I Tried Something New Because I Failed Repeatedly

Man, I was embarrassed the other night.  I came home from work, and they needed an AOE healer to sub in.  “Guys, I got this,” I confidently bragged over vent.

I died to fire 30 seconds in.

This wasn’t the first time I had died to this particular fire.  I was in fact the main fire-death culprit last week.

I saw the fire coming.  I moved.  I was always a second too late.  Usually I’m pretty good at staying out of the ick.

OK, I thought, well since I know exactly which particular ick I always stand in, I’ll just configure DBM to extra-warn me.  Nope.  It was either on or off for each status.  Short of disabling everything else, there was no way to really drive it home to get out of this particular fire.

In desperation I tried Bigwigs, which I had used in BC.  Guys, I shit you not, I stood in that fire ZERO times after installing and configuring Bigwigs. I was never stranded too far out at an inappropriate time.  I never stood in the group when I had the blasty doodads.  Just. Incredible.

Now, I’m not saying that it’s going to work that well for you.  Different preferences for different people.  But in this case, Holy crappo, I have improved dramatically.

The Basics

Just like DBM, Bigwigs has:

  • timers
  • emphasized timers (i.e. timers of things coming up really soon)
  • warnings
  • emphasized warnings (we’ll get to this in a bit)
  • range checker for fights with range issues
  • ability to auto-mark junk if you’re raid leader

The Main Menu

Configuring your display areas (bars & text)

Test mode. No, you're not gonna see it in action. I was too busy moving out of the fire to take screenies.

However, it has a few more things:

  • each boss ability can be configured separately, not just on and off.  For each ability, you can choose:
    • whether to display a warning
    • whether to display a timer
    • whether you want to super-emphasize (again, more on this later)

Here's the main menu for Magmaw, for example.

I'm configuring Mangle to super-emphasize so I know to blow a cooldown on the tank.

  • some boss abilities have extra options that you can turn on and off like:
    • awesome range checker HUD for abilities with range set to the specific range of that ability (we’ll get to that in a minute too)
    • shake and flash (for when you really want to know)
    • ability to auto-shout that YOU have the ick (if you want other people to see your speech bubble)
    • ability to whisper other people that they have the ick (I find this annoying)

For example, this ability has an optional proximity warning, the ability to whisper, and a flash/shake.

This one allows you to SAY that you are afflicted by the ick.

  • You can choose to integrate it into various display settings that you already have, like show warnings in MSBT or in the default blizzard frame.

You can configure the output channel for regular and SUPER-EMPHASIZE messages

Ok, now we get to the good part, how it keeps you from standing in fire.


That’s right, not just emphasize, SUPER-emphasize.  You can configure it to display in the main display area for warnings, or a special area just for the super-emphasized junk.

These are the settings I use.

The next part makes my freakin day.  You ready?  It’s COUNTDOWN.  That’s right, it will warn you when something is about to happen with a big fat number countdown in the display area while a robot voice Glados counts down from 5 in your ear.  It’s better than having the raid leader call it out because, hey, vent has delay.  By the time the countdown got done, you’d better believe I was in position and ready for the ick.

The last option is screen flash.  Meh.  I found it was unnecessary with the COUNTDOWN of awesomeness.

Now, caveat here.  If you super-emphasize too many things, then you’re getting a constant barrage of countdowns, and it loses its meaning.  But for the things that are totally super-bad and will wipe the raid, it’s highly recommended.  It’s turned off by default and I’d only Super-emphasize 1-3 abilities per encounter, once you figure out which ones are more difficult for you to avoid.

Proximity Monitor

Not as cool as super-emphasize, but it certainly has a leg up on DBM range checker.  This one is a tiny little minimap that turns red and emits a little beep when someone is within the predetermined range from you.  (Yes, it sets its own range to the appropriate number.) Not only can you immediately tell when someone is too close, but you can actually figure out where to move to fix the issue with a visual minimap display.

Eepers, get away from meeeee!


Note that if you want to show boss statuses for old content, you will have to download the appropriate module for WOTLK/BC.  There are also some other modules that are cool:


If you want warnings for the dungeons in cataclysm, you have to install Littlewigs separately.  Same general principle.

Hey, I care when I'm downwind

Common Auras

This module lets you create timers and notifications for raid events such as alerting you if there’s a repair bot or feast down.  It also can alert you of tanking cooldowns and raid cooldowns such as heroism.  I turned off the tanking cooldown display because I have it show in my raid frames, but it might be useful for raid leaders or healers who would prefer not to show tanking cooldowns within the raid frames.

When there's a fish to be eaten, I want to know.


If you’re avoiding the bad like a pro, maybe you don’t have a reason to make a change.  But if you’re having some frustration with situational awareness on raid night, maybe a change will help you focus.


Bigwigs Helps You Get Out of the Fire — 17 Comments

  1. I use the addon GTFO for easy “get out of the fire” audio alert. That plus a boss mod have been perfect :) Haven’t looked into bigwigs since wrath, I’ll take a look again this weekend now!

  2. I am in love with that little picture of the proximity mini-map thing. Is it possible to just enable that part of BigWigs? Or maybe I should just make the time to configure BigWigs and get accustomed to switching from DBM before our raid this weekend.

    • I found that when I moved my bars around a little to where the DBM bars used to be, the default settings are very familiar and similar to DBM. I don’t think you’d be at a disadvantage if you tried it for a raid. Don’t uninstall DBM – that way if in the middle of the raid, you just can’t deal with the switch, you can enable DBM, disable Bigwigs, and it will take all of a logout.

      Also, if you install the littlewigs module, you can test it out on a heroic before you try it in a real raid.

  3. I also use GTFO also Gina, and love it. Great little addon especialy for new encounters.

    I think a big problem with DBM is how long most of us have been using it. At this point DBM is as easy to ignore as your combat log, simply due to over exposure. I dont have a huge issue with standing in ick, but I think i will give this a try for a change of pace if nothing else. And that range checker is way cooler than DBMs.

    • I agree that DBM is easy to ignore with all those timers. If I turned off some of the timers, I’d be able to pay more attention to the remaining ones. But turning anything off is dangerous, so we end up keeping all the timers and the important stuff gets lost in the shuffle.

      As a side note, I hear that Deus Vox encounters, while more difficult to set up, is highly customizable, so at some point I may try that.

      • Deus Vox was FANTASTIC, but it’s no longer in development. (To my intense sorrow during Wrath, it was pretty buggy, too- it was when it was working it was great.) It’s got a successor in beta, but it’s… very beta.

        • I remember hearing someone on Twitter say that the new version (successor, what have you) is actually functional now… It may have been Velidra from Emberstorm.

          Is that range tracker part of the normal minimap or is it it’s own map, Zel? do I really have room for more boxy displays? D:

  4. Zel, is BIGWIGS better than DBM now a days? I have been using DBM for longest time… but My Power Auras helped me a lot too…Anyway, I might try BigWigs, I do remember using both at the same time on WOTLK lolx.

    • I wouldn’t say “better”. I think it depends on what grabs your attention and helps you focus. Some people really like to add sounds to their power auras, for example. I find sounds incredibly annoying for that. I would say try Bigwigs, because there’s no harm in trying. It’s usable pretty much out-of-the-box and you can test it on a heroic if you install littlewigs.

  5. Another note on the proximity detector.

    On fights where range only matters during particular phases, it will disable the proximity detector automatically. I noticed that on Chimmichanga the other night; wasn’t paying close enough attention to tell if it did that for Omnomnomitron as well.

    That’s pretty effing cool.