HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Improving the Interface with Addons: ForteXorcist (DoT Monitor)

Once upon a time the duration of Devouring Plague matched its cooldown, restricting you to casting it once per 24 seconds on 1 target. When it was off cooldown, it was time to reapply it. Simple as that.

These days there is no cooldown (which is good, I know) but it can still only be applied to 1 target. Switch to a second target and you have no way of knowing when Devouring Plague needs to be reapplied.

ForteXorcist excels at tracking DoTs across multiple mobs regardless of your current target. So I decided to give it a go.

Introducing ForteXorcist

TMI: ForteXorcist straight "out of the box"

TMI: ForteXorcist straight "out of the box"

All I wanted to do was track Devouring Plague, right? ForteXorcist is a cooldown reminding, spell tracking, DoT timer beast.

The first thing I did after installation was head down to some Target Dummies in Stormwind and open up the Configuration. 5 minutes later I realised that if my brain was going to make sense of all this information, I needed to scale things right back.

I logged out and switched off all the class modules except the “Priest” class module which got rid of the Warlock purple boxes. I disabled the buff tracking section (all the blue bars: Inner Fire, Shadow Weaving, Illustration, NitT) because I have another Addon that tracks and displays that very neatly.

Then I got stuck into the Spell Timer configuration options.

Monitoring Devouring Plague, and just DP

I beat ForteXorcist into shape. I disabled all kinds of tracking and plugged “Devouring Plauge” into my Customise list and gave it a pink colour and told it to show up.

Placed to the right of Debuff Filter, and above my Quartz Cast Bar, it displays the progress of Devouring Plague regardless of my target. It can also show little markers on the progress bar to indicate the damage ticks, too, which I thought was neat.

ForteXorcist setup to display Devouring Plague only

ForteXorcist setup to display Devouring Plague only (right)

Ok, so that screencapture is a pretty bad example. The icon with the number 12 on it (on the left) is being displayed by Debuff Filter because my target has Devouring Plague applied to it.

The bar with 2 shiny white blips on the right is ForteXorcist. The big blip is the progress indication, the little blip is when the next damage tick occurs. If I had another target selected this bar would fade to 50% but still be visible but the left icon from Debuff Filter would just disappear.

More Spell Timers Please!

Before making up my mind about ForteXorcist I thought I’d better give it a go at doing all my DoT tracking. This is how I organised things to monitor DoTs on multi mobs. With this setup I could completely remove Debuff Filter and use ForteXorcist to tell me when I should refresh Shadow Word: Pain and when Vampiric Touch is about to expire.

This is how ForteXorcist is intended to be used.

Forte-SpellTimer

Multi-dotting 2 targets with ForteXorcist

The 2 boxes on the left of my cast bar are ForteXorcist – each box representing 1 mob. I’ve coloured each of my spells separately (to match their icons: blue, yellow and purple) but I couldn’t remove the icons altogether or that incredibly annoying drop shadow border.

I also couldn’t figure out how to simplify the timers the way I could using Debuff Filter/OmniCC. With tenth-of-a-second countdowns I couldn’t help but feel rushed by ForteXorcist. Having 10.2 seconds left on Shadow Word: Pain is not something I need to know. 2 seconds left on Vampiric Touch? I’m interested.

The worst part of playing with ForteXorcist is that there is nothing to connect the actual target mob to its corresponding box of progress bars. I can’t help but wonder if perhaps it would be better to play with the default combat-text, damage-done yellow numbers which appear over the mob’s head. If I’m in a room full of tentacles that I’ve dotted up it’s going to be very easy to lose track of exactly which Corrupter is about to lose Shadow Word: Pain – even though I’m watching it happen with ForteXorcist. Perhaps it’s time I turned off Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text.

ForteXorcist has the ability to display raid symbols (skull, cross etc) on your targets, too. I think this might help bridge the progress bar => mob disconnect.

Something else to note is that I have kept my ForteXorcist progress bars very narrow (about 120 wide, I think) but you can draw them out as wide as you like. I’ve seen many interfaces where Shadow Priests play with ForteXorcist extended to match the width of their Cast Bar. Personally I don’t like seeing 10 progress bars whizzing past so I’ve kept my bars short to reduce the amount of on-screen animation.

Monitoring Cooldowns

When I switched on and played with ForteXorcist’s Cooldown module I recognised it immediately from many different strategy videos I’ve watched over the last 6 months. I’ve seen it used by Hunters. I’ve seen it used by a holy Paladin. And I was impressed.

The only cooldown that I really like to be reminded of mid-combat is Mind Blast. I’m not fussed about Inner Focus (which I have macro’ed anyway) and I have plenty of time to consider using Shadowfiend or Dispersion, so I turned everything off and coloured it up pink to match the Mind Blast spell icon.

The Cooldown module setup to track Mind Blast

The Cooldown module setup to track Mind Blast

The great thing about ForteXorcist’s cooldown reminder is that when the spell comes up off cooldown and reaches the end of the progress bar it animates (enlarges and fades) that pops out visually to remind you it’s time to press that button!

The good/bad thing is that the progress bar isn’t evenly distributed over time. You can see in the screen capture above the progress markers in seconds. The bar spans 6 seconds (0 at the left end, 6 at the right) but the center point of the bar indicates the 1 second mark.

This means that the spell cooldown you’re tracking travels faster and faster down to 0. I found this actually made it more difficult to judge when to hit Mind Blast and found myself trying to anticipate the ForteXorcist cooldown bar and getting “spell not ready yet” complaints from Cassandri instead.

Final Result

I am undecided about ForteXorcist. It’s an incredibly powerful Addon that gives you a lot of control through customisation.

If I was a fan of progress bar DoT tracking I would love it. If I was new to Shadow Priesting (or any class that DoTs) I would love it.

I guess I’ve played for so long now keeping track mentally of what mob has what, and when it’s time to switch over and recast that I feel ForteXorcist makes me doubt my timing and watch the bars instead.

But overall I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by everything that’s being displayed all at once and, as I mentioned above, feeling more disconnected from the actual game play video streaming onto my monitor.

I’m looking forward to giving ForteXorcist a whirl in a raid with Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text turned off and we’ll see how I adjust.

16 Responses to “Improving the Interface with Addons: ForteXorcist (DoT Monitor)”

  1. NatarumahNo Gravatar says

    I definitely like the look on ForteXorcist, and it seems like this would give clear indicators; the main reason I am still using DoTimer is mostly because it arranges my debuff per the target it is on, and always puts my current target on top so I know what’s going on at any time.

    My main gripe with DoTimer is that it is hard to set up, with separate “anchors” and “timers” and a hideous “snap to grid” I can’t seem to disable.

    When DoTimer was temporarily not updated I used PowerAuras to create neat little icons and timers, but this was a lot of clutter and my mind never really wrapped around non-bar timers.

    Hmm, perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to compile a list of what our “perfect dotimer” would be like, and see if any addon developer would be interested in taking up the challenge?

  2. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    You say PowerAuras tracks your DoTs, but NOT in a progress bar format? That’s the kind of thing that I like the sound of. Might have to try it out.

    ForteXorcist does group up DoTs by mob, but it won’t shuffle the boxes (mobs) around, which I think would be confusing, it dims the non-targetted mobs so it’s easy to see you target vs the rest.

  3. NatarumahNo Gravatar says

    If you install Power Auras, you can display a whole lot of different things, from buffs to debuffs and conditions. You can get warning sounds, icons and even text pop up in the screen (such as “WARNING!” when you are in a void zone).

    What I did was track “debuffs” I cast, giving them a timer and displaying their icon. The icon is there just to identify it, and a little timer next to it will start running until the DoT expires or drops off.

    2 caveats: it can only track your current target. However, if you switch targets it will always display the active buffs on that target. Second, the icon does not show a “shading timer” or such – only the normal timer shows how much time is left.

    You can also use it to track cooldowns, determine if there’s a shield slam or sunder effect on the target, whether it is stunned, silenced, etc.

    The reason I am not using it is because I like bars and because it is a pretty heavy addon. In terms of customization though, it is awesome. There’s also a whole tutorial here: http://powerauras.wikispaces.com/

  4. CassandriNo Gravatar says

    “2 caveats: it can only track your current target”

    I’ll stick to Debuff Filter in that case :)

  5. RagaarNo Gravatar says

    I has the same problem with the DoT monitor on forteXorcist when I first found and downloaded it, but it’s something to get accustomed to over time, just need to know which one you’ve DoT’d, in what order and where are they now. And pray you are not dealing with a ton of identical mobs.
    It works wonderfully with DPS’rs with few DoT’s or debuffs on timers, such as rogues, also on tracking HoT’s or Powerword:Shield on others. Just confusing with the greater number of DoT’s times the number of mobs, till you are used to it.

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] little Dot Timer Sparked by a post at Hots&Dots concerning ForteXorcist, I began to wonder what qualities the perfect Dot Timer addon would need to [...]

  2. [...] love Debuff Filter and ForteXorcist combined to monitor my DoTs. I do believe that Debuff Filter will be made redundant when Blizzard [...]

  3. [...] Improving the Interface with Addons: ForteXorcist (DoT Monitor)Oct 6, 2009 … My main gripe with DoTimer is that it is hard to set up, with separate “anchors” and “timers” and a hideous “snap to grid” I can’t seem to disable. [...]

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