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?