If you ask for log-analysis on our site, chances are you will get a response from Keehn. From our team, he’s the one most comfortable analyzing them. He realized that the things that were normal to him, were actually new to others. Therefore, he’s been wanting to share his fundamental approach to analyzing (resto shaman) logs. We hope you enjoy his insights, and perhaps it will inspire you to reflect on your own performance more regularly. If you’re curious to find out more about Keehn, you can read some info here or follow him on Twitter.
Tools for analysis
There are quite a few things to look at when performing a log analysis, whether the log is yours or from someone else. I will give you pointers of what to look for. It will cover the more basic part of playing a resto shaman. This entails looking for optimizing Riptide, Healing Stream Totem and Elemental Blast for use on cooldown. We will take a look at how utility was being used, how much value you got from your cooldowns and lastly investigate overhealing.
We will use Warcraft Logs as the main tool for log analysis. We prefer this site because the information about fights is so detailed. It might be daunting to get into, but I’ll help you get a hold of the basics.
We know the cooldowns for each of these spells (we can just look them up). For us to evaluate whether we used them optimally or not, we have to calculate how many seconds passed for each cast we made. We do this by looking up the casts you did for each spell on a certain boss fight. You then take the duration of the boss encounter, and divide it by the amount of casts you made. We can then compare it to the cooldown of the spell, and see if they match up somewhat. Optimally there should be very little difference in between the two numbers.
Riptide and Chain Heal
You want to cast both Riptide and Chain Heal as soon as they come up. Riptide will add a lot of passive healing through it being Healing over Time (HoT). It has a good amount of initial healing and on top of all this, the spell has the added synergy of granting additional bounces of Chain Heal. The amount of bounces you have of Chain Heal is directly linked to how efficient you are at utilizing Riptide. If you are able to use it on cooldown and spread it to most people, you will have more average bounces per casted Chain Heal. You can calculate this simply by looking at the logs and taking the amount of Chain Heal hits and divide it by the amount of Chain Heal casts. The maximum amount of bounces for a single Chain Heal is 6, but reaching this will be impossible so aim for 5+ bounces as the least. You will of course have to leave out multistrikes from this calculation.
Acting as an example we see here that I averaged around 5 bounces for every chain heal cast.
You just have to cast this on cooldown. It is such an affordable and efficient heal. Pairing it with Rushing Streams will only make it even more crucial to pop it the second it is ready. It will cause very little overhealing due to the mechanic behind it, it will always heal injured allies (if there are any). It can be delayed for a few seconds if there is literally no damage going in on the group, and shouldn’t ever break Healing Tide Totem.
The effective use of this spell depends on the situation. It really comes down to the fight you are on and whether you really need the additional mana from casting it on cooldown. You will have to analyze how you spend your mana on the fight and the length of the encounter to evaluate whether you cast it too often, not often enough or if you could pick another talent to replace it. How you maintain your mana and use it optimally, will really define how strong of a healer you are. During our talks, we all indicated this talent felt mandatory for progression. It is only now that we are fighting over ranks that we find ourselves changing to alternatives. Some time ago we made a post about evaluating mana fluctuations throughout. If you want to find out more about this, be sure to check out our Mana management post.
We have a lot of potential healing tied to our cooldowns and using them optimally can provide with a massive healing increase. My general idea of cooldowns is: use cooldowns as early and as often as possible! You want to look for when during the fight you dropped your cooldowns, and how much overhealing it did. This will vary quite a bit between the various cooldowns we have in our arsenal.
This is a pretty straightforward process of evaluating. Here you just want to look at the big burst phases of the bosses, to see if you had the cooldown up during that time. Then you can look for the amount of overhealing your cooldown did. If the cooldown had a lot of overhealing, it is usually because it was used together with another cooldown, or the priest had already pre-shielded the entire raid. For a 20 man mythic group you should never do less than 1.5 million healing with a Healing Tide Totem if it is used properly. Has a boss dependency of course, some bosses you won’t run into big burst abilities.
To maximize the output as much as possible from this cooldown, you have to do more than just pop it at the right time during the fight. You also have to take advantage of the power up this can give to your healing. Check your buffs and look for when you have Ascendance up. Then you check the amount of Chain Heal casts you made during this period. You want to get as many out as possible in order to utilize the potential output of Ascendance optimally. If there was movement during your Ascendance uptime, you may have lost uptime because you didn’t have Spiritwalker’s Grace up and running. From the following example you can see how Chain Heals has to be concentrated even more when popping Ascendance. Top being Ascendance uptime and bottom being Chain Heal casts.
This is a difficult one to really put a value to. I see this spell as a tool to turn around a seemingly lost situation, but it is efficient in almost any situation. The amount of healing done by this ability will have little to no affect on logs either way because it is not seen as actual healing and thus deducted, it will show healing done and at the bottom it will deduct the same amount due to ‘friendly fire’. Although this being said you can still estimate the effectiveness of them by looking at what situations you used it for and how much healing it shows it did. This will of course depend on what situation you used it for, being it as a tank cooldown or a raid equalizer.
Even though it is a slightly minor thing in some cases, optimizing how you move to your destination is important, both to keep the group alive during progress, but also to keep up your uptime and provide with greater numbers. This covers how you use Unleash Life and Spiritwalker’s Grace.
There are ways to see how you spent Unleash Life throughout a fight. If you look at the times where you cast the spell and then go to the replay provided with Warcraft Logs, you will be able to click on your character and see whether you stood still or actually had to move with it. This is something you should be aware of when using Ghost Wolf as well, see if you had the possibility of casting Unleash Life instead. This would’ve granted you the 30% buff for your next heal and you wouldn’t have ‘wasted’ a global on going into Ghost Wolf. You can see an example of how it should look like when you cast Unleash Life below.
This spell is super important to get comfortable with, if you learn how to use it properly you will have the ability to keep very close to 100% active time on all bosses. When tracking for this you can use the replay as with Unleash Life, to see if you actually had to move when casting it. From this replay you should also be able to see at what points during the fight where you move around the most. You can then map out exactly where on the boss Spiritwalker’s Grace will have the most value for you to use. With the glyph it will only have a single minute cooldown and you can basically pop it whenever you need to move just a little bit. You should be able to use it efficiently at least a couple of times even during shorter encounters.
Overhealing and the repercussions for shamans
Running an healer heavy setup with a lot of absorbs, prevent raids from really dipping low. Ultimately this takes away the potency of a resto shaman, since all of our power is stored up in our Mastery: Deep Healing. It is pretty easy to spot if you run with a healer heavy setup just by looking at the overhealing done by the pure output healers. If their rotational abilities do more than 40-50% overhealing, you could probably drop a healer, unless there are moments where an additional is crucial for the group’s survival.
Some items will reflect on your logs and depict the amount of actual healing you are capable of doing. As of right now the leech trinket will be a loss in pure throughput when looking at the logs, but in itself it is more powerful than the others on some fights. On top of that, the responsibility of being in charge of the healing ring will also benefit you with quite a bit of healing. Another influence of getting more gear means that people will get higher static health pool, this means that our mastery will decrease in effect as people get better gear alone. Unless of course you do something to actively counteract this by running fewer healers.
Leech trinket (Unstable Felshadow Emulsion)
You can get tools to track the healing done by this ingame, but you can also estimate it somehow from the logs. You can look up how big a portion of the total healing done, was being contributed by leech alone. You will then have to divide it somehow between the healers who were wearing the leech trinket and the leech granted by gear alone. Doing this will be a very rough estimate and the addon will be a more precise tool.
You will benefit from this ring two times if you’re allowed to pop it as it suits you. You will first of all benefit from the direct healing increase from the effect and on top of that you will gain massive shields from having an increased effect on your cooldown.
Healing skills series
Want to read more? Be sure to check out our first post in this series ‘Healing skills: mana management‘.