How Interface Addons Increase Raid Awareness

A big part of being successful in current raids is having keen “Raid Awareness.” Raid Awareness is knowing what is going on around you at all times. This can include knowing where the mobs are around you during combat, knowing where to stand in a boss fight in order to not take unnecessary damage, knowing where your healers are in relation to you, or even realizing you’re standing in a big circle of destruction, aka Void Zone. Every day, WOW players are attempting to customize their game interface to be more “optimal.” What some feel are optimal, others may not, but there are some things that can be changed that most can agree on. 

Some people prefer simplistic interface. “Fresh install of WOW right out of the box and it’s perfect!” Some people prefer total customization. “Now that I installed WOW for the first time, let me go to Curse Gaming and download everything I need to be able to play comfortably.” Finding a comfortable balance between these two can be a struggle at first, but once the goal is met, and you have tweaked your interface to suit your play style, you will never go back to “bare bones” WOW because you love the convenience of total control that you’ve become accustomed to having.

There are many reasons people adjust their interface and install mods. These reasons can range from the convenience of adding extra cast bars, to having information at their fingertips (as opposed to alt+tab out of WOW to check WowHead) to see where an item drops or what reagents are required to craft a certain item, or to have tools to help with leading raids and guild management. All of these reasons are valid, and all of these reasons help streamline the gaming experience for the player. The one big benefit to customizing your interface, and the one I would like to highlight in this thread, is how changing from the default interface can increase your “Raid Awareness.” (**Note: Some of my opinions in this thread are based on a healer’s perspective. Although some of these tips and suggestions may not apply to DPS or tanking classes as much, there are many tips that will benefit everyone.)

By default, the player frame and target frame are in the upper left corner of your screen. When you join a party, by default, the party frames are all aligned vertically on the left hand side of your screen. As a healer whose number one priority is to make sure nobody’s health reaches zero, I have to keep my eyes on anywhere between one and twenty-five health bars at any given time. For someone who is so intent on watching raid frames, I still need to be aware of what is going on around me. The same goes for DPS classes and tanks. You may not have to watch other people’s health bars (unless you’re a flexible hybrid), but you do need to watch the target for interrupts, stuns, spellsteals, DoTs, casting bars, etc. If your eyes are focused on the upper left hand corner of the screen, then you may have trouble keeping watch of what is going on around you. Granted, I played like this for a very long time, but now that I have taken the time to test out certain interface enhancements, I love the change and can see the benefits every raid. By keeping your eyes more towards the center of the screen and your character, you can utilize the most of your peripheral vision to better enhance your Raid Awareness.

To accomplish this goal, I have changed the position of mostly everything (extreme) on my interface to give me, what I feel, is optimal Raid Awareness. I will show you some pictures of my Interface and how I have streamlined it for customization and utilization. I feel that personally, with my setup, I can not only do my job as a healer efficiently and effectively, but I can also tell what is going on around me at all times with minimal effort. 

This is how my UI looks while idle. No parties, no raids, not in combat: Interface1


As you can see, my Character bar and Target bar are below my avatar. I have also moved my minimap and Omen to the lower part of my screen so that the upper 2/3 of the screen are free from any distractions. My eyes are focused just below my character’s feet (lower-center of screen) so that I know where I am standing at all times, which is very important for Raid Awareness in those “void zone” encounters. No matter how focused on health bars I am, my eyes will definitely see my feet.

This next screenshot is how my UI looks while in a party. As you can see, I have moved my party frames a bit more to the center of my screen so that my eyes are not focused to the side (healer issue) and I have also enabled the option to view my party member’s targets:

My current raid setup is very similar to my party setup, with the exception that I do not have the option to view their target enabled (way too many boxes at that point).  I also made the raid frames much smaller to save space, so that I can see as much as possible around my raid frames.

Another easy way to increase your Raid Awareness with minimal effort is to have all of your spells and abilities set to a key binding.  If you are clicking on spells and abilities with your mouse, you’re looking at your hotbar, and not the fight.  This is just one more distraction to add in to the mix when you’re job is to be at the right place at the right time.  If you don’t have to look down at your hotbar, you can keep your eyes up on the fight and on target bars and on health bars if you’re a healer class.  Hopefully, some of these tips and ideas will give you an idea as to what your ideal setup would be so that you can achieve optimal Raid Awareness as a top raider in your guild.


~ by Birkin on February 13, 2008.

2 Responses to “How Interface Addons Increase Raid Awareness”

  1. would be nice to know what addons you used to achieve your interface

  2. The cosmetic ones that you can see are: Pitbull, Bartender, Squeenix, ElkBuffBars, Prat, eePanels, DrDamage, oRA2.

    I use over 50 addons that accomplish other tasks for healing, Priest abilities, Raid Leading, and that sort of thing.

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