If you read this blog, you’ve hopefully seen my post on how I think about raid awareness.  I’ve always wondered exactly how to follow up on it, and while this post isn’t nearly so broad in scope, it’s way of trying to revisit that topic.  I’m not introducing any fundamentally new ideas, but rather, using Blackrock Foundry as an example of how those ideas can be applied.  This post tries to make it as easy as possible to implement some of the most important and universal UI techniques for yourself.

WeakAura Downloads

In some cases I included WeakAuras I built so that you can try them out with a minimum of effort.  I got Dayani (who researched the BRF fights in extreme detail in order to prepare her set of guides) to work on a list of boss abilities with me, and think about the best way to handle each one.

If you do nothing else upon reading this post, try installing these Auras–your raid leader will be happy with the outcome.  All you have to do is download the addon and import these two strings:

BRF – Debuff Alert and Standing In Fire (v 0.91) (for everyone): Link

BRF – Interrupt Bars (v 0.91) (for interrupters): Link

(These are substantially complete, but we’ve only been able to do limited testing on our own, and I expect to make some tweaks after people try them out and provide any suggestions or problems)

Thus far it includes Heroic difficulty Blackrock Foundry.  An added module for Mythic is something we hope to do after finalizing this one.

3/3: v.0.91:

  • Exported from newest WeakAuras (2.1)
  • Alert for standing in someone else’s Blazing Radiance disabled until I figure out a way to prevent it from firing erroneously
  • Some debuffs split into their own aura with manually-selected icon, since “Automatic Icon” didn’t seem to be picking them up correctly.  Please report more of these if you see them.
  • No changes to Interrupt Bars.

The Big Debuff Alert

This component is the one example of completely universal raid UI that I illustrated in the raid awareness article.  You should want everyone in your raid to have it, and in fact a big motivation of this project was simply to increase uptake by handing over a WeakAura, or at least a debuff list, that people could use.  I split it into two parts: 1) encounter-specific debuffs that require immediate movement and 2) the specific situation of “standing in fire”.  In both cases, the concept is as described in the article: if any of these is happening to you, a UI that makes it possible for you to miss or ignore that fact is inadequate.

Both parts are in the first Aura I linked above.  I’ll address the specific-debuff module first.

The Aura pops up a giant icon like this when you have any of the listed debuffs:

If someone in your raid didn’t move out with this debuff, they probably didn’t have this alert.

If you already use some addon to track your auras and simply want the list of debuffs for which we thought you should have a similar alert, here’s the one we used for the Aura:

(Yes, there are a lot of boss abilities in BRF).  In the ideal case, there would only be one such alert in any phase of a fight, so that a giant icon appearing meant only one thing only.  That’s not completely possible–for example at Ka’graz, you can get either Molten Torrent (run to a clump of people) or Blazing Radiance (avoid people).  The fact that you have to distinguish these can’t be avoided in any alert system.  The huge icon should make it easy regardless.

On the other side, we excluded certain things such as Pinned Down, because once you have it it’s too late to react.

If this aura pops up, you have something that you should move to handle appropriately before worrying about anything else.

The Standing in Fire Alert

This is such a ubiquitous scenario that we split it into its own warning.  You’re standing in something that, until you move out of it, will continue damaging you.  I kept this simple but effective: a skull and crossbones and a loud noise (loud noise not pictured):

You’ll never again have to say “I didn’t realize I was too close to the edge of the fire.”

Again, if you want to do your own alerts, here’s the list we came up with.  This is a little more complicated, because there are few types of alerts.

Debuffs that damage you as long as you’re in them:

Ground effects that damage you but don’t use a debuff.  The aura pops up the skull for 2 seconds after any damage event:

Effects that apply a debuff that persists after you move out (so you don’t want to alert based on debuff being on you) that is also a DoT (so you don’t want to alert based on damage events).  The aura triggers for 2 seconds after a debuff application only:

Finally, just to reiterate, this aura includes a sound out of the box.  As I said in the raid awareness post, I believe in using sounds sparingly (more on this below).  But hopefully you’ll understand that, on the short list of things that would make me feel justified in playing a noise in your ear, your standing in fire is at the top.

The Interrupt Bars

This is simple idea that far too few people seem to use: target/focus castbars that only show spells you’d like to interrupt.  This is exactly in line with my usual comments: something you want to want to react to in an important way (such as by interrupting) should be starkly visually distinguishable from anything else.  Having things you need to interrupt and things you don’t need to interrupt in the same castbar, so you have to read the spell each time to distinguish which is it, is kind of silly when you think about it.

For a long time I’ve used a castbar addon called Gnosis for this.  It’s similar to Quartz, but allows you to white- and blacklist spells from any bar.  My preferred way to do this is to leave my usual target and focus castbars as they are, and add a second set of target/focus castbars which are much larger and more prominent, and whitelist only a sort set of raid-interruptible spells.

So you can either try Gnosis, or use the pair of castbars (target and focus) included in the second WeakAura above.  In either case, the spells we listed are:

Debuff Highlights for Healers

Sadly, this is the end of the portion where I can hand you a WeakAura.  This section is a tip for healers about setting up your raid frames.

Any healer should have a way of highlighting specific debuffs on their frames, to call your attention to immediately to targets who require it.  This is beyond the simple indicator you should have for any debuffs, but a specific, prominent highlight (I do it by recoloring their whole bar for the duration of the debuff).  It’s typically good for strong DoTs or delayed-damage effects.  Vuhdo makes this easy with their custom debuff list; I hope other raid frames do as well.  We generally don’t include ordinary dispellable debuffs, since it’s assumed you have a general method of always highlighting them.

Here’s the list we came up with for BRF:

Bossmod Config

Finally, a section that’s important, but has no clear way to give specific advice.  Even if I picked one specific bossmod addon, there are two many combinations of roles and difficulty levels that require paying attention to different abilities.  On the other hand, it’s really an important part of this.  I expressed in the raid awareness post the importance of cutting down on bossmod spam, especially given the overly-enthusiastic default settings that are common.  So most of what I can do is reiterate the importance of starting with everything off and then opting in to timers and alerts you need.  As one example of many, I happened to just recently run through this exercise for a fight my raid is working on, and this was the set of timers and countdowns I decided I needed:

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 1.55.02 AM

Yes, lots of those abilities are important.  None of them are things where I need the timer information to act on in any specific way, X seconds before they happen.  In many, many cases, an appropriate alert when something actually happens is simpler and more effective warning, and occupies less of your attention unnecessarily at other times, as a countdown.

One specific component of all this is sounds.  It’s important to have them when they’re needed, and to not have them when they’re not needed.  In the bossmod I use, DBM, here’s a handy tip.  Go to Special Warnings in the Options, and turn off the sounds for the first two types of special warnings, but leave it on for the third (the one labeled “very important special warnings”). Choose any sound you like for that one:

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 2.02.10 AM

This is a little confusingly set up, but DBM will assign any important to event to one of these three alerts (it calls them SW1, SW2, and SW3).  You can choose which you like for any warning in that boss’s menu.  If you don’t go into that much detail, having sounds off for SW1 and SW2 will cut down on your addon noise quite a bit, while SW3 is what’s usually set as the default for the most important alerts.  Maybe there similar one-time config fixes for other mods that affect their behavior generally.


If you already had a set of similar alerts (good for you) including other sets of WeakAuras people have made for similar purposes, I hope you can still benefit from the detailed suggestions here, and the research and thinking on fight mechanics.  If not, then this post provides a very easy starting point for implementing good raid awareness UI.  Try out the auras at least, and see if it helps you.