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Jov sez: UI Post and Guild Love

October 6, 2009

First off — Snarkcraft is still looking for guest post submissions! We want a vacation we can spend on a sandy beach with an umbrella drink in hand.  Got an idea?  Want to pimp your home blog?  Email us!  Snarkcraft@gmail.com

Second — I’ve never really done this before, but I’m going to do a UI post.  I’ve seen other people doing them in the past, and I always love those posts, since they give me great ideas (plus, looking at UIs is purdy) but I’ve always been kinda hesitant to do one on my own.  I mean, Snarkcraft isn’t a UI blog, it’s a Priest/Raiding blog.  So I took a screenshot while raiding on my priest, so nyeh!

click to enbiggen

click to enbiggen

Background and Philosophy

I have healer tunnel-vision.  I stare at healthbars and get in the zone where I’m just heal heal heal heal healing, and I rarely notice anything else.  This has led to me building UIs which try to combine a need for free visible space around my character, while still keeping my eyes in that general area.  Hyjal, Archimonde specifically, taught me my old habit of raid frames on the bottom left, spells in the middle, chat frames on the bottom right, unit frames at the top?  Totally wouldn’t work for me.

Layout

I’m gonna be honest here…  My chat frames and action bars on the right and left of my screen?  I generally don’t look at them when I’m raiding.  Likewise with my minimap and buff/debuff bars.  They’re there for me if I make a mental note to keep an eye on them, but my focus is entirely on the center 1/3 of my screen.  Gone are the days of Vanilla WoW, when some fights just had me pounding my decursive key while chatting on vent/reading chat.  Unless you send me a whisper (which causes a popup window to spawn directly above my top chat frame) or say my name (which causes a combat text message) I’m not going to notice if you ask me or try and tell me something.  However, I know this about myself, and as GI Joe taught me back in grade school, knowing is half the battle.  The primary question becomes “What do I really need?” which can easily be answered in 3 steps.

1. Raid Frames — I’m a Grid healer.  Specifically, I’m a Grid + Mouseover healer.  I don’t use Clique, I don’t use Decursive, I don’t use Healbot or Vuhdo.  You could say I’m a creature of habit, and you’d probably have a good bit of truth.  You could also say I’m stubborn and spent long enough setting Grid up in the first place that I’m never going to use anything else…  you’d probably also be right.  Suffice it to say, I use Grid because we’re old friends who go way back.  I’m comfortable with it, it’s comfortable with me, and we understand each other.  My must-have Grid modules are Mana Bars, Raid Debuffs, HoTs, Missing Buffs, and Side Indicators.

2. Unit Frames — I have a love/hate relationship with unit frames.  I started out a few years ago with X-Perl, primarily because it allowed me to have the nifty 3d portraits.  Unfortunately, that was all I liked about it, and soon after I tried AGUF before moving on to PitBull.  I used Pitbull forever, mostly for the same reason I use Grid.  Yes, it’s a pita to set up, but once it’s set up, your initial thought is “OKAY NEVER DOING ANYTHING ELSE EVER!”  Unfortunately, it was a memory hog, and my computer, which was a good computer when WoW first released, couldn’t quite handle Ulduar, leaving me in a mad scramble to try and find low-memory alternatives, which led me to oUF.  I picked oUF Lyn primarily because it was workable, especially with a couple guides I found for editing the .lua.

3. Other Stuff — Cooldowns, consumables, and boss alerts all count as stuff I want to keep an eye on, but at a distant 3rd priority.  For my cooldown thingie, I use Coolline.  I’ve seen the other things, but they all include stuff I don’t really need.  I also have a couple DBM alerts (the urgent ones…  I don’t need to know an ability is gonna fire in 2 minutes, I need to know it’s going to fire now) above my cooldown bar and one action bar for primarily consumable and emergency buttons directly beside my raid frames.

Final, unrelated note

I love my guild, but we have the worst luck with some things.  From it’s founding, Axiom has had THE WORST luck when it comes to legendaries.  (Don’t let that stop you — We’re also still recruiting ranged DPS!)  Specifically, we never see them.  Months of farming Illidan in TBC, nothing.  Fairly regular MC runs during TBC and Wrath looking for Bindings of the Windseeker?  Nada.  We never see them drop.  Well, last night, Axiom FINALLY broke the curse, and Crutches (y’all remember Crutch from So You Think You Can Blog?) got the first in-guild, not-transferred-in Legendary Axiom has ever seen.  And it makes me squeal with glee when a friend gets something.

legendaryCongrats on your hammer, hun.  You deserve it.  <3

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22 comments

  1. I still remember what a pita Grid was to configure the first time around. It’s much easier now that I know the ins and outs of it but I still avoid setting it up from scratch again whenever possible.

    Congrats Crutch! Hope you like it with us, you’re never leaving. >.>


    • Totally not leaving. If he left, I’d have to do work. /cling


  2. I love UI posts! :D

    Seriously I enjoy messing with my UI as much as I enjoy playing the game! Not that I’m an expert….just a very enthusiastic amateur!

    I have pretty much the same philosophy on where stuff should go. I like having everything I need to see grouped in the middle bottom of my screen. With Grid being my main focal point. Unlike you though I use Clique. Almost every heal I have, and my decurses, are all assigned to mouse buttons and are not bound to my keyboard at all. My keyboard (actually my Nostromo) is for my offensive abilities mostly.

    I make extensive use of macros to piggy-back spells. Like I put my Holy offensive spells on the same keys as shadow, I just hit shift to use shadow instead of holy. I do the same with buffs…left click a buff button gives me a party buff, right click is single buff. I even have fishing piggy-backed to my wand button.

    Unfortunately i cannot go minimalist and get rid of my button bars…I need to keep them visual in case I forget the keybind for less often used spells. I have only got bars showing for my keybinds and for a few other things….pots and spells I want to see remaining cd on. I may eventually be able to wean myself off of these…we will see.

    Other than Grid and Clique the add on I have that I most love is Power Auras! I use this for so many things. It lets me know when I can use a spell, when an ability procs and for how long, and I can use it to let me know when I have dangerous debuffs. I also have it set to let me know when my mana drops to 40%. I love this add on as I can make my reminders look just as big and obvious as I need them to be.

    Ok I could probably rattle on about this forever…so I’m going to shut up now! Nice UI Jov! :)


    • I have powerauras as well, but I can’t ever seem to get it to work correctly. It will show my Surge of Light proc, but I can’t get it to show when CoH or ProM are available, GS is available, anything.

      (It works on my shammy! Riptide, Nature’s Swiftness, you name it… fine. Priest? SoL only. qq)


      • Do you have the spells that are not working on bars? I guess you would as you heal with mouse-over macros. I had this problem at one point, but found that power auras doesn’t see the cds on spells if they are sitting in your spell book. As I have my healing spells on my mouse I did not see a reason to have them on a bar. I now keep all spells on a bar, just some bars are set to only show on mouse-over.


      • I do, yes. All my spells are on bars, just tweaked the opacity down to low (or set on invisible entirely).

        It seems to be spells-with-cooldown alerts specifically that don’t want to work. As I said, I get the popup for Surge of Light just fine.

        Which is frustrating, because I copied settings directly from my shammy, and the cooldown on Nature’s Swiftness shouldn’t be any easier to for the program to figure out than the cooldown on Guardian Spirit. Even though, apparently, it is XD


      • Well that is really strange. I have not set it up to show for GS, but I have it set to show PoM and CoH. It works fine for me. Guess Power Auras Doesn’t like you! ;)

        When the servers are back up I’ll take a look at my settings and see how I have it set up.


  3. Take a good look at that UI screenshoot. Now look at Gormok.

    Now, if you peek under that left hook, obscured by the left hand.

    That tail is me. In 30 seconds, I’m about to be Impaled.

    I <3 Guardian Spirit.


  4. Thank you for restoring my faith in Grid!
    I’m a bit of an Add-on purist. I use Grid and some mouseover macros only, plus Omen.
    That’s it.

    I’m glad to see another voice out in the Nether who feels comfortable NOT using Clique. Thanks!!


    • Yeah, I love Grid. It’s neat, it’s clean, it’s as customizable as you want it to be.


  5. First: Thank you. ^_^ I’m still a little embarrassed.

    As far as UIs go, I’m with you on Grid/Mouseover, and I’m only just recently a mouseover convert. I’ve tried everything else you mentioned, and I just keep coming back to grid.

    I’m sure I’ll try other things again at some point. Gotta keep experimenting, or it’s easy to fall into a rut.


    • I’m in a happy rut as far as my raid frames go. I’ve been using Grid since I started 25s, and it works great for me.


  6. Hey Jov!

    I’m a regular reader of your blog and I have to say that I do think the two of you are great bloggers :)

    But that said, what is the addon you use to change the font of player names above their heads?


    • o.O

      I don’t actually know… That’s just the font it uses for me, not something I’ve changed manually. (looking at old screenshots, I see it is actually a different font. I have no idea what did it, though. Wish I did >.<)


      • I would THINK it would be your unit frames mod (in this case OUf) changing it.


      • as to being OUF, I actually know it’s not that. I changed all the font tags in the lua file to be the cursive-looking font used in my grid frames (to match).

        Also, that font has been like that for a while, whereas I’ve only been using OUF for a couple months. But my screenshots going back since TBC all use that other font.

        It’s honestly likely to be something an addon changed in the wow settings that I don’t even know if I have anymore. >.<


  7. Woah, congrats to Crutches! Are you guys still raiding Ulduar25 regularly in hopes of assembling another 1 or 2 hammers?

    Also, healers get the prettiest UIs! If my priest was my main I’d be able to clear a lot of the stuff off my screen, but I’ve never been able to declutter Prathi’s screen as much as you have up there. What a great shot, too! With the missile barrage zooming across the screen and stuff. :D


    • Come baaaaaaaaaaack to us! We miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiss yooooooooooooooooooooooooooooou!


  8. Great UI there. One question, please. What is the bar beneath Coolline?


    • It’s the player cast bar, bundled in OUF Lyn.


      • Thanks :)


  9. Great post, and terrific UI; I too like to see what others do. I sometimes think I should just bite the bullet, install Grid, figure it out, and get used to it. But I really do love the visual of my X-Perl Inverse Bar feature. My own UI is under constant revision, but it’s at a place right now that I really like:

    http://aegis.wowstead.com/gallery/9

    A little while back I tried my hand at writing a character management guide for my guildies (applicable to all classes, but most specifics center around my Holy Priest), entitled At The Top Of Your Game:

    http://aegis.wowstead.com/forums/thread/89
     
    The last section of the guide deals with a healer’s UI and describes mine at length, and I thought I’d link it here in the hope that it might make sense to or appeal to other healers.

    I’m a fan of your blog, and check you guys out regularly. Thanks again.



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