Welcome to my Holy How-To for PVE Paladins. This is the third of what I hope to be a great many posts aimed at helping holy paladins succeed at PVE content. I will focus primarily on max-level talent specs, glyphs, enchants, gems and the like, including tools, tips and tricks that I use, but I hope to touch on levelling content and advice as well.
Today’s post/novel is about the various addons, macros and keybinds that will aid you in your quest to become an uber-leet holy PVE paladin. They’re not, of course, strictly necessary in order to heal. You can heal just fine using the Blizzard default UI. However, and let’s be fair here, sometimes the default UI doesn’t show us what we need to see or maybe sometimes it’s sort of clunky. So today, I’ll discuss not only the addons, macros and keybinds that I personally use (and have used), but will offer up some other popular and useful addons or macros. (Edited to add Power Auras Classic!)
We’ll split these addons and macros and such into three categories: Healing, Buffs/Debuffs and Raiding.
In the Healing category, you’ll find things like unit frames, raid frames, clickcasting addons and the like. Basically, anything that makes it easier for you to heal your target, including the macros and keybinds I use for Divine Plea and the various things I use to offset the healing reduction.
In the Buffs/Debuffs category, you’ll find things that will help you keep your buffs up, including macros for things like Divine Shield/Divine Sacrifice and Aura Mastery, as well as ways to help notify you of various buffs or debuffs on people.
In the Raiding category, you’ll find addons and macros that no raider should be without. Period.
In terms of addons, I have used a ton of different ones to try to more effectively heal 25 people in a raiding group. Back in BC, I used XPerl, which allowed me to have a UI that looked like this (click for a larger version):
XPerl worked fine for me through dungeons in BC and even into Kara. It was a little awkward, but this is how I ran Karazhan.
Of course, come 25-man raids, XPerl ceased to be very viable for me.
But obviously, that is just unsustainable. I can’t see a bloody thing from these towering bars on either side of me!
I was complaining about this to a RL friend of mine who also plays WoW and she was like “What, you don’t use Grid and Clique?” That was in September of 2007. I have used Grid and Clique almost exclusively since then. (I’ve tried out Vuhdo, but preferred the Grid/Clique combo.)
Here’s what my UI tends to look like now.
I’m using ShadowedUF as my unit frames (that’s my player frame, my target frame, my target-of-target and my target-of-target-of-target and my focus and target-of-focus frames) and Grid as my raid frames.
I find that the lack of use of raid frames is a serious problem for people who are new to healing. In Burning Crusade (and in pre-BC, too!), there were people who wouldn’t even HAVE raid frames, NOR would they pull out other groups on to their screen and were like “uh, how do you expect me to heal people in group 5 when I’m in group 2??”. Thankfully, I don’t run into this very often in Wrath. But I do fear that too many people are scared away by Grid’s apparently complicated setup and will just use their unit frames (player/target/etc) as their raid frames.
Is this bad? It’s not bad if you can place the frames in an easy-to-see place and you can heal or dispell your targets quickly. I mean, that’s all that Grid and Vuhdo and Healbot do — they make your raid frames accessible and, depending on how much you customize them, they should show you all the appropriate debuffs of which you should be aware, cleansable or not. I had a great disc priest in my Bronzebeard guild who used the standard, default UI raid frames and healed with the best of them. She didn’t miss Pain Suppressions, she dispelled appropriately and quickly… but, in my experience, she’s the exception. I’m not that quick. I can heal in a standard UI, but I’m nowhere near as efficient as I am with my regular setup.
What is, in my opinion, the game-changing addon is Clique. Clique allows you to bind spells or abilities to your various mouse buttons, with or without modifier keys (shift, alt, ctrl) and then hover over the frames of your choice (whatever you’ve got installed) to heal. Gone is the need to actually target your healing target. Not only is this practical in the sense that you’re not clicking all over the place to TARGET your healing targets, but it’s practical in the sense that it saves time. You typically either click on your target and then click or button mash your spell, or you mash your spell and click your target. Now, you just… click the appropriate click combination on your target’s frame. If I want to cast a Flash of Light on someone, I don’t have to click on them and then hit my 2 button. I can just left-click on their frame.
Here are my own Clique bindings, with button 4 being my thumb button:
My macro is one for casting Beacon of Light. I typically set my focus target to be the tank I’ll be beaconing, although I’m thinking that, with the nature of some fights, I’ll just change that to Shift-Middle-Button as being Beacon of Light. The reason I set my focus target, who will receive my Beacon, is for two reasons. One, it reminds me who I need to be beaconing. ;) Two, it lets me watch that target fairly easily, even if they’re out of my 40-yard range (but not out of range of Beacon heals), since they get greyed out a bit on Grid and I’ve noticed it’s easy for me to ignore the greyed-out squares.
Anyways, to sum up this section, raid frames are good. :) Here are some resources.
Of course, one of the major things I use Grid for, apart from using Clique to click most of my casts on people, is to see various debuffs. Sure, there’s poison, magic and diseases, but what if I want to see who has Frostbite on Toravon or Mark of the Champion on Saurfang? These are really important debuffs to be aware of, so I always find it best to set up my Grid to display those.
You can always try using Grid Status Raid Debuffs, which will load the debuffs automatically into your Grid, but I like doing it manually, because I’m masochistic like that. ;) Actually, that’s not why. I like to do it all myself because that way I know what I’ve set Grid up to notify me of and what it’s not set up to show.
Anyways, to have Grid show you buffs and debuffs, visit this little mini site I set up for the healers in my Bronzebeard guild, many moons ago:
On my paladin, I have the following buffs showing up as dots on my Grid:
Yellow dot on the right of the Grid square for Sacred Shield
Pink dot on the bottom-right corner for Beacon of Light
Green dot on the left side for FoL HoT (anyone’s)
White dot on the bottom side for Pain Suppression
Purple dot on the top side of Hand of Sacrifice
Blue dot on the left side (higher priority than FoL HoT) for Guardian Spirit
That’s in addition to the defaults:
Red dot in top left corner for aggro
Green dot in bottom left corner for incoming heals
Blue/Green/Brown/Purple dot in top right corner signifying magic/poison/disease/curse debuff (also shows as center icon)
Here’s an example of two tanks in a raid:
That shows me that both tanks have a Sacred Shield on them, a Beacon of Light on them, a Flash of Light HoT on them and incoming heals to them both. Further, the tank on the right has aggro from something and also has a curse. Without looking at the buffs on these targets, I already know, at a glance, that my stuff is up on them and that my fellow holy paladin has his stuff up.
The next addon is absolutely imperative for any paladin, period. It’s called PallyPower. There are other mods out there that help you to manage your blessings, but I have found PallyPower to be easy to use and it communicates nicely with others also using PallyPower.
An invaluable addon I’ve already mentioned before is CLCBPT. Fan-freaking-tastic. It shows you time left on any FoL HoTs you’ve put up, plus your Sacred Shield, plus your Beacon, plus your Judgements of the Pure. And anyone else’s shields, beacons and hots, if you want.
As to macros, they make life quite a bit easier.
Probably my most-used macro is my DS/DS macro, otherwise known as Raidwall, bubblewall, and a bunch of other names. DS/DS is Divine Shield/Divine Sacrifice. It requires two clicks to activate as both abilities are on the global cooldown. The bold text is the macro text, any extra lines are just there to emphasize what goes on what line in the macro. Just edit out the skipped lines.
/castsequence reset=combat/target Divine Shield, Divine Sacrifice;
/raid DS/DS is up.
/in 7 /raid DS/DS is done, next!
What that says is “hey, cast Divine Shield on the first click, then cast Divine Sacrifice.” Then “tell the raid that DS/DS is up.”. Then “In seven seconds, when the Divine Sacrifice/Divine Guardian portion has expired, tell the raid that it’s done and call for the next pally to chain theirs.”
I know, Divine Sacrifice and Guardian last six seconds, but you want to put seven seconds into the macro to account for the GCD between the first click, which activates your Divine Shield and the second click, which is what actually activates Divine Sacrifice.
It’s not the most elegant thing, considering your raid will see the following:
[Raid] DS/DS is up.
[Raid] DS/DS is up.
[Raid] DS/DS is done, next!
[Raid] DS/DS is done, next!
And if you have an itchy trigger finger, you’ll spam the raid both when popping it and as it expires. But it works nicely, and I almost never just bubble anymore.
I also have a simple “raidwall” macro that doesn’t include the Divine Shield portion of things:
/cast Divine Sacrifice
/raid Raidwall is up!
/in 6 /raid Raidwall has ended, next!
I also have a simple macro for announcing Hand of Sacrifice to the healer channel, which is channel 6 for me. If you want to broadcast it to a different channel, change both instances of “6” to whatever channel you want, or you can change it to say /raid if you like.
/cast Hand of Sacrifice
/6 DS/HOS on %t.
/in 12 /6 HoS is done, next!
You’ll notice that it requires you to actively be targetting your HoS target and does not include the use of Divine Shield. It’s easy enough to bubble, if necessary, before hitting that macro, but you don’t always need to bubble when using it. At least that’s what I’ve found, anyways.
Here’s a simple Aura Mastery announce macro. Again, you can replace /6 with whatever number channel works for you or /raid if you prefer.
/cast Aura Mastery
/6 Aura Mastery is up!
Here’s my “hey, I cast Divine Intervention on someone” macro. Note that you must be targetting the person you want to DI.
/cast Divine Intervention
/script SendChatMessage(“DI: The generous pally’s version of Bubble/Hearth.”, “WHISPER”, nil, UnitName(“target”));
/6 Divine Intervention cast on %t.
What that does is cast DI, then sends a whisper to your target saying: DI: The generous pally’s version of Bubble/Hearth. This can obviously be changed, that’s just my sense of humour. ;)
Then it announces to the healing channel (#6) that I cast DI on my target.
My Divine Illumination/Divine Plea macro is also very simple, but I have it keybound so I just hit Shift-S and I can heal with impunity. Divine Illumination is NOT on the global cooldown so this only requires one click or pressing of the keybind.
/cast Divine Illumination
/cast Divine Plea
My other keybinds include:
Divine Plea – Shift-D
Talisman of Resurgence – Shift-W (which I should change, ’cause I sometimes accidentally hit it while running)
Divine Focus – Shift-F
Divine Illumination – Shift-E
Holy Wrath – G
Aura Mastery Macro – J
You’ll notice that my most-used keybinds are all by my left hand on the keyboard. I just drop my pinky to Shift and then hit D, W, F, E and S, so it’s really easy for me to get my left hand back to “ready position” so I can run/strafe out of fire or what have you.
G is also well-within my easy-reach zone and J is a little far, but I don’t like rebinding built-in bindings very much, so I wasn’t going to rebind V from Show Enemy Bars to cast my Aura Mastery macro. I’ve been using most of the built-in bindings for, oh, four years now and many of them are just ingrained. ;) The key is, however, to make these keybinds easy to reach. Whatever is easiest for you to hit. A prot warrior from the Apotheosis days changed his F1-F2-F3 keys to stances, from targetting self, and the first two people in the party. He basically never got feared again after that. (This was back when Berserker Rage was usable only in Berserker Stance. Oh, Blizzard, why do you nerf the fun things?)
Anyways, I think that sums up the buffs/debuffs section. Here are some links and resources:
Useful macros for paladins (WoWWiki)
First things first, if you don’t have a boss mod, you fail. Hardcore. Seriously.
There are two major bossmod addons out there today and an up-and-coming third one.
The first I’ll mention is Deadly Boss Mods, also known as DBM. DBM is great, it’s got timer bars, sounds, your screen shakes, changes colours… I love DBM. Not only does it work in raid instances, but also in dungeons and battlegrounds. Ever wanted to know just how much longer you have to stay at the Relief Hut in AV? DBM has a timer for that. Ever want to know when Ingvar the Plunderer is casting Deafening Roar, meaning YOU need to stop casting? DBM has a timer for that.
The problem with DBM is that the timers are sometimes off, particularly in ICC, I’ve noticed. And in Hyjal, it didn’t have the mob configuration set up when doing waves of trash, but that was over a year ago and that may have changed. ;)
Still, it’s my preferred boss mod and probably marks me as a noob.
BigWigs is the second major bossmod. Basically, if people don’t use DBM, they use BW. BW’s timers are, from what I’ve noticed, impeccable. And a lot of the time, that’s exactly why someone should use a bossmod, to see when the next predicted ability of the boss comes up, so you KNOW.
For example, on Blood Queen Lana’thel in ICC25, she’ll typically do two air phases. I see a nice big AIR PHASE bar on my screen with the timer going so that I can prepare to hit DS/DS on the first fear. I’ll pop it at about 1-2s on the timer and so as soon as the fear goes off, my Divine Sacrifice will be up. Plus, I don’t get feared and can keep healing while basically not moving an inch. Once I got the timing down on that, we lost a LOT less people on the transition between ground and air phases. My fellow holy paladin does the same thing for the second fear and I imagine he times it like I do. The DBM timer is just a bit off compared to BW and if the raid is split in terms of which mod they use, people are preparing for upcoming abilities at different times. That’s not so cool. Our raid leader demanded that everyone use BW for this fight, actually, just so we were all on the same page.
I’m currently running both, mostly because I’m used to DBM and I want to attune myself to the BW alerts while not screwing up thanks to my familiarity with DBM. I think I’ll probably turn off some bosses in DBM and keep some on, while keeping BW on the whole time just because I want to be in sync with the rest of my raid.
BW doesn’t have dungeon support, but there’s LittleWigs for dungeons.
The third bossmod addon that I’ve been told about is called Deus Vox Encounters, also known as DXE. I don’t use it myself, but it comes highly recommended to me by one of our guild officers. And here’s a video that was linked to me:
Another standard “every raider should have this” addon is Omen. This is the gold standard in threat meters and is important to have even if you’re a healer, so that your threat can be properly displayed to the others. Doesn’t matter if you’re at the bottom, because things DO wipe aggro and WILL come after you. I run Omen and keep it enabled, but I hide the display, because it doesn’t matter to me how high the DPS is on threat, since if they pull aggro in a raid, they’re probably dead anyways before I can do anything. ;)
I just plain think that all players, period, should have a cooldown timer for any spell with a cooldown that’s greater than the global cooldown. I have been using OmniCC for three or four years and can’t imagine playing without it.
Also, not because I recommend doing whatever you can to top meters (your numbers aren’t all that important and I’ll explain why, next time), but because of the death information and “top people healed” information, you should probably get Recount. It’s not perfect, but it’s good for on-the-fly situation analysis. Not sure what ate your tank or target? Go take a look in Recount.
Another addon I should mention here is Power Auras Classic. It’s a mod that helps you keep track of buffs or debuffs. I used to use it on Madrana to track my Judgements of the Pure.
Basically, if I was in combat and I saw those arcs around my character, I knew I had to judge.
These days, I use it most on Kurn, although you can easily set it up to show things like debuffs (Instability stacks? Emerald Vigor?) or procs like the ones from trinkets or rings.
This one tells me I’m shooting something without Hunter’s Mark (the red target thing) and my Serpent Sting (green arcs) isn’t up on this target. It’s a highly configurable addon that can be used in a bunch of different situations. Here’s a TankSpot PowerAuras Tutorial and a very good video tutorial on PowerAuras. I actually made a Maelstrom weapon display on my rarely-used enhancement spec for my shammy so that I would actually know when to use chain lightning, lightning bolt or, more likely, healing wave. ;)
Finally, I highly recommend oRA2 for tank frames and cooldown listings. I actually don’t use it terribly often, just because I generally can anticipate when a tank will be taunting and stuff, but it can be extremely useful, even for a holy paladin. And if your offspec is ret, I can tell you that something like this is basically required so you can follow the main assist, who will generally be put into the tank windows.
So, to sum that up, boss mods good. Tank frames good. Threat meter good. Anything that will show you readily-accessible information, that you can decode quickly, good.
You don’t need addons to heal. You don’t need meters to tell you how leet you are. Everything I listed above is basically not *required* at all… except that it all makes it so much easier to do your job and screw up less. Face it, if you’re raiding, even in a casual raiding guild or as a pugger, you have a job to do as a healer. These addons and macros (and others, too — I am not listing all the addons out there!) will really do a lot to make you more efficient and more aware of what’s going on in your raid. A healer who is more aware will be able to keep their targets up more easily and a healer who is more efficient will be able to do the same. And that, my dear fellow paladins, that is what your responsibility is; keep your targets up as best you can.
Next time, an in-depth discussion about healing meters. Specifically, topping meters, keeping your targets up and the disconnect between these two supposedly similar goals.