Druid Boss Guide: Mursaat Overseer

The goal of this guide is to provide a synopsis of my recommended builds and strategies with an emphasis on group support, not DPS. An in-depth explanation of the fight and its mechanics can be found here.

Mursaat Overseer is largely regarded as a DPS golem, and your main job is to keep up might stacks so everybody can maximize their DPS. Druids can take any of the special actions, but I usually find myself dispelling or protecting.

Role: Healer

Weapons/Skills Traits Pets
  • Axe 
  • Warhorn 
  •  
  • Staff 
skirmishing 1-1-3, nature magic 2-3-1, druid 2-2-1
Fanged Iboga DPS
Fern Hound Regen
  • Glyph of Rejvenation 
  • Frost Spirit 
  • Sun Spirit 
  • Glyph of Empowerment 
  • Spirit of Nature 
Priorities
Dispel; side-step boss to prevent line-of-sight issues
Protect; use if fighting multiple soldiers or when group is standing on a hot tile with missed claim
Save CA for heals when scouts are about to activate
Stack might
Camp axe/warhorn; switch to staff for burst heals
Stay behind/flanking to benefit from  Hunter’s Tactics
Ways to improve DPS, if overhealing
Take  Bountiful Hunter instead of  Instinctive Reaction
Replace healing gear with berserker or diviner stats
Replace staff with offhand axe, and take  Quick Draw instead of  Vicious Quarry
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Druid Boss Guide: Cairn

The goal of this guide is to provide a synopsis of my recommended builds and strategies with an emphasis on group support, not DPS. An in-depth explanation of the fight and its mechanics can be found here.

Cairn is a boss fight that is entirely dependent on mechanics. Players that fail mechanics will get into downstate quickly, and Cairn wins by chain-downing players with shared agony and shards as they attempt to rez their friends.

Your role as druid is to keep your squad topped off as best you can. Pet rezzing via the Allies’ Aid trait, “Search & Rescue!”, and Spirit of Nature are all excellent ways to help your team recover from failed mechanics. You also have Sublime Conversion (staff 5) to help protect yourself and others from shards while rezzing.

Druids are typically tasked with healing shared agony but may be asked to kite, as well.

Role: Agony Healer

Weapons/Skills Traits Pets
  • Staff 
  • Axe 
  • Warhorn 
skirmishing 1-1-3, nature magic 3-3-1, druid 2-2-1
Tiger Fury and DPS
Fern Hound Regen and DPS
Red Moa Fury and passive heals
Fanged Iboga DPS
  • Glyph of Rejvenation 
  • Frost Spirit 
  • Sun Spirit 
  • Glyph of Empowerment 
  • Spirit of Nature 
Priorities
If you don’t have shared agony, stand just behind the DPS stack to get it
If you have shared agony, move to other side of boss; keep shared agony off the DPS stack
Use targeted heals in CA to heal teammates and stack might; prioritize targets with shared agony
Help with rezzing: Allies’ Aid (trait), “Search & Rescue!”, protect w/ staff 5
Camp axe/warhorn, switch to staff for burst heals

Role: Shard Kiter

Weapons/Skills Traits Pets
  • Staff 
  • Axe 
  • Warhorn 
skirmishing 1-1-3, nature magic 3-3-1, druid 2-2-1
Fanged Iboga DPS
Fern Hound Regen and DPS
  • Glyph of Rejvenation 
  • Stone Spirit 
  • "Protect Me!" 
  • "Search & Rescue!" 
  • Spirit of Nature 
Priorities
Strafe to find gaps in shards
Dodge roll if you’re going to miss a gap
Use staff 3 if you need to dodge but are out of endurance
Use targeted heals in CA to heal teammates from afar, but take care of yourself first
Help with rezzing: Allies’ Aid (trait), “Search & Rescue!”, protect w/ staff 5
Camp staff, use staff 2 off-cooldown; switch to axe/warhorn for emergency heals (blast water field)
Dodge roll left for Cairn’s twirling attack; dodge roll in for his ripple attack

Tempest Healing Guide: Introduction to Auramancy

Druid has been the meta raid healer for a while now due to its strong heals and insane boon support. While druids remain nearly essential because of their might-stacking ability and large number of class-specific buffs, it’s not essential to have two. In fact, with recent nerfs to druid healing, the improved sustain that a tempest auramancer brings may be the perfect complement to the druid.

Tempest healing feels more like a traditional healer when compared to druid, which appeals to a lot of people. The sustain is real with tempest, too. Passive healing produced by Soothing Mist and regeneration keep the team topped-off through light and moderate damage, and you have an impressive assortment of water fields and blast finishers that can be used when burst healing is required.

With so much at your disposal, it can be tricky to know what to use and how to be most effective. I’ve compiled this guide to help get you started. It covers your basic healing toolkit and touches on some less-obvious, advanced usage relating to dodging and attunement swapping.

Water Attunement Heals

Your bread & butter healing comes while attuned to water. You pump out Soothing Mist to allies, you can overload for a big area heal, and every weapon skill can provide healing. I typically use Ice Spike off-cooldown as long as Geyser, Frozen Ground, or Healing Rain is available to thrown down as a blastable field. Soothing Mist and regeneration tick for a lot of healing and, when combined, provide very strong group sustain.

Soothing Mist This is a passive, class-specific regen that’s applied to allies whenever you’re attuned to water. Its effectiveness is doubled with the trait Soothing Power.
Water Blast Water auto-attack that heals allies. Face camera down and cast with no target to heal the area around you.
Geyser A powerful small-area heal and a water field that can be blasted for additional area healing. Geyser also revives downed players.
Frozen Ground An ice field that can be blasted to apply frost aura, which grants regen when traited with Invigorating Torrents.
Healing Rain A large-area regen that also clears condis and another water field that can be blasted. Clear even more condis when the Cleansing Water is selected.
Overload Water Arguably your strongest healing skill. Heals for a large amount, applies regen, and removes condis.
Evasive Arcana Cast Cleansing Wave when dodging while attuned to water, which heals and removes 1 condition from nearby allies.

Healing & Utility Skills

Water Attunement gives you a lot of tools for healing, but there’s a whole host of other skills that also provide healing. In my utility slots, I typically run two shouts for healing-via-auras and choose the third based on the fight.

Skills That Heal

The following skills can be used for more healing. My default setup uses Feel the Burn and Flash-Freeze because they have lower cooldowns than Aftershock, but it’s worth noting that Aftershock has higher burst-healing potential due to the fact that it’s a blast finisher.

Wash Away the Pain A powerful group heal. Other healing slot skills only heal yourself, making this a no-brainer.
Feel the Burn Grants fire aura to allies; heals and applies regeneration when traited with Invigorating Torrents and Elemental Bastion.
Flash-Freeze Grants frost aura to allies which provides damage mitigation; heals and applies regeneration when traited with Invigorating Torrents and Elemental Bastion.
Aftershock Grants magnetic aura that reflects projectiles to allies; heals and applies regeneration when traited with Invigorating Torrents and Elemental Bastion. It’s also a blast finisher.
Signet of Water A low-cooldown targeted AOE heal. It also revives for a small percentage.
Arcane Wave A blast finisher with 2 charges that combo nicely with fields from weapon skills. You can blast the same water field twice for respectable burst healing. (Blasting the ice field twice is not advisable since re-applying frost aura overwrites duration rather than extending, but it can still be effective for extra healing in a pinch.)
Rebound Prevents a killing blow and heals instead or applies an aura based on your attunement. It’s generally used when you see that somebody’s about to die or you know there’s a damage spike on its way.

Utility Skills

These skills should be used situationally. My default is Lightning Flash for mobility unless CC is needed, in which case I favor Conjure Frost Bow.

Lightning Flash Teleport around!
Conjure Frost Bow Deep Freeze (skill #5) is a strong CC.
Eye of the Storm A group stun break.
Mist Form Invulnerability.
Glyph of Storms Use while attuned to earth for an AOE blind.

Notable Trait Alternatives

My default build can be viewed here, but I do swap some traits as-needed depending on the fight.

Water

Tempest

Advanced Techniques

It’s easy and tempting to sit in water attunement and heal, but you give up a lot by doing so. By camping water, you’re basically forfeiting benefits provided by traits like  Healing Ripple,  Cleansing Wave, and  Elemental Attunement. You’re also missing out on blast finishers that can be used to chain together huge burst-heal combos. For example, the water field left by Healing Rain lasts long enough to attune to earth and blast it with Eruption. For a quicker blast, you can simply dodge while attuned to earth thanks to Evasive Arcana.

When you put these concepts together, you can build some pretty gnarly combos:

  • (Attune to water)
  • Dodge roll (casts Cleansing Wave to heal & cleanse condi)
  • Cast Ice Spike
  • Cast Healing Rain
  • Attune to earth
  • Cast Eruption
  • Dodge roll (casts Shockwave which blasts water field for area healing)
  • Cast Arcane Wave to blast water field for area healing
  • (Ice Spike blasts water field for area healing)
  • (Eruption blasts water field for area healing)
  • Cast Overload Earth
  • Cast Eruption
  • Attune to water (casts Healing Ripple)
  • Cast Ice Spike
  • Cast Geyser
  • (Eruption blasts water field for area healing)
  • (Ice Spike blasts water field for area healing)
  • Cast Overload Water
  • Cast Ice Spike
  • Cast Frozen Ground
  • (Ice Spike blasts ice field for area frost aura which heals & applies regen)
  • (Back to beginning)

Crowd-Control (CC)

Don’t forget to help out during CC phases there, Mr. Healer. You’ve got a few tools at your disposal. The number shown in parentheses below is how much defiance bar damage the skill does. Your most reliable CC comes from Deep Freeze and Gust. Static Field and Unsteady Ground provide decent punch but can be difficult to land, as they require the target to move into the ability to trigger it.

  • Ice Bow #5 Deep Freeze (300)
  • Air #3 Gust (150)
  • Air #5 Static Field (200)
  • Earth #4 Unsteady Ground (150)

Glyph of Empowerment, for Healing!

Last week, I published a druid healing guide and solicited feedback from Reddit. One of the comments was this:

Empowerment is only brought if you have power classes, the most important of those being weaver. For example, if you only have 1 holo in your sub, empowerment is not as important and another utility can be brought for mechanics or whatever.

I disagree with this point. Using Glyph of Empowerment offensively might only be relevant for power classes, but the healing output it provides when used while in Celestial Avatar form is substantial. I find the skill is rarely not useful since you can use it for a) power DPS boost, b) healing increase, and/or c) small heals & condi cleanse when traited.

In the past, I’ve mostly only used it off-cooldown while not in CA. With the recent balance patch nerfs to druid healing, though, I’ve been using it more in situations that require fast, powerful heals. Gorseval’s tantrum is a good example; CA → Glyph of Empowerment → Rejuvenating Tides was enough to keep everybody pretty well topped off. Timing it with Quick Draw allows for an extended duration of potent heals with the Rejuvenating Tides/Lunar Impact/Rejuvenating Tides (4-3-4) combo.

In addition to using it when you enter CA, you can also use it just before exiting CA. This allows you to improve regens applied by warhorn #5 or quick burst healing with staff #3 or staff #5→#3 combo.

If you don’t need that extra healing, sure–use it off-cooldown out of CA or bring something else that’s more useful, but don’t forget about this incredible skill as part of your healing toolkit!

Druid Healing Guide

Ever since the druid trait Gift of the Land was improved to affect 10 targets, druids have been the preferred healer for raids. Even without the healing, druid buff support is insane with 3 class-specific buffs (Spotter, Sun Spirit, Frost Spirit) plus the ability to stack 25 might on the full squad with perma-regen, perma-swiftness, and perma-fury. On top of that, druids can also out-DPS other healing classes, routinely doing 3-6k where other healers struggle to hit 1k.

This guide is intended for experienced and inexperienced druids alike. It represents my opinions of what druids need to know and do to be effective and hints at some advanced usage. I’m always looking to improve my own knowledge and gameplay, so please feel encouraged to leave comments about anything I’ve missed, gotten wrong, or may not have considered.

Gear

Before the most recent balance patch, I was running full harrier’s with no sigil of concentration, but because of the recent healing nerfs I’ve made some adjustments. My current build uses harrier’s armor, weapons, & backpack but magi’s trinkets with runes of the monk. For sigils, I have transference/water on my staff and transference/concentration on axe/warhorn. This build gives 67% boon duration, and the concentration proc puts me close to 100%. The rotation focuses on timing weapon swaps and entering/exiting Celestial Avatar (CA) so as to proc sigil of concentration and quick draw as much as possible. Trait lines are skirmishing, nature magic, and druid. You can view the build here.

Skills

Most of the time, if you’re the only druid, you’ll run Sun Spirit and Frost Spirit. I find that more times than not, I’ll have Glyph of Empowerment in the final utility slot. Glyph of Rejuvenation is my preferred heal skill due to its short cooldown, and my elite rotates between Entangle, Spirit of Nature, and Glyph of Unity. The tables below list other choices and considerations to be made when choosing them.

Healing Skill

There are two primary choices for healing skill: Glyph of Rejuvenation and Healing Spring. Healing Spring is the preferred option when condi cleanse is needed. Water Spirit can also be used as a passive group heal if burst healing is not needed.

Glyph of Rejuvenation 19s-cooldown AOE heal plus casts Lesser Seed of Life, an additional small heal that also cleanses 1 condi. When used out of CA, it’s a powerful self heal and weak group heal. In CA, it’s a powerful group heal and weak self heal. Use the trait Verdant Etching when selecting this option.
Healing Spring 24s-cooldown AOE heal that also applies regen and cleanses 2 condis. Use the trait Trapper’s Expertise when selecting this option.

Utility Skills

Frost Spirit and Sun Spirit are class-specific damage buffs that should always be provided, if possible. When there are multiple druids, coordinate to make sure these are provided but not duplicated

Frost Spirit Grants 5% bonus damage on hit plus provides might when traited with Nature’s Vengeance. Use Frost Spirit over Sun Spirit if you can only bring one and your group favors power damage.
Sun Spirit Inflicts burning on hit plus provides vigor when traited with Nature’s Vengeance. Use Sun Spirit over Frost Spirit if you can only bring one and your group favors condition damage.

Your remaining utility skill slots can be filled situationally or by preference.

Stone Spirit A good “other spirit” option when there are two druids splitting spirit duty. Applies protection to the group to improve survivability. Great for training raids and also provides a group immobilize when sacrificed (Quicksand).
Glyph of Empowerment Typically used as another class-specific buff for power damage (10% increase), but it also improves outgoing healing by 25% when used from CA. Additionally, it casts Lesser Seed of Life for a small heal and 1 condi removal when traited wth Verdant Etching.
Glyph of Tides A good knockback utility that also casts Lesser Seed of Life for a small heal and 1 condi removal when traited wth Verdant Etching. This is a group pull when used from CA, but its range is quite small (300).
Glyph of Equality A daze that can be used for additional CC when other skills are not needed, but also casts Lesser Seed of Life for a small heal and 1 condi removal when traited wth Verdant Etching. Acts as a group stun break when used from CA.
Storm Spirit Applies vulnerability on hit and provides swiftness when traited with Nature’s Vengeance. Storm Spirit can also be another source of CC when sacrificed (Call Lightning).
Muddy Terrain Another snare/immobilize.
Protect Me A group stun break.
Search and Resuce A vacuum revive. This is only good when your group is learning and is experiencing frequent deaths.

Elite Skill

The elite skill is mostly situational.

Entangle Use Entangle when immobilize is needed.
Spirit of Nature Use Spirit of Nature when stability is needed but can also be used for group/pull revives. Be sure to use the trait Nature’s Vengeance. This is a good default option for PUGs that die a lot or when learning.
Glyph of Unity Additional group healing when used from CA plus casts Lesser Seed of Life for condi cleanse. This is my preferred default skill outside the scenarios outlined for the other options.

Healing

Ah, the heal skills. This is (mostly) what it’s all about. Druid provides some passive healing through regen, staff #2, and glyphs (seeds of life), but its healing skills are generally more bursty in nature than, say, a tempest auramancer.

The standard druid healing rotation revolves around quick-drawing warhorn #5. Here’s my normal rotation:

  • Enter combat with staff
  • Weapon swap
  • Quick draw warhorn #5
  • Enter CA
  • [9 seconds in CA to stack might, top-off heals, and/or cleanse condis]
  • Exit CA
  • Quick draw warhorn #5
  • Weapon swap
  • [9 seconds in staff; spam #2 & #1 or #5->#3 combo]
  • Repeat

By constantly quick-drawing warhorn #5 in this rotation, you should achieve close to 100% regen uptime, and I generally keep this rotation going regardless of whether or not the heals are needed in order to keep might stacked on the group.

You’ve got a few big heals at your disposal, but these should only be used when needed and not as part of your rotation or off-cooldown. The first and easiest one is your healing skill, Glyph of Rejuvenation. It’s a fast, powerful group heal that also leaves a seed of life that will pop for a 2nd, follow-up heal after a couple seconds.

The next obvious big heal comes when in CA, primarly skills #3 and #4. If you’re quick-drawing into CA, you can do 4-3-4 for a relatively long duration of sustained strong healing. 3-4-3 is also quite potent but executes twice as quickly. #3 is targeted, though, so quick-drawing #3 is ideal for fast heals from afar. It’s hard to “save” these since you’re in and out of CA as part of the normal might-stacking rotation, but if big heals are needed, this is your bread & butter.

The druid’s final source of big heals comes from its water field, staff #5. There are lots of ways to use it effectively, and it largely depends on where you’re at in your rotation, what’s available, and what’s needed. Be aware that you need to be careful with placement of the field so you can blast it, though. If you put your water field on another field and blast it, you’ll be blasting the other field i.e. no healing.

Here are a few examples of how to use this field situationally depending on what’s available. You’ll also need to make a quick determination about how much healing is needed. Don’t blow everything to execute a full combo if a single blast is enough to get everybody to full health.

  • You’re in staff and weapon swap is available: staff #5, blast with staff #3, weapon swap, blast with warhorn #5
  • You’re in staff, weapon swap is on cd, but CA is available: staff #5, blast with #3, enter CA, blast with CA #3, then keep healing from CA
  • You’re in warhorn, weapon swap & CA are available: weapon swap, staff #5, blast staff #3, enter CA, blast CA #3, then keep healing from CA
  • You’re in warhorn, weapon swap with quick draw is available but CA is not: weapon swap, quick-draw staff #3, wait a couple seconds, staff #5, blast #3

Condition Cleansing

One aspect of druid healing that I think is underrated is its condi cleansing. With glyphs providing an endless supply of light fields that can be blasted for area condi cleanse, you can chain together a pretty impressive condi cleansing sequence. Consider the following:

  • Glyph of Empowerment -> lesser seed of life (light field; cleanse 1 condi)
  • Staff #3 to blast light field (cleanse 1 condi)
  • Weapon swap
  • Quick-draw warhorn #5 to blast light field (cleanse 1 condi)
  • Wait until warhorn #5 is about to be available again
  • Glyph of Rejuvenation -> lesser seed of life (light field; cleanse 1 condi)
  • Warhorn #5 to blast light field (cleanse 1 condi)
  • Enter CA
  • CA #3 to blast light field (cleanse 1 condi)
  • CA #2 (light field; cleanse 2 condis)
  • Exit CA
  • Weapon swap
  • Staff #3 to blast light field (cleanse 1 condi)

Much like the water field from staff #5, you need to be careful with seed or life placement in order to be able to blast the light fields. Without worrying about placement, the lesser seeds of life from glyphs and seed of life from CA #2 offer a decent amount of cleanse on their own, though. In fact, it’s enough for most fights without requiring additional thought or specific, deliberate action.

Crowd-Control (CC)

Lots of bosses have defiance bars that need to be broken quickly to prevent bad things from happening. Druids have lots of ways to pitch in! The easiest and most obvious is through your pets. I almost always have electric wyvern in one of my pet slots, and if a group’s having problems with break-bars, I’ll throw a rock gazelle into the 2nd slot. CA #5 is great for helping with breakbars as is CA #3. So, a particularly strong combo is to enter CA, quick draw #5, then #3, then #5 again. You can cast your pet ability while this is happening, too, for a large amount of CC.

Other notable CC skills:

  • Glyph of Tides for knockback (or pull, when used from CA)
  • Entangle for a long immobilize
  • Stone Sprit can be sacrificed (Quicksand) to immobilize
  • Staff #4 for a short immobilize
  • Axe #3 for chill

Pets

My default pair of pets is currently iboga for DPS–and another immobilize–and electric wyvern for CC. Replace iboga with tiger to generate a ridiculous amount of fury (use ability off cooldown) or rock gazelle if more CC is needed.

Druid Healing Nerfs! (May 8, 2018 Balance Patch)

Druid healing took a decent hit with this balance patch!

Cosmic Ray: Reduced the healing of this skill by 30%.
Seed of Life: Reduced the healing of this skill by 35%.
Lunar Impact: The heal scaling of this skill is no longer split between game modes and will now use the lower 20% reduced heal scaling in all modes.
Rejuvenating Tides: Reduced the healing of this skill by 40%.
Windborne Notes: Reduced the duration of Call of the Wild’s regeneration from 10 seconds to 6 seconds.
Verdant Etching: Reduced the healing of this trait by 35%.

Overall, I think this is good for the game because making druids less effective will make other healer options more attractive (less unattractive?), but it still makes me a little sad as a druid healer.

I’ve been running a full harrier build for as long as I can remember, and I’m going to make a couple adjustments to make up for the reduction in healing. First, I’m going to swap all my trinkets from harrier’s to magi’s. Armor, weapons, and backpack will remain harrier’s. And, to make up for the lost boon duration, I’m going to swap the sigil on my warhorn from water to concentration.

These two changes will increase my healing power by about 160 without losing boon duration, but I’ll need to pay closer attention to weapon swaps and entering/leaving CA to make sure I’m proccing the sigil correctly.

The new build can be found here.

GW2 Raidar: How to Read the Logs

My guild is doing a lot of raiding these days, and with that has come a lot of log sharing and data analysis. It’s come to my attention, however, that many people aren’t exactly sure how to read and interpret the logs. You know what that means: time for a guide!

First, though, a warning: there are so many factors that affect these numbers that are outside the control of each individual. There are certainly things that each player has control over–like gear, rotation, and positioning–but then there’s everything else. Logs can offer insight into areas for improvement, but they’re best used to foster improvement over time. Don’t get hung up on comparing DPS numbers against Snowcrows benchmarks. Don’t beat yourself up because your boon output was in the 3rd percentile. Executing mechanics and getting clean kills is WAY MORE IMPORTANT than earning high marks.

Intensity vs Duration

The first point of confusion for many people is intensity vs duration. Might is a boon that stacks intensity. If I have 1 stack of might, and someone grants me 1 more might, I now have 2 stacks of might. Conversely, quickness is a boon that stacks duration. If I have 4s of quickness, and someone grants me 4s more of quickness, I now have 8s of quickness.

There are two primary reasons why this distinction is important when looking at logs. First, one stack of might is very different than twenty-five stacks of might. Second, might is capped at 25 stacks, so there is a limit to how much can be applied whereas a duration-stacking boon will simply keep extending its duration. A third point to consider is that having more than 100% uptime for a duration-stacking boon could be seen as wasteful e.g., ending a fight with 3m of fury remaining is no better than ending a fight with 1s remaining. (Regen creates a gray area since 1s of regen from your healer is more potent than 1s of regen from a DPS character.)

Uptime vs Output

Here are my rules of thumb for what to focus on when looking at boons & buffs:

  • Uptime for might 
  • Uptime for other buffs you receive
  • Output and uptime for other buffs you provide

Because might stacks and has a cap of 25, there’s only so much application that can occur. If a 10-person squad’s might uptime is 24 with one druid producing an output of 160 and another just 80, you can’t draw any clear conclusions about the performance of either druid. It’s very possible that both druids would’ve been able to provide the same might uptime alone. What matters most is that the team produced just about as much might as it could handle–and that’s great! If the squad’s overall uptime is low, looking at might output could help determine which expected sources aren’t producing, but keep in mind all the different factors that could influence that number.

If you’re receiving buffs, you’ll want to look at uptime because this is the percentage of time that you had the buff. Compare your uptime to others in your group and squad. Were you the only one that was low? Maybe you were out of position or in a special role that left you out of range.

Conversely, if you’re providing buffs, you’ll want to look at both uptime and output. Output alone can be ambiguous because it’s an average. So, for a 10-person squad, 100% output can be 100% duration for one person or 10% duration for 10 people. Or, in the case of might, 100 can mean an average of 20 stacks for 5 people or an average of 10 stacks for 10 people. You want to look at the uptime for the people you’re giving buffs to (just your group vs the entire squad) and compare it to your output. For example, a support chrono is usually providing quickness and alacrity to their group, so perfect output would be 500% with uptimes for everyone in the party being at 100%.

Damage Received

The metric is pretty straightforward. This is how much damage you took. Is your squad really high above the average? Are you really high compared to others in your squad? High values could mean that you or your squad aren’t executing mechanics, have poor positioning, need more mitigation (e.g., protection, frost aura), or need more condi cleanse.

Boss Metrics

The idea with boss metrics is to tell you how well you’re executing boss-specific mechanics, but the usefulness varies by boss. For example, Cairn will tell you how many times people were hit by shards or teleported. We’ve had clean runs with only 5 total shard hits and messy clears with more than 60; it’s a fantastic way to measure the progress of your skill.

It’s great to look at boss metrics when learning and evaluating a specific boss as well as determining individual performance. It can also be used to paint a more complete picture; for instance, maybe during a Slothasor fight your damage output was low or damage taken was high because you kept getting poison and/or focused.

Damage Output (DPS)

This is very similar to damage received in that a lot of the value is in the relativity of the numbers rather than the numbers themselves. Is there just one person with low DPS, one group, or the entire squad? What explanations can you provide for anomalies? Don’t look at just one person and compare them to published benchmarks without taking the context of the whole group into consideration.

Interpreting the Results

Now we know how to read the logs, but how do you use that information to improve? You’re basically going to employ the scientific method: make observations, come up with theories for how to improve, test those theories, and repeat. Let’s look at some example scenarios.

Sample 1: I’m a support chrono capable of producing near-100% alacrity and quickness against the kitty golem. However, my actual numbers are typically much lower.

Compare your uptime to that of your fellow party members. If everybody’s numbers are low, including your own, you may need to improve your rotation. If yours is high and theirs are low, it’s probably a positioning problem. If only some party members are low, those individual party members may need to concentrate on better positioning to improve uptime. If everybody’s numbers are inconsistent, it could be you that needs to focus on your positioning.

Sample 2: I’m a healer druid, and I’m having problems keeping people alive. Might and regeneration uptime are both good, and I don’t think healing output is the problem.

Look at boss metrics to see if there are mechanics that people are failing on. Also check damage taken numbers to see if the team seems to be taking significantly above-average damage; if numbers are unusually high, you’ll need to come up with guesses about why. Are there attacks that can be avoided? Would more condi cleanse or better protection uptime help? Are some people taking notably more damage than others? Do you see differences in their boon durations? Try getting players that are taking normal amounts of damage to explain how they do the fight, and this may produce some revelations to other players that are taking higher damage. Similarly, you could have the excessive damage takers explain their understanding of the fight & mechanics which might provide you with a chance to jump in with “Whoa, whoa, whoa–there’s the problem. Don’t do X when that happens, do Y!”