In today’s post, I’m starting a series that will look at addons that can help your kitty raid performance. For Part 1, I’ll look at a few examples of buff/debuff trackers; for Part 2, I’ll run down some rotation helpers; and in Part 3, I’ll talk about some ways to increase your utility.
Why use a custom buff/debuff tracker?
Let’s face it…the default UI is pretty horrible for tracking buffs/debuffs. 3.3 is considerably improved from previous versions, but it still uses the icon-based scheme that makes finding specific information quickly very difficult. The feral rotation is VERY dependent on maintaining a self-buff and three enemy debuffs; the direct attacks are low-priority. As such, I’ve pulled together three different buff/debuff trackers, all of which I recommend. (The following screenshots all reflect the same state, with Rip/Rake/Mangle/FFF up, SR just having dropped, and TF/Berserk off CD.)
One of the posters in the forums recommended Cat’s Eye, which I’d never heard of. I downloaded it and was very impressed with the intuitive nature of the frame, straight out of the box. Across the top, you have a easy-to-understand combo point display and current attack power representation. Underneath, you have a nicely formatted window, with icons and color-coded bars. By default, green represents an active buff/debuff, blue represents a missing buff/debuff or ability waiting to be used, and red (not shown here) represents an ability not ready to be used (low on energy, on cooldown, not enough CP’s, etc.) The colors are all adjustable, as is frame size, bar order, etc. Not shown is the icon for an OOC proc, which shows up as a white bubble next to the CP display. (The horizontal bars represent player and target health, respectively.) This is a great minimalistic solution for those who don’t want to do a lot of configuring. The only downsides: no bear support, and it hasn’t been updated in a while (but it works great still).
BadKitty’s been around for a while. I’ve tried it previously and disliked it, but the recent customization options have made it quite a bit better, and worthy of consideration. BK is divided up into two freely movable modules- Bars (on the left) and Warnings on the right. The bars section is notable for including a few extra features (Shred Count for tracking Glyph of Shred usage, and Instant Nature for the Predator’s Swiftness proc). The warnings section, as seen to the right, depicts the information from the bars in icon format, with OOC procs in the center. All the bars and warnings can be reordered/shown/hidden, as well as colors/fonts customized to suit. It also has full bear support, which is great if you tank as well. It’s kept well up to date and has an active userbase…recommended. (EDIT: It appears it’s been updated to track trinket CD’s as well).
Need to Know is the buff/debuff tracker that I currently use. It’s not quite as plug-and-play as the other two trackers here, but the open design makes it usable for any class (I use it on my lock to track DoTs, on my pally to track Art of War procs, etc). It’s very simple to configure everything, as it’s all right-click menus. You’ll only need to enter the interface screen once to configure how many bars/bargroups you want. Tracks Rip increases via Shred glyph, can track multiple spells per bar (ie. Mangle (Cat)/Mangle (Bear)), can track trinket CD’s, and can be set up differently for dual-specs. (I track CP’s on my playerframe, and Zerk/TF CD’s via Ovale, which I’ll cover in part 2.) The only thing I dislike about NTK is the inability to reorder bars once configured…other than that, it’s a great addon.
Any of these are good addons…pick the one you like and roll with it. The important thing is knowing which buffs/debuffs you need to put up, and debuff durations to sync with movement. None of these addons will tell you what to do, though…you’ll have to come up with a rotation on your own. In Part 2, I’ll look at Ovale and Feral By Night, addons that will help you learn which buttons to press to maximize your DPS.
Several people in the comments have suggested others: here’s a quick roundup. (I don’t have time to install and SS these myself, so I’m just showing the pics from Curse.)
Droodfocus looks to be very customizable, and can track extra stuff, including a threat bar and an icon warning system to tell you whether you’re attacking from the front or out of range. This actually looks really awesome…I’ll be giving this a try.
Icons with cooldowns, works for both Cat and Bear.
As i mentioned in my comment, there are TONS of generic buff/debuff/cooldown monitor addons, too many to cover here. (Off the top of my head, PowerAuras and TellMeWhen are icon-based; DoTimer, ForteXorcist, ClassTimers, ButtonTimers.) If anyone knows of more cat-specific addons, I’ll be happy to add them to either this post or a later part.