Lately on the Guild Relations forums, I’ve been seeing a lot of questions about determining skill, dealing with the less skilled, and ultimately the worth (and use) of meters inside of a guild. There are a ton of fallacies out there about what you can and cannot figure out using a meter. Some say you can’t figure out a thing about healing with them, and others say that you can’t even touch a tank with it, but the reality is that both these groups of people are wrong.

The below information is an in depth look at how we can use meters to improve our guild mates, our selves, and ultimately our raids without having to rely on a great deal of conjecture. Does your tank keep losing agro? When a particular healer doesn’t show up, are you having problems with a run? Do you have a person in your raid that isn’t holding up their end of the damage bargain? We all do, and as guild members and leadership, we all have to deal with these people who are quite possibly considered friends on top of it all. What I plan to do here is to give you the ability to back your concerns up with suggestions. I want to give you the ability to look at yourself and say “is there anything I could be doing better?” And lastly, I want to give you the ability to set goals for an underperforming member (even if that member is yourself) so that they can improve and grow.

If the volume of information seems overwhelming, that means you’re on the right track! You shouldn’t feel stupid for not knowing much of this intuitively, and this guide is written in order to allow you to reference back to it for figuring out your specific problems. If you feel like there’s so many pieces that it’s hard to put together, then you have to focus on the parts that you’re comfortable with, and the rest will come together in time. The first thing we’re going to get into is what we’re looking for when we look at damage meters.

Theory of Rotations (Skill Distribution) Edit

A lot of people use meters as a ranking system, this is one of those things you want to avoid like the plague! The reality is that on a Damage Done and Effective Healing meters rankings are a way to look for obvious signs of play style issues. You’re only looking at the bottom of the list, commonly, because that’s where your problems most likely begin. There may be some issues to address here or there at the top of the list, but for the most part you’re going to focus on the bottom 50%. So what are we really looking for? Well, on strict overall ranking meters we’re looking for red flags, people who fall out of what you expect to be the standard shape of your healing meters. Most people are able to immediately pull some examples of their meters in their minds and know the times when they’ve seen what goes off in their mind as a red flag. But what do you do then?

Well, first you have to understand that once the red flag has been thrown, you need to start taking a more in depth look to what that person is doing that’s causing their performance to sit so low. But you also need to understand that there is a ton of research being done by the WoW community particularly on what we refer to as Ability Rotations. These rotations are a set pattern to using your abilities in order to hopefully produce the optimal results for your class. However, with TBC and some of the new talents and raiding viabilities, some of the classic ability rotations have gone out the window, and some classes have even gone so far as to lose the ability to be held by a strict rotation! Combat Rogues and Shadow Priests are known for not having a good rotation at all, simply priority lists that need to be followed. So if we can’t prescribe ability rotations to these classes, then what is it that we’re really looking for in order to analyze these people?

III. Obtaining the Information Edit

The answer is that what you’re looking for is Skill Distribution. All an ability rotation is an attempt at doing is providing an optimum skill distribution for whatever class/role that’s being played. You’re looking for a certain usage of X or Y abilities. With abilities that have an over time component, the more they’re used, the longer they’re up (alternately, the person could be refreshing the ability too often and therefore losing effectiveness/efficiency). With other abilities their usage causes damage or healing. This is why one of the absolutely most effective tools in a person who is attempting to analyze meters is a Skill Details page to show you what abilities are being logged and parsed. This gives you a break down of the percentage of abilities used in relation to one another, as well as things like average damage, number of uses, and even hit/crit rates.

SW Stats has a tab called Skill Details. WWS all you have to do is click on the character’s name. WWS provides a bit more in the way of details and is really useful for this, but SW is good for in game analysis instead of always tabbing out to a webpage. There’s some word that Recount is up and coming, but as it’s still fluctuating through beta phases, I’m going to leave that be. You need to learn the workings of these tools and how to set them up and use them in order to get to this type of information. There will be more details given on different aspects of classes below.

Analyzing the Roles Edit

You might ask the question “Why analyze a role, instead of a specific class?” The answer is because the approach to analyzing each role is the same, and it’s something that you have to follow in order to really be sure that you’re covering your bases. Each role has a few different steps involved in determining where the weak points are, and the only role that I’ll really delve into details with is tanking because its skill details list is a bit more subtle than the others.


  1. Start with Damage Done (overall, in combat) to determine where your problems are.
  2. Note any major deaths at the beginning of damage dealing time periods and whether or not they were preventable (you can also look at a Death Counter to give you an idea if you can’t remember the details)
  3. Pull a Skill Details list out and look at the distribution. You will need to get an idea of what the best skill distribution is for the class/spec, and you will need to do research on this in order to accurately outline what needs to be changed.
  4. For physical damage dealing classes: Pay careful attention to Normal Damage versus Special Ability damage on the Skill Details list. This is important because it will tell you how often they’re using their special abilities in relation to their normal swings. This is important to identifying UI issues, activity in combat (autoshot AFK, lag, etc.) and also knowledge of the class.
  5. For Magic Damage classes: All you have here generally is the distribution of the spells that they’ve cast. You need to take careful note of the number of times they cast as this can show you general activity levels as well as problems with lag, lack of stopcasting macros, or even UI issues.
  6. Examine Gear and Spec to make sure that they are not contributing to the above problems.


  1. Start with Effective Healing (Overall healing minus Overhealing) to figure out where your problems are. You will see a difference in the healing required for different healing assignments, and it will be reflected in your meters, but you should not have large gaps on your Effective Healing.
  2. Use an Overhealing (SW stats you have to make another Effective Healing tab, and set it to chart overhealing) chart to see if there are any blaring problems in overhealing. This can be a sign of 3 major things: poor reaction times (due to latency, player, or interface), poor skill selection, poor target selection. This is only true if Overhealing is abnormally high and is cutting into a large portion of effective healing.
  3. Take a look at the “Who did this person heal?” chart and just get a feel for who their primary targets were, whether or not they were assigned to tank healing, or pan-raid healing. This can be a sign of over or under focused healers, and you want your porridge to be just right.
  4. Examine the Skill Details chart to get a feel for what a person is attempting to heal with, and whether or not this fits the classes’ most efficient options for the encounters you’re facing.
  5. Examine Gear and Spec to make sure that they are not contributing to the above problems.


  1. Start with watching whether the tank is holding agro or not.
  2. Examine Skill Details: Pay careful attention to Normal Damage, as well as the yellow skill usage abilities. A baseline for warriors will be outlined below.
  3. Pay attention to lags in picking things up, time spent for movement (keyboard turning makes baby jesus cry), stance dancing, multi-mob agro holding.
  4. Use KTM or Omen (I’ve heard of some problems with Omen versus KTM, but that might be problems with KTM versus Omen) to determine whether your tanks threat is improving.
  5. Examine Gear and Spec to make sure that they are not contributing to the above problems.

Alright, a special note needs to be given to tanking. You’ll notice that #1 and #3 are very subjective in a lot of manners. It’s important that you actually watch your tank in order to give them ideas on what they’re doing wrong. This is also important in giving the tank instructions on improving his positioning of mobs.

Regarding #2 however, is probably one of the more subtle readings that you can make on a meter and it requires a great deal of understanding to actually be able to read all of the intricacies into it for a warrior. For other classes, it’s not quite as complicated, so I’ll focus on the warrior alone. The bench marks we’ve come to set for our warriors look something like this:

Normal 20-24% Shield Slam 20-24% Heroic Strike 18-22% (Note, every % of HS is 1 and a little less % of normal damage) Devastate 16-18% Revenge 8-12% Everything else

Now, in an absolutely infinite rage situation, HS would be used on ever swing, and therefore all the normal damage would be converted to HS. But the above skill distribution is very close to an optimal rotation given the rage generation that is currently in most encounters (including tier 5 encounters, no experience with Tier 6 to speak of). There are a whole bunch of reasons for the above distribution, but it requires a deeper understanding of threat generation mechanics and the optimal rotation for warriors. Use the above numbers as your benchmark and goal setting. Something you need to remember though is that these numbers are good for raid situations only. Non-raid groups you’ll see less heroic strike and devastate used due to length of mob life and lack of rage gen.


All in all, I believe the above information covers 95% situations where meters must be read into and analyzed. Use it as a step by step process and a guide for when you have a problem member. If you have particular questions, I’m more than happy to answer them and even potentially include them in this guide. Remember people, use the information you gain from these meters as a tool to provide guidance. I don’t suggest beating people over the head with meters, but do use them to improve and grow the players around you (and yourself) because that’s ultimately what they’re the best at providing.

Contributors Edit

  • Written by Allelopathy of Do It Well - Doomhammer Server

Original Post: Guild Relations Forum