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Encrypted Text: Pinpoint interrupts with Gnosis addon

Chase Christian
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. This week, we talk about an addon that solves the problem of missing interrupts.

Once, when experimenting on my holy paladin (I'm a dirty traitor, I know), I healed through an entire heroic dungeon with my user interface disabled. Matticus had recommended the exercise, as it allows you to focus on what's happening and your surroundings instead of little green bars. The experience was interesting, but I simply couldn't handle it. I'm an information junkie, and I want to know everything there is to know all at once. Why? Because knowledge is power, knowledge is the food of the soul, and knowing is half the battle.

With that said, there's still such a thing as too much information. I can set up my UI to have all sorts of numbers and statistics displayed everywhere, but it's not valuable unless I can interpret them. When you're in a high-stress situation like learning a new boss fight, you want to spend as little time as possible worrying about your UI. A good UI should make your rogue easier to play, not harder.

Let's get kicking

You've all heard my spiel about Kicking before, and you understand the importance of interrupting. Cataclysm's first tier of raiding is filled to the brim with fights that require good interrupts, with at least half of the bosses in each raid zone requiring interrupting. Rogues used to be the only horse in town when it came to interrupting, but now the other melee classes have interrupts they can use to assist us with, in addition to several ranged classes being able to stop spells too. We do have one thing they don't, though: experience. Because of this, it's very likely that we're going to be assigned to interrupt most of the time.

I talked about my favorite cast bar addon, Quartz, in my general rogue addon article a while back. While Quartz does make it simple to configure and display cast bars for just about anything, it's missing one key feature: blacklisting/whitelisting. Every spell that's cast by my target will be shown to me, which means I'm stuck trying to read the text on the cast bar to see if I need to interrupt a given spell. Boss cast times are often so fast that between reading the spell, pushing Kick, and latency, you can miss an interrupt or let a tick of a channeled spell be unleashed.

Pick your kicks

Gnosis solves that problem. As an aside, gnosis means "knowledge" in Greek, which is incredibly appropriate. Now, Gnosis is a fully developed cast bar replacement addon, but you don't have to forsake your current cast bar addons to use Gnosis. Gnosis allows you to choose which spells are (or aren't) displayed, which lets you filter out unnecessary spells and focus on important ones. I simply create a brand new cast bar and dedicate it to only showing important spells. I add all of the spells I want to interrupt to the whitelist, and then the new cast bar only pops up when one of those spells is being cast. Along with my fearless mage assistant, Machiyariko, I'll demonstrate how to either blacklist/whitelist Arcane Blast.

First of all, don't use any of the default Gnosis setup wizards, unless you're going to replace your other cast bar addon. Start out by manually making a new cast bar, and give it a memorable name. I usually name my Gnosis bar something like "BIG BAD BOSS ABILITY." Once you've made your new bar, make sure to set the Unit field to Target (see second image) to ensure that it will only activate when your enemy is casting spells. Once that's completed, feel free to adjust the size, scale, and position of the bar wherever you like.

Under the "Hide castbar" menu, you can set the cast bar to blacklist all spells that you specify. These are spells that won't be shown when cast, so you'll see all other spells. This is what you'd use to block specific spells from showing up on your cast bar, which can be useful for spells that you can't interrupt or simply don't want to. If a spell on the blacklist is cast, the cast bar never appears, and you know you don't have to interrupt it. If any other spell is cast, then you'll see the bar. As you'll see below, Arcane Blast doesn't show up on the new bar, while Flamestrike shows up as expected.

Whitelisting works in the opposite manner, so that only spells that you list will show up. I set Arcane Blast to be whitelisted, and now I can see it being cast in the following picture, on a huge cast bar that I can't miss. You can use this functionality to (for example) only display Arcane Storm on the Maloriak encounter. This ensures that you're alerted of the spell instantly and that you won't accidentally kick Release Aberrations on accident.

By filtering out spells that our enemies are casting, we can ensure that we can both interrupt quickly and also interrupt only those spells that we care about. Deadened, of Black Temple fame, was a great addon that used to provide a very similar functionality, at least until it was discontinued. Gnosis has quickly risen to become one of my go-to addons for any sort of interrupting work, which we seem to have plenty of lately. Good interrupts will save the raid, while sloppy Kicks are a surefire way to wipe your raid. If you've got the reaction time of a ninja catching a fly with chopsticks, then perhaps Gnosis isn't for you. However, for the vast majority of players, Gnosis is a powerful tool that lets us do our job better. Feel free to ask any questions you have about Gnosis in the comments, and I'll do my best to assist.

Check back every Wednesday for the latest rogue strategies in Encrypted Text! We'll show you how to navigate Cataclysm rogue basics, dig into new rogue mechanics, and gear up for heroics.