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.


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.


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!


Tips for Transitioning to a Different Healing Class

Many people who decide they are main spec healers, wind up having several healing classes to choose from in their day to day play.  This can get confusing, particularly if you play one healing class more than the rest…I still try to fade on my druid!  With the overall current feel of the classes, this isn’t as hard as it could be, but may take some work.  How you set up your keybinds and UI can play a big part in this.

Compare your Skills
Each class has a cheap slow heal, an expensive quick heal, and a long cast big heal.  It is called different things for each class, but everyone has it.  There are other comparisons, such as a druid’s rejuvenation to a priest’s renew to a shaman’s riptide.  Once you’ve compared your skills, and get a real feel for what is the same, then you can focus on what is different.  What has really helped me, is to then key-bind the similar spells first.  If my right-click is always my long cast big heal, then that is what I bind it as on every healer I have.  My mouse-wheel is always a quick instant heal (Prayer of Mending, Swiftmend, ect).  I use shift right-click for my magic dispel on every healer. (or decursive, I still use decursive!)  This makes your key-bindings become less of an issue and second nature no matter which class you are playing.

Compare your Cooldowns
I generally try to compare my cooldowns.  My go-to spell when the poop hits the fan?  Yep, always on my action bar, but really close to my healing frames!  My mana regen?  Macro’d by the oh poop spell…macro’d because of all the times I’ve cast it on the mage by accident….!  I tend to fat finger sometimes…so they were taken off my mouse, your mileage may vary.  On my paladin all of my “hand of” spells are used with the mouse-over macro from last week.

Sort out the rest
Once you’ve figured out what is comparable and what is not, you can work on building each healer’s ui in a way that is the most useful to your own individual style.   Some people need more information at their disposal to heal well and others don’t need so much.  Since I am the raid leader when Kurby isn’t available, I tend to err on the side of lots of information.  What is most important for transitioning is that it is smooth.  Though two years later I do still wonder why my shadowmeld doesn’t sound like fade.


For my fellow altoholics, how do you transition?  Do you keep with a plan or play each character differently?

Keybindings and Macros

As healers, there are several ways we can get our heals from our spell books to our targets.  Many healers use a user interface to do so, in our guild we tend to use Vuhdo (which Brae will be posting about sometime this week!).  But what do you do if you can’t use an add-on?  What if you don’t like to use add-ons?  For every healer that uses an add-on, there are is another who uses key-binds and macros instead.  Used properly, these are just as effective as using a healing add-on, but take a little more effort to set up.  It’s always good to familiarize yourself in how to heal both ways, because…well addons break.

You may be asking….what’s so bad about click casting….nothing is horribly wrong with click casting.  Many people successfully click cast all day long.  However, learning to use your key-bindings will only improve your healing output and response time.  In the time that it takes you to click someone, then click the heal you want to use, you could have possibly cast two more heals.  So, while click casting works, it isn’t as efficient for most people.  Mouse-over macros, make it to where you do not need to target each person, just hover your mouse over them or their name on your raid/party frames.  Key-bindings are also to help you be more efficient.  Some healers have more spells than they do buttons on their main action bar, and lord knows I can’t reach past the 6 key easily, I have small hands!

Mouse-Over Macros

This is an example of a very basic mouse over macro:

/cast [target=mouseover] Lifebloom

If you have this on your action bar, you put your mouse icon over a persons raid frame (any raid frame works, even blizzard’s standard one) or character, it and press the key it is bound to, you will cast lifebloom on them.  No fuss no muss, very simple.  However, this also limits that spell to ONLY being a mouse over spell.  Another way of doing this, to make the spell be mouse over, target, or self depending on where your mouse icon is this:

/cast [target=mouseover,help] Lifebloom; [help] Lifebloom; Lifebloom

This will cast lifebloom on your mouse over target if you  have one and it is friendly to you.  It will cast lifebloom on a friendly target if you  have them targeted and it will cast it on yourself if no one is targeted or your target is not friendly.

I prefer the latter type of macro, because it allows more power in one macro.  For more helpful macro information, as well as for more in-dept information about what each part means, please visit which is where I learned to do the ones I listed 🙂



Now that we know how to make macros, we have to know where to put them!  Key-binding can be kind of tricky if you use the standard wow action bars, but it is doable.  It just requires some trial and error to figure out which menu item is which action bar.  To get to the standard wow key-binding section, hit escape to bring up your menu, then click on key-binding.  You will want to make sure you are changing the key-bindings only for your current character.  You also may want to have a look at what is already bound, so that you dont’ accidentally unbind something you use often (hello M for Map!) to something else entirely.

This article from Wow Insider is a really good explanation on how to key-bind based on spell usage: This will open up a ton of usable key-binds to your hand.  If, like me, you have small hands, it will still be somewhat limited.  Make sure you can comfortably reach your key-binds.  Also if you are new to key-binding it is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed.  Start with a couple new binds at a time and incorporate more once those become comfortable to you.

I tend to use bartender for my action bar re-placer of choice, and here’s a great guide on how to use bartender to do your key-bindings.

If your mouse is one of the fancy schmancy ones with more than 5 buttons, you can use its software to effectively use those extra buttons in-game:  my mouse has a little slider on bottom that allows me to turn the 1-6 buttons to num-1 through num-6 instead.  The thing you MUST remember though, is for a macro or key-bind to be legal in-game, you must be able to do it without any software options outside of wow.  Automation is a huge no-no and can and will get you banned.  Make sure you are doing things correctly.

Each gamer has to set up their spells in the most efficient way for them to play.  While I work to make sure I can functionally heal without my healing add-on, I do prefer to use Vuhdo to do this for me.  Vuhdo is simply raid frames with mouse-over macros built into them, where I click a mouse button to heal instead of a key on my keyboard.  Being able to function both ways is very valuable on patch days, beta, and even the first few weeks of an expansion when add-ons are being updated so often that yours may break several times in one day.