I had promised to provide more “guides” to tank/healer coordination, and felt that this was a good topic on how they each display and use different UI elements.
I consider your UI (User Interface) the most important thing on your screen when playing WoW, well at least when raiding/dungeon-crawling. Well, and outside of the fire that you are not supposed to be standing in… that’s important too; but I digress.
When participating in a raid or dungeon, you need information at your finger tips. Whether it be the health of your fellow party when healing, or the health of the boss and his adds when dpsing, or even the health of both the boss and your party when tanking. As I have mentioned before, I’m a glutton for punishment since I have spec’d both Holy and Protection as my dual specs. Basically I get to either stress out over keeping everyone alive, or stress out over keeping everyone alive and making sure that nobody goes and kills one of my teammates. Kind of speeds up the burnout process, but as the Help Tips during the loading screens say “Be sure to take all things in moderation, even World of Warcraft.”
Anyway, being both a tank and a healer, my UI needs to change each time that I change specs. I was in a hurry, and unable to send the pics to the PC that I post from, but will add them later, as I have an example of my tanking and my healing UI, and the differences between each. There are different focuses that you need to… focus.. on when healing or tanking. I’m guessing that some would say that that’s obvious, but I’m simply trying to point out the specifics.
I currently use Grid to provide a consolidated view of the members of my raid, including the GridManaBars addon to allow me to view the mana/rage/energy/runic power of my fellow party members. This addon is used for both healing (obviously), and tanking. I have previously spoken about how important awareness is when both tanking and healing, and this specific aspect is one of the central points of that awareness.
When healing, Party/Raid Frames are the way in which you can see the health of each member, and which members are getting hit, and for how much. This is key to choosing the heals that you want to cast, and triaging who should get those heals first. In some cases, it also allows you to know when you need to pick up some extra healing targets, because another healer is low on mana. These are all important, and keeping that information at your fingertips is crucial to healing affectively.
When tanking, like when healing, Party/Raid Frames are the way in which you can see the health of each member, and which members are getting hit, and for how much. However, it is a slightly lesser focus than it would be as a healer. Instead these frames are used to determine if you (as a paladin tank in this case) want to burn a cooldown and pop a raid wall and divert some of the raid damage away, and allow the healers some breathing room. It is also a way to help you ditermine if you want to pop a personal bubble wall and cut down your incoming damage by 50% allowing the healers to ease up when low on mana. Lastly, and I have been guilty as of late, it also allows you to see who’s dead and needs a res before the next pull (that’s for another post entirely).
Threat meters are pretty important now-a-days. With DPS becoming more powerful, and pouring out more and more damage, and bosses/mobs hitting like trucks, it is important that threat is managed properly. I have always trusted Omen as my threat meter of choice.
When healing, there are a few things that threat meters can be used for. First up is the obvious concept of watching your own healing threat. Each heal provides a slight amount of threat on an enemy target, this amount being slightly larger when healing yourself. So by watching the threat meters, you can ensure that you do not mistakely bypass the tank, and pull aggro upon yourself and likely getting insta-gibbed if not careful (thank the Light for plate armor). Also, threat meters allow you to keep an eye on other party members and their threat in relation to the tank. The reason this is important, is basically a case where if that member overcomes the tank’s threat… they’re going to get hit, and if they’re going to get hit, you’re going to have to heal them quick. Sometimes it could be a matter of pixely life or death.
When tanking, threat is king. You have to ensure that you are on the top of the threat meters. When you picked up that sword and shield, you made an oath that you were going to make things hit you in the face, and only you. This oath must be upheld, or the party/raid is going to wipe. All tanking classes have abilities that allow them to increase the amount of threat put out, as well as threat specific abilities. These abilities attribute to your overal TPS (Threat Per Second). As long as you can keep your TPS over all other members in the party, then the target you are working on will continue to punch you in the face, and nobody else. This also pertains to multiple targets, as ensuring that you check the threat of all targets around you will provide a quicker response in case something slips through the cracks.
There are two types of buffs that I’ll talk about here, those that you cast, and those that are cast upon you.
I currently use PallyPower to keep track of my Blessings, and who does and doesn’t have them. This allows me to simply click on a class to cast the assigned Blessing on them. It also provides a button to turn on my Righteous Fury in case I’m tanking. In addition, I also have a separate bar that is dedicated to just those blessings in case I’m not in a party, and want to carebear out some Blessings to some random passers-by. This is used for both my tanking and healing UI.
Another special bar that I have is directly below the “Focus” frame. It allows for me to cast focus macro’d spells when the time is needed. This includes Beacon, Divine Shield, and Hand of Protection when Healing, and Hammer of Justice and/or Righteous Defense buttons for tanking.
I have just recently installed Elkano’s Buffbars… and I love it. It is so much more handy than the little icons that show up on the default UI. Instead it provides a “Quartz” type timer to each of the buffs on you. This is a great time saver, and allows you to glance up to see what buffs are up, and what buffs need to be refreshed. Another great feature is that it also provides a timerbar for your debuffs as well, this is critical when tanking, since some debuffs are important to keep an eye on, and knowledge of when they fall off determines when you need to taunt off of the other tank in some fights. In general important information at a glance whether you’re tanking or healing.
*shiver* Ugh, such an ugly phrase, a phrase used by noobs and ePeen strokers. I personally have used Recount for a long time now. I have not personally used it to stretch out the ‘ol ePeen, but instead used it to somewhat determine how others around me are performing. Now, to make it clear, this is only on the damage dealing side, as healing meters are practically useless as they don’t truly calculate absorbs and overhealing into a single value. They do calculate HPS (Healing Per Second), but that is only important on a case by case basis.
When tanking I have used the damage meters to measure my own output on the bosses/targets around me. This can be used in cooperation with threat meters to determine what kind of damage will create what kind of threat. It will also help, in a case where you’re raid leading, in making decisions on when to use Heroism/Bloodlust and when to pull a raid member aside and ask them what’s up :)
When healing, I have used it to get a scale of how much I heal. I have never used it as a tool to tell somebody else that they aren’t healing enough, because different heals heal in different ways, and in some cases, you could top the charts in healing done, but also have 70% of it be overheal… not very efficient.
I have mentioned before that I am a point and click type person. I don’t have many spells keybound, and very few macros. Instead I like to group useful spells together, and especially when tanking, group them where I can reach them.
When I’m healing, I’m usually focusing on Grid and my surroundings. I really attempt to not get tunnel vision, but sometimes it can’t be helped. Anyway, I do have a few spells that are set up on my cast bars, for a few reasons. One reason is if one of my addons runs amok and I have to heal without it. It is a skill that all healers should work on, because we shouldn’t be so locked into our addons that we can’t function using the default UI. It has happened to me mid-Magtheridon back in BC… scary feeling to be without control.
In my case, I keep Beacon of Light, Divine Favor, Divine Illumination, and Holy Shock within the first 4 buttons. Nearby, I keep Sacred Shield, Lay on Hands, Judgements of Light and Wisdom, Divine Plea, and my Aura Mastery buttons within the next few spots. Beyond that it moves to buttons less used, such as Hammer of Justice, Hammer of Wrath, Consecrate, Holy Wrath, Exorcism, and Shield of Righteousness. These are situational, or if I need to put out a little bit of DPS. Following that, I have Holy Light, followed by my Seals of Light and Vengeance, Avenging Wrath and trinkets for those burn moments and then extra seals and “Every Man for Himself.”
Now, this is only in the case of healing. As for tanking, there’s a whole other set of buttons… but I don’t have any screenshots here, so I can’t repeat them off the top of my head, but here are the basics.
This allows me to use my “969″ rotation, and still be able to reach any extra buttons that I need. As with my Holy action bars, the need of the buttons lessens the further down the line they go.
Above my player frames, I have a small bar with spec specific potions. This allows to quick access of my elixers or health/mana potions when needed.
Lastly, I have a bar on the right side of my screen that is pretty consistent across specs, and sometimes even characters. It is where I keep on top my profession buttons, followed by spec specific food (depends on what I’m currently spec’d), below that, is my Hearthstone and Argent Tournament Tabard (instant teleports FTW). Below that, I have a few fun things, and then my mounts (ground on the left, flying on the right, both with random buttons to accompany them).
Communication is key when playing an MMO, especially when running a dungeon or raid. When tanking you’ll need to know when to taunt off of an offtank, and when healing you’ll need to know when the tank or OT is about to blow a cooldown. In these cases chat windows provide important information (especially if Vent, etc. is unavailable).
Also important is the Combat Log. It is always good to look back and see what just happened during that last wipe, or what happened that sped up that last boss kill. The combat log is where you would find this information, though it isn’t as primary a focus as the chat window would be in comparison.
In conclusion to help in understanding how tanks and healers interact, understanding their UI will provide a little bit of insight as to what they’re looking at, and how to get their attention when it’s needed.
I hope to provide some more recent screenshots of my UI, and post them later. I do plan on updating my UI, and maybe cleaning it up a little.
Do you know what you’re tank’s UI looks like? Do you know where they focus their attention when looking at the screen? Same with healers? Let me know in the comments.. though I’m sure I’ll get comments on how messy my UI is, haha.