I’m a bit fired up about this topic so please excuse me if the tone is a bit rant-ish, I tried to keep it informative, maybe even inspirational. Thanks to Phaelia (My Hero) for helping me to solidify my arguments.

My UI

Last night I was running ZA (my favorite instance, NOT) and I started noticing that although there were three healers I was the only one casting heals on anyone besides the tanks, funny that doesn’t seem right. Druids aren’t exactly efficient raid healers. So nonchalantly and surprisingly friendly(for me) I ask the Paladin which add-ons he uses. “None, I don’t need them to heal.” WHAT!?!

“Really?” I say “I find that they help me quite a bit.” To which he replies “That’s cause you’re a N00b!” hmmm. At this point (third boss in ZA) in the raid I am doubling his healing done with 44% to his 22%, and doing it with less over-healing and less gear and I’m the noob. The Priest chimes in at this point to say that he doesn’t use any add-ons besides the guild required, Omen, and DBM. I’m befuddled. I’m out healing the Priest by 12% (he’s at 32% if you’re not good at math). Curious I check the Priest’s gear to see what he’s wearing to try to determine if he’s working to his potential or not and he’s in a mix of T5 and T6 and being out-healed by a Druid in T4 and welfare epics. So healing to his potential? No!

It’s sad to me that there are still people out there who WASTE their gear by not providing themselves with all the information that Blizzard has made available to them. They are at least as gimped as a raider who decides not to enchant, and sockets with green gems because they want to save money, Or who doesn’t use consumables because they don’t see a difference in their damage.

I’m not exactly sure what their thinking is. The comments I heard last night were, “I don’t need mods, I do alright without them,” “Add-ons seem like cheating to me” and “I ALWAYS keep my assignment up even if I don’t top the meters.” Each of these arguments is deeply flawed let’s examine each one-

  • “I don’t need Mods I do fine without them” While you may show up on the meters and you may not be the bottom healer on any given night , if your geared to heal say 1.5 Million a night but you’re healing is gimped because you can’t easily see the health everyone in the raid, then you are making another healer work harder to pick up your slack. This means that you’re group will have to drink more frequently and your raids will take longer. Not being able to see everyone at a glance means that some poor Mage sits at half health for longer than necessary then any sort of incidental damage will kill that Mage and your raid will be down a DPS.
  • “I ALWAYS keep my assignment up even if I don’t top the meters.” Let me get this straight you managed to make sure that just the one tank didn’t die during the course of the fight. That’s GREAT… but if the rest of the raid dies why you heal just your one target you did no one any favors. All the other healers that have an “assignment” are also throwing heals around the raid to try to ensure that everyone stays up. They are exceeding their assignment and that is the expectation for you as well.
  • “Add-ons seem like cheating to me” Blizzard recognized after Diablo II that their audience knew best how they wanted to play a game. In fact Blizzard changed the model of their programming to allow players to customize their inetrface with the game. The Default UI is just a basic get you started level 0 UI so that you can play the game out of the box. If Blizzard didn’t expect you to use add-ons why would they have made all the information that you can’t see in the default UI in the combat log available to you.

As a Druid I find the default UI lacking in several areas. Of course there are other things I use add-ons for but these are the functions I don’t think I could live without.

  1. Buff Timers- at a glance I need to know how much time is left on my stacks of Lifebloom. I also have to know which players have a HoT that I could Swiftmend instead of casting a direct heal. Aside from combat situation the raid never has to stop for rebuffs on my account. I know when any players MOTW or Thorns expires and the next time we are out of combat I can refresh it.
  2. Aggro Indication- while I’m rolling my HoTs on the Groups Tanks I am constantly watching to see if anyone else is grabbing aggro. On AoE Pulls I start casting Regrowth on a the Mage who is creeping up the meters as soon as I see that an aggro shift is likely. If I waited until the Mage’s health started to drop to start healing him he’d be dead before my spell was half cast. I also like to know when a Tank is no longer taking damage. During trash pulls for example it is common to have four tanks and after a few second only one or two of them are still tanking. To keep casting heals on them would be wasteful, even if I canceled the spell before it landed I’ve wasted the casting time on a target that doesn’t need heals.
  3. Button Management- The Default UI has twelve buttons. If you used all the bars that Blizzard would provide you with you’d have six bars with twelve buttons. Seventy-Two buttons not to shabby but how are they laid out? do they look like your keyboard? Are they intuitive? Do they react to your changes in stance? Do they allow you keep keep your hand in one position and still do everything you need to do?
  4. Inventory Management- Before I found Bagnon, back in my Rogue days, I would spend a few minutes every session maintaining my inventory. I had a bag for skinning and cloth, a bag for vendor trash, a bag for potions and consumables, a bag for poisons. While this system worked alright, I would spend a few minutes everyday to keep things in some semblance of order or I ran the risk of missing something important. Those few minutes today are enough time to do a daily or two which would go a longs ways towards paying for consumables for the night. On my druid I have 4 complete sets of gear, I carry more consumables to a raid than I care to try to count, and with the addition of daily quests I have more quest items in my bag than ever before. I could not hope to know which feral drops are an upgrade for me if it wasn’t for the fact that I could click a few buttons and see what I have in the bank even from the depths of SSC.

For a raider the most import thing add-ons has to be the increased output that they facilitate. If you are not using add-ons and you miss just one heal in the course of the night you are doing yourseld a disservice. If that one missed heal starts a chain reaction that leads to a wipe you just did 4, 9, 24, 39 other people a disservice as well.

If you want raids to go faster so that OUR guild can farm more than two bosses in three hours, then you should be doing everything in your power to increase you efficiency and your output.

It is not about meters or “epeen” stroking (fun as that can be), it is about my time, your time and the groups collective time. It is not about using a crutch or being a “n00b”, it is about doing your absolute best. It is not about doing well enough to keep your raid spot, it is about the work of all the people in the guild who in return for their effort are relying on you to do give it your all.

Ultimately it is about playing a game, and like any game it is more fun when our team is winning.

Do you wanna see the inside of Black Temple? Me too. So let’s get our heads out of our asses and kill this thing.

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