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%.
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.
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!”