Healing meter analysis for absorbs

October 8, 2010 at 12:16 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

As mentioned earlier, I am playing my disc priest a lot more than my prot warrior right now. So while this post is not specifically tanking related, I hope it will be useful or interesting for anybody that is interested in tracking healer performance.  Most of the content here will be made obsolete once the combat log is upgraded in Cataclysm, but I figured this was worth sharing anyway.

Tracking total heals done by healers is relatively straightforward when using addons (eg, Recount and Skada) or log parsers (eg, World of Logs, WoW Meter Online and WoW Web Stats). Tracking absorbs using these tools, however, is not as straightforward because the combat log provided in game does not provide attribution for shields; it must be guessed. Different methods are used to estimate absorbs. I describe them below.

RGA is a module for Recount that allows you to get meters for absorbs similar to those for dps, heals, etc.  It’s a powerful way for quickly estimating the ‘hidden’ contribution of the disc priests in your raid.  (There is also another module which provides a meter for combined heals and absorbs)  The shielding provided by disc is now generally known and acknowledged, but in some instances having this meter can preserve a priest’s raid spot in the face of low heals per second.

In order to decide where to credit an absorb, RGA looks at the time remaining on a shield buff.  The shield closest to expiring is the one given credit for the absorb.  Elsia, the dev for RGA, acknowledges that this approach is not without its flaws, but correctly notes that the present situation with the combat log makes the issue intractable.

World of Logs
WoL is a combat log parser that provides many log analysis and data visualization tools.  At least on Cenarius-US, it appears to be the current standard and preferred log parser.  The interface is a little clunky, but I found it gave me a lot of power after somebody explained some of the trickier bits to me.

Like RGA, WoL considers time in making decisions about shield attribution.  Rather than looking at remaining shield duration, however, WoL attributes absorbs to whichever healer last cast a shield on the target.  Due to some difficulties with attributing certain kinds of absorbs, WoL may slightly underestimate total absorbs; it will not overestimate.

While preparing this post, I found a really great post on the subject of analysis of WoL healing logs.

Disc Priest Recount: this was an early attempt to generate shielding numbers.  Due to some of the assumptions made — such as calculating all PW:S as though they were fully consumed — it wildly overestimated priest heals, but spurred the subsequent development of RGA.

WoW Meter Online: I wasn’t able to determine exactly how they calculate absorbs, but it appears to be somewhat unusual.  Interestingly, WMO does provide a count of “overhealing” for shields.

Skada is a meter like Recount.  I am told that it uses the same method as WoL for attributing shields.

Why does this matter?
The different shield attribution heuristics matter because they can be responsible for healing meters numbers that are wildly different.  How do you evaluate which healers in your raid are doing their job most effectively without reliable data?  As I mentioned at the start, there is no way to know the actual absorbs.  So when estimates are different, we’re stuck.  In general, though, I have found that while different methods can produce very different numbers from fight to fight, the results tend to converge across larger data sets.  This is a key point: the validity of shielding numbers is highest when multiple methods produce results that converge.  So, if Recount and WoL are giving you similar numbers, they’re probably right.


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  1. This little module for Skada enables you to put heals and absorbs side-by-side and converts absorbs + heals into a HPS number for all healers:


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