T-minus three days until BlizzCon and the worldwide reveal of the Cataclysm cinemati -- wait. What? They released that already? Well, fine, then. T-minus two days until the biggest and bestest BlizzCon party and WoW Insider meetup you'll ever be a part of! Be there!
Now, let's talk reader user interfaces. That's what you're here for, right? Of course you are. This week, Ráge the priest takes us on a journey through user interface bliss with an awesome setup that mixes raid business with aesthetic pleasure. Always an intriguing combination, to be sure. In my trademark fashion, I'm going to mix things up a bit -- I like Ráge's UI as is, so we're going to address the specific questions asked in the email and say a few nice things as well. Let's do it.
What have you got for me, Ráge?
Thanks for the email, Ráge. Awesome UI, by the way. I am really enjoying the spacing of everything, down to the amount of border space needed for each addon. It makes me very happy to see such a lovingly crafted piece of work. And doubly, as a healer, it makes me very excited to see a Grid-based healing interface that keeps everything neat and tidy. The guide, as the readers will see very shortly, is also wonderfully helpful.Hi Mathew,
Thank you for writing your blog; it is very interesting to see how other people customize their interfaces and I have certainly taken some good advice from these pages.
I play a holy priest called Ráge on Magtheridon (EU) server as well as a few other alts which don't really see much play time after leveling. I have tried to build a UI that is suitable for raiding, dungeons and solo play across all characters and would like to ask some advice about how I could improve on it. I also have have a few specific questions that I hope you can answer.
Like others have mentioned in the past here, I seem to spend more of my time recently just fixing and updating my interface than I do actually playing the game! However, I feel that I have reached a plateau in my ability to finish my current UI to a state where it is exactly what I want. I have been playing with this UI for the last few months and it certainly suffices for my casual raiding and alt leveling needs, but with 4.0.1 out now and Cataclysm just around the corner, I thought it could be a good time to get some helpful hints so that I can finally be satisfied.
I have submitted a few screenshots so that you can see the different states of play and the different addons I am currently using in action. Here is a list of the addons in the screenshot
There are a few things I would like to ask for some help on please:
- Bison Buffs: To place all the buffs and debuffs on the left side of the screen with buffs on top and debuffs below. Styled with ButtonFacade Caith.
- Grid: Set up with Clique which covers my main healing spells and target selection as well as standard raid frame information.
- Decursive: Standard setup to manage debuffs and is useful for all characters.
- TellMeWhen: Nice for tracking cooldowns and procs. I use it for Serendipity stacks, Surge of Light procs, and cooldowns for Circle of Healing and Prayer of Mending.
- Pitbull: Unit frames for myself and target. The target frame has a 3-D model of the target above it and shows main buffs and debuffs below.
- Fubar: For tracking gold, time, latency and durability.
- Quartz: Cast bar replacement with scaled-down target cast bar above my own.
- Bartender: Main spells with some displayed to check cooldowns. Mounts, professions and misc are in a separate box on the right of the main action bar. Styled with ButtonFacade Caith.
- Recount: Damage meter set for healing.
- Mik Scrolling Battle Text: For various other procs and incoming/outgoing damage/healing data.
- Tidy Plates: Very useful for checking aggro, especially when tanking.
- Deadly Boss Mods: For notifications. Should really be moved to a more suitable place!
- Sexy Map: The classic square map.
- Kg Panels to create the black boxes for the UI elements.
1. Debuffs on other characters are a bit tricky to see, as I only have a small amount of space to display them under the target unit frame. I am looking for a better way to display these so that I know what is going on more with the other raid members, without necessarily having to select them, either. Is there a way to use grid to show more debuffs, for example Marrowgar's Bone Storm, etc.?
2. I have never been a massive fan of PvP, but one thing which often holds me back is that there can be so many people in a group that it becomes difficult to manage unit frames. At the moment my grid is set up to expand upwards, with a 5-man group on a single line up to 25-man raids on five lines, but still without taking up too much space. How do healers manage in PvP if they are using a unit frame such as Grid for targeted healing, but for 40 people?
3. Is there any way to display the name of my target on the Pitbull target unit frame over two lines? Some names are too long to fit within the box and I cannot see the full name. I have spent more time than is healthy trying figure out Pitbull but have yet to manage this one.
4. I don't like to waste too much space, but right now I have two blank spaces on my UI (colored in red) just waiting for a juicy new addon to fill the space. Do you have any recommendations for small, unobtrusive addons that might be suitable?
5. Lastly, do you have any idea about any other addons which might be suitable for a holy priest, or indeed any character, once Cataclysm is released?
Thank you again for your great blog and I hope you might be able to offer some helpful information.
There isn't much I'd change about Ráge's user interface because, frankly, it's similar to the setup that I use, and my setup is perfect. Right? Right?! I'm far from perfect, really, and the only things I take issue with are cosmetic choices -- buff icons instead of bars, for instance. I can't stand buff icons, mostly because it's hard to see at a glance what the name of the buff or debuff is. Again, personal preference.
However, there are plenty of questions in this email to go over and help out Ráge make an already spectacular UI even better. Let's hit the questions one at a time.
Adding debuffs to Grid is fairly easy. Pop open Grid's options and select Status > Auras. There, you can add in a new buff or debuff, which adds it to Grid's library of available buffs or debuffs that you can then set to show up on your Grid layout.
Power Auras has some decent functionality for scouring through your raid and displaying debuffs, as long as it is set up for such a thing, within the entire raid. It might be harder, though, to see who individually has a certain debuff, but for the purposes of raid-wide issues, it can be a pretty cool tool. For instance, I use a Power Aura called "the Failflake," a giant, yellow snowflake that appears on my screen if someone fails at All You Can Eat. This particular piece of code looks through the raid for a debuff and alerts me when it goes to a certain number. However, that is not necessarily the solution you want. Too general, I would think. Grid may still be your best bet, along with the other ubiquitous healing addons out there.
To P or not to V, that is P question ...
All right, that section header was a stretch. I'm sorry. Things will be better in a few paragraphs, I promise. After I professed my ignorance to most topics PvP-related, the emails started to pour in. Taking it upon myself to learn the ways of the elusive PvPers, I asked around and found out what truly matters to most veterans of the larger battlegrounds.
Range finders are important. Grid has one built in. Seeing who is around you and in range of your heals is probably your best bet for spreading that healy goodness. Since we're talking about 40-mans for the most part, at least in the scenario in which your screen becomes overwhelmed with Grid real estate, you're going to be relying less on teamwork and more on who can stay alive the longest. So do your part -- randomly heal people so that your side ekes out ahead of the other uncoordinated, sloppy mass of players.
Getting 40 people on your screen was never an easy task nor resulted in anything pretty. My suggestion: Grin and bear it. Maybe move the Grid setup to a side in larger battlegrounds of Wintergrasp, freeing the center from some horrible nightmarish raid frames.
As for the Pitbull question, I tried to also find a way to do the double-line naming and sadly did not find out how. Stuf unit frames, however, can do this, since most of the modules and pieces of the unit frames on stuff are super-customizable. Try it out!
When I find extra space on my UI, I do "panic buttons." Sometimes it is a collection of mounts I like the ride or pets I like to summon. Sometimes these superfluous button bars have dumb macros on them or awesome trinkets. Sometimes I even put commonly used daily quest items. Really, you can never go wrong with a bank of buttons.
There is also a great LibDataBroker modular bar called Fortress that could fill those areas nicely with LDB addons and other cool stuff. Check out the Addon Spotlight on a few LDB addons and see if it's the right fit for you.
Priests and beyond
Really, Ráge, I think you're all set for Cataclysm. Your set up is solid, your group arrangement is nice and neat, and you have enough room to work with things if the UI turns out to need some extra tweaks. In fact, I'd leave some of those areas blank in case you do need to expand and maybe need a bit of wiggle room.
Great submission, Ráge, and thanks for the email!
Interested in getting the most out of your user interface? Come back once a week for more examples of reader UIs. For more details on individual addons, check out Addon Spotlight, or visit Addons 101 for help getting started.