It is rare that I find a full interface replacement that makes me so enthralled that I must turn The Spotlight to it. The Spotlight is truly a powerful tool. A friend was experimenting with tukui, a very capable and gorgeous full interface replacement, but was just having a few nitpicky issues with the whole package. There were just a few things he wanted implemented differently, and he began the search for interface nirvana.
What he found and then subsequently passed on to me is a heavily modified version of Tukui called ElvUI, a drop-dead gorgeous interface replacement that is lightweight and minimalist and that fits many resolutions. This UI is a bit advanced, and I wouldn't recommend such a complete overhaul for any and every user. But once you get this whole setup working, there are few addons that can compare to how great ElvUI makes WoW look and feel.
The hallmark feature of ElvUI is that there are multiple configurations included right out of the box for DPS/tank and healers. The DPS configuration places emphasis on debuffs and screen real estate, allowing the player to have a wide range of vision for movement and positioning. The healer configuration moves the raid frames to the middle and changes them substantially, creating a healer-centric Grid layout that is easily accessible.
Elv's layouts are wonderfully versatile. The action bars in particular are spacious enough to occupy even the most robust button-using class while providing enough utility bars to accommodate button mounts, companion pets and more. Having the two side utility bars really sold me on the action bar layout, because I happen to be a huge fan of said utility bars.
Information is easy
LDB addons and information are simply laid out at the bottom of the screen, impeccably placed and easily accessible. The player and target frames have awesome texture work that just feels solid -- not just an opaque, colored background, but something more substantial. I guess what I'm trying to say is that despite being very minimalist, ElvUI feels like it has weight, and that's a good thing.
There's plenty of room for customization, and some does require the use of a text editor to get into some of the code, but it is all relatively easy. The great ElvUI thread on the tukui forums is a perfect place to start for help and guidance, as those guys over at tukui are really helpful.
Let's talk motif. A lot of people write in to me talking about how they don't appreciate or don't necessarily enjoy user interfaces that turn World of Warcraft into a minimalist game, paring down game elements for the sake of doing so as opposed to keeping a game interface that looks like you're playing a game. I'm on board with that, believe me. I don't like talking about minimalism for minimalism's sake; I just like things neat and tidy so I can see more of the game I love and less of the interaction with the game world through the interface.
ElvUI is an excellent example of an addon that retains a good amount of game character, especially for World of Warcraft, and incorporates that motif into the user interface from the ground up. Just the textures alone make me love this setup. If you are one of those people who desperately does not like what certain addons do to the look of the game (many people use Skinner as the prime example), then I think something like Elv's is a great alternative. The key to artwork and the UI is making it all belong together, which Elv's does magnificently.
Tukui is famous for being extremely lightweight, and Elv's renovation is no different. Clocking in at around 1MB for the addon, it won't bog down memory or CPU functions, unlike a lot of heavier addons. Most people never really see issues with addon memory/CPU usage, but if you are one of the people who unfortunately does have to watch your addon consumption, sleep well knowing that this UI tear-down isn't going to break the bank.
So there's my praise for ElvUI: simple, clean, and incredibly effective. It has the action bars needed to be competitive, the Grid layouts to be easily accessible by any class and playstyle, and a visual prowess that can appease even the die-hard anti-minimalist. Good stuff, Elv. I hope you don't mind my stealing your textures for my own setup.
Download ElvUI at [WoWInterface].
I was wondering if you know of any way I can transfer my addons and their configurations from my Windows PC to my Mac.
Thanks for the email, Aaron. Actually, you're going to be pleased, because the answer to this question is fairly straightforward and simple. To copy over addon settings and configurations from a Mac to a PC, or vice versa, all you have to do is copy over your WTF and Interface folders from one to the other. The WTF folder contains many settings, while the Interface folder contains the addon data.
Put both your Interface and WTF folders onto a CD, flash drive, portable HDD -- any type of storage will do, as long as it can be read by both the Mac and PC. Next, just copy the information over into those folders. If you have accessed your characters on both computers already, you'll have two different sets of folders. To make it easy on yourself, pick whichever set you want to have as your character's addon setup and just replace the other folders with the new ones from the PC onto the Mac. It shouldn't give you too much trouble. Just remember to make backups of all your folders, in case something doesn't go the way you want it to.
See you guys next week!
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