Show us what you got, Amrytale:
Greetings WoW.com lackey,
I am Amrytale, Fury Warrior of the Wolves of Theramore on US-Silver Hand-Alliance. For a while, I used pre-made UI compilations because I never thought I would be the one designing my own UI. Kgpanels still scares me, to be honest, but I tried my hardest and came up with AmryUI, which is now on its second revision and available at curse.
Since my main is a Warrior (and my only alt a Death Knight tank) the thing I am constantly finding is that I need a considerable amount of action bar space. I've tried using Geist and Opie to put things like mounts, consumables and tradeskills on hidden bars, but I also use a Logitech G13 as my game keyboard, so my game keys are more limited and each one is bound to an action or to my Vent. Therefore, the central focus of my UI was to present my abilities in a centralized location where I could monitor cooldowns with a quick glance.
I have a secondary action bar off to the side which houses my mounts and raid consumables. Because I'm a huge fan of symmetry, I made a Status Window on the other side that lets me know my FPS, latency, durability status, and how poor I am. Also in keeping with this symmetry theme (and because I don't have a healer), I have my raid frames (via Grid and several of its modules) off to the right, and my chat window (currently managed by Prat, although I've been having some trouble with it since Patch 3.3.5) over to the left. When I am in a 5-man, Pitbull manages my party frames in the raid frames window. I need to find something to do with it during solo play, and I'm looking in to whether I could put some sort of other information there. Rounding out the bottom of my screen, I have my two "raid leader" type addons, Skada for keeping up with DPS/HPS performance of my raiders, and Omen for watching my own threat and making sure I can yell at Hunters to feign death.
I manage my player, target, and focus frames with Pitbull, because I like its modularity and customizability. Also, because I tend to find its appearance comforting, I use IceHUD to create a heads-up display. I am aware that I could jettison my Pitbull frames altogether, but for some reason I like having the target frame there for right clicks, etc. IceHUD is currently set up to manage my target-of-target frame.
All buff monitoring is done through several Satrina's Buff Frames. I have my main "buffs" frame up in the top right, which is visible only out of combat. I only use it to monitor my raid buff status before a pull. Above my player frame are the debuffs currently on me. Above the target frame are the buffs the target has gained.
Beside my HUD health bar (left side) are a whitelist of buffs that I can gain, like Flurry, Heroism, etc., to make smarter decisions with when to pop trinkets and cooldowns. On the right side of the HUD are target debuffs I like to monitor, like Rend, Mortal Strike, or Sunder Armor. Right above my HUD, I have a visual cue for my Bloodsurge instant Slams. I also use GupSlamAlert to provide an auditory cue.
OmniCC provides other cooldown information, and Mik's Scrolling Battle Text lets me know about any other proc or event I need.
My bags are managed by ArkInventory. The game micromenu and my bag button are hidden below the minimap, which Squeenix puts up in the corner for me. Minimap Button Frame sits to the left of the minimap and contains the various buttons I like to use, like Grid (which I use for fast profile switching between 10, 25 and 40-man raid frames, and AtlasLoot. I have a transparent TitanPanel bar at the top which has the plugin to switch specs, an Outfitter button with my gear sets, and a list of who is on in my guild.
I use the lovely TipTac to manage my tooltips. DBM and HudMAP provide me all of the encounter assistance I need.
I designed the UI because DeathKnights and Warriors tend to be proc-heavy melee classes with lots of "utility" abilities that need to be used at any given time. Since I hate using my mouse for anything but movement and targeting, I find a large amount of buttons (quickly macro'd to my G13) provide me all of the instant control I need. The
game field is kept as clear as possible, with information that I need to know during a fight appearing only contextually, such as the Slam alert, the Sunder Armor timer, or when I have a Sudden Death or Taste For Blood proc during PVP. Because it is symmetric, my eyes naturally flow between the elements without being "drawn" to a particularly clustered area. I am a lawyer by trade, so I spend a lot of time reading for a living. I've found that the Calibri font family is the easiest and most pleasant to look at, and so where possible, the Calibri font or one of its variants is used.
It's definitely not minimalistic, but I can't think of a more complete raiding UI, and of course, I don't mind sharing with people that need a good raid leader/tank/melee DPS UI. I'm working on a way to integrate centralized healing frames like Healbot (or perhaps moving my Grid around) to make it healer-friendly, but that will have to wait for another day.
Please consider this for discussion and critique in the column. I'm always looking for ways to improve!
Thanks for the email and the detailed descriptions, Amry. Long, descriptive emails are always the way to go when submitting to Reader UI of the Week, if you can -- it gives me a lot of fun information to work with when I decide what to discuss.
Let's get down to it. I have some accolades for Amry's user interface, and potentially a tip or two. Rather, I have some ideas to try, not really "tips." Frankly, I think the UI is great and really like the placement of many of the user interface modules, especially the raid frames for a warrior/death knight combo. My idea is all about the size and shape of the addons, not necessarily the form or function. Let's rock.
Raid frames, my dearest raid frames
Amry's Grid setup is the way I love raid setups. Really, the only reason a death knight or warrior tank needs a raid setup is to easily target raid members for an intervene or to check who has aggro. Personally,
that's how I use my Grid when I'm tanking, if I haven't already mentioned that 900 million times. Quickly being able to see who has aggro on a boss is great for fights with adds as well as when using taunt abilities like Righteous Defense
and others. Grid's flexibility is amazing. I love how simply raid frames can be made to fit all sorts of places on the interface.
We talk a lot about raid frames on Reader UI, and it's been something I have been struggling with for a good, long time. It's not that I dislike talking about raid frames, but that they are such an integral part of the user interface that I feel remiss not talking about their usage. Ever since CT_raidframes and the early refinements to the old, abysmal Blizzard raid frames setup, people have had their staunch opinions about raid frames and their usage. So, for the comments today, I'd like to hear what you guys have to say about raid frames. What's your favorite type, how do you use raid frames, and, if you're a healer, what is the most important thing a raid frames addon must have in order for it to feel comfortable for you?
A clicker's dream: the utility bar
I have been using some form of utility bar ever since Diablo II
's little hotkey bar was introduced. Any interface that allowed me to make my own bars always included some kind of utility bar. I highly recommend setups that use something similar. Some cooldowns that I use, like Divine Protection or Shield Wall, are just more naturally clicked than pressed with a button. Mounts, trade skills, potions, feasts and more all can live happily on a utility bar. It's probably because I know I'll panic when I need to find the key, smashing every button on the keyboard until I spout gibberish into chat, hit Shield Wall or throw my hands into the air, turn off the monitor and run screaming from the room. All three have happened.
This is where the utility bar comes in. Potions, big cooldowns and other "sometimes" clicked items get to go here within easy reach of the player. You know where they are, so you know instinctively where to move your mouse. And better, yes, you can see the cooldown simply by looking at the utility bar. A lot of people pan this method of cooldown binding, but personally I think it works for a good number of people out there, including myself. Now that I have a G15 from Logitech, though, I think some of these awesome G buttons are getting binds.
Amry's utility bar does it right, and one of my big questions was actually going to be able the symmetry of the bars. I'm glad that Amry found the status bar above chat to keep the style whole.
My one problem with Amry's UI is that there is a good amount of open space between each of the addons. For symmetry's sake, this works. For my own wacky, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, I hate seeing open breaks. One idea would be to scale each addon down a bit, making each "squatter." After you make them shorter and a bit fatter, you could have a seamless bar along the bottom, retaining the shape and charm of the user interface while eliminating the spaces and even using less screen real estate. It's just an idea and could potentially make this whole setup even nicer.
Great job, Amry. I love it. Simple, functional and clutter-free.