Healing Level: Beginning – Advanced
In this post, I’d like to focus on the most important part of healing – your UI, or user interface.
It is a rare healer who can utilize the default Blizzard UI and perform well because they don’t give you a whole lot to work with. Most healers use add-ons for their raid frames and to track cooldowns, buffs, and debuffs.
One of the most popular replacement UI’s is ElvUI, which you can download here. If you choose to download ElvUI, I suggest watching a YouTube tutorial on how to configure it (it can be rather complicated). ElvUI comes with its own set of raid frames and the interface is very smooth and clean. A large number of the people I raid with enjoy using ElvUI because it’s such a smooth UI.
Now, you might be wondering why it’s so important to have a clean UI, and that’s an easy question to answer. When people start healing, there’s a tendency to tunnel (overly focus) on the health bars of others. Which is why you’ll see so many healers standing in bad – they are too focused on healing and not focused enough on keeping themselves alive. A clean interface helps minimize the damage from tunneling because it puts the raid frames near your feet where you can see everything in the environment.
As a healer, I get annoyed when I hear players who play dps classes only talk about how easy healing is and/or how boring it can be. Healers have a lot to deal with – another reason people can find the role stressful. You have to be able to watch your feet well enough to avoid all the fire, handle every mechanic properly, and keep the tanks and raid alive. Oh, and yourself – don’t forget, you have to heal yourself too (a lot of new healers forget that part!). On top of that, in a raid environment, you have to be able to trust the other healers in the group. That’s a lot of pressure, so if you can’t handle a lot of pressure, you should turn in your healing badge right now.
If you can handle the pressure, however, read on.
A clean UI is a healer’s bread and butter. It can make the difference between a kill and a wipe – yes, your UI is that essential. And everyone views a clean UI in a different way. Here is how my UI looks on my paladin and druid:
A lot of people will look at this UI and go “OMG, that’s so cluttered! How do you heal like that?” I know, because I have heard the question asked repeatedly over the years. The answer? “Easily.” Because, for me, this is clean. I am working with a small 13 inch monitor, so I don’t have much room to begin with.
Everything I need to see is near the center of the screen, and I can scale my raid frames up & down as needed, or zoom my camera in & out, to see more of the fight mechanics as needed. I track my cooldowns and buffs with NeedtoKnow (the gray bars in my druid’s screenshot), I use Decursive for dispelling (the little squares near my bars), Dominos for my bars, BigWigs as my Boss Mods add-on, Skada for meters, and Raeli’s Spell Announcer (RSA) to tell the raid when I’ve used my cooldowns. My UI is incredibly customized because I dislike the way ElvUI feels. Like I said, not everyone will enjoy the same UI setup, and it’s important to play around with your UI until you get it just the way you like it.
As a separate example, one of my friends uses ElvUI in conjunction with WeakAuras, and his mistweaving UI looks like this:
WeakAuras is a popular add-on for raiders, as it allows you to track anything you can imagine. Plus, if you’re really handy with scripting, you can design your entire UI with WeakAuras alone. I like WeakAuras, but my computer is just above the bare minimum requirements to run WoW – the processor said it didn’t like WeakAuras, so I decided to stick with my unique UI instead.
That’s another important point – you are restricted to what your computer can handle. If you have to run all your graphics on low, don’t try and use WeakAuras. You’ll just crash your computer. Search out an alternative, like the one I use (NeedtoKnow) which is less memory intensive.
And the truth is, even if you’re not a healer, your UI is the most vital component of your raiding toolkit. If your UI is subpar, you are going to have a lot less fun playing, and there’s a chance you may even underperform. I’m a minimalist, so my UI consists of the components I absolutely need in order to heal well, but not everyone is – and that’s okay.We’re all different people with different tastes, and healing is no different. Each healer has their own unique style, and I’ll talk about what that means in a later post.
As always, the opinions and thoughts expressed within this post are uniquely mine. Feel free to disagree. :)