Warcraft Logs and You

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Warcraft Logs and You

Postby Sparty » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:59 pm

Guide to Reading and Understanding Warcraft Logs
This guide compiles and summarizes how to mentor yourself, as well as gain useful information from logs, and we highly recommend that you read over the information found here. As always, feel free to reach out with any questions.

--Video Guide: COMING SOON

I - What does Death Jesters look for in an applicant?

A) Following Directions

One of the things that almost everyone gets wrong is the in-combat UI screenshot. While it seems minor, we are looking for specific things on a UI, namely:
--Raid frame locations
--Whether you are tracking important information (time until a buff expires, time until an ability is active again, etc).

At the same time, are you minimizing useless information? A lot of people would track their Concordance procs in Legion when it had no bearing on their rotation. That’s an area of the encounter you can’t see that a mechanic can come from, for a WA that does nothing for you.

B) Parses

Obviously the actual parses play a factor, but multiple things play a factor into the parses, such as:
--Kill time
--Number of Healers (for healing parses)
--Doing the “annoying” work/jobs

So with the parse we look for more than just the number, but also the mitigating factors for those parses.

C) Things we look for in all logs (quick checks)

Are you using appropriate talents for the encounter at the time and for the comp that was run?


Go to any boss fight, select class and spec and see what talents are being favored.

--Active Time

This can be found in the second column from the right. You should always shoot for above 99% active time.

--Health pot and Healthstone usage

Select the character in question, go to casts and see if stone/pot were cast.

--2nd pot use (either mana or damage pots)

The cast page will capture the second potion but not the first. Check the buffs page and then look for the row that is your appropriate potion. The count should be 2. The bar will show at what point in the fight the 2nd pot was used. It should typically align with something significant, such as Heroism, CDs, or a damage check.

--Line up of CDs appropriately (Healing & DPS)
Going off the buff page as the same link above, buffs and CDs and their use are class dependent.

--Off role ability use (did healers damage where they could, did DPS mitigate/heal where they could?)
Certain defensive abilities have very small CDs and can get multiple uses in a fight. Blur and Barkskin are both 1 min CDs. Barriers for mages are 25 seconds. Especially on progression these can help healers by not having to put globals on you, and put them elsewhere potentially saving another player because a defensive was used.

--Uptime of appropriate spells (dots, healing abilities where appropriate)
All quick easy log checks. It doesn’t take a lot of time to check these nor a lot of time to make these better in your logs.

--Priority Output (Covered more in depth in the DPS/HPS specific sections -- see below)
Did DPS do appropriate damage to the priority targets (adds on vectis, blobs on fetid, etc.)?

Did the healers put their healing into the people that had particular debuffs (roiling deceit targets on Zek'voz; anyone that didn’t get Immunosuppression healed off in the initial wave of healing CDs on Vectis; the person standing in the pool of darkness on Zul)?

D) Things that we check logs for (longer checks)

--Positioning (Appropriately positioning for upcoming mechanics)
This requires more time as part of it will simply come down to looking at the replay for the specific ability/time and seeing if you are in a good spot. This also will be strat/guild/group specific if a guild goes that in depth with a strategy. Some groups won’t and it will be did you go to an effectively good spot for a mechanic. Otherwise did you go to the assigned spot?

Being preemptive with movements can make dealing with mechanics earlier. A current raid example is the eye beams. Rather than waiting for eye beams to start then spreading, pre-spreading before the eye beam mechanic begins is a much better option.

--Comp to Spec/Talent checking
Because of certain comps, what would be the optimal spec/talents may not become the optimal spec for your particular raid comp. For Vectis, the best DPS spec for warlocks on progression was Destruction. But because of certain raid comps, some warlocks would go affliction to help push boss damage because add damage was fine. Be aware of what the raid is in need of and if you offer that be willing to swap to it.

--Log Review
The best tool someone has to improve themselves. A log of a fight can provide uptimes on DoT, HoTs, target selection of spell at specific times in the fight, whether for dealing damage or healing. Uptime on active mitigation for tanks and when they used it when. What healing was done to certain targets while they had a debuff. One could spend hours on how to log review and what to look for depending on class and spec and what type of damage or healing is needed in the raid.

II - How to read (and interpret) Warcraft Logs

A) HoT uptime

Determine how HoTs were used and on what targets (Druid being the best example but can be used for atonement for Disc Priests as well).

B) DoT uptime

DoT uptime on targets. Selecting specific DoTs will show uptime or specific targets. This helps specifically on multi-dotting fights.

C) Tank Active Mitigation

This can be found under “Defensive Buffs” on the buff page of the tank. For Brewmasters checking use of Purifying Brew is also needed. This can be found in the casts portion of Warcraft Logs, checking Brewmaster debuffs for stagger and overlaying purifying brew casts with stagger and seeing where the tank chooses to use purifying brew.

D) Healing to targets with debuffs

This is a situation where the query tool makes life exceptionally easier.


Setting up the query like this (substitute your chosen debuff for Omega Vector), and then going to the healing tab will show the amount of healing that was done to targets that had the chosen debuff. Multiple debuffs can be selected for a fight like Fetid Devourer: Link

E) Raid HPS CDs
CDs should be planned out to be used at specific times. Those times should correspond with major damage to the entire raid. If it is damage to one or two people, externals should be the go-to because the Healing CD will be overhealing to 90% of the raid.


You will find the ability that a Healing CD is needed most likely in the top 4 of damage taken ability section of the summary page. Melee is excluded because that should be tanks.



Going to the damage taken by ability page, sometimes the number of casts will tell you where a CD is needed. If a damage ability is only cast twice and is doing the 2nd highest damage, that is probably and ability that needs a CD (like Cudgel of Gore in the first link.)

Sometimes it isn’t as obvious and you have to look a little closer to find the right spot (such as Zek'voz):

From this you can see that Surging Darkness (the 2nd highest damaging ability) is only cast 4 times and Titan Spark (if clicked on) is just ongoing damage throughout the fight. So Surging Darkness is the ability to line up a Healing CD for.

F) DPS Cooldowns
DPS CDs are used in a variety of situations, such as:
--To kill adds quickly
--To push a boss through a phase quickly or beat a timer
--To line up with an in-combat buff

These should be the top spots to use DPS CDs. Barring these occurrences, you should use them on CD to maximize damage to the target. The faster a boss dies, the less damage goes out to the raid, the less healing that needs to be done (and less likely a mana pool runs dry), and the less likely tanks will die.

There are dozens more areas to look at in logs for information or way to improve play or help the raid or parse better. These are just starting points and the foundations of where to look for information.

III - Other Useful Areas in Warcraft Logs

A) Killing Adds Quickly


A frost mage Icy veins is a 3 minute CD. Add spawns on Zek’voz occurs every 2 minutes. To mitigate the loss of DPS from holding veins for too long, a frost mage will pop IV on pull and then have it ready for adds at 3 minutes. If it was a fire mage, with a 2 minute CD on combustion, the CD would be held for the 1 minute mark (when first adds spawn) and then used every 2 minutes to line up with adds. This is also the case with BM hunters as seen below:

At the beginning of a raid, sometimes the timing for adds isn’t as well known. There are areas to check when they are targetable:


By selecting damage done and selecting the add wave that you want to know about (in this case first add was on Vectis) you can see first damage is done at ~1:03. It’s a good guess that the adds spawn at ~1 minute. Then you can go to second group:

And then see they spawn at ~3 minutes. So the time between add waves is 2 minutes. With that you plan out your CDs whether they are 2 minutes or 3 minutes.

B) Push boss through a phase
Although not as prevalent in Uldir, holding CDs for when add would spawn on Fetid Devourer was a common strategy for most guilds because if the boss ate the add, it was a wipe.

A better and more straight forward example was Aggramar from Antorus. During intermission, 2 large adds would spawn. The intermission would end when both adds died. There was pulsing AoE damage on the entire raid while they were alive. The correct decision would be to hold CDs until this intermission and get out of it as quickly as possible.

C) Line up with In-fight Buff
An easy example is Zek’voz: Link

The top is the damage buff and below you can see 2nd potion, darkglare, trinket all saved and used within the time frame of the damage buff.

D) Damage Taken
You can’t avoid all of the damage in a fight. But obviously certain abilities can be avoided as well as mitigated. With each fight the abilities change along with how to find if the mechanic was done correctly (HINT: if someone died to it, something probably was not done correctly).


Outside of a very strange, strange encounter the top 2 damage receivers should always be the tanks. Then on average everyone else should be pretty close. In this example, the next highest was a hunter that took almost a quarter million more damage than anyone else. Something potentially went wrong here. Other times maybe he got a lot of mechanics. This fight is Vectis and this hunter took 2 plague bombs while also having Omega Vector. A large amount of damage.

Another way to look is at particular abilities:

This is Eye Beam on Zek’voz. The 1st, 3rd, and 4th casts all look the same and is how damage from this ability should look. So what happened with the 2nd and 5th?


The second set of lasers had a bounce. Eye laser bounces if you are too close to another friendly, then if that person is too close to another it bounces again and continuing, doing more damage with each bounce. So here we can see the Demon hunter at the bottom (least damage taken) was the one targeted, then it bounced to the paladin then finally the DK. Now was the DH standing still and the paladin moved in between the gap between the DH and DK and cause the bounces or did the DH move incorrectly and the other 2 were correct? For that, an examination of the replay would be needed.

E) Defensives
A basic amount of class knowledge would be needed to know what defensives each spec does or doesn’t have. But checking for a class to use these defensives during high damage portions is a simple tasks. Going to the casts page, hitting the + on the right side of the defensive ability will produce the upper chart. Then simply go to damage taken and see if those defensives line up with the damage. In the case below, the there was a point at ~1:30 that an Ice Barrier could have probably been used to help out the healers at that point. This particular example is during a farm encounter and so isn’t as reliable but prog kills this can be a much bigger deal.


F) Deaths
Deaths happen in raiding. Wipes happen in raiding. On end bosses, lots and lots of wipes happen. Knowing how deaths occurred and what could be done to prevent those deaths are part of improving. On the death tab of logs, you can look at all the people that died during a fight and over the amount of time they died:


If the death is “instant” or “one-shot” a mechanic was failed in some way. If they died over a very short amount of time (~1-3ish seconds) either a very bad overlap of abilities or perhaps stood in a mechanic that they shouldn’t have. Anything more than 3 seconds can potentially be a lack of healing on appropriate targets or lack of defensives.

When you click on the name of the person that died, occasionally it will show defensive abilities, though sometimes it doesn’t. Exhilaration for hunters for example doesn’t show up but Barkskin does:

G) Resources
This tab is a probably not one of the more used tabs but it’s great to see resource management and it can track things from mana for healers to shards for warlock to insanity for shadow priest. Runic power, holy power, rage, fury etc. Every classes resources can be tracked through this tab.

Probably the two most common uses for this is mana tracking for healers, making sure they don’t go OOM prior to the end of the fight. The second use for any class that has resources that they build, would be to avoid capping the resource and therefore wasting it.

H) Casts
Casts will be a little tougher to judge without knowing the class, but as one should be reviewing their own logs there are things to look out for.

--Proc-based casts
There are certain abilities that aren’t cast unless there is a proc that allows them to be instant cast or with extra damage. An easy example of this is flurry for a frost mage. Flurry casts should never be more than brain freeze procs. Casts are found in the “Casts” tab on the far right and you can compare that number with the number in the “Buffs” tab.



--Time based Casts
There are casts that should be seen basically on CD throughout the fights. And because of how the CDs line up you should see a certain ratio to the casts. An example is fury warriors with Siegebreaker and Recklessness. Siegebreaker is a 30 second CD and Recklessness is a 90 second CD. At a quick glance at I should see a 1 to 3 ratio of Recklessness to Siegebreaker:


So in this particular log, with 4 Recklessness I should see ideally see 12 siegebreakers. 11 would be acceptable if phasing was poor for his timings but 10 means he missed at least 1 cast even assuming really poor phasing on taloc.
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