Healing Addons and You 101 - Guide

- World of Warcraft
85 Tauren Paladin
6700
Hi there. My name is Practical and with this thread I'll try my hand at helping you - the new or seasoned healer of WoW with addons. This is my first thread like this, so any constructive feedback is welcomed. Be gentle, my tauren skin is fragile :p

I. General Questions
II. Places to Download Addons
III. As a healer, what addons should I use?
IV. Where do I PUT these addons?

I.General Questions

What is an add-on?

Simply put, it's something you add on to the default UI (and sometimes replace) to enhance gamplay.

Are add-on's necessary to heal?

Well, that depends on who you are. If you like to heal normal and heroic dungeons, not so much. If you're a hardcore raider, absolutely. At the end of the day though, add-on's are only there to assist you.

Do add-on's do my job for me?

In short: No. Add-on's are not there to do any job for you whatsoever. As a healer, its your job and your job alone to do what you have been assigned.

How are add-on's made? Can they harm my computer/game?

To make it easier to understand, addons are programs that are created with functions that are already in the game. Many utilize the popular and essential mouseOver command, such as Decursive, or Clique. I haven't encountered a 'bad' add-on yet. And I've used many.

How many add-on's should I have?

However many it takes to make you a comfortable healer and to assist you to satisfactory do your job.


II. Places to download Addons

There are many popular websites. You can always visit the UI & Macro forum found here: (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/1011693/) However if you’re looking for a more visual way to find add ons you can visit:

    Curse (www.curse.com)

    WoWInterface (www.wowinterface.com)

    WowAce (www.wowace.com)


Many of times, you can even use programs to search for addons, such as WoWMatrix (found at: http://www.wowmatrix.com/) or Curses’ very own Curse Client (found at: http://www.curse.com/client/)

These websites are used and are helpful as proxies to search and find the addons you need, use them!

Edit: Moderators, is there anyway to update this portrait with the correct one? Thanks!
Edited by Practical on 6/13/2011 10:24 AM PDT
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- World of Warcraft
85 Tauren Paladin
6700
III. As a healer, what addons should I use?

Before I continue, I want to stress that addons you “should” use will vary upon the person. I’m not here to *tell* you what to use, but rather make suggestions on things I find to be useful.

A. Cast Bar Addons.

As a healer, we need to be able to cast efficiently and on time. Sometimes we experience high latency issues which can effect our performance. Blizzard’s cast bar doesn’t show when you should clip (the act of casting, and then pressing another heal at the near the end of your initial cast to ‘clip’ latency problems) off to your next heal. These addons are sure to assist you minimize those latency issues, and provide much functionality as well:

    Quartz (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/quartz.aspx)

    eCastBar (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/e-casting-bar-for-wo-w-2-0.aspx)

    Gnosis (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/gnosis.aspx)


B. Raid Frames.

Raid frames are essential to being able to keep people alive. Clicking on actual characters doesn’t work, and sometimes default UI Raid frames can be bulky and take up a lot of real estate on your screen. Many healers have adopted the use of third party raid frames that can be customized to however you like to help them heal. Here are some of my favorites:

    Grid (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/grid.aspx)

    Vuhdo (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/vuhdo.aspx)

    Healbot (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/heal-bot-continued.aspx)


In junction with these raid frames, many healers use an addon called Clique, which allows them to set certain key bindings from their mouse so that whenever they “clique” a raid frame, it will correspond and follow with that heal. Clique is very customizable, and you can blacklist certain frames as well. It can be found here: http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/clique.aspx

C. Boss Encounter Mods.

Being in the middle of a fight and healing can get hectic. You can’t always afford to target a boss to see what he’s going to cast next. Then how do you know when Infest is about to hit the raid? How do you know when defile is casted on someone? Or when someone is mind-controlled? Thankfully we have addons that tell us the boss’s or encounters next move so that we can prepare for it. These are some of the more popular addons that are used for boss encounters:

    Deadly Boss Mods (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/deadly-boss-mods.aspx)

    BigWigs Boss Mods (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/big-wigs.aspx)

    Deus Vox Encounters (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/deus-vox-encounters.aspx)


D. Cooldown Timers

You’ve probably heard of the term “The Oh-%*@*” button. And likewise, it’s always important to know when these abilities come off cooldown. For example, I used to forget to use Aura Mastery. After a while I realized that it hindered my gameplay; I could be using AM more and becoming more functional to my raid! I asked myself how would I know when AM gets off cooldown, without me having to strain to look for it around my action bars. I found the answer in cooldown timer addons that tell me when my addons are ready to be used again. Addons, such as:

    ForteXorcist (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/fortexorcist.aspx) (My current favorite1)

    Sexy Cooldown (http://wow.curse.com/search/SearchResults.aspx?q=Sexycooldown)

    Inline Aura (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/inline-aura.aspx)
Edited by Practical on 12/5/2010 12:25 AM PST
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- World of Warcraft
85 Tauren Paladin
6700
Outside of these very four important facets of your UI, there are many other things that I or other healers could consider just as important. Things like:

    Buff frames (such as: http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/satrina-buff-frame.aspx)

    Action Bar addons (such as: http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/dominos.aspx)

    Damage/Healing meters (such as: http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/recount.aspx)

    Decursing Addons
(such as: http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/decursive.aspx)

Now honestly, you can do without them. But they are great tools that can make it very convenient for a healer to use!

IV. Where do I PUT these addons?

Positioning your addons is just as important as the addons themselves, and I find this to be a constant problem with my own UI. They key is to strike a balance between functional, and visually easy on the eyes because you generally want to stay away from having addons directly on your character. It can be a hassle.

That said, I like to start off by putting my raid frames such as Grid in the center, just below my character so that it doesn’t block anything. It allows me to quickly switch from frame to frame, and lay down some temporary buffs if needed.

I always have my boss encounter mod information to the left or right so that they aren’t in front of my toon, but have it set so that if anything important happens it’ll let me know at the top of my screen.

My cast bars are always near my portrait, whether if I have default portrait up or another addon (like Pitbull), it’s close to where I can see it. This is important because if you need to interrupt a mob, or determine if you can finish that cast before you get interrupted, you’ll be able to visually see when you can stop.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

At the end of the day, your addons and UI should be something *You* are comfortable with. I love my UI and addons now and you couldn’t convince me otherwise to change to another. When you are comfortable with your addon, you are become a better healer; you are aware of where everything is and you are maximizing your potential.

All in all, you should play the game the way you desire. This thread hopefully can help those who aren’t too familiar with healing cooldowns and help them adapt to something they might want to try. As always, thumbs up if you like it, and all constructive criticism and feedback will be listened to and applied. Thank you, and good luck!

Also, never forget to update your addons! They can generally be updated every Tuesday or so when servers restart. It's important to remember this as you don't want broken addons that look/act funny when a new patch comes out!
Edited by Practical on 12/14/2010 2:18 PM PST
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- World of Warcraft
85 Tauren Paladin
6700
(NEW!) Other Addons Recommended by other players:

Healer Buttons 3 (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/healerbuttons3.aspx)

Cast Donut (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/castdonut.aspx)

Healium (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/healium.aspx)

Power Aura's Classic - An intensive addon that allows you to be warned of any spell/proc that you get. Definitely worth looking at. (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/powerauras-classic.aspx)

WeakAuras - (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/weakauras.aspx)

IceHud (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/ice-hud.aspx)

GTFO (http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/gtfo.aspx)

Can't Heal You (wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/cant-heal-you.aspx)


Change Log:

8.10.2011

Added Weak Auras

12.08.2010

Added Decursive (don't know how I forgot about this addon, use it every day) to the list.

Added "Other Addons recommended by other healers," to avoid conflicting my opinions with those of others, at least that way everyone's perspective is representated. :)

12.14.2010

Added Power Auras Classic to the list. Sorry I haven't updated in so long. All hell has broke loose on the forums for healing.

1.6.2011

Added Can't Heal You to the recommended by players list.
Edited by Practical on 8/10/2011 12:46 PM PDT
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85 Blood Elf Priest
9815
<3 Addons are such a great tool for healers that I think get passed up on way too often. They can really only help you! Great guide :)
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85 Troll Druid
4620
Outstanding post.

/reported for sticky
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- World of Warcraft
85 Tauren Paladin
6700

<3 Addons are such a great tool for healers that I think get passed up on way too often. They can really only help you! Great guide :)

They are certainly handy, and absolutely something I recommend to everyone I can :)


Outstanding post.

/reported for sticky

Thank you so much!

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- World of Warcraft
85 Tauren Paladin
6700
Bump. Worked hard on this :p
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85 Troll Druid
1480
Well thought out and helpful. As a new healer I have yet to master my setup but have been using grid and healbot. I have clique but havent had time to set it up yet - a guide on that might be extra useful.

Some of the points seemed rather elementary to me (e.g. what is an addon?). Having said that I have been playing the game for four years. Good post.

EDIT: If you wanted to make an awesome guide you could make some youtube vids and incorporate those.
Edited by Solonge on 12/6/2010 10:39 AM PST
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72 Tauren Druid
1220
a note to mention mouseover macros + grid also ='s no click casting

gtfo is an addon that helps when things get hectic - some purists might balk at the idea of an addon barking at you when the floor turns to flame but anything that helps my reaction times is good in my books

/bump
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- World of Warcraft
85 Tauren Paladin
6700
12/06/2010 10:37 AMPosted by Solonge
Well thought out and helpful. As a new healer I have yet to master my setup but have been using grid and healbot. I have clique but havent had time to set it up yet - a guide on that might be extra useful.

Some of the points seemed rather elementary to me (e.g. what is an addon?). Having said that I have been playing the game for four years. Good post.

EDIT: If you wanted to make an awesome guide you could make some youtube vids and incorporate those.


I made the guide with new healers in mind. That seems to be the step that Blizzard is taking so I figured with Cataclysm that a lot of new healers would be showing up.

And I will make those YouTube videos, I've yet to come up with a name/what I'd put on it but I know it'll be centralized around healing tips and tricks.
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90 Blood Elf Paladin
11560
I healed TBC 25-mans without any addons, and I wouldn't suggest it to anyone.

No addons, no macros, no focus target. I dragged out the Blizzard raid frames and healed by clicking on a target, clicking a heal button on my default action bars, then clicking my next target. It worked wonders for my hand-eye coordination, but it just got tiring.

I downloaded Clique and Grid for Wrath, set up some focus macros for Beacon and SS, and healing was suddenly so much more enjoyable. Been healing ever since, and I don't plan to try anything above 5-mans without these addons.
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- World of Warcraft
85 Tauren Paladin
6700
12/06/2010 10:43 AMPosted by Cuan
a note to mention mouseover macros + grid also ='s no click casting

gtfo is an addon that helps when things get hectic - some purists might balk at the idea of an addon barking at you when the floor turns to flame but anything that helps my reaction times is good in my books

/bump


Thanks! I think you've also given me an idea for another section, we'll see. Also. I hate replying last. Makes it look like perpetually bumping myself :(

I downloaded Clique and Grid for Wrath, set up some focus macros for Beacon and SS, and healing was suddenly so much more enjoyable. Been healing ever since, and I don't plan to try anything above 5-mans without these addons.


That's great to hear. I'm glad you find them worth using ;)
Edited by Practical on 12/6/2010 10:58 AM PST
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85 Troll Druid
1480
12/06/2010 10:43 AMPosted by Practical
I made the guide with new healers in mind. That seems to be the step that Blizzard is taking so I figured with Cataclysm that a lot of new healers would be showing up.

And I will make those YouTube videos, I've yet to come up with a name/what I'd put on it but I know it'll be centralized around healing tips and tricks.


I suggest the vids because a while back a mage( forgot name) made an excellent post about 'how to pvp' which included vids and an explanation of how to setup mods to be useful. It remained a sticky on the pvp forums for ages. And mightily improved my pvp performance.

You might start off by suggesting mods, explaining their setup and showing how they can be useful. Perhaps even throwing in some healing encounters and your use of the addons. If I remember rightly the previously mentioned mage split up his vids into different chapters.

Indeed, I am no slouch when it comes to technology but learning new mods can sometimes be daunting if they have a complicated and undocumented interface.

:)
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- World of Warcraft
85 Tauren Paladin
6700
12/06/2010 11:15 AMPosted by Solonge
12/06/2010 10:43 AMPosted by Practical
I made the guide with new healers in mind. That seems to be the step that Blizzard is taking so I figured with Cataclysm that a lot of new healers would be showing up.

And I will make those YouTube videos, I've yet to come up with a name/what I'd put on it but I know it'll be centralized around healing tips and tricks.


I suggest the vids because a while back a mage( forgot name) made an excellent post about 'how to pvp' which included vids and an explanation of how to setup mods to be useful. It remained a sticky on the pvp forums for ages. And mightily improved my pvp performance.

You might start off by suggesting mods, explaining their setup and showing how they can be useful. Perhaps even throwing in some healing encounters and your use of the addons. If I remember rightly the previously mentioned mage split up his vids into different chapters.

Indeed, I am no slouch when it comes to technology but learning new mods can sometimes be daunting if they have a complicated and undocumented interface.

:)


Thanks for the feedback. I'm going to write all this stuff down so that I can start working on them. A How-To on Grid would be awesome. Thanks for the ideas!
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66 Undead Priest
920
Thanks for the guide! I am back after a long break, so it is nice to have a list of addons that a lot of folks seem to like. Though it is pretty amazing how much more the default UI has in it since last time I played :)
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85 Blood Elf Priest
6855
There's a lot of "How To Grid" videos already out there, as well as forum posts, blogs, etc. I'd link to good ones but I'm not sure I'd spend a large amount of time making my own. (Unless you have time to kill, in which case more power to you!)

This is a pretty neat guide, so I reported for sticky. Thanks for your hard work here, it's greatly appreciated. I think Healium is also another raid frames/healing addon, just FYI. Haven't used it, but I'm getting tired of redoing Grid settings when isht hits the fan so I might downsize. No, I don't like Vuhdo and Healbot gets buggy. Thanks again. :D
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- World of Warcraft
85 Tauren Paladin
6700
Thanks! /shamelessbump
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85 Draenei Shaman
4845
You might cope some flack for the "if you raid they are necessary" bit, but I agree :)

Good intro to the idea of addons. A couple notes:
Regarding addons being potentially harmful, it's extremely unlikely. Blizzard goes to extraordinary lengths to control the environment addons are run in, and the API they give you access to.
In general, when adding something in terms of meta-programming might also involve a security risk, they will not implement rather than risk it.

Some addons worth suggesting imo are tellMeWhen, even more so than powerAuras imo, and/or Parrot if you want an extremely simple and explicit warner/tracker.
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