I’ve gotten a few questions recently about how my UI is set up, and since I haven’t done one since I set Grid up over a year ago, I thought it was appropriate to do a UI post, and hopefully answer some questions for those looking to make UI changes!
First and foremost, here is my UI in action (HM Sindragosa work):
Before discussing what mods are in my UI – I’d like to talk about what is in my UI and why it’s there.
Part of being a successful healer is having a good raid frame.
While a DPS may say that a weapon will be the most important tool they have, and a tank may say a shield is their most important asset, for a healer, the best thing you can do improve your healing has absolutely nothing to do with anything you can find in game. It’s all about presenting information to you in the most efficient manner possible so that you can react to it quickly and appropriately. Your raid frames are your most important tool as a healer.
You want your raid frames to tell you everything that you need to know about an encounter. You want to know who is taking damage, you want to know where your HoTs are and how much time is left on them, you want to know who isn’t at full life or who has agro, or even how the other healer’s mana pools are holding up. Your raid frames will be your strongest tool.
I use the following for raid frames:
Grid (with any number of modules – listed below)
Shadowed Unit Frames – I use these for party frames, focus frames, target and target of target frames.
Power Auras Classic – A little extra help to remind me when I have the bad, in the event that I have tunnel visioned or forgotten something.
If you want to change your raid frames over to Grid I would strongly encourage you to take a look at Keeva’s guides for setting up Grid, they can be found here:
Part of being a successful healer is knowing who is taking damage.
When I look through our parses from raids, sometimes I see healers that aren’t as active as they should be, or are active but their output is still incredibly low. And when I really got down to thinking about it, I think part of the problem is that they aren’t healing the right things. On top of that, I think that a large part of the problem is that their UI isn’t communicating to them things that it ought.
It is my opinion that, as a healer, you should know everything that is going on in the raid. You should not only be aware of debuffs that you can cleanse or are on the tank, but should be aware of all of the debuffs being thrown around in any encounter that will affect how you heal. Why? Because you need to know who needs a priority on healing. However, not only should you know what debuffs are being thrown around, it’s equally important that you know what each debuff does and how that debuff will affect your healing.
Let’s take Rotface, for example. I regularly am very high on healing output for this encounter, whether it’s in our guild runs or in a PuG. Why? Because of Mutated Plague. As a healer I know a few things about mutated plague: I know that it puts a healing debuff on the target, I know that it puts a DoT on the target until they are cleansed and I know that they target will have a slime beating on them for the period of time it takes them to merge their slime into the large slime. That is a fair bit of damage that is going to be done to that target. In anticipation of this, I hit the mutated plague target with a regrowth and a rejuv as they are running out to be cleansed. This keeps them healed until they are cleansed and until they have merged their slime. I am often shocked at how few heals someone with mutated plague receives during this encounter.
In order to keep me informed on raid debuffs I use: GridStatusRaidDebuff
Part of being a successful healer is knowing when damage is coming.
Just like it’s important to know who is taking damage, it’s equally important to know when damage is going to be coming. There are a few ways to approach this. The first, most basic, method is simply knowing the encounter well enough to know when something is about to occur. Granted, this isn’t going to be of much help to you on new encounters, so let’s look at some other options, shall we?
Casting bars. Yes, casting bars can do more than just show you your cast. Enemy cast bars are fantastic for knowing when something is about to happen. I prefer to have my focus target and target frames include cast bars, so I can see what is coming, but other options like Quartz also include enemy cast bars as well. Anytime an adversary is casting you will learn a lot about the fight, and there is a good chance that either the tank or the raid is about to take damage that is going to require healing. For example – in my screenshot above I know exactly when a frost breath is going to demolish my tank, and I should have a heal in the works to get him topped off.
Raid Mods, such as Deadly Boss Mods. These are another great tool to know when something is on its way. They aren’t just for getting out of the defile! They are also helpful to know when key mechanics of the encounter are going to occur so that you can be prepared for heals.
I use the following to help me keep on top of when damage is going to occur:
Shadowed Unit Frames (target and focus target frames with cast bars)
Deadly Boss Mods
If you’d like to re-skin your Deadly Boss Mods from its original skinning to look like mine, please check out Kae’s guide on it:
Part of being a successful healer is knowing when cooldowns have been utilized.
As I’ve already indicated a healer should know everything going on with their raid. Don’t limit this to damage! It’s also important to know when an offensive cooldown has been used so that you can either adjust your healing or know when you utilize your cooldowns. I find that tracking cooldowns is just as important as tracking raid debuffs!
There are a few options to do this, however I prefer to have all of my cooldowns located in a unified location. You can see that mine are grouped in the upper left corner of my screen. I have mine set to color code the cooldown based on the class that is casting the ability, so that I can quickly ascertain who has used what, how much time until the cooldown is available again, and who has something available for use.
Additionally, it is equally as important to track your own cooldowns. There is nothing worse than going to cast Nature’s Swiftness only to not have it available to you. I use two methods to do this – by tracking how much time is left before I can cast a spell again and by giving a visual queue when certain abilities are available.
To track cooldowns I use:
oRA3 – This is only as useful as others that are using the mod. It’s a raid requirement for us, specifically so we can track cooldowns in our raids.
OmniCC – This is a very simple mod that allows you to track the time until a certain spell is ready for use again.
Power Auras Classic – This is a powerful mod that will let you set up notifications for any number of things, including when spells are off of cooldown (you can see some of my settings just under grid on the right).
Part of being a successful healer is placing your “need to know” information somewhere that it is easy for you to see.
When all of the action is occurring in the middle of your screen, you don’t want to be looking away from it! Since you will spend 95% of your time looking at health bars, you want to make sure that those bars are placed so that you are aware of everything else going on in the encounter. I prefer to have mine below my feet, so that I can keep an eye on when there are bad things that I need to move out of!
However, raid frames aren’t the only thing that you need to have positioned well, you want everything that is providing you information in areas conducive to keeping an eye on the raid as well of what is going on in the encounter. You can see I’ve done this with my DBM. You will see on the right side of the screen that I have “upcoming” items…but right above my head I have the OMG NEED TO KNOW NOW timers.
You don’t want to have to be searching your screen to find pertinent information. It should all be something that can communicate to you at a quick glance.
Part of being a successful healer is being comfortable with your movement and heal bindings.
One of the most common challenges for everyone, regardless of your class and role in the raid, is doing your job while moving. There are any number of ways and schools of thought on how to perform best, however when it comes down to it, you have to do what is most comfortable for you. Whatever your decision, you need to be able to move and cast. If you are struggling with this, I would recommend looking at alternatives to what you are currently doing, and see if there is something that works better for you.
I prefer to bind all of my heals and abilities to my mouse. I use my mouse for about 99% of what I do in a raid…including movement. How, you ask? Well, I bind my auto run key to my mouse so that I can move and still cast if it is required. I find that this is very successful for me.
To assist me with this, I use: Clique
Part of making a successful UI is finding something that works for you.
When it comes to UI’s there is no “right” or “wrong”. Ultimately what it comes down to is finding something that you like and that works well for you. Your UI should tell you everything that you need to know in a raid – but there are many ways that a UI can do this.
If you find that you aren’t performing as successfully as you would like, ask yourself if your UI is giving you all of the information that you need to perform. If it isn’t, consider making some adjustments and see if it helps. When crafting a UI keep in mind that everyone has different systems and connections, and that you have to work with the tools that you have. If there is a mod that is causing you to have severe delay, consider looking for an alternative that isn’t as memory intensive.
Ultimately, you need to find what works best for you!
Complete list of mods used in my UI:
Grid – Raid Frames. Modules for this are listed below, I may have missed a few of the modules that I am using but there are the big ones!
Deadly Boss Mods – Boss Encounter Information. Modified using the DBM modules from Damia’s UI.
Shadowed Unit Frames – Unit frames for party, target, focus frames, etc.
Bartender4 – Bar mod that allows you to modify and reposition your button bars.
Omen Threat Meter
OmniCC – Let’s me track cooldowns on my spells via my buttons.
CT View Port – this is a view port mod that lets you adjust the rendering of your screen. This is an older mod that I have been using since Vanilla WoW, and I like the simplicity of it, but I have been considering moving to KG Panels.
oRA3 – This is a raid information mod that tracks cooldowns, who is repaired, resists, etc.
Quartz – Casting bar. I use the QuartzProcs for tracking procs for tracking Moonkin procs.
Power Auras Classic – I use this to monitor my cooldowns, as well as give me queues if there are things that I need to be aware of during a raid.
Skada – Healing/Damage meter. Lighter weight than recount, and tracks absorbs.
Satrina Buff Frames – A buff frame mod that lets you move and clean up your buffs and debuffs.
Mini Map Button Frame – I am pretty simple when it comes to my minimap (I use the default), but I hate the clutter from the mods. This handy little add on gathers up all of those buttons and stashes them in a simple and clean box when I select the icon.
MiK’s Scrolling Combat Text – When I’m running on my laptop and pushing frame rates, this is the first thing that I disable. But I do prefer to run with it while raiding.
Pally Power – Let’s you set paladin and track paladin buffs.
Clique – (Not Seen) This is a mod that lets you bind your spells to mouse button combinations. I do all my healing from my mouse (which is why you don’t see many keybinds here!)
Gatherer – (Not Seen) Anyone that gathers will find this helpful! Tracks nodes around the world, looted either by you or someone in your guild.
Atlas Loot – (Not Seen) It’s sorta like window shopping!
Grim Reaper – (Not Seen) Let’s you look at the last few second of someone’s life. Has largely been outdated by several damage meters that also track deaths. I use it so infrequently, that I honestly should get rid of it.
BeaconCountdown – (Not Seen) Simple Beacon of Light and Sacred Shield timer.
Portal Box – (Not Seen) simple portal mod for mages
Loggerhead – (Not Seen) Automatically starts parsing raid logs upon entering an raid zone.
RatingBuster – (Not Seen) Gear Comparison tool.
UIs should always be a work in progress!
You should always tweak your UI as you learn about new mods, or find flaws in what you are using. No two UI’s will ever be the same, and that’s because no two players are the same. What works for one person, may not work for another. The key is to keep playing around with it until you find something that you are comfortable with.