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 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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. 🙂
- 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!
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.
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. 😉
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! 😉
Thanks to El’s Anglin’ we have some really good information out there about the MoP Cooking specialties available!
The original post is here: http://www.elsanglin.com/news/mop-cooking-specializations.html for all it’s glory, but I’m only posting what pertains to the healing classes here. All Mists of Pandaria information provided here, I got from El’s post, it is not my original work at all.
For healing, it looks like we will want to go with one of these two specializations, as each specialization offers one type of food buff for all the recipes they offer…
- Way of the Pot – Intellect
- Way of the Steamer – Spirit
Check out the full post over at El’s Anglin for more information, it’s a really great write-up describing how the cooking profession is looking in Mists of Pandaria!
One of the things that both frustrate a Guild Leader along with bringing us joy: Fun Runs. Why you may ask? Attendance. The most fun things can be ruined simply because people say they want to do them, guild leaders schedule them out, and so few appear, you can’t make the run happen. As a leader, we have to try to keep activities going to meet the needs of the guild, or it becomes a stagnant wasteland of raiders logging in to raid and casual players feeling like they have no value in the guild. Cross realm grouping can help, but it can also hurt. This leaves the guild leader in a tight position, schedule runs ahead of time and hope enough people were interested in running them or wait and see who’s online and risk people thinking that there is nothing planned.
I have tried to approach fun runs several different ways over the course of the past two or so years that I’ve been in charge of them. Even before I took over the Guild Leader position, I was Co-GM and still had the charge of fun events. I have polled the guild to see what they are interested in….which unless it was an actual poll instead of an open discussion, led to arguments. Do I guess what people want (poll choices) or leave it open for discussion (arguments)? I have just scheduled things based on guild achievements. We did happen to get most of our raid and dungeon achievements this way (Vanilla, BC, and quite a bit of Wrath), but when we got closer to the end of Wrath content, attendance dictated if we could actually complete the objective or not. Sure we can 3 man Illdian, not so much Heroic Ruby Sanctum. I have tried not scheduling things and then just typing in guild chat around our usual time “hey who wants to go do some mount runs?”. This has had some success, but then leaves people who aren’t online at that time feeling left out, because it wasn’t on the schedule.
When it comes to cross realm grouping, that opens up another can of worms. People lead differently, different servers have different “norms” for how they handle loot, and what one person takes seriously, another is in for fun. In general, cross realm grouping can make the worst raid finder look organized, quick and drama free. Not to say you can’t have fun with cross realm grouping, there is a lot of fun to be had, but its like organizing a guild run except without voice chat and with raid chat turned off. It takes an extra layer of communication and understanding, or people wind up frustrated without really understanding why. We have slowed our cross realm experience down quite a bit just to give the guild members a breather.
The options then become, do you make “fun” runs mandatory, so that you can actually schedule them out and be inclusive to people who don’t’ normally raid, or do you maintain that as “fun” runs they are optional? That, my friends, is one of the most frustrating things about keeping a guild active. I maintain that fun runs should not be mandatory, but I will change the destination if it will not be “fun” to run it with the handful of people who regularly show up when attendance is low.
How are fun runs (or casual/alt raids) handled in your guild?
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.
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).
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.
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. 😉
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!
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 http://www.worldofmatticus.com/a-guide-to-mouseover-macros/ 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: http://wow.joystiq.com/2011/02/22/blood-sport-a-guide-to-pvp-keybinding/ 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. http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/854651-GUIDE-Bartender-4-Basic-Setup
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: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/14400/use-those-extra-mouse-buttons-to-increase-efficiency/ 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.