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Encrypted Text: Customizing Power Auras for your rogue


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 discuss one of my favorite addons.

Rogues hate unpredictability. Chance is what the others will try to stand on, and a well-prepared rogue will pull that pillar out from under them. Rogues perform at their peak efficiency when they're setting the tempo. While it may seem like chaos to the uninitiated, a veteran rogue is always in control. In order to properly manage our energy, combo points, and cooldowns, we need to stay several steps ahead of our opponents.

Our talent trees and rotations reflect our love of predictability. Aside from the occasional talent like Ruthlessness, we don't rely on chance for anything. In the past, chance has encroached on our playstyle in a few areas, but those have largely been eliminated. Cloak of Shadows and Sap are now guarantees, and we don't have to hope that we get lucky with Initiative or Vanish. Our rotation is in always our control.

In order to make good decisions, you need to have good information. As I mentioned last week, I love having information thrown at me. I can break it all down, and then make the right decisions. The issue with this strategy is that I often need to react to some event quickly. If there's a spell I need to interrupt, I make sure to plan ahead and add it to Gnosis -- that interrupt is handled. But what about other events, like losing an important buff or forgetting a key cooldown?

Enter Power Auras, the solution for the absentminded.

Power Auras is an alerting system

The basic concept of Power Auras is that it can alert you when something happens. The two key words in that sentence are "alert" and "something," as they're the two things you'll end up configuring. You set a parameter (or several), which can be almost anything, and when that's satisfied, a custom alert is triggered to let you know what happened. The design is simple, but the results are powerful. By quickly drawing your attention to only important events, you can ensure that you're never caught unprepared.

I use Power Auras for three main purposes: reminding me when I'm forgetting something, notifying me that something is available, and warning me about special abilities. My two favorite reminders are my Backstab alert and my Blade Flurry toggle. The Blade Flurry toggle displays an icon in my field of view whenever Blade Flurry is active, which helps me remember to turn it off when I'm attacking a single target. The Backstab alert displays an icon on the screen whenever my target is below 35%, which helps me to remember that I should be using Backstab instead of Mutilate. Let's walk through configuring the Backstab alert.

Activations are the "something" that happens

The first step in defining a new alert in Power Auras is to figure out when you want it to occur. I want my Backstab alert to pop up when my target is below 35%, so I choose the Health activation option, then drag the slider bar to 35%. Now, I don't want the icon to appear when my life is low, only when my target's life is low. In order to make it focus on my enemy, I only select the Enemy Target checkbox.

That's all there is to configuring this alert. I let Power Auras know that I want to see the dagger icon when my enemy target is below 35% life, I pick the cool icon I want to see, and I'm done. Here's what it looks like in action:

Timers are another way to receive an alert from Power Auras. For example, you can have an icon pop up if your Slice and Dice falls off for some reason, reminding you to reactivate it immediately. You start by setting the activation to the name of the buff (like Slice and Dice) and checking the "Cast by me" box, so that it's only tracking your SnD. Then, under the Timer tab, you can tell Power Auras to only alert you when there's 5 seconds remaining on Slice and Dice.

While having an obnoxious icon on your screen any time SnD starts ticking down could be annoying, I've found it's a great tool for teaching new rogues to keep it up at all times. The visual aid reinforces the importance of the spell. Other spells that you can keep track of are Recuperate, Rupture, and Envenom.

Power Auras works on enemies, too

The last way that I use Power Auras to alert me is also one of its unique features. There are a lot of mods that can help you keep track of Slice and Dice or one of your cooldowns, but keeping track of what your enemy is up to is rare to find in an addon. Power Auras can track buffs or abilities used by your adversaries, which makes it great for avoiding key abilities.

For example, I like to know whenever my PvP opponents have used a cooldown, as I can react by using one of my cooldowns to counter. A mage's Arcane Power is one such cooldown, as it usually means some very powerful spells are going to be on their way to me shortly. The activation concept is simple, and the configuration is very similar to the Slice and Dice timer. The big difference is that I select Enemy Target again for the activation, instead of "Cast by Me." Whenever my targets gain Arcane Power, I'm alerted instantly.

You can get even more creative with your Power Auras configuration, and there's nothing wrong with adding a little flare to your UI. My only recommendation is that you keep the informational alerts small and to the side, and leave the big, centered space for really important stuff. Being quickly notified about the most important events is key, and if your screen is clogged up with tons of icons, you'll miss it.

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.

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