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Addon Spotlight: Raid healing addons, part two

Addon Spotlight Raid healing addons part 2
Two weeks back, I looked into two fine contenders for raid healing addons, namely Healbot and VuhDo. There was a great and lengthy tussle between the two, and no clear victor was named, although VuhDo snatched a narrow lead. As I promised back in that column, I've gone away to test two more raid healing addons, or party healing addons, as you prefer.

Actually, I tested three of them, to be precise, but one probably couldn't stand alone as a healing addon, and is more a raid frame replacement. Those three addons are Healium, Clique and Grid. I began with Healium, for no other reason than because that was the first one I decided to switch on, but as it happens that worked out pretty well for the testing as, when I wandered into the settings, I discovered it could work with Clique.

Healium

Healium takes quite a different approach to the other addons I've reviewed so far in this set of Addon Spotlights. VuhDo, Healbot, and Grid+Clique are all click-to-heal addons, that is to say, they take a set of either their own frames or a third-party set of frames, and set up mouseover macros on them. A left-click on a frame fires one heal at that player, while an ALT+ left click fires a different one. Healium, on the other hand, as can be seen in the header image, doesn't perform quite like this.


Instead, Healium sets up a row of buttons next to each party member, on which the healer can put various spells. Setup is extremely simple, all you do is go into the interface menu then into Addons, then Healium, and move the slider to indicate how many buttons you want Healium to display. Next, you can drag and drop spells from your spellbook straight onto those buttons. It's also possible to set each button in the Healium options screen.

Addon Spotlight Raid healing addons part 2You can see the initial result of this in the header image, from my priest. There's a mixture of standard-issue heals and cooldowns in there, which makes for quite a lot of buttons on every player. Any spell or macro with a friendly target ability can be put in there. I tested this out with a party in dungeons, and felt it was a fairly large piece of screen real estate to be dedicated to heals, I can only imagine what it would be like if a player accidentally left it on and zoned into Alterac Valley!

That being said, it definitely has its plus sides. As Healium's creators say on the addon page, it is designed so that players don't have to memorize several modifier plus click combinations. For players with several healers, particularly, this could be a real boon. My method for click-to-heal addons is to set up the same type of heal on the same combination, so Riptide and Renew are both ALT+ right click, Power Word: Shield and Earth Shield are both CTRL+ left click, and so on. But, for me at least, it seems that I struggle to remember the multi-modifier combinations I use for big cooldowns like Pain Suppression or Void Shift, so having those sitting next to the party frames was a boon. All it takes is to click the icon, and it's cast on its adjacent party member. Easy as pie!

But there are downsides to Healium. My biggest issue with it was the unit frames themselves. I've grown accustomed to Healbot and, more recently, VuhDo, giving me quite a lot of information on the raid frames, rather like the standard Blizzard ones do. While Healium does show mana, incoming healing, raid roles, ready checks and the like, it didn't seem keen on providing much information about debuffs, or any buff applied by using the unit frame as a targeting frame, rather than applied via the buttons. I like to see the number of stacks of my Earth Shield on a player, or the duration of the Weakened Soul debuff, or, if they're debuffed, the type of debuff. I couldn't get Healium to show me any of this. Also, and this is purely a personal complaint, they're rather small, and styled rather like the standard UI. I did find a skin for Healium, but it hasn't been updated in some time, so proceed with caution.

Clique

In summary, then, I felt Healium was a good idea, but that the unit frames let it down, and that it took up far too much screen space. I'd noticed a button in the Healium configuration menu when setting it up that indicated it worked with Clique, so that seemed the next logical step in my addon research.

Clique, unlike VuhDo or Healbot, is a click-to-heal addon without a standard set of unit frames. This is why it's usually referred to in tandem with an addon such as Grid, which purely provides a set of unit frames. I will move on to Clique as used with Grid shortly, but I wanted to comment on its individual setup, and its interaction with Healium.

Addon Spotlight Raid healing addons part 2Having commented extensively on the complex nature of the setup of both Healbot and VuhDo, I was blown away by Clique's setup. It's so simple and intuitive, and easy! All you do is go into the configuration mode, by either typing /clique into chat and clicking Bind Spell, or by hitting the extra tab that will have appeared in your spellbook.

Doing so puts you into Clique binding mode, where you simply hover your pointer over the spell you want to use, and click it with the combination you want to use to activate it. So say I want Penance on Shift + left click, I'd hover my pointer over Penance, hold down shift, and left click it in my spellbook. That binding then appears in Clique's list of bindings, where you can edit it or delete it, if, like me, you messed up the first few you tried! Once that binding is set, it's active for every unit frame, and this is where my only real criticism of Clique appears. I would prefer it if the standard out-of-the-box setup was that it only cast on any type of raid or party frame, rather than any frame at all. But it's relatively easy to alter in the Clique options menu, once you realise that, if you use ElvUI like I do, ElvUI frames are listed separately from Blizzard ones!

Using Clique with Healium allowed the removal of a good number of the spells shown in the header image, as I left the Healium buttons for major cooldowns, in my priests case, Void Shift and Pain Suppression, and once I'd made that change, I really liked the Healium method of adding in buttons to the side. I still think it'd be a pretty tiresome system for a larger raid, but having those two cooldowns there was excellent. I would also consider using Healium for paladin tanking, so that I could easily cast spells like Hand of Protection on party members. But, unfortunately for Healium, those uninformative frames were a turn-off, for the aforementioned reasons.

Grid

And that's where Grid comes in. Grid provides unit frames which sit behind clique, and the two are often used together, though it's certainly not necessary or obligatory to do so. Grid are effectively replacement raid frames, rather than a healing addon in their own right. But, if you want to use Clique, and don't want to use the standard raid frames or Healium, then Grid is a great choice.

Addon Spotlight Raid healing addons part twoGrid's standard look is pretty good, out of the box, so to speak. And setup is fairly intuitive. While it's possible to set Vuhdo and Healbot up to do exactly the same, I enjoy the frames which are black when players are at full health, and only color themselves when players' health drops. It makes the most sense to compare Grid to VuhDo, Healbot, and the standard frames, so let's do that. Grid does well with looks and basic function, but when it comes to displaying things on the frames such as buffs like Power Word: Shield or Riptide, it falls down a bit, seemingly requiring the player to select positions for each buff rather than spacing them out around the frame. Debuffs are displayed very well, though, in the centre with a border indicating the type, and a stack count if applicable. Grid also doesn't seem to have a default method to show a mana bar, to show raid roles on the frames, or to set the order in which the frames appear by role, all of which are options offered by VuhDo, and to a lesser extent, Healbot.

However, the community comes to the rescue with several addons to Grid that do just that. GridManaBars, GridStatusRole and GridConfigurableLayouts have my aforementioned requirements covered, and there are many, many more addons out there. But, it seems a shame that these features aren't included in Grid itself, even if they can be added to it.

Overall, this column, and part one, have been an education in raid healing addons. I regret sticking blindly with healbot for so long, and heartily recommend trying the other options available. What am I using, now, after all's said and done? I'm going to go with Clique, and ElvUI's standard raid frames.

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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