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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

Arcane Brilliance: Macros for mages

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that comes to you this week from the desk in my upstairs bedroom, where I sit, pantsless (as is my custom), listening to chiptunes (Anamanaguchi!) and eating a giant bowl of Corn Pops. The wife and kids are out shopping, so it's just you and me, mages. Let's do this.

I've been writing this column once a week for over two years now, and each week, I follow the same general process. First, I figure out what I'm going to write about. Then I research my chosen topic (some topics require more research for me than others) until I feel comfortable enough to speak authoritatively on the subject. Finally, I sit down and write the thing. Then I edit the crap I just wrote until it resembles cogent thought, at which point I submit it to my editors. They notify me of any still-glaring issues with the column, and after a bit more polishing, the finished product magically appears on your computer screen, usually sometime Saturday night.

The hardest part of this process, for me anyway, is usually that first part. Sure, some weeks it's easy. Maybe we just had a major content patch and there's a fresh load of class changes to discuss. Maybe I'm writing the second part of a multi-part post, so I already know going into the week what I'm sitting down to write about on Friday. But most weeks, immediately upon finishing that week's column, I begin worrying about what I'm going to write about next week. It begins as a mild itch in the very back of my mind, a little tickle reminding me that in seven days I have a column due and I have no idea what that column's going to be about. Then, as the Friday due date approaches, that itch becomes a constant gnawing dread.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Skill Mastery: Master's Call

First appearing as an 11-point Beastmastery talent, Master's Call is now a new baseline skill for Hunters in the Wrath Beta. With this skill, your pet will rush to your target and remove all existing movement impairing effects or stuns on the target, and cause them to be immune to them for 4 seconds. It can be used while you are stunned.

This is certainly a handy ability to have. In PvP, this should be awesome for getting away from Warriors and Rogues. In PvE, there's bound to be bosses and mobs with slow and stun effects, and this little skill could in theory, save a wipe.

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Filed under: Hunter, Tips, PvP, Guides, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

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