Monday, August 24, 2009

Twig Heals 101: HealBot (setup 2)

The second half of the healbot setup is all about the look and feel of the addon. Familiarize yourself with the following screens and don't be afraid to play with them during your next raid. Healing addons can only be effective if you make sure they're displaying ALL the information you need in a manner in which you can understand.

Healbot Healing tab:

The healing bars tab controls which health bars appear on your screen. There are options to display targets not in your raid, pets, tanks, even vehicles if you wish. My setup leaves main tanks unchecked, as I prefer to have their health bar appear with the other members of their group instead of at the top of my healbot UI. That allows me to easily see when my wildgrowth spell can best be used on the melee group. Play around with these settings to decide which health bars you do and do not want to appear on your healbot UI.

Also of note in this tab are the alert level and range check settings.
Alert level: This setting tells healbot to alert you when a target goes below a certain percentage of their hp.
Range check frequency: This setting tells healbot how often to check the range of all targets in your raid. The lower the setting the faster you'll know if someone in your raid has moved out of healing range.
Disable bar when range over 100 yards: This will remove the health bar of any target over 100 yards away from your healbot UI.

Healbot Cure tab:

This section of healbot allows you to monitor dispellable debuffs on members of your raid and to set which spells you will use to remove the debuff. You should definitely have your abolish poison and remove curse spells mapped to your mouse in the spells tab if you want to utilize this screen properly.

Healbot Skin 1 tab:

Skin 1 tab directly affects the appearance of the headers and font of your healbot UI as well as aggro and current HoTs a target has. I highly recommend having your HoTs appear on the health bars with a duration counter so you can know exactly when a target's heals are going to run out. I also recommend enabling the monitor aggro function as it allows you to see instantly when a raid member has pulled aggro from a tank as well as when they have picked up an add.

Healbot Skin 2 tab:

The Skin 2 tab directly affects the look of the health bars on your healbot UI. You can adjust height, width, number of groups per column, opacity, mana bar size, etc... in this tab. Play around with these settings to get healbot to look and feel the way you want it to.

Healbot Tips tab:

The tips tab controls the tooltips that are displayed by healbot. Set these to your preference.

Healbot Buffs tab:

The buffs tab allows you to monitor which members of your raids are missing your buffs as well as notifies you when the buffs are about to expire. My setup only monitors Gift of the Wild because I rarely apply thorns to anyone other than the tanks in my raids and they account for so little damage it's not worth the mana it costs to reapply them mid fight.
And there you have part two of the healbot setup. I've tried to keep my descriptions and explanations short and sweet, and I hope your own setup will be just that... short and sweet.

Coming up next we step out of the setup screens and take a look at healbot in action. Both healbot users and Grid & Clique users will find useful tips in my next post. So stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Healing on the Run: Trial of the Crusader

Healing on the run: Beasts of Northrend

Phase 1: Gormok the Impaler

Where to stand: Start out in the middle of the coliseum a good five yards from anyone else and move whenever fire AoE is placed at your feet.

What to watch for:

Fire! Throughout the fight Gormok’s Snobolds will put fire under your roots. Fire and trees do not mix. Run out of it asap. And keep your eyes out for others who are slow hauling their toosh as well. You can’t heal through it, but you can buy them another second or two to get out of the flame.

Tanks! Gormok will stack a DoT on the main tank until the off tank taunts him off. This DoT lasts for 20 seconds after the taunt, so keep heals up on both tanks throughout this fight.

Snobolds. Random toons will be effected by little nasties that jump on their backs. These buggers need to be dpsed off. They don’t hit terribly hard, but they do slow your movement down and interrupt spell casting when they jump on you. Call out if you get one and pay a little extra attention to other toons that have them as well.

Mana. Know that you’ve just started a long three boss fight with no chance to mana up in between. Phase 1 is basic tank and spank so conserve as much mana as you can while keeping the raid up and looking good.

Should I freak? Not yet. This is the easier of the three phases. Keep an eye on what you’re standing in and don’t heal too big. You’ll have a few seconds after Gormok goes down to top off the raid.

Phase 2: Acidmaw and Dreadscale

Where to stand: Again, you’ll want to start out in the middle of the coliseum and cheat to the side that your tank is kiting the flame worm around.

What to watch for:

Paralytic Toxin! Acidmaw will put a debuff on members of the raid. This stackable debuff will eventually lock you in place and the only way to remove it is with Dreadscale’s debuff called burning bile. The tank kiting Dreadscale around the room will have the burning bile aura, so run to him/her, gain the debuff, and run back to the middle of the coliseum. Keep your eyes peeled for toons running to and from Dreadscale as well. If you’re paralyzed, call out for someone to bring the burning bile aura to you.

Dreadscale enrage! If your group chooses to burn down Acidmaw first, Dreadscale will enrage doing huge damage. Luckily, it’s only single target damage, so spread out and heal the tank big until your raid burns Dreadscale down.

Mana. I know you’re a druid and mana isn’t something you usually worry about, but you’re currently in the toughest phase of a three boss fight and there’s no rest in sight. Conserve where you can and remember to innervate your friends.

Acidmaw burrow. Half way through the fight, Acidmaw will burrow underground. When it reemerges it will not only be mobile but it will also have wiped aggro. Look for overzealous dps to heal while your tank regains Acidmaw’s attention.

Watch where you’re standing. With toons running around, worms switching from stationary to mobile, debuffs galore and tanks spread out across the room, it’s easy to let yourself drift into a bad position. Never let yourself get in front of a worm and never let yourself get behind the mobile worm. Your best bet is to stay parallel with the tank as he kites the worm around the outer edge of the room.

Should I freak? If you must freak out, now is the time to do it. You’re in phase two of a tough three boss fight. There’s no break after the worms go down, no chance of running back in if you go down, and no way of picking the fight up from here if you wipe. Stay on your toes, use all your tools and try to keep the raid up through this crazy phase.

Phase 3: Icehowl

Where to stand: Once again, in the middle of the coliseum.

What to watch for:

Massive Crash! This beast of a yeti will jump up into the air and come crashing down hard… throwing the entire raid against the wall and stunning them. The crash itself doesn’t hurt much, but what happens afterward is what you need to worry about. Icehowl will charge at a random toon while they’re up against the wall. Once the stun wears off, you need to be running to your left or right immediately to avoid being hit by the charging yeti or else it’s instant death.

Ferocious butt! Feel bad for your main tank. Throughout this fight, Icehowl will be headbutting him/her for up to 25K damage while also stunning them for 2.5 seconds. Big heals on the tank if you want to survive this nightmare.

Mana. You no longer need to conserve, but you do need to find enough mana to heal big and hard in this phase. Hopefully you’ve innervated a fellow healer at some point in this fight. And hopefully your cooldown will allow you to innervate someone again.

Should I freak? Nah. Being knocked against a wall and seeing a giant Yeti running at you can be a little unsettling, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Stay calm and focused on this phase. You’ve come too far and fought too long to fail and have to start over. Mana is the key to your success. Save it for the moments you really need it and you’ll outlast this endurance fight without a problem.

Good luck out there!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Innervate: The verdict

When patch notes come out, I usually try my best to keep an even keel.
Take 3.2 for instance. Lifebloom is getting nerfed again? That
sucks, but I’m getting used to it. Rejuvenation will soon be able to
crit? That’s pretty cool but I’m not going to freak out over it.
Innervate’s length and cool down will be cut in half? That’s pretty
sweet. Really sweet. Actually, that’s kinda awesome. Wicked awesome!
YES! (You see where I kind of lost my head.)

The idea of having two innervates in one fight (even if they are half
as effective) really had me pumped up over its potential. I was
picturing one innervate for me about a minute or two in to the fight
then another innervate for my favorite priest 3 minutes later. The
more I thought about it the more I pictured the two of us swimming
happily in an endless pool of mana healing all and bringing peace to
the world.

Reality check.

The patch comes out, our first raid rolls around, and oops… I forget
to innervate early in the fight (old habits die hard). No worries. I
pop my innervate on my priest friend and then make a mental note to
remember the change next time. About a minute goes by and…

Surprised priest: “Beck. Innervate me.”
Depressed druid: “Uh, I just did.”
Surprised priest: “Seriously, I’m almost OOM. Innervate.”
Depressed druid: “But… I… uh…cooldown?”
Surprised priest: “I’m OOM. Heal tank.”
Depressed druid: “…”

At this point I’m healing big and healing everywhere. Every time I
get the raid topped off I mouse over my innervate icon. 45 seconds…
44… 43… Regrowth, swiftmend, wild growth, check. 30… 29… 28… Rejuv,
nourish, nourish, wildgrowth, check. 18… 17… 16… hang in there
priest. It’s coming. 3… 2… 1… finally!

The fight ends, a few ranged are down (because my GCD won’t let me be
everywhere), and slap my ass and call me junior… some of MY spell
icons have turned grey. /emote shock and awe.

I chalk that up to bad luck and try to get the new innervate thing
down in the next fight. I innervate myself early… notice a few ticks
going to waist, then innervate the priest about the same time I
normally would. Same problem. She doesn’t get enough mana back to
last her through the fight.

Next fight I try to innervate her early, time it so it nearly tops her
off, then pop it again on her as soon as it’s up. Success! Three
fights in and I get the innervate thing figured out. And just as I’m
about to breathe easy… it hits me. Two innervates and still none of
them go to me. /Sigh.

I knew that priest healers didn’t need ALL of the old innervate, but
as it turns out they do need more than half of it. So, after allowing
myself to get over excited about the mana possibilities in 3.2, I’ve
now grown bitter (which is what happens when you set yourself up for a
let down).

It isn’t a big deal really. Most fights I don’t need innervate. Most
fights I don’t even think about innervate. But when those long boss
fights do roll around I find myself cursing Blizzard thinking about
what could have been. What should have been.

Never again will I allow myself to get pumped up over a patch. Never
will I let the possibilities overwhelm me. Nope. Never. Not even
the idea of a Tauren pally, which is pretty sweet... and kind of cool. Really cool, actually…

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Twig Heals: HealBot (setup 1)

Notice:  This Healbot setup guide was written for version 3.2 and is now somewhat out dated.  You can find my setup guide for the newest version of HealBot (v. 3.3.0) here.

The biggest obsticle new raiding druids have to get over is learning to use a healing addon. Whether you choose HealBot (which is easier to use "out of the box") or Grid + Clique (which is much more customizable), you'll need to understand how they work in order to get the most out of them. This guide will focus on the setup and use of HealBot (the debate of Grid v. HealBot is best saved for another blog).

Let's take a look at each HealBot screen and see how they affect the addon.

HealBot General tab:

The top half of the HealBot 'General' tab mostly affects your UI. The options are fairly self explanitory, save for the last two.

Disable HealBot: Disable all events and hide the bars (This is the off switch)
Show MiniMap Button: Show button on minimap, hold right mouse button to move
Lock Position: Locks the frames in place
Anchor: Set the anchor point, HealBot will then grow away from the anchor
Close Automatically: Closes the frame when no one needs a buff/heal (only when out of combat)
Play sound on open: Plays a sound when the frame is opened.
Hide options button: Hides the option button on the frame
Right click on panel opens options: Enable right click to open the options menu
Hide Party Frames: Hide the standard party frames (yourself and target optional)
Enable libQuickHealth: Allows your addon to interact with other healers so that you can see what targets have an incoming heal and what targets are being resurrected. It's very useful in a raid situation and should be enabled.
Use CPU profiler: Allows HealBot to interact with a CPU usage addon. Basically it tracks how much of your pc's resources are being used by your addons. If you don't have a CPU usage addon installed, there's no reason to check this box off in your HealBot setup.

The bottom half of the 'General' tab allows you to send automatic messages when you perform an action with HealBot. Spamming notifications in raid will frustrate and annoy, however, so check off 'Notify for resurrection only' or nothing at all.

Once you have your general setup taken care of, it's time to map your mouse keys (which is the whole reason you downloaded an addon to begin with). Think about your healing style for a minute before you start mapping your spells.

HealBot Spells tab:

The drop down menu let's you choose if you want your HealBot bars enabled at all times or only in combat. I recommend having them on at all times so you can get used to looking at them for party information (instead of the standard party frames that you're used to.)

You'll notice five buttons below the drop down menu. This is where you map spells to the corresponding mouse button (i.e. Left for left click, right for right click, etc...) You've probably realized by now that we have more than 3 to 5 healing spells, so in order for healbot to give you access to all of your talents, we have to include 'Shift', 'Ctrl', and 'Alt' with our mouse clicks. (Note: If you have other actions mapped to these keys in your interface, you should move them now.)

The way you set up your spells is up to you, though I recommend mapping your most used spells to the simplest click and then continue from there. (You may notice that my middle mouse button is strictly resurrection and debuff spells. I find having my battle rez mapped there keeps it out of the way.)

Save unique spells for each spec: Allows you to map different spells for your duel spec without having to constantly change your HealBot settings.
Use Enabled Settings when target in combat: If the target is in combat, your HealBot settings will be enabled for that target.
Always use Enabled Settings: Always use enabled settings in or out of combat.
Avoid accidental PVP flagging: Keeps bars disabled if the target is PVP flagged and you're not.
SmartCast when out of combat: This will automatically select a spell when out of combat to res, buff, remove debuffs, or heal your target (binds to left click).

Take your time on the 'Spells' tab and study where you have your spells mapped. It will take some practice to cast your spells in this manner, but once you have their hotkeys mastered, you're healing will become much quicker and efficient.

HealBot Healing tab:

The top half of the 'Healing' tab allows you to choose what bars appear on your HealBot UI. You obviously want your party/raid to appear and it's important to have your own bar there as well. Whether you want pets to appear is up to you, and if you'd like the tanks to be seperated from the rest, there's an option for that too.

Alert level: Sets a target %hp for HealBot to alert you when a target needs heals. The target's health bar will go from opaque to solid whenever their health reaches this level or lower. This setting allows you to know exactly who's taking damage and who you should be focusing your heals on.
Range check frequency: This changes how often HealBot will do a range check on your raid. The more frequent you set it, the faster you'll know if someone moved out of your range or not.

So there you have the first half of the HealBot setup. At this point your HealBot is ready to use. The second half of the tutorial will cover monitoring and removing debuffs (in and out of combat) as well as changing the look of healbot to fit your preferences.