In a recent interview with the Girls Gone WoW podcast, I mentioned (all too briefly) that I like to use addons when I play, and mentioned a couple. Raven (if I recall correctly) didn’t really agree with everything I said, but what I really wish is that I’d actually gotten more time to discuss the topic at hand (“casual hardcore” raiding, which is the subject of this entire blog) and the addons I use. That’s not their fault though, and the show was really a lot of fun.
But since this is my blog and I do have the ability to do so, I will go into addons a bit more. First of all, I’ve used a replacement for Blizzard’s raid frames since, I think, 2009, long before I started to actually raid. My current favorite raid frame replacement is actually a full UI replacement, ElvUI. I cannot recommend it enough. In addition to the base UI mod, I use the following addons, which I install through the TukUI client rather than Curse (which I use for all my other addons besides ElvUI and its mods):
- Cecile Meter Overlay
- Dragon Overlay
- ElvUI Autolog
- ElvUI Channel Alerts
- ElvUI Color Tags
- ElvUI Extra Action Bars
- ElvUI Priest AoE
- Location Plus
- New Openables
- Raid Buffs Checker
- Deadly Boss Mods/DBM (all modules) – unless you really, really, really know the fight cold, including knowing when to tell OTHER people to do things, you should have DBM installed, and in fact many raid leaders require it. DBM tells you when when something is happening that you have to pay attention to, both with voice warnings and text on your screen, and it’s highly configurable. If you’re the tank and/or raid leader, you get even more options, such as pull countdowns, countable interrupts, and so on. It’s useful in situations out of raid too, but for raids I consider it imperative.
- GTFO – Stands for Get the F Out, and what it does is play a (configurable) annoying sound when you’re standing in stuff, or close to stuff, or taking damage from stuff. Not absolutely necessary, but very helpful.
- Omen Threat Meter – Gives you a graphic and/or plays a sound if your threat is getting high. Mostly useful if you’re always grabbing aggro, or think you might, or want to make sure you DO have it.
- Weak Auras 2 – highly configurable interface for letting you know when you have to do something. It’s not all that easy to use, but there are tutorials, plus it’s easy to find scripts to import. So for instance you can have a set of icons on your screen to show you how long you’ve got till a certain buff/spell wears off, or a bar showing you cast time for a spell on your target, or whatever. For the latter, it’s true that DBM has a lot of the same functionality, but sometimes more warnings are better than not.
- Bitten’s Spellflash (all modules) – flashes the next spell or spells you should cast for optimal performance, based on SimC theorycrafting. Hitting the flashing buttons has certainly improved my deeps on my hunter, plus on classes that I don’t know as well, has helped me learn them.
- OmniCC – This is probably duplicated in something in ElvUI, actually, but I’ve had it installed for a long time, and if you don’t use ElvUI it’s definitely useful. Puts the cooldown for your spells on your action buttons so you know how long you’ve got till CD.
- MikScrollingBattleText – Cool looking and configurable, easy to see, scrolling text for buffs and debuffs and such. As a bonus, comes with configurable sounds for when cooldowns pop. Can sound quite hilarious but the point is to alert you to something you might have missed. As I said above, the more of that the better.
- Pet Attack – for classes with pets, lets you know if your pet is not attacking.
- Pet Selector – for hunters, tells you what pet will provide the most useful buffs for your party.
- Recount (and/or) Skada – I have both installed but use only Skada currently as it’s less of a resource hog. Gives you a report on how much damage or healing party members are doing, with various configurable types of reporting and so on. I’ve put it lower on the list simply because it doesn’t provide any utility itself; it’s mainly useful so you know how well or badly you (or others) are doing. If you’re the raid leader you definitely want to have it up. As a healer, I use the DPS meter so that I know who to rez if several DPS have died.
- Who Pulled? – Mainly useful so you know who to blame.
- Decursive – I actually use this a LOT, because my healing class doesn’t have a mass dispel so I can only dispel one at at time anyway. Allows you to remove curses, poison, diseases, and so on if your class is able to do so, with a click (or you can macro-ize it). Saves action bar use. I put it low on the list because it’s only really important to have if you’re a healing class.
- BonusRollPreview – In the last two expansions, there have been “bonus tokens” that you can spend on an extra roll for gear (or gold). This addon gives you a drop-down menu to show you what all the possible gear is, if you don’t happen to know.
- Afterlife Crowd Control – Warns you when crowd control is about to break.
- AskMrRobot – Allows you to import your current gear profile into the AskMrRobot site so that you can maximize your gear (according to their theorycrafting method).
- Pawn – if you’re not sure whether the drop you just got is better than what you’re wearing, Pawn can help you decide.
So who am i, to talk about raiding? Clearly I don’t belong to Method, so…
I haven’t been in raiding for long. As mentioned, I started playing right around the time WotLK came out. I was new to MMO gaming, and I took my time leveling, so it was at least the end of 2009 and possibly into 2010 before I hit level 80.
At that point the boyfriend who got me into WoW and I belonged to a nice and friendly guild that unfortunately later fell apart. We did do a lot of dungeons, including some heroics, but I don’t think there was ever any thought of raiding.
Raiding was different back then. LFG was just being developed, and there was no LFR to ease you into content or help you gear beyond heroics. It was something that really serious, really elite players did, and I dreamed of being that good. But I knew I wasn’t. I could maybe live through heroic dungeons, and in fact do quite decent DPS, but that was about it.
Cataclysm hit, and along the way, my boyfriend and I broke up and I married my current husband. I joined a new (to me) guild, leveled my main up to max, and ran heroics. LFR came out and I dipped my toe in. And then another new guildie told me his other guild was running 10 man Dragon Soul and could use another dps. I ran with them a few times, and I was hooked. I never actually finished Dragon Soul on any strength besides LFR (though obviously I’m farming it now), but I knew I loved raiding.
Pandaria, unfortunately, brought some life changes for me. My computer could no longer handle WoW graphics, plus for a while I didn’t have a really great Internet connection. I bought the xpac and leveled my main, but it was after SoO dropped before I really got back into things. With the encouragement of my guild, plus a new computer, I geared up and started flex raiding. Right around that time, my husband also started playing, and once he was max level we wanted to raid together.
My guild didn’t have a place for us on the main team (although I eventually downed Garrosh with them), but the other guild I’d raided with before had a spot, so I split my time between the two. Due to the lockout system in place at the time, this ended up causing me quite a bit of stress, but I made it work. My guild ended up downing Garrosh, with me on the team, less than a half hour before the WoD prepatch hit, and I got my wolf mount. I was really proud, but at the same time I felt like I wasn’t really good enough.
Early into WoD, my husband and I made the decision to leave the guild we were in and join the guild I’d been part time raiding with, and we’ve been really happy with them. Unfortunately, several core members have had RL aggro, and our progression has been a little slow, but I’m really happy to say that as of this writing we’re 11/13 Normal HFC. Last night we almost went to 12/13, so I’m confident we’ll be facing Archimonde soon.
With my guild, because we’ve temporarily lost one of our healers, I’ve geared up my resto druid and have been running with her. I don’t think anyone actually expected me to be any good at it, because I’d never done it before, but it turns out that I’m actually pretty decent. My biggest problem tends to be situational awareness, but I’m learning to keep one eye on raid frames and another eye on mid-screen so I can move out of stuff.
I’ve been running my main with another group (on a different server). They’ve already gone 13/13 H HFC but then started again with some new people (including us), so the present group is 12/13. We’re looking at facing H Archie tomorrow (as I write this), so I should have my moose soon! And then we’re going to be trying Mythic difficulty, which has me both scared and excited.
So that is where I’ve been and where I’m at in raiding. I don’t know really where that puts me. On the one hand I’m a lot more serious about raiding than a lot of people I know. On the other hand I’m not exactly server top. So what is that? Casual-plus? I’ll take it.