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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.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Addon Spotlight Alternatives: Unit frames

Image
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.

Unit frames have evolved significantly over the course of WoW's life, from static, portrait-driven frames to dynamic and animated hubs of information. I've always treated the unit frames as a centerpiece and counterweight, like a see-saw, using the unit frame's natural duality to its best effect. There are few addons or types of addon that can take on as many shapes and forms as the unit frames do. Not least, the unit frames provide some of the most vital information to the player possible -- your health.

For healers, from the very beginning, the group and raid interfaces were unable to cope with the sharp skill incline after reaching level 60 cap. There was nothing that I wanted more than a robust group layout of buffs, debuffs, and easy-to-read healths and percentages, with the ability to make it look the way I wanted to. The idea of something like Grid had not even come up yet. Original unit frame addons were blocky messes of textures and bright blue and green bars. Portraits were taken way, way too far. Kids in the candy store.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

The Light and How to Swing It: 3 essential addons for holy paladins

addons, addons everywhere
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

Holy paladins have come a long way from the days of five-minute Blessings and WhisperCast. There's a good kind of complexity that comes from being given choices, and there's the bad kind of complexity that comes from busy work. The developers are constantly streamlining the game and removing outdated mechanics, and I can't complain. Even though addons like PallyPower made our lives easier, the new Blessing system is so simple that we don't need any external help to handle it.

Today's holy paladin has different addon needs from the healer of yesteryear. Three of the most important holy paladin addon concerns are unit frames, holy power management, and raid-specific alerts. In Dragon Soul, there are plenty of important things that we need to keep track of. Raid encounters are only going to get more and more complex and chaotic, and we need to be able to quickly get the information we need.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

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.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Addon Spotlight: Adding on to the Blizzard Raid Frames

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.

One of the great joys of writing Addon Spotlight is watching the evolution of addons and their relationship to World of Warcraft over time and how the effectiveness and usefulness of certain addons wanes and waxes like the phases of the moon. Blizzard's new raid frames have not replaced my own custom job, but they have been getting progressively closer to a complete package, as I discussed only a few weeks ago. But there are ways, friends, of adding on to even the Blizzard default raid frame setup to give them just a bit more substance.

Today, I've got three little additions to the default Blizzard raid frames that can help you with targets, marks, and debuffs. If you like options, these addons will add a ton of them to the Blizzard standard setup, making the entire package look a little more like Grid. So sit back, relax, and check out these new additions to the Blizzard default raid frames.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Reader UI of the Week: Recover from corruption with Icewalker

Each week, WoW Insider and Mathew McCurley bring you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which spotlights the latest user interface addons. Have a screenshot of your own UI that you'd like to submit? Send your screenshots along with info on what mods you're using to readerui@wowinsider.com, and follow Mathew on Twitter.

Reader UI is no stranger to UI crashes and corruption issues. Believe me, I've had my fair share of UI crashes that completely and utterly obliterated my entire setup. It is a sad state of affairs when your settings just decide to up and leave on you. Not fun, right?

Losing your user interface in a crash or through some corruption issue is annoying and demoralizing, to be sure. However, rebuilding usually takes less time than you think and sometimes adds new and unique aspects to your UI that weren't there before. In destruction comes organized rebirth, or something like that.

Icewalker sent in his UI with the sad tale of UI failure and starting over, which I felt for. Poor, innocent UIs getting corrupted, probably from Old God influence, just puts me in a bad mood. So today, we will take a look at Icewalker's new, basic UI and grieve together for all of those user interfaces lost in senseless crashes and the wanton ways of home computing.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Reader UI of the Week

Reader UI of the Week: Diligent planning with Amaus

Each week, WoW Insider brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which spotlights the latest user interface addons. Have a screenshot of your own UI that you'd like to submit? Send your screenshots along with info on what mods you're using to readerui@wowinsider.com.
Reader UI of the Week is here to turn your UI frowns upside down. Each week, WoW Insider community members send in their own UI creations for us to marvel at, learn from, and occasionally question why people do the crazy things that they do. All in all, it works out pretty well and people seem to have fun. Why should I stop the fun from happening?

This week, we're going to take a look at Amaus' user interface, which includes some impressive pre-planning as well as layout control. I've preached over and over that the first step in interface creation for players new to old should be drawing a picture of what you want and where you want it. Not only does it give you a sense of scope, shape, and size, but the drawing gives you a template to work from when you finally get ready to move each addon into place. When the real deal starts to happen, you'll be glad that you had that drawing.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Reader UI of the Week

Spiritual Guidance: How to become a better priest, starting with your UI

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers healing for discipline and holy priests, while her archenemy Fox Van Allen spawn camps poor, defenseless gnomes. Dawn also writes for LearnToRaid.com, produces the Circle of Healing Podcast, and plays white knight to those loveable gnomes.

When I first started raiding a few years ago, I was an obnoxiously overconfident priest determined to prove to the world that I was the best discipline priest who ever lived. Fast forward two years, and I'm still trying to get comfortable with the reality check that resulted from meeting amazing priests like Kinaesthesia or Kras. I realized I wasn't competitive enough, dedicated enough, and that my growing ability to self-critique every tiny aspect of my play was holding back me back more than it was pushing me forward. How I wish I could be that overconfident idiot again.

On the bright side, the whole thing has left me quite good at helping other priests identify what they need to do to get to the next stage of their development as players (without becoming overly paranoid from self-awareness). So when I recently met someone who was up against a massive wall in his development, I decided I ought to tap into that ability in a more formal way by writing an article about it.

Bob (we're going to call him Bob) wrote me and described various problems he was having as a healer, explaining that raid damage was unmanageable and that he couldn't keep up. I thought for a while he might have been going OOM, but as we talked more and more, I realized certain things he said just didn't making sense. Eventually, I asked him for a picture of his UI and was immediately horrified by what he sent me.

Thus today, we're going to talk about addons and setting up your first healing priest UI.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Reader UI of the Week: Zhee's UI

Finally, I return from BlizzCon 2010 with an ache in my head and a stomach hardened with Anabella hotel chicken fingers and Domino's pizza. Please, put me out of my misery. Actually, the chicken fingers were awesome -- it's hard to do good chicken fingers, and the Anabella came through in spades.

Thank all of you who came out for the reader meetup, by the way. You guys were awesome, very supportive of my MCing the night and asked some great questions while I was off the mic. It was so nice to meet so many of you, talk about all this crazy stuff and lead you guys in what I thought to be a really fun night. Anyway, we've got reader UIs to discuss, and I fully intend to do that now.

This week, Zhee emailed me all the way from the Netherlands to show off her healer user interface. What follows is a clean, crisp user interface that is functional, elegant and barely using up any screen space at all. Also, this article is being drafted on a keyboard that barely has a space bar, so if you hear screaming (or the article itself features splatters of blood), it's probably me prying my fingers off one at a time because this damn keyboard has driven me insane. Reader UI, go!

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Reader UI of the Week

Addon Spotlight: Bati's Healer Grid layouts

Addon Spotlight 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. This week, Grid gets some pre-made loving thanks to Bati!

Thursday is here! Thursday is here! Excitement abounds in my secret addon lair for many reasons. First, my original vanilla WoW character is back in action. Originally, as many of you have read in my past columns, priest was my class of choice. Healers tend to be my forte because of group desirability -- selfishly and selflessly, I always rolled healer to get invited to groups and be there to support the healerless masses back when this was a thing. After a stint in Warhammer Online, tanking became my new love and, after a quick respec and some forum threads, my Burning Crusade healadin became my Wrath tankadin. After almost three years in the freezer, my priest has emerged from cryo-stasis.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Reader UI of the Week: Stärs' UI


Each week, WoW.com brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs. Have a screenshot of your UI you want to submit? Send your screenshots, along with info on what mods you're using, to readerui@wow.com.

My condolences, again, to those of you stuck without your server of choice on this 24-hour patch day. The cataclysmic rewards for your patience, however, are without question! In the meantime, how about checking out some tips and tricks for user interface customization while you wait to play?

This week, we dive into Stärs' user interface, a simple user interface that totally doesn't put the minimap in a corner. Stärs is looking for a little advice as well, which is great, because this week was supposed to be all about advice! Shall we?

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Reader UI of the Week

Addon Spotlight: Helpers for priest healers

Addon Spotlight 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. This week, Addon Spotlight gives priest healers some suggestions for awesome healing helpers!

Since there is still no beta addon news to cover and most of the user interface changes have been well documented, I continue to hang my head in shame, waiting feverishly for new word about addons in Cataclysm. Instead, I have taken to occasionally playing a human priest named Helicopter. Back in vanilla WoW, I was a raid-healing priest who basically played like the speeds of a tractor: a turtle for "slow" and a rabbit for "fast." The entirety of my existence consisted of picking one of two heals for the job, and that was that. When I popped into beta, rolled up a priest and set to work, I had no idea what I was doing.

This week's Addon Spotlight is all about the things that I wish I had in beta -- an amalgamation of some awesome healing priest addons that can hopefully help out all you aspiring holy and discipline priests. Shadow, I don't hate, I promise. You'll have your day in the ... shade? You get enough tough love from your majordomo already, anyhow. Healer priests, this one's for you, with some vanilla priest stories thrown in for fun, of course.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

The magical alchemy of mouseovers plus a Razer Naga

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

Healers have one of the more ambiguous roles in the World of Warcraft. DPS players mostly thrive by topping the damage meters, using the most optimal rotations, glyphs, etc. Tanks enjoy a form of tunnel vision where their task is ever so straightforward and clear. A healer, however, must keep watch on a whole group of individuals, react to their choices and keep the game itself from defeating them.

The worst kind of healer will select one, two or possibly three go-to spells to spam often and early. This player will use healing meters as a measure of success and frequently use them to lay the blame on others when things don't work out. The best kind of healer uses a wide array of abilities at exactly the time required. He conserves mana, keeps everyone alive and even contributes to the raid's overall DPS when possible. The best kind of healer isn't simply the reason you lived; rather, they're the reason things went smoothly.

Many healers rely on mods as they strive for this goal. Healbot, for example, creates a special frame for click-casting. It assigns certain spells to certain mouse buttons by default, making healing a breeze. The chief limitation of Healbot, however, is the link to physical buttons on a mouse and the lack of native support for more than five of them. Without keyboard mods, a Healbot healer is restricted to no more than five heals that are ready at a moment's notice. This player will also need a fair bit of practice to get beyond the defaults of "left click, little heal; right click, big heal." Memory plays a role, as Healbot does little to notify you visually of which keys do which action, especially once you've sized the bars down to the point that you can view the entire raid.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Guest Posts

Addon Spotlight: Geist

Addon Spotlight 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! This week, Geist haunts your action bars.

Thursday can only mean one thing -- addons. Earlier in the week, Excellence's UI from Reader UI of the Week made prominent use of Geist, an incredibly useful addon that begged to be in the spotlight. Action bars are an important staple to the World of Warcraft user interface, and most addons in this category are all about changing the attributes of mostly static bars. Geist takes a different approach to action bars, potentially being a full action bar replacement or an augmentation onto existing action bar setups. Click now!

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Reader UI of the Week: Perasite's UI

Each week, WoW.com brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs. Have a screenshot of your UI you want to submit? Send your screenshots, along with info on what mods you're using and some background information, to readerui@wow.com.

Greetings, Reader UI of the Week fans. Did you take some time over the weekend to ponder whether or not you could make some fun changes to your user interface? No? Everyone doesn't pour over user interface submissions all weekend like I do? You guys are really missing out!

This week, Reader UI looks at Perasite's user interface, which has a pretty neat layout on the bottom half that pulls off a nice motif with simple borders. The top half of the screen, however, we can talk about. Let's learn a little something from Perasite!

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Reader UI of the Week

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