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How to Use Shaman HEP

February 9, 2010

Why You Want to Use Shaman HEP

The concept behind Shaman Healing Equivalency Points (HEP) is simple but powerful.  By parsing a combat log from your raid last night, it should be possible to figure out what stats will do the most to improve your healing numbers.  For example, if you already have a ton of crit rating but not much spellpower, 1 point of spellpower might have more value for you than a point of crit rating.  Or, if you tend to cast a lot of Healing Waves on the tank, you should value different stats than a Chain Heal obsessed raid healer.  What you need to know is whether you should put a haste or spellpower gem in your new gear, or whether the crafted legs are better than the tier piece based on your playstyle.

Thankfully, there are people like Stassart who can write programs to tell you just that.  Shaman HEP will provide stat weightings based on how you heal with your resto shaman.  You feed it a combat log, it tells you what stats to aim for.  You’ll get an output that looks something like this:

Shaman Healing Equivalency Points:
1 SP = 1
1 mp5 = 0.8593 (calculated)
1 mana = 0.0171
1 Haste rating = 2.2066
1 Crit rating = 0.8428
1 INT = 0.7362 (actual)
1 INT = 0.9029 (max theoretical)

What does this mean?  Well, we use spellpower as a baseline, so it will always be worth 1 HEP.  Comparing the other numbers to this baseline can help you determine your gearing choices.  For me, haste has a value of 2.2, which means it is more than twice as valuable as a point of spellpower.  Thus, a Quick King’s Amber is worth about 44 HEP (2.2 HEP per haste point x 20 haste).  In contrast, a Runed Cardinal Ruby is worth only 23 HEP (1 HEP per spellpower x 23 spellpower).  A Reckless Ametrine (my irrational personal favorite), is worth 34 HEP (12 HEP for the spellpower, 22 for the haste).  If I just wanted to gear for raw throughput, I’d be stacking as much haste as possible, not gearing for spellpower or mp5.

I can also take these stat weightings and important them into a program like Pawn (Shaman HEP will output a nice long string of text you can copy and paste right into Pawn, making this very simple).  Then, Pawn will add a little number at the bottom of each item tooltip you mouse over in-game, showing you how much HEP it is worth.  This will help you quickly eyeball whether a drop is an upgrade, so you don’t have to think “well, this drop doesn’t have any mp5, but it does have some crit, and I guess it has a little less haste but like 5 more spellpower … and the ilevel is better so that will help my Gearscore … man I hate Gearscore some times … um screw it I guess I’ll just roll and sort it out later.”

Ok, Actually Using Shaman HEP

If you are someone like Stassart, getting to this point is probably really easy.  If you are someone like me, you head over to to download the program, see things like “this program is written in Perl and needs a Perl interpreter” and start to freak out a bit.  You read the “simple” instructions on Elitist Jerks and start to doubt your intelligence.  You probably think, “you know what, I can probably just eyeball my stats or copy some stat weightings from someone else.”  Well, I managed to work my way through Shaman HEP after some initial hesitation, so this post is here to help you do the same.

  1. Go to and download the shaman_hep addon.  Technically, it’s not really an addon since it is a standalone program.  You run it from your desktop, not from the WoW client.
  2. Go to Elitist Jerks, where they will give you simple instructions on how to use shaman_hep.
  3. Confused?  Make a post on EJ and wait for someone to call you an idiot.  There, wasn’t that fun?
  4. Ok, fine, I’ll try to help.  First, unzip the shaman_hep download into your /world of warcraft/logs directory.  You can put it somewhere else, but this make things easiest.
  5. Find the file named shaman_hep.cfg.  I assume .cfg stands for “configuration” because that’s what this file does.  Create a copy of this file, so if you screw something up you can go back to the original.  What I do is right-click, select copy, then right-click again in the same window and select paste.  Now, right-click on this new file and give it a better name.  I chose “Wugan.cfg” (without the quotation marks please).  You might want to pick your own character name, unless you’re already stalking me or something.
  6. Now, open up your .cfg file so you can customize it to your character.  In windows, you’ll probably get the “hey, please tell me how to open this program, I’m just a stupid computer” message.  Tell it to use notepad.
  7. Once you have it opened, you’re going to have to do a fair amount of reading to get things set up.  In short, lines that start with # are there to help you figure out what to do.  Lines without a # are there to capture information about your character.  For example, PLAYER_NAME = Wugan, SPELLPOWER = 2629, and so on.  Your job is to go through the .cfg file and change everything to reflect your character.  Follow the directions carefully.  Note that spellpower is not what you see on your character sheet in the game, but the individual spellpower of all your gear added up.
  8. Go download and install ActivePerl.  I have no idea what this really is, but it seems safe and lets you run shaman_hep.
  9. Get a combat log.  You can do this manually by typing /combatlog in the game.  From that point on, the game will save the output of your combat to WoWCombatLog.txt, which resides in your log file.  To get a useful combat log, start one before your raid.  After the raid, REMEMBER to go RENAME YOUR COMBAT LOG in your /world of warcraft/logs directory.  I use a format like “Wugan ICC 01-28-10.”
  10. I can’t tell you how many times I have started a combat log one night, forgotten to rename the log, and then added another evenings worth of raiding the following evening.  Or better yet, included some random data from soloing or PvP.  If you do this a couple times, you will have a huge worthless mess of a combat log.  An addon like Loggerhead can automate turning on and off your combat log, but you’ll still need to go rename it if you don’t want multiple logs to get combined.
  11. Ok, you have shaman_hep configured, you’ve installed a Perl interpreter, and you have a combat log that you want to parse.  Shaman-hep doesn’t have a fancy, easy to use graphical interface, which is what you’re used to with most programs.  Instead, you’re going to go old school and run this program from the MS-DOS command prompt.  It’s really not that hard though; if you’ve read this far, you can do it.
  12. In Windows XP, click on Start, then Run.  Type in “cmd” and hit ok.   Now, change to the directory to where you downloaded shaman_hep.  For most people, you will do this by typing “cd c:\program files\world of warcraft\logs” or maybe yours is in c:\games\world of warcraft\logs”.  If you have WoW installed somewhere else, hopefully you know enough about DOS to change to that directory. 🙂
  13. I don’t run Vista, but according to Stassart you can “Open Explorer to the shaman_hep folder, shift-right click on the folder and select “Open Command Window here.””
  14. Once you’re in the right spot, type perl -c [Insert Character Name Here].cfg WowCombatLog.txt > Report.
  15. You didn’t really type “insert character name here” did you?  Make sure it’s something like Wugan.cfg.  If you changed the name of your combat log, make sure to use that name instead of WowCombatLog.txt.
  16. Here’s what that line of text is telling your computer to do, roughly.  “Perl” tells it to run something in perl, I assume.  “ – c” tells it what to run.  Wugan.cfg tells it to use your configuration file.  “WoWCombatLog.txt” tells it what log to run the report on.  “> Report” tells it where to output the results of the program, in this case a file called “report” that will be placed in your logs folder.
  17. Shaman_hep may take a while to run, so give it some time and if it’s still staring at you 15 minutes later, try to figure out where you went wrong.
  18. If it worked, open up the “report” file in notepad and scroll towards the bottom to discover your personal Shaman HEP values.  Congrats!  There is a ton of other information in the report, so dig around and enjoy.


In a future post, I’ll discuss the limitations of relying 100% on shaman HEP values to gear your character.  In short, you need to make sure that you won’t be running out of mana based on your raid, playstyle, and comfort with having a low mana pool.  Having 1200 haste makes for some really fast chain heal spam, but it can also make you OOM real fast if you’re not careful.  You also need to consider your role in the raid.  But, knowing your Shaman HEP stat weightings is a great start to making informed gear choices for your little healing machine, and every serious raiding shaman should at least know how to get these numbers.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2010 1:27 PM

    Holy crap! Hows about you just tell me what I need to do! I have found, at least at my level (heroic 5 mans) that haste is great and I want more. Thanks for the post. Someday, when I grow up I want to be able to theorycraft like that….right now it makes my brain hurt!

    • February 9, 2010 1:33 PM

      That reminds me of a great Seinfeld episode, where Cramer is trying to fill in for the movie phone system. People keep hitting touch tone numbers to tell the system the name of the movie, which of course he can’t understand, so he finally says “why don’t you just tell me the name of the movie you’d like to see!”

      If you’re healing 5-mans and not having mana issues, yes I would just get as much haste as possible to improve your throughput. Frankly, at this point in the game that’s sort of the bottom line no matter what content you are healing. Haste is really really good. But, I think it’s great to know how to do something like this, because stats are always changing.

  2. Nasham permalink
    February 9, 2010 2:05 PM

    Having read all three of your posts so far, I have to say that I will be bookmarking this site to come back to on a regular basis. Very informative, funny, and a wonderful read. I can’t seem to devour enough information on the ‘net about my favorite game, so more resources are always welcome in my opinion. Keep up the good work, Resto shaman is the only healer I’ve been able to stick with through my time playing WoW, and I love the playstyle. For Totems!

  3. Auxs permalink
    February 9, 2010 5:15 PM

    Very interesting and informative article.

    I think many of us have used addons like Pawn and more recently RhadaTip without really understanding what they are based on, and their pros and cons. Lots to digest here.

    Thanks so much for your time and effort and please keep it up!!


  4. February 9, 2010 7:19 PM

    … Please tell me that something like this exists for priests. Are the shammies just hording all the supersmart addon programmers or something?

    • February 9, 2010 11:38 PM

      You need an advanced math degree to understand how enhance dps really works, so I think maybe some of those people shifted over to help out the resto folks. I’m not aware of any similar priest tools, but the first place I’d look would be Elitist Jerks.

    • Auxs permalink
      February 10, 2010 3:07 PM

      Miss M, I know you are asking a rhetorical question as I am sure if such existed, it would have appeared on your own excellent site 🙂

      The closest I can think of for a priest (and which I add in case any readers aren’t aware of it) would be Simulationcraft:
      SimulationCraft program

      ShadowPriest Simulationcraft forums have lots of info it seems

  5. Cyn permalink
    February 22, 2010 7:18 AM

    This post was incredibly helpful. I had been shying away from recording a combat log and using HEP due to what seemed like the sheer difficulty of using them. I just resigned myself to use the general HEP values posted on EJ. I used your post to help me record a log before an ICC run and am glad I did. While the report may seem overwhelming, there is an abundance of information which can prove useful. It’s nice to have values generated for my specific setup and playstyle. It gives just a little more confidence in choosing gear.

    Great blog! I’ve been on the lookout for a resto shaman blog with the flavor you give to yours.

  6. Karenno permalink
    February 28, 2010 8:42 AM

    Nice post. I have been using Shaman HEP for a while now and love it. Sure the report is overwehelming at times but once you start digging into it you may discover things that you never relized about your play style. I know I did and still do.


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