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.)
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.
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.
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.