Wyn’s UI – Part Three (Boss in Action)

Part three of a series. Please read Part One & Part Two.

Okay, finally a real action shot like I’ve been promising. Welcome to Mother Shahraz. There’s a LOT going on in this fight, but you do get to stand still for most of it (unless you get Fatal Attraction, but that’s another post altogether.) I picked this shot because it catches a few things – good mana-regen cycle, a solid fight with only one real phase, and me making a pretty big mistake.

Typical Bossfight:

Click to enlarge....as soon as Matt uploads the larger version!

 

BF Focus

1. I set the boss as my focus on this one, so I can more easily watch for what aura she has and which tank she’s targeting. Different fights call for different focii; just set it to whomever you need to babysit. If you’ll look at the bottom row of myBartender you can see an icon that’s an eye with something pointing at it.
I’ve macro’d that button to set my focus just to make it a little faster and easier. I’ll post about the macros I use at the end of this series.


2.HoT Candy keeps track of everyone I’ve Renewed. Right now, it’s just the MT, but that’s because my mana’s about shot. (No worries, my pot CD finished as I took the SS.) Resto-Druids especially take note: HoT Candy is your friend.

RegenFu Bar
3. This is part of RegenFu. I’m just about out of the Five Second Rule, and will hit some serious mana-regen goodness. Fully buffed, my non-casting regen is over 900, but in full shadow resist, it takes a big hit. So I’ll burn Inner Focus before my next big heal, to maximize the mana I get back without stopping casting. I also wait until I’m out of the FSR to burn my Earring of Soulful Meditation. (If you don’t have it, find a way to get it. The Bangle of Endless Blessingsfrom Botanica is a substitute, but only about half as good.) I rarely make it the full 15 seconds without casting something, but at least I get the full benefit at the beginning.

4. Here’s where this shot catches me not paying close attention. Look here on my ElkBuffBar – Clearcasting is just expiring, but you can see at the top of my screen that I didn’t have enough mana to cast the Circle of Healing I was trying to cast. On Grid, you can see that group 3 was taking pretty even damage – I was spam CoH-ing them to patch them up. I should’ve thrown a G.heal on Joe in the middle, there. I’d’ve been finished with the cast by the time I had enough mana to CoH again, and been able to burn Inner Focus more appropriately, or let one of my Shammies top off the rest of the Warlocks while I regenned a little more.

5. On Bartender, you can see which of my cooldowns are available. Mana management is absolutely critical for these kinds of fights. My Pot CD finished as the SS was taking, Fiend is down, Inner Focus is available, and my Earring is down.
Pot CD
Fiend CDEarring CD

As healers, our mana-rotation is as critical as a DPSers spell rotation. Learning to be efficient is one of the best things you can do to become a better healer. For me it looks something like this:

  • Start: 12.5k manaI can haz cookie?
  • First Pot – 9k mana
  • Pop Earring – 9k mana again
  • Inner Focus – When expensive heal is needed
  • Shadowfiend – 6k mana
  • Second Pot – 7k mana
  • Earring again – ASAP

    And so on.

Mana is a lot like gasoline in your car – it’s just as easy to keep the top 1/4 of the tank full as it is the bottom 1/4. And the earlier you pop those cooldowns, the sooner they’ll be available for you to use again. Once you’ve used them all, just rotate through as soon as they’re available. I tend to Inner Focus for Prayer of Healing, but will use it for G.heal or Binding heal, if necessary. A tip for Mother – don’t wait to Fiend. Your mana will drop faster than you’ll believe, and when that CD comes up again, you’ll be very thankful. Also, watch for the auras that increase or reduce shadow damage. You don’t have to wait for the increase-aura to Fiend, although it will help you, but you will want to avoid the one that will nerf your little guy.

BF Quartz Bar
6. Okay, I’m going to highlight that mistake a bit more here. Since I didn’t use my Clearcast to throw a heal on poor Joe, I pasted this copy of my casting bar in from another screenshot so you could at least see where it goes and how it works. You can see from my toon’s posture that I’m not actually casting anything. Quartz tells me what I’m casting, what rank, shows a timer, and who I had targeted when the cast began. I change targets almost constantly, so that’s a very handy feature.

BF Grid All7. This is one of the best shots to show how Grid works; most of the raid is at full health, and it’s obvious who needs heals. If you look at the top-right square, you can see Acalon – our MT for this fight. The Red dot in the upper left of his box means he has aggro. There will be any number of those little dots when there are multiple mobs targeting people. That dot, rather than damage taken, is my cue to take action in most cases. A working knowledge of the mobs involved helps me know if I should start casting a heal, or just shield/renew the people with aggro. The groups are a little jacked right now – my raid leader moves Shammies into the melee group in a rotation for Bloodlust (Heroism) purposes. You can also clearly see who is dead, and who is out of my range.

BF DBM8.Deadly Boss Mods lets you move where your raid warnings pop up. Back to the concept of reducing eye movement to maximize reaction time, having them right where you can see them helps you know who’s about to need a heal – especially if it’s a fight like Void Reaver or Illidari Council where the boss targets random raid members to take damage.

9. Here’s Recount again. Pray is a shadow priest. He’s beating the Paladins on heals, because they both died early-on. It’s important to note that just like any other statistics, the data is only as valuable as its interpretation. This particular shot tells you very little without knowing the set-up. Por was assigned to heal up those people who get Fatal Attraction. Not very glamorous, and it limits his ability to cross-heal. Wize and I are both on raid-heals, so we’re pretty much neck-and-neck. Eizara is generally assigned to the Tanks, but her mana-efficiency is so excellent that she helps a lot with hotting the raid. She is an absolute BEAST of a resto-druid.

10. Scrolling Combat Text isn’t that important, as far as I’m concerned, for my incoming heals or mana regen – I’m watching bars, so I can see that. The important thing is that it tells you when you gain a buff or debuff. Clearcasting, Diabolic Remedy, Deep Meditation, Band of the Eternal Restorer, Berserking… all that stuff pops up over my head, and keeps me from having to watch my buff list. There are mods that do this, and will personalize it any number of ways, but the stock UI also has this feature now. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch it showing in this ss, and it looked funny ‘shopped in. The “10” is where it would go.

Bossfight Breakdown

These shots were taken during a trash-pull right after Mother. I’m very self-critical, and have found a lot of value in analyzing my own performance after a given boss fight. I wanted to walk you through my personal stats after a fight.

Wynthea's Effective Heal Detail
This is a pretty typical boss-fight mix for me. I’m usually assigned to raid healing, and expected to help out on the tanks when they’re taking extra damage, or their healers are in some way incapacitated. Notice how MANY times particular heals were used: 17 Greater Heals compared with 14 Flash heals. 57 Renews. Clearly, I love me some Circle of Healing. It is my bread-and-butter for raid healing, but be careful not to fall into the trap of spamming it for everything. I have seen priests with upwards of 90% CoH – I cannot stress how inefficient that is. CoH is a great tool, but it is not in any way a substitute for good decision making.

A few examples:

  • My CoH costs approximately 400 mana to heal 5 people for about 1k each. I can patch up a group with roughly 3k damage each for 1200 mana. Not bad, but if that group happens to be my actual group, my ProH heals for about 2.5k per target at a cost of around 900 mana. Time-wise, the 3 second cast is the same as the time it would have taken for me to cast the three CoH’s. It’s actually a faster option, because my GCD won’t be up by the time the ProH is done, so I can move directly on to my next target. ProH also gets cheaper because of how well it lends to burning Inner Focus.
  • CoH is perfect for a situation where a group is taking moderate damage across the board – assuming you throw out about 3 CoH’s on the same group, you just healed 5 people for about 3k each – much better than the time it would have taken to Flash Heal the same people (7.5 seconds) for that amount… but if a single-target is down by even 5k, you’re much better off throwing a rank-5 Greater Heal than spamming 5 CoH’s.

Note: If you are taking damage yourself, and so is the Tank, don’t be afraid to Binding Heal. Once they nerfed the mana cost (it used to be about 1k, and now it’s around 700), it became very viable to heal the two most important targets you have – yourself, and the guy keeping the bad guy from flattening you. It costs about the same as two Flash Heals, and saves you the casting time, and the decision.

This shot is the report for WHO I healed during the same bossfight.

Healed Who

1. Remember, my assignment was to raid-heal, and supplement on the tanks when their assigned healers needed help. (Usually from getting the Fatal Attraction debuff.) Acalon was our MT, and he got the bulk of my raw heals, usually in the form of ProM, Renew, and Greater Heal, with a few Flash Heals thrown in if I got nervous. I forget where I read it, but a good rule to follow is to Flash Heal if your target needs a heal NOW, Greater Heal if you think you have time, and just Renew them if you KNOW you have time. That said, I keep Renew on the MT at all times, and ProM him as much as possible. My #2 target is Omegax – a warlock with a fondness for Life Tap. His heals are mostly Renews. Oneiros and Bull were our OT’s, their mixes look a lot like Acalon’s.

2. This second area of the screen shows a break down of what heals I used on a particular target. Haidi is one of our healadins, and the first example of my typical raid-healing mix. You can see that he didn’t require any special attention. Working through the rest of the raid heals, this is pretty much typical for everyone, maybe with a Flash Heal thrown in.


To Be Continued. . .

Wyn’s UI – Part One

In the beginning… there was stock. And it was okay, but very limited. Thankfully, Blizzard designed the game to be almost infinitely customizable by players. I started out just wanting to show you the view from my chair, but then I realized that I’ve never found “standing around a major city” screenshots useful. Instead, I’ll be posting some “action shots” of my UI, the mods I use, how, and why. You’ll get a better idea of how I heal, and how I’ve gotten my UI to help me do that. There’s a lot of explanation involved, so I’ll do this in a couple of parts.

Personally, I don’t like a lot of crap that I don’t use sucking up power or my attention. I also like mods that pack a LOT of information into tiny packages. That said, I use a lot of add-ons, and I’m constantly auditioning more and deleting the old ones. Your eyes would bleed if I marked each one and told you what it was, so if you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Intro to my UI:

I had this idea in the middle of Black Temple, so I waited to get a nice, basic shot. Things will get a little more complicated when it’s in action. Personally, I want the middle of my screen as clear as possible. Priests have a bad reputation for dying, and I’ve found that keeping my field of vision very clear helps me move out of the way and stay alive. The mods I look at the most are right below my ‘toon, with those less relevant during combat further from that point.

Basic UI Shot. Englarged version coming!

1. The bar across the top is FuBar. Lightweight, with lots of modular plug-ins, FuBar makes it really easy to access and customize your mods. Keeps buttons off my mini-map, too. My personal favorite is RegenFu. This little gem tells me my int/mp5/spirit ratio on the fly, and how much time I’m spending in the 5SR; (85% on last fight). It also has a timer bar (which is faint, over my raid frame) that shows when I’m in the 5SR. Over time, I know if spirit or mp5 food or elixirs are more appropriate for a given fight, and I can better control my mana-consumption rate.

2. AG_UnitFrames. Before I used grid, I used AG for my basic Raid Frames. I still use it for 5-mans and a couple of other things because it’s lightweight, and very customizable. I’ve tried Pitbull, but found that it couldn’t do anything AG couldn’t do, and I already had AG the way I wanted it.
(2a) My frame and my target are at the top of the screen, and just above my chat box
(2b) you can see my focus frame and their target (in this case, I’m focused on myself for
some reason, so it’s just a miniature of what’s going on upstairs. Sorry about that.)

3. Grid took some getting used to, but it’s now my favorite mod. It shows a LOT of information in a very elegant and minimalistic manner. My groups are arranged horizontally, and the player names are cut off at a max of 4 letters. They are also colored according to class. That “W…” is me, and my group includes Wizendone (resto-shammy), Nl (s.priest), Haidi, and Alden (both healadins). Those that are greyed out are simply out of range.

A word on targeting: Obviously, you can see my target up at the top of the screen. One of the best rules of being an efficient healer is to maximize your reaction time. Minimizing the distance your eyes need to travel to get the information you need helps. Part of my solution has been to set Grid to have a white border around my target’s square. (Since I have myself targeted, and priests are denoted in white, it’s not showing properly.) Also, I use Quartz for my casting bar, and have it set to show the name of my target in the cast bar. Like this:

This makes it easy to avoid healing the wrong target, since my quartz goes right above grid.

4. Your spells have to go somewhere, and I use Bartender3 to keep mine organized. There are a LOT of mods that do this; find one that you like. You’ll notice that nearly all of them are hotkeyed – I navigate and target with my mouse, and cast with my keyboard. (That blank spot is for my Spirit buffs when I spec disc on the weekends.) You’ll probably notice a lot of icons you don’t recognize – I use macros very heavily. You’ll also notice how many ranks of Greater Heal and Flash heal I use. 4 of each. The fifth (5 and T, respectively) are stopcasting macros with the max-rank of the heal. (T is a little special, but I’ll get to that in the upcoming post on macros.) You may also notice that the only offensive spell I have hotkeyed is Pain. This is because I’m a healer, not a DPSer. Don’t worry, my offensive spells are easy to access (hold shift and scroll the mousewheel up once), it’s just that in the average raid, I don’t need them taking up space. I tend to click pots and such, so I don’t hit them accidentally while typing. The average amount per heal (or offensive spell) on each icon is from Dr. Damage. It helps me down-rank without having to read tool tips and do math in my head.

5. Recount. Use it. Love it. I have some great shots of how to use it for self-coaching later on. I have it running, set to “current fight” AT ALL TIMES. (Which is why it cleared once the boss was dead. Sorry about that, too.) See my previous post for why.

6. Simple Mini Map. I like it because it interfaces well with cartographer, it’s light, and it is very customizable.

7. Prat. A chat mod that lets remove you those damn arrows, and scroll with your mousewheel. Has a bunch of other nifty features I find useful. You’ll notice I don’t keep a combat log open. Recount substitutes for that.

8. ElkBuffBars. Matt made me get this one, and I’m glad he did. Montiors buffs, debufs, and everything else you need to know in a (say it with me!) Lightweight, customizable format.

Essential mods that you can’t see:

Deadly Boss Mods. Don’t leave home without it.

Omen Threat Meter. KTM was great. Omen is better. If you haven’t upgraded, do it now. Omen interfaces with KTM, too, so just because your Tank lives in the stone age isn’t an excuse for you to do the same.

Instant Health. This is a combat log parser that updates the health of your party or raid, with any raid frames, without waiting for the information to be sent to the server and back. It saves insane amounts of time (up to 3 seconds!!), and buys you time to react. As people keep stacking more and more Spell Haste, this kind of thing is going to become more popular.
(Edit: As I’ve been using this, I’ve noticed it messes with Recount and other combat-log parsers. Please be aware that it may interfere with any other mod you have reading this information; it is a known issue with the beta.)

More on Quartz. This has been around for a while, but I wanted to point out that it does more than allow you to change the look of your casting bar. The tail end of a given cast comes up in red (or any color you pick), and alerts you to your latency. What’s more, it allows you to begin a new cast before your computer has finished communicating with the server. This means you’re less at the mercy of Blizzard and your ISP to get those heals off in time. Pre-2.3, Quartz and a stop-casting macro were indispensible for quick heals. I still use stop-casting, although now more for mana regen purposes than global cooldown.

PoM Tracker – I found this after I took these screenies. I used to use Mending Minder, which stopped working at 2.4. This tells you who has your ProM, how many bounces it has left, and how much it’s healing. Nice.


To Be Continued. . .

Addon: Don’t Be a Friend, be a Shaman Friend!

Addon: Don’t Be a Friend, be a Shaman Friend!

At first glance, most players might not recognize what that is. As Shamans, we have a huge variety of tools at our disposal to deal with buffs and spellcasts. Jin was sporting a spiffy addon throughout WSG weekend and I had to ask him about it. It’s called Shaman Friend. Basically, it outputs selection actions into party chat, raid chat, say chat, or raid warning.

Totally handy for PvP action. I wonder if there’s something like that for Priests.

Features

I pulled this list right from the Curse description.

- Alert if no Elemental Shield is present in combat
- Alert if no Weapon Enchant is present in combat
- Show total Windfury damage on screen with crits/misses
- Show buffs removed by Purge and/or broadcast the buffs to the chat window
- Show spell interrupted by Earth Shock and/or broadcast it to the chat window
- Show a message when Lightning Overload procs
- Show how the duration of Frost Shock on your target are affected by Dimnishing Return and showing when Diminishing Return goes off.
- Show when your Grounding Totem absorbs a spell
- Show when one of your T5 bonuses procs
- Option to select which sound to use when notified (or turn it off completely)
- Can print messages in MSBT, SCT, Parrot and a few others.
- Show a message whenever you cast Bloodlust/Heroism or Mana Tide
- Separate frame allowing for easy Earth Shield tracking and recast

So what’re you waiting for? Go grab it now!

Extreme Makeover – Matt’s UI: Part 2 (Addons that I use)

Extreme Makeover – Matt’s UI: Part 2 (Addons that I use)

Here’s the before post of my UI when I was in the process of tearing it down entirely. This is the after post of my UI in various stages throughout one of Sunday’s raids.

matt-ui2-tb
Clicking on the image takes you full screen. While you’re there, proceed to laugh at the 2 melee that died.

I’m extremely happy and satisfied with the way it looks now. Before I had to drag my eyes all over the screen to get information I needed. I sat down last week and spent a good, solid 3 hours asking for some advice from the lads in the BA Chatroom. Some of the modifications will be the same. But there are some brand new elements. I designed my interface with the goal of having important information towards the center of the screen because that’s where my eyes will be concentrated a majority of the time. All files are linked to either Curse Gaming or WoW Ace.

The Meat and Potatoes

matt-ui5 Here’s a cropped action shot of the force in Black Temple taking out the trash.

Metahud: I was inspired by Top Gun for this one. Instead of using the normal boxy frames to display my health and targets, I opted to use something called a HuD (Heads up Display). It has a nice graphical representation of my target’s health, my health, my target’s power bar (mana, energy, rage), and my mana. My information’s on the inner circle and my target’s are on the outer circle. Not only that, but it shows me the hard numbers of a person’s health and their percentage. On the top right, you can see the cast time remaining on a spell (Greater Heal which I just finished casting). Notice that I have an Ashtongue Primalist targetted (bad guy).

Metahud displays me the approximate range to that target (9 – 28 yards). It also tells me who it has targetted (Lang, our MT). I moved Pitbull’s Target of Target bars to the bottom right for the sake of contrast and easy selection (until I figure out how to change those colors).

DoTimer: Knowing when your cooldowns are up is integral to any healer as it allows us to time our trinket use and other "long CD" spells. I moved my cooldown window to the center of the screen below my HuD. In this case, by being aware of when Prayer of Mending is up, I can get ready to activate that on Lang instead of dropping a Greater Heal. Knowing your Cooldowns allows you to mentally adjust your spell process on the fly without having to constantly guess to see if you can cast a spell or not.

ScrollingCombatText: At the top, you can see the amount of mana I’m getting back. I believe it’s mana spring totem. I moved SCT above the HuD and set the transparency to 50%. Not only mana, but it displays other important information like health gain or damage done to and so forth.

NaturEnemyCastBar: I still like NECB. It tracks the cooldowns of other people around me. Never again will you have to ask when banish is up. I repositioned it slightly from where it was in the shot above. It’s now located towards the middle of the screen and is flush against the power bars on the right.

Elkano’s Buff Bars: Far right side. I like it better then the default Blizzard one. It shows me both buffs and debuffs and the time remaining.

Pitbull Unit Frames: Yes, I know a lot of people pressured me suggested to use Grid. It’s a lightweight raid frame, I got it. But I’m already married to Pitbull! I have this set up on the left side along with my own frame and my target’s frame right below. It’s slightly larger then the raid frames above (Refer to the first shot). The reason why I wanted two of them is so that there’s less eye movement for me to do. If I’m focusing on raid healing, I still have my target up on the left side. If I’m focused on tank healing, I can keep my eyes glued to the center. Each portion of the screen is set up for a different purpose. Also interfaces with Prat =).

Deadly Boss Mods: Raid requirement. Either use that or Bigwigs. But either way, it’s a must for raiding. I placed mine at the top with full opacity above SCT.

Quartz: It’s a graphical bar that shows cast times and stuff which adjusts for latency.

Visualheal: Displays in a bar the approximate amount of health they will gain when factoring in your heal so you can visually see it (hence the name?).

Bottom of the Barrel


Poison elementals are serious business. We made our Druid tank shift out and cleanse. 

My chat windows and other secondary information is located at the bottom of the screen. From left to right, it’s combat text/general chat, Omen, Bars, Recount, chat windows 1, and Guild/raid/healer chat.

Prat: It came highly recommended as thee chat frame of choice. Shows timestamp, colors the player name according to class, level, group number of person, and more importantly no annoying overlapping scroll arrows!

Big Brother: Raid Leaders – This is a must for you guys. Found out who broke that sheep! Also displays nifty stuff like flasked players, buffs that may or may not be missing, etc, etc.

Omen: The standard in threat meters now. Don’t enter a raid without it. You can have it minimized as long as it’s transmitting. Although 9 times out of 10 it won’t matter for healers, it’s still nice to have around.

Bongos2: I use Bongos2 for my bars. I shrank it as small as I could since I’ve mapped every option to a key at this point. Anything I need to click on is at the top anyway.

Recount: See previous post on this excellent measurement and raid diagnostic tool. Has meters for everything and you can output the information into raid. Warning: Can inflate ego.

Stuff you don’t see

All that stuff above was meant primarily for raiding and healing. Here’s all the addons that make other aspects of WoW a little easier to manage.

ATSW: It stands for Advance Trade Skills Window. I use it to keep track of and sort my various enchanting and tailoring recipes easily. Might be abandoning it soon due to lack of support. Exploring for some alternatives.

Cartographer: This handles my mapping functions. Shows my coordinates, and tracks herbs/mining nodes and the like.

 TipTac: This is a particularly useful addon. It’s a simple tooltip information window. In this case, all I did was mouse over Maeve and it displays information like his title, Guild, buffs, health, spec, and who else has him targetted. It sure as hell beats the default tooltip in the game.

Swatter: Do you have annoying UI error messages that seem to show up? I use Swatter mostly to debug the information and then close it afterwards. Doesn’t seem to be in active development as I can’t find a link.

XLoot: It’s a looting interface. It’s a simple remake of the default loot window.

XRS: It stands for X Raid Status. This raid leading addon echoes what buffs are missing from the raid. Make sure you have an A. Like Kilmster says, rain of fire is serious business. Full buffs should be granted before attempting to go into one.

Stinky Queue: Lets me group queue into Alterac Valley. Will be obsolete once 2.4 comes.

oRA2: I had to install this addon to please the brass. This is the Patriot Act for raid leaders. I give up my privacy so that I can raid. With it, they can see the durability of my armor, reagents, potions, underwear size and so on.

Itemrack: Lets me switch outfits with a click of a mouse button. I can go from suave and sophisticated to smooth and sexy in under a second. No more having to search through bags and equipping every piece of gear manually.

Caster Weapon Swapper: Automates the switching of weapons. I use it to manage my Spellsurge, mana regen, and healing staves. It switches them based on my mana pool and what I’m doing. I wrote a post about it a while ago.

Aloft: Replaces the default Blizzard name plates.

Atlasloot Enhanced: It’s a database of items obtainable from vendors and drops from bosses.

Proximo: If you plan on doing any kind of Arena PvP, you will want this addon. Helps you identify and coordinate your efforts on taking down players in PvP.

Class Specific

Serenity: It’s a priest specific addon, I believe. It just announces who I’m ressing and Shackling in chat.

Totemus: Similar to Serenity, Totemus is for my Resto. Shaman and shows me the time remaining on my totems.

Pally Power: This is a must have for any Paladin. Handles Blessings without you losing your mind.

Caster Weapon Swapper: An Essential Addon for Spellsurge Users

Spellsurge or 81 Healing? It’s a common question that many healers have asked themselves.

Why not use both?

Here’s a description about CasterWeaponSwapper from Curse:

This AddOn swaps weapons based on your current amount of mana, to maximize mana efficiency. With this mod, you can start fights with a high intellect staff equipped, then switch to a +damage/healing weapon for most of the fight, and then switch to a spirit-heavy staff when your mana is low.

This AddOn is unique because is does all this automatically, and without interrupting you with a weapon-swap cooldown. Normally when you equip weapons in combat, you get a 1.5-second global cooldown. CasterWeaponSwapper gets around this by swapping weapons only when you start to cast a spell. This means the cooldowns overlap and you don’t experience any interruption. When out of combat, there is an option to swap weapons whenever necessary, since there is no swap cooldown.

The AddOn supports 1- and 2-handed weapons, off hand items, and wands/librams/idols/totems. You can set up weapon sets for high mana, casting, low mana, and sets for Druid forms. The casting set will only be used when in combat. The Druid sets will be used while you are shapeshifted into a bear or cat. There is also an option to use the low-mana set while you have spirit boosting buffs (Spirit Tap, Evocation, Innervate, and Aura of the Blue Dragon), and an option to swap between a secondary casting set to proc the Spellsurge enchant each time it is available.

Using CWS

Once you’ve downloaded and unzipped CWS to your Addons folder, you can start using it right away. Make sure you’ve enabled it.

To bring up the main CWS window, type in /cws

CasterWeaponSwapper window in action

Weapon Categories

You’ll notice each set has 3 slots. From left to right, it’s your main hand, off hand, and ranged slot (Wand, Libram, Totem, Relic).

High Mana Set

Weapon you have equipped coming into an encounter of some sort. If you want to seriously push yourself and excel, this is a kind of weapon which has a ton of intellect on it. Higher intellect means larger initial mana pool.

Casting Set

This is reserved for a weapon that you will use most of the time while casting in combat. Most of the time, it will have high MP5.

Low Mana Set

When you get low on mana, CWS will automatically equip this. Now, there’s 2 ways you go about it here. You can equip a high Spirit weapon and sit still for a few seconds while your slowly regen your mana or equip another high MP5 weapon so you can continue to cast while having low mana. I’d say 9 times out of 10, if you’re running low on mana during a raid, it’s at a critical point where you have to keep pumping out heals and you can’t remain idle for too long.

Spellsurge Set

This is reserved for your weapon that has Spellsurge on it. The addon keeps track of Spellsurge’s internal cooldown and swaps accordingly when it’s up.

Sliders

You can use the sliders below to change the threshold to swap weapons. These are the default settings. For example, when my mana reaches 80%, it will switch from my High Mana set to my Casting set. When I get to 25% mana, it will switch from my Casting set to my Low Mana set. Use the sliders to control when you want that to happen.

Checkboxes

Enable swaps: Self explanatory. Either turns on or disables the entire swap mechanic.

Print swaps: It notifies you in your chatbox whether or not it’s switching weapons.

Post-fight reports: Here’s an example:

CasterWeaponSwapper stats

It tells me a few important things like how many times Spellsurge procced and the amount of time I was in the 5SR.

Swap Whenever Needed…: Also self explanatory. It can handle swapping operations outside of combat. My guess is that it defaults to high mana or low mana depending on your current mana pool.

Conclusions and Observations

It’s a top notch addon and one that I’d heartily recommend to any healer who wants to excel at their game and ensure they have the mana they need to heal their tanks. It allows me to focus on healing instead of manually switching to my Spellsurge staff to activate it and back again.

Don’t think so?

I can tell you I’m not the only blogger who feels this way (Speaking of which, it’s been a week and a half, where have you been?).

Your Tank Died. Want to Know Why?

Here’s the story. You’re healing a raid group on a boss like Nightbane. Things are going steady and smoothly. Then your tank drops from 80% to0. WTF just happened?

No more will you wonder why.

Enter Recount

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you Recount. It’s a diagnostic mod that has a ton of features and tools which can help track an assortment of information and display it graphically or output it as text. It keeps track of information like:

  • Damage done
  • DPS
  • Healing done
  • Dispels (what you dispel)
  • Dispelled (what you’ve been dispelled by)
  • Deaths
  • Interrupts
  • Ressers
  • Activity
  • Mana, Energy, or Rage Gained
  • CC Breakers
  • DOT Uptime
  • HOT Uptime
  • Spells Used

Tracking Deaths

This is the main reason why I use Recount. If I can determine why my tank or assignment died, then I can take measures to prevent it from happening again. There’s also this "peace of mind" factor. By knowing why my tank died, I can either accept responsibility or say that there was nothing I could’ve possibly done.

Recount death tracking in raid

Take the above image as an example. Chamelion is one of the tanks for Gruul and he died. Within the space of 2 seconds, he went from 90% to 0%. From this image, I know that Chamelion absorbed almost 17000 damage under half a second. It would’ve been very difficult for healers to react that quickly to that kind of damage. I have the peace of mind knowing that there would’ve not been anything for me to do (PW: Shield and a Prayer of Mending would’ve been eaten).

Do I have your attention now? Good. Want to learn more about it? Keep reading. However, there is a downside (scroll to the bottom).

Usage

Let me show you how to use it. It’s fairly intuitive (for some). I’ll start with the Death tracker. This is one of many different possible windows that you can switch through.

How many times did you die? Here you go!

From top left to top right, you’ll see several different icons. There’s icons that show horn, gear, page, xpage, left, right, and the X.

Horn: This controls output properties. You can relay information into Guild chat, officer, raid, party, say, current target, player name, or special channels that you are in (custom channels). Using the top slider, I can control how many people to report in whatever channel I like. Note that I can only do one chat channel at a time. I cannot broadcast in Guild and Officer chat simultaneously. If I want to broadcast in both, I’ll have to do them one after the other.

If I want to whisper to a certain person, then I check the box next to "whisper", type the name on the bottom, and press report.

Window where you can choose which channel to output information

Gear: This opens the detail window of the particular tracker that you have open. Each tracker has it’s own specific set of options. I’ll write more about this later.

Page: You can control which chunk of data to look at. Here’s a screenshot below. I can include cumulative data up to the point where I’m at, echo the current fight, or examine individual encounters.

The window where you can choose which part of the fight to look at

Xpage: This button resets all information that you’ve collected up to this point.

Left/Right: Using these buttons, you can cycle through the different windows.

X: Closes the Recount window but it still tracks data in the background.

Death Tracker in Detail

The death counter here allows you to track the amount of times that players have died. Not only that, it can show you why they died. Press the detail button (looks like a gear) brings the following window up. On the left side, I can choose which mob killed me. On the bottom, I can filter what kind of information I want to look at. In this case, I’m looking at any information that’s relevant to me EXCEPT for Heals. From the timeline, I can see that it took me about 14 seconds to die from Akil’zon.

Tracking deaths in Recount window

You can also select which deaths you want to echo and display. Pressing the little horn icon lets you echo what you have in front of you to whatever channel you want (See above).

Anyway, there’s simply too many features in Recount to be covered in one article alone. Over the next week or two, I plan to break down certain features of Recount that apply to us healers and officers. Maybe I’ll skim the rest.

The Bad Thing About Recount

I’m going to copy and paste the author’s own words and warnings about Recount.

Warning – Recount can use a decent amount of memory at default settings due to saving of DPS and other stats every second. These can be disabled if not used in the options under filter by unclicking checkmarks under the stopwatch. Memory usage though shouldn’t effect your performance though.

In other words, it’s a HUGE resource hog. Try it out and see if you can handle it. If you notice yourself lagging a lot during Raids, disable it immediately.

Download Recount:

Curse.com