Lodur’s Addon Spotlight: GTFO

Lodur’s Addon Spotlight: GTFO

GTFO is the best addon you’re probably not using right now. GTFO stands for exactly what it sounds like, “Get The F$%# Out”. Simply put, the addon gives you an audio alert whenever you are standing in something that is causing you harm. Why is this a good thing? Well, right now there are a lot of area effect boss damage abilities that still can hit you even if you are “in the clear”. Take for example Valiona, both in Grim Batol and Bastion of Twilight. The dragon has a frontal cone breath that causes massive amounts of damage if you sit in the fire. Many times I’ve been outside of the visible effect, yet still took the damage as if standing in it, didn’t notice at first and became so much Dwarven BBQ (I can admit when I fail :]). After installing the addon though, this just isn’t a problem anymore. It plays a subtle, yet noticeable, tone to indicate that I’m standing in bad.

I’ve always been a bit of an audio queue player. Even with my boss mods and power auras I’ve always set sounds to alert me to what’s going on. Personally I find it a lot less intrusive than visual cues, since most of my attention is on the health of those around me, and staying alive through boss mechanics.  The less I have to tear my eyes away from the fight and their health totals, the better off everyone is.

The addon allows you to set thresholds for sound, and adjust the various audio alerts so you can customize the experience. The sounds the addon come supplied with are distinct and different enough from those provided by Big Wigs, Deadly Boss Mods and DXE that it is quite distinct and can be picked out easily among the cacophony of other sounds and it even has the ability to integrate with Power Auras to give a visual notification of when you’re standing in bad.

Setup is pretty easy as it works right out of the box. After installation if left alone it will simply buzz an alarm in your ear whenever you are standing in something that is causing damage. Now, it won’t only buzz once, it will continue to buzz and make noise until you are out of the area taking damage. Honestly that’s better than yelling at any raider to get out, because you don’t have to clutter mumble or vent with your lamentations of raiders standing in fire. The mod itself is pretty lightweight, so it won’t break the memory bank or cause any sort of disruption.

Let’s face it, sometimes we get tunnel vision when raiding or running any form of content. How many times have you be so focused on squeezing out that last heal or that last little bit of DPS and missed the bad headed your way? It’s happened to us all at least once. This addon though, this little sound chiming in my headphones to let me know I’m missing the fact my kilt’s on fire, has helped keep me alive through many, many fights.

I think this addon is well worth the pick up if for no other reason than to test it out. As an added bonus to raid leaders, if your group is running the mod, recount shows the number of audio alerts people receive so you can also double check to make sure that they were responding to the alerts or standing in the good, not the bad. Give it a try, have your raiders give it a try, you may fall in love with it just like I did.

GTFO [Curse] [WoWInterface]

ELIZABETH PENEPENT
Lodur’s Week In Review

Lodur’s Week In Review

A couple weeks ago we heard that AVR/AVRE has an expiration date. Simply put the addon just did too much by allowing a player to draw essentially in 3D on top of the in game environment. This really drove home how much players respond to visual cues. However not everyone is a visual based player. How about those that rely on sound for their notifications?

I started thinking about this last week. I have been using Deus Vox Encounters as my boss mod of choice for a little bit and have grown pretty accustomed to it. Last week though, new requirements for a particular fight called for BigWigs to be installed over any other boss mod. I’ll get into the why of that in just a second. Making this switch really clued me in to how much I actually draw from audio cues. As a healer, and a raid officer, my attention is always in a thousand different directions at once. My own healing, watching where I’m standing and paying attention to the boss fights, but also watching all my healers and the other raider to make sure people are doing what they are doing. Even with screen flashes, and emphasized bars / buttons etc, I can miss things. Well let me be honest here, I WILL miss things. You can only divide your attention so much before it is spread too thin. DXE allowed for custom sounds for all major and most minor events, allowing me to play a different sound for an incoming Infest or a Pending Defile. This way I wouldn’t have to look for an alert, but rather just listen for a sound. I play with most of the in game sounds turned pretty low unless a specific encounter calls for something different, so it made it easy to add another layer of my awareness to playing.

Enter BigWigs. BigWigs has been a pretty common standard among raiders for a while now. The mod is pretty robust and allows you a lot of different choices in your notifications. The reason it became standard for raider was how it alerts you to defile. If you enable a mode called super enhanced, it will actually have a voice counting down the time to cast audibly. Some folks were having trouble with defile and moving away from it, so BigWigs enhanced mode was the answer, and to be honest I do really like that part of it.

This leaves me with two boss mods installed. I tried running this entire last week with only BigWigs and I just can’t do it. I tried, but all it did was make me realize how much I rely on those audio cues to keep my own rear alive while watching everyone else.  It does not have the same depth in the library of sounds that DXE does. Where I could literally have dozens of sounds in DXE, there is only a limited number in BigWigs. I tried adding new sounds by modifying the .lua files as well, but found that to be nigh impossible with BW, but it was something I’ve been able to do with DXE. So, for every encounter BUT LK, I use DXE. For LK I swap BigWigs on. Now if only DXE could do me a super enhanced countdown mode I’d be super super happy.

I’m sure you’re wondering what today’s post image has to do with my post.  This last week I realized exactly how much I love having a ret paladin and a boomkin in raid. I am a haste junkie, there is no denying it. I love the stat and its ability to give me 1.5 second (or lower) cast time chain heals. If you were to roll my character’s sleeves up, it is likely that you would find the tell-tale signs of haste abuse. Before we would rarely have one, and more commonly neither, but recently it has become much more common place to have both in our groups. Improved Moonkin Form gives all players in range of the aura 3% haste as does Swift Retribution these stack as a multiplicative effect with Wrath of Air Totem. With my current haste total, either of these combined with the totem pushes me to the haste cap, and let me tell you it is addicting. The added bonus for me is that our fairly recent new hire and boomkin Friskme is one heck of a guy. Good sense of humor, good numbers, knows how to handle himself in a fight, and as of recent has become my corner buddy on BQL and the sparkle council. We’ve gotten used to each others movements during the encounters and know exactly how to shift around each other without vocalizing. Also, he’s damn fast on the innervate button when I need it, and that makes me happy. I’ve always enjoyed the company of the druids in <Unpossible>, and Frisk fits right in.

Last but not least, for those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter, I have had a wonderful idea for a new project that a lot of people seem to be behind. Come Cataclysm I’m starting a fun guild up as a side project. No, I’m not leaving Unpossible, that will always be my home. Instead the guild I want to make will be more fun and casual with a slight character quirk. I’ll get more into it at a later date, but for now I need your input. There have been several choices as to where to start this little party, and so far there are 4 major contenders.

What Server Should the Guild be Started on?

  • Other (44%, 8 Votes)
  • Earthen Ring (33%, 6 Votes)
  • Nerzhul (22%, 4 Votes)
  • Feathermoon (22%, 4 Votes)
  • Zul'jin (17%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 18

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So if you think I should start it up on one of those please feel free to vote on it. If you think I should start it on a different server, vote for other and let me know what realm and why in the comments.

Well that’s it for this past week, how about you? Do anything fun? Find out anything interesting?

Special thanks to @immamoonkin for this week’s article image. Thank you!

A Fond Farewell to AVR/AVRE

A Fond Farewell to AVR/AVRE

I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now. In patch 3.3.5 Blizzard intends to intentionally break AVR/AVRE. It is not the first time that something like this has happened, but it does strike me as a bit odd as to the reasoning behind it.

If you missed the full announcement here it is for you

Bashiok — AVR Mod Broken in 3.3.5

This is a notice that we’re making changes in 3.3.5 in attempts to break the ability for the AVR (Augmented Virtual Reality) mod to continue functioning. For those unaware, this mod allows players to draw in the 3D space of the game world, which can then be shared with others who are also using the mod. In some cases this manifests itself through drawing/tagging/defacing the game world, but more popularly is used to give visual guides for dungeon and raid encounters.

We’re making this change for two reasons. The invasive nature of a mod altering and/or interacting with the game world (virtually or directly) is not intended and not something we will allow. World of Warcraft UI addons are never intended to interact with the game world itself. This is mirrored in our stance and restriction of model and texture alterations. The second reason is that it removes too much player reaction and decision-making while facing dungeon and raid encounters. While some other mods also work to this end, we find that AVR and the act of visualizing strategy within the game world simply goes beyond what we’re willing to allow.

The change we’re making in attempts to break the functionality is light in its touch and approach. When blocking any functionality we run the risk of affecting other mods, but we’ve targeted the changes as carefully as possible. If we find that the AVR mod (or any mod attempting to replicate its functions) are usable after 3.3.5 we will take further, more drastic steps.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that they are wrong to not want to see mods like this disabled, but they claim it is because of the invasive nature of the mod and that it allows altering and interacting with the game world. Well, we interact with the game world all the time don’t we? We kill a mob, that’s interacting right there! Silly statement I know but it is the truth. Simply by being in the world and playing the game we are interacting with the world and on some level altering the state of play for those around us. As far as calling it invasive or that it alters the game world, I don’t know. Is it any more invasive than any other boss mod? Take a look at most boss mods, they mark players that are affected by effects, provide warnings both visual and audio before a boss does an ability and effectively simplify encounters. Some even give you arrows telling you where to run from an effect, others include range finders to tell you how far away you are from other players in order to avoid making some boss abilities chain or augment. Mods like Auctioneer allow you to alter the way you interact with the auction house, postal allows you to modify how you access the mail in the game world, power auras allows you to be notified of every single buff and debuff in the game and mods like grid allow you to alter how you view the members of your party and allow you control over what information is filtered through and omen alerts you to threat compared to all other party members.

So what makes AVR so taboo? I was thinking about it and it reminded me of a funny story from my pen and paper days.

I was playing Dungeons and Dragons (tabletop pen and paper version) with a group of friends. Our party was supposed to set up an ambush to take out a band of mercs about three times our size. I was playing a halfling rogue at the time and was the party’s wet works guy. I would sneak around, spy on things and help set traps. Our fighter in the party was a tactical genius (the player has since moved on to a military career and it is very fitting for him as he honestly was a huge strategist) and came up with a plan that involved key movements at key points in time. My character happened to have a bunch of chalk, and came up with the idea of setting markers on the walls and floor to indicate thresholds for those lying in wait. It could indicate when to attack and after a point when to break off and regroup or attack from a different direction. The fighter loved this idea, and we set about marking the ruins we were using as the kill zone in markings the party would understand. We then set various traps and waited for our ambush to take place. As the mercs entered the ruins we watched from hiding as they breached the thresholds, we attacked. The mercs moved past another marking and we dove back into hiding and onto the next position. This continued until the band was no more. We took no casualties and had a well executed plan thanks to a series of chalk markings. The GM joked at the time of having allowed us to have such general items and them coming in so handy.

So, is AVR so different than the chalk we used in that game session? I don’t feel that it is when used to say, mark spots on the ground for people to collapse to or stand at during certain encounters. On a personal level I will miss it not because of anything it did during a boss fight, but I truly loved the way it interacted with Totem Radius in showing me the effective range of my totems in real time. That said I wont lose any sleep over it going away, but I think Blizzard may have been a bit hasty in their aggression towards this mod. Personally I don’t feel it is any more invasive than any other mod they currently allow in the game, and honestly once you allow mods or addons of any sort you are inviting a sort of intrusion into that which you created.

Did it make things too simple and remove player thought from the game? I don’t think so either, I’ve seen enough people with it installed still mess up quite frequently. It was not a guaranteed win for boss fights otherwise we would see a lot more people having downed ICC heroic mode when using this. In the end a mod is no substitution for attentiveness to the game and player skill. This one just happened to let us John Madden things a bit, and occasionally draw funny objects where they don’t belong.

So what do you think? Do you support Blizzard decision to break the mod? Do you think it made things too easy? Will you miss being able to draw stick figures randomly in ICC?

Timing is Everything!

Timing is Everything!

timing

You know the old saying timing is everything right? Well it’s very true for healing. Bad timing can cause a dead tank, or a wiped raid. Management of global cooldowns, spell cooldowns and compensating for lag can make all the difference in the world between a bad healer a so-so healer or a good healer. So, how can we deal with these as healer? Well there are a couple mods that I’ve found quite useful for dealing with this.

Quartz

Quartz is a casting bar mod addon that replaces the default Warcraft one. It is highly customizable and is very useful for help with compensating for latency.

Picture 13

That’s a picture of it in use. The icon of the spell is displayed to the left of the bar and the bar shows the time left on the cast, as well as the estimated time of completion. In this case you can see that my Lesser Healing Wave was taking 0.9 seconds to cast, and had 0.1 seconds left before it completed. I couldn’t get a good picture of it, but it adds a latency marker at the end of the casting bar. It’s a red block with with the latency added in on the bottom of it. You can see it slightly at the back end of the 0.9. You have to enable the feature in the options for the addon, but once you do you’ll be good to go.

Picture 1

It will compensate for whatever latency the game has, and anytime you see your cast bar hit that red block, it’s safe to hit another spell and have it begin to cast when your current one is done. This is useful for many reasons, chief among them is to keep your heals streaming without interruption. Nothing worse then hitting a heal and not have it start to cast, only to find your tank or DPS dead as a result. The mod is highly customizable in look, size and what it shows you. It can show you everything from your own global cooldown, how long is left on an interrupt on you as well as function as an enemy casting bar display. If you haven’t taken a look at Quartz, you might want to.

Fortex

Fortex is a mod that tracks quite a bit of information for you. At first glance you’re probably saying to yourself “but that’s just for warlocks”, but I can assure you it’s not. The mod has an options for every class’ cooldowns in the game.

Picture 14

You can see here that it makes a bar for you to use. The bar is resizable and you can adjust it’s color. When you cast a spell with the cooldown, it will show on the bar at the time marker closest to its cooldown. When a spell reaches the end of its cool down a splash icon will display growing outwards from the endpoint to let you know it’s ready. You can see in the image above my Riptide has just become available while my Nature’s Swiftness is still on cooldown. I’ve found this very handy because it’s something I can catch out of my peripheral vision easily while still keeping my eyes on the encounter and health bars. It has a ton of options and many for other classes

Picture 2

It can show you debuffs, soulstones, buffs, even trinket cooldowns. I’ve also found this very handy on my Death Knight and my Hunter. Since installing it I can tell you my healing has gone up as well as my DPS on my other toons. Knowing when your spells and trinkets are available and using them as quickly as possible can make a tremendous impact on your healing and damage output. This mod definitely helps me get the most bang for my buck out of my spells and trinkets.

Having a mod that helps you compensate for your latency and one that can help you manage your cooldowns is incredibly useful. There are many out there, I suggest taking a look through all the ones that are available and find ones that work for you and fit your play style and your User Interface. I just happen to have found these two mods quite useful in this endeavor. Here’s a picture of how these two mods fit with my UI featuring my friend’s lovely pet Gertrude tanking Chillmaw for us.

Picture 11

So what about you? Have you found any mods that you find useful for managing your cooldowns? How about a good casting bar to help compensate for latency?

Until next time, Happy Healing!

sig3

Image courtesy of www.sharewareplaza.com

Introducing the LilUI Compilation

Introducing the LilUI Compilation

One of the most frequently commented upon UIs belonged to Lilitharien. After much prodding, persuasion and begging over Twitter, she graciously agreed to do a write up and explanation of her UI as a guest post due to the overwhelming amount of interest.

Last Tuesday Matticus posted 33 screenshots of Healing UIs he’s collected via the PlusHeal forums. Since then he’s gotten lot of messages about the featured UIs, including (but not limited to, I’m sure) questions about my own, and I’ve even gotten messages on the PlusHeal forums about it. And there was some speculation in the comments, too, about whether or not I am using SpartanUI (For the record, I am not!). Thus, I jokingly suggested to Matt that I could write an article about my UI… and he said go for it. So, here I am!

For the link to this entire addon compilation, click here.

I’m Lilitharien, I play on the Thorium Brotherhood server in the guild and I’m a Discipline Priest.

Layout

This is my UI, taken during a Kel’Thuzad fight last Thursday (click to enlarge):

raid25_KT

And here’s a breakdown I whipped up in Photoshop (click to enlarge):

ui-explained

Frames

Unitframes For my basic unitframes (myself, target, target’s target, focus target, pet, and pet’s target) I use Pitbull4. It’s configured to show debuffs in the center-most side of the frame and buffs on the outter-most side. I show a maximum of 4 debuffs and 8 buffs on these frames to save clutter, and I have it filtered to prioritize buffs/debuffs that are caused by me or that I can dispel. Health bars for players are colored by class, otherwise they’re colored by hostility: Red for hostile, yellow for neutral, green for friendly.

For my raid or party frames, I use Grid. Grid is a little complicated to set up, but absolutely amazing once you’ve got it tailored to your needs. I have a few addons I use along with Grid, and I indicate those in parenthesis next to their function. You can certainly find more to suit your specific class/spec.

My set-up is as follows:

Entire frame changes size depending on size of party or raid (GridAutoFrameSize), and grows up from the bottom. Health frames are colored by class.

  • First text line shows first 4 letters of player’s name.
  • Second text line (GridIndicatorText3) shows health deficit and also Readycheck status.
  • Third text line shows Feign Death, Death, or AFK status (GridStatusAFK}.
  • Mana, energy, rage or runic power bars (GridManaBars) are aligned to the bottom of the frame.
  • Border around frame is colored white to show my target, red to show Aggro, green to show Disease debuff, or purple to show Magical debuff. Bottom left indicator is red and shows Aggro.
  • Bottom right indicator is golden yellow and shows Prayer of Mending.
  • Top left indicator is white and shows Power Word: Shield.
  • Top right indicator is green and shows Renew.
  • Middle icon shows Weakened Soul debuff and remaining time on it (GridCooldownText).
  • Left side indicator (GridSideIndicators) is colored 3 different shades of blue to show Grace stack (GridStatusGrace).

There’s a dark blue, medium blue, and light blue.

Buffs/Debuffs

For my buff/debuff display, I use ElkBuffBars. Buffs display above debuffs, and everything grows down from the top. Debuffs are colored red to make them easier to see.

Castbar

For my castbar I use Quartz. I’ve customized my bar to be hot pink (only because I like the color but, really, you can choose any color you like!) and to show total cast time, remaining cast time, latency/lag in red, name of spell and who I’m casting it on. It looks something like this:

[Name of Spell –> Target time-remaining/total-cast-time]

I have it set this way because I use Clique to click-cast raid targets, and this allows me to see where my heal is going (if it’s different from my current target) and when exactly I can click or use a hotkey to start casting my next spell. Being able to see the latency/lag in your cast time is very, very important as a healer!

Bars

Actionbars For my action bars I use a combination of Dominos and ButtonFacade. I’ve paired all my healing spells on one side of my screen (the left, between my chat box and minimap) and all my offensive/misc spells on the other side. I have all my buffs in a bar that’s hidden, and my mana potion, healthstone, and out-of-combat food has it’s own vertical bar on the right-most side of my screen. Every single one of my spells (along with my mana potions and healthstones!) are hotkeyed to something on the keyboard. In addition, some spells are assigned to mouse clicks via Clique, which I have configured to only work on my Grid frame. My minibar is situated underneath my minimap. I also have OmniCC installed to show the remaining cooldown time on my spells and DrDamage to show the average amount of healing or damage on each spell so I can make split-second choices at a glance without having to do the math myself. The current ButtonFacade skin I’m using is Apathy, but I’ve used Serenity in the past.

Minimap

My minimap is placed in the bottom-center of my screen and is configured via Chinchilla. I have it set to not show anything but the north indicator, calendar, and search bubble at all times. When I have mail, the mail button appears above my calendar button. When I PVP, the battleground button appears on the left-bottom side of the map. Current coordinates appear on the bottom of the map, above the minibar. To keep my minimap free from the clutter of all those little buttons from addons, I use MBB, or “Minimap Button Bag.” This appears as the little purplish button on the top-right of my minimap. When I click on it, it expands all my minimap buttons above it in a row.

Chatbox

My chatbox is situated on the bottom left of my screen, and the only addon I use for it is Prat 3. This colors all players names by class (you’re probably noticing that I love having things colored by class), adds a time stamp to everything and allows me to shorten my channel names. I also hide the chatbox buttons and enabled mouse scrolling. There’s a ton more you can do with it, but this is all I need. For whispers I use WIM, or “WoW Instant Messenger.” This pops up all my whispers in separate IM-like windows, which helps me keep track of all my conversations. While I’m in combat, however, whispers won’t pop up. They’ll just appear in the chatbox as they normally would.

Rings

Some people put things like their tradeskills, mounts, and buff food on their action bars. I used to do this, too, but I find this take up sooooo much excess space. Instead I use an addon called OPie. OPie allows me to create “rings” of buttons that I can call up with keybindings (or mouse clicks!). I have my buff food in one ring, my mounts and hearthstone in another, and tradeskills in yet another. OPie also includes a ring for quest items, so I don’t have to go digging in my bags everytime I need to use one while doing dailies. (There’s also a ring for assigning raid targets, but as a healer I don’t use this one so much.) The ButtonFacade skin I use for this addon is DSMFade.

Tooltips

I use TipTac to reskin my tooltips and move the tooltip anchor. I have it set to show names and healthbars colored by class. (More coloring by class! I know! I like consistency.) For extra information, I rely on Informant and EnhTooltip (part of Auctioneer Advanced). They add item numbers, how much the item costs or sells for, how many in a stack, how many vendors sell it, etc. I also use Bagnon_Tooltips (part of Bagnon) which tells me which of my alts have the item, how much they have, and where it’s stored. Combat: Threat Meter A staple for any raider, my threat meter of choice is Omen. I have it placed on the bottom-right of my screen between my offensive/misc spells and my potion/healthstone/food bar. It shows the the name of the target it’s calculating threat for; the top 5 people, their threat number and percentage; and myself, so I can see exactly where I stand.

Scrolling Combat Text

I used to raid without one, but I hated going to back into my combat log to check things. I’d rather have the information on-hand, when it happens. Thus, I use MikScrollingBattleText. I have this split into 3 different parts. The center “box” displays buffs, debuffs, procs, and things like mana returns during combat; They appear in the center and scroll upward before disappearing. The left-side displays things that are happen to me, whether it’d be damage, healing, or otherwise, and who it is being done to me by. The right-side displays what I am doing; It shows heals, overheal, and damage alongside with the name of the target it’s being done to. Both the left and right sides scroll down and outward on a curve before disappearing. I really like this combat text mod, too, over the default one because it uses icons to indicate which spells are doing what. So, for instance, when I get mana returns from Rapture, I see the icon for my Rapture talent.

Boss/Fight Information

For boss timers and information, I use Deadly Boss Mods. For player statistics, I use Recount. I don’t believe further explanation is needed for either. Dispelling I use Decursive to inform me of any magical or disease debuffs that I can dispel. However, I don’t use the addon’s miniframes. Instead, I assigned my abolish disease and dispel magic spells to shift+right click and shift+left click, respecitively, using Clique. Thus, Decursive tells me who needs what removed, and I use my mouse keybinds on Grid to cast.

Loot/Gear

I use a few addons to help me with loot: EquipCompare, RatingBuster, and AtlasLoot. EquipCompare shows my currently equipped item next to whatever I’m hovering over, and RatingBuster does all the math for me; It calculates and displays health, mana, mana regen, spellpower, crit, haste, and hit gains or losses compared to what I have currently equipped. AtlasLoot allows me to check out which loot drops from which boss in-game. I also have InspectEquip, which adds the boss/instance an item comes from to the tool tip as well as displaying a list of where someone’s items have come from when I inspect them.

Making It Pretty

Textures/Art

I use a rather old addon called DiscordArt to position my graphical textures. The textures, as some people have noted, make it look like I’m using SpartanUI. In fact, I am not using SpartanUI at all! I found that UI buggy at best and crashing my game at worst. But, I still really liked the art used for the bottom of the screen. So, I downloaded SpartanUI and extracted the art from it. Then, I placed the art in-game using DiscordArt. It was really rather simple.

Information Panel

I use TitanPanel to display at-a-glance information at the top of my screen. This includes my location/coordinates, money, bag space, current loot type, fps/latency/memory usage, whispers, durability, current signed-in guild members (TitanGuild), mail (TitanMail), volume, and time.

Lining Things Up

I use an addon called Align that creates a grid on my screen so I can line all my UI elements up. Obsessive compulsive? Maybe. I’m a graphic designer instead of a healer outside of Azeroth, so I can assure that everything is purposefully and aesthetically placed.

Typography

I use ClearFont2 to change the overall fonts in my UI, and I also make sure the text selections in my addons use the same font. I have everything set to use Calibri 0.9.

Miscellaneous Addons

  • AkisRecipeList: Adds a frame to my tradeskill window that tells me what patterns I have left to learn and where I can locate them.
  • AdvancedTradeSkillWindow: Expands my tradeskill window and adds a queue and materials shopping list.
  • Bagnon: Simplifies my bag and bank into one frame. Also allows me to view the items in my bank when I’m no where near one. As I mentioned before, it also tells me which of my alts has an item, how many they have, and where it’s stored.
  • Carbonite Quest: Quest tracking, information, and map. I mostly have the map not showing and the quest tracker minimized unless I’m doing quests or dailies.
  • Cartographer: World map mod; Allows me to see areas I haven’t explored, among other things.
  • CloseUp: Allows me to zoom in on things in the Dressing Room, Inspect, and Character/Pet windows.
  • FarmIt: Let’s me see how much of an item I have total in my bags at a glance, so I don’t have to go digging or do any math. I have this hidden or disabled unless I’m farming something, obviously.
  • FriendsFacts: Adds race, sex, level, class, and guild name of my friends to my friends list.
  • FriendShare: Global friends list that syncs between characters.
  • Gatherer: Keeps track of locations of nodes, herbs, and chests.
  • GatherSage2: Adds skill-level and other information to gathering item tooltips.
  • InFlight: Flight timers.
  • MagicRunes: Since Pitbull doesn’t include Runes on their unitframes, this is what I use for my Death Knight. They display right above my minimap.
  • QuestGuru: Expands my Quest Log window. Also includes a tracker, but I don’t use it since I have Carbonite Quest.
  • RecipeKnown: Colors a recipe green if I have learned it already, even on an alt. Prevents me from buying duplicates and wasting money/tokens.
  • Reputation: Automatically switches which reputation I’m watching based on the last reputation gained.
  • SendSelf: Adds my alts to the send-to autocomplete feature at the mailbox without having them on my friends list.

Other Screenshots

Solo questing (Click to enlarge):

solo_casting

Solo questing with OPie Quest Ring (Click to enlarge):

solo_opie

Download

Now that I’ve explained to you the exhaustive list of addons I use, you may or may not like my set-up. If you do, and it seems enough people do considering the feedback I’ve gotten, I’ve decided to package everything for your convenience. I call it Lil UI

Download LilUI now!

Don’t Rely on Addons to Heal

A few nights ago, I decided to participate in a Heroic Naxx pug (and you know my thoughts on the subject). But I always go back to it since I like to use my Shaman to decompress.

Like most pugs, we stood around for 30 minutes (literally) for the lead to dish out instructions. The boss we were about to engage was Gluth. We were about to run through the pipe, but we had to hold off and wait for a Paladin.

Now you might think this is trivial. But wait until I tell you why.

“My HealBot is not working properly. I can’t heal without it.”

As you can imagine, that sent a nasty surge up my spine. Here’s a Paladin. He’s been assigned to main tank healing. And he can’t heal without his Healbot?

Is it truly that difficult to do nothing but hit the Flash of Light or Holy Light keys at will?

After the 30 minute brief, we had to wait around for an additional 10 minutes (multiplied by 24 players and thats 240 minutes or 4 hours) for this guy to get his addon going.

Airline pilots have a wide variety of electronics and instruments at their disposal. Most of the time, they can toggle the autopilot. When push comes to shove, they have to take manual control of their plane. Sometimes emergencies happen. Perhaps there’s a circuit fried somewhere rendering GPS useless. They have to be trained to be able to make visual landings of their aircraft under extreme weather circumstances.

Lesson 1

Good healers use addons to heal. But great healers don’t have to rely on them.

Don’t get me wrong. I think HealBot is a good tool. As is Clique, Grid, and whatever else you decide to use. At the same time, the next time you go on a farm raid try toggling off and healing in vanilla mode. The point isn’t to see if you like it. Because I guarantee you, you won’t. The point is to see if you can do it. Blizzard will make patches and they will continue to update the game. Addons will break or error out on certain fights. Sometimes updates will come out days or even weeks later.

Would you delay raiding because a key addon you need isn’t available?

I should hope not.

I love my Pitbull as much as the next guy. But if I need to heal by pulling out the raid frames manually, I can. Sure it reduces my overall effectiveness, but at least I won’t be handcuffing the raid.

Lesson 2

Check your addons before entering a raid to ensure that they’re working properly.

This goes without saying. But a 10 second check saves 10 minutes of heartache.

AddOn: Dispel Announcer for Raiding and PvP

AddOn: Dispel Announcer for Raiding and PvP

dispel-4

I finally found me a mod that I think will benefit all Priests regardless of their purpose or style of healing. Actually, it doesn’t have anything to do with healing at all. What it does is it announces Dispels in a chat channel of your preference. It’s fairly flexible in the the settings (see below screenshots). I do believe it works with Mass Dispel as it announced me taking off a Paladin’s bubble and it works on offensive and defensive dispels. The Ace 2 framework is required for you to modify any settings.

More importantly,This addon has been fully tested on a Hunter dispelling enemy buffs with Arcane Shot and with a Druid dispelling poisons but it should also work perfectly when dispelling with any other skill.

Get Dispel Announcer from Curse.

It also announces when debuffs on yourself fall off such as Shouts and such.

Works in:

  • Say chat
  • Party chat
  • Raid warning
  • UI error frame
  • Default frame

Locations:

  • Outside
  • 5-man
  • Raid
  • Battleground
  • Arena

Anyway,  have a gander at the shots below and you’ll get a rough idea.

dispel-2

dispel-1

dispel-3

dispel-5

Addon: Instant Health is Pants Crappingly Awesome

During this weeks Twisted Nether blogcast, one of the questions posed by Fimlys was what addons I currently favor the most. I said to him that I favoured Pitbull the most but there was another addon called Instant Health that was beginning to grow on me. I touched about it in some details on the blogcast and promised a blog post specifically on the addon and here it is.

The problem

WoW servers don’t update health bars instantaneously. The information is sent from a player to the server, then from the server to your UI. There are two interaction points where lag due to hardware or ISP issues can cause problems, and although this typically happens in regular intervals, it can take as long as 3 seconds to complete.

All healers have been in situations where their heals have gone off, yet the target still died. Cooldowns and trinkets were blown at the last possible moment to add more “oomph” to their heals. Our efforts were futile because even though it showed that we did cast our instants, it did not appear to have been tracked or anything.

The solution

I acted on a tip from Aylii and Lang, my main tank. They both advised me to take a hard look at an addon called Instant Health. The beta was released a little over a week ago. So what’s it about?

This addon updates the health of player/party/raid members and pets much faster than normal by using your local combat log data rather than waiting for the server to send updated health information to you.

It works with Blizzard’s default UI as well as ANY custom addon you might have installed. All you need to do is put it in your addons folder and enable it!
Notice, this addon only speeds up health updates for player/party/raid members and pets. (People that are recorded in your combat log.) Players/mobs that are not in your group will have their health updated normally.

The trial

Intrigued, I had to get a copy of the addon quickly and stress-test the sucker. I forwarded a copy to Wynthea as well, so we could compare notes afterward. So how did Instant Health stack up to our combined play?

In a word, scary. This mod updates health lightning fast. You’ll get a better idea by observing a protection Paladin tanking waves of trash in Mount Hyjal. By updating health on a much faster scale, I’ve found that I’ve been able to make decisions even quicker. Information is life for healers and the faster we get it the faster we can make choices. It’s an awesome addon for us twitch healers that rely on quick reactions. Non healers might think that it’s redundant for an addon that updates heath only a fraction of a second sooner than server updates but they wouldn’t understand. 9 out of 10 Matts agree that this addon is an absolute must have for any raiding healer (the other Matt passed out in shock and stress of watching health bars drop too fast).

-Matticus

I’m very impressed with the potential of this add-on. Personally, I heal less Whack-a-mole style, and more proactively – paying attention primarily to those with aggro – so the benefit to my reaction time on MT healing is negligible. Where this mod really shines is with tough decision-making: you can see which player’s health is dropping fastest and react with better information. The biggest drawback to Instant Health is that when it acesses the information, it somehow changes what is reported to any other combat log parser you may use. Recount, SWstats, WWS, and Recap will all be so dramatically skewed that they become unusable. If you feel like rolling up your sleeves, you CAN fix it yourself – rename the addon’s directory, LUA file, and TOC to ZZZ_Instant_Health, so that the order-of-access is properly aligned. (If you don’t feel completely comfortable doing this, DON’T!) There is also a minor issue affecting default UI Target-of-Target frames that cannot be corrected. Other raid-frames do not have this problem. These relatively minor issues aside, I think this is a great tool. Spell Haste is becoming more and more important as a stat, and anything else that can decrease the time it takes to get a heal on someone that needs it is huge.

-Wyn

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!

Healing Tips for 25-Man Raiding: WoW Insidered, Matt Reviewed

I woke up this morning and decided to check my grades to see how I did this semester. Turns out I got an F in Cognitive Science. Now I’m really depressed about it, but I’m working on a plan to address it next year.

Anyway, aside from that I was catching up on a little bit of light reading on WoW Insider. One of the columns featured is that on 25-man raid healing by Marcie Knox. The article essentially summarizes the tips and tricks that healers can pull off in order to succeed in end game content. Let’s see if WoW Insider experts and I agree:

You need at least one of each healing class. Yes, even a holy priest and the rare resto druid. No matter what you’ve heard, running with all paladins really won’t get you very far, nor make the journey pleasant.

Disagreed. Ideally it would be nice to have all four healing classes, but sometimes it simply isn’t possible. Can you do some 25-man content with all Paladins? Yes. Is it recommended? No. But you do not NEED a Resto Druid, Shaman, Holy Priest and Paladin. If you set it as your goal to recruit one of each healer before trying your hand at raiding, you’ll be stuck for a long time. Carnage is incredibly stacked on Paladins and Priests. We have one Resto Shaman and no Druids (WE COULD USE ONE THOUGH SERIOUSLY). We went from Karazhan to Kael since we started back in June.

You have 6-8 raid slots for healers to work with. Start with 7 and make adjustments as you go.

Agreed. Typically, I would start with 7 and work my way up or down depending on the following:

  • The encounter
  • The gear of healers
  • The skill of healers

You’ll only need to do this the first few times when you’re working on a boss. After a while, when bosses can be done with no effort, you can remove healers as necessary to speed up the fight.

All healers must have the following information instantly available at all times:
a) Raid Health Monitor
b) Range Indicator

Kinda. I do keep the raid health monitor window open but I never make use of it. I’m not sure if Knox refers to the health of the entire raid as a percentage or the health of each individual raid member. Regardless,everyone’s health bar should be on the screen. Don’t just have your party window open in a raid.

As for the Range Indicator, it’s a good idea to have one. I’ve grown accustomed to my Priest that I can visually tell whether or not I’m in range of my tank. If I’m able to, I do a quick range check before a boss by lighting up a Prayer of Mending to ensure line of sight is not an issue. It’s a good tip for Alar when you’re not sure if the ledge the tank is standing on is going to interfere with your LOS heals. If your tank isn’t, a quick bark over vent should move them an inch or so over.

Have at least 2 people willing and able to handle the healing assignments.

Agreed. When I run my pickup Magtheridon, I make a deal with my partner. He runs the strats and I take care of the healing. He tells me whose tanking what, and then I pick out the healers who’re going to cover each tank.

In Carnage, our healers take it one step further. The raid leader puts up icons and calls out which tank is on which trash mob. Our healers take a more active approach and type in our healer channel which tank we’ll cover. Here’s an example for Hydross:

  • Resto Shaman: Raid
  • Holy Paladin 1: Water Tombs
  • Holy Paladin 2: Active Tank
  • Me: Active Tank
  • Holy Priest 2: Melee DPS
  • Holy Paladin 3: Elemental Tanks
  • Holy Paladin 4: Elemental Tanks

Active tanks refers to the one who is currently tanking the boss. Remember Hydross needs to be alternated between two tanks. This way, our healers are much more alert and everyone is accounted for. We have clearly defined our roles to ourselves and to each other.

You’ll need a way to do healing assignments. Here’s some common methods:
Macros – Easy, in-game, and nothing to download; this is what I use
Text File – WoW crash-proof, alt+tab then copy/paste into chat; Notepad, etc. (Watch for the multi-line limit)
Text Addons – Like a text file but in-game, good if you have 1k macros already; Notes (Is it still around? Can’t find it.), etc.
Assignment Addons – Fill out a form

Agreed. Typing it by hand sucks. Typing it again because someone was AFK sucks more. Personally, I use macros. Example:

/rw HEALING ASSIGNMENTS:
/rw —
/rw Tank 1: Healer A, Healer B
/rw Tank 2: Healer C
/rw Tank 3: Healer D
/rw Tank 4: Healer E
/rw Raid: Healer F and G

I mainly use this one for my own pickup raids on Mag and it spits out nice lines and alerts everyone.

Set up a healing channel to broadcast the assignments or use the Guild Info window if you’re an officer

Agreed. A typical channel name is GuildHeal or something. Just type /join GuildHeal and type / followed by the channel number. Usually it’s something like /5.

I like to change the color of all the text in the healer channel to something bright so that it stands out. To do this, right click on the tab above your chat window (General). Mouse over to Channels, then there should be a red square next to the name GuildHeal. Click the square and a color wheel should pop up. Drag the circle to any color you like.

Get set up to record your combat log and parse it via WWS.

Agreed. Post raid analysis is always important when you can’t seem to do a boss properly. You need to troubleshoot and diagnose the problems in order to fix it. For in game, I suggest an addon called Recount. I’m going to post an indepth guide to it later on in the week when I start accumulating some screenshots.

Well for the most part, it looks like we do agree and emphasize the same things (except for the first point). Knox’s healer is in Mount Hyjal. My Guild’s working on Kael. Who knows? Maybe I’ll radically change my views once I get into Hyjal.