HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Improving the Interface using Addons 6 – Grid (Raid Frames)

Me: So, does anyone here use Grid?
Guildie: Anyone who’s played for more than 6 months. LOL

If you’ve wanted to try Grid but don’t know where to start you’ve come to the right place. I’m trying it out for the first time too!

A smart reader asked why I would go through the pain of switching to Grid from Healbot. I’ll admit a small part of me wants to be a fantastic Priest healer: DPSing up the meters one day and switching to Discipline and doing just as well – saving the world with the right Shield/Heal at the right moment.

When Dual Specialisation came out I was asked to choose Holy. I threw spells into Healbot for raid healing and I just couldn’t fit all the spells I wanted to use onto 2 mouse buttons + some keys. I was just starting to learn the combinations I had set up when I changed to Discipline as my secondary build and I’m struggling even more to relearn my key combinations. A perfect time to see if there’s something better out there.

What Grid Will Do

Grid creates a square representing each of your party/raid members. Click the square and you will target that player. You can choose (Grid gives you a hell of a lot of options) what information about the player you wish to display in their little box, but usually you’d start with their name and build up from there.

Grid is intended to replace the default UI raid frames – you know, the groups 1-5 that you have dragged onto your screen from the Social>Raid window.

What Grid Can Do

I honestly don’t know the answer. Ask a devoted Grid user and they will tell you Grid can do pretty much everything.

I do know that you can extend the functionality of Grid in many different areas to accomplish want you want. For healing, you can:

The Basic Basic Setup

Grid is, unfortunately, really really ugly when you first install it.

Default Grid display... not very appealing, right?

Default Grid display... does it make your head hurt too?

It took me a couple hours wading through the configuration menus but eventually I beat Grid into something attractive, meaningful and helpful. Personally I think most of this stuff should be set by default. If the creators of Grid made Grid look like this out of the box they’d win over a lot more users. By the way, Grid refers to each player as a “unit”.

  • Switch to horizontal health bars, not vertical
  • Increased the width of each “unit” so they are rectangles, not squares
  • Show more letters/characters in the unit’s name (I think I maxed mine at 20)
  • Turned off all the Top Left, Top Right, Bottom Left and Bottom Right corner settings
  • Removed the border around the Addon
  • Removed (or changed to a Flat) background texture
  • Removed all the Border (the border around each unit) settings
  • Turned off units for pets

From this base, blank canvas I added some meaningful information. But I’ll go into that later.

The Final Result

Grid in Alterac Valley, 40 players but only a few in range.

Grid in Alterac Valley, 40 players but only a few in range.

Grid in Ulduar, 25 players mostly in range (and yes I captured this for another reason - go number 1!)

Grid in Ulduar, 25 players mostly in range (and yes I captured this for another reason - go number 1!)

My Configuration

Building up from the base setup described above I selected some additional information to display on my unit frames from the options in Grid:

  • Unit Border:
    display on aggro (the player/s with aggro get a red border)
  • Unit Text – second line:
    display the amount of health lost (eg “7.5k”)
    when they have the Weakened Soul debuff (ie “Weakened Soul”)
    when they have died and released (ie “Ghost”)
  • Top Left Corner:
    a square appears when the target has Power Word: Shield active

My advice would be to keep the amount of information you’re monitoring with Grid pretty minimal at first. If you wish to monitor several things try and consider which ones might happen at the same time and don’t assign these to the same visual alert (you have borders, text and four corners to play with essentially).

From Healbot to Grid

If you’re like me and are used to playing with Healbot, I suggest that you run both side by side for a few weeks while you make the transition. This is a screen capture I took as Xata while I was still figuring out the nuts and bolts of the Grid options (you can see I haven’t yet turned off pets and something is being monitored in the bottom left corner of some units).

I recommend running both Grid and Healbot until you adjust.

I recommend running both Grid and Healbot until you adjust.

One thing I love about Healbot is being able to see the icons specific to your class on your raid. It’s really easy to monitor how many charges of Water Shield I have up and also how many charges of Earth Shield is up on my target. I can also see who else has been Earth Shielded by another Shaman. On my priest I can see Power Word: Shield, Prayer of Mending, Pain Suppression and Guardian Spirit, regardless of which priest cast it, which can really come in handy.  Unfortunately I have no idea how to achieve this in Grid, or if it’s even possible.

So far I absolutely love monitoring Weakened Soul with Grid. For such a long time I have been right clicking units on Healbot to Power Word: Shield them when things are going wrong (the only “heal” I can perform without leaving Shadowform).

Final Thoughts

Good luck! Grid takes a lot of work and most of the configuration menus don’t make a lot of sense to first time users. If it all gets too hard, give Healbot a go.

Remember, at its essence Grid will simply replace your current default Raid Frames – nobody is forcing you to try mouseover macros, fancy key bindings or click casting. And Grid won’t do any of those things for you on its own.

I’ve briefly tried mouseover macros – and loved it – except I just don’t have enough easily accessible keys not already taken up with damage/dispelling keys on my Priest (where the 1-0 keys are taken) and it seemed counter-productive to set up keys like X and Z which I find hard to hit. I’m definately keen to try this on my shaman, Xata.

I’m also planning to try click casting using Grid (and Clique or something similar) or trying out Vuhdo which is getting rave reviews. But that’s a topic for another post.

ps. The guild member I quoted above eventually qualified for my Mute and Ignore list when he suggested we all change factions and play horde because “Horde are so much better”. I’m fairly confident I won’t be missing anything worth hearing.

What’s next?

View/read all the articles in this series.

12 Responses to “Improving the Interface using Addons 6 – Grid (Raid Frames)”

  1. ambientNo Gravatar says

    So I have to ask, why did you choose to make the switch from Healbot to Grid? You’re not using any of the crazier Grid functionalities, so why force yourself through the extended adjustment period?

  2. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    The main reason that I wanted to try Grid was because I’ve played with too many people who love Grid NOT to try it. If it’s as good as they say – what am I missing out on?

    Healbot hasn’t really been cutting it on my Priest lately either.

    Thanks for the question – I might rewrite the start a little bit. Funny how my motivations make sense to me!

  3. ambientNo Gravatar says

    Now that actually makes perfect sense. I’ve had success as a casual Healbot user, for buffs, tossing shields in shadowform, and the occasional lolshadowhealing (renew, flash, greater, that’s it). Now that I’ve got a disc offspec, I do feel that I need “real” raid frames, not my unmodified Healbot setup. But being a contrarian, I’m about to try out Vuhdo instead of Grid. :)

  4. LathereNo Gravatar says

    I’ve tried Grid and Healbot on and off over the years, and have always kept going back to standard raid frames for healing. I’ve now used Vuhdo for 2 weeks and have to say I really really love it.

    Its great for druids as it has inbuilt HoT timers, and it allows me to use either keybinds or clicking depending on which I prefer.

    I’m actually in the middle of writing a blog about this add on so keep an eye out.

  5. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    Yes, but Lath, how do you -select- a raid member? Not heal them, just target them?

    I wish there was a raid frame Add on that would Left Click: Target Player when I’m in Shadowform and Left Click: Flash Heal when I’m not in Shadowform.

    Hmmm can you use macros with Vuhdo?

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