A lot has changed since the early days of buff and debuff presentation. Back in the early days, we were limited by very basic buff and debuff trackers. These days, however, one addon truly stands tall and proud, a giant among men. I speak of the impeccable Satrina Buff Frames, a wonderfully customizable and skinnable buff and debuff frame that can give any user interface awesome amounts of flexibility.
Satrina Buff Frames is huge to me. The Blizzard stock buff frame is a basic, barely usable user interface element that serves little purpose other than taking up space. It shows you buffs and debuffs, sure, but the power of such a malleable interface deserves more than static boxes. Satrina is the tool that gives players amazing amounts of flexibility.
What I like most about Satrina is that you have the option of displaying buffs and debuffs as icons or bars with timers. By having a frame-type setup, where each frame acts on its own with a whitelist (only buffs you allow to show) or a blacklist (buffs you decide do not show up here) creates an environment ripe for user interface tweaking and multiple frames for multiple classifications of buffs and debuffs.
Many user interfaces that I receive for Reader UI of the Week sport Satrina Buff Frames as a key part of their experience -- buffs and debuffs arranged in such a way that "mission-critical" buffs and debuffs appear in different frames around the screen, closer to the eye or the action for ease of notice. This week's past Reader UI, for instance, used Satrina's to create distinct areas for raid buffs and a separate area for mission-critical boss encounter buffs.
Satrina's offers much more than just buff and debuff frames and an amazing level of customizability. Each frame can be customized individually. Personally, I think of it like Arkinventory for your buffs and debuffs. This level of customization comes with its own pitfalls, however, and while filtering buffs is relatively simple, you may feel like you have to learn a lot in order to get the most out of Satrina Buff Frames. Take it from me, though, it's worth it.
Filters make partitioning effects off easy. There is a wealth of information available at the Satrina Buff Frames' own website as well, located here, as well as a resource specifically for filters found here. There are tons of resources on setting up buff and debuff filters.
Brainstorming use cases
Let's talk use cases. The idea of having a small buff/debuff frame next to my character's information would be ideal for many Icecrown Citadel fights, including Sindragosa, Putricide and Blood Queen Lana'thel. Each of these bosses has a nasty debuff mechanic that could easily be filtered out into a special, solitary buff frame, allowing the player to easily see the stacks of that buff or debuff, the time remaining, and whether it is represented as a bar or an icon. Another idea would be to have a buff frame for just the buffs you can place on yourself. For instance, have a small box for your priest that only has enough room for your core buffs, so if you glance at that frame and notice a buff is gone, you can easily reapply that missing effect.
Each Satrina frame has multiple options for when to display. Display options include always visible, never visible, visible in combat, visible out of combat, or visible when moused over. These options can free up a lot of screen real estate, keeping the combat buffs off the screen completely until your character actually enters combat. Satrina also works with multiple other addons to provide warnings for when buffs or debuffs are going to expire, syncing up with Blizzard's own scrolling combat text, or any of the other major scrolling combat text addons out there, including Mik's.
Down with menus
Here's a pet peeve that I have had in the past with other buff and debuff addons. I love GUI configuration over menu based configuration. In fact, I cannot stand menu based configuration. Have you ever used an addon where the only way to configure it successfully is to use a complex and clunky system of menus structure multiple pages deep? Forget it. Satrina does it right and enables configuration through a graphic user interface over menus. Big points.
Finally, if you haven't been sold on Satrina's already, there is full ButtonFacade support. Could it get any better than out of the box, wonderful support for the best addon ever created? Keep everything in Satrina Buff Frames looking uniform and sharp.
Try out Satrina. There's a reason it is ubiquitous as one of the best buff and debuff frame addons out there.
Download Satrina Buff Frames at [Curse] or [WoWInterface].
Check out the amazing Satrina resources at the Satrina Buff Frames homepage.
How about we hit the mailbag real fast? You love the mailbag!
Thanks for the email, Elrosh. The only way that you could get a user interface ready to go before working with it inside of the game would be to replace the Interface folder or the AddOns folder with a premade UI. I do not believe such a program exists, sadly.Hi Mat, this its Elrosh on the Dark Iron server.
Recently I've been doing a lot of changing to my ui and haven't been completely satisfied with anything yet. I've looked through the ui spotlight and even at guild applications that require a screenshot of the ui for ideas. After a few days of messing with addons I got really sick of needing to restart wow to load new addons. So I was wondering if there was any software available that would allow me to set up my mods out of game and save the interface and wtf folder to move my directory.
Any help would be appreciated, keep up the good work with your articles.
As for the restarting WoW to load new addons, there is a reason for that. I asked Antiarc, who gave me the lowdown on why we have to restart. World of Warcraft checks and uses the files it sees upon startup, and new files added to the Interface folder do not get "seen" by the client until a restart. Sadly, you might just have to bite the bullet and build from within the game.
I would recommend installing all of the addons you would like to use, but then only enable certain addons to tinker with until you are ready for more. Get a general outline together of how you want things to look, then build on top of that outline. Having too many addons on the screen at once can be brutal for your psyche, so take it slow and do a few at a time. You'll thank yourself later.
Also, another awesome addon to grab is Addon Control Panel, if you don't already have it. This addon functions like the addon menu at the character select screen and gives you some awesome customization and control from within the game rather than at the character select screen.
Download Addon Control Panel at [Curse].
Community Choice 2
Either next week or the week after, I would like to do another Community Choice Addon Spotlight! You remember last time, don't you? Send in your personal favorite addons and I'll choose a few to spotlight, post your reasons why you love that addon so much, and we can all benefit from the community's insight.
Click here to submit your addons for the next Community Choice Addon Spotlight! See you next week, all.