Each week, WoW Insider and Mathew McCurley bring you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which spotlights the latest user interface addons. Have a screenshot of your own UI that you'd like to submit? Send your screenshots along with info on what mods you're using to firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow Mathew on Twitter.
There were lots of surprises for me at this year's BlizzCon, but one of the biggest was how many people came up to me during the WoW Insider reader meetup party at the Anabella who told me they read Reader UI and love the submissions. People brought their upgrade stories, stories of sadness at losing all their hard work, and general praise for the column, its commenters, and the submissions. I couldn't do this column without all of you guys, and you make it fun and accessible for everyone. Thank you all for making my job easy.
This week's submission is from Tuff, who has taken the RealUI compilation setup and added a bit of his own style and upgrades to the barebones compilation. Many players use RealUI and I thought that it would be a nice exercise to check out some additions to the UI to give people some ideas on how to expand on it.
Tuff's UI: compilation, healer, making adjustments
Take it away, Tuff:
When I started leveling my paladin a few years ago, I decided to learn how to tank and heal.
After trying out Healbot, Grid+Clique, and Vuhdo - I settled on Vuhdo and liked it so much I found uses for it on all my toons. I spent many hours with many UI addons looking for a UI that I felt really comfortable with. I tried Elvui and Lui, I made my own custom UI, I even used the default interface (adding only Vuhdo and Recount to it), but while they were workable - they didn't really have the comfortable feel I was looking for.
A few months ago, I discovered RealUI and decided to give it a try. It turned out to be perfect for me. I even adjusted quickly to the HUD style display, and now I'd probably be lost without it.
RealUI is a complete package and really requires no additional addons, but it's also easy to customize to your personal preferences. These are the changes I made to suit my tastes:
Changed Grid to Vuhdo
Added Simple Raid Target Icons
Changed Skada to Recount
Added Inline Aura
Added Power Auras and Power Auras Buttons
Added Guild Check
I used the same layout as the author - just replacing his choices with mine - and I think it looks great. I also think having the right feel to the UI has improved my performance.
I'm always looking for suggestions though - so would like to have your thoughts on it.
Thanks for the email and submission, Tuff. I appreciate it when readers send in submissions about their tinkering with compilations actually spell out the changes, so good on you. One of the biggest issues with using a pre-made compilation UI is that you may have to deal with someone else's preferences. While that's not the worst obstacle to ever have to overcome, things just not might be set up in the way that make the most sense to you. Adding to a compilation UI is not that difficult, but it can be a little annoying when it comes to updating addons and making sure everything fits.
praises do not have to be sung here -- they are already well known. The slickness RealUI can provide is a definite plus.
The standout change that I noticed with Tuff's changes was the swap from a Grid-based interface to a Vuhdo based one. Many healers like to swap to an all-in-one click and heal addon, and Vuhdo is obviously a great choice. Not only does Vuhdo do the job, it has many of the same aesthetic customization features that Grid does. While it felt a bit more cumbersome to customize than Grid, I still feel that Vuhdo is easy enough for anyone to tinker with.
Most compilations do not come with many of the ancillary addons that make life easier for you or change around built-in interfaces to ease their use. GupPet
is a perfect example of something that changes the interface of a certain game system. While these addons don't necessarily change the way your "always" screen looks, the behind the scenes CPU usage could potentially mess with the balance of the UI itself. That's not to say it will happen, but adding behind-the-scenes addons that add extra CPU responsibility might have adverse effects on the entire package. GupPet, thankfully, isn't an addon that adds undue usage. Recount, on the other hand, with certain settings enabled can be a burden on lower-end machines. If you use Recount, make sure to tinker with the options to make sure you're only activating the pieces of the addon that you are using most.
Adjusting versus learning
One of the biggest questions that people send me revolves around asking what type of UI would be best for them. I politely respond that there is no way for me to tell what type of interface you would like or would be best for you because each interface is a charming little personal experience that one must experience for themselves before making a decision. It's hard to guess or estimate what you can expect from pre-packaged UIs, so just try them out. The problems begin when people try out these UIs, say "this is not for me," and promptly call the UI bad or abandon it altogether.
When you start playing on a new UI, you want to give yourself time with it. Time is key in all things, be it a new peripheral, UI setup, addon, etc. Then you want to make the decision to adjust or learn. Adjusting means taking what is in front of you and changing it to meet your criteria. You want to adjust when the interface feels genuinely natural but there are pieces you just can't wrap your mind around. Learning a new interface is when you can understand the benefits of the new setup but just don't have the skills in place. You know that this could be great to use, much like a Razer Naga mouse
, but just don't get it yet. Put the time in and you will.
Make adjustments slowly and piecemeal. Each time you add to a pre-made UI you want to make sure that added on piece fits with the overall theme and feeling. You don't want to add too much at the beginning considering you could just cover all of the progress that the compiled UI made with your own excessive clutter. One at a time, slowly.
Thank you very much for the submission, Tuff. RealUI is a good choice and easily built upon, which makes the resulting submission something praiseworthy. Remember, slow and steady building as well as metered approaches to fluff will keep the original aesthetics in check. Nice work.