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 (0%, 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?

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!

Assigning Healing Strategy – Part 4: Addons to Make Raid Life Easy

Assigning Healing Strategy – Part 4: Addons to Make Raid Life Easy

heal-assign

Welcome to the fourth in a 5 part series here on World of Matticus. For the next several weeks, I?ll be covering the rare topic of assigning raid heals. No one really wants to do it but it?s the most important job in the raid and I?ll provide a basic overview of the process and some advanced tips!

In case you missed it:

  1. Week 1: Recognizing Class Strengths
  2. Week 2: Double Shifting Your Healers
  3. Week 3: The Pivot Healer

Yeah I slacked off for two weeks. Bad thing to do when writing a series. But I have an excuse! We’ve called our raids until the start of the school year and I couldn’t very well post healing assignment stuff without actual screenies now could I?

When it comes to raiding addons, players will typically use one or the other. Most players would never dream of mixing and matching addons because it feels redundant, it’s a waste of system resources, and it would add to the overall general clutter of the screen.

For assigning healing, we are blessed with a wide variety of addons to make our life easier than healing a full T6 Prot Warrior with the Bulwark of Azzinoth carrying the flag in Warsong Gulch.

Anyway, there’s a multitude of healing assignment addons that we can use to help quarterback and direct our healers in raids.

But who says we’re restricted to only using 1?

Why not use more than 1 for different parts of the raid?

Before the days of addons and mods and all these funky gadgets that make our life easier, healing QBs used to rely on the tried and true method of pen and paper in order to organized their thoughts. After they’d come to a satisfactory list of who-heals-who, it would then be painstakingly macro’d and transmitted in game in WoW.

Thankfully, we don’t have to do that anymore. And now, onto the choices!

Heal Assign

Source: Curse

Pros
  • Lets healers assign themselves
  • Also allows raid leaders and assistants to assign healers accordingly
Cons
  • Requires everyone to download the addon
  • Command line interface, no GUI

Healing Assigner

Source: Curse

Pros
  • Really easy point and click interface
  • Assignments are saved in case of disconnect
  • Exports to Raid, Guild, Party, and custom channels
  • Can assign the same healers to multiple targets
Cons
  • Can be a bit tedious due to constant switching between bosses
  • Only 10 assignments can be dealt

Heal Organizer

Source: Curse

Pros
  • Drag and drop interface is a nice touch
  • Syncs with MT targets
  • Can assign Dispels if needed
  • Can save healing instructions for later recall
  • Allows people to whisper the heal QB if they forget their assignments (for shame)
Cons
  • Doesn’t seem to be able to handle multiple assignments for 1 healer
  • Requires MT targets
  • Up to 8 targets
  • Maximum of 4 healers per tank

Putting it to use

ho-1I did try using Heal Assign for a while but I quickly shelved it in favor of using Healing Assigner and Heal Organizer.

The two-addon method is especially effective in multi-stage encounters like Illidan and Leo. There are times when you have to change up the tanks or the tanks healers to adapt to the different parts of the fight.

If the bosses have been on farm for a while, then I’ll set up Heal Organizer for trash healing orders really quick. Note how Heal Organizer automatically pulls the list of tanks from the MT list. It saves you the effort of having to pick out specific targets. Each tank is limited to 4 healers. It doesn’t appear to be possible to assign crosshealers . For example, I am not able to assign myself (Mallet) onto Kimbo, Inscrutiable and Artillery.

The raid that this shot was taken in was a Gruul’s Lair pug. The total amount of possible healers we have 13. This is incorrect as we were packing 6 (or it might have been 7). The addon does not  differentiate between specs. In other words, you might end up having Ret or Prot Paladins as well as Feral Druids and Enhancement Shamans clogging up the list. You need to be aware of the individual specs that these players are in order to be effective otherwise your raid will be in a world of hurt (and surprise) when that Feral Druid is assigned to healing.

ha-1

The Gruul’s Lair example

Now that we get to the actual boss, things become a little more complexicated. I have to make sure there’s enough heals to go around. I need to make sure that the right tanks get the heals that are proportional to the amount of damage they take. I’ll end up stacking 2 – 3 healers on the MT (2 direct healers, and a HoT class). In this case, I picked a Priest and a Paladin to take care of our main tank (Kimbo).

The Shaman was going to be kited by 2 Hunters. Remember the Shaman boss only focuses on one target before he Polys the guy and peels off to another one. I assigned one Paladin to heal both Hunters (Khalis).

Our Mage tank, Sheeptoucher, would be healed by Stupyd, one of our other stronger healers. The rest were filled out accordingly.

The thing about using this mod is that you have to physically click and target members within the raid. Pick the healer first then press Set. Pick their assignment, then click assign. If no one is selected, it will default to either ‘Unassigned’ or ‘raid’. Between this and Heal Organizer, I use this mod more frequently as I’m given much more flexibility and control in what I need to do.

The inability for it to save certain profiles means I have to reconstruct from memory who I assigned to whom last week. That’s the one main criticism I have. It’ll end up taking me 3 – 5 minutes at a time per boss fight.

Tip: Start setting up your healers on the boss about 2-3 trash pulls before you get to the boss.

Raid chat

Here’s what the 2 mods look like when echoed in raid chat.

ho-2 ha-2
Heal Organizer

Includes a built in responder. When someone whispers you ‘heal’, it’ll automatically respond back with who they are supposed to heal. Warning: Feature may be subject to abuse by Huntards.

Healing Assigner

A lot more straight forward, Healing Assigner will simply spit whatever you throw in there out into raid. If someone forgets, you’ll have to hit the “Report” button to repeat their job again.

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