First look at WowWebStats
[new edit. If you're here because of Matticus's post recommending it, please notice that this is almost five years old. Don't trust what I say here blindly as there have been changes.]
I plan to write a couple of ‘how to use’ articles, one for shadow, one for healside, both on WowWebStats. I realized that both get terribly long, and there’s a significant overlap. So to cut on length and redundancy, this article is going to be the basic examination. What is it, where is it, and what’s the big deal anyway?
Yes, I linked it above, but let’s start with the url. http://wowwebstats.com. (There are some alternate urls but this works just fine.) Go ahead and type that in another window – we’re going to do some exploring, so you’ll want to be able to go back and forth here.
There are three links at the top left – start wws client, documentation, and forums. Over to the right is a sign-in and a search box. And in the center is another search box.
The first thing I’m going to have you do is click on the documentation. Very pretty overview, and not so much information. But still, it’s worth a look so you have the basic concept. And we’re going to use a couple of the examples from this page for later poking around. But first, we’re going to look at a detail of how to load YOUR stats. Because if you can’t get this, the whole thing is basically worthless to you.
You’re going to have to know how to get to the log files. I’ve mentioned this before, but let’s do it again. Open the method of looking at the drive that holds your World of Warcraft program. Open the World of Warcraft program folder. Look for the subfolder labeled logs, and open it. You will see some folders in here, and one MIGHT be labeled “combatlog”. If you’ve never turned on your combat log it’s not here.
To create the combat log, you’ll have to start it while in the game. Yes, there are addons that will do this automatically. And there are some which will extend the range from the default 40 yards to… as far as I know 200 yards is the maximum, and in some battles that STILL will not cover the whole battle. However, the basic requirement to create the combat log is: while in game, type /combatlog to toggle it (on and off). Regardless whether it’s going or not, logging off or exiting the game will toggle it off – it will not be on when you start your next game.
Oh, and you cannot work with the log while the session is in progress. Before you begin working with the log you must at least toggle it off – and I recommend logging off as well to ‘clear the garbage’ (which saves any files that need saved such as your logs).
Again, all this and more was discussed in my combatlog post. And it’s mentioned in the WWS documentation – at the bottom of the page find the “recording the combat log and extending its range” link.
Right below that is the installation and ‘how to use’ to load your combat log. Allow me to give the short version, but please take time to see the more detailed information.
Basically, click the top left “Start the WWS Client”. This will download and start a java program. You MUST do two things. You must upload the combat log. You must identify the actors.
For the former, click the “Logs and Reports” tab. Click the “Add Log” button, and browse and upload the log. You’ll be asked the name of the player who submitted the log. It’s somewhat necessary as they’re identified as “You” in the log – this allows a complete replace of “you” with “playername”.
You also have to identify the actors. In my experience this is the biggest frustration point – it’s where things get most annoying. Go to the actors tab, and start with “auto-update”. It will add every mob, pet, … everything that does something. Which means you’ll get some spells and totems and, well, like I said it’s going to be annoying. And if the program can’t figure out what something is, it’s generically called “mob”. So you need to go through and identify what belongs. You’ll have to know that “this” is a paladin or a warrior, for example. And if it’s a pet, you’ll need to know to whom the pet belongs. One unavoidable flaw is when there is more than one person with a pet of the same name — an occasional problem for warlocks, and an inevitable problem for priests casting their shadowfiend. (Or using Improved Death- er, spirit form). Basically, you’ll have to either dump it or make it a single individual – and I recommend the former – when it’s in this situation. Yes, this means the stats will be slightly flawed, but it’s a reality with which you’ll have to live.
Once you’ve cleaned up the actors, dump those who don’t matter. For me, I dump everyone except players and their identified pets – the bosses will come up anyway. But there can be reasons to keep the bosses – it’s up to you as you experiment for what’s ‘right’.
Now that you’ve cleaned up the actors, go back to the log page, and choose one of the two bottom buttons – generate report, or host report.
ummm… you can’t host report unless you’ve created an account. There are several levels – basic (which is free) and upward (all of which cost). If you can pay I recommend it – not just for the advanced goodies, but because this is so darn useful and you’re supporting an outstanding service. But it’s not necessary – again, we can stay ‘free’ if you want. Anyway. If you “generate” the report doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but it stays on your computer. If hosted, it’s on WWS’s server. … I need to digress slightly.
If you host it on the server, you will get two pointers. One is “private”, the other is “public”. The big difference is that the public address will anonymize the info — all the players get a substitute name — while the private will, well, it’ll name names. If you’re sharing outside (with non-guild) I HIGHLY recommend you share the “public” address so as to avoid any opportunity for embarrassment.
The biggest reason to host on the server, however, is that you’re allowed to do more parsing – splitting, etc – of the results. In fact, the rest of this article, plus the followons that will be specific to the specs of priest, will use the hosted information. In fact, let’s go on now.
Back to the documentation page. Click on the example “a fight against Netherspite .”
Now, this isn’t what you’d normally see for the first page. Since I’m wanting to do a somewhat full examination, let’s get to that page. Mouseover the line that says “Netherspite Death”, and in the menu box that opens click on “Full Report”. When it changes, you’re at the page you will see if you start your own log.
You have three selection areas. First, you can select split – the netherspite battle we just left (or any other boss in this Kara run), all trash (consolidated by removing all the boss runs), and the full report. Second, you can look at some specialized charts – these are available for each of the splits. Finally, you have three tabs – damage out, damage in, and heals. Oh, actually there is a fourth option. You can click on a specific player and see them and them alone.
I’m going to let you play, but I want to point to a few special issues. First, click on the priest’s name (that’s the one in white – since it’s anonymized it may be one of several names). You’re going to get a detailed “raids and mobs” report (that’s on the browse line) for this priest. It’s pretty obvious that this is a shadowpriest (just look at the damage out table), but I want to point to something special. Scroll down to the “buffs and debuffs” table – the fourth one down. Notice the fourth line is “prayer of mending”. If you look above, it’s not in the heals line. But we know that only this priest could have cast it — it’s the only priest in the raid. See, some spells trigger by target, not caster. Lifebloom and prayer of mending are only two of several. Lesson: don’t take the information at face value — you need to think about what you’re seeing.
Now notice that you can look at every player and every ability for the whole fight or for an individual engagement. You’re going to be able to tell how many times a warrior taunted during Nightbane (for example), simply by selecting the Nightbane split and then that warrior — and if you mouseover the charts and then select abilities, followed by finding and clicking ‘taunt’ you can tell how many times taunt was used in the nightbane fight. (Five times by one warrior, Four by the other, all nine on Restless Skeletons.) Oh – odds are that these two warriors didn’t really use their taunts that many times. Instead, one taunted four Restless Skeletons and the other taunted five of them. Whether it was one taunt apiece for that many (probably) or if it was multiple taunts split between is something we can find out if we want (and we’ll get there in a second) but is most likely something we know from having been in the raid.
I said we could find out. Notice one of the options is to look at the whole log. Trust me this is tedious. But… if we really need to know whether taunt was one time for four skellies, or four separate casts, we can find out.
Two more pieces before I go. First, return to looking at players for the full. There are 11 listed for a ten man raid. There was a substitution made mid-game – a warrior replaced another warrior. This means the “full report” that shows both these warriors with a certain amount of damage is deceptive — they weren’t there the whole time, and will show much higher proportions in ‘splits’.
Second, I want to point out I can make my own splits in the “browse” line. If, for example, I want to see how a pair of priests were doing on their shackles for the run from Attumen through Maiden, I can split that out.
Final remark. This has a great deal of complexity, which means it will take some time to get extremely comfortable. And in the upcoming sections I’m not going nuts with examination – just with some things to examine as a shadow and heal priest for improvement of THAT performance. There are more weaknesses we’ll discover along the way. But again – play with this. Load your own engagement and examine THAT, with the solid memory of what ‘really’ happened, to discover where you can and cannot rely upon it. Stats are only one viewpoint, not the whole battle.
I’ll have more later, but in the meantime… have fun.