Rankings & Detrimental Behaviour

Meters, Warcraft Logs & Statistics: Part 2

Earlier in the week I covered how there’s a feedback loop (or “snowball effect”) on players moving away from specs based on statistics. Today I’ll be looking at rankings, how these can distort the aggregated data on Warcraft Logs, and why taking non-optimal actions to increase rankings are bad.

In other words, padlords gonna pad, and it’s bad. Sorry, no graphs this time.


This is a fairly simple thing: the person with the highest DPS on a boss for a certain spec gets the top ranking. The problem is that rankings have, over time, become the objectives for players rather than killing bosses or clearing content.

Examples of this detrimental behaviour would be Skorpyron in Nighthold or Protectors of the Endless in Terrace of Endless Springs. For Skorp, the classic DPS padding approach is to tank the boss in the entrance where the scorpion add waves come from. Normally you’d only deal with a small group when Call of the Scorpion goes off, but this approach groups up all of the scorpions for rapid AoE damage. It’s such a regular thing to do that Skorp logs have been excluded from WarcraftLogs.com all star rankings for Nighthold.

For Protectors, who have a similar multi-boss fight to Botanist, the padding option was there for multi-dot or cleave specs. Unlike Botanist, Protectors had a “heal back to full HP” mechanic when one of the bosses dies, which has been seen in a few other fights (Iron Council from Ulduar, or the Paragons of the Klaxxi). In these fights the damage done to bosses other than the current kill target is effectively wasted but still counts as damage done.

It goes without saying that players doing more DPS will improve their specs metrics on ranking/statistic sites. Do this on a few bosses and it will distort the “All Bosses” view in a similar fashion to players changing specs from the previous post. This also makes certain specs popular with the extreme min/max crowd, who want to do as much damage as possible.

Padding is like saying you got 100% in a test, but filled in a second test paper and combined the two scores for your final result.

How This Affects Others

One common thing to do is to look up high ranking parses, see what stats/talents/trinkets/etc they have, and then try to replicate this behaviour. While this may work in some cases it is important to remember that using Mythic level raiders as a basis for how Normal level raiders should play can have mixed results. If a Mythic raider is talented for as much AoE damage as possible this won’t help another player whose raid team is using different or non-padding strategies. If you understand the reasons behind why a high end raider is using a particular setup you can apply the same logic to your own raiding, but blindly following without understanding could result in a DPS loss rather than an increase.


About binkenstein
I'm a geek, living in Christchurch, New Zealand.

2 Responses to Rankings & Detrimental Behaviour

  1. Pingback: Simulations, Logs & Dummies | Blogenstein

  2. Fiery says:

    Botanist did have a “heal back to full HP” mechanic. Warcraftlogs excluded dmg on bosses that got healed after that damage took place for botanist. I agree with your overall point.

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