Thursday, August 4, 2011

Analyzing a death/wipe - and recovering from a bad night

So I was going to write a post for an actual WoW rookie that is in my guild.  I'm constantly surprised by the questions he asks, and they aren't just /facepalm questions either, but questions like "What are tabards?" and a complete lack of understanding as to what a raid is.  I mean, how do you respond when someone sees a 10 Tabards achievement pop up, and they don't know what a tabard is?  Or how to check ranks in a guild?  But this post is not for him, it is instead for me - and everyone who's ever had a night of raiding that didn't turn out like you'd planned.

Analyzing a death

Now part of this carries over from my time as a raid leader/MT/healer, but this is what I do.  When I start tanking floor I immediately pull up Recount to see my death log.  I want to know why I died, and if I could have prevented it.  This goes double right now, because I'm still a trial raider, and I hate dying to environmental that I can avoid.  Plus I know my DPS still isn't as high as it should be, so I'm really critical of my own play.

Now wipes happen, and bad raid nights happen.  We used to be pretty cyclical in TI, in that one week we'd go 12/12 in 18 minutes, and the next week we'd struggle to get 3/12 (ok, not that extreme, but you get the point).  This is compounded when you're rotating raiders, and having tanks/healers fill the different roles.  While that's good (in that you're not dependant on that one tank who always goes up on Beth), it can also lead to extra wipes because they're doing something different.

Of course since I'm not healing at the moment, and I'm not raid leading, my primary focus is me.  Tank fell over and went boom?  I look at what I was doing, and if that in any way impacted the death.  If the answer is no, I go back to analyzing what I was doing right (and wrong) up to that point.  Now if I'm the first one to hit the deck, it's another story - and then it's really time to pour over those logs.

Looking at my deaths

So last night I think I had two (maybe 3?) deaths where I was the first to hit the deck.  One, on Alysrazor (I'm sorry Kurn - she's forever Alice-razor in my mind), I died on our first pull.  First transition to P2, and poof - dead warlock.  Looking at the logs, I died to Searing Winds - in the exact mirror position of where I normally am (I usually get assigned to the right side, not the left).  The only thing I could see is that my skeleton was actually off the ground by about 10' - so I have to think that the game assumed I was up in the air, even though I only had one feather (as a note, I don't normally get one - maybe this was it?).  So I chalk that death up to something I can't control.  I wasn't too close to the middle, I wasn't high up on the side - I just died.

WoW - 1, Apok - 0

Now my next death was on Rhy.  I died to Volcano Eruptions - something I can't control.  Even looking at the WoL, while I took some stomp damage (that's on me), I was also getting smacked by some adds (DPSing too early).  Because the death was due to high volcano stacks though, I'm chalking this up to something outside my control.

WoW - 2, Apok - 0

Now this death was embarrasing.  I had my camera slaved over to the side, becuase I KNEW a lava line was coming.  While looking for it though, Rhy crossed over me, and the lava was under his foot.  I died, but what I should have done was move.  This was my fault, as I should have been moving when I saw him coming to block my vision.  I was so focused on killing the adds though, I didn't move, trusting that I'd see it when it spawned.

WoW - 2, Apok - 1

Looking deeper

Over the course of a night, that's not too bad (other deaths were just wipes - this is only deaths where I died first).  It wasn't flawless play, but it wasn't bad.  The problem is, our entire raid was having the same kind of night.  When that happens, it's a long freaking night.  I fully expect that tonight we'll knock things over and get time on Rag, but it's still frustrating.

At the end of a night, look at the death log in WoW to see what happened.  Check and see if players are using self CDs, Healthstones, pots, etc - anything to delay their deaths.  It's also a good way to see if someone stood in the giant big, or if they died to some other mechanic.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have something for our WoW rookie.  I feel kind of bad for him - I know it's got to be confusing to watch gchat and not know what's going on.


  1. Not to pick nits, but...

    Nearly all deaths on Alysrazor appear to produce floating skeletons for us. As for damage, the only unavoidable sources are tank damage and Alysrazor's ignition & explosion. Everything else can be avoided or interrupted. Even on Heroic, it's nearly all avoidable.

    Rhyolith does have a lot of unavoidable raid damage, especially eruptions. That just makes it even more important to avoid what's avoidable. If a player is logging avoidable sources of damage ~5 seconds before death by eruption then eruption didn't really kill them.

    As for avoiding damage which seems to be RNG, that's usually possible. One good example: Hand of Ragnaros knocks back the raid on schedule, so don't stand where you'll be knocked back into a void zone, trap, or lava waves (that last one's actually difficult).

  2. yeah, you're being pretty kind to yourself on that second smoked it but didn't inhale

  3. @EWS - yeah, but a push goes to the house.

  4. and hitler didn't kill millions of jews, the people under him did

  5. he did however kill the leader of nazi germany, imo we should have a national holiday in honor of him ending ww2 in europe


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