Just TellMeWhen, Baby. I NeedToKnow.

Posted in Feral, Guide on Jan 22, 2009

Earlier today I received an e-mail from a reader asking for an addon that would monitor all his DoTs and debuffs to maximize Cat DPS. What a great question! Maximizing your damage as a slick kitten requires maintaining a series of bleeds and bleed enhancing debuffs while weaving in hard-hitting Shreds and making sure Savage Roar never runs out. Fortunately, there are two such addons that work pretty well separately or in conjunction with one another—and they’re not just for Druids.


NeedToKnow provides a moveable, unobtrusive set of receding bars on your UI that monitor whichever buffs and debuffs you specify. The add-on includes functionality to change the color of each buff and debuff for ease in reading, the ability to monitor buffs/debuffs on yourself and/or on your target, and the ability to differentiate between your debuff on a target and another player’s debuff on that same target. It’s still up to you to train yourself to monitor NeedToKnow and intuitively understand when it’s best to refresh each buff/debuff during your rotation. For example, if NeedToKnow informs you that both Rip and Savage Roar will run out and you have 5 combo points, you’re much better off using those 5 combo points to Rip just before Savage Roar runs out, even if it means you’ll have a few seconds worth of white and yellow damage without the AP boost.

The logic here is that you’ll be able to refresh your DoT at full strength while still being powered by Savage Roar, eliminating those pesky “a more powerful spell is active” notices. You potentially lose more damage allowing Rip to fall off rather than Savage Roar, because you’ll have to build up another 5 combo points to refresh that DoT. Savage Roar, however, functions a little bit like the Rogue finisher Slice and Dice; you generally only need a 2 combo point SR to maintain the buff for the duration of your rotations. Remember that rotations aren’t as simple as they used to be—Omen of Clarity procs should be exploited, Berserk requires some manuevering, and Tiger’s Fury gives you an unexpected (but necessary) Energy boost. Keep SR up as much as Druidly possible, and always Rip at 5 combo points. Be dynamic, and you’ve got it down.

Here’s how you set it up:

  1. DL and install the addon in the usual way.
  2. Log in.
  3. You’ll see the default NeedToKnow bars sitting in the right hand corner of your screen. Size and place your group of bars where you’d like on your screen by clicking and dragging.
  4. Want to track more than three buffs or debuffs? Bring up your “Interface” screen and drop down to the AddOn Options. This screen allows you to customize the look and feel of your bars (it’s pretty important, I know), add or subtract bars, and create different groups of bars (which you probably don’t need). Do what you need to do, Lock Addon if you don’t want to accidentally move your shit around during raid, and save.
  5. To set up the bars, right click on each. Choose your buff/debuff to time by typing in the name exactly. Make sure your bar is enabled, and check “Only show if cast by self” if that’s your bag (it usually is).
  6. Check whether the spell you inputted is a Buff or a Debuff. If you screw this up, NeedToKnow won’t end up tracking anything.
  7. Check what unit you’re going to be monitoring. Buffs are usually monitored by Player, and Debuffs are usually monitored by Targets. You get the picture.
  8. You can also change the color of each bar by futzing around with the “Bar Color” option. It’s pretty obvious.
  9. Ready to rock and roll? Type /needtoknow and the bars will disappear and lock for battle.

This is how a simple NeedToKnow setup looks in action:


TellMeWhen is a little more dynamic, but essentially has the same functionality as NeedToKnow. I, personally, don’t use TellMeWhen, but it allows you to time buffs, debuffs, cooldowns, spell and weapon procs, and will display an icon when each event happens. TellMeWhen is extraneous if you’re using something like SCT that lights up whenever you get any status changing buffs, but if you need an in-your-face reminder that you should probably Shred when you get a Clearcast, this mod is probably for you.

Luckily for you, the way you set up TellMeWhen is much the same way you set up NeedToKnow.

  1. DL and install the addon in the usual way.
  2. Log in.
  3. You’ll see the default TellMeWhen icons sitting in the right hand corner of your screen. Size and place your group of icons where you’d like on your screen by clicking and dragging.
  4. Bring up your “Interface” screen and drop down to the AddOn Options. This screen allows you to add or subtract icon columns and rows, create different groups of icons (which you probably don’t need), and choose whether you want those icons to only display while in combat. Do what you need to do, Lock Addon if you don’t want to accidentally move your shit around during raid, and save.
  5. Right click on an icon and choose the spell, buff, debuff, proc, whatever that you want to track. Enable the icon.
  6. If you’re monitoring buffs and debuffs, fill in the information the same way that you’d do it for NeedToKnow.
  7. If, however, you’re monitoring a temporary buff or procced effect, make sure you note whether the cooldown is a spell, ability, or item, and select when you’d like the icon for that cooldown to display.
  8. Type /tellmewhen and the icons will lock and disappear.

That’s it! You don’t ever need an addon to tell you how to play (and I’d argue that you should easily be able to get along without either of these), but both NeedToKnow and TellMeWhen can make monitoring your DPS rotations easier than a drunk chick on prom night.


  • At 2009.01.22 11:05, Felkan said:

    BadKitty is a nice simple addon that does the same out-of-the-box. It also tracks FFF, Demo Roar, Lacerate and Mangle while in bear form.

    I, do, disable the “warnings” as they are way too big and hard to see.

    • At 2009.01.22 11:32, Runycat said:

      I’ll have to give that a look. Does it provide functionality for any other classes? Part of what I like about NeedToKnow is that I can configure it to track whatever I want on whatever alt I happen to be playing.

      • At 2009.01.24 03:13, Mowskwoz said:

        The problem with BadKitty when I used it, is that it also tracked other kitties Rip and Rake. It might have been updated with a fix tho. The nice thing is that it also counts others Trauma as a “Mangle”.

    • At 2009.01.22 11:27, Doodle said:

      Ooooo… that is exactly what I was looking for last week, but I gave up because, well, I have a short attention oooooo look a shiny thing!


      • At 2009.01.22 11:32, Runycat said:

        Hope it helps you out, yo!

      • At 2009.01.22 11:30, wewhoeat said:

        so a question here. Can you setup that mangle bar to show you all mangle sources, so that if a bear mangle is up, it shows that mangle is up, and if a trauma is up, it will show that? Or do you have to set a specific bar for each one?

        • At 2009.01.22 11:34, Runycat said:

          It’s not that intuitive, unfortunately, although you can make it track Mangles put up by players other than yourself. If you want it to track a Bear Mangle, you need to make sure that you explicitly say “Mangle (Bear)” or “Mangle (Cat)” for it to do its job.

          Even though it’s a pain in the ass to set it all up, the nice thing is that the bars won’t display (and take up valuable screen space) if it isn’t running. IMO, well worth the time getting it configured. If you find a more intuitive addon, definitely let me know so that I can spotlight it.

          • At 2009.01.22 11:52, wewhoeat said:

            The two I’ve tried so far are Elk’s buff bars; pretty nice, it doesn’t allow you to mingle buffs & debuffs together, but you can anchor two sets together so its practically a non issue. Dotimers is the other one that I’m currently messing with right now, its very configurable, but while it does allow you to mix buffs and debuff together on a single anchor, it still puts them in different groups.

            A couple more questions, does NeedToKnow sort and collapse the bars? Sorting by time left I find really handy in helping out with our priorities. And by collapsing I mean does it condense to only bars of effects that are active or does it leave blank empty bars for those abilities that are not currently applied? I wouldn’t want a whole lot of space in between all these different abilities I’m tracking.

            • At 2009.01.22 12:28, Karthis said:

              NTK leaves blank spaces…. which is one of the things I love. The empty space is a cue that I need to fire off a skill of some sort.

              • At 2009.01.23 06:49, Runycat said:

                NeedToKnow does not intuitively sort and collapse bars. You can, however, pick where you’d like to put what (if that makes sense), and it’s nice to know that you can always look in the exact same place for the information you need. NTK also allows you to create different bar “groups” that you can customize however you’d like: a mix and match of buffs/debuffs/cooldowns, you name it.

                As Karthis said, NTK does indeed leave blank spaces. For me, this hasn’t ever been a huge issue since I’m only generally tracking 4-5 things at once. If you’re keeping an eye on everyone and their mother, you might want to try something different.

          • At 2009.01.22 11:52, Karthis said:

            It’s actually “Mangle – Bear” and “Mangle – Cat”, just to correct an earlier comment. You’ll also probably want to think about Trauma if you have a warrior applying that.

            I’ve been toying with both of these mods since you mentioned them a few months back, and have NEARLY got them working the way I’d like. The sticking point remains that I can’t stack Mangle Bear/Cat and Trauma in the same blasted timer. I’ve been sorely tempted to hack the mod to allow for that functionality, but the laziness boss continues to kick my ass.

            As an aside, this morning I started testing out Rogue Power Bars to see if it can finally do everything the way I want it to…… hopefully more on that soon.

            • At 2009.01.23 06:58, Runycat said:

              Thanks for the correction, though I’m pretty sure I did type in Mangle (Cat) and it worked out. That, and someone else did mention tracking Trauma.

              Let me know if Rogue Power Bars lets you track all that nonsense in the same timer; it’d make things a lot more simple (even though I haven’t run with a DPS Warrior in forever).

              • At 2009.01.23 13:45, Karthis said:

                Hum – perhaps they have both versions (brackets and hypenated) working…. my apologies if that is the case.

                • At 2009.01.23 13:49, Runycat said:

                  I’ll try it when I get home tonight, but regardless, if you know that’s at least a correct version, it’s good to have in there. Thanks!

            • At 2009.01.22 14:12, Leda said:

              Another add on I like that does the same thing is Classtimer. For those of us too lazy to set up an add on it comes out of the box with buff/debuff timers for various classes. Other than that it looks pretty much like Need to Know. The one shortcoming, though, is that I can’t monitor others’ Mangle/Trauma.

              • At 2009.01.23 06:52, Runycat said:

                I have heard that addon bandied about, but I haven’t tried it myself. Sounds like I’d still probably prefer NTK because I can customize it to a greater extent, but I’ll have to take a look.

              • At 2009.01.22 14:51, Copey said:

                SWEET. Thanks!

                • At 2009.01.23 06:51, Runycat said:

                  No problem, dude.

                • At 2009.01.22 16:20, Fish said:

                  I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned I love your little comics. Nothing will be as funny as the mixology “nothing you can drink will fix what’s wrong with you”, I seriously had to keep from laughing at work. . .

                  • At 2009.01.23 13:15, Runycat said:

                    Sorry about not responding to this earlier, but for some reason my spam blocker caught your comment and decided it didn’t like it. Stupid, I know, and it’s been doing that a lot lately.

                    Thanks, though! I really enjoy making them, and I really noticed that I went through a bit of a posting slump when I was unable to (i.e. ModelViewer not working).

                  • At 2009.01.22 17:18, Razor said:

                    Nice, I’m going to try NeedToKnow (using Classtimer atm).

                    This is off-topic but have you tried Berserk + Swipe (Cat) recently? It’s THE aoe burst damage, hiting I don’t know how many targets for 3-7,5k every swing =)

                    • At 2009.01.23 06:52, Runycat said:

                      I haven’t yet, actually. The lag has been so bad on both the servers I play on that it’s been sort of prohibitive.

                    • At 2009.01.23 01:17, Copey said:

                      I tried out Need to Know, and it was exactly what I was looking for. But I’m not sold on it. I tried Bad Kitty, and man I tell what, it’s pretty offensive I think. Then, I stumbled on one called DroodFocus. I like it, and it works for both Cat and Bear forms. Really nice out of the box, though it’s a little wonky to position it correctly. I tanked a heroic with it and it seems pretty nice. Gonna DPS some time and give it a try as well. Thanks for the suggestions.

                      • At 2009.01.23 06:54, Runycat said:

                        Like I said, no problem. I’ve honestly been staying away from class specific addons so that I can maximize functionality. What I really like about NTK is that I can use that same mod for both my Feral and Balance Druid, my Rogue, my DK, my Warrior, my Paladin…you get the picture. Still, if it works better, it’s definitely worth using.

                      • At 2009.01.23 02:07, Silks said:

                        Ooh interesting.
                        As a shadow priest I just use DoT Timer.
                        My favourite things about it are that nothing needs to be set up, it’s pretty intelligent as to what it shows and it shows MULTIPLE TARGETS so you can keep an eye on all your debuffs without having to tab through things.

                        • At 2009.01.23 06:56, Runycat said:

                          I vaguely remember DoT Timer functioning along the same lines as HoT Candy (which tracked HoTs across multiple targets). For any DoT based caster class, DoT Timer is probably better for that very reason; however, there’s really no reason that a Feral Druid needs to track multiple targets, especially because switching targets resets your combo points.

                        • At 2009.01.23 05:53, Kadomi said:

                          For a moment you made me all panicky, because my draft of a post about TellMeWhen is waiting to get screenshots and then be posted. I am glad you focused on NeedToKnow. ;)

                          Good stuff, though I use ClassTimer as timer bars. If I get more bars on my screen I shall run amok. :)

                          • At 2009.01.23 07:10, Runycat said:

                            I can’t even tell you the number of times I thought I had some sweet idea, got a draft near completion, and then realized that Karthis or Kalon just posted about it. I say that as long as you’ve got a different spin on things, you should always post it anyway.

                            Quick question: if you’re already using ClassTimer, why do you use TellMeWhen? If you’re just using it to monitor procs/effects (and not for the visual queues), I’d recommend getting rid of both those addons and just picking up NeedToKnow. You’ll get all the timer bars you need, and you can add in the buffs that occur from procced effects (i.e. weapon chants, Sword and Board, etc.). Just a thought.

                            • At 2009.01.23 13:49, Karthis said:

                              “I can’t even tell you the number of times I thought I had some sweet idea, got a draft near completion, and then realized that Karthis or Kalon just posted about it.”

                              If it helps, I had the screenshots for my version of this post all labeled and ready to go, and a series of headings all mapped out, when this popped into my Google Reader yesterday. <3

                              • At 2009.01.23 13:52, Runycat said:

                                Hahaha, see, you know how it is. Clearly, you need to do your mod-hacking bullshit so that the timers will monitor ALL bleed enhancers in one bar and then post about that.

                              • At 2009.01.24 04:53, Kadomi said:

                                I use TellMeWhen for entirely different things than Classtimer. Classtimer is my class-specific buff/debuff watcher. TellMeWhen shows me availability of specific macros (Recklessness/Retaliation), missing food buffs, and cooldowns that I regularly use, in the center of my screen. I know Tmw could also handle the buff/debuff side of things, but I prefer timer bars for that.

                            • At 2009.01.23 06:41, Aelinna said:

                              I found these a week or two ago, nice huh!

                              I used to use PowerAuras for TMW, I mostly use them for short buffs like Battle Shout or Horn of Winter and procs like Freezing Fog or Slam!. TMW is lighter but much less fancy.

                              I never thought of use ElkBB for NTK… must try that, thank you commenter.

                              • At 2009.01.23 07:47, Aelus said:

                                From personal experience, both of these add-ons are fantastic. Since you nicely covered NTK, I’d like to point out that TMW really shines when you are using a class that has multiple, short cooldown rotation abilities – and those cooldowns are of different lengths. Enhancement shaman, shadow priests and deathknights of any flavor are good examples. While you might have a starting rotation with these classes, the varying cooldowns and resources will force you into a ‘use the strongest ability as it becomes advailable’ play style. TMW, um, tells you when those specified abilities are usable and will keep the visual cues up on the screen until they are on cooldown again. If you play several classes and don’t want to learn or configure a ton of add-ons for each, these are for you. The author of both NTK and TMW, lieandswell, has done a fantastic job on both.

                                • At 2009.01.23 07:52, Runycat said:

                                  I very muchly agree, and thank you for the multi-class perspective.

                                • [...] sure that I don’t forget to keep commanding/battle shout up at all times on my warrior. NeedtoKnow looks good too, but I’m not sure that it would be much of an improvement over [...]

                                  • At 2009.01.25 20:18, Copey said:

                                    After some more play as both Tanking and DPS in raids I must say that Need to Know is the most awesome thing ever, and I really thank you for showing it to us.

                                    • At 2009.01.26 18:19, Stealthfire said:

                                      I currently use a combination of X-Perl’s buffs/debuffs and TellMeWhen. I have X-Perl set to enlarge my own debuffs so I can watch mangle/rake/rip/lacerate/FFF/demo roar etc. These debuffs appear above the target frame. I then have TellMeWhen set below the target frame to track Savage Roar. I haven’t found too many arms warriors around, but I guess I’ll add Trauma to that as well, and maybe Mangle so that it will track other druid’s mangles as well.

                                      Also, thanks for the tip about whether to SR or Rip when they’re both falling off. I’d been giving priority to SR just because I hated to see it down, even for a few seconds.

                                      • At 2009.01.26 18:20, Runycat said:

                                        Nice combination; I’m currently rocking X-Perl and NeedToKnow. They’re both pretty versatile mods, and I’ve gone a long way with them. I’ll probably have to actually try out TellMeWhen beyond the cursory glance I’ve given it.

                                      • At 2009.01.29 07:13, Betue said:

                                        So i installed NTK and configured it, tested it out on target dummies in org and it worked perfectly.

                                        Then i go to 25 man naxx tonight for KT and no bars….

                                        I had locked it and whatnot.

                                        So i then unlocked it and checked settings, all the same as i left the other night.

                                        I got no idea what happening to it

                                        • At 2009.01.31 15:17, Fritz said:


                                          I’ve been trying to get this addon working for like three days now. I just can’t manage it to show diseases on target. Any clue what could be wrong?


                                          • [...] HoT goes in-depth on two AddOns that help you keep track of your HoTs, DoTs and even debuffs. I’m going to have to try the first [...]

                                            • At 2009.02.15 17:46, Ashkin said:

                                              It took a second to realise that I had to ‘lock’ it so that it goes invisible outside of combat to become visible whilst in combat. Other than this it has proven easy to set up and works nicely.

                                              I think im going to try putting a second ntk bar over the top of my mangle one to show trauma, hopefully with the effect of stopping me putting another mangle on if trauma is on the target

                                              Cheers for the info posted here it was helpful

                                              • At 2009.08.19 11:22, CalebxFrost said:

                                                I recently been playing my rogue again, using NeedtoKnow. The only problem I saw with it, is that I have not found a way to get it to track Mongoose*2 or Berserker*2 if they proc for my MH or OH at the same time.

                                                I was wondering if you found that and were able to get around it?

                                                Thanks a bunch.

                                                • At 2009.08.19 11:28, Runycat said:

                                                  Well, seeing as how I’m not a Rogue and can’t dual wield, no, I haven’t encountered that problem. I have a feeling that the only way you’d be able to track that would be to set the names of the buffs they give you (i.e. “Lightning Speed” and “Berserk”) as player buffs, and wait for them to come up.

                                                  If you’re interested in watching procs, specifically, you may want something a little more visual, such as Power Auras, SCT (which yes, shows procs and aura changes), or TellMeWhen.

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