A new concept for me since I’ve started playing SWTOR is “quality of life” for characters and their abilities. While the Devs are working overtime to bring the classes in balance, one thing they haven't really touched since launch is the User Interface and what improvements could be made there. As a healer, a good UI is so important. While a lot of people think healing is boring, we actually have to juggle a lot. Not only do we have to be aware of what the boss is doing and the fight mechanics, but where and what everyone in the raid is doing, and their health. This is why a good UI is key. It streamlines the process and makes everything as efficient as possible. Everyone has their own particular way of doing it, but when speaking with other healers, often the same complaints get brought up over and over. These changes are both priorities and simple wishes, but some implementation would go a long way in improving Healer quality of life.
The one great thing SWTOR has going for it on the healing front is all the targeting options. I personally take advantage of all the key binds I can to quickly change between targets without clicking on raid frames or characters. I have “D” set as tab target closest friendly, which works wonders in PvP. For PvE I will use a focus target modifier “R” when I have a tank set as my focus, or if I’m responsible for dealing with a mechanic like an interrupt on an Add. During fights when I set the Boss as my focus, I’ll use “P” to quickly target the “target of my focus target” when he’s about to do a big baddy action. While these are all great, I often feel its not enough. I can either have a tank as my focus or the boss, so I have to switch based on the encounter. Personally, I would love another Focus target option. Because of reasons I’ll go into later, I like having a tank as a focus target. Often healers will split tanks during an encounter. I like to set my tank as my focus so I can keep a better eye on him. By doing this though, I can’t take advantage of some of my keybinds. By having two focus targets I could set both a tank and the boss as Focuses and have better awareness of the fight. Double focus target would also help other classes manage encounters better. As a tank during an encounter with Multiple bosses (Dreadguards, Cartel Warlords) wouldn’t it be nice to set multiple bosses or even the other tank as your focus?
Two other suggestions that I hear a lot for healing UI improvements are both from WoW add-ons, Power Auras and Healbot. If you didn’t play WoW, add-ons were a huge part of the game in simplifying things and these two were some of the most popular. While I don’t mind that we can’t use add-ons in SWTOR, that doesn’t mean that some of them weren’t great. Healbot was great for three reasons; it allowed you to hover heal, see who had aggro, and see the incoming heal before it was finished. Hover heal would allow healers to simply hover over the operations frames to cast a heal on the intended target. For me, this is simply an efficiency thing. That fraction of a second to click slows down the whole process and I’d rather not do it. Being able to see who has aggro on the frames is also great because it doesn’t require the healer to be looking at the Boss’s target to determine this. This allows healer to react quicker to threat pulls, fight mechanics, or seeing who has aggro when a tank goes down. Lastly, being able to see the incoming heal before it happens makes healers smarter. It also makes them more efficient and brings down over healing. Power Auras was a great add on because it managed Procs and abilities, not just for healers but everyone. When a Proc was triggered, different visual overlays would appear around your character on screen. For myself in particular, having a visual cue for 3 stacks of Force Surge would be awesome. Cues for adrenals and relics would also be handy.
The suggestion I hear most often though is for customizable raid frames. Specifically, managing HOTs, shells/shields, and debuffs. The first aspect of this is for friendly abilities. It would sure be nice to know if that was my Resurgence or the other healer's on the target. Being able to differentiate your HOT from other players is something that needs to be in game. While I usually have a pretty good idea based on timing, it’s pretty easy to over HOT and waste resources because you can’t tell whose is whose. While being able to differentiate is important, quickly seeing these abilities should also be a priority. As a healer, being able to glance at the Raid Frames should show me what I have on teammates. If you look below, you can see that I have the Resurgence buff on my Player Frame. You can not see this on the Raid Frames though. As with Operative probes, this information should be readily available. You can see this on my target Thaen. He has a probe on him, but its not readily displayed on the Raid Frames. What you do see, albeit small because I make them that way, is his buffs, bolster, and stim. Things I really don’t care about. It’s all about real estate on those frames, and those things are taking it up. I would much rather be able to see the pertinent buffs and debuffs there, rather than bolster. This is often why I set a tank as my focus target, it makes managing and timing my abilities easier by having a priority target’s frame clearly visible. What I’m asking for here is a way to go through and decide what shows up on those raid frames, and a way to distinguish your abilities from others. This isn’t just a healing specific fix either, DPS have been asking for this since launch for DOTs and debuffs.
Lastly, and completely class selfish, is some sort of Static Barrier metrics. As it stands now, there is no actual reward or numbers in game for Static Barrier. Parsec has a counter which tells you the number of barrier per encounter and your barriers per minute, but that isn’t actually incorporated into healing. I made a Google Doc Spreadsheet to figure it out a while ago (Here), but its annoying to have to figure out myself. Because there is no way to see the value, many sorcs don’t even, or rarely, use the ability. I was even under the impression for forever that SB metrics weren't added into PvP Scoreboards, but I was wrong (haha).
So, the healers have spoken. Or at least I have. Are there any UI improvements you guys want? Or need? DPS and Tanks too. What would make your lives easier?