In which Turkelife becomes a mouse-over healing convert.
Following on from my earlier post about my changing healing UI the evolution has continued and is starting to settle at a new steady state. This is one of my usual rambles about where I came from where I ended up and some reasoning behind the changes.
For about the last year i’ve been raiding fairly regularly as a healing priest (mainly discipline). From my very first Obsidian Sanctum 25 PUG with Questionable Content I realised that being a healer and only being able to see my own party was a bad thing in raids. Yes I was a complete nub once.
So a bit of research led to Grid (I never looked at Healbot to tell you the truth) and soon after Decursive. These were set up and for most of a year I clicked a Grid target cell with the left mouse button and used a combination of number keys and a few mouse clicks on buttons to cast spells. With a global cool down of about 1.5 seconds changing targets by clicking next target in Grid was never really an issue. I read all the forums and wise bloggers pontificating about the superiority of mouseover healing and Clique casting, but I never really saw the point. Click target and press key healing worked fine.
I’ve never really had separate raid frames of any type other than what I call healing frames (Grid) which I use for targeting my heals. I used and loved Decursive for dispelling magic and abolishing disease.
Then my protection warrior happened. He had about as many buttons to push as my priest healer, but he spammed them even more. I also discovered Power Auras. I read somewhere about binding Heroic Strike to the mouse wheel to make it easier to use and this got me thinking. Perhaps I could bind Shield Slam and Revenge, two of a protection warriors main abilities, to the mouse wheel and use Power Auras to track the cool down? I did and it worked brilliantly.
After a while I realised I didn’t miss zooming in and out with my mouse wheel and figured I could put it to get use on my healer. Because healing requires a lot of target switching, left clicking to target and then rolling the mouse wheel felt clumsy, so I figured i’d better have a look at mouse over healing.
It was love at first sight.
I’m using Grid to provide all of my raid information. Its simple, clean and I can easily control the information displayed. I have Grid positioned below the feet of my toon, which makes it easy to see both it and the position of my character at the same time. Most of my Grid setup can be seen in this post. I’ve since added GridIndicatorSideIcons also. This is my a basic overview of my setup:
- Top left of cell – Red dot if the target has agro
- Top center – Icon of save buffs (Pain Suppression, Guardian Spirit, Shield Wall, etc). This icon is fairly large (partially obscures character name) to make it obvious.
- Top right – White dot when target has Power Word: Shield buff. Also yellow when target has Weakened Soul debuff. The priority of the Weakened Soul debuff is low than the Power Word: Shield and so can’t been seen when there is an active shield.
- Middle left – A blue dot when target has low mana (this actually isn’t that useful).
- Middle right – A green dot for Renew
- Bottom left – Pale green dot for incoming heals
- Bottom centre – Icon for debuff type magic and debuff type disease. These are quite large also. Magic has a light blue border and disease a purplish border. Magic is a higher priority than disease as it is usually more important to remove.
- Bottom right – Blue dot for Prayer of Mending
- Centre text – Unit name
- Centre text 2 – health deficit, if greater than 10% of total health, in red text. Also custom boss debuffs as coloured text for the important boss debuffs such as Jaraxxus’ Incinerate Flesh and KT’s Frost Tomb. These are higher priortity than the health deficit because they are very important information.
That’s it. This is sufficient information to get the job done. Oh, the background of the cells is in class colours and empties as the players health decreases.
Stuff that I don’t display intentionally includes:
- Grace – I’ve never seen a reason to track this, other than because you can. Ditto for Renewed Hope.
- Divine Aegis – I have no direct control of this buff. Knowing who has it has no value.
- Prayer of Mending bounces and duration – Who has it after the first target, how much it has healed for and its remaining duration is low value information. Healing after the first target is a bonus only. I used to use Prayer of Mending Tracker addon, but found the information provided very little benefit.
- Druid HoTs – If i’m assigned to a tank i’m not going to wait for HoTs to do their job. They are only additional throughput. If i’m raid healing i’m shielding, which is more-or-less unrelated to HoTs, or if a raiders health needs topping up because it’s dangerously low – see tank assignments.
- Raid buffs including fortitude and spirit – Displaying this in my raid frames is not going to make me heal better. Absence of fortitude may have some small value, but I don’t track it. As a healer I have a general idea of who has died recently and can throw single buffs on them. Mostly we’ll rebuff before a boss anyway.
As you can see i’ve got magic and disease debuffs displayed as icons in Grid. This is because I no longer use Decursive. The description of what was inflicted on the target was kinda useful, but I found once I’d seen a fight a couple of times I barely looked at it. In fights with complex/many afflictions, such as Faction Champions, it was of some value, but I found myself using the icon for identification anyway.
I’ve also converted all of my healing spells to mouse over macros. I believe there are a number of addons which can make this easier, but I just got one working as I wanted it and then duplicated it for each of my heals, including Dispel Magic and Abolish disease. It wasn’t that hard once I set my mind to doing it. Example macro:
/cast [target=mouseover,help] [help] [target=targettarget,help] [ ] Renew
This casts Renew with the following target priority order. Cast on my mouse over target if they can be healed, otherwise cast on my current target if they can be healed, otherwise cast on the target of my current target if they can be healed (this is for when I have the boss targeted), otherwise cast it on myself. The last part is fairly optional and i’m still undecided on its value. This does mean that I can’t DPS with Penance usually, but this could probably be fixed by something like this:
/cast [target=mouseover,help] [help] [harm] Penance
After getting the macros sorted I reorganised my keybinds:
- Power Word: Shield is bound to mouse wheel up
- Prayer of Mending is bound to mouse wheel down (BTW zoom is =/- now, but I rarely use it)
- Renew is bound to key number 1 (I move with QWEASD still, although I turn by panning with the mouse)
- Penance is bound to key number 2
- Flash Heal is bound to key number 3
- Prayer of Healing is bound to key number 4
- Pain Suppression is bound to the ` key (to the left of number 1)
- Dispel Magic is bound to the F key, which works very well
- Abolish Disease is bound to G
- Mass Dispel is bound to R
I’ve removed Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Mending from my visible bars.
The last piece of my healing UI is Power Auras Classic. I use this to display an icon when i’m in combat and Prayer of Mending is off cool down. I also have an aura to display when Power Infusion is off cool down in combat so I can remember to make a mage happy when I get a spare global cool down.
The end result? I love mouse over healing! I should have looked into it earlier.
The biggest advantage from this change has been increased mobility. I’ve gone from being fairly mobile to be extremely mobile. I can do 80% of my healing while moving now. Because I am not using keys as much casting while moving has become even easier. Mouse over a target in Grid or onscreen and mouse wheel up for a shield, scroll down for a holy frisbee. I’m mainly using the QWE keys for strafing and moving forward so the number keys, especially number 1 with my ring finger are very easy to use. None of my main spells have cool down except Prayer of Mending, which has a Power Aura, and Penance for which I should probably add an aura.
Removing Decursive has freed up a bit of addon memory and removed some clutter from my screen. I can also swap between dispelling and healing faster because I don’t need to swap between my Decursive frames and my Grid frames.
I recently tried Vuhdo as a replacement for Grid + mouse-over macros + Decursive, but It just didn’t do anything for me that Grid doesn’t and I found it harder to configure than Grid. Although to be fair to Vuhdo I have a lot more experience with Grid.
I hope this was useful to someone other than me.