Life in Group 5 – A Resto Shaman Blog
A resto shaman perspective on raiding


Healing

January 7, 2010

PowerAuras and You: The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

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Written by: Vixsin
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It’s fairly safe to say that I’m a visual person; telling me the way to the party isn’t going to ensure my arrival, but show me where it is on a map and I turn into a veritable TomTom. So it’s no surprise that one of my favorite and essential raiding add-ons is one that caters to my visual nature—Power Auras Classic. This easily-configured but initially intimidating add-on serves as my reminder for a variety of elements I need to track/monitor during any given fight. Whether it’s shield uptime, mana thresholds, debuff alerts, boss abilities, or CD notifications, I can count on PAC to provide a recognizable, custom alert without drawing my attention away from the action.

My first introduction to Power Auras Classic came by way of Fusion’s PTR stream of Hodir. Beyond being impressed with the efficiency of their boss attempts, I particularly noticed how easy it was for the stream host to configure, in less than 30seconds, alerts for Toasty Fire, Storm Cloud and Storm Power—buffs that would have had me checking my buff bar every other moment to confirm their presence. It was that first glimpse of PAC that got me hooked and I haven’t stopped using it since. There are two main benefits that I’ve discovered during the course of my PAC usage—first, it’s made me a better player, and second, it’s made me a better raiding healer. Yes, it’s that good of an add-on; let me show you why.

PAC made me a better Shaman in 5 easy payments!

Resto Shamans have a litany of personal buffs to track, and like so many nublets out there, in the heat of a fight, I often forgot to refresh shields and manage my mana properly. My poor management skills used to cost me highly—I was losing out on buff uptime, healing, and efficiency. Enter PAC.

Now, to help me manage my various buffs and CDs, I regularly track several custom configurations, shown below in their configuration frame, including: WS, ES, 60% and 30% Mana thresholds, RT, Tidal Waves, and Earthliving Weapon. (And yes, I use the older version due to recent problems with focus target alerts.)

PowerAuras – Shaman Configurations

In my UI, I’ve set up a designated area above my Quartz castbars to serve as my pseudo heads-up display, with slots for each of the above warnings (also shown at right). The benefit of these visuals is that they won’t go away until I take care of them; much like a nagging wife who won’t leave the room until you take out the trash, forcing me to either handle it or be generally annoyed until I do. It’s a pretty effective tactic, and means I’m never caught saying something like “Oh shyte, I forgot to refresh ES on the tank so my LHW glyph wasn’t even active for that entire fight!” Similarly, on my other characters, I use PAC to track buffs like Fingers of Frost, Horn of Winter, Mangle, Judgements, Clearcasting, Grace, trinket procs, etc.

PowerAuras - Vixsins Alert HuD

PowerAuras – Vixsin's Alert HuD

PAC, Now with More Healing!

I’ve heard the complaint time and time again from a number of raid leaders—healers have bad environmental awareness. Even more so than dps who focus on the BIGNUMBAZ!, healers can get raid tunnel vision very quickly. In fact, I’ve come across amazing healers (who now reside in Top25 US guilds) who gravitate towards void zones and beams of certain death like moths to a flame. It’s one of the hazards of playing a role where your focus is not on the fight, but rather its effects on your teammates. Enter PAC.

To help me stay the heck out of environmental effects (or stay in them, in situations like Hodir’s Toasty Fire,) and take care of my own debuff responsibilities, I set up warnings like the following to capture my attention in the midst of all the chaos.

PowerAuras - Sample Warning Configurations

PowerAuras – Sample Warning Configurations

The Pitch

Can you heal without PAC? Absolutely. I could also use a pencil and paper, instead of an excel spreadsheet, to estimate my HPS, but I’m no mental mathematical sadist. Hell, I did Illidari Council and Sarth3D without PAC’s visual cues and managed to avoid death time and time again in those bowl games of area effects. But there’s something to be said for making things easier on yourself. Do you have to invest time into setting it up? Of course. But I can assure you that once you get used to PAC’s setup and applicability, you’ll start to see raiding in a different light. Instead of grumbling in frustration, “Bloody hell, I hate that interrupt,” you think, “I’ll just add that as a spell alert to PAC and have it make a big X on my screen when I need to stop casting.” Problem solved, and you’re the better healer and raider for it.






14 Comments


  1. I have also had this addon back fomr Ulduar. The pulse and ontifications make it very easy to avoid stupid deaths(eg. Fire, Fel Inferno, PC etc) which may be caused by healers tunnel visioning when healing becomes really intense.


  2. PowerAuars gets a lot of praise. I think that’s good. Addons do a lot of unnecessary things. Watching important buffs/debuffs/procs isn’t one of them. So the idea of the addon is absolutely great. Every raider should have a similar addon running.

    Here’s why I don’t like Power Auras:

    - It’s so incredibly ugly. The addon community has great and easy possibilities to include textures, fonts and borders (SharedMedia) or make Buff Auras pretty (ractionbuttonstyler, Buttonfacade). Why ignore those possibilities, especially if the addon isn’t heading for “low mem” anyway. I just love if I can adapt an addon to the style of my UI. Why settle for something ugly if I can have it pretty?

    - I think the configuration windows are horrible and over complicate things. Sure I know, there are tons of great guides that take you through the menu step by step. But honestly, all I want to do is track buff or debuff on player/target/focus and that’s it.

    - Also, it’s a tiny bit too resource hungry for my taste, it has improved a lot though since I first used it!

    What intrigued my was your idea to track buffs like fire buff from Hodir. That would have helped when we learned the Hard Mode.

    For me the most important stuff to track with an addon like POWA is Tidal waves, ES, WS and Trinket procs to supercharge ES. I do this with ShieldsUp and rFilter2.

    I love a lot of your ideas to track debuffs, tresholds or spellcasts. BUT, I don’t like if multiple addons do the same thing. Grid and Scrolling combat texts can announce mana tresholds. Bossmods should track all important spellcasts including disrupting shouts. Many unit frames give you the possibility to upscale debuffs and place the playerframe close to the middle of your screen, so perfect debuff tracking is easily done through standard unit frames.

    Don’t get my wrong, Power Auras is a great addon. What I personally don’t like about it, is nearly all about aesthetics. My main message is this: review the addons you already have from time to time. If you install a new addon, double check if you really need it and if you haven’t already an addon which tells you the same thing. Get rid of redundancy. If you have problems with reacting to debuffs, move them to a place near the center of your UI and make them bigger. If you forget dropping mana tide all the time, add a mana treshold to your grid frames. And so forth.
    .-= drug´s last blog ..UI WIP v2 =-.


  3. Excellent points! I absolutely agree that PowerAuras does overlap with functionality provided by other addons and it definitely can contribute to overall screen clutter if not kept in check. Bad applications of PAC abound. However, oftentimes, I find I prefer the “dumbed down” visuals of PAC over the text announcements (which I hardly ever read if I’m neck-deep in healing) or cues provided by my boss mods, if for nothing else than reinforcement for something that I am already responding to. Redundancy is most times the key to reliability, so long as it doesn’t overly burden the system. ^_^ (Thus speaks the engineering geek in me.)


  4. Slo

    Hey, great article. I have only just started using Power Auras, and mostly to help me learn2enhancement since I had never even attempted that spec before. I downloaded a premade powa configuration which is great for enhancement, but the resto spec stuff is a bit confusing to me, so not as helpful as just cluttery.

    But for resto, I really like some of your configuration. I am not so good at editing powa, as you said, the menus and options can be overwhelming. But I do know that the settings are importable. Any chance you would be willing to post your settings for others to import?


  5. Brade is going on a “man date” this weekend (some zombie movie I begged out of, woohoo!)…I’m going to bite the bullet and give it a go. I have heard its accolades time and time again.

    Do you know if there is a “set up video” like there is for GRID, or is it not quite as complicated as setting up grid? I tend to get overly frustrated with change, especially when I don’t understand how something works (hence why I still use X-Perl instead of Pitbull).
    .-= Beruthiel´s last blog ..*Boggle* =-.


  6. The PowerAuras wikispace has been a good resource for me and does include several “how-to” videos: http://powerauras.wikispaces.com/How+To+Use. The “Beginner’s Tutorial” is a wonderful introduction. The site also has some very good examples of more complex settings, like multiconditional alerts and custom textures. I think for most players, once you get the hang of it and know where everything is, setting up alerts will be very easy to do.


  7. Orontu

    Interesting, I’m a bit of an addon junkie but somehow missed this one. I do use ShieldsUp & Mik’s SCT for some of these warnings…but visually this may be more appealing & simpler…yet also helpful if I need to set up something on the fly. Thanks.


  8. I just wanted to share that I did experiment with this over the weekend, with some great set up help from one of my guildmates (otherwise, I probably would have given up on it). I only set up 5 settings right now for my shaman: Earthshield down, Watershield down, riptide up, lifegiving down (and oh god I made this one huge, as I always forget) and manatide up.

    I did a ToC 25 normal last night, and with just these 5 reminders, my healing just jumped. I was honestly surprised at how often I was missing things that I never realized until it was focused on how often I was missing them. I was pleasantly surprised with myself! :)
    .-= Beruthiel´s last blog ..Can I Tank My Way To 80? =-.


  9. Happy to hear that it’s working out for you. I remember in so many early Ulduar fights, I would wonder where my mana had gone, only to review logs and see that I had ~30% WS uptime! In the end, the small TotemTimers alert was easy to ignore in the “heat of the battle”–my PowerAuaras, not so much so.


  10. Alacran

    Can you please share somewhere some of the scripts that you use, Vixsin?

    Planet of the Hats also has some very good scripts for resto shaman.
    All you have to do is copy and paste the scripts and import to PAC.
    He lists RT, NS, Tidal Waves 2 stacks and 1 stack. You might want to reposition them and adjust transparency/opacity? but other than that they are ready from the start.
    http://wowhats.wordpress.com/2009/10/17/focus-power-auras-classic/

    I want to get Curse of Torpor set up, I hate that so much. Not really a big deal after the nerf though. Ph1 is just stand around and move out of D&D.

    Nice post!


  11. A belated response but hopefully this will help give you some configuration ideas: http://lifeingroup5.com/?page_id=535

    Have fun!


  12. Khi

    I also use PAC. Just started about 2 weeks ago. I use it for Riptide up, WS down, Earthliving down, and Nature Swiftness up. I actually also run Shaman Friend. I’ve found it works alot better for ES because it creates a box on your screen that tells you who has it, how long it has, and how many orbs are left. It also allows you to reapply ES without targeting that person. My ES went from having a ~80% up time to ~98% up time.

    I also use it for elemental. I have Flame Shock off target, and CLB and LB up. In addition to Flametongue down and WS down.

    I strongly suggest looking at Shaman friend. It also announces DBM style and in your chat log when ES, WS, and weapon enchant have faded.

    Hope this helps!


  13. Thanks for the suggestion–I’ll definitely take a look into Shaman Friend to see if I can get some mileage out of it.


  14. [...] asking for help with my shaman. I read through everyone’s comments on the post and read a post on Power Auras, and made a few changes to Mynn (special thanks to Lash who took the time in game [...]



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