Posts Tagged ‘wws’

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Seri sez: L2WWS Episode Two: Exploring your first report.

April 16, 2009

asl2Assuming 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 a report to look at (here, borrow one of mine if you don’t have one… slacker), what can you do with it?

I. The Big Picture

It might seem like a confusing jumble of numbers at first. It’s tempting to look at that first graph, click on the Healing tab to see whose e-peen is the largest and then call it a day (especially if yours doesn’t quite measure up like you thought it did). Don’t stop there! This is one of the dangers of reports like these: Total healing output only tells you so much, and the healer that outputs the most healing on your raids may not necessarily be your best healer. (One-button CoH spammers of yore come to mind.) So, don’t discount the graph entirely. It’s OK to start with the big picture.

You should generally expect your raid healers to be near the top of the chart while your tank healers are lower, because raid healers are throwing around a lot of hots and/or AOE heals. It’s the functional equivalent of a water canon vs a garden hose. Your raid healers are putting out big fires, while your tank healers are a little more precise. Sure, you could water your petunias with the water canon but imagine the mess that’d leave behind.

Anyway, if something looks hinkey (a raid healer at the bottom, a tank healer at the top) make a note of it before you move on. Keep in mind that a Discipline Priest’s overall Healing Done may seem low because a lot of their utility lies in mitigation.

I’ll give you a moment.

*hums Jeopardy theme*

Ok, moving on!

II. Taking a closer look.magnify

The next thing I recommend you do is go through your log one boss at a time (by choosing the boss name from the selection next to “Split” at the top) and look at the same overall healing chart. Is everyone about where you expect?

If someone seems unusually low, check their “Presence” (the column right next to their name.) A raider’s Presence should be 98-100% if they were alive for the whole fight. Lower than that, it means they probably died. Keep in mind that a raider’s Presence is not necessarily an indication of ‘time spent healing’… there’s another stat for that elsewhere. Presence is simply the amount of time the raider is present doing something in the combat log, whether that is healing someone, doing damage, taking damage or giving/receiving buffs.

III. Taking an even closer look.

You can click on an individual raider’s name on the chart to go to a breakdown of their spell/ability usage. From there you can see what their heals were landing for, how many they cast, what their crit rate was and much more.

** Tip: To see a more detailed breakdown by spell, including its min/max and crit min/max, mouse over that spell’s line until it highlights and then click in an empty space. If you click the spell name itself, you’ll jump to another page that shows a breakdown of everyone who used that spell. That can be useful too, but it’s not the tip! **

If they died during the fight, there will be a “Deaths” line above the first set of tabs with a timestamp for each death that occurred. You can click the timestamp link to jump to the combat log, which will show you what happened in the seconds before their death. Hopefully it will be pretty obvious what killed them but you might have to scroll back a little bit in the combat log to get a clear picture. If you’ve never seen a combat log before you might be startled by just how much can happen in a single second.

microscopeRemember how I mentioned time spent healing? That is also on this individual breakdown screen, in the stats at the top. You can see their Damage Out, Damage In and Healing totals and time spent doing each activity broken down there.

A word of caution: While “HPS Time” is a fairly useful stat (defined as the time spent healing during that segment of the log), “HPS” is generally not. While DPS done is a perfectly valid method of evaluating damage dealers, HPS is not an adequate measure of healing done.

Was Healing Done low but Presence high? Maybe they were DPSing for some of the fight.

Was Healing Done low and Presence low but they didn’t die? Sounds like they either got disconnected or were standing around twiddling their thumbs a lot.

IV. Class Summary

The next thing I like to do is check out the Class Summary. To do this, select a boss fight (or All Bosses) from the “Split” menu and from the “Browse” menu choose “Raid & Mobs” and then “Priests.” It will show a DPS/HPS breakdown at the top, followed by damaging spells in the middle and healing spells on the bottom. Compare spell usage between the Priests, keeping in mind what their roles and specs were (tank vs raid, disc vs holy, etc.).

Although this display will not let you break down the spell-by-spell statistics (min/max etc.) it does show you the average amount the heal landed for. It’s interesting to see how that varies from person to person depending on their spec and/or gear level.

V. Who Heals Whomtarget

The last screen I’m going to talk about today is the Who Heals Whom screen. To view this, choose “Who Heals Whom” from the “Browse” menu at the top. You can view this boss by boss if you want (this helps if healing assignments vary a lot for your group) or by all bosses. This will show you a pair of somewhat confusing tables (Who Heals Whom & Who is Healed by Whom) with slightly less confusing instructions for how to read them.

The table on the top (Who Heals Whom) is the one most likely to be helpful when reviewing healers. Find the healer on the top and you can scan down the column under their name to see what percentage of their heals went to which raid member (listed on the left). Tank healers should have a large percentage of their heals going to the tank(s), while raid healers should be more evenly spread.

“Focus” is a confusing stat that only confuses me more the more I think about it so all I will say is this: Low Focus = fewer people healed. High Focus = lots of different people healed.

That should be enough to get you started, though there is still a lot more that WWS can do. In Episode Three, I’ll offer some tips, tricks and advanced techniques for the brave, bold and/or foolish. I have a few things up my sleeve, but if you have a WWS tip you feel is particularly handy and would like me to consider for Episode Three feel free to comment here or shoot me an e-mail.

Episode Three may or may not debut next week, but I promise not to keep you in suspense for too long.

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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!

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Seri sez: Shadow for the Holy CL, revised (patch 3.0)

October 16, 2008

As promised, I’ve updated my guide for reviewing Shadow Priests for patch 3.0. If you read the original, this will probably seem very familiar! Although much of the wording remains the same, the details about gear rankings, spell hit cap, stat balance, talents and spell rotations have changed significantly.

At one time, I had 10 Priests under my purview. Although there have been a few casualties, we are still legion; the Priest class is the largest in our guild and it’s my job to evaluate both the Holy and Shadow Priests. I’ve always been Holy, so when I took on a class lead role I knew I had my work cut out for me. Fortunately for you, you can now benefit from all of my hard work. By following these guidelines, you can whip those Shadow Priests into shape… or at least find out what sort of shenanigans they’ve been getting away with.

Reviewing Gear

Reviewing any character is a multi-step process. I like to start with their armory profile. Have a gander at their gear, and determine if it is appropriate for the level of content that you’re running. ShadowPriest.com has a great gear list that you can use to see if they are missing easily obtainable upgrades. Just keep in mind that just because something is higher on the list than something else doesn’t necessarily mean it is more desirable; it depends on what else the SP is wearing and what their over all stat needs are. There is a ‘big picture’ here and you have to take that into account.

Spell Power: T6 Shadow Priests should have at minimum 1100-1200 Spell Power–more if you’ve been deep in T6 content for a while.

Hit Rating: Shadow Priests hit cap at 289.55 Hit Rating, with 3/3 Shadow Focus and 3/3 Misery (more about that later).

Critical Strike Rating: One of the big changes in 3.0/Wrath is that Mind Flay can crit. (Also, spell crit chance is being added to DoT damage in the beta, so that may go live eventually too. If you have 20% crit rating, your DoTs would do 120% damage every tick with this change.) Critical Strike Rating is now much more valuable to Shadow Priests, but most won’t really have a chance to start stacking it until Wrath due to the increase in hit rating requirements.

Haste Rating: Shadow Priests shouldn’t start stacking haste until they are up around 1400 Spell Power fully raid buffed. However, once they get to that point, haste is love.

Enchants: Make sure they have an enchant for all enchantable slots (helm, shoulders, cloak, chest, wrist, gloves, pants, boots, weapon) including rings if they are an enchanter. They should have spell power for bracers, gloves (hit or crit also acceptable depending on individual needs) and weapon, though Soulfrost is also good to see (and as far as I know still exists in 3.0). Chest should be +6 Stats or Mp5. I require Subtlety and Boar’s Speed for my Shadow Priests, but your policies may vary.

Gems: Rather than simply gemming for max spell power, Shadow Priests now need to balance spell power with hit, crit, spirit and (eventually) haste. Gem choices may vary a little bit depending on individual needs, but if you see anything wacky like Spell Penetration wield your clue-by-four with impunity!

Reviewing Spec

Next, tab over to their talent sheet. There isn’t a heck of a lot to look for here, because if you opened up your Shadow tree and face rolled on your keyboard you would be bound to get most of your points in useful talents. It’s not uncommon to see Shadow Priests sink 50+ talent points in Shadow. However, an optimal raid spec will make room for key Discipline talents. Things to look for:

PvP Talents: Make sure the Shadow Priest isn’t raiding with a PvP build, which will be characterized by things like Imp Psychic Scream, Silence and Psychic Horror. The jury’s still out on Improved Shadow Form. It can be situationally useful in PVE, but at level 70 a Shadow Priest really doesn’t have enough talent points to pick it up without losing something more useful.

Twin Disciplines/Improved Inner Fire: Remember I mentioned that Discipline tree? Twin Disciplines is a must, as it directly affects Shadow Word: Pain, Shadow Word: Death, Mind Flay & Devouring Plague. That’s something like 95% of a Shadow Priest’s spell rotation right there. Improved Inner Fire only becomes important at level 71, when Inner Fire grants a spell power bonus as well as an armor bonus. Not terribly important as of 3.0, but something to keep in mind come Wrath.

Shadow Affinity: Threat reduction? Yes, please.

Improved Vampiric Embrace: Although Vampiric Embrace is required for Shadow form, Improved VE is completely optional for raiding. VE generates a ton of threat, making it only situationally useful. If your Shadow Priests are putting points in Imp VE, make sure they’re not neglecting something else.

Shadow Weaving: This talent was reduced from 5 points to 3 points in 3.0, and all 3 are worth having. This debuff now only affects the Shadow Priest rather than the entire raid. Nonetheless, it’s a debuff no Shadow Priest will want to do without.

Shadow Focus and Misery: As mentioned earlier, with 3/3 Shadow Focus and 3/3 Misery, a Shadow Priest hit caps at 139. This is almost double the hit cap from pre-3.0, with 5/5 Shadow Focus. Although the hit cap is higher now, it’s still possible to reduce the # of points spent on Shadow Focus/Misery (though why you’d want to reduce points spent in Misery is a mystery to me) if there is a surplus of hit rating.

Spell Hit Caps (courtesty of SP.com):

* 289.55 hit is the cap with 6 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 314.78 hit before you can go to 5 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 341.02 hit before you can go to 4 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 367.25 hit before you can go to 3 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 393.48 hit before you can go to 2 points between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 419.71 hit before you can go to 1 point between Shadow Focus and Misery
* 445.94 hit before you can go to 0 points between Shadow Focus and Misery

Reviewing WWS

If you are a serious raider, you’re probably already familiar with WowWebStats. If not, well, this section might not make a lot of sense but hopefully you can follow along. WWS reports are a bloated with information, and either adored or reviled by raiders. While I enjoy digging around in WWS to look at stats, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. WWS takes a lot of flak for creating unnecessary competition between raiders, but for me it’s a great tool for performance evaluation. The trick is knowing what to look at and what to not care about.

Forget Trash: When reviewing your Shadow Priests, drill down to individual bosses. While it might be useful to take a quick glance at the trash stats, trash is not optimal for performance tracking for casters–especially casters that rely on DoTs and channeled spells for a lot of their damage.

Don’t Forget Mobility: A lot of boss fights are about mobility, and the more time folks spend repositioning themselves the less time they spend DPSing. Pick low mobility fights as your ‘benchmark’ fights when looking for raw DPS numbers.

Spell Rotation: Shadow Priest spell rotation is done by priority rather than casting things in a set order. The idea is to keep Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch and Devouring Plague up at all times, Mind Blast whenever the cooldown is up, Shadow Word: Death whenever it’s safe and otherwise Mind Flay. Ideally, the SP should be using a DoT timer and refreshing DoTs right as they wear off. For example, VT has a shorter duration than SWP; it should be refreshed whenever it needs refreshing rather than waiting until SWP wears off. When looking at an individual Priest’s stats, look for the ‘Dots’ field for all DoTs. These numbers should be the same if not close to the same. If there are large variations here, the SP is not staying on top of their DoTs. Bad SP, no biscuit!

Calculating DoT Uptime: DoT Uptime is defined as ‘the amount of time DoTs are kept up’. This isn’t something you’ll want to do after every raid for every boss, but I like to spot check folks here and there–sort of like a pop quiz for Shadow Priests. The formula is pretty simple (it’d have to be, because I suck at math):

DoT Uptime % = (# dot ticks * 3) / fight-duration-in-seconds * 100

So, let’s say a fight is 4 minutes long and during that 4 minutes a SP had 80 ticks of SWP:

80 * 3 = 240
240 / 240 = 1
1 *100 = 100%

There you have it. 80 ticks of SWP in a 240 second (4 minute) fight is 100% DoT uptime. That’s pretty optimistic though, let’s take a real world (such that it is) example:


These screenshots are taken from an actual WWS report, for a Teron Gorefiend fight. This particular priest died during the fight, but was present for 97%. We’ll use the amount of time she was alive for our calculations… after all, we can’t really hold her accountable for keeping DoTs up after she died. As you can see from the first picture, she was alive for 3 minutes and 47 seconds, which is 227 seconds according to my calculator widget. Next, look for the SWP ticks on the ‘dots’ column of the damage out breakdown: 71. Plugging it in:

71 * 3 = 213
213 / 227 = .938(ish)
.938 * 100 = 93.8%

So, for this Gorefiend attempt this Shadow Priest’s DoT Uptime was 93%… I should give her a cookie. I love to see DoT Uptime over 90% but anywhere in the mid-80’s is acceptable for mobility fights (which Gorefiend is not).

What else can WWS tell you? All sorts of things. Just looking at the above images, you can see that our guinea pig’s DPS for that fight was 1264 and that her VT/SWP ratio was pretty close. If anything, I’d suspect that she was waiting for VT to wear off before re-casting. Since VT has a casting time, you can start casting it before VT actually wears off (without clipping the last tick) as long as you’re watching the dot timer. WWS will also show you buffs gained, so you can tell whether someone was using a flask, how often they used buff food, mana potions, their Shadowfiend and more.

Personal Observation

Last but not least: the often underestimated personal observation stage of the review process. Does the SP show up for raids on time and stocked with all the consumables and reagents that they need? Do they help with buffing Fortitude and Shadow Protection as needed? Are they dying a lot, and if so is it because of threat issues or poor situational awareness? Are they following instructions? Going AFK frequently? Zoning out on trash? Managing their mana/cooldowns well? Set them as your focus target for an hour or so if needed to keep an eye on them.

Final Thoughts

Even though we Holy Priests are healing specialists, that doesn’t mean that we have to be ignorant about how the ‘other half’ lives. My studies of Shadow Priest tactics/gear have made me a stronger player in general, not to mention a stronger Class Lead.

Although patch 3.0.2 is now live, Blizzard is still rigorously testing talents for Wrath and beyond; changes are bound to be made in the coming weeks. I’ll keep revising this document whenever it seems necessary. Your comments and suggestions are welcome; past comments have already contributed to improvements in this revision!

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Seri sez: Shadow for the Holy CL (Pre-3.0)

September 25, 2008

At one time, I had 10 Priests under my purview. Although there have been a few casualties, we are still legion; the Priest class is the largest in our guild and it’s my job to evaluate both the Holy and Shadow Priests. I’ve always been Holy, so when I took on a class lead role I knew I had my work cut out for me. Fortunately for you, you can now benefit from all of my hard work. By following these guidelines, you can whip those Shadow Priests into shape… or at least find out what sort of shenanigans they’ve been getting away with.

Reviewing Gear

Reviewing any character is a multi-step process. I like to start with their armory profile. Have a gander at their gear, and determine if it is appropriate for the level of content that you’re running. ShadowPriest.com has a great gear list that you can use to see if they are missing easily obtainable upgrades, but be warned that a lot of the “best” gear is haste gear, and Shadow Priests shouldn’t start stacking haste until they are up around 1400 Shadow Damage fully buffed.

Spell Damage: T6 Shadow Priests should have at minimum 1100-1200 Shadow Damage–more if you’ve been deep in T6 content for a while.

Hit Rating: Shadow Priests hit cap at 76 Hit Rating, with 5/5 Shadow Focus (more about that later).

Enchants: Make sure they have an enchant for all enchantable slots (helm, shoulders, cloak, chest, wrist, gloves, pants, boots, weapon) including rings if they are an enchanter. They should have spell power for bracers, gloves and weapon, though Soulfrost is also good to see. Chest can be +6 Stats or Mp5. I require Subtlety and Boar’s Speed for my Shadow Priests, but your policies may vary.

Gems: Spell damage, spell damage, spell damage. Shadow Priests can and should ignore set bonuses as needed to socket as much spell damage as possible. Gem choices may vary a little bit depending on stamina/haste needs, but if you see anything wacky like Spell Penetration or Spell Crit wield your clue-by-four with impunity.

Reviewing Spec

Next, tab over to their talent sheet. There isn’t a heck of a lot to look for here, because if you opened up your Shadow tree and face rolled on your keyboard you would be bound to get most of your points in useful talents. It’s not uncommon to see Shadow Priests sink 50+ talent points in Shadow. However, an optimal raid spec will be a little leaner to make room for a dozen or so points in Discipline. Things to look for:

PvP Talents: Make sure the Shadow Priest isn’t raiding with a PvP build, which will be characterized by things like Imp Psychic Scream, Silence and Shadow Resilience.

Inner Focus/Meditation: Remember I mentioned that Discipline tree? Inner Focus is a must-have. Meditation is a Seri recommendation, because every little bit helps for those endurance fights.

Vampiric Embrace: Completely optional for raiding. VE generates a ton of threat, making it only situationally useful. If your Shadow Priests are putting points in VE and Imp VE, make sure they’re not neglecting something else.

Shadow Weaving: 5/5 is not necessary. 4/5 will keep it up pretty reliably, and if you routinely stack your raid with more than one Shadow Priest they could even potentially reduce it to 3/5. This buff doesn’t stack (not in every sense anyway); the Shadow Priests share a debuff slot and can refresh each others’ debuffs.

Shadow Focus: With 5/5 Shadow Focus, a Shadow Priest only needs 76 Hit Rating. This makes it ridiculously easy for Shadow Priests to hit cap. Often, Shadow Priests will end up with a surplus of Hit Rating and can reduce the # of points spent on Shadow Focus.

Spell Hit Caps (courtesty of SP.com):

* 76 hit is the cap with 5/5 Shadow Focus
* 101 hit before you can go to 4/5 Shadow Focus
* 126 hit before you can go to 3/5 Shadow Focus
* 152 hit before you can go to 2/5 Shadow Focus
* 177 hit before you can go to 1/5 Shadow Focus
* 202 hit before you can go to 0/5 Shadow Focus

Reviewing WWS

If you are a serious raider, you’re probably already familiar with WowWebStats. If not, well, this section might not make a lot of sense but hopefully you can follow along. WWS reports are a bloated with information, and either adored or reviled by raiders. While I enjoy digging around in WWS to look at stats, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. WWS takes a lot of flak for creating unnecessary competition between raiders, but for me it’s a great tool for performance evaluation. The trick is knowing what to look at and what to not care about.

Forget Trash: When reviewing your Shadow Priests, drill down to individual bosses. While it might be useful to take a quick glance at the trash stats, trash is not optimal for performance tracking for casters–especially casters that rely on DoTs for a lot of their damage.

Don’t Forget Mobility: A lot of boss fights are about mobility, and the more time folks spend repositioning themselves the less time they spend DPSing. Pick low mobility fights as your ‘benchmark’ fights when looking for raw DPS numbers.

Spell Rotation: Shadow Priest spell rotation is done by priority rather than casting things in a set order. The idea is to keep Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch up at all times, Mind Blast whenever the cooldown is up, Shadow Word: Death whenever it’s safe and otherwise Mind Flay. Ideally, the SP should be using a DoT timer and refreshing SWP & VT right as they wear off. Because VT has a shorter duration than SWP, it should be refreshed whenever it needs refreshing rather than waiting until SWP wears off. When looking at an individual Priest’s stats, look for the ‘Dots’ field for SWP and VT. These numbers should be the same if not close to the same. If there are significantly fewer VT ticks than SWP ticks, that means they are refreshing both DoTs at the same time rather than independently. Bad SP, no biscuit!

Calculating DoT Uptime: DoT Uptime is defined as ‘the amount of time DoTs are kept up’. This isn’t something you’ll want to do after every raid for every boss, but I like to spot check folks here and there–sort of like a pop quiz for Shadow Priests. The formula is pretty simple (it’d have to be, because I suck at math):

DoT Uptime % = (# dot ticks * 3) / fight-duration-in-seconds * 100

So, let’s say a fight is 4 minutes long and during that 4 minutes a SP had 80 ticks of SWP:

80 * 3 = 240
240 / 240 = 1
1 *100 = 100%

There you have it. 80 ticks of SWP in a 240 second (4 minute) fight is 100% DoT uptime. That’s pretty optimistic though, let’s take a real world (such that it is) example:


These screenshots are taken from an actual WWS report, for a Teron Gorefiend fight. This particular priest died during the fight, but was present for 97%. We’ll use the amount of time she was alive for our calculations… after all, we can’t really hold her accountable for keeping DoTs up after she died. As you can see from the first picture, she was alive for 3 minutes and 47 seconds, which is 227 seconds according to my calculator widget. Next, look for the SWP ticks on the ‘dots’ column of the damage out breakdown: 71. Plugging it in:

71 * 3 = 213
213 / 227 = .938(ish)
.938 * 100 = 93.8%

So, for this Gorefiend attempt this Shadow Priest’s DoT Uptime was 93%… I should give her a cookie. I love to see DoT Uptime over 90% but anywhere in the mid-80’s is acceptable for mobility fights (which Gorefiend is not).

What else can WWS tell you? All sorts of things. Just looking at the above images, you can see that our guinea pig’s DPS for that fight was 1264 and that her VT/SWP ratio was pretty close. If anything, I’d suspect that she was waiting for VT to wear off before re-casting. Since VT has a casting time, you can start casting it before VT actually wears off (without clipping the last tick) as long as you’re watching the dot timer. WWS will also show you buffs gained, so you can tell whether someone was using a flask, how often they used buff food, mana potions, their Shadowfiend and more.

Personal Observation

Last but not least: the often underestimated personal observation stage of the review process. Does the SP show up for raids on time and stocked with all the consumables and reagents that they need? Do they help with buffing Fortitude and Shadow Protection as needed? Are they dying a lot, and if so is it because of threat issues or poor situational awareness? Are they following instructions? Going AFK frequently? Zoning out on trash? Managing their mana/cooldowns well? Set them as your focus target for an hour or so if needed to keep an eye on them.

Final Thoughts

Even though we Holy Priests are healing specialists, that doesn’t mean that we have to be ignorant about how the ‘other half’ lives. My studies of Shadow Priest tactics/gear have made me a stronger player in general, not to mention a stronger Class Lead.

Looking ahead, there are significant changes coming in patch 3.0 that will affect Shadow Priest spec, rotation & gear needs. I’ve been keeping an eye on these developments, and once things stabilize I’ll post a new guide for 3.0.

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