How To Utilize The Combat Log Vol. 2: Evaluate Dungeon Runs

Today we finally continue our small series about the combat log and the advanced combat tracker. Sorry it took so long, but this somehow was always postponed in favor of other stuff. Anyway, in our first post you should have learned how to properly set up the ACT and how to start and stop logging. Now it’s time to look at the data of an actual dungeon run and what to gain from it. The example Lostmauth run I’m using can be downloaded here.

Importing Runs

There are multiple ways of organizing your logs and I’m going to describe how I do it. Dealing with ACT you might find that another approach works better for you however. I like to delete the main log file before recording a run. That way the actual run will be saved in its own file and I can rename or move it afterwards. Of course while logging the ACT will continuously populate and update the data live, but I like to import the generated log file. To do that, go to the “Import/Export” tab, choose to import a log file and select the run.

import zoneThe “Main” tab will update with a new “Import Zone” with data of the full run (“All”) and the individual encounters. I think it’s great to be able to look up boss fights separately for example, that’s why I choose this approach. At the bottom left of the ACT window you can toggle “Show Checkboxes” to merge and delete encounters. In this case it makes sense to merge the two Lostmauth phases, because it’s essentially one fight. In the example on the left I also deleted some minor encounters and merged the remaining ones into a new “All” log of the full run.

Encounter Data

Clicking on one of the encounters will bring up the data for the run. Among other things it shows absolute damage dealt for each player, damage per second, heal per second and damage taken. Damage taken for mobs is also an approximation of their Hit Points. In our example run we hit Lostmauth for 21,300,000 damage and the Twin Fire Scorpions as well as Dragonsoul Veshal for ~10,000,000 each. The reason why it’s not the actual HP is that the addition of all hits of course are slightly higher than the HP pool itself. But for bosses or generally high HP mobs it’s pretty accurate.

gwf data lostmauthExpanding an encounter will list all participants of the fight. Under “Outgoing Damage” you see how much all the different powers contributed to the damage of a player or mob. It’s interesting to look up your biggest hits, but can also help you make gameplay related decisions. A classic example nowadays is Vorpal vs. Dread. If your class is encounter-heavy Dread makes more sense, but if most of your damage is coming from At-Wills and Dailies, you might want to go with Vorpal.

Boon and feat/power procs are also listed here so you can see how often these actually trigger. Most cooldowns can be figured out this way. Double clicking “Elven Ferocity” for our Healer for example will list all procs of the boon. In our example run it fired at 11:13:44 and 11:14:46. So the cooldown is probably a minute.

Flank and Effectiveness

Another column players like to look up is “Flank%” and “Effectiveness”. Flank% is the percentage of hits that received Combat Advantage and Effectiveness the addition of all debuffs on the target. It does not include damage buffs like Into the Fray however. Most people want Flank% to be as near to 100% as possible to get the damage bonus resulting from it. If you happen to experience low percentages here, you might want to add more sources of CA to your runs. Effectiveness for example next to it’s descriptive value is often used to find out whether debuffs stack additive or multiplicative.

Healers of course are not as concerned about their damage and want to look up their healing spells, which can be done under “Healed (Out)”. Outgoing healing is supposed to include all healing that you grant others and incoming healing the one you receive. Unfortunately the tool gets confused here and lists Life Steal under both categories. That’s a minor issue though.

Tanks meanwhile probably want to look into “Incoming Damage” to get an idea what powers to avoid on the battlefield and what they can easily take. Incoming Damage also lets you view full fight sequences. Picking “Lostmauth -> Incoming Damage -> All” lists all action from the very first power used in the fight to the last one.

Bug Hunting

Hidden Daggers no AP
Hidden Daggers grant no AP

Another interesting section is “Power Replenish (Inc)”, which lists Action Points gained from your powers. Damage divided by 10 is the percentage a power grants. So a hit of 40 means the spell generated 4% Action Points. In our example run the GWF (DPS2) generated 207% Action Points during the Lostmauth fight and actually did fire Crescendo twice (). We can also use this example to demonstrate how ACT can help to find bugs. Clicking on “DPS2 -> Power Replenish (Inc)” will show that “Hidden Daggers” didn’t actually produce any Action Points. That’s a well known bug, which will get fixed in Module 10.

Other stuff that you can find out is whether powers that are not supposed to crit actually do. Or if debuffs work as intended and powers proc. Browse to the Lostmauth fight, pick “Healer -> Outgoing Damage -> All” and sort the results by timestamp. At 11:13:39 our DC starts to fire off three Divinity Divine Glows and the follows with a fully empowered Break the Spirit at 11:13:43. The interesting observation is that the Plague Fire Weapon Enchant doesn’t start ticking until the BTS cast. That’s another known bug. Weapon Enchantment aren’t triggered by some DC powers, and Divine Glow is one of them.

Exporting

If you find the data particularly interesting, you can export single encounters for later use. Of course you can save the log file itself, but then you have to do the merging and deleting all over again. Exporting is as easy as importing. Just click on an encounter, browse to the “Imprt/Export” tab and “Export to an *.act File”. Using the import function you can load the file at any time.


I think it’s obvious that the ACT is a powerful tool to toy around with. You can check on full logs, compiled statistics or browse down to every single hit. It’s too much for one article to cover all the stuff, but I hope this one helps to get you started. There are tons of settings and everyone needs to find out the best way to use the tool for themselves anyway. So it’s really learning by doing.

If you have any further questions or remarks, share them in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board.

j0Shi

j0Shi

j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

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