Addon Addict: Vuhdo? You do!

Yes, I now have this stuck in my head.  It’s my own fault…

Most raiding healers I know use some sort of addon to make healing a mite easier than with the default UI.  (Of course, I think I use one because I’m addicted to Addons, but that’s a story for another day…)  When I first got to try raiding (back in the month before Wrath came out), I was horrible at it.  I didn’t know how to do macros or use a grid system… or frankly use an addon at all.  I had been playing WoW for 6 months and had just gotten to level 70.  Everything I’d known up until that point was solo questing or dungeons.  That’s it.

But I had some friends who were raiding, and so they offered to let me tag along.  Oh my. I was overwhelmed.

SO MANY PEOPLE.  SO MUCH TO DO.

I had no idea how to manage it, at all.  I told my closest friend that he had to assign me to heal only the people in my immediate group, because I was a keyboard player (including turning).  I had to be able to use F1-F5 to target folks and then hit the number key I’d assigned to the heal.  I honestly didn’t know there was any other way to heal.  I had so much to learn.

I was introduced to HealBot.  And eventually, Eluna told me about VuhDo.  There are tons of other healing addons out there.  But this is the one that both of us use, and are most familiar with.

I am not going to rehash everything you can do with VuhDo – it would take too long, and others have already written amazing guides.  What I can do is show you how I tend to use it, and the few tricks that I think everyone needs to know to get started.

As with all great addons, it works pretty well right “out of the box”, so to speak.  Install it and it’s ready to go…. kinda.  You’ll need to look at the spells area and make sure you know where stuff is – but even the defaults are pretty good guesses.  Most commonly used spell – I’m willing to bet it’s already bound to the Left Click in VuhDo.  It’s smart that way.

But, you can move those spells around to suit your play style.

The biggest thing I struggled with was the layout.  There are so many tabs and buttons and features in VuhDo, it can honestly be a bit overwhelming.  I’m going to suggest you just ignore them for a bit. 😉

There are a few tabs that you should be working on; the rest are for even more detailed options.  Feel free to skip the complicated stuff until you’re comfortable with the basics (or if you come across something you just have to be able to do, there’s probably a setting somewhere).

One thing to note, the tab names are at the bottom.  And each tab has sub-sections that you can view by clicking the buttons on the right-hand side of the tab.

General Tab

I usually just worry about the very first section – also called General .  The others get into a lot of detail that you shouldn’t need to worry about right away.  In General>General, you can choose to hide parts of VuhDo (like empty panels).  You can make target, focus, main-tank/off-tank go into special groups.  You can choose to lock the panels so that once you’ve got things they way you want them, you don’t actually change things accidentally.  (This is really not necessary – I’ve never actually accidentally changed anything… but it’s a feature that’s available, if you want it.)

You really can ignore the rest of the buttons in the General Tab and move on to the Spells Tab.

Spells Tab

This is pretty self-explanatory.  This is the area where you assign your spells to the various mouse-clicks.  If you go to the Misc button on the right, you can have VuhDo auto-trigger your trinkets that have an “on use” option.  And you can set a witty rez macro.

Buffs Tab and Debuffs Tab

I don’t generally worry about these, because I use Decursive to handle debuffs and the Buffs work just fine for me out-of-the-box.

Panels Tab

  • General – how people are arranged, how many boxes per row
  • Sizing – duh.  The height, width, spacing of your boxes
  • Bars – change the texture, size of mana/rage/energy bar
  • Headers – do you want your boxes labeled or just to be there (I have headers turned off – too much clutter and not necessary)
  • Targets – do you want to be able to see who everyone is targeting?  (not me!)
  • Tooltips – where do you want the tooltips to appear when you hover?
  • Text – change the font style and size and color (you can set it to color based on class), set how much of the names you want to see, do you want to see HP numbers or % or nothing
  • HoT icons – Determine how all the HoTs will show on the panels (you can leave as default to start, although I always change the lower left options to: Icons and Text)
  • HoT bars – Leave as default for now.  This is more advanced stuff.
  • Misc – Leave as default for now.  This is more advanced stuff.

Colors Tab

I generally leave these all at the default value.  You can use this area to adjust the colors if the default choices aren’t working for you.  Easiest just to leave it alone to start.  🙂

Tools Tab

  • Profiles – saving the physical layout you just created and associating it with the size of your group and/or the spec that you’re in.  I have a layout saved for 5/10-man and a separate one for 25+man.  This does NOT save your spells – see the next item.
  • Key Layouts – This saves your spells.  For Brae, that means I have 2 key-layouts: one holy, one disp.  And I have to be careful to update the right one. You always have to edit VuhDo Spells while you’re in the appropriate spec.  So when I’m in Holy, I cannot edit my Disp spells.
  • Export – Don’t need to worry about this until much later (if at all).  You can export your custom debuffs here.
  • Panel Wizard – Some preset sorting options as well as viewing pets, vehicles, MT and Private tanks (a VuhDo thing)
  • Reset – here you can reset certain sections if you’ve messed with things so much you can’t get back.

Move!

Here you can adjust locations of the panels, add new panels, redefine the ones you have, etc.  This is a bit of the moderately advanced area – something you can easily skip until you’re more comfortable with the basics and are ready to do more finagling!

I know – your eyes have glazed over and you stopped reading 1/2 a page ago.  VuhDo really is a powerful little tool, that actually is quite easy to use out of the box.  Skip the more detailed, power-user things until later.  Worry about putting the spells on the buttons the way you like them and making the boxes the size and shape you need.  Everything else will come with time.

And when you get stuck – Google it… or ask.  We’ll help you find the answers, if we can!


Remember when…?

Eluna found one of those “20 posts in 20 days” things with some questions that we should answer.  We both decided that might be a bit…much.  With 2 of us, that would be 40 posts in 20 days – all about random stuff.  So, probably not going to see us do that whole series.

But…

There were a couple of good questions – and one that I wanted to answer, in particular.  Mostly because I think my story is fairly unique in the WoW universe.

Your first day playing WoW…

Oh to be so innocent and new…

I picked up the WoW Battlechest at Target in Pasadena CA (yes, I actually remember where I bought WoW).  At the time, it was Vanilla and Burning Crusade.  I’m pretty sure it was April of… 2008?  I think? (Yes, it was, I just checked my Account Management page.)  This was after a few days of talking to my friend, John, who lived in Texas.  He had a local friend that was encouraging him to try it, so I decided I’d try too.  I’d heard of WoW before, and knew very little.  But was leary of it, in general, because I’m not a fan of violence.  At all.  Not in movies, not on TV, not in books.  Nowhere.  Don’t like blood and guts and gore.  And, come on, the game is called World of Warcraft.  I’m not dumb – I knew there would be stuff I didn’t like about it.

I had no idea there would be so much I do like.  I’d thought about it ahead of time, actually researched classes and races.  I knew that I would be making a female dwarf priest.  Now, you have to realize, I had no clue what I was doing.  I had no idea how hard it would be to level a healer.  Or that no one ever rolled female dwarves.  How should I know?  So I blithely (and ignorantly) rolled my first character: Braelyan of Bloodhoof (she’s moved servers since then, obviously).

I sat there reading my Brady Guide (the one that comes in the battlechest) trying to learn how to pick up quests and actually fight things.  The first couple of kills were hard because I hadn’t figured out how to use spells or the action bar yet (told you, I was a n00b).  Yes, I was bonking those troggs with my mace.  I didn’t know what to do when my bags got full (didn’t realize I could sell stuff).  I was completely baffled when John whispered me:  how in the WORLD did he make his text pinky-purple??  All I had managed was white.

I stuck with her, my baby Brae.  She managed to level all the way to 70 about a month before Wrath came out.  So I got a taste of raiding then, with the guilds that I’d met along the way.  John doesn’t play WoW anymore, but I do.  And I absolutely love it.

Someday, remind me to tell y’all the story of how I found the Customer Service Forum.
And what that has to do with my wedding on 10/10/10.  😉


Silly Screenshot Sunday

Eluna’s husband (and our raid leader) was having a graphical error one night while we were working on Warmaster Blackhorn in Dragon Soul.

WTF happened here?


Raid Leader Perspective: Leading as I heal

A healer??  Leading a raid?  NO WAY!!

Yes way!  Eluna and I have both been raid leaders.  We’re women.  We’re healers.  And we’re darn good raid leaders, too.  BUT, be prepared for a different experience, because we are not tanks.  And our view of these fights is decidedly different.

If you haven’t healed, you may not realize that healers often have no sense of what the space actually looks like in dungeons and raids – at least not at first.  While you (as DPS or tank) are running around smooshing the bad guys and wandering the halls of some immense Dwarven cavern, we are chasing you trying to keep that darned health bar somewhere over 75%.  There have been many a night where I finally get the chance to really look around and be at awe over the graphics in a particular place.  And generally, my guildies chuckle because they noticed that stuff ages ago.

For example, did you know that as you cross the bridge between the first and second bosses in Well of Eternity that you can actually see down to the ground below.  The actual Well is beautiful and I didn’t notice it until at least my 5th or 6th run.  Only because I was usually so focused on the health of the group (and keeping up since I always seem to lag behind) that I never actually looked down!

Something else we are frequently unaware of is the name of the mobs as well as the names of their spells.  We know what they do, but we don’t always know what they’re called.  We don’t target them – we target you.

So, for me anyway, when I think about leading a raid, I prefer to have been there.  At least once or twice.  I can better coach my team when I can actually describe what I need from them.  If I can not (or have not) had the chance to run the place, I will read about it.  Heck, even if I have been there, I read.  A lot.  A ton, really.  Any article I can find, I’ll read: Wowhead, WowInsider, TankSpot (I love when Ciderhelm narrates…), LearnToRaid… and many more.  For me, knowledge is power.  The more I know about the fight mechanics and raid needs, the better (and more confident) raid leader I can be.  Confidence isn’t just sexy – it’s powerful.  People will follow confidence.

I used to read the various guides and then write out my own notes for our guild.  Because we all know that each guild has different people in it – and those people have different strengths and… quirks (I refuse to call them weaknesses).  And what works for Ciderhelm and Lore and Aliena from TankSpot… yeah… that’s not really how it’ll go for us.  But, it’s enough to help me make informed decisions.

Going back to the thought that we don’t always know what the mobs names are or what the name of a particular spell or ability is…

Even being well read and knowing the fights backwards, forwards, and inside-out… I still don’t call things what they are.  Just last night in Firelands, I was caught saying things like: “Is this the snake-dude that we have to stack for?  Or is it the other one down the road?”  We’re 6/7 in FL and 8/8 in DS.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve healed us through those snake kills (and their annoying lava buddies who blow us up).  But I still cannot remember their names or the name of the ability that hurts so much.  What is important is that I know what we need to do!  We need to stack.  Does it matter, honestly, if it’s called [Explosion of Doom] or [Swipe of Kills-the-lonely-tank]?  Nope.  What matters is that I know it’s coming and I know how to mitigate it.

This actually makes for some fun “Story Time with Brae” moments.  I’ll be talking more about “Story Time” in my next RLP post.

It may surprise you to know that tanks aren’t the only people who can lead a raid.  Sure, they’re the go-to-role, since they’re the first one into a fight (usually).  BUT… healers – who are trained to look at more than one person at a time and focus on the entire encounter and not just our rotation – healers can be incredibly good raid leaders.

Just be ready to stand in that spot over there (near the thing-a-ma-bob) and pew-pew the bad guy until the puddles of owwie come out.  THEN MOVE!  😉


The Guild Bank: Who left this CRAP in here?

In Eluna’s recent post “Guild Ranks”, she discussed how we have our guild organized.  A lot of the ranks are based on who needs what permission to our Guild Bank.  Let’s take a closer look at what we do to keep our bank organized and usable.  Maybe our system will make you laugh.  Perhaps you’ll roll your eyes.  Or maybe it’ll make some sense and you’ll find something to help your own guild keep things organized.

A little background may be in order: many of us met as a result of being “regulars” on the Customer Service Forum of WoW’s website.  We would volunteer our time to help people who had questions or problems with the game.  As a result, many of us are very familiar with Blizzard policies, as well as the horror stories of what can go wrong.  It is out of this knowledge that our banking policies grew.

VERY limited permissions

If you have read Eluna’s post about our ranking system, you probably noticed her frequently mention the bank permissions that are associated with the ranks.  This is a huge part of our ranking system because of Blizzard policies.  For example, only someone in the top 3 ranks of the guild may petition to take over as GM if the current GM is AWOL for too long.  So, we have our first 3 ranks locked down to GM, Raid Leader (married to the GM) and officers and their alts.  Because we are careful about choosing officers who actually have a function in the leadership of the guild, it becomes a built in safe-guard from someone claiming ownership of the guild who isn’t a trusted friend.  Everyone who is an officer or higher rank must have an authenticator attached to their account.

As for the withdrawals, the amount is completely based on the rank within the guild.  Clearly, the GM has full access.  The Raid Leader does as well (since, y’know, he’s married to Eluna…).  Then there’s me – the Bank Officer.  I have much higher permissions than anyone in the lower ranks – including the other officers.  The only time I tend to run out of withdrawals is when we’re cleaning or organizing the bank – but that almost always happens with Eluna and Kurby.  While the officers have more than raiders or casuals or applicants, they still are pretty locked down to prevent issues.  And we’ve had issues.  These permissions come from hard-won experience, unfortunately.

Raiders have access to withdraw a few items from all the tabs (except the deposit only tab, obviously).  Casuals have permission to withdraw from the “free stuff” tab.  They can request things from the other tabs, if it would help them; especially if they are working toward becoming a raider.

Applicants (our lowest rank) have no withdrawal permissions.  They can deposit into tab 1 and view tab 2 (the free-to-anyone stuff), but always have to ask.  Generally, applicants don’t stay in this rank TOO long, but they are often people we have no connection with and need some time to get to know.  We also demote inactive players to this rank until they come back – just in case of an account compromise.

Deposit tab

To keep the rest of the bank organized (I’m a wee bit OCD here), we have all deposits go into Tab 1.  Anyone in the guild can deposit, but only myself, Eluna, and Kurby can withdraw.  That is to keep the rest of the bank from being a dumping zone of random crap.

We’ve asked guildies to keep the deposits to current mats and items.  We really don’t want to stock a tab full of Linen Cloth, just because someone decided to level a new alt.  Keep the lower level stuff or auction it yourself.  If you want to make a donation based on that stuff, sell it and donate the gold.  Otherwise, I’d end up being a full-time Auction addict, trying to keep everything from jamming the GB!

We actually are using about half of the first tab to store the “fun stuff” for guild events.  Alcohol, cake, prizes (like pets) – they all hang out in this tab because no one but the 3 of us can withdraw them.  So they’re in a safe place without taking up valuable space in other tabs.

Focus on Raiding

We are progression minded – so several of our tabs are focused on mats needed for raiding: enchants for new gear, spellthread, leg armor, flasks for cauldrons, pots, gems, buff food – including the fish for our Seafood Magnifique.  This gets to be rather challenging because unless everyone is letting you know what enchants and gems they’re going to want, it’s hard to know what to keep on hand.  It’s a bit easier for the cauldrons and fish feasts, since those are not race/class/role specific (thank goodness).

We also will keep epic BoE gear and epic recipes in the bank.  This way, as someone new is ready to try raiding, we can help them gear up a bit more quickly than running 8 million heroics for the JP/VP.  If it sits for too long, or is highly valuable, or we don’t know of anyone leveling an alt who might need the items, we will often sell them on the AH to put a bit more gold in the Guild Bank (which we all use for repairs).

While we are very focused on progression, we are first and foremost FRIENDS.  So we also have quite a few members who are ranked as Casual.  They are not currently looking to join the progression raiding, but like to hang out with us and go on the fun stuff.  So we have a tab dedicated to items that would be helpful for people as they level.  This might expand to 2 tabs temporarily, while every works to level during MoP (since the focus on Raiding will be relaxed until we all get up to 90).

Farming

This is where things get exhausting… frustrating… annoying… tiring… blech.  It is VERY difficult to keep the bank stocked well.  Lately, we’ve had quite a few people who have been working hard to keep us full of the fish needed for our feasts.  That’s been a HUGE help.

Herbs are farmed by several guildies and deposited as they can.  Then once a month or so, I will hop on my herber (happens to be Brae) and run around to make sure we have enough to make cauldrons for our raids.  Last month, we got several of us online on a Saturday and farmed enough for almost 20 cauldrons.  They’ve lasted!

Gems are tough.  Not because we don’t get donations or help, but because of the crappy drop rate on red gems.  *sigh*  No, no… I’m not bitter.  Not at all.  It’s a delicate balance between what the guild needs and letting people make gold from their own hard work at leveling mining and JC.

Finally we have the wonderful world of enchanting.  Oy vey!  There are so many things to keep on hand for this – and it’s impossible to keep it all on hand.  Scrolls all look the same when they’re stacked in the bank, so it’s hard for folks to see what’s on hand, and keeping all the mats on hand takes up a TON of room.  Plus, I’m not an expert on every class and roll.  I just don’t know what people want on their tanks or frost DKs or warlocks (although my hubby helps with this one).  So we end up with strange things piled up and none of the ones we need (Power Torrent anyone?).  I’ve toyed with the idea of not stocking pre-made scrolls and just having the mats available.  But that seems like a LOT of stuff to keep on hand.  On the other hand, pre-making scrolls if they’re not the right ones means mats wasted on things that will sit and get dusty.  This is the one area I still don’t feel great about in our bank.

Rep/Dailies

We do have one last tab that we used to use for our GM mats (so they would have access to them while we were raiding).  As we prepare for MoP, we’ve opted to move their stuff to their own personal bank and instead use the final tab (#7 for now) for things that are used to grind out Reputation and other Daily events.  We just got “United Nations” because we do like to level our rep with everyone, when possible.  So keeping these items available is helpful.  When MoP drops, we may re-evaluate the tab and use it for something else: we’ll see.

All in all, it’s pretty organized (although my OCD tendencies come through a LOT).  If you look at the gems tab, they’re in rainbow order.  The gear is in order by material and slot.  The enchants are grouped by what it enchants and then alphabetical based on the name.  I’m a dork.  Through and through.  But my slight OCD tendencies keep the bank organized (for the most part) – and I mostly know what’s in there at all times (Thank you, Altoholic!).

I doubt that there is a perfect way to keep the bank organized for a raiding guild with so many needs.  But this is how the Angry Gingers roll.

For now.  😉


What Brae is working on right now…

Well – since the guild is 7/8 in DS and 6/7 in FL … and MoP isn’t ready to drop YET… I need *something* to keep me busy, right?

Like Eluna – I’m an acheesement wh… *ahem* fan.  Yes, I said acheesement… hush.

I’ve had the Violet Drake for awhile (yay free 310 flying!) and random others.  I just recently maxed my Archaeology (YUCK!) to finish up all my professions on Brae.  I’ve leveled skinning to max  on my Shammy, and LW to 425 (I think?).  Leveled enchanting on my druid to 200-something.  Leveled tailoring on my Pally (hush… I know… plate-wearing, cloth-making freak she is!)

We’ve run instances to finish up guild and personal acheesement metas and get more mounts.

I just got my 125th (and then 126, 127, and 128th) pet.

And I have a zillion other things I’m playing with.

Tonight – I FINALLY got the Amani War Bear.  We’ve done the timed run a bunch of times in the last week or so and ALWAYS we had at least one other person along who could roll on it… and they ALWAYS won.  It was getting kind of funny, really.

Here is Brae on her war bear!  🙂