Spiritual Guidance: Addons and UI for healing Priests
Your UI and addons are all about what works for you. Some people work well with the base UI, but it’s very lacking, and most will opt to rearrange it so that they get the information they need much quicker. It’s a fact that healing someone with click-to-heal or mouseover macros will be faster than clicking someone’s health bar and pressing your heal. Soon keybinds become second nature and you react without thinking.
You’re the one who uses your UI, so you need to make sure it works with your strengths and weaknesses instead of against them. My main concerns with UI is visual look and audio. I need things where I can see them, so I arranged my WeakAura notifications and DBM timers to be more to the front, while action bars and Skada windows are off to the edges. Sometimes I miss warning timers or debuffs, so I added sounds to some WeakAuras to catch my attention. I have a lot of cosmetic changes to make it look symmetrical and visually pleasing as well as functional.
The first thing you want as a healer is some way of seeing your group’s health and a way to heal them. The standard raid frames have actually come a long way from what they used to be and are passable to use. They show health and raid debuffs, and you can customize the look and feel in the interface options. But they’re still pretty simple and there are great long-standing community-loved favorites out there. Raid frame addons offer a lot more customization regarding what they show and how you heal. They allow you to adjust every aspect and what buffs, debuffs, or HOTs you see.
When I first started healing, I used Healbot. Its name is sort of a misnomer, left over from back in the wild west of vanilla WoW when the addon would literally tell you what heals to cast. These days, it’s been just another raid frame option. I soon found myself wanting more customization, so I switched to VuhDo not long after. Raid frame setups can appear daunting, especially VuhDo’s. But I promise it’s all worth it when you find the one that works for you. If you really want to get into the nitty gritty and customize every single aspect, Grid2 and its many plugins are the way to go.
I was never able to get Grid to look or act the way I prefer, which is why I’ve stuck to VuhDo. All of my spells are bound to mouse keys and modifiers. I have all the custom buffs and debuffs I could ever need to see, HOTs that show up in set places on the player health bars. And I have raid marker indicators, color changes for dispel-able debuffs, and threat indicators so I know to pop a cooldown if needed. VuhDo and Healbot include click-to-heal, but for Grid and the standard frames, you’ll need Clique or mouseover macros.
Boss mods are an absolute must. You’ll find people saying they can raid without them, but anyone looking to seriously progress needs boss mods. Blizzard has long said that they actually design fights around using them. The timers are invaluable for predicting incoming damage or abilities, especially if you’re Discipline, where knowing the damage patterns is the key to doing any good amount of healing.
One thing I always recommend is to go through the individual boss encounter settings and customize it to your needs. The default settings often have all mechanic warnings turned on, which can kind of lead to information overload at times. Sometimes there are timers that you really don’t need to track and they can obscure the timers you do need. Other times all the warnings will have the same warning sound, making them blend together. It helps if you can go in and changed it to something else, like “Run away little girl!”
There are also voice packs announcing incoming mechanics for the audio-inclined.
WeakAuras 2 is a godsend. Some people can create an entire custom UI out of it. People have done fantastic things, even creating intricate custom auras like the Wrought Chaos and Shackled Torment tracker on Archimonde. I have WeakAuras for everything, anything I’ve ever forgotten to pay attention to: buff food, runes, flasks, fight debuffs, and my own buffs and spells. The header above is kind of funny to look at because it’s a jumbled mess — but that’s just to show how many auras I’ve accumulated. I make liberal use of the aura conditions so that most only activate in certain encounters, difficulties, instances, and even just in combat.
My current setup is a mix of auras I’ve created and adapted over the years as well as a highly customized version of Tal’s aura sets. I ended up making the “YOU’RE DEAD” aura back in MSV on Elegon, because the astral form prevented my Spirit of Redemption from showing and I couldn’t tell if I had been killed until I fell over. I liked it so much I’ve kept it all these years.
WeakAuras can do so many things. If you’re new to auras or just looking for ideas, the Wago site has tons of individual auras and sets uploaded for every class, spec, and raid encounter.
Ora3 is an all-in-one. It has lots of different raid management features like group inviting, loot master, and repairs. I like it for its cooldown tracking. Ever since Hermes bit the dust, Ora3 has filled the role. My main tracking modules track two things: healing cooldowns and healing panic buttons. These bars I have off to the side, so I can see at a glance what has been used so far.
It’s similar to Raeli’s Spell Announcer in that it will show who puts down a feast or Jeeves, who misdirects, or who taunts. It can also track who is buffed and flasked on ready checks. Another great feature is the Battle Rez monitor showing how many rezzes are available, the time remaining until next rez, and who rezzed who.
Raeli’s Spell Announcer
RSA simply announces your healing cooldowns, in a variety of ways and channels. It’s a great way to make sure the raid knows you’re popping Divine Hymn or Barrier, and how long they will last. It also whispers the target of my Guardian Spirit or Pain Suppression to let them know they’re safe for the time being. One thing I love about the announcer is that I can set it per difficulty or channel. My Symbol of Hope will /yell to get other healers’ attention, and I only have spells announce in raid chat, and not in dungeon parties or LFR.
Macros can do all kinds of things and some healers can pretty much replicate raid frames with mouseover macros. I’ve never gotten into that, but I do make use of other macros — such as a mouseover component to seamlessly switch between Halo or Divine Star on my raid frames (if a little outdated),
/cast divine star
/script m_c=GetSpellInfo(121135); m_ds=GetSpellInfo(110744); m_h=GetSpellInfo(120517)
/run SetMacroSpell(“90 Talents”,
a nifty macro to cast Angelic Feather on myself,
#showtooltip Angelic Feather
/cast [@player] Angelic Feather
or my super important macros.
/y Citizens of Dalaran! Raise your eyes to the skies and observe!
I’d say I’m sorry, but we all know I’m not. (Guess what all 7 duck macros are).
If you have spells not on the global cooldown, you can macro them with your other spells to activate both at once with a simple keybind. Most recently I did this with Flash Heal/Prayer of Healing and Apotheosis so I could seamlessly active it without having to press multiple keybinds. Back in the days of OP Discipline yore, I had a fantastic “OMG” macro consisting of Spirit Shell, Power Infusion, and Prayer of Healing, activated with a shift key modifier on top of my regular Prayer of Healing keybind.
Other Priest addons
- PoM Tracker A simple addon that tracks where your Prayer of Mending is and how many people it’s on. I mostly used this back when Prayer of Mendings from different Priests would overwrite each other, to figure out where mine actually was. Now it’s not so important, but still useful if you just want to quickly see where it is rather than scouring your raid frames for the icon.
- SPTimers Originally designed for just Priests, this is a great cooldown tracker on a single timer bar.
- Innervate Mana Saving Announcer If you’re curious how much mana you or anyone else saves from Innervate or Symbol of Hope, this is for you.
- AtonementBar, Atonement Tracker, Atonement Assist I have WeakAuras, and my raid frames track Atonement, but these are nifty addons if you don’t want to have to search for the right aura or mess with configuration.
There are so many Grid plugins out there, but here are some Priest-specific ones you might want to grab if you use it.
I hope this helps anyone either looking to customize their UI or spice up their current addons. Addons are a great tool, only as great as the person using them, but they’re wonderful if you can find the right fit.
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