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Archive for the ‘UI/Add-ons’ Category

I had one of those nights last night where I died a lot.  Died in the slag pot.  Stood in a hurricane and died and was b-rezzed and died again.  WTFpwned by flower adds on Freya.  

Dying always pisses me off, as I pride myself on a Disc Priest’s longevity and survivability.  I pride myself on not standing in the fire.  But even if I want to say “OMG, it wasn’t my fault,” I can’t simply pretend like deaths are okay, or blame the OT, or point the finger at other healers, or get upset that someone with a debuff didn’t GTFO, or whine about the injustices of RNG.  Well, I can… but it’s probably not the best method to improve one’s gameplay.

Using Combat Logs to Assess What Happened

While tools like WWS, WoW Meter Online, and Recount are seen primarily as ways to assess damage output, these actually give a lot more information about other aspects of a raid, in this case, damage input.  These reports allow you to drill down into the specifics of an encounter to see what/when/why/how you ended up a corpse.

  • Damage In / Damage Taken

khaelisucks5

  • Replay Death

khaelisucks2

  • Death Count

khaelisucks4

  • Who Died Early 

khaelisucks

Studying these reports will help you ascertain what killed you and hopefully will help you avoid future deaths.  Pro Tip:  Icicles fucking hurt.  

And now you know

And knowing is half the battle

And knowing is half the battle

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An aside:  I work in the educational technology field, and there is a bit of a war at my job right now between those with a traditional notion of marketing (the organization has the expertise and will disseminate it “top-down”) and those who wish to embrace new social media (people have the knowledge and we should help them share it among themselves).  I fall squarely in the latter camp — anti-authoritarian, blogger and twitterer that I am.  I appreciate the shift that our culture is making in knowledge creation and distribution.  The experts aren’t merely those whose voices are sanctioned by powerful institutions, but rather lots of folks have things — good, smart things — to say.

This is one of the reasons why I love the WoW blogging community:  there are lots of folks with good, smart things to say.  And by following the links from one site to another, I keep finding new blogs that are great resources and great reads.

My latest discovery:  The Munch Land

My main point:  Munchies has a post that links to a post (omg! see what I mean?!) on PlusHeal about Ulduar debuffs.  This information completes a post I made a while back about updating Grid for the new raid zone.

I’ll be adding the following to Grid when I get home from work tonight:

ironrootsIron Roots:  Immobilizes and inflicts 7863 to 9137 Nature damage every 2 sec. until freed.  (Freya/Elder Ironbranch)

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One of the things I used to most despise about respeccing my talents was having to redo all my action bars and keybindings to accomodate the new spec.  Thankfully, the dual-spec option remembers one’s layout, so the switch from Spec 1 to Spec 2 doesn’t require one to open one’s spellbook and reposition everything.

For me, however, switching between specs isn’t merely a matter of having a different set of buttons to mash.  I utilize several add-ons as a healer and these too must be altered.  Many add-ons allow you to set a profile, and in some cases, this is might be the easiest way to quickly move between the settings you need for Spec 1 and Spec 2:  Khaeli_Disc and Khaeli_Holy, for example.  

TellMeWhen is an add-on I’ve come to love and rely on.  It notifies you when spells are off cooldown and when buffs and procs are active.  I find it very useful for monitoring the cooldowns on certain heals; for reminding me to reapply Inner Fire; for notifying me when I have Borrowed Time (ok, duh, that one’s obvious) or Heroism or Surge of Light.  However, TellMeWhen does not have the option of setting profiles.  I wrote about this add-on — briefly — when I first was asked to switch specs to Holy, and some commenters asked for more details on setting it up.  As I’ve had to fiddle with it somewhat lately so that I can easily switch between Holy and Disc, this seemed like a good time to revisit the “How To.”

Access to the addon’s configuration is available two ways:  under one’s interface screen (via the Menu) or via /tmw.

tmw_interface

I use two icon groups on Khaeli:  Icon group 1 reminds me when I have certain buffs active.  Icon group 2 reminds me when the cooldowns are up on certain spells.  As you can see, you can dictate how many icons you want in each group and if you want them in rows and or columns and if you want them only shown in combat.

You’ll have to pardon some of these screenshots, I should interject here.  These were taken while waiting for the raid to fill last night.  But you can see here where my eyes are focused during most fights.  On the left is my Belkin layout.  (I use Clique for the spells you don’t see there:  cures, Penance, Flash Heal, PW:S, PoM)  Above my main action bar is TellMeWhen’s Group 2, cooldown notifications.  Then Grid.  To the right of Grid (not visible in this picture) is my Prayer of Mending tracker.  Then Quartz above that (with my target to the left of Quartz (also not pictured here) and target’s target to the right).  Above Quartz, TellMeWhen’s Group 1, buff notifications (this screenshot is in setup mode.  When active and locked, the icons display the appropriate image, not the clock you see here).  

setup21

As you can see, I have cooldown notifications for three spells:  Prayer of Mending, Penance, and Circle of Healing.  (The latter is a “?” in the above screenshot as I am currently Disc.  When I’m Holy, Penance becomes a “?”  Once you’ve locked the add-on, this “?” will disappear, so don’t fret.)  

To setup your buffs and spells, type /tmw.  Choose the name of the spell/buff/debuff  you’d like monitored, and whether you want the add-on to monitor whether it’s active (in the case of something like Surge of Light) or when its cooldown is up (in the case of something like Penance) or when it’s absent (in the case of something like Inner Fire).

penance21

sol21

As you setup TellMeWhen, I recommend establishing the icons that you need for your main and your offspec.  As you can see in the images above, even though I’m specced Disc, I have Surge of Light notification waiting in the wings; it’s just not enabled.  When I switch to Holy, I disable the notifications for Disc — disabling the icons for Borrowed Time and Penance — and enable the notifications for Holy — Circle of Healing, Surge of Light, Serendipity.  

Although admittedly, it’s a bit of an annoyance to have these extra steps — it’s not a push-a-button switch — it’s worth setting up these notifications in advance.  And hell, if you’re asked to switch to your offspec for an encounter, everyone can bloody well wait while you get yourself situated.

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Now granted, my knowledge of Ulduar is still quite limited.  I’ve only run the zone on heroic.  I’ve only experienced 7 fights.  I’ve only defeated 6 bosses.  But even so, I’ve already witnessed a couple of encounters that have caused me to reconfigure Grid.

I’ve written more in-depth instructions elsewhere, so I won’t go into too many details here.  But sufficed to say, if you are new to healing (as it’s your dual-spec, or you’re newly 80, or you’re new to raid-healing), I highly recommend you use some sort of healing add-on to help you better monitor the health, mana, HoTs, buffs, and debuffs of your raid members.  There are several add-ons you can use (Healbot, VuhDo), but I prefer Grid.

In Ulduar, several of the bosses I’ve fought thus far have abilities that target one or two raid members and that require healers respond instantly.  As with Kel’Thuzad’s Frost Blasts, players who are targeted take immense damage over a short period of time.  And while add-ons like Deadly Boss Mods can announce the victims to the raid and while people do typically holler this shit out in vent, if you’re like me — playing whack-a-mole with your unit frames — then your best bet for a quick reaction time is to have the indication show up there.

To open your Grid settings, type /grid config.

Go to the Status tab, then to Auras.  There you can Add New Debuff.

adddebuff
Although I doubt this is a complete list, here are the ones I’ve added so far:

slagpoticonIgnis the Furnace Maker
Slag Pot:  Charges a random target and incapacitates them, inflicting 5,000 (Heroic: 10,000) Fire damage every 1 second for 10 seconds. If the target survives, they will gained 100% (Heroic: 150%) haste for 10 seconds. 

lightbombXT-002 Deconstructor
Light Bomb:  Causes the target to inflict 2,750 (Heroic: 3,500) damage to other players within 10 yards every 1 second, for 9 seconds.
 

gravity-bombGravity Bomb:  Causes the target to spawn a Gravity Bomb after 9 seconds, which pulls other players within 20 (Heroic: 10) yards and inflicts 17,100 to 18,900 (Heroic: 19,000 to 21,000) Shadow damage. 


stonegripKologarn
Stone Grip:  Grabs 1-3 targets, incapacitating them and inflicting 3,700 to 4,300 (Heroic: 5,363 to 5,637) Physical damage every 1 second, until they are freed. The Arm can sustain 100,000 (Heroic: 480,000) damage before it releases its targets. 

Once you have added these debuffs to Grid, be sure to click on them and ensure they’re enabled.  You’ll also want to set their priority so that other settings don’t obscure them.  (For example, I have these “oh shit” debuffs set as a higher priority than the PW:S or DA icons).

 

slagpot

Finally, you need to determine where on your unit frames you want these debuffs to appear.  For me, it’s most noticeable if they show up as center icons.

centericon 

How and if you choose to assign healers to those who end up in Ignis’s pot or Kologarn’s grip is dependent largely on your raid composition.  But I would encourage all healers, regardless of whether or not you’re typically the one who handles this, to activate these debuffs on your unit frames. 

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So apparently Patch 3.1 will hit tomorrow.

Having complained about boredom with the end-game for quite some time, let me now complain that I feel totally unprepared.  I think part of this is due to Khrii’s recently achieving 80, and my desire to get her raid-ready while people are still, ya know, running Naxx.  But I really did think it’d be another week or so til we’d see the patch, and so tonight I feel like I’m sorta scrambling to get things in order.

OK, someone is clearly paying much more attention to Goldclover-gathering than me as the Howling Fjord has been herbed clean.  Back to work.

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As Tuesday’s respec left me rather flustered, I logged into Khaeli last night a bit earlier than usual so that I’d give myself plenty of time to review my new spec before our raid.  As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve used Power Auras for quite some time in order to track buffs (I initially downloaded it to indicate when the ol’ 10-minute Inner Fire had expired, but have since set it up to track the haste from Borrowed Time and the Egg of Mortal Essence).  I added the Surge of Light, Clearcasting and Improved Holy Concentration procs to Power Auras, and tried to give it some sort of color code that made sense and made learning these new abilities a bit easier:  a green circle around Khaeli meant a haste buff, a blue one meant a mana reduction.  (Here’s a great guide to the add-on, for those interested). I tested it by spamming heals on myself, but it just seemed to be a blur of color and rings, all indicating “zomg!  proc!” to which my response was still, after 24-hours of being Holy, “Wait, wut?”

So I tried a different add-on:  TellMeWhen.  While it has ostensibly the same function as Power Auras — it provides a visual display to monitor buffs/debuffs/cooldowns/procs — it uses the game’s icons rather than some other (albeit pretty) pattern.  I set up one bar right above my Quartz casting bar to watch for my new Holy procs, as well as the haste from the Egg trinket and Heroism.  I also created a bar to the left of Grid (where my eyes are most of a fight) to monitor the cooldowns for Circle of Healing and Prayer of Mending, as I’m still trying to get the feel for what buttons to push and when.

setuptellmewhen

Did it help during our Naxx run?  Blah, I dunno.  I have gone from feeling incredibly knowledgeable and well-geared as a Disc Priest to feeling like a button-mashing, mana-starved padawan noob.  

In other add-on news, I tried out Multishot as well last night.  It automatically takes a screenshot for boss kills and achievements.  I found it mildly irritating as the screenshot caused my PC to freeze for a split second (not good when the boss is dead but her adds aren’t, as in the Widow fight) and it seemed to fail at getting quality screenshots (each boss kill screenshot looks like a mess of scrolling combat text and raid frames but thankfully as we’re working on the Immortal achievement, no dead bodies).  So I have disabled it already.  Nonetheless it did manage to capture these moments:
safetydance Thanks to AT&T for (for the time being) fixing your damn servers so that I can raid Heigan without lagging into the green wall of doom.
epic
And thanks to Jurk for sending me the Gloves of Token Respect, granting me this achievement.  I can’t even give him Power Infusion any more, dammit, as some sort of quid pro quo.  But if I’m on raid heals, I guess I can heal him now?  Yay!

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In every twenty-five-man raid, you’ll have more than one member of a class along for the ride; there are only ten classes after all.  In most raids, you’ll also find multiple members of the same talent tree:  three arcane mages, two affliction warlocks, and a partridge in a pear tree. The plus-side of having two or more of a class in a raid can include taking turns using reagents, multiple mage-tables and summoning-stones, and extra battle rezzes.

While some buffs don’t stack (more than one Tree Druid doesn’t mean more than one Tree of Life Aura, for example), all heals do; and in general, when you bring lots of healers to a raid, the only noticeable downside is overhealing.  Two Resto Druids can roll Lifeblooms on the same target; two Holy Paladins can Flash Heal the same target.  However, a Discipline Priest is designed not so much to heal damage as to mitigate damage, and while heals stack, these mitigation tools do not.  Multiple Disc Priests are therefore not ideal.  (Not ideal.  Ha.  That’s me being restrained.  Multiple Disc Priests fucking sucks.  There.  I said it.)

  • Grace does not stack.
  • Divine Aegis does not stack (although 3.1 will allow one priest to stack DA up to 125*level of the target; I doubt that DAs from multiple priests will stack)
  • Power Word: Shield does not stack.
Of course, not everyone is going to min-max their raid composition, and sometimes — ideal or not — you will find yourself in a raid with more than one Disc Priest.  If respeccing to Holy isn’t an option for someone, then take these things into consideration:
 
1)  Who has more spellpower?
 
The Disc Priest with the largest spellpower will have the biggest heals (duh), but will also provide the largest shields.  (Borrowed Time increases the absorption of PW:S by 8% of your spellpower).  I have been asked by other Disc Priests “What’s your crit?” when trying to elbow me out of the tank-healing and into the raid-healing role.  But the important factor isn’t simply who crits more frequently — well, unless you’re comparing a healer with 10% crit and and one with 30% crit — but the impact those crits will have.  Although crit is desirable for Disc Priests as it procs Divine Aegis, crit is also desirable because it results in a 150% larger heal.   Regardless, crit is a percentage based chance; more spellpower provides more and more consistent throughput.
 
Hypothetical Situation is Hypothetical, with Math
 
Disc Priest 1 has a 30% crit rating and 2000 spellpower
Disc Priest 2 has a 20% crit rating and 2200 spellpower
 
They both hit Prayer of Mending twice, and all five charges results in heals.  With ten “heals,” Disc Priest 1 will crit 3 times and Disc Priest 2 will crit twice.  Assuming none of this is overheal (and remember, Divine Aegis will proc upon any crit, but it only absorbs based on the amount healed), Disc Priest 1 will place three bubbles on targets.  Disc Priest 2 will place two.
 
Disc Priest 1 has healed for 30544 and absorbed 1032 damage.  Total:  31576
Disc Priest 2 has healed for 30986 and absorbed 846 damage.  Total:  31832
 
Spellpower > Crit.
 
Of course, what you do with this knowledge and how you choose to assign multiple Disc Priests will likely be affected by the composition of the rest of the healer team.  If they’re all shamans, then two Disc Priests can heal the tanks.  If they’re all paladins, then make the healadins raid heal, the OP fuckers.  Regardless:  make sure you’re clear about heal and shield targets.  Do not shield someone else’s target(s).

2)  Who has buffs and debuffs?
 
Broken record:  I’m a huge fan of Grid as it can be setup to monitor any buff and debuff on the raid.  Regardless of whether your fellow priests are Disc or not, it is worth using Grid to track the Weakened Soul debuff (You can add it under the Auras tab).  I show Weakened Soul as an icon in the center of the raid frame so it is clear who is ineligible for a PW:S.  Grid can also be used to monitor your other buffs and procs:  Power Infusion, Pain Suppression, Grace, and Divine Aegis.
 
3)  Who has which glyphs?
 
Three Discipline Priests walk into a bar.  One has PW:S, Flash Heal, and Holy Nova glyphed.  One has PW:S, Flash Heal, and Prayer of Healing glyphed.  One has Smite, Fade, and Mind Control glyphed.  Priest 2 might be better suited in a melee group for group heals.  Priest 1 might be better suited in a caster group for group heals.  Priest 3 gets to wait outside at the Naxx summoning stone and MC flagged players off the edge.
 
4)  Who has Focused Will and Martyrdom talented?
 
/smack.  This person gets to go respec Holy told the raid is full.

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