Raid Rx: How to read healing parses (or meters)

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a new WoW blog for all things UI, macro, and addon related. Need help reading healing meters and parses? Don't know where to begin? Let's see what I can do!

"Are healing meters supposed to measure your ability or their inability (to stand in fires)?"

That's a great quote I saw on the Plus Heal forums. I wish I bookmarked the thread. I can't remember who said it.

Reading meters is not for the faint hearted. There is often an overwhelming amount of information that needs to be dissected. Unlike damage meters, healing meters are extremely subjective to various fights.

Things you need to know first

In order to critique a player's performance, there are a number of things that you have to be aware of.

  • Boss mechanics. A huge no brainer. Know what the boss does. Know the abilities. Know the damage output of all of them. Know the gimmicks. Know what can trip up, kill, or neutralize healers. Every parse is going to be subjective.

  • Classes. Know the classes that comprise your healing team. Have an intimate understanding of their spells and capabilities.

  • Assignments. Who is healing who? What type of damage is their healing assignment expected to take? Have an extremely clear idea of which healer is doing what at any given moment.

  • Cause of death. When troubleshooting deaths, you must know what effect killed them. I rely on Recount or Expiration to echo the last few seconds in a player's life span. Using that information, I can then figure out what went wrong and what can be done to resolve it. More on this later.

  • DPS. Damage per second.

  • HPS. The opposite of the above which is heals per second.

World of Logs

Let's check out World of Logs. Out of the various parsing sites and tools in existence, this one is by far my personal favourite. Be sure to create an account with them first. If you're interested, you can even create a guild with them as well (but remember to generate a beta key).

By raid

Here's the dashboard. This is where you go for typical "at-a-glance" type information. When you're checking out healers, the graph you want to key in on is the one on the right side. This shows how much damage the entire raid has taken throughout the night followed by how much effective healing was done. The line below it shows overall raw healing (including overhealing). Basically, the closer your healing done is to damage taken, the effective your healing corps is. You want the green line to sort of overlap the red as much as possible. It's going to be difficult to do especially on progression nights but it's a great overall thermometer for the raid.

Mousing over the Dashboard above expands the parser into other details. Of particular note here is the ones that lead to Healing Done and Deaths Overview.

Let's start with Healing Done and check out the entire raid.

This section shows every player and every ability that a player used to heal. It will include attacks and abilities like a Ret Paladins Judgment of Light or a Death Knights Death Strike. This section will largely be dominated by your healers (as should be the case).

The graph

Here you can see a visual representation of healing done by players. Mouse over at various points at the graph, and it will list significant events throughout the parse (represented by different colored lines). The large spikes were heals done during bosses or boss attempts. You can tell a break was called at the 19:30 mark due to the lack of activity by everyone involved.

Check boxes on the side of player names below the graph allow you to see who you examine. The columns are self explanatory. The amounts show the overall healing done and the percentages represent how much healing that player contributed to the entire raid. Yes it says DPS on the side. That actually means HPS (Heals per second).

Remember the HPS takes into account everything done throughout the night.

Let's take a micro look at a player. I'll use mine.

By player

Clicking the player shows all the individual particulars. At the top, you'll see some tabs like graphs, damage, healing and so forth. Healing by spell is the one you want to look at it. So on the left, you'll see the break down of spells. Healing done is how much your spells healed (or prevented in the case of Power Word: Shield). Hits is the number of spells that connect, the average they healed for followed by the effective total. Crits and Direct Heals are self explanatory.

Yeah, that's an obscene number of shields.

On the next page, I'll highlight the process that I run through when doing a comparison between two players of the same class and use myself as a guinea pig.