quick Sim (https://www.raidbots.com/simbot/quick) on the website using input from the SimC addon to update Crucible data for your character.”

Without the correct Crucible data, your sim damage will be lower than it should be. Run a quick sim on the website to get your Crucible information, and then you’ll be able to sim within Discord until you change your relics.

Raidbots Documentation

Full command list:

Command prefix: !raidbots!rb, or !sim
Character format: region/realm/character
Alternate character format: -z region -r realm -c character

-s-scaling Run a stat weights simulation
-i-iterations Iterations (default: 10,000, options: 5,000–50,000)
-fs-fightstyle Fight style (default: Patchwerk)
-fl-fightlength Fight length (default: 300)
-ec-enemycount Number of Enemies (default: 1)
-v-version SimC version (default: nightly, options: nightly, weekly)
-ptr Run sim using PTR data
-ci-compareitems Add an itemset
-ct-comparetalents Compare a talent set
-rl-resourcelinks Include links to Armory, WCL, etc
-pt-pantheontrinkets Set the number of Pantheon Trinkets in your raid (uses the legendary Aman’Thul’s)

Fight styles: Patchwerk, LightMovement, HeavyMovement, HecticAddCleave, CastingPatchwerk, HelterSkelter, Ultraxion, Beastlord

For more information, including how to set your defaults, check out https://medium.com/raidbots/raidbots-discord-bot-5a342f19809b

A Final Thought

Remember, Raidbots is a simulation. Your numbers may vary. Use your results as a guideline, not a book of law. Not all fights are easily simmable. Run your own Warcraft Logs if you really want to see how your choices stack up.

One of joys of Raid Leading is number crunching and analysis.

…I promise, Raid Leading IS a joy.

In order to get through Heroic, we need everybody to use every buff, boost, and steroid they’ve got available to them.

Right now, I’m looking at DPS specs and Potion usage (healers and tanks have different needs, though pre-potting is still important). Specifically, I’m tracking Potions of Prolonged Power.

Here is a usage chart for Potion of Prolonged Power on May 12th:

There were a number of DPS that did not use a second potion during the fight, and a few that didn’t always remember to use 1. There are also DPS missing from the chart entirely – those who didn’t use any at all. This is a lot of damage that we are missing!

What Good is a Potion?

“Who cares? How much of a damage difference can a single potion make, anyway?”

I sat in my order hall and spammed Solar Wrath for 1 minute on 1 target dummy. I did a total of 25,318,538 damage. I had 3 trinket procs, but I otherwise did not buff my cast times, damage, etc in any other way.

Next, I popped a Potion of Prolonged Power, and repeated the experiment. I did 49,836,519 damage…and had only 2 trinket procs. I did almost double damage for a full minute just by using a single potion. Now, there were probably a few other factors at play between the two tests, but pure luck and RNG can’t account for a 24 million damage difference between the two! Consider the damage boost if I combine it with well-timed trinket procs, steroid spells, and other buffs available.

Pre-Potting

There is a term you’ll hear us throw around, called pre-potting. Normally, you can only use 1 potion during a given fight/encounter. The potion remains on a permanent cooldown until combat ends. However, there’s a small “cheat” you can use to take advantage of how Blizzard timers work, to get 2 potion uses during a raid fight.

Every raider is required to have DBM, and thus every raider gets the pull timers. (For those that don’t have timers enabled, we do yell out “three!” when the counter hits 3.) This is when you use your first potion. The potion starts to go on cooldown, because you aren’t in combat. This gives you a 57 second bonus on your opener damage. This is your pre-pot, or “pre-fight potion”.

Combat Potting

Knowing when to use your potion during combat (second potion, or “post-pot”) is a little more tricky. I generally find it useful to break down the fight into the following flow chart:

 

Coincidentally, this is also a great flowchart to use when determining if you should use your “steroid” spells and buffs.

Remembering to Use Them

The easiest way I’ve found to remember to use my Potions is to situate them on my bars in a spot close to my other steroids / buffs. As a Troll Boomkin with no on-use trinkets, that looks like this:

Berserking, Celestial Alignment / Incarnation of Elune, and Potion of Prolonged Power are all very close. When I hit one, chances are, I’ll remember to hit the others! (I also have a WeakAura that displays when my buffs are active, just in case I miss something).

Example Potion Usage in a Raid

(ignore percent numbers; those are irrelevant to the chart)

  • On a week with 10 pulls and 6 kills, a “perfect” use of potions would be 16 potions spent. That’s 10 pre-pots and 6 post-pots.
  • An “average” use of potions would be 10-15. Generally, that means 10 pre-pots, and forgetting about the post-pots.
  • Anything less than 10 would be “below average”; they didn’t use all their pre-pots, and probably didn’t use any post-pots.
  • Multiple people weren’t even on the above chart, as they’d used 0 potions at all.

I will be tracking potion usage during Heroics every week, and calling out those who need improvement – or congratulating those who have shown improvement 🙂

Final Thoughts

Don’t stress out about perfect usage if you’re only just starting to use potions. Set yourself a reasonable goal – shoot for half of all pre-pots. Then, the following week, shoot for all pre-pots. The week after that, shoot for all pre-pots and all bloodlust pots…so on and so forth.

Also, feel free to use Potions of the Old War instead of Potions of Prolonged Power, if they’re better for your class. They’re more expensive, though, and most people will be OK using Prolonged Power, especially since the guild will supply any members who need them.

Remember, this is mostly aimed at DPS. Healers and Tanks will all want to pre-pot, but they will know when the boss enters phases for them to use their own potions – usually when they pop big cooldowns during major damage phases, which is usually the opposite of when most DPS will be popping theirs.

Comic credit to kagesatsuki.wordpress.com
Screaming Moonkin “Crit Chicken” credit to twitter.com/jstroopek