Wowclsp: Combat Log Separation Made Easy

When I was mainly DPSing, I was great about remembering to upload our raid stats each week. I’d parse them immediately after the raid (sometimes while still in ventrilo) to see how I did.  As a healer, I often wait a day or two.  Since I look at the numbers less closely, too, I sometimes forget to click through every process in the World of Logs uploader client, so the old combatlog doesn’t get deleted.  When I record the new combat log for the next raid, it doesn’t overwrite anything — it appends the new numbers to the old file.  This means that .txt file gets very large and unwieldly.

Up until now, I’ve been manually separating, deleting, and re-saving parts of the combatlog when this happens.   I do all this text shuffling in Notepad, which you’d think would be a quick process, but it’s really not.  That program doesn’t handle files of a few  hundred megabytes very easily.  Selecting, cutting, and deleting text is a bit of an ordeal and sometimes it gives me errors.  Other times, I have to walk away from my computer for a minute to let it do its thing, because it pretty much locks everything up. (This makes me want to deal with the stats even less, causing me to put it off.)

Nibuca posted yesterday about the addon CLSaver, which automatically turns on combat log recording each time you enter dungeon when you’re part of a raid group.  Very nice, since I often miss the data from the first pull (or first wipe, hehe) when I forget to turn it on.  She also posted a link to some advice from The Stoppable Force about how to automatically archive (and split) the combat log file.  I was intrigued;  this is exactly what I need.  I skimmed over his instructions and … well, it looks helpful if you’re confident with running scripts, but it looked a bit daunting to me.  Then, a comment from AeroWow solved everything for me:   Wow Combatlog Splitter.

I tried this application this morning on a bloated combatlog file that had 4-5 raids in it and it magically split and labeled them in a matter of seconds. I then uploaded each of them to World of Logs and my work was done.  Wooow.   I think I might be in love.

So, for all you stats collectors, CLSaver + Wowclsp is a magical combination.  Try it!


Echoes of Dooooom

So, yesterday was patch day!  I wanted to leave work early to go home and get it downloaded, but it was a good thing I didn’t, because the realms came up a few hours later than expected.  I kept getting stuck on the “retrieving characters” step for my realm.  Then the realm would go offline for a while, come back, and it was back to retrieving characters.  After staring at that page a while, wishing the realm were online so I could play with all the new stuff, I remembered that vent was still ok.  Maybe there’d be someone in vent!

Over the next couple hours, our guild met in vent, chatted about our specs, our plans, which achievements we expected to have completed right away.  There was no small amount of kvetching either.  I often find myself defending Blizzard and in the conversation last night, it was no different.  I was sure they were doing their best to get everything back online.  With millions of people trying to log in at once, there were bound to be delays.  One of my frustrated guildmates said that Blizzard was a big rich company that had released patches before, and should have been more prepared for the server loads. One of my calmer guildmates replied, “When was the last time a computer did what you expected it to when you put a lot of pressure on it.”  Truth!!

I’d chosen a talent build for my priest, but hadn’t sorted something out for my hunter yet, so I used this time to come up with a build.  I read a bunch of BRK’s recent articles, plus some suggested builds in his forums, and ended up coming up with something slightly different than what was posted anywhere.  This was a bit of a surprise — I’m generally happy choosing a cookie cutter build and adapting my play to it.  For once, I went out on my own a bit.  Perhaps the biggest surprise was that I didn’t go right for the 51 point BM talent to get an exotic pet.  It does seem possible that the Devilsaurs will be king, but I’m sensing may be premature to pick one up now.  Some of those MM talents are going to be awesome for increased DPS.  I decided to go train a raptor instead; I’ll get a Devilsaur in Wrath when I’m later into my 70’s.

While we waited for our own realm to become available, we decided to check out some others and managed to find one that was up.  We made level 1 gnomes (with silly names) with the goal of assaulting Orgrimmar.  Heh.  There were loads of other people in the starting area, many in a guild called <My Realm is Still Down>.  We didn’t make it to Orgrimmar because we were distracted by a level 70 undead that had appeared in the starting area.  We all swarmed him and tried to take him down, and he periodically one shotted us.  It was fun.  My husband kept an eye on our realm and let us know when it was up.  When it came back online, we left our gnomes behind and scrambled to our main server to see all the new shinies.

Vent was very chatty for the next hour as people boasted about their completed achievements, reported on their new spell animations, dueled each other, and tried to rally everyone to run old world instances, heroics, and even Karazhan so that we could knock off some achievements and put our new specs to the test.  I had pretty much tuned everybody out because my addons were all broken such that I couldn’t even open up my damn bags.  I’d run as many updates as I could via WowMatrix, but some of the files couldn’t be retrieved, presumeably because a million other people were trying to do the same thing.   I manually downloaded Bagnon, Bartender 4, and other stuff, just trying to get my UI to a functional state.

My biggest frustrations were with Bartender 4.  I liked Bartender 3, but Bartender 4 seems to have complicated a few things.  I now have to type /bt every time I want to look at my options, because there wasn’t a Fu shortcut for FuBar.  Frustrating.  Some other folks in vent mentioned that they used Bongos, but that a new version wasn’t available yet.  They decided to try Bartender briefly, and informed me that I should abandon it, that it sucked in comparison.  I’m definitely willing to give it a try.  Of course I hated the big changes made to Auctioneer, but eventually got used to those, so maybe it would be the same with Bartender.  I guess I’ll see how things go over the next week or two.

The Talented addon wasn’t working either.  This meant spending talent points was stressful because I was locked into anything that I clicked on.  (Talented allows you to fully fill out the trees before committing to anything.) Anyway, I ended up putting 46ish points in BM and the rest in MM.  I went to Garadar and killed a few clefthoofs and whoaa… new animations.  Hehe.  I don’t know if I’m actually more powerful with this new spec or not (this is something I’ll need to test), but I certainly felt more powerful.

I stabled my kitty cat in Garadar.  Kind of sad.  She’s been my only pet since Stranglethorn and I’m so attached to her that I felt guilty even temporarily taming other pets to learn skills from them.  It does seem that cats are going to be a thing of the past if DPS is one’s emphasis, however, so I know I need to train something else.  As I mentioned above, I decided that the devilsaur would wait.  Instead, I headed to Blade’s Edge to find and train a Felsworn Daggermaw.  I was never much into raptors, but now that I’ve trained this one, I think he’s kind of cute.  Pointy, but cute.  Still need to think of a name for him.  I returned to Garadar to have him destroy some clefthoofs, and he does some awesome damage.  Good boy!

Before the server went down again, five of us steamrolled Wailing Caverns to try to get the achievement for that dungeon done.  Sadly, we killed stuff in the last event so fast that the final boss didn’t spawn.  Dammit!  Guess we’ll need to head back there.  As we were contemplating our next move (heroic Magister’s Terrace *gulp*), the server went down again.  I was standing in the Crossroads, wondering why the flightmaster wouldn’t talk to me.  I cursed my addons for a moment before I realized that we were all about to get the boot again.  We ended up making gnomes on another server again, and eventually, it got late enough that I just decided to head off to bed.

My fingers are crossed for greater server stability tonight.  I still have more toons to respec. 🙂

The Do-Not-Party List

Last night, while questing around Desolace with my priest, I got two unsolicited tells from a certain jerky paladin whose name is on my Do-Not-Party list. The first time he just said, “RFK?” The second time, just “SM library.” Of course, I recognized the name immediately and turned him down. In each case, I thanked him for asking, as I always do, and wished him luck. I really was busy questing with my husband’s warrior toon, but after my last experience with him, there is absolutely no way I would have joined his party even if I had the time to spare.

After his second tell, I was browsing my blacklist a bit. It’s a short list (which may surprise you given all the whinging about pugs here so far), scrawled on a pad of paper next to my computer. It’s arranged in the order I ran into each person, and next to each name, there are just a couple of words to describe why they’re on the list. Ninja. Jerk. Yells at everyone. Runs ahead and wipes the party. Not too many details, but I hoped that in each case that it would be enough to make me remember why I wouldn’t want to party with them again. It looks a little worse for the wear, given that the cat has overturned at least two glasses of water on it, but I can still make out most of the names.

With the jerky paladin, his name is weird/recognizable and my memories are fresh thanks to writing the blog entry, so the decision will always be clear on that one. For others, I found that the memories were hazier. What instance did I run with them, and what, more specifically, bothered me? I’m pretty sure I don’t add a person if they are simply annoying. They need to be a special kind of annoying to make the list, a kind that says I could not stomach another instance with them. Some offenses are definitely worse than others though. For example, take “runs ahead and wipes the party.” What if the leader was very good, and they were able to keep the person under control? Or, what if they’d learned some better grouping practices since our last meeting? It might be ok to party with someone like that again. On the other hand, I absolutely want to steer clear of the loot ninjas, because I know I’ll just get mad if they do it again. So, it seems I need a better way to keep track of people, perhaps something better organized (and more cat-proof).

After reading Nibuca‘s thoughts on WoW player ratings, I casually looked into addons for keeping track of other players and storing notes on them in the game. One that intrigued me was DiggKarma, which also allows you also to share notes on players with others who have the addon. I wouldn’t mind being able to warn others about the jerky paladin, but I’m not sure that I’d really want to share my friend/ignore lists. I’d have to see what kind of settings it has for privacy.

Really, I just want a way to keep notes for myself. NotesUNeed seems to be a rather popular download, but perhaps something simpler like Player Notes or NoteIt would be sufficient. Oooh, wait a second, I just found a WowAce one that’s FuBar compatible: AuldLangSyne. I’ll give that a try this weekend and report back.

Now, the other issue… It’s easy enough to avoid these folks if they are the one asking me to join the party, but what if I join a party invited by someone else, and find that someone on my blacklist is in the group? This is not something I’ve been faced with yet… would I politely excuse myself? (Sorry guys, gotta log…) I don’t think I’m confrontational enough to actually say why I’m leaving to the person (unless they -really- pissed me off), but would I whisper my reason to the leader? (Look out for the rogue — he’s a ninja…) I think I’d have to say something to someone. I always find it annoying, even if it’s clear that the pug is terrible and going to be unsuccessful, when people leave the group without saying anything, especially if you’re already inside the instance. I genuinely hope I won’t be faced with this, but I’m curious to see how I’ll react when I’m actually in the situation.

How do you keep track of players you’d like to avoid? And if you find yourself in a group with one of these folks, what’s your next move?

A Little Help from the Damage Meter

Last night, I played my level 33ish mage for the first time in ages. My hunter did the 30-40’s in Stranglethorn Vale, my 34ish priest has just headed to Desolace to quest there, and so I took my mage to Tarren Mill with the intention of running to the Arathi Highlands to quest there. May as well mix things up a bit so I don’t get bored leveling two toons in the same area.

Anyway, when I got to Tarren Mill, there were several Alterac quests available, so I picked them up and started wandering around. May as well take care of a few things here, too, I thought. To make a long story short, I wandered into a zone loaded mobs a few levels above me and completely got my butt kicked. It was kind of embarrassing. I was killing the green stuff just fine (and naturally, the grays), but an yellow mobs were totally destroying me. Not even elites — just plain yellows! My priest certainly hasn’t been having trouble with the yellows, so … what the heck?

I got smushed several times before I realized I needed to take a step back and really look at what I was casting. This is where Violation, the damage meter I installed came in really handy. I found some green mobs and started playing with my spell rotation until my DPS was looking better. I also spent some time reviewing how much mana each of the spells required. I’d mentally assigned values to them (evidently based on my very poor memory) that were way off. Good to know.

So, with increased DPS and a better idea of how to conserve mana, I proceeded to the Arathi Highlands. (I might go back to Alterac some day, but I must give the mobs some time to forget, lest the coach call the outfielders in… easy out, easy out…) I found the cave with the Ogres I was supposed to kill, and made my way inside. I actually did quite well in killing them. I did have to stop and eat leftover Halloween candy a few times, and I died once after some ill-timed respawnings, but I successfully completed the quest and ran to Hammerfall, feeling very proud of myself. And boy, were the greens easy after that…


So, clearly, using damage meters as a diagnostic can quickly improve one’s game play. There are stories stories all over the place, however, about folks using damage meters instead to try to outdo each other’s DPS in a group, sometimes to the detriment of the party, pulling aggro from the tank and so forth. I do agree with BRK‘s sentiment that “Wow is NOT a DPS race,” but I can see how people fall into this…

The game keeps you hooked by offering you goals, some big, some small. The game even tricks you into completing bigger tasks (like grinding for experience) by offering you seemingly small tasks: “Collect 10 naga eyeballs.” 10, you say, rubbing your bleary eyes. I can do that and still be in bed at a reasonable time tonight. And then the drop rate isn’t as high as you hoped, and you’ve killed 100 nagas (90% of which are blind, apparently), and you’re up for an hour longer than intended… Anyway, my point is that having a damage meter there offers another small goal that you can probably achieve during the course of an instance if you’re a DPS build.

I won’t lie, either — it’s fun to be at the top of that DPS list. Before I go into an instance now, I reset Violation so I can check it periodically and see how I’m doing. My goal isn’t to be at the top, however. I tweak my casting rotation in response to the threatmeter, not the damage meter.

I also don’t make a big deal out of it should I find myself at the top of the list. I’ve been in instances where the players beg someone to post the damage meter stats, presumeably because they know they’ll be at the top. When I ran Scarlet Monastery with my hunter a while ago, a paladin, who was the sole healer, even requested that the healing stats be shared, too. “Why? You’re the healer, so of course you’ll be at the top,” someone pointed out. “I just want to see it,” they said. Somehow it makes people feel like they’re winning the game, I guess. Again, the wisdom of the man they call BRK: “…topping the damage-meter is not The Goal; defeating the instance is.” Well said.