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Thread: WoW Magazine Healing Article

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    WoW Magazine Healing Article

    A preview of the healing column in the new WoW magazine is out. You can find a quick link here to the overall preview, the healing article is on pages 36 & 37.

    After reading it I have to say I'm kind of disappointed. It seems the author was not quite the right choice to be writing said article or more seems not cut out for healing. With or without addons, healers are going to be looking at health bars most of the time. Good healers just keep an eye on whats going on in the interim. Actually having a good, well set up raid frame can actually give you more time to watch the fight. Having vuhdo set up to show who has my lingering spells on them, who has debuffs, who has aggro and who is losing health all in the same place means there's less of the screen I have to monitor. Outside of watching myself in case I get hit with fire or something, watching the fight can be detrimental as it causes you to not see who is taking damage.

    All in all, disappointing.

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    Sorry to hear that Ama!

    After trying to level my resto sham and disc priest(level 74 and 72 respectively) I have looked through the normal healing mods.

    I have tried to utilize two mostly, grid(which I use on all my toons anyway), and then healbot.

    I disliked healbot because in order to see anything on it, I had to scale it up and it covered way more of my screen than I was comfortable with.

    Also the whole clicking thing, and watching healbot made me actually tunnel vision, which I never did with grid.

    If you have a bad addons setup, you can certainly impede your ability to heal well!

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    I don't disagree there Wars, having a poorly set up UI can be detrimental to play, but the author seems to have confused or lost his original point. The very begining he's talking about looking at the fight. Literally seeing the boss attack and watching the spells effect hit people. Then later on it seems like he's more talking about information overload on a raid frame and better raid frame set up. Having a good UI won't make me watch the fight any more then I do, I have to watch the health bars for debuffs or for when people take damage, and unless they have a VERY good nameplate fix in the works, this will not change.

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    @Wars Yes a bad ui set up can be terrible but lets not blame clickFrame casting i.e. clique and healbot some players find those invaluable (I did on my paladin but not my priest). As you gain experience with content you tend to find the place where unit frames least impedes your view of fights. While frame size is adjustable I believe in both addons though ive not touched healbot.

    I think it needs pointing out that no matter what theres only two things that really matter as a healer and they are:
    1. Not standing in the fire/poison/Death Beam/Malody/you name it, you shouldn't be there
    2. Healing and or cleansing targets assigned via raid frames

    To do 1 you need to look mostly at your charachter, to do 2 you need to look away from your charachter. You will do 2 atleast 50% of the fight so the information about the fight that is CRUCIAL to you needs to be displayed sensibly near while emote warnings are likely to be near your charachter for when the poison/malady/nameit hits. In this way you split your attention between the real (stuff on the ground) and the abstract (people having health and needing dispells etc.)

    im actually puzzled how shackle has anything to do with garrote?

    the difference between focus, target and raid frames is BIG.

    His advice seems contary to his aim sadly. If he had said turn off debuffs you can't cure that would make sense but disabling the centre icon entirely is haphazard. His healing of the player 'running away' while great doesn't fit the glove for 99% of the WoW population.

    It would be like saying "if you get penetrating cold start jumping and you will get heals"...

    I felt it was too tweaked to 'his' playstyle. Sure thats fine but ask anyone whether they will notice a border turning red or a huge skull on their grid and im pretty sure everyone will notice the skull first.

    How this article could be saved?

    Compare curses showing on grid to magic dispells in fights (ie chromaggus or Noth)

    Talk about faction champions where some debuffs don't matter to other classes

    Encourage the use of easy to spot references to important boss mechanics more. IE Icons, sound alerts vs text alerts, grid squares.

    Information isn't all bad: Penetrating cold healing would be a nightmare without addons like grid raid icons.


    As healers sadly the game does revolve around raid frames denying this, binning the information does nothing more than go against the grain.

    All in all no matter how awesome this guy is without a centre icon showing an unstable affliction debuff I wouldn't take him to faction champions heroic.

    The icon may be a magnet for your attention but forgetting that you need to shackle a target is not a failing on too much information, it is a failing on yourself.

    And yes there are cases where icons blind the raid frames if not set up right. Rather help the reader learn that customisation through the LUA interface can be done to make these icons only show information that you need. Instead of suggesting to disgard them and go for border colour swaps which is just a poor mans icon and if anything requires more attention when debuffs are critical.
    Last edited by Nicki; 12-30-2009 at 06:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicki View Post
    im actually puzzled how shackle has anything to do with garrote?
    He's making a point that too much visual information can be distracting. He was busy looking at the Garrote icons and did not notice his Shackle had broken, allowing a mob to run free.

    It's definitely a poorly written article by someone without a firm grasp on healing.
    Last edited by vine; 12-30-2009 at 11:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vine View Post
    It's definitely a poorly written article by someone without a firm grasp on healing.
    No, I think it's simply a fluff piece written for a much less hardcore crowd than Tankspot.

    The example of tracking garrote and shackle status at the same time is a perfectly fine example of the multitasking stuff that Blizzard puts in encounters to stop them from being just "spam your rotation fights" (though why on earth they shackled Baroness Dorothea Millstipe rather than killing her first is anybody's guess).

  7. #7
    One of the more amusing fights I've had recently was our attempt at Many Whelps! Mainly because I crashed and came back up without my usual healing UI. It was certainly a hell of a lot more fun to try to watch the raid itself, throwing Rejuvs and Wild Growths on whoever was convienent or visibly in danger. And tanks are also easy to find. It was enjoyable.

    It was also ridiculously inefficient compared with the normal, UI, watch the bars version. Now maybe I'd do better with practice, but I doubt it.

    Fully agree with Roana about this simply not being pitched at the level of player that reads strategy websites.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roana View Post
    No, I think it's simply a fluff piece written for a much less hardcore crowd than Tankspot.

    The example of tracking garrote and shackle status at the same time is a perfectly fine example of the multitasking stuff that Blizzard puts in encounters to stop them from being just "spam your rotation fights" (though why on earth they shackled Baroness Dorothea Millstipe rather than killing her first is anybody's guess).
    No, it's a terrible example of anything. Having a garrote icon up on your raid frames SHOULD NOT AT ALL DISTRACT YOU FROM YOUR CC TARGET. The only thing it shows is inattentiveness on HIS part. He blames the fact that there was an icon for his lack of awareness of a job he was delegated to when he has no one to blame for himself. I don't mind it being more casual or new player oriented but when you put in bad information without clear and concise points it's terrible for anyone. Being touted as a healer since beta means he should have some measure of skill but this apparently not the case.

    ...but I digress from my main complaint which was that it is just poorly written. His last paragraph, the point where you should basically sum up your article, just basically says you shouldn't try to micro manage everything that goes on during an encounter, but he doesn't address at all that tasks should be split up in a raid situation. The begining of his article, where you introduce your topic talks about being able to see the fight. I fail to see how this is connected, even if you have a supremely set up UI healers will still be looking at health bars and glancing at their feet to make sure they aren't standing in anything. You aren't going to be watching the fight. Period. Don't try to tell new players they should be.

    This article would have been better if he stuck to the "addons can present too much information, here's what you should look for in setting up your addons" aspect. It still caters to casual or new players who may not be familiar with addon usage or what to prioritize when stepping into a raid setting while not being pretty schizo of a topic.

    EDIT: If you want to see examples of how an article should be written, read the tanking one and the dps ones for comparison. The healing article fails to make its point like the other two do.
    Last edited by Amamaeth; 12-31-2009 at 01:40 PM.

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    I agree that if he gets distracted or is still standing in fire due to tunnel-vision while playing whack-a-mole, then he is a sad healer if he's been doing this for 5 years, the big blue warnings from DBM should be a clue.

    And yes, as an article, he is describing what anybody who has used healbot for a week or so while raiding already knows. Those that have never tried it won't know what he is talking about. So, his audience is almost non-existant.

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    I'd actually like to read this article.
    In the magazine.
    In my home.
    That I paid for.
    Like I paid for the magazine.
    Forth, and fear no darkness! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day...a red day...ere the sun rises! Ride for ruin and the world's ending!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amamaeth View Post
    No, it's a terrible example of anything. Having a garrote icon up on your raid frames SHOULD NOT AT ALL DISTRACT YOU FROM YOUR CC TARGET.
    He was apparently playing a holy priest. Holy priests on Moroes were generally tasked with keeping Renew on garrotted targets while also keeping one of the adds shackled. I don't see how that's a horrible example. It's actually pretty illustrative, in my opinion. Yes, doing this may be second nature for you and me now. It is NOT for Joe Average Healer who may have just started raiding and who is the apparent target audience for the column.

    His main thesis is:

    Healing is all about splitting your attention in lots of directions at once and making complicated triage evaluations about who gets the next heal and which spell you'll cast
    Upon which he further expands, with respect to the UI:

    There is already too much information to process from the user interface layer of the screen.
    I have little to quibble about when it comes to his main thesis, especially in 25-player raids. With respect to UI overload in particular, I constantly customize Grid for raid encounters to allow me to filter out important information from the remaining clutter (such as specifically highlighting players who are affected by Curse of Torpor).

    Healers sometimes fail (or raids would never wipe). He describes an example of healer failure. That a more experienced healer wouldn't have made the same mistake is besides the point. The example still illustrates that to be a good healer, you have to handle the multi-tasking, and you have to filter information down to a manageable level (there are hardwired biological limits in how much information humans can process, no matter their skill; only on the WoW forums does every player have the information processing capacity of a supercomputer).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roana View Post
    He was apparently playing a holy priest. Holy priests on Moroes were generally tasked with keeping Renew on garrotted targets while also keeping one of the adds shackled. I don't see how that's a horrible example. It's actually pretty illustrative, in my opinion. Yes, doing this may be second nature for you and me now. It is NOT for Joe Average Healer who may have just started raiding and who is the apparent target audience for the column.

    His main thesis is:



    Upon which he further expands, with respect to the UI:



    I have little to quibble about when it comes to his main thesis, especially in 25-player raids. With respect to UI overload in particular, I constantly customize Grid for raid encounters to allow me to filter out important information from the remaining clutter (such as specifically highlighting players who are affected by Curse of Torpor).

    Healers sometimes fail (or raids would never wipe). He describes an example of healer failure. That a more experienced healer wouldn't have made the same mistake is besides the point. The example still illustrates that to be a good healer, you have to handle the multi-tasking, and you have to filter information down to a manageable level (there are hardwired biological limits in how much information humans can process, no matter their skill; only on the WoW forums does every player have the information processing capacity of a supercomputer).
    First off he doesn't say anywhere that he was assigned to renew the garrote targets so you can't assume that. Even if he was his example runs counter to what a person should do in that instance. Tell me exactly what removing the garrote icons do? They certainly don't let you look away from the health bars, you have to keep and eye on them to see which one is falling. No, the actual solution to the problem would have been to ADD an add on that alerted him to when his shackle was broken. The example is horrible.

    If his thesis is about information overload on a persons UI then why does he ramble about not being able to see the fight? If it's for new players why does he talk about progression raids and why do you assume that because it's meant for a new player the information is good, but it's bad for us? Healers can't be bogged down by the details? Healing is all about the details in progression raids. A new player reading this will go into, say toc, without DBM timers for, say, gormokk's stomp and won't take steps to prepare themselves for it. This whole article encourages reactive style healing which is not how progression healing is done, it's proactive now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amamaeth View Post
    First off he doesn't say anywhere that he was assigned to renew the garrote targets so you can't assume that.
    I've healed the fight often enough on my holy priestess (nevermind how often I've tanked it and set up healing assignments). It was standard practice. Two HoTs per Garrote target just about compensated for the DoT from Garrote and maximized the free time healers had to handle tanks. And since he's clear that he was assigned to healing the garrotted targets (see his explanation of the falling health bars being enough of a clue for him), the technical details amount to little more than a quibble here.

    Even if he was his example runs counter to what a person should do in that instance. Tell me exactly what removing the garrote icons do? They certainly don't let you look away from the health bars, you have to keep and eye on them to see which one is falling. No, the actual solution to the problem would have been to ADD an add on that alerted him to when his shackle was broken. The example is horrible.
    I think you're nitpicking here (not to mention that he may have not had an addon available that alerted him to broken shackles). What he said was that the health bars falling were indicator enough for him (for myself, I actually set up a specific Garrote indicator for grid rather than using the debuff icon).

    If his thesis is about information overload on a persons UI then why does he ramble about not being able to see the fight?
    Because too much information that you need to process from the UI limits how much you can observe the actual fight (which is also important). Human information processing capability is finite.

    If it's for new players why does he talk about progression raids and why do you assume that because it's meant for a new player the information is good, but it's bad for us?
    The information is presented on a "lowest common denominator level". It's not bad for you, you just already happen to know it. As to progression raids, I have friends for whom, right now, Naxx 10 IS progression, because they only recently hit 80, and aren't that interested in skipping half the content. Progression is relative to what your gear and skill level is, not what the current bleeding edge for the raid elite is.

    Healers can't be bogged down by the details? Healing is all about the details in progression raids
    That's exactly what he says. I don't see where you're disagreeing with him. His point is that you need to filter out the irrelevant or distracting information and keep the important information.

    A new player reading this will go into, say toc, without DBM timers for, say, gormokk's stomp and won't take steps to prepare themselves for it.
    Given that he specifically cites an example where he used BigWigs raid alerts to know about Mutating Injection, you're just putting words in his mouth here.

    This whole article encourages reactive style healing which is not how progression healing is done, it's proactive now.
    Preemptive healing is really only important for tank healing and other forms of expected damage, and all his examples are about raid healing. You can't preemptively heal Incinerate Flesh or Boiling Blood. I'm really not sure where he's saying what you think he says. Quote, please?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roana View Post
    I've healed the fight often enough on my holy priestess (nevermind how often I've tanked it and set up healing assignments). It was standard practice. Two HoTs per Garrote target just about compensated for the DoT from Garrote and maximized the free time healers had to handle tanks. And since he's clear that he was assigned to healing the garrotted targets (see his explanation of the falling health bars being enough of a clue for him), the technical details amount to little more than a quibble here.
    No where does it say he was assigned to heal the garrote targets. All it says was he was 'mesmerized' by the garrote icon during the fight. For all you know he could have been assigned to tank healing. You are making assumptions that are not present in the actual article.



    I think you're nitpicking here (not to mention that he may have not had an addon available that alerted him to broken shackles). What he said was that the health bars falling were indicator enough for him (for myself, I actually set up a specific Garrote indicator for grid rather than using the debuff icon).
    Nice comment about nitpicking since that's exactly what your response is. You missed the point completely. The icon does nothing but let you know who has garrote. You can turn it off and use falling health to determine who needs heals yes, but in the context of the article what has it shown? Nothing. He is STILL going to be looking at his raid frames. He is STILL not going to be looking at the fight. If he somehow magically could shackle after this point it's because he was paying more attention to his CC target then he was before. It was NOT because he turned off the icon. If he can't pay attention to shackle because he was staring at an icon then that is just bad play on the healers part.



    Because too much information that you need to process from the UI limits how much you can observe the actual fight (which is also important). Human information processing capability is finite.
    Incorrect. Even if you have the most fine tuned UI in the world you are going to be spending your time observing your raid frame and making sure you aren't standing in anything. Actually watching the fight means you are doing something wrong.


    The information is presented on a "lowest common denominator level". It's not bad for you, you just already happen to know it. As to progression raids, I have friends for whom, right now, Naxx 10 IS progression, because they only recently hit 80, and aren't that interested in skipping half the content. Progression is relative to what your gear and skill level is, not what the current bleeding edge for the raid elite is.
    The information is bad for anyone. It actively supports a style of healing that is outdated to anything that isn't trivial content. Naxx 10 can hardly be called progression content as it is easily puggable and the gear you can get from heroics puts players far ahead of what they should be doing in that instance. Reactive style healing has been dead since ulduar and if your information is suggesting to heal that way then all you are doing is setting up bad healers for harder content.


    That's exactly what he says. I don't see where you're disagreeing with him. His point is that you need to filter out the irrelevant or distracting information and keep the important information.
    It's actually the opposite of what he said. Maybe you should re-read the article. His suggestions are to trim out anything you can't specifically deal with, but if you don't react around those sort of things then you end up a worse healer for it. For example, if I turned off curses and the dbm warning for who has curse of torpor on LDW, I won't be able to react accordingly if a healer gets the curse and it isn't removed right away. I could apply my healing accordinly to alleviate his stress by simply knowing he was affected by a debuff I could do nothing about. There are still things you can do to spells and effects that you can't actively cleanse to help the raid on the whole. His point is the opposite.



    Given that he specifically cites an example where he used BigWigs raid alerts to know about Mutating Injection, you're just putting words in his mouth here.
    His example was how he turned off Grid Alert and only listened to BigWigs chime. He didn't have the display for who got the debuff, just the chime. Apparently the message of "So and So has mutagenic injection!" was too much for him. He then proceeds to look for person who is running away. Honestly he could have had a much simplier time if he just had the injection icon show up on grid and heal whoever has the icon. I can garuntee you that a healer who does that will react faster to the debuff by virtue of the fact that they should already be looking at their raid frames. However this seems to be too distracting for him based on his moroes experience.


    Preemptive healing is really only important for tank healing and other forms of expected damage, and all his examples are about raid healing. You can't preemptively heal Incinerate Flesh or Boiling Blood. I'm really not sure where he's saying what you think he says. Quote, please?
    First off, preemptive healing is vital for raid healing as much as it is for tank healing. XT, NRB and Anub ALL have vital components that need to be dealt with preemptively on the raid. Priest have the best example of this by shielding or preparing serendipity stacks in order to be ready for incoming raid damage. His moroes example is the are where he says instead of using an icon to tell you who has garrote, you should use falling health bars. So instead of shielding before the first tick he waits until it already ticks and begins healing. That is reactive healing. That is where he is encouraging in. In kara, the damage was easy to get away with (kinda) but lets say you did that on Phase 3 Anub with Penetrating Cold. Tell me, what is going to happen when your healers do that instead of being ready and proactively dealing with it?


    EDIT: The fact that we are even arguing about this shows how poorly written the article is. Again, read the other 2 articles for tanking and dps and compare to this one. This article is just an example of how NOT to write an article.
    Last edited by Amamaeth; 01-01-2010 at 08:44 AM.

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    I think I'll just leave you with your opinion and keep mine, thank you.

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    Amamaeth said it best...


    On moroes I don't remember ever seeing garrote healing assigned to renews or hots or ever actually being a major issue.

    Now my impression of the article was: Trying to dumb down players, not increasing scope of vision for new players to grow and learn and giving very poor examples.

    Theres a limit to too much information, too much information is when you can't see the game not when you have consolidated information in the same place aswell as only showing the information you need e.g. only effects you can dispell unless ofc you are raid leading (where you need to see that curses aren't being removed).

    Like wise recount graphs are too much information and healing meters are infact too much information not only that they encourage poor spell useage simply to be top.

    By all means give tips on cleaning the UI e.g. make the icons smaller on grid or use corners but don't say that these aren't great alerts for important information.

    Another useful piece of advise horribly missing is the use of /focus which can be incredibly useful sadly the best example is eredar twins in sunwell but theres plenty of ways to utilize it even for simpler targetting of shackle targets.

    In terms of seeing the encounter the logical order in my mind is: Tank > Melee> ranged > Healer. Healers usually get that extra bit of slack due to the design of healing through raid frames (e.g. healers can stand at vezax's legs if there are enough ranged).
    Last edited by Nicki; 01-01-2010 at 09:06 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roana View Post
    His main thesis is:

    Healing is all about splitting your attention in lots of directions at once and making complicated triage evaluations about who gets the next heal and which spell you'll cast

    Upon which he further expands, with respect to the UI:

    There is already too much information to process from the user interface layer of the screen.
    I think the issue with his point is that he's not making one.

    If his main thesis is that healers are all about making quick, accurate, and sometimes complex triage evaluations (a fair description of healing, really) then how can you possibly do that without the information needed to make such triage evaluations?

    Basic UIs don't give nearly enough information and therefore would tie one's hand behind their back and keep them from doing what he describes.

    The whole reason Grid became popular is because it presented a format where a lot of information--the information required to properly make triage decisions--was displayed in a concise, compact way that assisted in such decisionmaking. Grid was an evolution of previous healer UIs that were so full of irrelevant information that they truly were cluttered and distracting, paring things down to more or less the minimum required to make good decisions.

    So, honestly, not sure where the article is going. Yes, simplistic and straightforward UIs are great. Clutter is bad. However, healers need a lot of information to do their job well, and saying otherwise is not very realistic.

    (It's also worth noting that Grid, by default, doesn't actually do what he says it does by default... I believe you would need to install GridStatusRaidDebuffs to get non-dispellable stuff like Garrote and Injection showing up.)
    Last edited by Kojiyama; 01-01-2010 at 07:37 PM.
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    You can manually add those kinds of debuffs to grid as well.

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    All the three articles were kind of meh, can't say one was worse than the other. When presenting this complex material to the masses you simply have to cut corners. I don't think the healing article will usher in a new era of sucktastic healers, as well as I don't think that the DPS article will make all DPS:ers start min-maxing every possible aspect of every possible trait of their class, or the tanking one making all tanks gear and spec for threat rather than survival.

    I do agree with the general wtf:ness of the healer's arguments, especially the final bit about center icons, although the Moroes story sounded more like "lol, I used to totally suck" rather than "DON'T HAVE ICONS ON UR GRID LOL".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojiyama View Post
    If his main thesis is that healers are all about making quick, accurate, and sometimes complex triage evaluations (a fair description of healing, really) then how can you possibly do that without the information needed to make such triage evaluations?
    The thing is that humans process information often in very different ways and get around their hardwired limitations in different ways (the relevant research areas are Human-Computer Interaction, Cognitive Psychology, and Neurobiology).

    A simple example is that many humans use search functionality as an efficient way to retrieve information (a popular example is Google for the Web or Spotlight on a Mac). However, for a significant percentage of all people, research has shown that it is very ineffective compared to other methods. Similarly, I know people for whom distilling everything down into UI abstractions is counterproductive (the author of the article is presumably such a person). This may well be related to how kinestethic learners and visual thinkers, who tend towards spatial-temporal thinking, reason differently about the world (real or virtual) than logical thinkers, who tend towards thinking in abstractions.

    It is very dangerous in this area to extrapolate from personal experience towards general rules (in his own way, the author of the article seems also ignorant of the aforementioned differences and may be assuming that his own experience is more general than it really is).

    Regardless, awareness of the fight is often critical for a healer. I'm not even talking about the special case of a resto shaman, who certainly should be aware of player proximity for Chain Heal. Consider, for example, Blood Beasts on Saurfang, where it's important to note where they are at any given moment, if one has aggro on you and is closing in (in which case you need to move away), or getting too close to a kiter (in which case you may have to prepare for some quick emergency healing/shielding, if it gets too close). These aspects of a fight are generally poorly reflected in a UI, which abstracts out spatial properties.

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