Greedy Goblin

Friday, January 16, 2009

Damage taken

Most our gear comes from and most of our time goes to running 5 mans and raids, so it's imperative to optimize it. Every wipe has repair and consumable cost, and also lost time from doing something profitable. Wipe is the most unsuccessful money-making activity.

We already covered step 1 of avoiding wipes: checking gear and attitude towards laziness and stupidity.

Now let's see the post mortem: wipe happened.

Rule No1: everyone will say "bad luck, let's try again!". Don't! The only situation when the further steps can be omitted is someone saying "crap, I messed it up, will be more careful next time". Every other case needs identifying the wipe cause. Without change the wipe will happen again. Ask for 2 min AFK after every wipe to analyze the cause!

Rule No2: there is no such thing as "bad luck" except DC/lagspike, and it is good for one wipe. The second DC is called "sorry guys my internet is unstable, can't play tonight". If it was not DC, someone messed it up. You have to find this guy and tell him what he messed up so he can fix it or you shall replace him. Of course if he finds himself, we can go on. Everyone make very stupid mistakes (did I told the story about fishing up Lurker, than heal him, Morrogrim and Karathress with a fishing pole). Admitting mistakes proves that we are both responsible people and also aware of the fact that it was a mistake.

Rule No3: you are also just a person with bias and limited ability to see everything. That's why objective evidence must be found. In WoW it is in the combat log. There are certain addons that help you find it. Recount is such addon. You will need "damage taken". Click on every player name one by one, so a detailed window of received damage opens up (yes, in a raid that's 25 names). On the picture, the name of the main tank of a Sartharion+0 was clicked.

On the top you can see the damage sources, the enemies that attacked him, and the damage they caused. Clicking on a source list their attack types. You shall identify how can these attack types be avoided to prevent the next wipe.

Recount has a "deaths" tab, if you click on every names, you see a "diary" of their last 10 seconds, seeing all incoming damage and heals. It's mostly good to analyze the tank's situation and find which healer did not healed him on the last seconds. While slacking is possible, it's more common that the healers were overburdened by lot of people taking damage. The main point is analyzing who got damage that he shouldn't have got.

There are three kind of attack types:

Mistake attack types are those that can only be explained by someone made a mistake. We all make mistakes. Intelligent people accept it and learn from it, slackers try to hide it, morons can't see it. Unless the one who made it instantly says "Sorry guys, I messed it up bigtime, will be more focused", you have to point the mistake out and make accept it or leave the party. Don't play with someone who is unable/refuse to learn.
  • melee: It means basic melee attack of the monster. The monster shall only be allowed to melee the tank. If anyone else than the tank got melee from the boss, then he pulled aggro. (Or the tank was already dead, in such case check "deaths" tab to see who died first.) There is a reason for an aggro meter, and aggro management should be learned in Ragefire Chasm/Deadmines (or at least HoL normal) and not 25 mans. If the melee source was an add, than the following sub-options are possible:
    • DPS was hit by pulled add: aggro pulling, no excuse
    • healer was hit by pulled add: tank is weak, must use extensive CC, if tank is warrior, put Vigilance on healer
    • DPS or healer was hit by spawned add: further DPS must be assigned to CC job or off-tanking. DPS warriors, paladins and melee shamans can have shield, DKs can switch to frost and equip tank weapon, warlocks can summon VW, hunters can hearth out to have a tankpet.
    • someone was hit by a CC-ed add: Recount has a "CC breakers" tab, find the one who hit the sheep.

  • cleave, fire breath and such frontal cone abilities: they have two reasons, first the boss have such ability. Secondly someone found it a good idea to stand into the face of the boss. If he was the tank, well, someone had to. If he was someone else, inform him that not standing in the face of an enormous dragon is not no-lifer elitism, just common sense. BTW even if the boss doesn't have frontal cone attack, he can parry hits from front, so it's much better to attack it from the side or rear.
  • tail sweep: it also has two reasons, first the boss is a dragon with a huge tail with large spikes on it. Secondly someone thought that the mentioned organ is soft and gentle. Well... it's not!
  • void zone, lava wave, slime patch and other forms of nasty spots on the surface: as mentioned, they are on the surface, so unless one is called "surface", he can only be damaged by these if he decided to stand in them. Remind these people that even Donald knows that "if you stand in the yellow bright hot stuff, it hurts". If many people have problems with that, have a "dance try". No one damages the boss, just dance from the fire. When you can dance long enough, you wipe, run back and kill the boss.
DoT attack types are are caused by debuff placed by the monster. Good example is poison bolt volley of Faerlina. These DoTs can be dispelled. There are two reasons why they are not dispeled. One is bad group composition: no one can dispel them. This case you may need to change the group or use intelligent solutions like one of your DPS off-heal to outheal the damage. The different debuffs can be dispeled:
The second reason for DoT deaths is not dispeling. If the healer could dispel, he is usually too busy healing, ignoring the fact that dispelling is easier. Inform him about this enlightenment. The DPS-ers are usually ignorant about their dispel abilities, lack the addons to see raid members and don't want to lose damage to the dispel cooldown. They must understand that doing this is necessary for the prevention of wipe. Some DPS-er even call dispeling a healer job or simply doesn't care. Kick them. Recount has a "dispels" tab to show who did this job, unfortunately totems are not included. Remember as long as someone takes more than one tick of DoT damage, the dispeller is slacking (or overburdened, this case further dispellers needed).

Boss specific unavoidable damage: Archavon's stomp is such ability. It happens, you cannot prevent it coming. If it causes wipe, that's usually lack of healing. Check "healing done" to see who needs improvement (how to improve the healer is not subject of this post).

While the ability is usually unavoidable, the damage can be mitigated:
  • the damage is usually belong to a magic school, you can get resistance gear or resistance buff, aura, totem, maybe dampen magic. Do your research on the boss, know which resistance is needed and ask for this buff.
  • most classes have damage mitigation abilities (shield wall, cloak of shadows, ice block, frost ward, fire ward, bubble, barkskin, voidwalker sacrifice, shadow ward). If the incoming damage can be predicted by Deadly Boss Mods, you shall ask the druid why did he got the same nature damage as the priest and not 20% less?
Magic bolt abilities are owned by several bosses and trash mobs. Tanks usually don't have high magic damage mitigation, so the simple fact that the bolt hit the tank, does not mean proper job. There are two versions of magic bolts:
  • interruptible ones: they should be interrupted, mostly by DPSers who doesn't bother to interrupt, as it decreases their DPS. Mages can counterspell, shamans can earth shock, DKs can strangulate, rouges can kick, MM hunters can silence, and all CC, stun and fear abilities break casting, just as racials like war stomp or arcane torrent. If there are wipes on a pack, place marks on the different casters and assign interrupters whose job is to brake it. Interrupt can be made easier by arcane mage's slow, or warlock's course of tongues. Of course the silenced caster will try to melee, recieving this melee is not considered mistake.
  • uninterruptible ones must be outhealed or resisted, see above. Maybe grounding totem works.
  • warriors have the nice ability spell reflect. Even titan grip warriors have it, just does not bother using. Make them use it!
If you check recount after every wipe you can get four results, all win:
  • you made the mistake: learnt from it: improved
  • another good but yet inexperienced player made it: learnt from it: improved
  • slacker made the mistake: he was warned: stopped slacking or got kicked
  • moron made the mistake: made up some stupid excuse exposing his stupidity: got kicked


Carra said...

Wipes aren't bad as long as you learn from them. Thinking about what went wrong after a wipe and learn from it is a part of progressing. Try, wipe, improve, try, wipe, improve, kill is how it should be.

Wiping time after time without making any progress, that's annoying and means some people are messing up. Only solution here is to replace people.

krizzlybear said...

While I approve of your no-nonsense shenanigans regarding causes of damage, it may take several wipes, depending on the fight, to get used to the coordination of the fight itself.

The heigan dance is an example of this. There will always be people who will die to heiganfail, but should someone really be replaced simply because they died while dancing? Especially considering that they've been doing a great job in the run otherwise? Not everyone is capable of truly mastering the dance, or is capable of simply "getting it" after two or three tries.

Although, when composing the group, I suppose it's the responsibility of the raid organizer to ensure ahead of time that everyone knows how to do the encounters.

I apologize if this sounds nitpicky, I suppose that I'm only talking about rare exceptions here. But they do exist, and we should be mindful of them.

bodphrah said...

You may also want to note that DPS should not be in front of mobs at ANY time, even if they dont have a cleave/cone effect, unless ofc they are assisting killing adds and your short of tanks (evasion rogue for example).

The reason for this is: Boss Parry

Parry = less DPS plus when a boss parrys his next swing is 40% faster, which is bad for the tank and healers mildly, but it all adds up.
It may also be helpful to note come people think they have the expertise for it, since wrath was out the bosses have a far greater chance to parry then they do dodge.

Though I hear now bosses can dodge from behind or the side, I do not belive that have the ability to parry from behind/side.

The Standing Dragon said...


I'm going to leave a lot of the underlying thought here untouched - but there's one important thing to note:

Recount is NOT reliable when running with a DISC priest (as avoidance of damage is not counted) or an avoidance tank (a good DK tank, for instance). As you noted, it also does not do well with totems, for a lot of reasons.

It also occasionally has trouble matching pet damage to the pet class using the pet - just depends on how many pets it has to track as to whether this gets strange.

So. If your healer doesn't look like they're healing all that well, but they're a Discipline priest... or if your Tank's damage is spikey over time due to avoidance-tanking (most good DK tanks have upwards of 30% combined dodge/parry), or if your pet classes seem to be coming in low -

well. Be cautious, and be darned sure. The data's only as good as the collection method.

Michael said...

While I agree with your basic premise, there ARE a number of cases where 'bad luck' was the cause of the wipe.

I.e. if one of the tank's attacks gets parried by the boss, which makes the boss's next attack faster, and might co-incide with a cleave or breath attack. Sometimes your tank just gets insta-glibbed. Or if (the early versions of) Shade of Aran casts Blizzard right after Flame-wreath.

On the same token though, Blizzard's raid-designers take great pains to eliminate 'luck' as a major factor, but they don't always find every opportunity.

Argent said...

You missed the best way to check the cause of a death in Recount.

If you go to the "Deaths" tab, and click on the name of a player that died, it will show you all the hits and heals received in the 10 seconds before that character died.

If it's a tank and they didn't get any heals for 6 seconds before death while they were taking steady damage, you should ask the healers what happened. It could be that the tank ran out of range of the healers, the healers ran out of mana early, got silenced, or something else.

Overall damage taken is good for helping tanks figure out how to reduce their total damage intake (helping healers not run out of mana), but it's not actually very helpful in figuring out why someone died.

bodphrah said...

@ Michael

As far as I am aware Parry will only effect his 'white' damage or regular based attack rather than a special attack, I might be wrong though best to check EJ to be certain.

It would be a bit silly if a casted attack say Maggys clicky box timer (I can't remeber it's name now) were effected by it.

Its not a massive loss if a parry happens, but it will be that extra damage per second on the tank, if only the tank is getting parrys its hardly noticable.

Gevlon said...

@Argent: thanks for this info (I did not know that), that helps a lot, included in text.

Azreal said...

Your brilliance is more apparent to me everyday.

Anonymous said...


I really like your posts, however I would like to point out that you have a constant grammar mistake: you use the past form of verbs after "did" most of time.
Just a few examples:
"did I told the story "
"did not healed him "
"did he got the same "
"you did not asked for it"
I really mean no offense by pointing this out, just trying to improve your blog:)


P.S.: I'm not a native speaker either and I'm guessing we're of the same nationality:)

Ink said...

"Secondly someone thought that the mentioned organ is soft and gentle. Well... it's not!"

If I had a sig, this would be it. I lol'ed.