Archive for the ‘Guides’ Category

How to Read a Raid Log

October 19, 2009

Every time I raid, I try to run a log. What that means is I give the client a command (/combatlog), and WoW spits out every single line of combat into a text file. If you’ve ever wondered exactly what happens in a fight, however, this is the thing to refer to. It’s sort of humbling.

In my case, I use an addon to turn the combat log on and off, because I am lazy. Clsaver does a wonderful job for me, because all I have to do is tell it once which instances I want to record, and it remembers that for the future. Then I can blissfully forget about it until it’s time to upload logs.

Unfortunately, WoW doesn’t do anything smart, like make separate combat logs for each time it records. No, it puts it all into one big (BIG) text file. While I used to go through the file by hand and delete the battles I didn’t care about, that would literally take half an hour at a time. Eventually I badgered my husband into writing a combat log parser that would extract logs from the dates I requested. It’s worked like a charm ever since.

Once I have a single text file of the log I want to upload, I then choose a log service to upload it to. WWS used to be my favorite, but it’s been horribly neglected since before Ulduar. Most recently, BMR moved on to using World of Logs and while I disliked it at first, I’ve come to really appreciate how much information it manages to show on one page. The colored line graphs are pretty, too. ^.^

With all that said, I’m always wary of any log I record that puts me on the top of the meters. So I usually wait for another raid member to post their uploaded log, and go by those numbers. But for some reason, nobody’s been posting logs lately…and thus, I have only my own to look at.

Last night, we ran 25-man ToC and VoA.


So…yeah. >.>

Here are the basics for reading a dps report on WoL:

Column 1: Player Name
The player names go here. When you click on the triangle, it will bring up all the names associated with that player’s damage output – mainly, pets – and the associated numbers across the board. All the names are color-coded for class, save Mahrou, who’s blue. My wolf is not a Mage.  O.o

Column 2: Total Damage Done
This is the total amount of damage done by that player for the entire raid. When you have pets showing, it will show the individual damage done by the player and his pet.

Column 3: Percent of Total Damage Done
This column takes the total damage done by the player, and gives a percentage based on that damage out of damage done by the entire raid. When pets are showing, it gives individual percentages for both player and pet.

Column 4: DPS Done
The next two columns are tricky. This first one gives you your DPS (damage-per-second) for the time that you were active during the raid. Once again, it will show the pet dps separate from the player dps.

Column 5: Effective DPS Done
This is the real dps number, since it takes your damage over the fight and calculates it over the full duration of the fight. So you might’ve done 5k dps while you were alive, but bit the dust halfway through, making your effective dps 2500. Can be very humbling.

Column 6: Active Time
Simply, this is how long you were alive and kicking during the fight. It even gives you a percentage, in case your forgot how early on you started eating floor.

These are just the basics of reading a raiding log – you can click around on almost every item in the list, and each page will give you more detailed information on the fight. If I clicked ‘Tchann’ on the report pictured above, it would show me all the attacks I used during the battle, how many hit, how many hit critically, etc…a plethora of information that can be vital for truly tricking out your character.

Now that the log primer is out of the way, I can get to my real point in posting this: don’t let anyone EVER tell you Beast Mastery isn’t raid viable. Right up there is proof to the contrary. 🙂


Ulduar: Ignis the Furnace Master

June 29, 2009

This post is the third of several giving instructional advice for the Beast Mastery hunter slugging through Ulduar. These posts do not discuss every single strategy for any given boss, and hunters may find that their raid leaders prefer a different approach. For the most part, however, this information should provide a solid starting point for effective pewpew.

Ignis is found at the Colossal Forge, waiting for the foolhardy raid to come barreling in and get burned to a crisp in the Maker’s fire. He’s also optional, and can be skipped if the raid has more pressing things to attend to, like Kologarn. Ignis is also the closest thing to a tank-and-spank in Ulduar up to that point, so it’s a nice chance to sit back and concentrate on doing damage.

The fight begins with a pull, very possibly from a hunter misdirect. The size of Ignis and the room itself is a very effective lesson in scale and weapon range – a Hunter’s Mark can’t even be applied until one has crossed the dividing line in the middle of the room. One way or another, the boss will be aggro’d on the tank and the fight will begin.

At regular intervals, Ignis will drop a Scorch area. This is a very obvious and very large AoE that blackens the ground and shoots up licks of fire. Get out of it! Find a safe spot among the raid and pewpew. You can send your pet after Ignis and concentrate on your shot priority.

You will need to move as the fight wears on. The Scorches are large, as before mentioned, and the tank will be kiting Ignis around so that the Scorches are placed in a manageable manner. If the raid chooses to have Ignis tanked in a square-like formation, the Scorches will be at each corner.

Unfortunately, while the rest of the raid can get by standing in the middle of the square, Ignis’ hit box is large enough that hunters will be in melee range if they stand in the center. So find the minimum distance and keep moving to avoid where the Scorches will fall. It’s best to wait for a spot in the priority when an Arcane Shot and a Serpent Sting are back-to-back, because they can both be fired while running.

Another fun bit that Ingis likes to pull often is Flame Jets. The entire raid will be hit for fire damage and flung up into the air. The flinging also interrupts any casting, but us hunters aren’t interrupted in the same way spellcasters are. When we hit the ground, we can go back to pewpewing as normal. Thankfully, since Flame Jets is fire damage, it can be resisted and the entire interrupt/flinging incident avoided. In midair, however, is a great time to renew Serpent Sting.

The last of the things Ignis does to the raid directly is the Slag Pot. Ignis will charge a random member of the raid, scoop them up, and shove them in his pantspot, where they will take a massive amount of damage over time. The player can’t do much except heal themselves through any means available to them. For hunters, keep the mouse ready to click your Healthstone in case the heals don’t come fast enough. The player is eventually dumped unceremoniously onto the ground, often right into the middle of a Scorch. Be ready to run!

So, there are the basics of Ignis himself. Unfortunately, there’s always a little bit more that Blizzard likes to throw at us. In Ignis’ case, he has adds that are summoned throughout the fight. These adds are the constructs lining each side of the room – they’ll come to life and start running rampant throughout the raid. An off-tank will need to round them up and have them stand in the Scorches. What this does is make them ‘Molten’, at which point the construct will need to be kited into one of the large pools of water on either side of the room.

When the construct hits the water, it becomes ‘Brittle’ – and can be completely shattered in one hit…as long as that hit is for over 5000. Anything less will do nothing, and when the construct shatters it does so with a nice little AoE. So ranged dps capable of consistently doing over 5000 in one hit will likely be assigned to shatter constructs. The rest of the raid will pretty much ignore the constructs altogether.

Ignis has no phases, just all this chaos going on until he’s finally dead on the floor. In a worst-case scenario, he can be reset by running him back up the ramp to the teleporter. With Flame Jets going on, however, it’s rough to survive that long in case of a near-wipe. But with him down, all that remains between your raid and the next section of Ulduar is a giant robot with a penchant for temper tantrums and breaking his toys. Ouch.

Ulduar: Razorscale

June 16, 2009

This post is the second of several giving instructional advice for the Beast Mastery hunter slugging through Ulduar. These posts do not discuss every single strategy for any given boss, and hunters may find that their raid leaders prefer a different approach. For the most part, however, this information should provide a solid starting point for effective pewpew.

For as much as I enjoy this fight, this is the boss battle that tries to make me regret keeping my pet on Defensive. Hopefully you used Flame Leviathan as a warm-up fight and you’re ready to go, because this fight will require you to be on the ball at all times.

When you first come down the stairs to Razorscale’s area, you’ll see four broken ballistae lined up in front of you. During the course of the battle, these ballistae will be repaired one by one, at which point they’ll need to be used. Once all the ballistae have been fired (two or four, depending on 10- or 25-man, respectively), the boss will be dragged to the ground temporarily for pewpew time. The raid leader will most likely assign one person to be on top of firing the ballistae as each one becomes available.

While the ballistae are being repaired, however, the rest of the raid has plenty of work to do. A bunch of Dark Iron drills will surface, each bearing 2-3 adds that will need tanked and dps’d as soon as possible. The three types of adds are:

Dark Rune Guardian: Lowest priority. They don’t do much other than a debuff on whatever’s tanking them, so you’ll target them last for killing.

Dark Rune Watcher: Second-highest priority. They do a nasty chain lightning attack that can hurt if you get caught too close to them. These are what you’ll spend most of your time dps’ing down first, as they spawn much more frequently than the Sentinels.

Dark Rune Sentinel: Highest priority. These guys whirlwind, so keep your pet off! Send your pet after a nearby Watcher or Guardian and pewpew these guys from afar. They don’t spawn often, but need to be taken down first when they’re up.

There are several waves of these mobs spawning while the ballistae are being repaired. However, while you’re killing the Dark Rune mobs, Razorscale is flying overhead, raining burning death upon you. She will constantly be firing both red and blue fireballs at people in the raid, each with their own consequences.

The red fireballs are targeted and cannot be dodged by running away, and do a significant chunk of damage when they hit.

The blue fireballs can be avoided, however, they will still hit and remain as an AoE for nearly thirty seconds. And it’s a nasty AoE – you need to be on top of things to make sure both you and your pet stay out of the fire!

This is where the Defensive pet behavior can get tricky. If all the mobs you’ve been fighting in an area are finished off, it’s likely you (or your pet) have been hit by one of the fireballs, and the pet will go running off to try to fight Razorscale. This isn’t possible, since she’s in midair, so the pet stands in the middle of the field, idle. And usually in a blue fireball AoE. And then the pet dies. So if you have your pet on Defensive, you must be aware of where the pet is at all times, or the pet will probably bite it.

After all the ballistae are fired, Razorscale is dragged to the ground for roughly 30 seconds. During this time, all dps is on Razorscale. Pop your Bestial Wrath and go all out, she has no aggro table during this phase. Ditch the adds, the tanks will survive keeping them busy during that time. Stay behind Razorscale, because when she takes off at the end of 30 seconds, she lets off a big breath attack in front of her, destroying the ballistae in the process. She also tosses everyone back and into the air as she lifts off.

Now, no matter if your pet is on Passive or Defensive, your pet will try to ‘follow’ Razorscale and keep attacking. They tend towards running towards the northeast corner of the battlefield, and then standing idle in a blue fireball AoE. So as soon as Razorscale takes off, click the Passive icon once (or twice, if you’re paranoid like me) to bring your pet back in before moving on to the adds.

This brings us back to the beginning – kill the adds, dodge the fireballs, fire the ballistae, dps Razorscale. When she hits 50% health, she’s grounded for good, at which point all the adds will stop spawning. Dps will need to switch to finishing off the adds after she’s grounded, so they don’t get in the way.

The rest of the fight, for us at least, is simple tank and spank. Stay behind the boss, who will be kited around the field as the tanks likely switch back and forth between themselves. Occassionally she’ll do her Wing Buffet to toss people back, and she still tosses the blue fireballs. Just keep moving, stay out of the fire, and pewpew her down as fast as you can.

Tada! Optional awesome boss completed. But don’t get excited if the gun drops – with strength and defense, it’s for tanks only. 😦

Ulduar: Flame Leviathan

June 12, 2009

This post is the first of several giving instructional advice for the Beast Mastery hunter slugging through Ulduar. These posts do not discuss every single strategy for any given boss, and hunters may find that their raid leaders prefer a different approach. For the most part, however, this information should provide a solid starting point for effective pewpew.

As soon as you walk through the door to Ulduar, the first thing you’ll see is a staging area filled with vehicles. That’s right, your first fight in Ulduar isn’t even one you get to really be a hunter in. Ignore that, though – the fight can be a lot of fun, so enjoy it while it lasts!

The vehicle section is split into two parts. Part One is trekking across the grounds towards the Flame Leviathan, taking down the towers that loom over you on the way. If you’re doing a hard mode, your RL will take you down a side passage to take out optional installations. Just kill everything in sight and you should be good to go.

Part Two is the Flame Leviathan fight itself. He’ll come bursting through a door at the end of the first area. Take the time before triggering him to repair at the glowy green circles – auto heal and energy refill FTW.

Now, for the tricky part. Your vehicle options are as follows:

Chopper: If in the motorcycle, your job is mainly twofold. One, throw down oil slicks in front of the things you’re fighting. The other vehicles will set it on fire, making a nice AoE that hurts the mobs but not you. The second, very major responsibility, is to pick up stranded players during the FL fight itself. Massive aura damage will kill a player outside a vehicle during the fight, so it’s your job to zoom to where they fall and pick them up in your sidecar, then zoom them over to a vacant seat on one of the other vehicles. It may seem like a minor role, but it’s actually incredibly important, so do it well!

Siege Engine (driver): The Siege Engines are big hunks of tank that move slowly over the battlefield. Their firepower is formidable, however, and they have an important task to complete during the FL fight: their Electroshock ability will interrupt FL’s Flame Jets, so the driver needs to be close enough to fire it off when necessary, but far enough to book it if the FL turns its guns on him.

Siege Engine (passenger): While another player is driving the engine, one will be perched on top with access to fun weaponry. The big one to spam is Fire Cannon, which does a hard-hitting AoE explosion when it lands. The Air Rocket ability is also useful to hit the pyrite canisters floating up above the playing field. Lastly, the Shield Generator needs to be hit whenever the engine in question gains aggro – it’ll help to mitigate the massive damage FL can dish out until the driver can get the engine as far away as possible.

Demolisher (driver):  The Demolisher has much of the same responsibilities as the Siege Engine, in that they need to book it when FL turns on them. However, they also have the incredibly important job of flinging their passenger onto FL’s back (explained further on). Not only do they need to be aware of when the passenger can be flung, but they also need to aim well, or risk severely injuring the passenger by missing.

Demolisher (passenger): The passenger of a Demolisher has a different job than the Siege Engine’s passenger. For one, the Demolisher passenger will need to load themselves into the catapult at the beginning of the FL fight. The driver will then aim and fire the passenger, hopefully onto the back of FL itself. Once on FL’s back, the passenger (if a hunter) will be going all-out dps on the turrets there. When the turrets all die, the passengers will be flung off FL’s back, and will need picked up by the Choppers (mentioned above).

The general flow of the FL fight is pretty simple. He’ll aggro on either a Demolisher or Siege Engine at random. The driver of the vehicle targeted needs to burn rubber in a direction opposite from FL – that is, kite him. We’re hunters, people, we should know all about kiting by now. The Siege Engine drivers get a speed boosting ability, and their passengers can shield the vehicle to prevent massive damage. The Demolisher passengers also have a speed boosting ability, but it uses a Pyrite Barrel, which is a disposable ammunition that needs to be collected before and during the fight.

As FL is being kited, Demolishers should fling their passengers onto its back, where they will start taking down the turrets. The drivers can then start dps’ing from afar. The Siege Engine drivers will need to be closer in order to do damage and interrupt as necessary, but be ready to start kiting FL when it switches targets. Siege Engine passengers will dps their hearts out on FL, while making sure to pop the shield when their vehicle gets the aggro. And Choppers will throw oil slicks in front of FL as often as possible, with intermittent dps.

FL will switch aggro every thirty seconds (mods like DBM will give you an alert as to when it’s about to switch), so drivers need to be ready to book it.

After the turrets on FL’s back are down, it’ll toss the players on its back into the air before shutting down for repairs. They’ll land and need to be picked up as soon as possible by the Choppers, then healed and zoomed back to their Demolishers. Everybody else should go full-out dps on FL while it’s repairing. As soon as the repairs are finished, the whole fight cycles through again.

It’s really not a hard fight, so don’t fret! And it’s fun to see some obscenely huge numbers pop up when you’re on the Demolisher or Siege Engine. But as aforementioned, it’s not a fight where your class has much to do with your huntery performance, so take this fight as an opportunity to warm-up your attention span for the rest of Ulduar.

Because, trust me, it’s a doozy.


May 2, 2009

Well, my voiceover chops got a little rusty after three years out of the business, but I think the video works nonetheless!

The basics, one last time:

1) Keep three green shields up of Defend! at all times.
2) Spam Thrust when in Melee range.
3) Spam Charge when the opponent starts backing away.
4) Spam Shield Breaker as you bank sharply back after the Charge.
5) Lather, rinse, repeat!