Thursday, October 1, 2009

Pimp My U/I: Thoroughput

Welcome to the first installment of Pimp My U/I! In this episode, I'll show you how to boost your thoroughput tenfold* without a single change in gear or talents.

*May not actually be tenfold.

The basic premise of increasing thoroughput via User or Interface changes is identifying what's using your time that's not actually casting a healing spell, and finding a way to work around or eliminate it. First off: Latency!


As most should know, the internet is not a big truck; it's not something you just dump something on, it's a series of tubes. Those tubes can be filled, and when they're filled, the internet will be delayed for you and me.

So, if the internet is being delayed for you and me does this mean it's slowing our heals down? Absolutely. You can find your 'ping' or 'latency' by mousing over the Game Options menu button on the default blizzard UI. It is also displayed on the top of Ventrilo (this is typically close to the latency with the game server), and several addons exist that can track your latency. The number is listed in milliseconds (ms), which are 1/1000 of a second.

You can speed up your heals by casting the next heal before you finish casting your current one by a time approximately equal to your latency. If you're a little early, the game server will remember that you want to cast the next spell, and will pop it for you immediately when your old spell ends. On 200 ms latency (like I have) this tactic provides a benefit equivalent to 500 Haste Rating. This is a massive difference and well worth the effort to learn and employ.

I use a handy addon called Quartz to help with this, Quartz is a castbar mod that replaces the blizzard one, making it easier to read, and marks the bar with the spot where you should send your next spell to nullify the effect of latency. Very useful, and so far has worked every patch without a hitch.


For many raiders, this is a basic thing that they've long-since eliminated. For others, it would never even occur to them that there's a better way. Simply put, moving the mouse around takes time, time that could be used doing something else, like anything else. I will admit, that I am still a clicker; I commonly click on other players or their healthbars to target them. This is mostly acceptable, because the only other thing I could be using my right hand for is uh... well, I don't plan on keyboard turning, but I just thought of a great reason to figure out how to free my right hand.

At any rate, the preferred solution is to either: eliminate clicking to cast spells, or find a way to select your spell without moving the mouse. The popular addon, Healbot, offers the option to bind spells to your mouse buttons, allowing you to left-click to Flash Heal someone, or right-click to Greater Heal them, for example. My current setup actually uses no addons to help manage my spells; I only use the basic UI. I have simply dragged the raid frames out of the Social tab. I click a health bar to target it and I have (almost) all my spells bound to my keyboard. Whether you choose to use addons or not, you need to find a way to avoid using your mouse to cast spells, because it's slow, imprecise and can make your buttons run away.


As a priest, I have somewhat more spells available to pre-heal than, say, a Holy paladin. Proactive healing isn't really an option on every fight or for every healer, but when applicable, it can make the difference between a boss kill with loot, or a wipe with ball jokes. The idea of proactive healing is to use some kind of pre-healing on someone likely to be taking damage when you wouldn't otherwise be casting. Typically the tank is a safe bet, but putting HoTs on the tank is something every healer knows to do; what people typically miss is other raid members who are likely to take damage. That warlock who can't control its threat? Shield it. The tree standing in front of a Deep Breath? Yell at him over vent while putting shield, mending and renew on him. Did you forget to grab the Dark Essence for the Dark Vortex? Guardian Spirit will actually cover your mistake for you! (Not that I'm speaking from last Tuesday's experience or anything...) Pre-healing won't always keep people on their feet, and there's some kinds of stupidity that you simply can't do anything about, but this skill has definitely saved plenty of lives, and routinely makes the difference between wipes and kills for me.

Although I'm sure some addons may exist that would help, I have yet to find one that can replace simply paying attention to your raid.

No comments:

Post a Comment