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:
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:
- Deadly Boss Mods (plus SpellTimers — Insanely helpful for being notified when Rezznul uses his Innervate or Rebirth and what the cooldowns on those abilities are)
- Blizzard Raid Frame Indicators
- Blizzard Raid Frame Icons
- 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!)
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):
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.
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