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The Creamy GUI Center: Resurrected and back in action

Matthew Porter

Each week Matthew Porter contributes The Creamy GUI Center, a column aimed at helping you enhance your WoW experience by offering an in depth guide to addons, macros and other tools we use to play WoW, along with commentary on issues that affect how we all play.

No you're not seeing things, The Creamy GUI Center is back! As my first column back after such a long time I thought it would be a good idea to get reacquainted, and take a look at what all has changed in WoW's user interface while I was gone. Also, find out where I've been all this time, and where we're going as we take a sneak peak at what's in store for future editions. So grab a drink and get comfy as we once again take the plunge into the world of WoW's user interface and addons.

So, how you doing?

I know it's been a while since the last update of The Creamy GUI Center, and for that I apologize. The long and short of it is that I was diagnosed with skin cancer (warning: The wiki entry I linked to contains picture examples that some may find gross) around August of last year, and since then have undergone several procedures to treat it. The bad news is unfortunately half of my foot (where the cancer was) was amputated, and as you can imagine that took a while to heal from and adjust to. The good news is I'm now cancer free and eager to resume my life where I left it, particularly writing for WoW Insider. I tell you all this not as an excuse, or for sympathy, but because I want to be upfront and honest with you our reader. I know I'm possibly setting myself up by being so upfront with my private life, but I trust the community to make of it what you will. So that's the long and short of it, I thank you all for your understanding in this matter and for my editors for their patience during this whole ordeal and for the welcome back. One last thing before we move on, I'd like to thank my friends and family, particularly my parents for their support. So now you know where I've been, let's find out what new additions to WoW's user interface were added while I was gone.

A look back

Example of a customized combat log.

While I was gone a lot of changes and additions were patched into WoW ranging from minor tweaks and bug fixes to major new improvements and content. Let's take a look at some of the ones that had the most impact to the user interface.

One of the biggest changes implemented in the past few months has been the revamped combat log. While this has been a very positive and needed addition to the UI, it was not without its adjustment phase as it had several kinks Blizzard had to work out. Also, many players were frustrated that some popular addons had to be rewritten for the new combat log. That first week or two without our beloved addons such as Omen and damage meters reminded us just how much we've come to rely on them, for better or worse. Now that the dust has settled, not only do with have a much more customizable combat log, but addon authors can more easily tap into the log to display more detailed and accurate information. Expect to see a future column on how to get the most out of the combat log and addon alternatives soon.

The interface options window.

With so many awesome addons out there, setting them all up and configuring them to your liking can be quite the task. Back in the day a lot of addons used /slash commands. (I'm talking to you flexbar!) Nowadays you usually only need to remember one /slash command to bring up a configuration and settings window, but if that's too hard Blizzard's got ya covered with the release of a new and improved interface settings window, complete with a section devoted to addons. With so many new options added over time to the default interface, the settings window was bursting at the seams. The new window divides the settings up in a much more readable fashion, but the best new feature is a dedicated area for user created addons. As long as addonTracking Menu authors intend to use it, this is a one stop shopping area to configure all your addons. I'm not an addon author so I'm not sure what type of (if any) limitations the Blizzard window has, but I hope if an author would rather create their own settings window that they still use the Blizzard one as a jumping off point, for consistencies' sake if nothing else.

Finally, let's not forget all the small things Blizzard has also added In the past few months all classes received rudimentary tracking abilities to help find things around town easier, as well as blips on the minimap for quest givers along with your mouse cursor changing icons to show the type of NPC your mouse is over. One thing I wish they would allow is the ability to show grey quests from NPCs so the completionist in me will be happy. Other small but noticeable changes include a sparkle effect to items you can interact with, item cool down length in their tooltip, and more detailed auction house categories.

What's next for The Creamy GUI Center?

Now that we're caught up with what's been going on during my absence, what's next? Well I'm not gunna leave y'all hanging, I'll be back to business as usual starting next week with an in depth look at how to get the most out of the new combat log and alternative addons for it, followed by a comparison of inventory managers and bag addons. Grab a mining pick as we unearth topics of the past to see how some of the older reviewed addons have changed. What addons and interface concerns would you like to see covered? I'll be checking your comments for suggestions. Once again, thank you all for your understanding during my absence. I'm happy to be back and share my passion for World of Warcraft and the tools we use to play. See you next week!

Pet BomblingMatthew will continue spending more time building the ultimate UI than actually playing his Hunter and assorted alts in his quest for usability nirvana. Need more for your addon and interface fix? Check out my past columns in The Creamy GUI Center's archives and our other addon features Addon Spotlight and Reader UI of the week.

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