UI Matters: Using Project 5×2 as Restoration

UI Matters: Using Project 5×2 as Restoration

A few weeks ago, I posted a suggested Project 5×2 table for Restoration and Balance druids.  It was a great critical thinking exercise, but I really just left it alone after writing it up.  Until a couple weeks ago during a raid, when I realized that my UI had been causing me problems.  I had been using ElvUI and it’s pretty slick. I enjoyed the simplicity of installation and tweaking; the resource-friendliness; and the communication of interrupts to the raid/party.  Seriously, that was pretty helpful.  But I also realized that ever since I installed ElvUI, I had been paying more attention to my user interface than the players I was healing.  And that is a big issue for everyone.  As many people have said before, a good healing interface should lead to less tunnel vision, not more.  I knew I had to do something.

A couple small things happened recently that pushed me back to using the default UI.  First, I was looking through my screenshots to upload to my new photo gallery.  I saw what I was using and thinking about how effective I was using that interface.  I remembered being able to see the hockey pucks of doom and fire pillars and still be able to heal while doing the monkey dance.*

Second, I decided to actually implement what I came up with for my own druid for Project 5×2.  I’m a K.I.S.S. kind of person.  Plus I also love this game and enjoy the scenery.  A lot of UI overhauls I’ve used in the past were minimalistic in nature and visual display, but the reorganization of vital information (raid frames, my unit frames, action bars) just left me dazed and confused.  And no one wants a space cadet responsible for healing the raid, amirite?

You can see in this picture my action bar setup according to my 5×2:

Action bar showing revised Project 5x2 layout

Since I am using one action bar plus action bar paging, I’ve created a few macros to combine abilities into single buttons using an alt modifier.  Using shift as a modifier doesn’t work too well with my Razer Naga (as I have found out >.<) since shift+1 through shift+6 will page my action bar to those bars.  So trying to use shift as a modifer ends up paging my action bars rather than using the ability.  This is not necessarily a bad thing; shift-paging allows for quick access to infrequently used things like consumables (flasks, food, mana pots, damage spells, CC abilities) but frees up my screen from those items.

Raiding-related Addons I am using:

Other addons:

  • Gatherer
  • AtlasLoot
  • Slidebar (menu button holder; it’s that little yellow line below the minimap on the right edge of the screen — It’s part of Auctioneer, but I replaced Auctioneer with Auctionator and somehow Slidebar stayed behind. Not that I’m complaining!)
  • Auctionator
  • Altoholic
  • SellJunk

Raid Frames

My UI in a 25-man raid (Baradin Hold)

I’ve tried Grid, VuhDo, and Healbot.  They’re all great addons, but they are either too annoying to set up or provide more functionality than I need.  Since I use mouseover macros, I don’t really need all the functionality VuhDo and Healbot provide (namely the click-casting).  Grid.. oh Grid.  Why are you such a PITA to configure?  Sure it’s gotten easier, but it’s still awful straight out of the box.

Installing Blizzard Raid Frame Indicators and 5 minutes of entering my HoTs and specific debuffs very much beats out spending half the night configuring VuhDo or Grid to look the way I want.  I’ve found that each of these addons provides only some of the fuctionality I need  VuhDo provides HoT icons and timers (albeit this icon/timer combo is hard on my eyes) but doesn’t allow showing remaining health (not necessary but very useful for the Chimaeron fight).  Grid shows colored blocks for HoT “icons” that can’t really be made large enough for me to see clearly how much longer my HoT is ticking for.

What I like best about this setup is that the Blizzard Raid Frame Indicators & Icons addons provide the needed customization for adding certain buffs/debuffs to the frames in a clear display.  For example, I have four main HoTs as a druid (Rejuvenation, Lifebloom, Regrowth and Wild Growth).  I have each of these buffs attached to a different corner on the frame with a timer display (colored by stack number on Lifebloom):

Raid frame showing Lifebloom 3-stack (green), Rejuv (pink), Regrowth (blue green) and Wild Growth (salmon).

I also have certain debuffs set to display huge icons on the center of frame.  This is key for certain fights like Halfus, Captain Planet (Ascendant Council) and Cho’gall.  KEY.

The only complaint I have about Blizzard Raid Frame Indicators is that the timers show tenths of seconds which I feel is practically useless.  I am not a twitch-gamer; there is NO WAY I can get another Lifebloom fired off in 0.3 seconds.  I’d much rather see whole seconds counting down to simplify the information.  I can surely get another Lifebloom on my target if I see 2 seconds on the timer.  But that’s me.

My UI in a 10-man raid (Magmaw trash)

Holistically, I feel that my spatial awareness during raids has really improved since switching to this UI setup.  For one thing, the limited amount of abilities has greatly reduced “Button Anxiety” — as a druid, we have a TON of useful abilities and with so many showing on my UI, I would sometimes spaz for half a second before getting the right ability fired off.  Another thing is that I am able to focus more on the fight and boss mechanics and what I’m supposed to be doing rather than some pretty spell alert or other stuff that may come packaged with a total UI replacement.

TL;DR: Using the Project 5×2 setup has helped me improve my healing game tremendously.  I am better able to focus on information and mechanics rather than flashy UI pieces.  This is the way I do it.  It may work for you; it may not.  Actual mileage may vary.

*I affectionately call my IRL behavior during a raid “the monkey dance” because there is some hollering and flailing going on.  <:3


5 thoughts on “UI Matters: Using Project 5×2 as Restoration

  1. Pingback: Fantasmical Friday #4 « Jaedia's Menagerie

  2. You managed to get the standard raid frames looking pretty and functional, I’m impressed! However, I do need to stick up for my favorite, VuhDo, and say that you are able to display remaining health. As seen in this screenshot:
    it is on the Panels —> Text screen, in the Hitpoints box. Click the Show checkbox to turn on display of hitpoints, then pick the Remaining radio button. The 3 checkboxes on the right can provide further personalization. I like to leave my setting on health missing, to help me really pinpoint the size of heal that person needs. (Since a tank missing 25% health is a lot more than a mage missing 25% health.)

    To further help me focus on people at Indicators tab:
    I pick the second option on the left, the inner red box. Clicking the dropdown arrow will display a long list of things you can tie that indicator to. Usually I have it on aggro warning, but for this fight I shift that to Low Health. (Low Health is the name of the debuff you get in-game, which VuhDo loads for you. There can be a lag immediately after patches where these important debuffs aren’t programmed in yet, but in general the developer is very proactive about such things.) That way I know in a split second that if there are no red boxes at Massacre time, everyone is safe.

    So here you made a long post about simplifying, and my reply may only be making your happier with your decision. ; ) I just love how flexible VuhDo is, that you can pull off any kind of display a healer could want using just one add-on…as long as you can find WHERE to put the settings. (Navigation of the setup menus is not very intuitive, I admit.) Still, glad to see there is finally a viable in-game option for raid frames!

  3. Hah, ended up with open and close angle brackets so it swallowed the beginning of paragraph 2. Replacement:

    To further help me focus on people at less than 10k on Chimaeron, I turn on an indicator for that fight. Indicators are on the General —> Indicators tab:

  4. Thanks for the link to the walkthrough — I think VuhDo is a great addon and it’s setup system, while a lot easier than others, is still a bit daunting. I’m going to try it again with the advice you’ve given. :D

  5. Just dropping by to high-five you on your love for the stock Blizzard raid frames. I do have a bit of an inferiority complex about them–I sometimes feel like I’m not a “real” raid healer if I’m not using some fancypants addon for my raidframes, but the (new and improved) stock raidframes show me exactly what I want to know in a format that’s easy to read, with zero setup. Could I screw around with VuhDo for hours and maybe achieve something similar? I suppose. But why?

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