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Cooldown CoordinationMaking the Most of 'Em!

So many classes have tank and raid saving cooldowns, but one of my biggest pet peeves is when you see these cooldowns overwritten or unintentionally stacked. This simply is not the best use of the cooldown– generally, it is far superior to have cooldowns one after another, not in tandem. (Of course, there are certain mechanics that can require simultaneous cooldowns).

Nothing drives me more crazy when I cast a cooldown on a tank, to then see (moment’s later) a 2nd cooldown used, only because the person didn’t realize a cooldown was used— so wasteful.  DON’T DO IT!! Spells like Guardian Spirit, simply cannot be stacked– they just overwrite each other. Meaning, if I cast a Guardian Spirit on a tank and 3 seconds later someone else casts GS on the same tank, my GS will fall off wasting 7 seconds of the buff.  Sometimes you can’t avoid situations like that (ie. Tank suddenly takes a huge dip in health and 3 priests all reactively cast GS within a fraction of a second of each other). Alternatively you could have a GS and a Pain Suppression go out on the tank at the same time– this could have been avoided if the priests used simple notification to minimize these overlaps.

Perhaps the easiest method is communicating over Vent/Mumble. “GS on Sev!” (one of our tanks) Our tanks also communicate via vent when they use Shield Wall, Last Stand, ect. Another method, which I have really taken a liking to, is using a mod like Raeli’s Spell Announcer (RSA). RSA is similar to the mod Guardian Spirited (which I made a post about in Dec 09) except that it has been updated for Cataclysm and includes a number of spells for every class. Meaning, if a Warrior tank has RSA installed, and uses Shield Wall, notification will be made.

RSA also can be fully customized to broadcast via whispers, channels, says, yells, etc… I find RSA superior to a standard /yell macro as it will only broadcast if the spell has been successfully cast and when it drops. This means, if your target is out of range or if the spell is still on cooldown, you won’t be spamming your raid with “Pain Suppression on %T!” when in reality, it hasn’t been cast. Here is an example of how it would look if I have successfully cast Pain Suppression.

Also, as a healer it is very important for you to have your Raid Frames to also notify you when those CDs are being used. I am a Grid user, and I have Grid set up to alert me when Guardian Spirit/Pain Suppression/Last Stand/Survival Instincts/etc is up on a tank and now much time is left on those buffs. You can either add the buffs to your Grid buff list or you can use the plugin GridStatusTankCooldown. I have given them a high priority within my Grid priority list, and have made certain that it also displays the time remaining of those buffs enabling me to chain cooldowns on fights that call for chained CDs.

Example of Grid Showing Cooldown Buffs (Pain Supp)

GridStatusTankCooldown Config Menu

Being sure to know when CDs go up and fade is one thing, but the most important thing you can do is:  know the fight and when your cooldowns are best utilized. This often can come from practice with the encounter, but often times simple raid preparation (knowing the boss fights, strategy, and mechanics beforehand) can give you the insight you need to know. For example, you know you’ll need a PW: Barrier on the raid/tanks during Halfus’ Furious Roar; you’ll need to be sure to have the CD ready. This lends itself to the importance of knowing when your spells come off cooldown. I have both ForteXorcist to provide me a “cooldown line” as well as Power Auras to notify me when specific skills are off cooldown. Mashing your Guardian Spirit keybind when there is still 14 seconds left on the cooldown isn’t going to keep your tank alive.

At the end of the day we are responsible for our cooldowns and using them in beneficial situations. How are you monitoring your cooldowns? Is your raid coordinating them to get the most out of them?

Written By: on January 26, 2011
  1. I would be remiss not to remind folks to SET UP RSA BEFORE USING IT.

    While yes, it does work perfectly well out of the box, however, it does seem to announce spells that I don’t really care about announcing to the raid. (ie. every time someone uses a Lightwell charge)

    1. If you could suggest some better defaults, I’m all ears – or even things that you generally think are missing from RSA. I’d be more than happy to change it – the default settings are pretty generic, and I haven’t really gone through each too much to decide what the best default settings are for each.

      1. Check your email :D

      2. I started using the addon last night… I love it. With the warning about lightwell usage announcements, I set it to announce in the healer channel. “Who uses the lightwell” is providing me with vast amounts of amusement and shows which of the dps are really actually thinking a bit about self preservation.

        1. Oh, that’s a nice idea!

  2. Here’s something I wrote a while back on configuring GridStatusTankCooldown. Hopefully it’s helpful:

  3. I very much agree with all of the above. However, with the release of Cata, I made the switch from Grid to Vuhdo. I miss the plug-ins, but I do so love the Cluster tracking. Does anyone have a suggestion for how to indicate Tank CDs in Vuhdo, and other Unit Frame addons?

    1. There’s a bouquet you can set up in hots for tank cooldowns. Doesn’t show individual cooldowns, but will show when tanks hit a CD.

  4. Blah, if only it didn’t have that obscene icon in the middle, unless that’s able to be changed, too? Also, thanks for the heads up on that addon, I’ll have to pass it along to my guild, now that I’ve gotten most of our priests to use Guardian Spirited. >.>

    1. I elected to have it put it in the middle (varying priority for debuffs too). If you have side icons open, you can put it wherever.

      1. Yeah I just don’t like side icons. =\ And smaller icons are a no-go, I keep Grid small enough as is just to keep from burning too much screen real estate (damn raid leading and getting to watch extra timers). Maybe I’ll get used to it, though.

    2. You can always make the center icon smaller in Grid. It really is very customizable.

  5. Very (very, very) happy that there is a good replacement for the old ‘Guardian Spirited’ mod. Infinitely useful – I just hope this one has a “Disable for BG’s” functionality that Guardian Spirited lacked. Will download immediately.

    As Nahmanides said above – I also made the switch from Grid to Vuhdo for the very same reason. Set up can be a bit of a pain due to no addon plugin for tank cooldowns (warrior cooldowns are at least set by default); however the ability to visually track tank cooldowns as a discipline priest is simply awesome.

    Great post. Thanks again.

  6. Face it Derevka, you like the fact that I randomly PS people on Halfus.

    1. Love that you typo’d your own name, MP. ;)

  7. Cool that you put the light on RSA. Big fan of it.

    For everyone that uses Pitbull instead of Grid there is a nice little addition by the name of Pitbull4_VisualHelpers. It provides small square markers on the raid frames sililar to those in Grid or VuhDo. They come preconfigured with a set of markers that light up on your frames when a “tank cooldown” is on the target. More cooldowns can easily be added (I added PW:Barrier f ex to see who is affected by it).

    Another handy option is creating a macro that shows the cooldown in Deadly Boss Mods if you use that. Add /dbm broadcast timer to the macro. Some may not enjoy the extra bars from their bossmods onscreen so ask befor you decide to use this method. Example:
    /cast Shield Wall
    /dbm broadcast timer 12 Shield Wall is up!

    It can also be very handy to combine the announcements by having some kind of cooldown timers that show what abilities are still available or on cooldown from others. Personally I use the cooldown timer in oRA3 to do this but DBM spelltimers or the cooldown timers in Forte Xorcist could do the same thing. Normally raidleaders use this kind of tool to keep track of if combat resurrection is off cooldown or not but this can be tweaked to show if your friends have used their Divine Hymn, Pain Suppression or some other handy ability already.


  8. Hi there,

    First of all I need to get off my chest that I’m really happy with your website and all the information you share. Really helpful!! Thanks mate.

    Then I’m wondering something. I am not a griduser. I used it in the past but went to Healium. Much easier for me to set up (i’m a girl, we don’t read the F’ing manual :P ) and easier in use. Just clickerdy click and no programming of left mouse button, right mb etc.
    So this RSA add on you are talking about (will try it out most certainly) is this a stand alone add on or does it need to be connected to one of the other add ons like grid?

    Thanks in advance mate.

    Ishtira / Deathwing EU

  9. i’m always surprised people don’t know how robust macroing the announces can be. if i can avoid the extra memory of adding an additional mod, i often do.

    here’s two examples of how a wow macro can check for a move’s cooldown / target in range before making an announce to party or raid chat

    /script local dh,c=”DIVINE HYMN”,GetNumRaidMembers()>0 and “RAID” or “PARTY”;if GetSpellCooldown(dh)==0 then SendChatMessage(dh..” BITCHES!!!!”,c) end
    /cast Divine Hymn

    /script local u,pi=”target”,”Power Infusion”;if IsSpellInRange(pi,u)==1 and GetSpellCooldown(pi)==0 then SendChatMessage(“You’ve got “..GetSpellLink(pi)..” for 15sec”,”WHISPER”,nil,UnitName(u)) end
    /cast [target] Power Infusion

    such scripts don’t announce when a move’s expiring, and there are minor quirks such as being able to announce but not cast a move executed when they’re dead but that information hasn’t been passed to your client yet, or when they’re invalid targets of the spell for non-distance or cooldown reasons, such as trying to power infuse a mage who already has.. whatever move PI doesn’t stack with, i forget it’s name =)

  10. Thank you a lot for that great suggestion!
    I installed it this morning and after a couple of heroics I have been asked in EVERY run from at least one person “what awesome macro/ mod is that?!” :D Everybody wants it now lol.
    And I am really looking forward to finally be able to announce my lightwell in rights, hooray!

  11. Not only do you need to coordinate ass-saving cooldowns. You also need to coordinate other big cooldowns such as Heroism/Bloodlust with Power Infusion, Shadowfiend, HoH and Divine Hymn.

    For instance I always ask for a countdown for Heroism/Bloodlust in order for me to get my Shadowfiend out in time for the buff.

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