Reader UI of the Week is going to take a personal twist this week. First, I will present a tale of user interface sadness and woe, and second, I will discuss the all-important backup plan ideology. Last night was truly a catastrophe for my user interface, and many of you will hopefully lend your good wishes and support to my sad, grieving heart.
This week's UI comes from Javey, who uses LUI as his base setup and adds on some needed functionality that doesn't come stock with the excellent full user interface replacement. While LUI's design is not his own, Javey does still need to make the right decisions when it comes to completeness, as LUI does not provide every piece of the UI puzzle, especially for healers. Your knowledge of heal-intensive interface components will still be tested even if you use a full UI replacement package.
We begin with a story. This situation sucks, and it's happened to more people than you probably think. Last night, right before some retro ICC 25-man raiding, I had a hard WoW crash that reset my entire user interface. Profiles completely gone. Settings utterly destroyed. I was devastated and heartbroken. Rebuilding would take a few hours, as my setup is fairly complex, and there wasn't enough enough time before the raid. What was I going to do?
The moral of the story is to always have a current backup of your UI in a happy, safe place and to always have a contingency plan. My contingency plan is a little setup called Elv's UI, a full interface replacement addon that I discussed a while back on Addon Spotlight. ElvUI is a rewrite of the famous TukUI, done up with less reliance on changing the LUA code for personal options. LUI is another ground-up UI replacement that is our focus today -- easy to install, easy on the eyes, and easy on your addons.
An email approaches:
Thanks for the email, Javey. I don't usually use submissions and suggestions for Reader UI of the Week that are based on complete UI addon packages, but I'm making an exception here to prove the backup point. Complete UI replacements are great for contingency plans, when all your UI world crumbles around you in the most tragic way. Let's discuss, shall we?
I've been playing my Resto Druid for about four years and it's UI has changed so many times. I'm now finally satisfied with my UI and I'd love to share it to other players. First off, I'm not a hardcore raider, but I do raid from time to time, I usually do Heroics. The screenshot I sent is me healing a 10-man BoT trash run. I wouldn't say my UI is a minimalist one but I prefer to keep most of my UI more than half below the screen so I can see more of what's going on. There might seem to be a lot going on but it's pretty neat, well at least compared to my previous UIs, it's much better. Alright, so let me get to it.
List of Addons
LUI LUI is the most important part of my UI, it's what neatly sets everything up. What I mean is, usually, without this addon, I would have to take about 5 minutes to set up where I want my keys, recount, chat, Omen, map and so much more should be placed. With this addon, it sets everything up for you and the color of the frames and texture correspond with your character's class. Mine is orange because I'm a Druid, pink would be for Paladins, purple for Warlocks, white for Priest, etc. You can change the color if you want, though.
Decursive Displays a small unit frame with the purpose of letting the healer know when a party member has a debuff he/she are able to cure/cleanse/dispell. It notifies the healer by his/her (healer) class, such as it'll only let the healer know when a target has a debuff he/she are able to cure as a paladin, priest or druid, you can change its setting, though, otherwise.
Healbot Is a grid-like unit frame, similar yet different form Grid. Healers usually do it because they are able to heal a party member without having to target him/her. Example: Clicking on a DPS's frame will heal them with Healing Touch, if I shift+click on a DPS's frame, it'll cast Rejuvenation, etc.
Postal My gosh how long I spent without knowing about this addon is beyond me. This addon is for the mailbox, with a click of a button it allows you to collect every item and gold in your mailbox from a friend or from auction houses all at once. No more collecting items individually.
Auctioneer Very useful for people who sell items often in the auction house.
Chatter Gives you a very wide range of customization for the chatbox such as fonts, colors, borders and more.
Addon Control Panel No more having to log out to disable or enable your addons, it appears on the Game Menu list, (ESC default). After you enable/disable your addon, you can click the "Reload UI" button.
Tabbed Dungeon Browser Why Blizzard didn't connect the Dungeon Finder, Raid Browser and Battleground panel is also beyond me, thankfully this addon creates tabs on your Finders in one single panel so you can click through them without having to click on three different keybinds or each.
FrameResized When I open my Alchemy to create a flask or what not, the frame to scroll through my recipes is too small, so this addon makes it longer so I can see more recipes at a time.
Deadly Boss Mods Because every one who do heroics and raids needs this so you can be one step ahead of the boss, unless you know the boss's every move and when he's gonna do it by heart.
BadBoy: Anti Spam Automatic Reporter Ever since I started using this addon, I never, ever saw SusanExpress or any other gold seller spamming trade chat again. It automatically reports the person for you.
There are addons that come with LUI and its important to know which addons come with LUI so it won't interfere with addons that you already have with similar purposes.
List of Addons that come with LUI
Recount This is used to calculate how much damage-per-second a DPS-role player is doing, or how much healing-per-second a Healer is doing, along with other calculations such as interrupts, etc.
Bartender4 This allows you to move around your keybars and tweak them around to your liking.
ButtonFacade This addons allows you to change the appearance of your keys, such as adding glossy textures, or change the border and color.
oUF Is a unit frame framework that "attempts to simplify the process of writing unit frames for WoW by doing all the trivial and painfully boring parts for you".
Grid A compact grid that shows you every member of the party includes information such as debuffs. (note: I do not use grid, I use healbot)
Omen Displays the amount of threat the tank, dps and healers are building up in percentages.
Optional Addon Included - ForteXorcist
The first thing you see after the loading screen is a big INSTALL button. After you click it, it reloads your UI and it's like magic! Everything is set up for you so you won't have to spend 5 to 10 minutes setting up your UI. Of course, you can tweak it to your liking and make changes.
I hope you enjoyed my UI, hopefully it inspired you to make your UI come to life and gives you some ideas to make your time on WoW the most enjoyable.
Javey, Kel'Thuzad, level 85 resto druid
Tragedy in one act
Keeping a backup of your UI is an easy step to take. Copy and paste your Interface and WTF folders from your WoW directory and put them somewhere else, far away from World of Warcraft's install. Keep these in a nice, safe place, and update the copies from time to time or when you make big changes. It's like a time stamp for your user interface, or a restore point -- you can always just replace your WTF and Interface folders with the copies (don't forget to name them as such), and you can go right back to the way things were. You may need to reset a few options, but the majority of the customization is done.
The backup plan
If your UI decides to conk out moments before a raid or other big event and the default UI just won't cut it, experiment with some UI replacements. Most of the time, LUI, Elvs, or another full-package replacement can be up and running in minutes. These UIs provide much of the functionality of most people's custom setups and don't require much of the customization time that you might not have. Sure, it's not what you usually use, but it's better than not having a similar setup.
Javey's additions to LUI
Adding to LUI is easier than adding to most complete UI redos in my experience. As most of LUI's interface is fairly simple, design-wise, adding different mods to it doesn't require too much in the art department. Making addons a bit opaque with a grey tinge will allow your new additions to fit in nicely. Chatter, for instance, is a nice addition, considering the LUI package does not come with a chat addon. Making the Chatter window fit the LUI theme just involves popping off the borders and changing some opacity settings. Easy, and done fine by Javey.
Now you can see why I don't usually feature UIs built on already-made custom UI replacements -- there really isn't much to talk about. I think there is a difference between UIs and custom-built UIs in that the premade setups are addons in and of themselves. Installation, as opposed to implementation. That's not to knock the catch-all UI replacements out there, because they do some pretty spectacular things, and Elvs and LUI are no exception. For the purposes of the column, though, this is a first and a last. I know, I did do a write up on Quantus' UI, which changed around infamous Spartan UI's setup, but it did so in such a profound way that it was worthy of notice. Suffice it to say, working within a replacement UI's structure is excellent and I even recommend it -- but as for customization, you have very little to add in most cases.
LUI is one of those UI replacements that works better at higher resolutions, mainly because it was designed that way. The original shots sent to me by Javey were 1440x900, which isn't small by most people's standards. If you're rocking something a bit smaller than 1280, LUI probably isn't the right choice for you. In fact, it is my opinion that if your resolution is anything under 1280, your absolute best bet is to create your own UI from scratch and work it in such a way that you get the best use out of your screen with a minimal amount of crap in your way.
We've had some smaller-resolution UIs here on Reader UI in the past, so perhaps a quick jaunt through the archives would be beneficial. The big factors are transparency, scale, and number of addons. When you're dealing with a smaller screen, find addons that do double the work in the same amount of space, like Skada doubling as a threat meter and a damage meter.
Javey's resolution isn't small by any means, but he still adheres to the concepts of LUI to set up his own additions into the premade shell. The whole point of these UI replacements is to be just that -- a replacement. If you can't live without certain addons, by all means add them to the mix. For your own sake, though, do your best to make everything look nice and uniform. You'll just be a happier person. And please, don't forget the backups. Don't be like me.
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.