Wyn’s UI – Part Two (Trash)

Part two of a series. Please read Part One

Note: It seemed more relevant to organize these shots by topic rather than in chronological order. So, we’re jumping from Akama to Illidari Council trash.

Typical Trash Heal Mix:

Click to enlarge

1. This is pretty typical mix healing on trash. With so much going on, I tend to focus on instant casts. I also use PW:S liberally, but that’s one of few things Recount doesn’t show. I didn’t take an SS of my over-healing, but on trash it’s substantial. My mana-regen is enough that I don’t have to drink between pulls (you can see my mana bar is full). You’ll notice also that I don’t simply spam CoH. It’s overkill, and it’s boring.

2. I have an Illidari Blood Lord set as my focus. This is because he’s a Paladin mob, who will bubble himself and start to heal. The bubble has to be mass-dispelled, so rather than wait for them to call me to dispel it, I just watch him, and cast it as soon as he has the debuff. (around 25-30%.)

3. Recount’s main window. One of the reasons I keep Recount open during combat is to get a good sense of what my fellow healbots are doing. Most of us have been together for a while now, and we have a pretty good idea of our standard baseline. Typically, I’m about 1.5% ahead of Wize, who is around 3% ahead of Eiz, who is about 2% ahead of Por… you get the idea. This is an atypical pull, because Wize is #3. As you can see from Grid, it’s because he got smooshed. (You can’t do your best when you’re dead! remember that!) Also, Por is near the bottom because he was AFK. It’s handy to be able to get a nearly-real-time idea of who’s paying attention to the pull, and who needs to take a break, without having to constantly over-communicate.

The other large reason I keep it open is because my guild is constantly auditioning new healers, and it’s good to be able to give the Raid Leader an accurate opinion of how the new guy is fitting in with the old guard. I also have a pretty good idea of my heal-mates’ gear, and if an under-geared newbie is out-performing a same-class veteran, it will become obvious very fast. With recount, I can see what heals they are casting, who their targets tend to be (tanks, raid, or a combo? do they follow assignments?), and how much over-healing they have. As I’ve said before, over-healing isn’t a huge issue unless people are dying or pulling aggro (then dying), but with a new person, a large amount of over-healing and a low amount of effective heals could indicate a lag problem or a lack of attentiveness. As an additional coaching tactic, I’ll frequently set the trial member as my focus – Quartz allows you to customize those casting bars as well, and I can tell what rank of what heal they’re using, on what target, and at what health level they began their cast. Recount simply makes it easier for me to stalk people, and keeping it open makes the data easier to access. As a side tip, Recount gives you a lot of options for linking the stats. I’ve found that guest healers appreciate getting a quick link to let them know that they’re doing okay. Running with a BT guild on farm can be intimidating, and everyone performs better when they’re relaxed.

I don’t pay a huge amount of attention to recount actually DURING bossfights, I have more to worry about. But I don’t like the idea of opening and closing it all the time any more than I like the idea of not having the trend-style information easily available. And, sometimes, having it up for things like Dispels on RoS phase 1 or Gorefiend helps give real-time feedback to people who need it.

4. With Grid, it’s after the pull, so not much of interest is going on here, but you can see in Wize’s frame what it looks like when someone is highlighted because of low health. Grid also shows exactly what their deficit is, and I have mine set to approximate the amount of incoming heals they’re about to receive. Wize has none incoming, because he just stood up. Again, the faded squares are people who are out of range. You can see the train of people making their way into the Chamber of Command on my mini-map.

5. Yes, we raid with a Battle-Chicken.


To Be Continued. . .

Why I Always Care About The Meters

You’ll frequently hear raiders knowingly make comments about “the meters.” DPSers who have to crowd-control or dispel have a bit of a case; it’s harder to be #1 if you have more to worry about than standing still, popping pots, and hitting your spells in the right order. Healers occasionally have a point, too: Purge, Dispel, Cure, BoP, PW: Shield, and buffs all take not only mana, but global cooldowns out of our resources to be the “best” healer on the charts.

Here’s the thing though: you will rarely, if ever, find someone complaining about the unfairness of the meters when their name is consistently at the top. Here are a few reasons why I never forget to check the meters:

Supervisory

Whether you think a player is afk’ing trash, throwing out the wrong heals, or making a serious contribution, it will show up on the meters. Add-ons like Recount or WWS allow you to access your players’ habits with an unbelievable level of detail. If you don’t know what’s wrong, you can’t make it better. If you don’t know what’s right, you can’t give meaningful encouragement. Especially when making quantum leaps in content, (10-mans to 25-mans, or jumping tiers) being able to coach your players effectively through the transition is important.

Consistency

This works a couple of ways. On a micro-level, some classes are better suited for certain fights than others. If your Druids typically own highly-mobile fights like Leotheras or Supremus, and a new Druid isn’t keeping up with their peers, it’s a good indication that they need some help. On a macro-level, if, week after week, no matter what the fight, a certain player is always dead-last or near to it, there’s either a gear, hardware, or player issue. The raid leaders need to be able to address underperformance quickly. Why give a raid spot to a 9th healer when you’re effectively only fielding 8? Bring in another DPS, and make the fight shorter instead.

Personal Benchmarks

The first time I consistently broke 1,000 HPS was on Illidan. At first I was proud, but then I realized that I should be pushing my limits that much on EVERY fight. The first screen shot of me breaking 2,000 HPS serves as a constant reminder of my capability, and pushes me to work, heal, and fight harder; every boss, every time. It’s also fun to have some small competition to wake you up when farm content gets boring. Personally, if my favorite resto Shaman gets within 1% of my heals, I start working harder to keep my #1 spot – and he’s not afraid to point it out when he’s gaining on me.

Comparative Benchmarks

I’ve heard the arguments that the meters are skewed: AoE healers always win, healers assigned to players taking the most damage always win, healers that can hold still always win, healers that don’t have to Dispel, Cure, etc. always win. It’s not about winning. It’s about proving to yourself and your raid that you’re doing the best you can. I’ve fought for the top spot with Shamans, Pallys, and Druids. Every guild and healing corps. is different, and the sooner people stop making excuses and start pushing themselves to be their absolute best, the faster the bosses all die.

Accuracy

No meter is perfect. Some of them don’t ascribe things like the last tick of Lifebloom, or the ping of a ProM to the caster. I haven’t seen one yet that records the absorption of PW:S as the life-saver it is. You can tweak some of them so that overhealing or out-of-combat heals show up as effective healing. They all have their quirks, but any data collected over time irons out a lot of the inaccuracies and shows you real trends. I would never chew a player out over one bad night. But if that same player has nothing but bad nights, it’s important to have specific concerns to address with either them, or their class leader.

Timing

Even if the quantity of healing going out is enough, if the timing is off, it doesn’t matter . A tank taking hits for 10k needs an 8k heal. Unless they’re already topped off. Or they’re already dead. Overhealing is sloppy and wasteful, sure, but it’s also unavoidable to an extent. And to be completely honest, if no one’s dying it doesn’t matter much. But if they ARE dying, you need to be able to identify the problem. Grim-meters let you know if poor timing (and inattentive healers) were the culprit, or if the tank needs to put Shieldwall on their bars and learn to move out of fires.

Fairness

Let’s face it. No one wants to be stuck working on the same boss for weeks on end. If the definition of insanity is performing the same action but expecting a different result, it can’t be far from madness to randomly change set-ups without any data behind the decision. If you need to replace a player, you have to know whom to replace. The last thing good leaders want to do is pull a player that’s really doing their best, and keep someone who’s not working hard. And if you’re the one on the cut list, having some data to back up your desire to stay is always a good idea.

No metric is perfect. You can nitpick any measurement of success as biased in any number of ways, and healing meters are no different. The meters are absolutely not the end-all, be-all identifier for the “best” healer – but they are an invaluable tool for improving overall raid performance. My bet is that if you watch them for yourself, and for your raid, and make some key decisions based on the information you learn, you and your guild will progress further, faster, and with better players.