In an ongoing effort to spend my extremely limited time doing things that aren't critically important, I undertook some UI tweaking. Granted, everyone that watches Big Crits is subject to my UI, so I do try to keep it clean enough for the show but functional enough to play and raid lead. I wanted to replace the memory-hog Shock and Awe with the lighter and more configurable Power Auras. Surprisingly it wasn't that difficult, and so after just over an hour I had auras set up for Maelstrom Weapon, Lightning Shield, and Water Shield.
To get Shock and Awe setup to display MW counts, shield status, and other enhancement-specific items is very easy: open the options panel and enable the ones you want. I wrote about Shock and Awe a few months back, wherein my poor choice of font was quickly noted. The plus side of SaA is its ease of use and quick setup, the downside is the limited customization and massive amounts of memory.
Besides, it's well established that using the SaA priority system is a net dps loss for experienced enhancement players. Once you learn your enhancement rotation the priority window is nothing but a distraction. I wasn't using the priority system in SaA. I was only using the bars for MW, wolves, and shields so I could replace it with something better.
After the break we'll dive in to a basic enhancement shaman Power Auras setup as well as some good suggestions from the WoW Twitter crew for more information on shaman UIs and PA setups.
With a proper Power Aura setup I could ditch SaA and clean up my UI a bit. I turned to twitter and asked the good people out there for ideas. @Novytech suggested checking out the "Ultimate Shaman UI" by Shamtasticle on MMO-Champions's Shaman forums, which makes heavy use of Power Auras in its customization. I'm not one for out-of-the-box UIs but I did check it out for some ideas on what can be done with PA.
Another good suggestion came from @philski95 who pointed me to the Power Aura Tutorial video on YouTube and that was a perfect prep to give me just enough enough to be dangerous -- mostly to myself. This is an especially a great video for us because it made by an enhancement shaman. After a quick Horde Wintergrasp loss -- a rarity on Sen'Jin -- I popped over to the always-scenic and never-crowded Thunder Bluff to start the setup.
My end goal was to have PA show me as I accumulated stacks of MW, then make it blatantly obvious when I reached 5 stacks. I also wanted to show that I had a shield active (Lightning Shield in PvE, Water Shield in PvP), warn me when the shield was running low, and be bright red when there were no charges left.
For Maelstrom Weapon I use 5 different auras, each with a different image. The first four images turn on as stacks accumulate then disappear at the 5th proc. Then a 5th image then appears and spins rapidly so I clearly know I've got 5 stacks and can pop off a Lightning Bolt. This was easy to setup even with my minimal knowledge and I had it running in short order. The shields took a little more tweaking. Check the gallery for pics on the setup.
Because I use different shields for PvE and PvP, I knew that whatever I did for one I could just copy over to the other and tweak some settings. I wanted to show a count of how many orbs were left -- for that you use the Stacks tab. I also wanted the aura to turn red when I'm low or out of orbs. To create this required three separate auras: 1) full orbs down to 1 orb, 2) 1 or 2 orbs left overlapping the first aura, and 3) no shield up warning.
The first item is easy using a basic aura configuration and setting the stacks on the main tab to >=0. The second is also easy to configure, I simply copied the first aura, changed the color to bright red and set the "stacks" to "<=2". However, the third aura was giving me problems; I couldn't get it to appear when there were no orbs up. The solution was right in front of me: the "Invert" option does exactly that, it turns an aura on when the buff is missing.
Next, I wanted to be sure I only used these Lightning Shield auras for PvE. I toyed with different conditional options and eventually settled on using my spec as the key differentiators. These three auras will only be active when I'm in spec 1.
Finally satisfied with the results I made copies of the three auras, changed Lightning Shield to Water Shield, and changed from spec 1 to spec 2 (my PvP spec) and I was done for the night. I celebrated a successful first foray into Power Auras with a Guinness.
Check out the gallery below for a screen-by-screen view of the 11 auras I created. I've also pasted the string into this Google doc. I'm sure I'll continue to tweak my UI and dive deeper into Power Auras and I'll keep you apprised of the results.
Do you use PA or SaA? What are your favorite PA customizations for enhancement? Share the love with your fellow enhancers!
May all your hits be crits!
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