Moonkin Logs – Sorting the Feathers from the Fluff

Today I’m going to walk you through how to analyze Moonkin logs from Warcraft Logs.  Analyzing logs is the easiest way to find out what you’re doing wrong, and how you can improve as a Druid.  I’m going to assume you know absolutely nothing about Warcraft Logs, so bear with me if you have some familiarity.

First we need to find your logs.  Go to the Warcraft Logs home page and type your character’s name into the search bar.  Select the right name/realm combination to bring up the rankings screen.  If your name/realm combination doesn’t appear on the list you don’t have any logs uploaded.  You need to download the client from the link at the top of the page, and run it while raiding to record and upload your logs.  If you don’t have any logs of your own to use, you can use my logs and follow along.

With the rankings screen, we want to figure out how you stack up against other Druids of similar ilevel.  Using the ilevel bracket menu, select the ilevel of your character (select 695+ if using my logs.) This will filter out all logs not withing your ilevel bracket, and adjust the percentiles accordingly.  The number in the “Historical %” column is the important one – 50% is the average parse, and higher is better.

 

To find mistakes and target improvements we have to look at the actual combat log.  Click any one of your parses in the table to open up the logs.  This will open up the Damage Done tab of the log as seen below.

The first mistake we look for is Casting in the wrong eclipse.  This is one of the most basic principles of Balance, so you’re probably already doing it right, and it’s super easy to fix if you’re not.  Click your name from the damage done tab (see above) to open up your damage source graph as seen below.

From this graph we’re looking at the brown peaks.  These peaks correspond to Wrath casts, so double check the colors in your log.  Wrath peaks should be roughly symmetrical and span about 20 seconds (if using Euphoria.)  Peaks wider than 20 seconds means Wrath is being casted in Lunar eclipse, and peaks smaller than 20s means Starfire is being casted in Solar.  It’s not the end of the world if your peaks aren’t nicely shaped – it simply means you missed a cast for whatever reason.

 

The second thing we look for is Potion usage.  This is super easy to find.  Open up the ‘buffs’ tab and look for how many counts of the “Draenic Intellect Potion” you have.  You should have 2.

Next we want to look at Cooldown Usage.  We can do so from the screen we are already on, the buffs tab.  Look for Celestial Alignment and Incarnation: Chosen of Elune.  Incarnation should be used on pull and every 3 minutes afterwards (2 uses in 3 minutes, 3 in 6 minutes, 4 in 9 minutes etc.) and Celestial Alignment should be double that (if you have the 4 set bonus) or the same (without 4 set bonus.)  Check to make sure the cooldowns are being used enough, and then check to make sure that Incarnation and odd-numbered Celestial Alignments are being used together.  It should be noted that there are some fights in BRF where cooldowns are not used on pull or saved for specific mechanics, in those fights simply look for number of usages and usage at the correct times.

 

Our Fourth mistake to look for is Starsurge usage and Empowerement consumption.  First we want to make sure that Starsurge charges are being used enough.  We determine how many charges are available by adding our Shooting Stars procs to the base generation.  The forumla you should use is 3 + (SS procs) + (fight length in seconds / 30s).  Calculating from my Gruul log shown above, we have 3 + (25) + (294/30) = 37.8.  We always round this number down because you can’t use 0.8 Starsurge charges.  In my parse I had 37 available Starsurges and I used 33.  This means I lost SS charges to being charge-capped at some point during the fight.  The number of Starsurge uses can be found on the damage source screen we used earlier.

Looking for Empowerement consumption is quite difficult and time consuming, and I’d advise you don’t bother unless you’re trying to squeeze out every drop of DPS.  The buff stacks are not tracked in the combat log, meaning we have to use cast sequences to determine buff overwrites.  First click the “Casts” tab, then scroll down and click the “+” sign at the far left of the row for Starsurge, Starfire, and Wrath.  You should be left with a screen that looks like this:

To look for overwrites, look for each cast of starsurge (yellow peak, middle graph) and check the Starfire/Wrath graphs for 2 Starfire or 3 wrath casts before another Starsurge peak appears.  This is very imprecise and difficult, so as I said earlier don’t concern yourself too much with this.  Give it a quick once-over looking for obvious Starsurge casts without Starfires/Wraths in between.

 

The second-last thing we look for is Idle time.  Time where you’re not casting or performing actions.  We can do this from the casts tab.  On the very bottom graph (the one with grey & orange peaks) click on all the greyed-out spell names at the top of the graph to add peaks for each spell.  When the graph is showing all your casts simultaneously, there should be no large gaps.  Large gaps means downtime, and downtime means lost DPS.  If there are large gaps, make a note of the time they appear, and keep track of those timestamps for our final step.

 

The final step is examining Movement for mechanics.  In the top right of the page click on “replay” to bring up the fight replay.  Click on everyone’s name except your own to hide their movements, and show only yours.  Start the replay and look for large and unnecessary movements that kill your DPS.  Check the timestamps you recorded in the last step to see if the gaps in casting correspond with movement.  This is again one of the more difficult things to analyze as you have to be able to determine for yourself if movement is necessary or superfluous.

 

Outside of looking for those specific mistakes, the best way to figure out what you’re doing wrong is to compare your log to that of a more experienced/progressed Boomkin.  You’re welcome to use my public-access logs to compare yourself to, or I’d recommend using logs from Sepe-Ner’zhul.  Sepe is one of the top boomkins in the world and consistently has excellent parses throughout progression.

 

If you’re still struggling to figure out what you’re doing wrong, feel free to tweet your logs to me @Starfeathers, and I’ll see what I can pull out for you.  Also I highly encourage you all to support Kihra in the maintenance and development of Warcraft Logs by supporting the patreon at https://www.patreon.com/warcraftlogs.

Posted in Druid - General, Moonkin Balance DPS, Patch 6.0, Patch 6.2, Written By Alame

New 6.2 patch news!

Blizzard put the patch 6.2 content on the PTR last night. Thus, the WOW community has now had some time to digest the patch notes and the datamined content. There are a couple key points worth highlighting early on that aren’t necessarily as easy to see from the quest notes and datamined info.

The 6.2 patch has a ton of content. Following a small content patch in 6.1, all of the new real patch content for the entire expansion is being released all at once. They are opening an entire new end-game content zone (Tanaan Jungle), a raid dungeon, small 5-man group content, and the last legendary ring quests. It should be a really great and entertaining patch with something for everyone. This will be a huge patch with tons of things to do right when the patch launches. However, as this includes the end of the legendary ring quests, this is likely to be the last real raid tier of the expansion as predicted. It may be possible to see a 6.3 patch, but it looks much more like they put all their eggs in the 6.2 patch basket. This expansion feels more like two mini expansions rolled into one, rather than having content spread out over time across different patches.

Tanaan Jungle’s description pretty much guarantees that flying won’t come back. They have highlighted the content being more ‘open world’ questing, treasure puzzles, and rare spawns. This design is similar to the Timeless Isle except for one thing – Tanaan Jungle is a giant zone in the middle of the map. So, if you can’t fly in Tanaan Jungle, you can’t fly anywhere else, either. Tanaan Jungle is also going to be content that is gated by the garrison interactions, in that you can only unlock the TJ content if you have a level 3 garrison and construct your shipyard. So, if you love jumping puzzles in WOD so far and loved the Timeless Isle, I can pretty much guarantee you that you will love Tanaan Jungle. This also comes with a new batch of daily quests, so perhaps we can get a little more out of Tanaan Jungle than we did out of the Timeless Isle in terms of reasons to keep returning over time. If those things aren’t your cup of tea, I’m sure there will be plenty of garrison missions to help keep you entertained. The garrison will come with more follower missions, including being able to build ships and send ships out into battle.

Blizzard’s design team is removing more class-related utility. The patch notes come with the removal of two raid buffs: Hunters are losing aspect of the fox, and mages are losing amplify magic. These two raid buffs weren’t huge, but the mage’s amplify magic spell was a brand new spell we’ve only had for a couple months in the first place.

Will the legendary ring procs may provide much more significant raid utility? Shortly after posting about the legendary ring procs, the @warcraftdevs twitter posted that the datamined legendary ring procs were outdated. So, it’s possible that the internal testing hasn’t shown the bouncing raid utility buffs to be a good idea. This isn’t really surprising, but I’ll withhold judgement until we see the final procs. I would still expect to see multiple versions of the ring procs across beta if they are trying to do something other than just provide traditional bonuses.

Look at this pretty birdThere will be a lot more info coming in the next few months. However, the recolored dread raven bird mount that comes as the raid achievement reward next patch is really pretty. There are other fun toys & mounts coming next patch for all the collectors. There is plenty of stuff to look forward to in the next patch. Keep in mind that everything is subject to change this early in a patch cycle.

MMO-champion datamined picture of the dread raven bird mount.

Posted in Patch 6.2, Warlords of Draenor, Written By Lissanna
Tags: , , , ,

Druid Selfies and outdated forms

The 6.1 patch came with a new Selfie camera, that allows you to take close-up pictures of your face. This is great for the new races that got face upgrades recently in Warlords. This Selfie camera does not work quite so well with some of the druid forms. Particularly problematic are the stumpy tree form arms that make the camera zoom close into your terrifying face. resto tree selfieMoonkin, instead, appear to have an invisible ‘selfie stick’ that allows the camera to zoom farther from your face. This mostly just hides the fact that moonkin doesn’t look so great close-up either. The camera still reminds me of why moonkin needs a new updated model. If moonkin looked better, I might consider playing moonkin more often. Buff moonkin shapeshift graphics, please! :)

Moonkin Selfie

You still, however, can take some pretty nice pictures with this new selfie camera even as a druid (even if you aren’t quite sure who is holding the camera, anyway).

WoWScrnShot_032315_204141

Posted in Druid - General, Written By Lissanna
Tags: , , , ,

Trading gold for game time is good for everyone

World of Warcraft posted more details today on their new system that would allow purchasing of game time tokens with real money, and then allowing people to buy those game time tokens with gold. Thus, you can basically buy gold with real money – with the caveat that you have to use Blizzard’s official system to do it. I believe that this is a very important thing for the game, and that it has more benefits than negatives. Keep in mind that this system is NOT yet implemented in the game.

Why people keep buying gold

Back in Vanilla, I met someone who told me that they bought gold from a gold seller for WOW. I told them it was against the rules, and they didn’t care. I told them that the gold was stolen from other accounts, and they didn’t care. I told them that they could get banned and they didn’t care. In fact, no amount of reasoning convinced that person that they were doing anything wrong. Blizzard has spent the last 10 years trying to beg people to behave. All that begging, banning, and admonishing hasn’t worked. People who want to buy gold with real money have always existed, and they’ve been willing to overlook the harm that this practice has caused to others. Due to the fact they can’t buy gold legitimately, they are willing to break the rules. Thus, Blizzard has hit the point that there is no way to beat the gold sellers, unless they beat them at their own game.

If you can’t beat them, join them?

After 10 years of trying everything under the sun to stop gold selling & buying, Blizzard has come up with a new solution. This new solution allows for trading gold for game time via the auction house. This new solution allows for people to buy game time tokens they can sell on the auction house for gold.

This solution, however, isn’t Blizzard’s first attempt. Their first trial run with gold -> real money transactions was in the form of a pet. You could buy the pet on their website for real money and sell the pet in the game for gold. However, because people only needed one pet (and many people just bought it and kept it), it didn’t do anything for helping support a healthy gold trading economy and didn’t impact real-money gold selling.

So, with their first attempt not hurting the game (but also not helping the game), this new system is meant to create a better system for undercutting the people who steal gold from your accounts.

How the game token works & avoiding scams

Note that this system is NOT yet active. Anyone currently claiming to have access to these tokens are scammers. 

Game Time for Gold

  • You will be able to buy the WOW tokens online directly from Blizzard with real money (They will NOT be available via other methods).
  • You can sell them on a special market on the auction house for gold (you can NOT sell them anywhere else besides the auction house. You can NOT trade them with people in the game at all. You can NOT give them to your friends.).
  • You can buy the tokens from the auction house with real gold (you can NOT buy them from anyone in trade chat).
  • When you buy the token from the auction house, you can redeem it for a month of game time (You can NOT resell the tokens, as they become soulbound. You can NOT sell the game tokens themselves for real money).
  • If your account is currently not active, you can buy the token for gold in the character select menu.
  • These market values are fixed at a certain amount by Blizzard, but long-term the trade value may have minor market fluctuations over time based on supply and demand. You can NOT “game” this system for profit.

What about the market impacts?

People are wondering what impacts this will have on the WOW economy. I believe the impacts will be largely temporary and minor – that is, for the first week or two, the market might fluctuate a little bit. While some people who are gold-poor now will have more gold, this only means that more people will be able to buy stuff. That is, this has the potential to take some of the gold from gold hoarders (who can now fund their game time via their gold stores) and redistribute that wealth amongst a greater number of people. Given that people have always “bought” gold (even if illegal),  the impacts of gold buying just meant that it gave a small group of people a large and unfair advantage (due to cheating). With this new system, it is likely that this advantage is now being evened out across the players as a whole, leading to potentially increased fairness. We might see AH prices tick up a bit for BOE gear items as more people suddenly have gold they want to spend on gear items. However, any market changes will eventually also settle down within a few weeks of the system going live, as the system dynamically adapts to change. Within a month of this going live, we won’t really notice market impacts. I’m all for trading a couple weeks of market instability for many years of reduced value for gold selling scams. I think the trade-off is more than worth it.

 In conclusion, this new market is beneficial to the game

Blizzard’s goal is to provide people with a safe, efficient way to buy gold with real money. Blizzard’s second goal is to prevent gold scam websites from profiting off of compromising our accounts. In both of these respects, I believe this system will work. We can’t ever 100% eliminate the scam websites, but we can greatly undercut their market by providing a system where you can buy gold in such a way that is legal and protected by Blizzard.

That is, when the new system goes active, there is never an incentive to buy gold from the scam websites because the scam websites come at a substantially higher risk to all involved. When you buy gold from scam websites, you risk having your WOW account permanently banned. When you buy gold directly from Blizzard, you have a guarantee that the transaction was legitimate. If you buy time tokens with your gold, you benefit by allowing people to have a legitimate system for purchasing gold. Thus, we protect our own game assets from being stolen via account hacking if we get everyone to use this system instead of scam websites. Lets make gold selling websites a historical relic by using this system. There is no reason for people to hack your account and steal your gold if we provide them with no market to make real-life money off those thefts.

Please note that you can’t trade these tokens in trade chat. You can only buy and sell them in the marketplace. Thus, anyone trying to sell game time tokens on other websites, in-game trade chat, or via other methods are all scams. Protect your gold, money, and time by waiting until this system is implemented and then using this new legitimate system. We all benefit by using this new system to protect ourselves from scams.

Posted in Farming, Warlords of Draenor, Written By Lissanna

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