Tuesday Tips

8 Things to do style="font-style: italic;">before Playing a

By Ralsu

Healing had always
been a chore
to me until I played Vanguard. In the past, the games that I have
played relegated healers to sitting quietly in the background and
pressing a key every now and again to heal someone. I mean, the term
"healbot" came about because healing was so boring and repetitive as to
be served equally well by a good macro that would do the healing for
you--like a healing robot.

Vanguard makes the life of a healer palatable for me by giving healers
enough spells and combat abilities to get them involved in the action.
Furthermore, the quickness with which a caster can die when a 5 dot add
jumps him in Vanguard forces me to stay on my toes.

As many of you get ready to create a healer for the href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1103">Vanguard
launch, I wanted to provide my advice for 8 things you can do
before ever playing to make sure you are ready to roll as a healer.
I'll cover ways to tweak your UI to quickly find just the right spell,
my method of being able to target group members in time to get off a
life-saving heal, and a few other handy tips.

To navigate to a specific section in this article, click on any of the
links below:

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8 Things to do before
Playing a Healer

  1. href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=532#1">Tweak
    Your ini
  2. href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=532#2">Let's
    Talk UI
  3. href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=532#3">Sensible
    UI Layout
  4. href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=532#4">Dedicate
    a Healing Hotbar
  5. href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=532#5">Target
    Self Macro
  6. href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=532#6">Target
    Tank Macro
  7. href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=532#7">Assist
  8. href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=532#8">Loot

1. Tweak Your ini

We've all heard the lag excuse: "Sorry man. I couldn't heal you in time
because of lag. I'll send a rez." Don't be that healer! One of the most
important prerequisites to being a good healer is having your system
properly tweaked to run smoothly.

For starters, take a look at my href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=499">Guide
to ini Optimization and our href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/forumdisplay.php?f=325">Tech
& A forum. Medium range system owners may do well to
their ini file for performance rather than graphics. You should tweak
your UI before you ever log in and roll your healer.

2. Let's Talk UI

The next thing I want you to consider before ever logging into Vanguard
is your user interface (UI). UI is crucial to decreasing the time it
takes you to react to emergencies in the game. You don't want to href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/modules.php?set_albumName=album23&id=DroxUI&op=modload&name=Gallery&file=index&include=view_photo.php"> style="border: 2px solid ; width: 200px; float: left;" alt=""
hspace="5" vspace="5">
be fumbling
over your keyboard while your group's ranger is getting eaten by a 4
dot add. You need to be able to do a lot of things with the mouse

I am a right-handed gamer who moves his Vanguard avatars in the world
of Telon with the W, A, S, and D keys so that I can keep their right
hand on the mouse. I depend on the mouse to help me select targets,
cast spells, and loot corpses. I prefer to have a nice bank of hotbars
lined up so that I can reach spells in a hurry. And I don't want to be
looking up and down on my screen all the time for crucial information.

For me, the solution was the DroxUI. Developed by beta tester Drox,
this UI allows me to pile up a stack of hotbars horizontally at the
bottom of the screen. It also allows me to use a 3 slot by 4 slot
hotbar that I find to be perfect for my many macros. I also enjoy some
of its many bells and whistles, like being able to see what chunk I am
in and the smartXP bar.

Pick the UI that works best for you and gives you the look and features
you want. Just make sure you can do the things a healer needs to do
quickly. Click on the screen shot to the left to see description of
some of the features of the Drox UI I find to be handy.

3. Sensible UI Layout

Well, I gave you some hints above, but you need your UI (regardless of
which one you use) laid out in a way that lets you see the action and
quickly react. Before you speak to your newbie NPC to get your first
quest, open up your UI in Layout Mode and stack up some hotbars so that
all of your spells are together for easy access. Spreading out spells
on hotbars all across the screen can cost you precious seconds moving
the mouse form one end of the screen to the other. Likewise, moving
from vertical to horizontal hotbars can cause you to have to orient
yourself for a split second. Try to get all of your hotbars moving in
one direction. I like mine stacked up horizontally so that I can keep
most of the screen uncluttered to see the action.

It also helps to have vital statistics down in the area close to your
hotbars. Having to look to the left side of the screen to see your
defensive target's hit point (in the default Vanguard UI) and then back
down to a hotbar for your heal spell can leave a group member dead.
Make sure your UI will allow you to view a target's HP down near your
heal spells. If at all possible, find a way to get the hit point bars
for the whole party closer to the center of your clicking core.

4. Dedicate a Healing

Another tactic I employ is making my top-most hotbar for healing only.
It is on that hotbar that I place all of my heal spells and targeting
macros. That way I can click one button to target the person in need of
a heal and the button close to it to fire off the appropriate heal. It
sounds simple, but having all of your heals and targeting macros
clumped together can save lives. Do this before you ever get your first
quest with any new healer.

5. Target Self Macro href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/modules.php?set_albumName=album23&id=target_self&op=modload&name=Gallery&file=index&include=view_photo.php"> style="border: 2px solid ; width: 100px; float: right;" alt=""
hspace="5" vspace="5">

I'm a big fan of macros. They can make any gamer's life easier. For a
complete rundown of making macros, check out Xeldar's href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=496">Hotkeys
for Dummies.

One macro that I make for my healing hotbar before taking my first
quest is a target self macro. To create this macro, right-click on any
empty box in your healing hotbar. I like to name the macro Self. For
the contents of the macro, use the command line to target yourself,
/targetself. Click the button to note that this is a text-only macro
and click the create button. Now you don't have to let go of the mouse
or stop running to target yourself. Just click the macro you made!

6. Target Tank Macro

The next really useful macros for your healing hotbar is a target tank
macros. Create this text-only macro by right-clicking any empty box on
your healing hotbar. I like to call this macro Tank. You have two
options for the contents of the macro: /targetgroupmember 2 OR /target
Billy. In the first example, the number 2 is the number of the tank in
your group. This can change, but it is easy to right-click the macro href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/modules.php?set_albumName=album23&id=target_tank&op=modload&name=Gallery&file=index&include=view_photo.php"> style="border: 2px solid ; width: 100px; float: left;" alt=""
hspace="5" vspace="5">and change the
number. The second example pretends the tank in the group is named
Billy. This works, too, but it is not as easy to change on the
fly--especially when the tank's name is Zhargabraxisnater or some other
ridiculously long name).

I mostly use the /targetgroupmember method, but being able to insert a
name will be handy on raids when you need to heal someone outside of
your group, such as the main tank. It is possible to use either method
to have a targeting macro for each member of the group.

In case you're wondering why I don't create a macro that targets a
party member and heals at the same time, I don't do that unless I am on
a raid. The rest of the time, it is more helpful to be able to target
the person I want and choose the correct level of healing. Maybe I need
a small but fast heal. Maybe the fight is over and I want a slower but
more powerful heal. Maybe I need to target the person to buff. Use your
discretion here.

7. Assist Macro href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/modules.php?set_albumName=album23&id=assist&op=modload&name=Gallery&file=index&include=view_photo.php"> style="border: 2px solid ; width: 100px; float: right;" alt=""
hspace="5" vspace="5">

One very fast way to make your party wipe is to be so busy healing that
you target the wrong mob and bring an add onto the group. My way around
this embarrassing situation is to use an assist hotkey. I put this in
my 3 x 4 hotbar box with several other useful macros. To make an assist
macro, right-click an empty hotbar box. I name mine Assist, and the
contents of the text-only macro reads /assist.

As a healer, I am most often targeting the tank, and he is most often
targeting the mob I need to be hitting. To make sure I get the right
mob, I always target someone in the group first and then use assist. I
make this macro before I ever play any new character.

8. Loot Macro

href="http://vanguard.tentonhammer.com/modules.php?set_albumName=album23&id=loot&op=modload&name=Gallery&file=index&include=view_photo.php"> style="border: 2px solid ; width: 100px; float: left;" alt=""
hspace="5" vspace="5">The final macro I
create in my 3 by 4 hotbar before accepting my first quest is the loot
macro. To make a loot macro, right-click an empty hotbar box. I name
mine Loot, and the contents of the text-only macro reads /loot.

It is possible to make a macro that targets the nearest corpse, opens
it, and tries to loot everything inside. This is handy for playing
alone, but in groups I like to be more polite. The simpler loot macro
simply opens the targeted corpse. I can then decide what to loot or
start rolling depending on the group's loot settings. If you want to
make the macro target a corpse and open the loot window for you, add a
second line that reads /targetnextcorpse.


If you've followed my advice, you should be well prepared to begin your
life as a Vanguard healer. You'll be able to target group members
quickly in the heat of battle and fire off heals. You can quickly
determine which mob needs to be hit, and you won't waste precious
seconds hunting for the right spell. You're finally ready to play. Good
luck out there!

a tip for budding healers? Tell us in our forums!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Vanguard: Saga of Heroes Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016