Measuring Healer Performance
I started to write a longish post about using stats – WWS in particular – to evaluate your healing. I realized, however, that we don’t really have a good measure. In a lot of ways, most healers are stuck at the same stage as a lot of DPSers who don’t study — the only thing that is measured and considered is gross results. For them, “did I kill the mob without dying” is sufficient. For us, “Did anyone die? No? Then that’s the only measure that matters.” Yes, in the end, it is. And yet, what we want to do is to look at our performance so that we’re READY in the event we hit, well, the nasty pulls and Big Bosses.
I think that there isn’t yet a tool out there that will really help us, but I might be wrong. I think that it might be possible to develop such an analysis, but I might be wrong. I can’t know whether I’m right or wrong about either of these possibilities until I have decided what I – and I hope WE – need. Therefore I’m going to ask the Egotistical Priest’s question again, only this time intentionally searching for quantifiable measures that can be used to obtain the qualitative truth she identified. It’s going to be a long slog, so take a moment to get comfortable and, hopefully, be ready to add your insights.
Let me begin with the absolute with which everyone agrees. A GREAT healer is one who never lets a party member die. Which points out a major difficulty of our measures — compared to all other roles, the healer role is massively dependent on the performance of others. Get an extraordinarily geared tank and you can practically sleep. Get a warlock and a mage competing for top of the damage meters without concern for the tank’s aggro and you can see death after death even before the first mob. Thus I think we have our first caveat — our first uncontrollable conditional against which all quantifiable measures must be considered: the group. I’ll probably be returning to that element. But let’s get back to quantifiable elements. Specific in this case: Deaths.
When we look at player deaths, we need to identify not why they died, but whether we could have saved them. Which basically means we need to know two things: How long did it take them to die, and what were we doing in that time?
I have identified my first stats to be parsed. I want a tool that will show people’s health – as a percentage, I think – over time in chart form. And on it, I want all my healing casts shown. Probably it should show ALL heals, identified, so I can pick up on when my PoM (or other classes’ unattributed healing) is the cause. hmmm, more complex than that – I need it to show things like shield, too.) Better put on a “Died” indicator so I can tell fairly easily whether they died and were battle rezzed or if it was a feign death or 1% situation.
Another major issue is mana management. I think I should have another line on that same chart – extractable as a separate, perhaps – that shows my mana percentage. Most of the spells I cast are there already, I need to know when and how I’m gaining mana, too.
Huh. I’ve just identified a ‘better than good’ element for measure. Mana management. Assuming you don’t let people die, how ready are you to keep going? Yes, overheals play a part here, but far from the sole element. PoM or a PoH that brings 4 people up from 50% and is 100% overheal on the fifth are examples of where we just don’t care. Though… the first chart will show some of this, too.
Which means one of the steps of getting “better” is learning to be not-too-quick on the trigger. You want to maintain player’s health at levels high enough that they won’t die to a heavy attack before you can heal, but other than that… let them bandage. And again, it’s quantifiable. Not just overheals, but how often do you heal to 100%? 90%? 80%?
In fact, let’s add this as a statistical, quantifiable measure of worth. What proportion of your heals go off at under 20% of the target’s health (bad), and what proportion take your target over 90% (possible mana waste)? (and for comment from you all — is 80% a better measure?)
Statistical measures: party health % and healer mana status at end of battle. “Perfect” is both at 100%. Hmm. Add tank health % to that, I think. I suspect there’s a valid ratio or proportion in there, and since dead tank is absolute bad it’s probably better expressed somewhat better as health remaining per mana remaining — but lom with 100% health is also bad. I’m going to guess this is a multiplicative value – that is, 100%*100%=100% is excellent, while 1%*100% = 1% is, well, bad. I suspect there’s a better weighting but the H*M value has good potential and is relatively easy to calculate. I’m absolutely certain a tool can be made, and 99% certain one doesn’t already exist.
I think… I think I want another ‘waste’ calculator as well, though this one is potentially going to be used to beat other players about the head and shoulders. I want a tool that measures total healing delivered over the target’s max health. In most circumstances the top number should belong to the tank. If another player is ‘too high’, we may be wasting heals. Or they may be abusing the threatmeter. Or we may be doing the right thing as the mage is AoE pulling a bunch of adds. Still, I think the distribution curve will give us a better tool for analyzing our performance on a quantifiable basis — especially if it can be made to count overheals by target.
Yes. Yes, I want that too for statistics. Which players did I overheal and with what spells? If it’s the tank, I really don’t care. If it’s due to group heals (as already mentioned earlier) saving part of the group while wasted on the rest, I don’t really care. If I’m doing repetitive overheals on the hunter… am I getting caught by his feign death? Panicked by how fast he drops on the rare situations he DOES take damage? Need to downrank for his heal? I can’t even ask the questions if I don’t realize HE is my overheal target.
So, let’s recapitulate and summarize, shall we? The stats and reports that will help us become better healers include:
H*M – percent of health remaining * percent of mana remaining at the end of a fight, with an improved version being the (as yet undetermined) weighting of the elements. H*M is needed for both party and for the tank – the latter meaning I should be able to apply it against single members of the party.
Differentiation of overhealing by both spell AND target.
Related – proportion of heals that kick in when target is under 20%, and proportion that heal to over 90% (with discussion as to whether 80% might be a better target).
GRAPHIC DISPLAY of players’ health over time of the battle plus my mana, all on a percentile chart, with events indicated – healing spells (preferably with a cast-time bar so I can see I didn’t heal X because I was still casting GH on the tank) and events (bandages, pots, etc) and mana events ( at least restorations, possibly mana drains).
So what separates a good priest (qualitative value per Ego’s post and the discussion) from a better priest (good plus)? Or maybe… what are the quantitative factors that help you become a good priest? How effectively and efficiently do you heal, I think. Timing and mana efficiency. No deaths, and enough mana at the end that if something DOES go wrong (which in an instance happens sooner or later), you’re ready to cope.
OK, I’ve rambled. Thought – not just on what I’ve written but your own quantitative factors? Remember, I agree completely with Ego that a good priest is a measure of quality – of overall performance. This is an attempt to identify what measurable factors matter. Because if they’re measurable, we can work to improve them – but only if they matter. Your turn.