How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: The UI

You have your gear (note that the gear post is somewhat outdated) and reforging in mind and you’ve picked out the Talents and Glyphs you want to start with. You’re ready to start pressing buttons!

Almost.

Before getting to the pressing buttons part, I want to make sure your UI (User Interface) needs are met. To heal effectively you want a proper interface. One that tells you what you need to know yet cuts down on useless, overwhelming information.

A good healer knows exactly what’s happening to each person in the raid at all times as well as what their own character is doing, while following the fight.

The key to that, friends, is a proper UI.

What to Add to the Addon Shopping List?

Here’s a screen shot of my UI (click on it on few times to make it bigger). This is obviously just an example and you are free (in fact, I encourage you!) to use your imagination to build your own interface.

raidui

1- Raid Frames

You want to see what’s going on in your raid. The more popular frames for healing are VuhDo, Healbot, Grid and Grid2. Shown in the above picture is Grid2.

Grid and Grid2 require an extra addon if you want to use the mouse to interact with the frames (Clique is the only one I’m aware of). The original Grid may require extra addons to track certain buffs and debuffs as well. For an elaborate breakdown of the major frame addons, check out Grimmtooth (the series may be a little outdated but the general gist is there).

Having tried all of the popular healing frames, I found them equally good, so go with whichever you find prettiest or whichever your friends use (so it’s easier to get answers if you have questions).

As a Holy Paladin, you want to track:

- Your Beacon of Light as well as the Beacons of other Holy Pallies in the raid (indicated separately)
- Eternal Flame
- Sacred Shield (If you are using the spell, otherwise it is optional)
- Your Illuminated Healing (Optional – nice to have but may be overwhelming)
- Range (Fade out at 40 yards)
- Aggro (Optional but helpful)
- Rezzed but not yet taken the rez (Called Resurrection on Grid2. Most players don’t track this, but I find it super helpful.)
- Fight specific buffs and debuffs (Such as Pungency on Garalon)
- Magic, Poison and Disease debuffs (Curse debuffs can be shown separately if desired)

As a side note, in the screenshot you can see the tanks on the default WoW frames. I do this in LFR to keep track of who the tanks are. I would hide the default frames in a guild raid.

2- Bar Organizer

The popular addons are Bartender 4 (shown in screenshot) and Dominos.

A good bar organizer will keep your game from vomiting buttons all over your screen. If you look closely, you can see my keybound abilities on the bottom (I rebound my movement keys to ESDF and use the surrounding keys to tap abilities) and my cooldowns (mostly) on the top. My mounts, professions and others are faded out to the right of my main bars, my seals are to the left, and my system buttons (Raid Finder, Raid Journal, Character, etc) are to the top left (hidden behind the WoW frames on the screenshot).

(The screenshot was taken during a time of winter cleaning so the layout isn’t ideal – there are a couple of suboptimal buttons and even an empty space. I am still working on perfecting my bars, so please don’t copy the screenshot.)

Ideally, I would have my cooldowns larger and more in the middle of my screen, but there are so many cooldowns and so little room on the screen. I’ve just gotten in the habit of glancing at my CDs as part of my regular screen visual sweep.

3- Personal Frames (Heads Up)

While you can keep track of yourself using your raid frames, many of us find it easier to track ourselves separately. I use mine for mana and Holy Power (it shows health too, but out of habit I tend to look at my raid frames for my health).

Shown in the picture above is IceHUD, but there are a lot of options to choose from. Once again, the awesome Grimmtooth has reviewed and cataloged the main ones (again, may be a little outdated but still relevent, see Grimmtooth’s comment on this post for some updates).

I have the bars set to fade out of combat so they are hard to see, but in the left circle is my mana bar, my health bar and my pet bar (not shown). On the right side, if I had a target, you’d be able to see my target’s health and mana.

In the bottom circle is my Holy Power bar. I love the location – right on my character, above my healing frames. I always know how much Holy Power I have!

Even if you choose not to use frames for yourself, you will have to track Holy Power near the center of your screen somehow. The tiny bar at the top left of the screen is too out of the way. You’ll waste a lot of time if you extend your visual sweep all the way up there just to look at your Holy Power.

4- Scrolling Battle Text

Some players will say this is optional, but I can’t play without battle text. On the rare occasion that my addon crashes, the difference in my healing output is noticeable.

I use MikScrollingBattleText (you can’t see it in the shot since I wasn’t doing anything at the time) and I have used Parrot in the past as well.

There are a lot of cool things you can do with your battle text, such as sounds for when your cooldowns come up, or when you have 3 Holy Power. You can also use it (mostly) out of the box, to keep an eye on your numbers or to notice when Beacon isn’t transferring heals.

5- Pally Power

Pally Power is truly optional, but I find it helpful for rebuffing after a rez or swapping a Seal. And it’s so small and cute that it doesn’t cause me any problems.

6- Combat Log

Not an addon, but a valuable part of an interface.

I love my Combat Log so much that I moved it to the right side of my screenkeep, separating it from my chat box. You can customize your Combat Log, but Blizzard has done a really good job fixing it up so that the default “What happened to me?” is all you really need.

It’s fantastic for diagnosing deaths (nothing sets me off more than people who don’t know what killed them…the Combat Log SPELLS IT OUT TO YOU DUMBASSES /fume), verifying damage type (physical/shadow/nature/etc) and seeing if the raid healers are slacking.

A Note on the Addon-Free School of Thought

Occasionally you’ll come across healers who refuse to use addons, for a variety of reasons. What they might not tell you, though, is that, if they are successfully healing in a competitive raid environment, they’re using other aids, like macros and optimized keybindings. If you choose to use macros instead of addons (addons are essentially, after all, pretty and precoded macros), you can heal well, however I won’t be able help you.

If you’re hesitant about adding to your game, think of it this way: designing an interface that’s both pleasant on the eyes (you’ll be staring at it a lot, it needs to be sexy) and informative is a skill in itself.

Building a super efficient UI does not take away from your talent as a player. Rather it highlights your ability by reflecting your understanding of the game and of your personal playstyle. A bad player who doesn’t know where or what to look for won’t be able to build a proper UI.

So stop worrying and start addon shopping.

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13 Comments on “How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: The UI”

  1. Joe Ego Says:

    I’m always surprised to hear how many paladins don’t track Beacon, SS, or similar spells in their raid frames. I don’t understand what good an aura or timer does if you can’t even tell which player has your buff(s).

    For logging I’ve enjoyed using Death Note, which gives a view of the last seconds of every players deaths. I also like running Loggerhead, which toggles combat logging on a per zone basis automatically.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I’ll check out Loggerhead. It’s a pain to always remember to turn on/off combat logging. Now that I’m in a guild, personal logging is less crucial, but last raid they did miss a fight I really wanted to review.

      Is Death Note that addon that points out death in raid chat? I love that. Which reminds me that Recound and Skada also have a death option if you want to browse other people’s deaths.

      • Joe Ego Says:

        The only issue with combat logging is remembering to clear and/or upload regularly. Dealing with an overly large file is a real pain.

        If you’re looking for a death announcer then try something like Ensidia Fails or RaidBuffStatus. Death Note (http://www.curse.com/addons/wow/deathnote) gives a more complete view and can be a lot more helpful when dealing with failures to mechanics which don’t cause immediate death such as lack of healing, unmitigated Thrash attacks, or failing a near-death mechanic but dying to something unavoidable shortly afterward. The screenshot at the Curse page is really useful.

        I moved from Power Auras to Weak Auras for HuD-type information, including Holy Power.

        • Ophelie Says:

          Everyone is all “Yay Weak Auras!” but I can’t find a use for them. I didn’t like Power Auras because it took weird programing to show flashy lines that I could never remember what they mean while my other addons showed me the same information more clearly and right out of the box. I’m told Weak Auras is easier to program but I can’t find anything to track that my addons don’t do already.

          Does it show mana and boss hp and cast bar?

          • Joe Ego Says:

            It can, but I use it for notifications and alerts. A lot of this can be done with a combat text mod or a timer/cooldown mod or a buff/debuff mod or a boss mod. I just got used to the notification style and have continued to repurpose the addon for other things. I never got into OmniCC or ForteXorcist or MSBT.

            My strings are all posted now and I’ll be maintaining and prettifying the page. http://joeego.wordpress.com/weak-auras/

  2. Talarian Says:

    I don’t track Beacon myself, but I’ve got a fantastic memory for the last person I cast it on, and since it doesn’t expire, I’m not terribly concerned. I usually have my primary tank that I’m healing focus targetted so I can see if he has Eternal Flame/Sacred Shield up (depending on which I’m using). I use X-Perl for my raid frames, and mouse-over macros for my spells, X-Perl’s big weakness is definitely not being able to track Eternal Flame casts. I love it for just about everything else though.

    I love me some Dominos, though. I don’t know how anyone heals with Blizzard’s default action bars. They’re awful, and trying to override keybinds is an exercise in frustration and tedium without an addon.

    Question, what addon did you use for the Holy Power bar specifically? I would love to have one of those near my feet. I usually keep my raid frames in the upper left so I usually don’t have an issue around seeing how much Holy Power I have, but having another reminder would be great.

    Great post! In Ulduar I healed without any addons at all, just mouse-over macros (I didn’t even have DBM!), and sure I kicked butt at it according to my friend’s logs, but my healing improved significantly by optimizing my UI to give me the info I need when and where I need it. Blizzard designs raids under the assumption that you’re using addons (at the very least DBM), so addon-less healing is really just self-defeating for no reason.

    • Ophelie Says:

      That’s IceHUD!

      My obsession with Beacon tracking dates back from when Beacon did expire, but I still find it useful. Most of the time, it’s more to track other Paladin’s Beacons – I like knowing exactly what the rest of my team is doing so I can make efficient decisions. But self tracking does catch mistakes, such as accidentally hitting Beacon on the wrong player, or the cast not going off as I try to switch Beacons. Technically my battle text would tell me, but I’d like to catch a faulty Beacon early than that.

  3. grimmtooth Says:

    Wow, that unit frame article of mine (thanks for the link!) is a bit long in the tooth! Fortunately, most of what we can say about those addons is still true, except if they’re still having Pet Happiness issues, they probably have bigger problems to boot :)

    One thing I can back off of is that Shadowed Unit Frames is no longer suffering huge issues like it was. Either it was picked up by someone or Shadowed started playing again. At any rate, I’m using it again and have been since MoP caused some initial problems with Pitbull. Small memory footprint, but doesn’t support raid-unit-target frames still, which may matter to a DPS but not to a healer (usually).

    One thing to point out is that Grid2 is not in that overview. I had thought it had been abandoned at the time. I should check it out on my healer, at least.

    I didn’t cover oUF or its derivatives, either, but I think it’s more a UI replacement than a unit frame replacement, so I’m not being too hard on myself. Once I learn to understand oUF, I may change my mind :)

    The HUD overview is even older, but I can cut to the chase: I’m back on IceHUD. When you have a lot to do, convenience matters, and Ice is *very* convenient.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I update the post the say that the series might be a little outdated but still awesome.

      I’ve been on IceHUD since I discovered it. It’s been so easy to use and so helpful that I never bothered trying anything else.

  4. Shy Says:

    I cannot stand huds personally, I always get distracted by them >_<

    Also, I use the standard raid frames with clique. I find that grid takes a while to get it all correctly set up, and then renewing mist is still a pain in the ass to follow.

    Standard raid frames just seem to get it mostly right without me having to fiddle with it, or it breaking with patches.

    Raid frames at the bottom is also something I have tried, since so many people kept being all woah about it. But I just keep missing stuff under my feet when I have it there and dying in fires. So instead I have it off to the left of my character (I do raid 10's so a little less space needed).

    Once people start messing with addons I can advise minimapbutton bag (or something like it), this addon gathers up all your other addons from the minimap and places them all in a neat frame together.

    For most things that I have to keep track off I use weakauras with quite subtle reminders.

    Good post though!

    • Ophelie Says:

      Default frames? Blasphemy!

      Actually, I haven’t tried them in a long time. They might have improved since then. At the time they were ugly, big (even if you only do 10s, there’s still LFR, Alterac Valley and Sha) and you couldn’t customize tracking.

      You would think that having the raid frames under your feet would help with fires since it makes your visual sweep so much smaller. It’s like frames-fire. The side is so far away from my feet that I wouldn’t be able to bring my eyes from there to me feet fast enough to avoid stuff on the ground.

      A lot of people use an addon to lift the screen too, so that frames and bars are separate from the play area, but having played my first 6 years of WoW on a laptop, I don’t like making my screen even smaller.

  5. Malva Says:

    I want to second the recommendation for Death Note.

    It’s really fantastic. Lightweight, easy to use and I love the way the information is displayed.

    When the raid leader asks someone why they died, as they’re struggling to come up with a good answer, I’m always the one piping in: took 245k dmg from this thing and had been at half health for the previous 10 seconds.

    • Ophelie Says:

      That sounds brilliant!

      The guild I’m currently raiding with has a leader with one of those addons that posts deaths in raid chat (which is lovely), otherwise I would look into it for myself.


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