Cataclysm: The updated healing UI

Cataclysm: The updated healing UI

Spoiler warning (As if the title didn’t give it away)

Check out the updated default healing UI. Yes, this is the default UI. As in, the interface you get without any customization whatsoever. I queued randomly into Blackrock Caverns (took a while, but I managed to get in).

WoWScrnShot_073110_164355

What you see right now is actually the raid frames, not the party frames. I didn’t switch to party frames yet (I prefer my raid UI for everything and this is as close as I can get to it). First thing you’ll see is that the top left of each player has a little role icon.

Never again will I ever see the question “Who are the tanks?”

At least, I hope.

And yes, the red frame highlight shows who currently has aggro.

Yellow frame shows who I currently have selected. You can also move the frames around. I haven’t found out how to lock it in place yet.

WoWScrnShot_073110_164409

Now we’ve got some more action going on here. The healing combat text hasn’t changed much. My personal Renews appear on the bottom right. Haven’t shielded anyone yet.

If you look carefully at our tank, you can see a Frostbolt icon on the bottom left. I almost missed it. Things like debuffs that can be removed need to be made a lot more noticeable.

WoWScrnShot_073110_164309

Green bar shows approximate incoming heal amount.  I don’t know if that’s before or after any type of Mortal Strike debuffs or healing buffs.

That’s it for shots since I’m too busy trying to keep the group alive (Prayer of Healing was the next spell cast, believe me).

Then we wipe because I cast Guardian Spirit on the wrong Pally when some Ogres and stuff wander into us.

EDIT – Back in. Here’s more:

WoWScrnShot_073110_171750

Something that needs to improve on is the dispelling interface. It’s really hard to notice. You have to mouse over it in order to see what type of debuff it is. In the shot below, you can see a little red skull icon on the top right denoting a disease. The actual disease icon is then on the bottom left where you can mouse over and see what it actually is.

WoWScrnShot_073110_172054

I think a better solution would be to fill the entire player frame with the appropriate dispel color which states what type of debuff it is.

For example, if I get  hit with a Frostbolt, my background color could fill with a gradient blue which overrides my normal class color of white. That would make it extremely obvious I have a debuff. The actual debuff icon could still be on the bottom left.

Definitely very cool though.

Thoughts? If this continues to get developed and streamlined further, I might not have to use custom raid frames anymore.

Warning: Bad Targeting can Lead to Raid Deaths

Warning: Bad Targeting can Lead to Raid Deaths

targeting

"Great ability develops and reveals itself increasingly with every new assignment."

- Baltasar Gracian, The Oracle

I bet this is something not many healers even think about. I’m not here to talk about your raid frames or your raid UIs. They all represent the same thing (health bars).

But a good healer knows better then to simply rely on clicking health bars to heal or to target their fellow raiders.

Targeting methods

There’s two different ways to target your allies.

  • Raid frames: This is the method that just about every healer is familiar with. Simply put, you click on the player’s frame, and you hit the heal button.
  • Heads up: This method involves you directly clicking on the target on your screen. As in selecting their character model. It can take some practice to do. The reason why it’s called heads up is that you have to keep your head “up” on to the screen instead of glued to the frames.

Why should I care about the heads up method?

A fair question to ask. I can easily heal players at will by clicking on their frames, you might say to yourself. But if you keep your head up on the action, you can make an estimated guess as to who the next person to get hit will be. Or give the impression of having really fast reflexes!

It’s like being psychic and being able to to tell the future!

And in the end, being able to predict where the damage is about to go to can only make you a better player. Don’t pigeon hole yourself into using one method or the other. Learn when to use each one.

Allow me to illustrate.

Kel'Thuzad's room, phase 2 with a player ice blocked

This is Kel’Thuzad’s room. Specifically, we’re witnessing yours truly in action during phase 2. See that Ice Block? That is not a friendly one. Any player trapped within loses 104% of their health in 4 seconds. Note that it’s a percent not an absolute.

You have 4 seconds to react. Or else they die.

What’s faster?

Looking for the raid warning, running towards the player, targeting them in raid frames and then healing them? Or targetting the big chunk of ice in the middle of the screen and dumping spell after spell in a desperate attempt to keep them alive?

Your brain takes time to function. Sure we all make split second decisions and react accordingly. But in a situation like this, you take more time waiting for the cue and finding the player in your raid frames as opposed to just clicking the big blue block.

Why is that?

Because the less tasks that are involved in a goal, the faster the goal is achieved. The brain is an interesting part of our physiology and it takes time to “shift” between tasks.

But that’s an extreme example!

Okay, that’s fair enough. I did talk about trying to predict who would take damage and Kel’Thuzad is a bad example of that since it’s nearly impossible to predict ice blocks.

Let’s take a look at Sartharion’s fire walls.

His basic attack is that he sweeps that area from right to left and vice versa with a giant wall of fire that has gaps where your raid can hide.

If you have an absent minded raider or just a really slow person, you can reduce the damage they take. A quick Shield and a Prayer of Mending helps to ensure they live through the worse parts of it. Raid frames can’t exactly tell you that your absent minded raider is about to get slammed with a fire wall. But at least they’ll live through one this time due to your diligence.

Practice, practice, practice!

For some players, targeting heads up can be difficult. Perhaps their mouse sensitivity isn’t high enough or its too low. Maybe their screen resolution doesn’t allow for enough room. Maybe you just don’t have enough real estate or open room to click on stuff.

But trust me when I say that it is an awesome skill to learn to be able to run and gun heal your party. Practice healing while moving. Practice it from different zoom settings. Try it with the zoom as far away as possible and click on the little dots that is your party. Learn to work the mouse to angle around large player models or objects. PvP battlegrounds is a great place to practice heads up healing since you can tell who’s about to engage players within your area.

Try to activate health bars by pressing Shift V. This allows you see the health of your party as the bar is located above their characters in game.

Be diverse as much as possible in your targeting methods and you will go a long way toward being the best you can be.

Image courtesy of theRIAA

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.