Keeping things tight is a noble goal for any UI junkie. Sure, flashy is fun and downright awesome when you can get away with it, but compact UIs are always the little darlings of the screenshot world. People marvel at how much screen is actually taken up by screen real estate and not addons or buttons. We love addons and buttons, but we just want them contained, penned up, and above all not running around crazy and loose.
Khirsah sent me his rogue's user interface, which I thought was pretty neat and wanted to share. The user interface takes the bottom bar concept and augments the HUD interface to it in the most minimal way. The two raised sides composed by the chat box and minimap give everything that tiny bit of symmetry that puts me at peace. It's simple but dense and packed with information, yet it still looks clean -- noble goals fulfilled, in my opinion. Let's dive in a little deeper.
Khirsah's UI: rogue UI, bottom-bar UI, just plain slick
Hi Mat,Thanks for the submission and email, Khirsah. I am going to admit mega orc bias on this submission because orcs are still the ultimate WoW race (sorry, dwarves) and orc rogues are the best rogues. Hope you like getting snuck up on by a linebacker.
Thanks for taking the time to look over my UI. I think it is finally complete, until Thursday when the next Add-On Spotlight comes out, anyway!
So, here is my rogue UI. I have mainly been focused on PvP lately, but I hope to be getting back into some PvE soon, so this UI was set up with both in mind. I don't really have any alts to speak of, so my UI is designed entirely around my rogue, but it has some elements that I think all players might like, regardless of class or which aspects of the game they focus on. Here is a list of the add-ons I have used to create my UI, with a focus on center screen information, but still able to see when I'm standing in the fire:
1. IceHUD One of the 2 real focal points of the UI. You can see that I have markers on my energy bar to notify me when I can use Mutilate (purple), Envenom (green), and Rupture (red). IceHUD is great out-of-the-box, but there are so many configuration options, it really shines when you start to dig deep. I set up a custom tracker to watch deadly poison stacks, and it is also watching my combo points.
2. Raven The other focal point. What can I say about Raven? I could not survive in game without it. On my UI, you can see it tracking my long-term buffs down the left side of the screen. Over my SUF player frame is a "timeline" showing by short buffs (like S & D, Envenom, Sprint, etc..). I customized that bar to show only the buffs I really care about, so it does not get cluttered with things like Fluid Death stacks. Over the SUF target frame is the debuffs I have on the target, again customized to show only the most necessary. In the middle is my CD tracker. And see the little Vendetta icon on my character's back? That is a Raven notification that Vendetta is active. It shows Shadow Dance in my PvP spec, and is hidden when neither is active. The custom notifications is where Raven really stands out. Easy to set up, and makes tacking those really important CD's a breeze by making it possible to put them directly in your face. In between and above the IceHUD player and target frames, though not pictured, is the debuffs on me.
3. SUF I know it is redundant to have both the IceHUD and SUF player and target frames, but I wanted a little bit of style and color down there. I also like the SUF raid and arena frames. When I'm in arena, those frames are located to the right, just above the minimap. I have the raid frames set to grow to the left, so in a 5 or 10 man group, it will be snug with the minimap to the right. I only show 25 group members at a time, so in AV or IoC, I can't see everyone, but I'm DPS, so I don't really need to.
4. Sexymap I think your readers know this one well enough, and what I did is pretty obvious.
5. Bartender I only show one action bar, but have two small ones hidden right below that. On mouseover, they show my professions and other non-combat abilities. Under the minimap is a small bar with healing potions, bandages, and quest items. Under the default chat frame is the micro-menu, and my bags.
6. KGPanels For that black bar along the bottom. I almost went without it, but the black really makes the Raven timelines stand out.
7. Masque/Button Façade I have to look at this thing a lot. Might as well make it pretty.
8. Mik's Scrolling Battle Text I only have the notifications and static options enabled. They provide nice little reminders about various events. It's more important to watch my health and that of my target than to see what big crits I have, so I disabled those options.
9. Tidy Plates Provide a secondary way to track debuffs on my target. Great for PvP.
10. Tip Tac Let's me move and customize the tool tips.
11. Skada That little purple bar coming off the top left corner of the minimap. I track the 3 threats, and switch to Damage Meter when out of combat. It comes down just to the top of the raid frames when those are active.
Those are the main UI elements. Here's some that I use that are not pictured:
12. Auctionator A simple Auction House add-on. For those like me that do some auction house activity, but not a ton.
13. Add-on Control Panel You can't run all these add-ons without a way to turn them on and off quickly and easily.
14. Ealign It's how I got my UI so nice and neat looking.
15. DBM Of course.
16. Time to Die Provides a tracker for when your target will die. Let's you know if you're going to beat the enrage timer or not. Located top of the screen, between the IceHUD bars.
17. GTFO Thanks for featuring this in a "SpotLight" article. It has saved me so often.
18. RobBossMods Another of your great suggestions. As I said, my PvE game has really dropped off. I often need a quick refresher on the Boss fights, but it can be awkward to ask in a pug. This provides a quick, at-a-glance refresher, just enough to fake my way through.
Finally, a couple rogue specific add-ons that a few of your readers might find useful:
19. Trix You know the standard Tricks Macros, that you have to go into and change the name of your focus on? Well, Trix simplifies that by providing 3 prewritten macros. One for main target (like a tank), One for a secondary target (like a fellow rogue), and one catch all that will apply tricks to your target, if it is friendly, or your target's target if that is friendly. To change the names of your target, you just type "/trix 1 [name]" or "/trix 2 [name]." If the person has a strange character in their name or it is long, you can just use abbreviations and it will recognize. Handy little add-on.
20. Poisoner Another add-on that is easily done with a macro. It provides one click application of poisons. I like it because you can set up buttons to apply certain poisons based on spec, it has an auto-buy feature, and a notification for when your poisons are about to expire. Again, easy enough to macro if you want (except the auto-buy), but even easier to just download.
So that's about it. Like I said, I tried to focus on making important elements front-and-center and easy to see with just a glance, but not block my view. For me, this does a good job of doing both, while still providing a little color and flavor. I hope you and your readers enjoy it, and I can't wait to read your comments and suggestions. Keep up the good work!
The Scryers (US)
PvE to PvP and around again
Khirsah's UI is designed to be both PvE- and PvP-compatible, especially since Khirsah admits to jumping between the two different playstyles. Creating a UI that can live in both worlds is not a difficult thing to do, especially since PvP and PvE both focus on many of the same things. Both PvP and PvE players need to be watching their debuffs and buffs, which Khirsah does very nicely with Raven on board, as well as keeping track of buffs with rogue-specific addons like Poisoner and Trix.
PvP and PvE players are both focused around awareness these days, making sure that enough screen space is available to quickly track your opponent's movements. In a raid or dungeon environment, screen space is important for scoping out area of effect abilities, boss locations, and ground effects that could prove detrimental to your success. Both PvP and PvE require adept targeting and target information to be successful.
Khirsah has all of these things under control. Even though the HUD setup and the SUF setup provide redundancy, I can understand the nature of having both, especially since they give you the same information in two distinct ways. The HUD serves for a quick glance, whereas the traditional player and unit frames give a more detailed story of what's going on.
The main concern is keeping all of this information on screen while being conservative about letting it get all over the place. Remember, consolidating addons helps, as does scaling things down a bit.
Tracking your cooldowns
I really like the way that Khirsah uses and explains buff tracking and ability cooldowns. Raven is such a useful tool for these types of notifications because you can customize where you're getting this information. By placing long-term buffs off to the side, Khirsah only has to worry about the short-term buffs and procs that he is getting, which can be made to appear front and center, right in the middle of the screen. For those of you not looking to go the Power Auras route for proc and cooldown management, Raven is a wonderful alternative.
Tracking your cooldowns is an incredibly important aspect of the game for every class and every role. As World of Warcraft moves toward a more active combat and encounter design model, specifically the new active tanking changes coming in the future, cooldown and ability tracking is going to be more important than ever. In order to prep yourself for more cooldown tracking, try out lots of addons and see which work for you best. Raven is wonderful if you want to use ability or spell icons, whereas Power Auras is great if you want to customize alerts that are more dynamic. There's a bit more customization with Power Auras, but at the end of the day, what works for you is the best option. Raven is so slick, though, and Khirsah has shown Raven can fight like the best of them.
A modular approach
Khirsah's UI feels somewhat modular to me when I look at it. Each piece feels like it can be moved or slotted for another piece as addons change or are replaced with better ones. By keeping the UI fairly loose, Khirsah has built-in room for growth. There is plenty that could be moved around, resized, or (in the direst of circumstances) added on to the top of the middle kgPanels black box. Upwards and outwards mobility is a fact of life for this UI.
In the coming months through patch 4.3 and the eventual release of Mists of Pandaria, we really have no idea what could be added to the default UI that changes our entire game again. Room to grow is almost a necessity in MMOs these days, especially with an MMO like WoW that still has so much room to grow in the face of new games and new ideas becoming mainstream MMO staples. Keeping that extra room to grow will save you a lot of hassle in the future as you try to relearn aspects of the UI that you just don't want to. Relearning things is awful.
Thank you very much for the submission and email, Khirsah. You're got a lot working in your favor in addition to the whole orc rogue thing. Your UI is solid and compact, and it looks like you won't have any trouble breaking back into the PvE game. You've got this under control.
See you guys next week! Remember to send in your submissions for Reader UI of the Week to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.