Who You Gonna Believe, Warcraft Logs or Your Own Lying Memory?
When you drove home today, how many times was the traffic light green? Last time you wrote an email, how often did you need to backspace due to a typing error? In your last raid, how many holy shocks did you miss?
Your memory is a manipulative, self-centered prima donna. It’ll color over mistakes, bury things that made you feel bad, disregard the routine as not worth dwelling on. You are the hero in the story you are constantly telling yourself about yourself, and your memory will unabashedly lie to you to support that story.
This is especially true in activities like driving, typing, and raiding in World of Warcraft. All of these bypass the conscious-thinking-observer in you. Your conscious thinker is simply too slow to effectively decide “and next I’ll type w, and then i, and then n, and bam now I WIN.” Instead, the vast majority of decisions you make in these activities are are reflexive, based on pre-programmed responses. You pre- and post-think, consciously deciding how to respond to a situation; then practice until your chosen response in that situation is ingrained by repetition (this is why you eventually stopped wiping on Mannoroth!)
This has many implications for thoughtful raiding, one of which (today’s topic!) is that you generally won’t remember small, mechanical mistakes you made during the raid. (You also won’t remember big mistakes, often blaming the effects on others, but that’s a topic for another time). Since you won’t remember them, you won’t think about them, you won’t fix them, and you’ll certainly repeat them. One of the best ways to improve your gameplay is to identify mistakes you’ve made. Then you can practice ways to avoid that mistake outside of a raid encounter, taking the time to program your reflexes to correctly respond to the scenario that previously caused you to err.
There is no better tool for identifying mistakes than Warcraft Logs. Bypass all of your cognitive biases and look at actual data.
And You Thought The First Part of This Post Was Long: What to Look For In Your Holy Paladin Logs
My favorite fight for looking at Holy Paladin fundamentals is High Council. Long enough for mistakes to develop, minimal movement, mostly a turret-and-heal fight. Of course there is value to looking at high-movement fights as well, to see how well you handle movement while maximizing casting, but for now I’ll focus on casting fundamentals.
1. Look at what you cast, not how much you healed.
So pull up your Council log and look at your healing.
What are you doing!? Not the healing tab. Who cares how much healing you did compared to the other healers? That’s completely irrelevant. We’re doing this to find mistakes, not to let our story-telling ego lie to us even more. Looking at your own healing-done breakdown is just as useless. Especially for a Holy Paladin, how much healing you have from Illuminated Healing, Beacon, and direct heals will vary wildly depending more on the encounter and your raid comp than on your own mistakes and successes.
By far the best, most useful information is in the casts tab. Almost every mechanical error in Holy Paladin play is best identified by this information.
First, you can run some basic numbers. Multiply the minutes the fight took by 60 and add the remaining seconds to get how many total seconds the encounter lasted. Then you can figure your average cooldown on Holy Shock, as well as how many times you could have cast Holy Prism and Avenging Wrath.