As a healer, you need to be aware of a tremendous amount of information. I’d like to show you how I get at that information. In particular, this post will look at how I use Grid to display the status of buffs & debuffs on party members. This isn’t a post that will try to convince you that Grid is better than Healbot, or that addons are better than no addons. I’m just here to show you how I get mission-critical information. If you can get it another way, fantastic.
But just to be clear though, Grid is better than Healbot, and addons are better than no addons.
Grid is tricky to set up; it took me a few weeks to adjust once I moved over from Healbot. There’s a thread on EJ that can help you with that (read: don’t ask me for help!), but the best way to learn Grid is just to play around. I had Healbot and Grid running side-by-side until I felt totally comfortable with Grid.
And by the way, if you do use Healbot, you can do at least 80% of what I’m about to describe, and it will be much easier to configure than Grid.
Sample raid frame: Tank
Here’s what a tank might look like:
- Renew timer (only for my own renew)
- Power word shield active, Weakened soul debuff active
- Grace (# stacks)
Other than Inspiration, those are all immensely useful when it comes to making snap decisions. I just like to know when Inspiration is up. Divine Aegis? Not shown because it also doesn’t affect my decision making. Of course I like to know when it’s up, but those shiny balls are kind of hard to miss. Don’t need raid frames for that.
Aggro: If this little dot ever moves to another raid frame, you can bet they’ve got a shield coming as fast as I can pop one. Followed by a scold. (Hmm…nice macro idea… /cast Power Word: Shield, followed by /y Aggro monger! Stop taking what isn’t yours!)
Renew: If the fight is tough, or has periods of silence (Maexxna), my awareness of this little ticker is paramount. I don’t have much interest (for now) in seeing others’ hots, but that could be arranged if it becomes important.
PWS: Seeing PWS and Weakened Soul is top priority. I can see when another priest has shielded their target as well. In fact, depending on the situation, I might ask them to leave the shielding to me. During the time span of the Weakened Soul debuff, I’m locked out from using my own shields, which are likely to be much stronger. In a two-tank fight, I’m often able to main-heal one tank while still putting shields on the second tank.
Grace: Like renew, if the fight is tough, I’m trying to keep up Grace at all times. There’s a Grid plugin just for this, by the way. It’s able to show not only the number of stacks, but the time remaining on the buff. I’m not showing this at the moment; I just don’t need to get that granular.
Inspiration: As I said, it’s not really essential. It just gives me a warm feeling to know it’s up.
Sample raid frame: Everyone else
Here is another frame, just me this time, to show a few other pieces of useful information:
Prayer of Mending: This is an interesting one. Knowing who’s currently holding the bouncing ball of healing is useful, and that’s as much as I’ve asked Grid to display. But there’s more to know as well. I use a data broker called Broker_PoM for that. It shows four things in a compact and easy-to-read frame: who’s got the ball, how many bounces are left, how many seconds are left, and indicates when the cooldown is up and it can be recast. (Managing cooldowns will be the subject of Part Two of this post.)
All this other PoM detail could be embedded within the Grid frame, but I like to have only the most immediate and essential information shown there.
Power Infusion and Pain Suppression: These two buffs share a location in the layout. That’s fine, because I haven’t yet put them on the same target except myself (typically during emergency procedures when I’m the last man standing). But I don’t need the raid frame to tell me when it’s an emergency.
Frame colors for emergencies
My raid frame (above) is colored orange. This is an emergency medical condition requiring immediate attention. In particular, it means my Inner Fire buff is down.
Yes, I consider this an emergency, which is why the frame turns such a vivid shade, one that will grab my eye even during heated combat. It’s on a class filter, so I can see when the buff fades off any priest. (And given how significant a spellpower boost it is, I will not hesitate to ask priests to refresh Inner Fire if it does go down.)
I also use colors for other emergency conditions. The entire frame turns blue for a dispellable magic debuff; brown for a disease; and purple for specific custom debuffs.
Knowing when Inner Fire goes down is a terrific addition to the interface. The spellpower bonus represents a significant portion of my overall throughput, which is why I use a vivid color that will grab my eye even during heated combat. I have it on a class filter, so I can see when the buff fades off any priest. It’s not exactly my job as a healer to remind other priests that their buff is down, but I do like to ensure that everyone is running their A-game at all times. They generally appreciate it, because they know that I’m a team player, and I’m not calling them on it to tell them how bad they are, but to make sure our team is running at full capacity.
Also used: GridIndicatorCornerIcons, GridIndicatorCornerText, GridIndicatorSideIcons, GridSideIndicators, GridStatusGrace, GridStatusHots, GridStatusMissingBuffs
Grid thread on EJ
Broker_PoM (and ButtonBin, my favorite data broker display)