A bit of interfacing
In my last post I realized (thanks to someone reading over my shoulder) that some people have missed a very important thing — Blizzard allows you to tweak what you see and do. To modify, in short, your user interface. Far too often people start looking for addons to do what Blizzard’s already given you.
I’m… not going to go through the whole thing, and certainly not going to tell you all the “best” or “worst” setting. Instead, I’m going to give a brief overview and take a moment to discuss two setting I think absolutely critical that are off by default. Let’s start with the interface itself.
To get to the interface you’ve two choices. Press the escape (Esc) key on your keyboard. Or look at the buttons on the bottom till you find the one with the computer icon (tooltip label Main Menu). Either way, you get a menu with several choices. Find “Interface options”, click it, and you’re there.
What you see is a parchment background with some checkboxes. What I’ve discovered a lot of people miss is up top – there are two tabs. That’s right, you’re looking at the basic choices, and there are also some advanced options.
When you hover over any of the checkboxes or their labels you’ll get a tooltip. Like all tooltips it’s a summary, not a detailed explanation. I’m going to HIGHLY recommend you play with most of these at some point – click it, exit, and see what it’s doing. Please pay some attention, of course, as things which are combat related won’t show anything if you’re in the middle of a capital. (for example, of course)
Playing aside, I’m going to recommend two options for just about everybody. The first is on the basic page, and it’s “Show Enemy Cast Bar.” Most players have the ability to interrupt spells, but in almost all cases they’re limited by cooldown. Some spells are nuisances while others are nasty. With the enemy castbar on, you can see what your target is casting. With practice, you’ll learn to decide which need your action and which can be ignored.
A critical use for this is as a healer. HEALERS, PAY ATTENTION. If you’ve set the macros for your spells correctly, you can target the mob the tank is fighting and see what evil is about to become him. Remember that the difference between a good and a great healer is effective anticipation. You can’t do much about instants or most melee actions, but a lot of the really nasty stuff has a windup. Seeing what’s coming may help you pick the RIGHT action to keep your tank alive regardless instead of desparately hoping your heal goes off before he’s hit AGAIN.
As I said, I recommend two options in particular. The second is on the advanced screen – click the tab at top to get there. The box you want is “Show Target of Target”. Now, you’ve got a menu choice to this – Raid, Party, Solo, Raid and Party, and Always. When in doubt go for always. What does this do?
It always shows you what is targetted by your target. Now HEALERS, this is the other half of the anticipation game. Because you not only know what nastiness the mob’s trying to deliver, you know which of your party members is getting it. And a fast click on THAT icon (instead of trying to hotbutton or seek it in the list at the side or…) means you are targetting the exact same player.
SHADOW, don’t feel left out. This is your backup assist tool. See, I can and do target the kill team leader and use a macro to always attack her target, but there are two potential downfalls. First, the killteam leader may have another job — for example, she may be the mage responsible for sheeping a mob. In which case she’s going to be popping over to the sheep-mob every so often. In which case she (and the rest the party as well) will be a mite bit unhappy that you put your SW:P opener on the KTL’s new target. Paying attention – and looking at this icon – will help you avoid that particular embarrassment. (Not always – blush.) There’s a second benefit, however. Sometimes you need to help someone else who’s fighting two or three mobs. Focus attacks are always better, but WHICH ONE… oh, yeah. Target the friendly, see what the target of the moment is and click it, and… next?
Some people swear by various options, others swear at them. Some are more (or less) useful for one class than another. Take the time to look. Both for your own sake and for the player who seems to be blindly stumbling that you can help so you both do better.