Some changes in playstyle

Last night was painful. We ran Kara, and the mobs and bosses were dropping like flies. And then my healbot quit just before we took on Netherdrake. Shortly after that I DC’d, and came back to my corpse (a charred earth spawned in the interval between when I quit being able to do anything and I logged off). I came back and things ran fine, except healbot never came back.

Determined that this never again be a problem for me, I have spent large chunks of hours since examining options. What you’re about to read is my tentative solution, with typical digressions and discussions.

There are several issues ongoing with this. First, one of the major reasons for my DC is that I’ve been pushing the computer load. As I’ve said before, I run with a computer many readers would consider woefully unacceptable (Dell Latitude 110L laptop) – and am ‘satisfied’ if my framerate exceeds 10 dps fps. Even so, I’ve got some serious memory hogging addons running which need deleted – they were for play and examination, and aren’t really doing that much for me.

Still, as I said in an earlier post, HealBot is a HUGE advantage for healers – well, raidhealers. I missed it a LOT last night. What I did as a quick solution was turn on Grid (with a bunch of healer-oriented packages) and try to do target-keyboard casting as much as possible. It … worked, but not anywhere near as easily or swiftly as I’d come to appreciate in this game. (Click, click. Click, button.) I decided after ending last night that I’d Do Something About This.

The first plan was to have a backup for HealBot. In other words, do what I tossed together last night but in a more useful fashion. I have decided I don’t like grid – I can see why people do, but I don’t play it enough to remember that this dot in that corner means a dispel magic is needed, and a dot in that corner… well, you get the idea. Even so, the tiny real estate it occupies is oh-so-tempting, and I have no doubt I’ll try it again sometime down the road.

However, the other half – no, the much more important part of the system was to have a quick and easy casting system with the grid. I liked click-casting, and went looking. While there are several, I found two that were actually quite good – clique and click2cast.

Simplistically, they’re the clickcast part of healbot. Pick a cast, assign it to a mousebutton combination, and when your mouse is over a frame then that frame is targeted for that combination. I’m going to tell you up front that this is good. Clique is more complex, allowing you to do MORE than just framecast. Click2Cast is smaller and fully reliable. But…

I’d assigned (in healbot) my left and right clicks to particular spells. And I naturally tried to do the same in both of these. Unfortunately, both of the programs then treated it like a macro – that is, all “normal” functions of the left and right click were not available. I couldn’t target things with my left-click, and I couldn’t pull down menus with a right-click. It’s allegedly POSSIBLE to fix this for clique, though an hour of searching left me no wiser. Click2cast has no chance of dual-purposing at this time (found that info in about ten minutes).

So… I puttered a bit, and thought a bit, and came to another realization. For the last week or so, about a quarter of my casts still haven’t used healbot. Due to peculiarities or my misunderstanding, there are a few casts that don’t work they way I think they ought to work, and to get around this I target and click – exactly what I was unhappy about above. Not least in this is that I couldn’t dual-task trinket-use with casts. Or to better explain, I’ve got macros that /use trinket /cast spell, but to do it with healbot meant two clicks (key and/or mouse). feh. (For the record, Clique allows you to add a trinket use to a spellcast – and a lot more. It is, indeed, a good addon. Just didn’t hit my exact taste.)

At about this same time, I was playing with various raidframes to see my preference. I could live with pretty much any of them – yes, even grid. My criteria was enough information (I like to know the status of the buffs I cast and what hots are running as examples), but keeping the operational status low. The latter meant I regretfully passed on XPerl. agUF didn’t quite give me the tastes I wanted. Pitbull was close as was sRaidFrames – each offering something the other lacked.) And after staring at and configuring and staring some more at little boxes all over my screen, I decided I needed a break and read some blogs.

While at BigBearButt’s I saw his article on providing Mouseovers in the blog and had an “AHA!” moment. A quick look at all my macros, and I’m at work.

Here’s the outline. I already use macros for a lot of my spells, and they’re target selection macros instead of this-that-spellchoice macros. (That is, “if friendly target it, if foe target the foe’s target…” instead of “if this mod use maxrank, if that mod use lesserrank, if that out of combat use this spell instead…”) One quick line added to the bunch is SO FAR working wonders. [target=mouseover]

It’s still click the keyboard while pointing with the mouse. While I’ve some thoughts on that, I’ve not tested them. What I HAVE realized, however, is that I may be doing away with healbot. Because I may – just may – have reduced the necessary real estate load while keeping all the functionality I need.

You’re welcome to suggest shifts, alternatives, and so forth. In fact, I encourage it. But don’t blankly copy what I’ve done because at this instant I’m not sure it’s a great answer. It just looks like it MIGHT do what I need – and I’m sharing because if it works for me there might be someone else out there who can use it as well.

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~ by Kirk on October 25, 2007.

10 Responses to “Some changes in playstyle”

  1. I’ve always done all of my healing manually. I never liked Healbot, it just wasnt my style. Instead, I just set my healing assignment as my ‘focus’ and have my heals macroed to heal my focus target when I press the shift key, leaving me free to target whatever I want (usually some tank or other that just ate a crushing or the rogue that always manages to take a cleave)

  2. I’m not quite the end-game healer (lvl 41 Holy priest here) and am a bit of a purist as far as Mods and add-ons. I only run Auctioneer, and Omen currently.
    However, I have to say that finding [target=mouseover] my healing in PuG 5-mans has become nothing short of legendary. Putting my most common heals on the actionbar and within easy reach of 1-7 keys, I can simply point to the default party frames and heal, Gheal, Dispell, Shackle, and all sorts of fancy magic about twice as fast as I had been before. It’s a beautiful thing!

  3. I guess I’m an old school stubborn player. Actually, more like lazy. I’ve never grown accustomed to using focus macros. I’m still doing the whole point and click deal because I never really figured out how it worked and how to best apply it. Back in the 40′s, it was always click on player, flash heal. Click on other player, flash heal. All the stuff you’ve suggested seems to work wonders. I would have no idea ow to use it and I’m hesitant to give it a dry run on our raid nights.

  4. I use Pitbull for most of the info that healbot provides, but I didn’t like having to have a separate set of bars for each party or raid member if I wanted to click cast them. I may look into added that mouseover to a few macros for heals on a unit frame, but for now I use decursive for dispels and abolish disease.

  5. I use UnitActionBars from the wowace site for my click casting. UAB lets you bind custom menus or spells to keys, and is smart enough to change what’s available based on range and even the type of window you click on. If you only have 1 spell bound to that menu, it automatically casts it. So for example, you could have ctrl-left click bound to cast shield on friendly frames (party, raid, pet, friendly target) but SW: pain on hostile targets (target, focus, ToT, etc). It’s super flexible and the author is good about incorporating suggestions into the addon.

  6. @ Doug, I prefer that to healbot for 5-man. But it always got frustrating for me in raids, even 10-man. And healbot let me use minimal effort (alternate to macros) for casting options. 20 combos all RIGHT THERE, just mouseover and combo-click for spell of choice. But I’ve already noted the problems, and… like you, focus macro cast-heal is darn useful. (See several of my macro posts to see the concurrence.)

    @Maebius, Even as a minimalist, if you ever run raids you’ll want at least a raid communications package (CTR or oRA), and most guilds will require you get a boss warning packagge (DBM or BW). But yeah, I’m suspecting the mouseover with keyboard will be as easy and (possibly MORE) useful (in the longrun) than my current infatuation with mouseover mousebutton.

    @ Matticus. I’ve a few posts on focus macros in the archives. But… my recommendation for testdriving is to get a 5-man. Best (if you’ve zero comfort) is to take a few friends on a wild below-level instance romp. Just enough damage to make you need to cast, not enough that a few seconds of ‘oops’ will cause a wipe.

    @ Thuenderman, decursive is nice and if my system were larger it’d be on the list of ‘have to’ addons. But its another set of memory and cpu that I can do on my own with appropriate macros. FWIW I was using healbot’s table as my set of bars – no double bars, just one set. Because like you two sets is one too many.

    @ Gwynne. UAB is between C2C and Clique (IMO). And it doesn’t solve my personal objections to either. As with all addons, however, ymmv. And if it works for you and makes the game more fun, great. That said, thank you for bringing it up since I failed to mention it — and it IS good enough to include for consideration.

  7. I clickselect my targets with my mouse and have three fingers on keys 1, 2 and 3 fpr FH, Renew and GH, Dispell Magic, PoM, Fade on 4-6 (Fade on 6 because MS Natural Keyboard has a space between 6 and 7 so I can use 6 as a “panic putton” with enough space to just hit the area.

    Now for the mor interesting part: in 5-mans I use PitBull, but for raids I prefer not to have a cluttered interface with to many frames that have to be placed one after the other. I’m a longtime user of PerfectRaid now (by the same author as Clique, Cladhaire). It is clean, gives a good overview, saves screen realestate, only shows buffs that are missing and has userdefinable debuffs (e.g. Brittle Bones or Demonic Chains). To me it is just perfect.

  8. I use Clique ad I think it is great. The loss of the “normal” click functions was a concern at first but I just added them to the “alt+button” option and retrained myself to use that instead of that which I had been used to. Did’t take long.

  9. Ok laugh as you may.

    I personally don’t care for mods too much with the exception of decursive. When I was a “healing priest” I tried various addons and found it to be simpler and more fun to do it manaully.

    Now I do use a couple of focus macros and such that I have written myself, but other than that I feel mods are basically a waste of time because they only make you look like you know what your doing and don’t really teach you to “play your toon and learn it’s quirks, abilities and pitfalls.

    Knowing how to do this manually imho will make you a much better player.

  10. WTB frame rate that does damage!

    “am ’satisfied’ if my framerate exceeds 10 dps”

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