WWS for the healpriest

Using stats for the healpriest is trickier, not least because (as stated numerous times in numerous places) healing is a quality instead of quantity issue. Still, we can use the stats to our benefit. As with the shadowpriest version, I’m going to assume you’ve read the relevant prerequisite posts.

The really frustrating news is that there isn’t a baseline, and there isn’t a ‘perfect situation’. Instead, we have to do this in tiny chunks of “what is”, and then see if it could be better. That said, we CAN do things that give us useful numbers. And the first of these is to avoid (initially) raids. Whether it’s heroic or not, use a 5-man instance for your starting point. Actually, use several. And the next ‘harder than the dps’ task to remember is: remember your pencil and paper. Or, if you’ve added one, a note-book addon (one that lets you make quick notes during the instance and save them for later review). At a minimum you want to note which player was your tank (and preferably some detail – spec and gear and impression of tanking skill.) You should also make a quick note if someone dies – or if you wipe – of impressions. (DPSer ignoring aggro? Multiple adds?) Oh – a really important note: were you spamming heals desperately trying to keep up, or were you dancing with the 5SR. And about what point (percent of total health or percent down) were you starting a heal on your tank – the others if you can, but the tank is important. Yes, impressions is enough because we’re going to try to extract tiny bits of useful information. Now, we’ve got a combat log for a five-man (maybe hellfire ramparts) and we’ve got our notes, it’s time to see what tidbits we can glean from the stats.

Whoops, one more thing. Get the tank’s health. Now if you forgot it (as I led you to do just now – grin) you have a backup. Go to Warcraft’s armory and get the tank’s armory page, and get the health from there.

Now load up your combat log and open the stats, it’s time to dig for minutia.

Let’s start from screen one – full report: charts. Click on the heals tab. What does your overheals rate look like? Is it less than 10%? Less than 20 or 25%? More than 40%? Check your notes right now — were you chainhealing the tank all the time? Here’s our first stop. If you were NOT chain-healing the tank but your overall overheal rate was in excess of 15%, you were being inefficient with your healing. If you WERE chainhealing the tank, the magic number is… it depends. Certainly if you were over 50%, probably if you were over 35% for the whole run – though there are exceptional circumstances. We’ll be coming back to this, but it’s a solid start point and data point to keep in mind.

Now review the same number for all the splits. Again, check your notes. If you were chain-healing, a higher overheal is no big deal. Likewise if you were trying to keep heals in opportunities – say, casting constant renews just before fears from Ambassador Hellmaw. Remember that the issue is quality, and there are very few hard-and-fast rules of “good” healing beyond “nobody died”.

Speaking of “nobody died”… if you DID have someone die, it’s time to do a bit of crawling. Go back to the full report, charts. For each player, click on their name. Note that just before the first chart – the last part of the data line – is “deaths” with a clickable time. When you click on the time you see the last few seconds of log that involves them. Here’s what you’re getting ready to do. You’re seeing how fast they died, and you’re going to look at what you were doing for the five to ten seconds prior to and overlapping their death. In more detail…

Look at the last few seconds, and see (and note – back to pencil and paper) how much damage they took and how fast it hit them. Look to see if you cast any heals on them in the midst of their dying – and what heal you cast. Then jump to the same time mark in YOUR log and see what you were doing – were you running in fear (remember to look fifteen seconds upwind), were you trying to heal someone else… ? Maybe you were out of range? (This will show up on your log, though it won’t tell you who you were targeting.) Note this for every, single, death. And now look at them all for patterns.

For the non-tanks, were you slow or late? Were you busy? Were you consistently out of range? A little more digging – what do you remember (or have noted) on your tank — were you keeping him topped, and COULD YOU have paused toss a shield and renew on someone else without losing the tank? We’ll get to that in a moment.

If it was the tank… why? Were you busy healing someone else and took too long? Was it essentially unpreventable – a one-two smash that did more damage than the tank had health? (A double – or triple – crit from some bosses will do this). What you’re looking for is NOT self-condemnation, but a ‘if this happens again, what could I have done differently to make it better – to have had fewer deaths on my watch?’) With that thought in mind, it’s time to jump to some details. Click on YOUR name and let’s get started – full report, split, it doesn’t matter as they’re all going to be useful.

WWS will tell you your HPS. I think that’s pretty worthless, myself, but if you were chainhealing it might give you a useful planning number. What IS going to be useful is the first table – heals. You can see how many of what heal you cast, and for each heal what the average heal was and what your overheal rate was. Another frustration time – if you’re mixing lower and higher level casts of the same spell, it’s going to combine them – WWS won’t differentiate between GH2 and GH7 (for example). Assuming that is NOT your problem, you have another useful piece of information… Overheals by spell.

Now again, your notes are critical for remembering circumstances. For example, if you were chaincasting GH on the tank, overheals are to be expected. Likewise, if you were fighting a mob with a regular and severe AoE, it’s possible you may have chosen to tap everyone with a renew before returning to the tank – which is why it’s showing significant overheal rates. But there are other things to ask. As in…

If you’re showing over half your heals as flash, ask yourself why. There can be excellent reasons for it, but if you were running about 15% overheal on a tank, doing 2000-2500 healing on a tank with 12,000 health (remember you got his health?), you were wasting an awful lot of mana — most of the time, of course. Most of the time, if a chaincast flash doing less than 15% the tank’s health is keeping the tank topped (I’ll do those numbers in a minute), then you had PLENTY of time to dance with the 5SR – or take a quick heal to the rest of the party as the case may be. I promised to run those numbers. If your average is 2250 and you’re overhealing 15%, then you were ‘only’ using 85% of the 2250 or about 1900 healing. 1900 is about 15.8% of the tank’s total health, meaning you started the heal as your tank reached 85%. Trust me, it’s likely that you could have delayed and been able to watch the whole group AND have more mana by waiting to, well, even to 70% and casting greater heals. With, as always, caveats — if the tank’s constantly plunging then keeping up the heals may be the difference between life and wipe. (Still, in this case I’d chain greater heals just because they’re more mana efficient, meaning I’d last longer.)

Look at how often you cast what spells. Look lower to see who GOT your heals. In fact, take a quick switch to the “who heals whom” choice of “browse” to see what percentage of your heals went to which player.

What are you picking at these numbers to find? Did you use spells when you could have waited – and did you wait too long (or watch the wrong player)? Were you using mana intensive spells when you could have used a more efficient spell? Look at the times you healed the players other than the tank – did you hit everyone in sequence with a flash or renew (and so could have used a prayer of healing instead)?

Overheal in and of itself is a ‘so what’ issue. overheals when you had the opportunity to use reduced level spells – or other spells, or wait a couple of seconds with relative safety – are something to wonder about. Constant use of a mana-intensive spell may suggest the opportunity to use something else. And… if you specced for something, are you using it? If you specced for the lightwell did you cast it? Was there need for a Circle of Healing, and if so did you cast it? (probably not in a 5-man, but…) Did you use a binding heal, and on review was there opportunity?

These are the reasons you’re looking at the stats. The raw numbers (beyond deaths) are, well, they dont’ tell you enough of what you need to know, and give you false leads at the same time. But in combination with your battle notes AND the sequence logs, they may help you better identify what to use when so as to do more healing for longer times.

Have fun.

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~ by Kirk on October 30, 2007.

4 Responses to “WWS for the healpriest”

  1. Phew… and they say healers have an easy job. Again, a very comprehensive write-up, although more difficult to follow through. If I am the only healer, I rarely find the time to take notes in an instance ;) Often I find that the best information comes from talking with fellow healers – that is, if there are other healers. In any case, these are great tips if you try to find out what’s wrong, thank you!

  2. [...] – Healpriest – raids In the previous post, I told you to use a 5-man instance to do your analysis because it was “simpler.” (As [...]

  3. Very GG – Yesterday was my first time in Sethekk and I figured I may have been doing some things wrong (with the first & second tank). But after reading this and analyzing my gameplay, I realize I was right on cue ^_^ Thx Much

  4. [...] view, Priestly Endeavours (one of my favourite Priest blogs) has a first look at WWS along with WWS for holy priests (which I think should help other healing classes [...]

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