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Seri sez: L2WWS Episode One: Laying the groundwork.

April 2, 2009

Wow Web Stats (WWS) is a raid analysis tool that you either hate or love (or maybe love to hate). However, it constantly surprises me how many raiders view WWS as some mysterious thing that their raid leader may or may not use. I would say that maybe one in ten applicants to our guild is actually able to provide a link to a WWS log. In fact, it’s about a 50/50 shot of them even knowing what we mean when we ask for a link to a WWS log.

This is a gross injustice. You don’t need to be a raid leader or guild officer to generate a combat log and upload it to WWS. In fact, it’s so simple I’m going to tell you how in 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Create your WWS account.

Point your browser at the Wow Web Stats site’s registration page. Register. Really, if you can’t get past this step you should probably quit while you’re ahead and e-mail me so I can laugh at you.

WWS offers both free and paid accounts. You can upload as many reports as you like, but reports uploaded by free accounts expire after 15 days. Paid accounts also get benefits like no banner ads and priority loading for your reports, but really… if this is just an account for your personal use and not your guild’s you can probably get by with a free account.

Step 2: Generate a combat log.It's a log! (And a frog.) Get it? (Hint: The frog is irrelevant.)

This is easy. Just type /combatlog in your chat window and then engage in some combat. Done. Typing /combatlog again will toggle it off, but it will also turn itself off when you log out. (So keep in mind, if you disconnect during a raid you need to type /combatlog again to resume logging!)

I recommend the Loggerhead add-on to help you with turning your combat log on/off. It’s easy to forget, and Loggerhead can be configured to prompt you to turn your combat log on whenever you enter a new zone or even just automatically start logging without asking you.

Whether you log manually or via Loggerhead, your log will be stored in the Logs folder inside your World of Warcraft folder. The log’s name is “WoWCombatlog.txt”

Step 3: Upload your report.

Go back to the WWS site and log in. Click where it says ‘Client’ at the top of the page to launch the WWS upload client. This is a Java app that runs on both Macs and PCs. Yay!

On the configuration tab, enter your WWS account name and password. Checking the “archive and delete” checkbox is recommended. It will allow the client to rename/compress your log when it’s finished so that a new combat log will be generated the next time you /combatlog.

Once you’re ready to upload, go to the upload tab and click “Add a combat log” to get started. Navigate to your World of Warcraft Logs folder and locate the combat log you want to upload. (Remember, it’s called “WoWCombatlog.txt”) Use the “Comment” field to name the log so that you know what the hell it is when you’re looking at your report list. The date isn’t necessary, as WWS will automatically know the date based on the contents of the log.

When you’re ready to upload, click the “Host Report” button and watch it go! It’ll tell you when it’s done.

Reports are anonymous by default, and once you upload the report it will automatically pop up in your browser. You can then share the URL it generates with anyone you want to share it with. (Don’t worry about bookmarking the URL or anything, if you need to get back to it you can just click the “My reports” link when you’re logged in to WWS to see a list of all your reports.)

See? I told you it was simple.

Common Problems:

  • Log needs to be pruned. WWS won’t accept logs that span long periods of time (I’m not sure offhand what the cut-off is but I think it’s around 15 hours. Most of us don’t raid for 15 hours at a stretch, but if you’re forgetful like I am you might forget you logged a raid and then log a second raid in the same file. When that happens, just open the log in the text editor of your choice and use the time stamp at the beginning of the lines to determine where one raid stops and another begins. From there, you can either delete one of the raids or cut/paste it into a new file so you can upload it too.
  • Log corrupt. This happens sometimes. Your log might just have gobblty-gook in it somewhere from a random disconnect, computer crash, or general binary fart during logging. When this happens, the WWS client usually spits a less than helpful error and you need to open the log in a text editor to look for the lines that don’t seem to be formatted like the rest and remove them.
  • Upload/parse just fails. Yeah, sometimes the WWS client just decides it doesn’t like a log for whatever reason and locks up. This is particularly annoying for Naxx logs because they’re so big that they take a good bit of time to upload/parse. Sometimes a corrupt log will cause this, but if you can’t figure out what’s wrong with it you may just have to live without a report for that particular raid.

I’d be interested to read any comments/suggestions from others that have had success dealing with problematic log files!

Anyway, that’s all for today’s installment. I’m sure you’re dying to figure out what to do with your report once it’s uploaded. I’ll cover that in Episode Two… in the meantime, click around and do some exploring. It’s a brave new world!

19 comments

  1. Been waiting for this one ever since you mentioned it. Thanks :)


  2. I also got an account there in anticipation of this post. I have noticed that on any logs that span more than twelve hours (like if I forget to upload a log one night and log another the next) it won’t do it due to the time frame. I also had issues with my combat log in Naxx, I think if you release from Naxx it stops the combat log when you res outside of Naxx. As you mentioned I Downloaded Loggerhead before the next week of raiding cause I was so ticked off. I have configured Loggerhead to automatically enable logging in Naxx, OS, Maly, and VoA. This way there is absolutely no way for me to forget to start logging. Another thing that I’ve found can enhance your WWS accuracy is getting other people in the raid to save their combat log. After the raid is over have them send you the saved log in whichever way you want them to get it to you. You can then upload your log and their log to get a more accurate capture of what happened in the raid.


  3. Excellent post, I live for WWS posts and will spend hours poring over the numbers and comparing myself to other healers. Also, anyone who uses the term gobbity-gook to describe gibberish is the bee’s knees in my book. :D


  4. It’s probably just the geek in me, but I recommend you not use a “normal windows editor” like notepad or wordpad to look at WWS files. Since they’re often very large, it can take a really long time to open, especially if you’ve forgotten to clean your combat log recently.

    I personally use Vim, but this may not be the best choice for most people… I wonder what other people use?


  5. This is a wonderful and much-needed series to add to the blogosphere. Yay Snarkinators!


  6. One little trick I found helpful: in lieu of deleting your logs, if you’ve got HDD space to spare you can give them a name relevant to what they’re a log of and store them in another folder.

    That way, if you for some reason ever need to refer to an older log that would otherwise have been deleted as over WWS’s time limits, you can just re-parse it.

    *note: when I say spare HDD space, I mean it; most raid combat logs are many megabytes, which adds up if you’re storing logs from all your raid nights for a few months.


  7. @ Priestgiblet – Thanks for the input… I know that when I first started logging that /combatlog would turn off sometimes when I zoned in/out but didn’t spend a lot of time troubleshooting it to really narrow it down. I just installed Loggerhead, and everything’s been fine and dandy since then. I know it is possible to merge logs with the WWS client but didn’t think it worth mentioning in a beginner’s how-to article because the logistics of swapping gigantic (our Naxx logs easily top 200MB) text files over the internet can be… complicated, at best.

    @ Dueg – Aw, shucks.

    @ Crutches – I’m a Mac girl, so I use TextEdit. It loads things pretty quickly, the slow-downs I’ve had have been when using cut/paste to split a log. I guess that would be a little easier with Vim but I’m lazy and like my GUI tools. ;)

    @ Juzaba – Glad you liked it!

    @ Yuki – Yeah, I do recommend the ‘archive/delete’ function of the WWS Client so you can keep old logs around for a while… especially if you’re using a free account and your logs expire after 15 days. Need one after that? Upload it again! I’m a little too OCD to let the WWS Client organize things for me, so I made a new folder so I could have my own custom naming scheme and archive hierarchy. Also, at the end of a month I zip up that month’s logs into a single archive to save hard drive space.


  8. This post came a little too late since I started taking care of the WWS reports of my guild 3 weeks ago! *QQ*
    Nice little guide, thou you might also add the crazy clock error (/wrists) and merging reports.
    I have 2 fellow healers who log their combatlogs as well and then zip it and send it over, over MSN. Thou one thing people should prepare for imo before merging reports is making sure your computer times are the same. I’m +1 and the other 2 are Brits (ohh… god…) so they’re 1h behind me. That’s the reason I had my first crazy clock. So I’m now on english time on my computer (kinda bad for my bio rythm… but thats np because I do it all for a computer game!). So I suggest BEFORE merging reports to make sure you know WHO will log this as well and make sure all of you have the same hour on the computer.


  9. “@ Crutches – I’m a Mac girl, so I use TextEdit. It loads things pretty quickly, the slow-downs I’ve had have been when using cut/paste to split a log. I guess that would be a little easier with Vim but I’m lazy and like my GUI tools. ;)”

    1) A girl
    2) On the interwebs
    3) Knows what vim is
    4) Head explosion

    Sorry for the derailment, please carry on


  10. @ Nerdly – Excuse me while I blow your mind (again)… before I got into Macs I was a die-hard Linux girl. OS X being built on BSD was what made me give it a try initially. :)


  11. And she used to admin our co-located Unix shell server/web server with our blogs several years ago, plus she loves getting new computer hardware for Christmas and I inherited her ‘VI Power Users Manual’ and she plays in our tabletop D&D game and has at least as many comic books and RPG books as I do …

    Yeah, I lucked out. Hands off people!


  12. @Mr.Seri – You lucky bugger.

    @Mrs.Seri – Nice post, was wondering exactly how to use WWS. Thanks.


  13. HUGE TIP – Don’t forget you are running loggerhead even if you aren’t doing your guilds WWS reporting. I wound up with a txt file that was over 2 Gig.

    /facedesk

    Logs from all raids since Wrath started.


  14. @ Derevka – Wait for it…

    /point
    /laugh

    E-harts. :)


  15. LOL! Mr. Seri sounds like my other half bragging about me! Only I’m not letting my boyfriend read this. He thinks I’m a catch! I don’t want him to know there are girls with the same qualities as me plus computer know-how! :o


  16. […] Golly, I am helpful.  Check out this post.  But keep your eyes on World of Snarkcraft, because Seri’s working on a L2WWS series. […]


  17. @ Derevka
    I do this all the time, The only time I remember to clear it out is if I think about it before the guild raid starts. I’ve had a log span a Naxx10 guild run, Naxx25 partial guild run, VoA 10 and 25 pugs. Needless to say that was a huge file I just ended up deleting. So you aren’t alone :)


  18. […] Two: Exploring your first report. April 16, 2009 Assuming you were following along in Episode One, you’ve now had two weeks to log yourself some combat and upload it to WWS. Now that you have […]


  19. […] L2WWS series was pretty popular; feel free to check out part 1 & part 2 in the archives. Part 3 never came to fruition and probably never will. I’ve moved on to […]



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