A (Very Basic) Healer’s UI Breakdown
When Healing the largest issue you will have is overcoming a thing many people call tunnel vision. Tunnel vision is a condition that every Healer will get, that is focusing on Healing others and not watching a) their own HP and b) their current condition (standing in fire/not moving with the Raid). This condition is usually the result of a Healer staring at their Addons more than the actual game itself.
Figure it this way, the Addon is a double-edged sword. You practically NEED some sort of Raid Mod to be able to Heal your entire Raid, but you also want to be able to focus on your character. So, what Addons do we choose and how do we make it so we are able to focus on EVERYTHING and not get tunnel vision?
Action Bars- What you are going to want to have is an Addon that you can position and customize the Action Bars on. Dominos is my Addon of choice but there are others such as Bartender that you may use. Whatever floats your boat kiddos. I like to shrink these and position them off the screen so I may make room in the middle to BE ABLE TO SEE MY CHARACTER a lot clearer.
Raid Frames + Healing Addon- There are more than a handful of combinations for Raid Frame Addons and Healing Addons. With the Raid viewers we want to be able to see the whole Raid or Group in small/efficient boxes so we can easily see them without taking up half the god-damned screen. The Healing Addons should allow us to bind spells to certain mouse/key strokes and be able to use said combinations on our Raid Addons.
My preferred two are GRID (Raid) and Clique (Healing/Dispell Addon), both are highly customizable and easy to work with, making my job of clearing the middle of my screen a hell of a lot more easier. I have also heard some good things out of the Addon Voodoo which is basically a combination of the two inside one Addon, however I have yet to use this tool!
The one Addon that you should lean away from at the higher levels (Raiding, Arena, ect.) is Healbot. It is a great tool for the lower levels to help you get used to very basic Healing/Raid viewing abilities, but at the higher levels it will take up most of the damn screen. In all honesty, GRID/Clique do the same thing, except it takes a tiny bit more effort on your part to configure the Addons. In the end it will save your life when you need to move out of the clothy killer… FIRE!
Unit Frames- Unit frames are frames with your Character’s information, your Target’s information, and your Target of Target’s information. These should be large as they are generally the focus of your attention such as the Tank! They need to tell you more detailed information than just a few debuffs they have on them, HP, and Mana like the Raid Frames, and they must be large enough to grab your attention.
My two personal favorites are X-Perl and Pitbull. X-Perl is a lot more “noob friendly” meaning very little configuration is needed to get the look you are looking for, while Pitbull needs a bit more configuration, but can become a lot more customized than X-Perl. Both do the exact same job, they just have different ways of doing them!
Timers- Timer Addons are generally not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of what Healers should be looking for in a UI. To give you a brief look at what they do, it is simply telling you how many stacks/the duration of the buff/debuff on yourself and whatever your targets are. An example would be how much longer that Power Word: Shield has on the Tank so you can be sure that he does not go without a delicious bubble, or so that you do not waste Mana by putting up a new bubble while the old one is still up.
Cast Bar- Lastly, another Addon that will help you is a Cast Bar. The regular Blizzard one is (as is the entire UI) basic and does not give you all of the cool tricks to play around with. For instance, Cast Latency, which will help you Heal/DPS MUCH more efficiently as many of the Cast Bar mods can/do show you the latency that you have at that time. To give you a basic idea of what Cast Latency is, it is basically the amount of “lag” you have and when you can use this “lag” to your advantage so you may actually start casting a new spell right when your current spell finishes!
ANYWHO, my recommendation for a Cast Bar Addon would be Quartz. Now, grant it, it does show a bit more than just a simple Cast Bar (swing timer for you Phys./Melee DPS), the Cast Bar that is in the Addon is exceptional and the best I’ve found in a long while. You should definitely check this out, it’s by far one of my favorite toys!
Making the UI
Now grant it, the list of Addons I just listed are merely my suggestions and the “bare minimum” that I would suggest for a basic Healer’s UI. As I said before there are a few criteria that we will be looking for in your UI, that being said, here are my thoughts for an acceptable Healing UI!
- Your character must be visible and the focus of the UI.
- It must be neat and organized.
- Your Raid Frames must be clearly visible and accessible.
- CREATIVE! Everyone enjoys their own creations!
As you can see I did a fairly decent job of keeping stuff accessible and out of the middle of the screen. However, I do have some problems with it such as focusing on Eldadres rather than the Raid Frames at the bottom. It’s a wonderful UI to DPS/Tank with, but for Healing I’d much prefer something with a bit more center-ward focus!
Using this advice go out there and make your own UI. As for me, I will be posting pieces of my new Healing UI I’m working on in the upcoming weeks. It should be a fun project to undergo!
With that said and done, remember my suggestions for your own UI and stay tuned to see what masterpiece/abomination I come up with!