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Addon Spotlight: Power Auras


Addon Spotlight
focuses on the backbone of the
WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. We'll look at everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your interface folder will never be the same! This week, I give in to demand and talk about Power Auras.

The time has come. The granddaddy of notification addons is again at the forefront of Addon Spotlight, and for good reason. Power Auras comes with an ingrained passionate user base of people who swear by the addon. But why? Today, we take a look at the fervor behind Power Auras and some wonderful use cases, and we declare the winners of the TCG loot card raffle for a Tiny! and Slashdance card for two lucky winners. Speaking of the contest, thank you all for responding so positively to the Power Auras submission contest. I received so many amazing emails that ran the gamut of suggestions and use cases for Power Auras that it was incredibly difficult to choose who to feature in this spotlight.

Before we begin, let me first say that this article is by no means a full, comprehensive Power Auras guide. The aim of this Addon Spotlight is to initiate the uninitiated and bring clairvoyance to those who have not seen the Power Auras light. I will add a resource and link repository at the conclusion of the spotlight for those of you who want to major in Power Auras and take some advanced classes. But for now, let's explore why people love Power Auras and check out some of the community's own uses for this unique addon.

Let us begin with the basics -- what is Power Auras and why is Power Auras so popular? Power Auras is a robust and entirely customizable notification addon. What, pray tell, is a notification addon? If you've been reading all this month, you have been introduced to a variety of notification addons including TellMeWhen, NeedToKnow and Event Alert. These addons alert you to the buffs and debuffs currently on yourself, a groupmate or an enemy. These addons also have the ability to track cooldowns and alert you to situational changes that happen as a result of spells being cast on you or abilities that others are applying to a raid boss.

Where Power Auras is different, however, is in the customizability and the scope of the nature of notification design. Power Auras operates in a wholly different way than an icon or a bar -- rather, the addon displays graphics and timers where you want them around your character for ease of use, ease of identification and a smaller user interface footprint. People have taken all of their cooldown bars and buff/debuff trackers and created Power Auras setups that are pixels on the pound smaller than any comprehensive trackers. It is truly a feat of UI design, and the amount of notification data being presented in such a small space is fascinating.

But I digress. I only speak of Power Auras in these terms because it is a marvel of an addon. The customizability alone sets it apart from so many other addons out there. That's not to say that those other addons do not have a place -- they do. But Power Auras is the option that can fit anyone's needs, and in various ways.

My sample use cases

Here is my simplest use case for Power Auras. This shows the bare minimum of function and ability of the addon. I play a paladin most of the time. While in retribution spec, I rely on a buff called Art of War, which makes my next Flash of Light or Exorcism spell instant-cast. Using Power Auras, I have set up a simple PA that displays a pulsing graphic of a yellow symbol over my character whenever Art of War has been activated. I had the option of adding a sound to go with the activation of the Power Aura, but chose against it. The symbol was enough for me.

Many of you are probably asking yourselves this: "How is this more useful than any of the other addons you have profiled this week? It sounds like they do the same exact thing." Well, you're right -- but you're also wrong. The power of Power Auras comes from the amount of customization available in how the graphics interact, move, throb, blink and grow. The settings act the way you want them to. My yellow icon for Art of War pulses until the duration is over, and it grows into oblivion and disappears. Having the information is crucial, but the fact that the display and communication of that information is so organic is what seals the deal for me dealing with Power Auras.

All right. That's enough of the why. Let's discuss the how.

How to configure a simple Power Aura

The simplest Power Aura configuration is a one-buff notification that tells you when a buff or proc is active on you. Let's run with my Art of War example above. First, we open up Power Auras with /powa or from the interface screen. Clicking "New" will bring up your canvas. We select the art we would like to use, either from the Power Auras art table, the World of Warcraft aura selector or custom art that we have added to our shared libraries. I have selected this icon to use and left its placement at the center. You can change the placement of the notification by using the X and Y axis sliders.

After selecting color and scale of the image, we move to the second half of the configuration. First, we type in the name of the buff we want to be notified of. In this case, I wrote in Art of War. Then, I selected the "Cast by me" checkbox, as I only want to be notified of Art of War procs that are cast by me. I have selected "Any" for the target, because as long as "Cast by me" is active, the target should not matter. In addition, both of my specializations are checked off, but that isn't needed.

Let's add animation to my Art of War notification. I want the image to just appear, then pulse, and as the buff is ending, I want it to grow large and disappear. The settings you see above as my animation settings do just that. You can manipulate the time and frequency of animation. In addition, I wanted to add a timer above the buff notification to see how long I have left to use my Art of War.

So, here's what it looks like when Art of War procs on my screen. A simple notification and timer. When I use Art of War, the icons disappear into the ether. If Art of War runs out before I use it, likewise, the images fade into nothingness. That is the simplest Power Aura setup. Let's take a look at a setup for a shaman next.

My shaman is a healer most of the time, so I have set up two Power Auras for him. The first tells me when my focus has less than three charges of Earth Shield left, as shown above, and the second shows when Tidal Waves is active on me (a simple buff notification like Art of War, above). As you can see, all you have to do is combine the two auras and you gain a lot of information at your fingertips and right up front, relying only on visual cues you create for yourself to know what is active at any given time.

Now imagine all of your skills, abilities and procs arranged in an awesome visual way in front of you with timers, colors and all sorts of graphic cues, and you can only being to understand how powerful Power Auras can be. You can be sure that we will discuss more Power Auras tips in the future and begin to delve into some meatier topics, like stack tracking and health/mana threshold. For now, learn the basics, play around with the addon and see how much you can accomplish without bars or icons.

Download Power Auras Classic at [Curse] or [WoWInterface].

Hit the next page to check out the community's input and winner of the Power Auras TCG loot card contest!

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