The Cranky Sysadmin A world of technology, fun, and ignorant rants.

November 28, 2007

Analysing Apache Web server response times

Filed under: Programming,System Administration — Cranky Sysadmin @ 11:51 am

Apache logs a lot of useful information about each request in the access logs. By default, it doesn’t include response times for each request, but that’s easy to remedy. In your httpd.conf, find the line that looks like this:

LogFormat “%h %l %u %t \”%r\” %>s %b \”%{Referer}i\” \”%{User-Agent}i\”” combined

and replace it with:

LogFormat “%h %l %u %t \”%r\” %>s %b \”%{Referer}i\” \”%{User-Agent}i\” %D” combined

The %D appends the response time to the end of the log line. After you have collected some hits with response times, you can use a perl one-liner to look at timestamps and response times like so:

tail -1000 access_log|perl -ne ‘chomp; split; $_[3] =~ s/^\[//; print “$_[3] $_[$#_]\n”;’

replace tail -1000 with whatever number of log lines you want to look at. I use some GNU date magic,  perl’s GD:Graph, and some shell programming to build a graph of average and high response times over the last hour. For now, I leave this as an exercise for the reader. GD::Graph is a great tool for visualizing all kinds of data where rrdtool may not suffice.

November 20, 2007

The Art of Guild Events

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 3:33 pm

While looking for advice on how to try to move our guild toward PvE raid content, I came accross this addon, the Guild Event Manager. It’s supposed to be used to organize instance runs, raids, parties, and the like. I’ll introduce it to the MishMash Crew and see what they think.

Our guild is beginning to sprout a lot of 70s, but they are mostly hunters and a couple of druids. I’ve heard of 5 man all hunter instance runs, but I don’t think they are as successful as a balanced team. Well, there are some mid 60s paladins and a rogue coming up the ranks. Hopefully, things will balance out.

November 4, 2007

The MishMash Crew looks to PVE raid content

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 7:00 am

This post is mostly aimed at members of the MishMash Crew on Velen (World of Warcraft). Some of the discussion may be of use to folks who are having similar issues, so you’re welcome to read. Comments are reserved for the MishMash Crew, or those that I deem insightful.

Recently (Nov 3, 2007) our GuildMaster (a reasonable and level headed person who has managed to grow a large family style guild) commented on the fact that as people hit level 70, they frequently leave. I can sympathize with them as I’ve been wondering what part I’ll have in the guild when I hit 70. The easy thing to do is to leave and go to a raiding guild. I suspect that many of the 70s have done exactly that. Well, I do like the folks in the guild and I’ve offered my meager services to research what is required for end game raiding. What follows are mostly my opinions which are prone to be wrong and biased, but they may serve as a starting point for discussion at least.

What are the basics we need for PVE raiding? I’ll make a list of the ones I can think of.

  • A solid group of people who can build a raid group on the scheduled days. Kara is a 10 man raid, so we’ll probably need 20 to 30 people (not toons) capable of entering to make up for absent folks, and to build groups tailored to encounters. We don’t have that many people yet.
  • A loot system. There are many out there, but I humbly suggest rolling for gear as it has low overhead, and it’s fair in the long run. The only folks who should roll are those for whom the gear is a clear upgrade. Also, a mage shouldn’t roll for warrior gear. There is a lot of fuss at the borders, and I suggest that the raid leader or loot master be the final judge of when it’s appropriate to roll. Once we are comfortable with raiding, we can discuss other loot systems, but rolling seems like the path of least resistance.
  • A good raid leader and an honest loot master. There will likely have to be interviews for the raid leader position. I don’t know how we solve the problem of “hiring” someone to do something when we don’t know what qualities we need. Maybe we rotate raid leaders until a good one shines through.

There are some specific things that are required for Kara and getting them can be time intensive. There is of course, the key. One probably shouldn’t go into Kara without the right gear, and there are some faction items that are very useful in kara which require reputation grinding. Gearing up probably means no items less then 70, and mostly blues appropriate for your class. This means instance runs in the high level dungeons. These are 5 man affairs and so easier to organize.

Here is the guide to Karazhan. The key is obtained in this series of quests. I’ll be adding more entries as I do more research.

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