What is ACT?
– ACT stands for Advanced Combat Tracker. In its simplest form, it is a third-party MMO combat log parser that reads from your combat log and displays multiple types of outputs (Damage, Healing, Crit%, list goes on). This is a parser that has been around since the days of EQ2, and exists in a variety of other MMOs such as SWTOR, Rift, Age of Conan and Aion. With much thanks to Ravahn, it has also been brought to FFXIV!
Where can I get ACT?
– ACT is available on their website (http://advancedcombattracker.com/download.php). Below the client download, you will also notice that Ravahn’s parsing plugin is also available for download. Make sure you get that as well.
Plugin Installation Guide:
1. After downloading the FFXIV ACT plugin (FFXIV_ACT_Plugin.dll), move it into the ACT directory. As with any .dll file you will see on this topic, you will have to unblock it before ACT can recognize it. Unblocking is simple:
Right Click > Properties
“Unblock” button on the bottom.
(NOTE: If you are downloading a .zip file with multiple .dll files, you can unblock it all at once by unblocking the .zip)
2. After extracting the .dll in your ACT folder, you will need to enable the plugin via ACT!
Go to Plugins tab in ACT, browse for the .dll in your ACT folder and click Add/Enable plugin!
FFXIV ACT Settings:
First, I’ll run down the FFXIV Settings located under the Plugins tab:
1. SupeSupe: Ignore this setting for right now lol, this is part of a JP plugin that I will cover later on.
2. Show FFXIV Overlay: Clicking this enables your Target/Focus target HP overlay. To configure this, head over to “FFXIV Overlay Settings”, as shown below.
This is the section where you can configure your HP overlay for your targets.
NOTE: Setting the color value to “Black” like I have in that screenshot will hide the HP bar and only display the text. With those above settings, my HP overlays look something like this:
3. Show Timers: Left-Clicking this opens a box which displays timers (That you configure in the Custom Triggers tab). Right Clicking locks this window. (I wouldn’t recommend touching FFXIV ACT timers, as there are better plugins for this that I will cover later on.)
4. Show Mini: Left-Clicking this opens a mini-parse window that you can move around. Right Clicking locks the window. (Similar to timers, I wouldn’t recommend touching this as there is a better plugin for it.)
5. FFXIV Process ID: This option allows you to latch on to specific FFXIV processes if you are using multiple FFXIV clients. (For example, you are on one client with a Bard, and on another client with a Black Mage, this option would allow you to switch process IDs so you can parse whichever you are playing at the time.) In most cases, just leave this on Automatic.
6. Memory Scan Speed: I usually leave this at Short Delay, but if you have a slower CPU or want to make ACT less CPU-intensive, switch to Long Delay.
7. Local IP Address: Ignore this setting~
8. Disable Parsing from Network Data: UPDATE: This option was causing issues for many ACT users in the past. Fortunately there’s two ways to work around it:
#1. Running ACT with administrative privileges
#2. Adding a firewall exception for ACT.
9. Disable Combat Log (reduces file size): Don’t check this, or else you won’t be able to parse!
10. Game Language: Set this option to the language that you are running your FFXIV client with. Since ACT reads from the combat log, it must be set to the appropriate language.
11. Parse Filter: This will filter out certain players from being parsed based on what you choose:
– None: ACT will parse everybody in the zone you are currently in.
– Self: ACT will parse only you.
– Party: ACT will parse only the party you are in, including yourself.
– Alliance: ACT will parse the alliance you are in (CT, WoD, ST), including the party you are in, including you.
(I normally have this set to Alliance)
12. Disable Damage Shield estimates: ACT parses damage absorption effects (Stoneskin, Galvanize, etc). Checking this will disable those effects from being parsed.
13. Combine Pets with Owner: This combines a pet’s (Garuda-egi, Selene, etc) damage & healing with their owner. Recommended for Summoners/Scholars.
14. Include HP for Triggers: This option allows you to create additional ACT sound triggers based on the current HP of the boss. (For example, if you want to track Darnus’s final phase transition @ 47% HP, you would check this option and create an expression “Nael Deus Darnus HP at 48” in the Triggers tab.
15. Simulate Individual DoT Crits: Never used this option either, but the word “Simulate” turns me off as you want the most accurate information when using this program. If someone has an idea of what this does, please feel free to post and I’ll update this.
16. (DEBUG) Also Show ‘Real’ DoT’ Ticks: I usually leave this unchecked, as ACT has an accurate way of parsing DoTs as it stands.
17. Parse Potency Amounts: Checking this will only parse the potency values that your abilities put out. This is incredibly useful for trying to find optimal rotations. It leaves out any of the damage variance (for example, an Aeolian Edge doing 900 instead of 1000), while still getting benefit from active buffs and modifying potency values (Blood for Blood, Raging Strikes, etc)
Basic ACT Options & Configuration
Since alot of these settings in the main ACT Options tab do not apply to the FFXIV plugin, I will only cover the basics:
These are the sound settings for any custom triggers you have in ACT. Here you can control the volume of TTS (Text-To-Speech) and .wav notifications for your custom triggers. To setup a custom trigger, head over to the Custom Triggers tab:
In this section, you can setup sound notifications for events. If anyone is familiar with DBM or Bigwigs in WoW, it works similarly to that. ACT will read an expression from the combat log, and if the text in the combat log matches the same expression as you have in the ACT settings, it will produce a sound. This feature is excellent for tracking boss abilities or any procs that your class may have.
1. Custom Trigger: Here you can set your choice of sound effect: either a “beep”, a .wav file (that you browse for using the …), or a TTS phrase. To add into that special DBM feeling, I’ve provided some .wav sounds that you can use for sound events!
If you’ve played WoW before, you’ll probably be familiar with some of these sound files. You can install them anywhere (preferribly ACT folder)
2. Regular Expression: This is where you record the phrase that you want ACT to scan for in your combat log. How exactly do you know which expression to look for?
For Procs: The general phrase for procs is “You gain the effect of x.” For example, as a Black Mage wanting to track Firestarter procs, the expression found in your combat log when you get a FS proc is:
The only exception for this is River of Blood (Bloodletter resets) on Bard. River of Blood is not reported in your combat log, therefore you cannot track BL resets. :<
For Boss Abilities: The general phrase is “[Boss] readies [ability]” (For example: Twintania readies Twister.)
After these two fields are filled out, you are free to hit the Add/Edit button to save the trigger! It should look something like this once it is saved:
“General” settings under the “Main Table/Encounters”
1. Main Table update frequency (in seconds): This is how often ACT updates the parsing output. I usually have this set to 1 second so it constantly updates.
2. Number of seconds to wait after the last combat action to begin a new encounter.: This sets the number of seconds ACT has to wait for an incoming action before it splits the parse into a new encounter. This option is important for the type of parse you wish to record. Here’s an example of both parsing scenarios:
A good example for this is Twintania’s add phase. With current levels of gear, there is typically a large amount of downtime after the second set of adds are killed until Twintania comes down. Two parsing styles emerge from this: Continuous and Merged
A. Continuous Parsing: If you set the number of seconds to 25-30+, assuming you kill the adds with plenty of time to spare before Twintania descends, you will effectively be losing DPS on your parser due to the extreme amount of downtime that you deal with. While this sounds really bad, it is a more realistic way to measure DPS over the course of an entire fight.
B. Merged Parsing: If you set the number of seconds to <5, ACT will create a new encounter when the next action begins (Twintania descending). While it is not an accurate way to display damage over the entire duration of a fight, it does have its uses. If you want to see how much DPS yourself or your raid team pumps out at a specific phase (For example, Bahamut add phase), then this would be the most accurate parsing method to track this.
TL;DR – Use Continuous parsing (30+ seconds) if you want to parse an entire fight, use Merged (<5-10) if you want to track DPS during specific phases of a fight.
Third-Party Plugins & Installation Guide
If you’ve been around my stream, you’ll notice that I run quite a few plugins for cooldown counters, parsing overlays and whatnot. I’ll go through them, as well as uploading my versions through my own dropbox. Keep in mind that with all the .rars and .dlls that you download from GitHub or Dropbox, they will need to be unblocked or ACT will yell at you!
#1. Overlay Plugin:
Created By: RainbowMage (JP)
Dropbox Link (For my config): https://www.dropbox.com/s/5qb6804x5a4e2by/OverlayPlugin.rar?dl=0
1. Extract that .rar to your ACT folder.
2. In ACT, browse and enable “OverlayPlugin.dll” in the OverlayPlugin folder.
3. Head over to Plugins > OverlayPlugin.dll > Mini Parse. It should look something like this:
1. Show Overlay: Enables/Disables the overlay.
2. Enable clickthru: Locks the overlay, allowing clicks to pass through.
3. URL: Set this to the “miniparse.html” which is located in the OverlayPlugin/resources/ folder.
4. Sort key: Sorts your parser based on DPS. If you wish to have it sort by heals, change the key to “enchps”
5. Sort type: Changes the type of sort, either ascending or descending.
6. Max Framerate: Not sure what this is, could be a mistranslation. I have it set to 60 :3
#2. ACT MP Timer
Created by: Anoyetta (JP)
Dropbox Link (For my config): https://www.dropbox.com/s/f97g0s10gb00dfx/ACT.MPTimer.zip?dl=0
A simple, lightweight plugin that tracks server-wide MP ticks. Extremely useful for Black Mages who are not yet familiar with the rotation.
What it looks like in action:
1. Extract the .dll into your ACT folder.
2. Locate the .dll and enable it via ACT.
3. Head over to Plugins > MP Timer tab. It appears in JP, but here is a translated version of the config:
NOTE: Right click on the preview window to change the font/colors of the bar & timer.
Created by: Anoyetta (JP)
Dropbox Link (For my config): https://www.dropbox.com/s/on3ztbwcwmrnd19/ACT.SpecialSpellTimer-master.zip?dl=0
1. Extract to ACT folder.
2. Locate “ACT.SpecialSpellTimer.dll” in the folder & enable it.
3. Head over to SpecialSpellTimer tab. If you used my version, it should already be translated into English.
This is the section where you can create spell timers (Similar to the ones we’ve seen in the base FFXIV ACT plugin). However, these go more in-depth.
In this example you can see one of my auto-attack timers that I use on my bard. If you wish to try this auto-attack timer out, click the “Import” button and look for “Auto-shot.xml” in the ACT.SpecialSpellTimer-master folder. Similar to how we have created custom triggers using expressions, this plugin will scan your combat log for an expression (In this case, “You hit”) and produce a bar with a two second timer that counts down. All of this can be adjusted to the spell or ability that you would like to track.
This is where the value of this pluigin comes from. The “tickers” (Known as telops in JP) produce numeric countdowns upon reading expressions from your combat log. With this we can effectively create cooldown timers that we can place over our abilities. I have already created overlays for almost every single cooldown available in the game located in the Dropbox. If you wish to import it, select “Import” and look for “FullJobCD” in the ACT.SpecialSpellTimer-master folder.
NOTE: These overlays are configured for my UI only. The annoying this about this plugin is that eachcooldown has its own respective overlay, and if you wish to tailor it fit to work for your UI, it requires you to move the timers around.
NOTE 2: Since the recent XIV patch, SE has added a “link” icon next to items, which looks something like this:
The icon made it impossible to use the “You use an [item]” expression, but there are two ways to work around it:
For Stat Potions: “You gain the effect of Medicated.”
For Ethers: “You recover X MP.” (With X being the MP return value based on the type of MP pot you use.) [/b]
For Potent Poisoning Potions: “gains the effect of Poison from Foldasaurus Rex” (Replace my name with yours!)
This is where most of the options for this plugin are located. If you wish to switch the language, the first option will let you switch between English and JP (Requires a restart of the plugin.)
Display Overlay: This displays your timers and allows you to drag them around without typing out the expression to activate it.
Display all tickers: This displays all your tickers & lets you drag them around without typing out the expression. (However, if you want to effectively move around the proper CD timers, I recommend typing out the expression in an echo and forcing the CD to appear. This lets you know which overlay belongs to what CD.)
For example, if you want to move Aetherial Manipulation without having to see the other ~100 job CD icons, type /echo You use Aetherial Manipulation
That’s it for most of the plugins that I use, as well as this guide! I’ll be keeping a close eye on upcoming plugin releases and providing guides for them.