Another piece of the puzzle

In my search for stat tools to analyze healing, one of the things for which I was searching was a ‘mana management’ tool. I found a decent (though it has weaknesses) tool. Even better, I can tie it to Ego’s Recent post on that perennially favorite topic: spirit v mp5.

The tool is RegenFu. It’s technically a standalone, though you will need either fubar or Titan for it to display properly. It tracks mana and health use and regeneration. Though not perfect, it contains the seeds of some very useful information right there. However, the big deal – the one that puts it on my Every Healer Must Get list – is that it tracks FSR time.

One of the Major Accomplishments of the healer’s theorycraft is the Regeneration Model. Basically, it’s the formulas and tables to determine how much spirit you need to match what you get for mana-per-5 seconds. That is, given a choice between X spirit and Y mp5, which will do you better for regenerating mana. The Big Unknown Variable is “p” – that is, the percent of time spent in the FSR (regenerating less mana).

Now, the reality is that things are way too hot and heavy in an instance for anyone to track all the little details – especially something that’s not blasting data to read, like “you gained xxx mana.” Or more specifically, “you are out of the FSR.” Hey, if the DPS crews can’t see the whole without review of data tables, what makes you think you can succeed with this more difficult to obtain data? It may feel like you’re casting heel and toe, but…

You’re going to need one more – well, two more combined – tools. Pencil and paper. What you need to do is AT A MINIMUM write down your FSR% after every battle and then reset. (This is one of the things I’d like to see expanded in the tool, but…) Every type of battle is going to be different, and you’ll help yourself if you’ll note at least whether it was trash or boss, and better yet if you’ve got the instance and the party composition (and more details about the trash and bosses – like WHICH). But JUST recording boss and trash percentages will give you solid info about which you used to guess. That is:

What is your FSR rate? What is the typical amount of time you spend IFSR and OFSR for trash? For Bosses? Got them? Good, because now we can REALLY start digging.

Specifically – as with all stats work (and the reason WHY theorycrafting) we’re going to dig into what IS, and what COULD BE.

‘What is’ is first. You have your frame rate. By referencing the table or formula linked above you can determine your OPTIMAL breakeven point for spirit vs mp5 (for regen only – yes, I keep saying that, but there are other potential benefits of spirit). Example: Right now I run about 70% (+/-5%) for all but one Kara boss – and the Moroes fight with all those shackles and heals gets me about 85%. Trash runs closer to 55%. I COULD plan based upon Moroes, but I’m managing, and think I’m better served using the more general number of 70% for my base. (Caveat as warning – I’m not the only healer in any of my kara groups. This MATTERS. But I’m going to ignore it for now to keep this example from going nuts in recursives.) Anyway, at 70% (with 3/3 med) my trade0ff is 3.95 Spirit = 1 mp5. What this means is that given a choice, if there is more than 4 spirit to the available mp5, I should probably take the spirit. (And a personal digression… I have IDS. This gives me additional healing for my spirit. I’ll not go into the math for weighting, but suffice it to say that my actual trade point is closer to 3 than to 4.)

And then there’s ‘what can be’ . Once you KNOW what your 5 second waltz is giving you, you can try different things to see if you can make it better. Remember that the magic phrase is “nobody dies”, but other than that… what works? Not opinions, but FACTS – what makes your FSR rate better while keeping everyone alive?

Likewise in the ‘can be’ category – right now we’re just examining spirit and mp5. But the reality is that we have both. Consider this… I know what my paperdoll (and raid-buffed because I wrote it down) OFSR and IFSR regen rates are, which in combination with knowing the speed of my waltz (my FSR rate) means I have a rough idea of my true regeneration rate (mana per second). Now, I can use another couple of tools – WWS for one example – to see what spells I’m casting and how many times I’m casting them over the time of the engagement. Which means (with a little math) I can determine about what my mana burn rate is. That is, I can determine I burn roughly X mana per second.

And given my burn rate and my regen rate AND my known mana pool I can estimate how long a fight I can endure. Yes, tossing in the runes and the shards and the pots and the fiend will adjust this time – but I can CALCULATE it. But that’s not the best thing (IMO).

I can establish a goal for mana regen that gives me ‘indefinite’ healing. Look up there again at all I’ve written. If I can make the burn rate less than or equal to the regen rate, I’m golden MOST of the time. (I am never going to be able to chain-cast GH to infinity. Fortunately, I should never HAVE to do that.) I can reduce the burn rate and/or increase the regen rate (not just by adding SPI or mp5, but by reducing the speed of the waltz). And short of that goal, I can ALSO set a goal of fight time. What’s a long fight for me – five minutes? ten minutes? 20? Whatever it is, given net burn and total mana pool I can decide if I’m ready or if I need to do some improvements – and quite probably WHAT improvements I need to make.

I want to take a brief moment to talk to the readers who’ve not read my posts on what stats matter and why. Yes, the most important heal statistic is whether anyone died. But stopping there is like saying the only thing that matters for dps is that the mobs died. “Enough” for where you are may be “not enough” for higher levels. And while trial and error works, figuring out WHAT works and WHY it works and WHAT YOU CAN DO to be better means your learning period is a lot shorter. For healers, the underlying tricks to the trade are anticipation and mana management. What I’m doing here is helping us figure out how to test and improve mana management.

So with all this said, let me recap.

I have found a statistical tool that helps me with mana management, specifically identifying FSR and mana use and regen rates. With this tool, mana pool, and knowledge of (generally) what spells I’m casting in what proportion over time, I can:

  1. Decide what my personal spirit:mp5 exchange rate is (How much SPI to equal mp5 on gear);
  2. Know what changes to playstyle actually improve (reduce) my FSR rate (increasing mana regen);
  3. Have more certain awareness of how long I can last in battle;
  4. Be able to plan for ‘more’ healing more effectively – knowing the effect of (and what’s needed for) changing the burn rate (speed of the waltz, increased mp5/spirit) and size of my mana pool.

Stats aren’t the answer. They’re a filtered flashlight – won’t show you anything except what you’re pointing it at, and even then will miss things that are the wrong color, but it darn well beats flailing in the dark.

Have a flashlight.

~ by Kirk on October 19, 2007.

3 Responses to “Another piece of the puzzle”

  1. If I were to write a post on this topic, this is what it would look like. Well done.

  2. I’ll be looking for that addon tonight. I’ve often wondered how much time I spend in the 5SR, especially in boss fights. I have a feeling that it’s less than than what you’ve said you do. I think having something to gauge this would not only help to create stat goals but also to allow you to make adjustments to your play. If I’m in the 5SR 95% of the Moroes fight that may be why I’m running so close to oom by its end.

  3. ReCount tracks heals and overheals, I think (haven’t really used it with my Priest), but not the FSR. And it CAN be quickly reset after every fight, as well as track the last 5 battles separately. I wonder if the author would be amenable to including a FSR tracker in the add-on…

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