Monday, June 29, 2009

Using Full Recount Potential, Part I

Go to: Part II

Recount. That lovely little addon, the bane and delight of number jockeys everywhere. It provides so much information, yet is often ignored for the majority of its knowledge and simply reduced to a DPS or HPS race. There is a lot of value for healers in what Recount has to offer, especially if utilized while in the process of raid progression (during pauses, loot, wipe recovery, etc). Please note, this guide is for those who already know how to set up recount (it takes very little effort and comes mostly set up for you), and is instead designed to give more insight into reading the meters. Utilizing all of Recount's meters can make you a better healer, if you adhere to certain rules:

1. In no way is any fight ever a "healing race." Trying to push your heals to the top of the meters often resorts in heal sniping and possible assignment negligence. The top of the charts almost invariably belongs to raid healers. Perform for your assignment, not for the charts.

2. Understand that the healing meters themselves are the least influential and telling of all meters. They are limited and deceiving.

3. Trash. Doesn't. Matter. Only use meters for boss fights. Boss fights have assignments, jobs and strategies. Trash is more often a heal fest and the quickest healer with the twitchiest finger and the best ability to raid heal wins.

4. The Ret Paladin is only outhealing one of your healers because it's a straight-forward tank-and-spank and his Judgement of Light is healing all your DPS smacking away at the boss. Don't take it personally.

5. If you ever say "the boss died, that's all that matters" you've never carried a raid, and you may even be being carried. Anyone who says this while being dead for any portion of the fight due to their own negligence should be railed at.

Do you have those down pat, engraved upon your mind and heart? All right then, let's go over types of meters and how to use them.

Recount Meter #1: Straight Healing Meters
Wait a minute, Bell, you said-

I know what I said. The straight healing meter's use is limited. But it is by no means useless. And, once they are expanded, they become far more influential.

To start with, you have the face-value ranking of who has done more healing. Ta da! What does this mean? More often than not, it shows who is raid healing. Raid healers hit more targets more often, and if you're assigning someone to raid it means more often than not, that healer's hands will be full. Whether they're compensating for a damaging aura, someone being dumped in a crotch pot or an immense hand swiping itself through the raid, someone always needs topping off. And in their downtime, it's not uncommon to have them tossing heals to your tanks, either (hey, they're in the raid, too)! This means less downtime, more effective healing, and less lost ticks or overheal to pre-casting and tank mitigation. When your raid healers do not come out on top, that's when you worry.

What a healing meter can tell you, as well, is who is just downright terrible, or if you have too many healers. Paladins often bear the brunt of this; if you have too many healers (especially if those healers are heal snipers), they can suddenly be left with nothing to heal and thus have little effective healing done. Their overheal skyrockets and they're left with nothing but a large overheal. However, if things are going awry and you notice someone with a low HPS and low overall healing, you may be dealing with a slacker who cannot prioritize for his assignment. Like all things, however, this may take a little exploring into meter synchronization (which will be covered in a later post).

Expanding Recount Meter #1: Effective Healing Skills
If you drag your cursor over the bars on your healing meter and click a name, a whole new wealth of information opens to you. By clicking the arrows in the top right, you can run through a range of information for the selected name that greatly improves the quality of the information to be gleaned. One of those details the effective healing spells for your character.

Why is this important? For many reasons, especially if you're trying to judge your own performance or, in the case of a heal lead (or someone itching for the position), the performance of another. Taking into account their assignment and seeing what healing abilities they prioritize over others can bring great insight into possible problems or areas for improvement. When thinking back over a fight, how often did you use Regrowth? How often does it show up on the chart as effective? Does it match up relatively well or are you wasting a ton of time and mana on ineffective healing? Helpfully, if you hover over or click on a spell, the bottom half of the window will detail hits, crits and ticks in percentage of healing done for that single skill, giving you a decent idea of the necessity of certain things, such as if the tank is really getting the benefit from applying Regrowth because, even if it's direct portion is wasted, you can see the ticks of the HoT portion having a good deal of uptime.

Expanding Recount Meter #1: Who Healed Who
Arrowing over once to the right from the first expanded window of the straight healing meters will lead you to the "healed who" meters. This will give an outline of who the healer was healing and how much of their healing percentage was used upon them. With a main tank assignment, it should show that the majority of their healing and time, proportionally, is on the tank. If they are on raid, there should be a more equalized pie chart with a little more emphasis on tanks or people who consistently are taking more damage, perhaps more than they should be.

This chart is especially helpful to see who is sticking to their assignment, who is straying from it, and who is just not doing it. If your healer has not spent the majority of their time on their tank assignment, it will show up here. Maybe that is why they went down? If the healer has overall high healing but their assignment keeps dying, the problem is revealed here. For even more detail, you can click a person's name and see what they were healed with. If your healer has an even pie chart but the raid keeps dying, you can see that those who were healed were being hit with Regrowth. Regrowth is slow and not at all suited for raid healing, but when it did hit it was helpful, hiding the problem. Thus, expanding the expanded window even further is much more enlightening.

Recount has a lot of meters, and I want to go over a large portion of them. I'm splitting this up to make it a bit easier to digest, and so people who wish to point out mistakes or what have you don't have to go through an intense wall of text to point out a minor thing. So, when we come back with part II, we'll look at Who-Was-Healed-By-Who meters, Overheal and Dispelling.

Go to: Part II


Anonymous said...

Awesome writeup- I used to play a pally healer before wrath, and it was hard sometime having to explain stuff like this to clueless raid leaders who hadn't done anything more than check healing per second.

Part of why I rolled a hunter, actually. My job is much easier now- melt boss face, roll on rogue drops, profit!

Saeren (Thrall) said...

Terrific post and I'm already looking forward to the next installment. I'm always looking for ways to better use the data that Recount provides and to ensure that it is used effectively by my team.

Aerivore said...

Thank you! There are too many out there that pay way too much attention to healing meters during raids, and it contributes way too much to their epeenery. It amuses and annoys me.

I only ever really used meters, previously, as a judgement of who's doing something and who's not. If someone's low on effective -and- low on overheals (and they are not disc spec) they aren't doing anything. Stop casting, standing there, etc...

Dorgol said...

I'm so glad to see this topic showing up in a few places. More to alleviate my own frustration than anything else.

See... for the first time I'm healing on progression content. Back when I was raiding in vanilla content it was as a Warlock. Then my Paladin became my main in TBC, but I didn't do serious raiding (didn't complete SSC or TK until after 3.0, still haven't completed Hyjal, BT, or Sunwell).

So now I'm healing in Ulduar 25. And I'm looking at my position on these meters and wonder WTF am I doing wrong. Ret Pally outhealing me?!? Me doing 9% of total healing while the Druid is doing 28%?

So yeah, I'm glad to see that this is simply a limitation of the tank vs raid healer setup and NOT because I fail at healing.

My tank stays alive (and dispelled). I drop raid heals through Beacon. I do my part. But damn if it isn't annoying to sit so far down on the list every raid.

Bell said...

@outdps - I would think even DPS need multiple meters, but it is perhaps a little easier to see when DPS is low!

@Saeren - Thanks, I'm really trying to move people away from the "just healing meters" mindset.

@Aerivore - That can work, but I find a more in-depth look to almost always be better. ^^ Just so long as I don't get caught up in it, of course!

@Dorgol - I understand the frustration. No one likes to be on the bottom of the meters. But it's far more important to do your job than place first, so I'm glad this can help!

Viudas said...

Great post, thanks for that. Nice to see more conversation about what all the data 'means'.

Just like attributing a number value to gear, being number one doesn't necessarily mean you are doing a 'better' job than everyone else.

Always remember what your assign is ;)

Kayeri said...

Great write-up, Bell! :) I randomly got to talking to a fellow tree from one of the more progressed guilds on our server last night and mentioned this post to him and he looked it up and also complimented your work on it...

::evil grin:: I perhaps (I hope) I have won you a new reader... :) It is amazing, though, how a character name (from Elfquest) can get you talking to someone and lead you towards a new friendship. :)

Zborinka said...

I will sometimes look at death logs and see tanks getting almost no heals for the few seconds before their deaths from their assigned healers, that is what makes me mad. For tank healers, if their tank stays up, that's good, if they can pop off some raid healing while keeping their tank alive, that's great, but they need to keep their focus.

I actually like to look through the healing number for trash. I often find some healers just cruising along and not putting much effort into trash healing, and others working their tails off. Trash can often result in wipes and a lot of time wasted if there is lackluster healing.

Dorgol said...

@Zborinka - we were using the death log on our stream of Vezax wipes last week. 5 - 7 seconds without heals on the tank. Why? Not because our healers suddenly forgot to heal... but because we all got hit with a Shadowcrash... or we were all moving to a green goo and somehow ended up out of range.

I'm learning to love recount - some amazingly good information in there. But I still hate the main "effective healing" meter. Hate hate hate hate. :)

Kayeri said...

Zborinka, makes a great point, and I got a chance to put your ideas to work finally, Bell!

I looked hard at my performance in the Ignis fight and figured out I was;

1) Healing the MT
2) dropping a Wild Growth on the ranged after Flame Jets
3) throwing a rejuv/Swiftmend on anyone who went into the pot
4) healing myself here and there.

after losing the MT twice (one of those times just a hair from killing Ignis) I decided to cut my work load so I could put more attention where it needed to be and shifted down to #1 and #3 only, and we got Ignis down on the next try.

"Tunnel Vision" is to be avoided, and we do encourage healers to assist each other *when able to*, but in this case, the greater focus on my assignment really did make a difference, I think. I certainly cant claim to be the sole difference, but I'm sure it helped in the end.

Afterwards, reviewing the Recount data, I happily found that our healers are spot on where they should be, our raid-healing priest had a beautifully even pie chart, while mine and the pally healer's were 75-80% on our assigned tanks.

And I am a lot happier, having that 'competitive' stigma removed from my thinking. I know I'm getting my job done now, and that makes me feel great. I've referred several more people to this article since, an I hope it offers the same peace of mind to them as it has to me. :)

Silver Flame said...

Good writeup on how recount is to be used as a healer. I had an issue with someone boasting how she was #2 on the meters throughout the night, even though she was raid healing - and when she dropped to #3, her over healing almost doubled so that she could get back to #2.

I've led healers in raids for a long time, and this is just how I use recount to help, so brava.