Resto Shaman Need Weak Auras
Restoration Shaman are a fun class to play, but fundamental to the playstyle is the ability to plan, track, and effectively use a large variety of abilities which have non-trivial cooldowns. This can mean anything from Chain Heal (Glyphed – 2 sec cooldown) to Healing Tide Totem (3 minute cooldown).
While I can’t give everyone the ability to effectively plan their ability usage, and I can only point out times when people miss their ability cooldowns or don’t use them effectively, what I can do is help people track their abilities more effectively.
This is where Weak Auras 2 comes in! Weak Auras 2, a continuation of Weak Auras (in turn, a successor to Power Auras) is an addon for World of Warcraft which shows a texture or does some other action (e.g. plays a sound) when a pre-defined trigger is met in-game. This can be as simple as showing you a picture of your most important ability each time it comes off cooldown, or extremely complex tracking of when to place and recall totems.
On this page, I will provide the current WeakAuras 2 auras which I use in-game alongside a short description of why they are important – you can find the download links at the end of the page. I divide my auras into four distinct categories:
- Big Cooldowns – Spells such as Healing Tide Totem, which I have to track and find the most easily.
- Smaller Cooldowns – Spells which I still have to track, but which I can usually afford to have slightly less obvious during the fight.
- Utility Cooldowns – Tracking spells such as Dispel, Capacitor Totem, and Wind Shear.
- Status Notifications – Other triggers, such as showing that I have Water Shield active.
Update 03/01/2015 – Fixed lag issues caused by too large dynamic group. Aura style changed to compensate; page is being updated to stay coherent with the actual download links.
My main philosophy with the WeakAuras is to make them as clear and unambiguous as possible; this will hopefully reduce the cognitive load associated with interpreting them, which allows me to spend more time looking at other things! Here’s an example of my UI while I am testing it in LFR on Live, to give you an idea of how the system looks;
Shown above are the main sections of the WeakAuras component of my UI which are shown constantly. These are used for tracking spell and ability cooldowns, which are an integral part to almost any Resto Shaman play.
You will notice that the auras are arranged in columns; each of these columns is a Group, which ensures that the auras stay arranged nicely and can be rearranged easily if necessary. The functionality is simple; show a picture of the active spell when it is off cooldown; when it is on cooldown, show a timer instead. Let’s take a closer look at the functionality here;
I have gone for a very simple setup here – no icon is shown at all when the ability is on cooldown (just its timer). This is for two reasons; 1) it reduces any potential memory usage or frame lag issues, 2) when your ability is on cooldown, you have a larger amount of free screen space for your peripheral vision. Overall, I find this to be a better tradeoff than other versions I made with fancy in-between stages.
How Do They Work?
Describing in full how a WeakAura works is quite laborious, so I’ll just give you a general overview of the idea. Both the Timer and Icon effects for each spell are individual Auras, which I place on the same spot using the Display options. The different spells are offset vertically to give the column effect. Each group of spells is then inside its own Group Aura, which lets you change the position of the column on your screen as well as control when it is disabled. Here is what the implementation looks like within WeakAuras;
By default, I have all Auras enabled at all times. If you want to change that, all you have to do is select the Group, and go to the Load tab (pictured below). To set the group to display only when you’re in Resto Spec, check “Player Class” and “Talent Specialization”, and select “Shaman” and “Specialization 3” in the drop down menus next to them. (Note: sometimes WeakAuras2 shows you spec names instead when Shaman is selected, in which case you just have to select Restoration). This setup is shown below;
I have set up the “Utility” Auras to be slightly smaller and not show a cooldown timer, because I think they are less critical.
What Else Do You Got?
A less permanent, but nevertheless useful, feature of my WeakAuras are the third category – “Status Notifications”. These vary in size and design, but I have two good examples to share with you which apply to almost any fight;
I use these Auras to remind me about important information; the Water Shield notification only shows when I do not have Water Shield active, and the Active Buffs region shows important (temporary) buffs which I need to pay attention to (Heroism and Windwalk Totem are good examples shown above). I plan to expand the number of buffs covered by the latter Aura over time, and the base package was provided by my friend and co-healer Toman, so thanks for that! Make sure to check this section regularly for changes.
Let’s Talk About: Healing Totems
So, in my opinion Healing Stream Totem is one of the most important abilities to track consistently as a Resto Shaman. I have my “Rotational Cooldowns” tracking it, so don’t you think that’s a bit inconsistent? Well, yes and no. My HST aura is special because it plays a tone every time HST comes off cooldown. This is used to prompt me to drop it immediately, since it is such an easy way to get a big healing gain.
Cloudburst Totem is also a big topic, and I’ve said before that I like it. I have an Aura to handle this, too, but it’s a little more complicated. The idea is to play a “meow” sound and flash an icon when you should be dropping the totem, but actually making it do that can be difficult. In addition, there are two different cases where you want this Aura to function;
- You have specced for Totemic Persistence and therefore want to drop it as soon as possible.
- You have not specced for Totemic Persistence and therefore want to drop it as soon as Healing Stream Totem finishes.
My solution to this is to have two separate Auras grouped together, each of which deals with one of the two cases. However, because of the unique way in which I have to set the Auras up, they don’t quite do the same thing. Aura 2 triggers off CBT’s cooldown (between 0 and 2 seconds remaining) to remind you to drop it as soon as possible. The Aura warns you early so that you can plan ahead, rather than respond to the reminder late. Aura 1 triggers off Healing Stream Totem’s cooldown (between 15 and 13 seconds remaining) so that you don’t drop CBT too early and cancel HST. Note that Aura 1 will go off regardless of whether CBT is ready to use – this is intentional, so that you are prompted to sync your totems correctly. The picture below shows the difference between the two Auras;
How to Import Into WeakAuras2
- Follow the link to the Pastebin page.
- Copy the string of letters and brackets from the page.
- Ingame, in WeakAuras2, go to “New” -> “Import”.
- Paste your string into the box, and press “Import” in the box that pops up.
- Enjoy your new aura!
Here is a list of links to pastebins with WeakAuras2 import strings;