My favorite raidheal addon
When you start raiding, inevitably your group will tell you to get some packages. At a minimum you’re going to be told to get a raid assist program – most commonly CTRA (CT_RaidAssist) or oRA2. Depending on which, you’ll also be told to pick up one or two other packages – things like Natur EnemyCastBar and BigWigs and, well, there are a few.
Let’s look a tiny bit at why, and then let’s go look at some raid-healer addons with that “why” kept in mind. And, of course, my favorite – healbot continued.
All the raid assistance addons are designed to make your raid easier. Think of the madness of some of the bosses you’ve encountered in 5-man instances – bosses like, oh, say the tagteam experience of Morgraine and Whitemane in Scarlet Monastery. Now add the fun of keeping track of everybody in one of the BGs – even a ‘simple’ one like WSG. Lots of people coping with lots of things going on – and all with a UI that’s basically telling you about the 5 people you happen to be grouped with, and group plus raid channels going (you hope), and… What? who needs healed? Buffs? Hello?
madness. Sheer madness.
The core package that everyone requires – either CTRA or oRA2 most of the time (and they’re 100% compatible in talking to one another) – is intended to solve one biggest single issue. Communication across the entire raid. What’s communicated gets into little details depending on which module you have activated and what you’ve turned on. But just like we depend on the tank having a threatmeter so we KNOW our level with OUR meter, the leaders need us to have our core loaded. It tells them which group we’re in. It allows them to know our health and mana and buff status. It allows them to ask if everyone is ready – and get a reply in a coherent and measurable fashion. (XX Yes, YY no – and this means you can also do “votes” or ‘do you have’ or, well, you get the idea.)
Now CTRA is famous (infamous?) for its frames, and ORA requires you to load frames as a separate module. Frankly, I’m not getting into that other than noting frames is a GOOD THING for everyone who has to watch the status of the entire raid. Like healers. But… What most raid frame packages do is let us see a table view of all the players and click on them to select them much as we click on the icons of our party. Click to target, then cast spell. And pretty much every raidguild using these will use a supplement (or inherent for CTRA) that separates out the tanks (and id’s their targets and usually the targets of those targets — which, if you think about it, is really really useful for the healer in itself). [runon sentences for the win. gasp. wheeze. And yes, I talk that way.] But these are all mainly aimed at the damage dealers. What do we need, really?
In a raid, we want to do what we normally do, but with more healers working on more people. That is, we want to keep everyone alive without wasting mana.
Basically, we need to see:
- Everyone who needs heals;
- Who among them are getting heals;
- And are the ones we’re healing getting too much heal?
I’m going to throw out three programs that I’ve used enough to say I’m comfortable, with enough detail to maybe let you take a shot at them yourself. Before I do so, however, let me point out a critical point. All will work if you’re the only one using them. All have a lot more benefit if all your healers – not just priests – are using them, as they’ll talk to each other. Like threatmeters, remember? OK.
Lowest one on the chain is VisualHeal (alternate link). I like it a lot and it’s on my healer – no, not yet my favorite, but high on the list. All it does is put up two bars on your screen – one of you, one of your current healcast target. (yes, even if you’re using target=focus, that’s what shows.) The bar shows current health as a proportion of the bar and incoming heals – yours, and any from anyone else which will land before yours is done. (HoTs are shown as total, not next tick – a mixed issue.) The really nice thing? If your heal will be an overheal (full or partial) it is in red and extends past the healthbar. Yep, quick visual of “will you overheal” and “by how much”. “Oh, Crap the MT’s at 20% and falling,” gets an instinctive reaction from healers, and six healers throwing NOWNOWNOW is… a lot of potentially wasted mana. Or maybe not. But seeing your GH is going to way after a bunch of other stuff – and is going to be entirely overheal – makes it easy to know it’s safe to switch to that OT at 50%.
Middle on the chain is Healer’s Assist. (pictures here). I… used to use this, and there are really good things to like about it that are absent from my favorite. Here’s the basic deal. It lets you have a list of up to 10 healers in your list. You see them, their current target, and the status of any spells they’re sending. The sort constantly jumps (you’re always on top), as healers on YOUR target are moved up to the top of the list. (Regardless of whether it’s because you targeted theirs or they targeted yours, notice.) Subordinate to that you can have them sorted alphabetically or by group. There are a couple more things going on, however.
First, and probably most significant, is the “emergency” list. You set up triggers – these classes or groups, if they go to XX percent – and prioritize (warriors before mages, for example). And up to six (you choose) will pop up on the “OH CRAP HEALZ NOW” list if they hit your trigger. Oh – and it’ll still show if they’ve got heals incoming.
Second, and a nice touch, is the ‘cooldown spell’ item. If your healer has something like, oh, lightwell or divine intervention or innervate, then it’ll show up next to their name. And it’ll show whether it’s ready or not. And you can “click to request”. Now it’s subject to abuse — just think of all the “HEAL ME” addon messages out there to get an inkling – but as healteam leader it has some awesome advantages, too.
But as I said, I don’t use this anymore.
My favorite addon is one of those “OMG it’s huge and complex” addons. It’s been cleaned up a lot over time but still eats memory. Of course it does a lot with that memory… Healbot Continued. (here, here, or here as you prefer.)
The reason it’s complex is that in addition to a monitor – all those other things – and a targetter (like the raid frames), it’s a macro interface. That is, one of the things it does is allow me to assign up to five mouse buttons – with no modifier, shift, alt, and ctrl – a spell or debuff or /target or /focus – and when I click IN THE FRAME these go off, but OUT OF FRAME they do not. Ponder that a moment (grin). In a raid, literally everything I can do – buff, bandage, dispel, and several heals – are a simple mod-click on a target box.
And – and here’s some of the extra reasons – if the target is out of range I can see that. If it’s getting other heals, I can see that (provided the other healers are using healbot or another program that notifies by healer channel). I can set the program so it will not cast if the target is flagged – and another setting so certain spells won’t be cast during combat. I can set it so I can see or not see debuffs I can affect – depending on what I need. And there’s an emergency notice and…
In the not so distant past, Ego spoke of her ‘secret weapon‘ for play. This is mine. It lets you use a 5-button mouse much the same way she uses her Nostromo. Same principle, really – everything in easy reach. The difference is hers is more flexible, mine is healer dedicated.
Now, there are a LOT OF OTHER CHOICES. And depending on your play and OTHER items, they may be better for you. But if you’re not using anything to help you manage the healing in a raid, you might as well be…
As bad as the tank who doesn’t use a threatmeter, and who doesn’t use DeadlyBossMod or BigWig. Not only because YOU will be wasting mana and missing heals, but because you’ll be wasting heals and mana of other healers as well.
Get something that at least tells you when you’re doublehealing someone. Preferably, get something that tells the other healers your target (on an underlying commo channel, not through chat) and syncs them. And make sure you can see what targets need healed even if it’s the default frames of CTRA.
Or don’t be surprised if you’re not invited to the next raid.