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Addon Spotlight: Raiding essentials for healers

Each week, WoW Insider's Mathew McCurley brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your addons folder will never be the same.

As we get Raid Finder clarifications and new details, the excitement ramps up for this brand new feature coming in patch 4.3. Raiders and non-raiders alike are clamoring for new ways to experience the high-end, endgame content. Since we also now know the role makeup for the Raid Finder, healers will be in demand as each Raid Finder group will be made up of six healers.

Healing is one of the most stressful jobs in World of Warcraft right now. The logistics for healing have changed dramatically since the Wrath of the Lich King days with a new emphasis on smart healing versus throughput. What that means is you have limited resources and need to make sure you're using them correctly. Healing is probably the most complicated role out there right now, if only because healers have a lot of responsibility. In the Raid Finder, encounter difficulties will be easier than we've seen before, but the fact is that players will still need their health bars above zero in order to beat a fight.

Healer addons can be a divisive topic, so I'm going to stick with the basics for healers in raids. Your own mileage may vary, and you're going to want to try out different setups in order to see what works for you. On the whole, people agree that having some addons to help with healing makes the job that much smoother.

More information on your raid frames

Healing is all about information. Who has how much life? What debuffs does the tank have? How many people have a debuff that needs to be dispelled? Who has cooldowns available, and should one be used? All these questions sort of become second nature after a while, but addons help relay that information to you.

Grid and Clique are two addons that go hand-in-hand together as an excellent healing system. Grid puts your raid into an easily managable interface, with smaller boxes representing raiders instead of the large party frames. Grid allows you to set what type of information is available in each corner of the box, as well as color code and use transparencies for a variety of conditions. Clique turns mouse clicks into spellcasts, allowing you to have the most needed of your spell arsenal at the ready with just a click. I recommend using Bati's healing layouts for Grid if you're just starting out, as they do a great job getting you acclimated to the role and the new addons.

Check out my Addon Spotlight on Grid and Clique.

There are healing-centric raid group addons that combine Grid- and Clique-like setups into one. Healbot and Vuhdo, the two most popular healing addons of this type, do a great job allowing you to set up what spells you want on click-cast as well as the information that appears in each box. Watch the comments for tips and tricks with these addons, as their fanbases are loyal and people swear by their effectiveness. I can't fault them -- these are amazing addons.

Download Vuhdo at [Curse].
Download Healbot at [Curse].

If you're a fan of the Blizzard raid profiles that are built in to the game (and, frankly, are a very competent setup when compared to addon alternatives), there are supplementary addons available to you in order to make that system work better for you. Adding information to the default raid profiles is easy, and I even wrote a whole Addon Spotlight about that very topic. Addons like Layover and Blizzard Raid Frame -- Indicators allow your Blizzard raid profiles to act more like Grid and deliver more personalized information in your group boxes.

Check out my Addon Spotlight on ways to add to the Blizzard raid profile.

Announce your raid and mana cooldowns

I recommended using Raeli's Spell Announcer for DPS and tanks because communication is the most important aspect of a good raid. You will not defeat bosses unless you have effective communication. RSA is an addon that adds a channel of communication imperitive to the Raid Finder, as not many people will be voice chatting together while participating in relatively complicated encounters. For healers, RSA can help announce healing and mana cooldowns to your raid, as well as whisper tank cooldowns to your main and off tanks so that they know when and how to plan their own cooldown usage. Communication between tanks and healers is extremely imporatant, so make it easier for everyone and grab RSA. You tanks will probably love you for it.

Also, one of the new meta design philosophies of Cataclysm raiding is that there will be times during an encounter when healers will have to coordinate and chain raid cooldowns to keep everyone alive during periods of heavy damage. You are going to want to know what's going on and who is using what, right? RSA helps. Alysrazor, Beth'tilac, and Rhyolith are the big offenders in Firelands, and you can be sure there will be more in Dragon Soul.

Check out my Addon Spotlight on Raeli's Spell Announcer.

A'dal says: Don't stand in stuff.
GTFO

Healing is a tunnel vision job. You get so focused on healing your tanks or raid that you might slip up looking at your feet. Wouldn't an audio cue be great for when you're standing in something bad? GTFO is a must-have addon for healers because you will get in to the zone and you will start forgetting where you are standing. It has happened to the best of us. Mitigate that scenario with GTFO and never forget again. There are tons of audio warnings and settings, so tinker around until you find the most annoying and destructive sound for you, and you'll always be watching where you stand from here on out.

Check out my Addon Spotlight on GTFO.

Sure, there are plenty more addons out there for healers that are useful or great, and you should recommend those in the comments below. However, to start the new enterprising, young healer on his or her brand new journey into raiding, these types of addons should make for a good first experience. Remember, as always, communication is the most important factor in raiding. If you don't communicate, you don't win. You want to win, don't you? Start talking!

That concludes our series on the brand new Raid Finder and getting people ready, addon-wise, for the newest way to raid coming in patch 4.3. I've got some ideas for new columns about the general basics for the Raid Finder and players new to the whole raiding scene, but I think I am going to save that for a time closer to the actual release of the patch. More relevant timing, you see. Smart. In the meantime, if you've got an addon that you'd like to see on Addon Spotlight or have an addon that you made yourself, send me an email at mat@wowinsider.com. I will be more than happy to take a look.

See you guys next week.

Addons are what we do on Addon Spotlight. If you're new to mods, Addons 101 will walk you through the basics; see what other players are doing at Reader UI of the Week. If there's a mod you think Addon Spotlight should take a look at, email mat@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

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