So, a continuation of the previous post, we continue with the discussion regarding addons, and how they can be beneficial to you as a healer, and moreover, as a raider in general. Again, though, as a reminder, this is not a tutorial, and assumes you know about how to install and configure addons. As I said before, I do plan to write some addon tutorials, but this isn’t the post for that.

To start, I’m actually going to continue regarding cooldown timers. However, this is actually regarding cooldowns for your other raid members, and believe it or not, there are actually a number of ways that you can keep track of this. These ones, however, are not as major as the previous post, but still extremely helpful to have for various reasons. Definitely, I would recommend addons of this sort for anyone.

Raid Cooldown Timers

There are actually numerous ways to do this, but the best ones available are DBM Spell Timers (only works if you run Deadly Boss Mods) and oRA3 (which is standalone). Personally, since I use BigWigs, I run oRA3 (which also has some other useful tools for raid leaders). With this, I can keep track of just about every possible cooldown I’d ever want to check (with the exception of Bloodlust, which never seems to want to save…). I digress. These basically give your raid cooldowns visual bars, similar to boss timers, that you can customize so that you’re able to check and see what’s on cooldown, what needs to be used, etc.

However, there are a couple other things that you can do, too. One of the ones I use is GridStatusTankCooldowns. I’m not familiar with other raid frames, but I’m sure that others like VuhDo, Healbot, and others can track these as well. But this lets me know when it’s safe to use Guardian Spirit, so I’m not overlapping, say, Ardent Defender, or not using it when it’s pointless because Shield Wall is up. The other one is actually ForteXorcist, with the ForteSoulstone module enabled. It’ll track Reincarnation, Rebirth and Soulstone (and it still “tracks” Divine Intervention, even though it no longer exists… something left over from pre-Cataclysm).

While the second set is more healer- and warlock-oriented (soon to be death knight, too), the former is extremely useful for other classes, for various reasons. It allows you to coordinate Bloodlusts/Time Warps (helpful for enhancment shaman wolves and healing priest Shadowfiends which benefit from Bloodlust separately, and mutliple Bloodlusts can be used specifically for these purposes), interrupt rotations, tanking cooldowns, healing cooldowns, and even other things. Say you’re a class leader for mages, as an example. You want to make sure all your mages are using Flame Orb (as an example) correctly, so you enable Flame Orb in your oRA3 tracker, and you can check and make sure that it goes on cooldown when it’s supposed to.

Buff timers

I don’t really mean things like Elkano’s or Satrina’s. I mean something that can visually or audibly alert the user to buffs or debuffs when either they are on, or when they are off. There are many, many of these addons, such as Prayer of Mending Tracker, DoTimer, Quartz, and others. My personal favorite (again, aside from ForteXorcist, which is an amazing HoT/DoT/buff/debuff bar-style timer) is Power Auras Classic. You can add various buffs and debuffs (along with timers) in an aura fashion, similar to the default aura notifications that are in-game for things like Brain Freeze or Daybreak procs.

However, this can also notify you of other things, too. One of the things I use is for my Jar of Ancient Remedies proc, Inner Eye. I have an aura that alerts me how many stacks of the buff I have, and how long is left on it. For shadow, I have a separate aura to let me know when I have three Shadow Orbs. Or my shaman, I have yet another one to let me know when I have 9 Lightning Shield charges when elemental, or when my Earth Shield is not on a target when restoration. Power Auras Classic is an extremely versatile addon, with one pitfall – it can be CPU-intensive. I don’t know of any more lightweight type addons that can perform the same type of function, but it’d be great to know.

Action Bars

Action Bars are absolutely awesome. A lot of times, I find that I just don’t have enough action bar spots to do everything I need – particularly with my paladin, warlock and priest. It used to be the case with shaman, too, but then there was the advent of the separate totem bars and single-cast totemic calls. Still, since shortly after I started playing, my first addon short of DBM was probably Bongos. It broke for a while, I went to Bartender2. That broke, I went to Dominos (the newer iteration of Bongos). I haven’t used Bartender3 for long, but I didn’t really care for it personally due to the customization options just not suiting what I needed. But there are a lot of people that do use Bartender3 and make it work for them, which is good.

The best part about action bar addons is that they allow you to move around your action bars and resize them, change opacity, and all kinds of other things. Personally, I base my UI around my raid frames, as those are the most important part of the UI for me as a healer – I absolutely must be able to see raid frames. My action bars are usually centered around the raid frames, so I can access them quickly. On my priest, most of them have a lower opacity when I’m not mousing over them so as not to distract from what I’m doing, and so I can see the floor through the action bars and make sure I’m staying out of the fire and in the healing circles. But one bar I have set to full opacity very close to my raid frames, with items that I click on, such as potions, food and water, and Inner Fire/Inner Will since I don’t use them often. This makes it very versatile in how you set up your interface, and makes it infinitely more customizable.

Unit Frames

Unit frames are different from raid frames. We covered raid frames in the last post, but unit frames are something else entirely. Essentially, this allows you to move around your player frame, pet frame, target frame, etc., and customize it. Right now, I’m using Shadowed Unit Frames, but I’ve also previously used Pitbull4, Pitbull3, XPerl and Stuf. What this does is allow you to move your unit frames closer to your raid frames. This allows you to keep track of your health, and power – be it mana, rage, energy, focus, runic power, runes, holy power and lunar/solar energy (did I manage to cover them all?).

While I personally use actual unit frames, another popular option is heads-up displays, or HUDs, more commonly seen in FPS games. I’m not a fan of these personally, but there are a lot of people that really do like these types of displays. So there’s a lot of options out there to make information that you need to have at your fingertips, closer to your fingertips.

Meters

The last general addon type I’ll cover for now is meters. There’s two different kinds of meters – damage meters, and threat meters. Both are good to have, and for numerous reasons. Damage meters are good, but they’re more than just an e-peen statistic. There’s so much information in damage meters, like damage taken, healing taken, dispels, deaths (with logs), mana gained, and all kinds of other things. This is really important information to know, and allows for a lot of on-the-fly information gathering when logs aren’t available on World of Logs or WoW Meters Online, and can prove to be an invaluable tool for you and your raid.

The other one is almost necessary for DPS – threat meters. Omen is by far the top threat addon, though I believe there are several others available as well (I’ve used Omen since KTM broke back in BC). This is important for DPS (and paladins of all kinds, due to Hand of Salvation), but less so for healers, to ensure that you are not pulling aggro from your tanks, which is extremely important. You certainly don’t want Nefarian looking at you and then breathing on your raid.

When I revisit addons and such, I think I’m going to talk about macros and Clique (not that I use Clique, but it’s very useful, and a lot of people like it). But for now, I think I’ve covered everything I think is important, and my top recommendations for addons in general.