Addon Spotlight: Cast bars evolve with Gnosis

Mathew McCurley
M. McCurley|03.24.11

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Addon Spotlight: Cast bars evolve with Gnosis
Each week, WoW Insider brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your addons folder will never be the same. This week, Gnosis makes things complicated, in a good way.

There is a place that exists past the rocky reaches of the Blade's Edge Mountains, across the sacred plateaus of Ogri'la, and beyond the void, untouched by the spoiling hands of the Burning Legion. That place is configuration heaven. Here, addons like kgPanels and Stuf unit frames dance together in unlimited configuration. This is a place of endless ordered chaos, more options than humanity deserves held together by a thin thread of creativity. Gnosis dwells in configuration heaven.

Quartz did the cast bar right -- there was little else that I really needed from a cast bar addon that Quartz wasn't the most capable at doing. Complicating a user interface element while also providing legitimate information in new and user-friendly ways is a hard balance to strike. Gnosis complicates things plenty, but it does so in a very smart fashion. There is a lot to learn here, but the effort is worth it.

Stepping up

Gnosis takes cast bars and cooldown timers to another level. You can create as many bars as you want to, change their sizes and scales independently of each other, and even have full control of their anchors, attaching them to your cursor or the mouse cursor.

The simplest way to make a new bar in Gnosis is to press "new castbar," give it a few basic attributes, tell it who you want it to track, and move it around the screen, much like any other addon. However, if you dig deep into the premade bars that are created when you first start up the addon, you can see how deep the rabbit hole really goes. The number of options that are available to you are limitless.

Blacklist and whitelist

My favorite feature and potentially Gnosis' most powerful feature is the blacklist and whitelist options. Many of you seasoned WoW players will remember an addon similar to Gnosis to blacklist spells during the Reliquary of Souls encounter called Deadened. Imagine the amount of help that hiding certain cast bars can have on encounters in this new world order of mega-interrupting.

With the new focus on interrupting in encounters -- and in some cases, multiple interrupting or non-interrupting -- you may be responsible for one spell only. Maloriak, on heroic and non-heroic mode, is an example of a fight in which Gnosis rocks interrupters' worlds. Both Release Aberrations and Arcane Storm need to be interrupted or allowed to cast, depending on the situation. When my group does Maloriak, we have two DPSers responsible for each interrupt. Gnosis allows you to hide the cast bars for the spells that are being cast that are not the ones you are responsible for interrupting. Are you responsible for Arcane Storm? Hide Release Aberrations, and you'll never get confused.

Configuration station

Hardcore configurenauts will find way too much to play around with in Gnosis' options. The player has control over the output string (how the spell's name, ticks, and other details show up as text on the bar) as well as separate configuration for channeled spells and cast spells. Bars can be horizontal or vertical.

For cooldown timers, you have even more options when dealing with priority and how timers are stacked. There is an amazing option called the multi-spell timer that allows you to create one bar that times multiple abilities, but only shows one at a time, and you set the priority sort.

For example, you could have Gnosis show a priest cooldown setup for Guardian Spirit -- displaying Guardian Spirit's cooldown only if the spell is not active on either tank. The code input into the timer bar would look something like:
buff,unit=YourTank1Name,mine:Guardian Spirit
buff,unit=YourTank2Name,mine:Guardian Spirit
cd:Guardian Spirit
Starting up the first time

There's a big ol' instructional menu that pops up when you launch Gnosis for the first time, and it looks daunting. The addon isn't really meant to be super-easy -- it's occasionally a nightmare. However, it's a nightmare that works so solidly you'll be amazed at what the addon is capable of.

Gnosis runs a little heavy if you've got a crazy amount of bars, but it wasn't designed to be resource-light. As a modular addon, the more you enable the more memory and CPU power the addon is going to use. Making complicated sets of cast bars that display based on priority and timers is your best bet to get the best performance.

Again, Gnosis is complicated -- probably more complicated than most people want from their cast bar. However, the amount of customization and flexibility you get with Gnosis is second to none and, for the enterprising addon junkie, can have amazing effects on your UI.

Head over to Gnosis' page at Curse or WoWInterface and read over the documentation. See if it is the addon for you, and at least give it a try. You might find that you take to this type of detailed and specific configuration better than you thought! Imagine a world where you get incredible control over everything your cast bars and timers output.

Download Gnosis at [Curse] or [WoWInterface].

Mailbags mailbag

Thanks for all the articles. In the recent Ghostcrawler post, he talked about how addons are part of the way bosses are nerfed over time. I've played WoW using addons since the beginning, but a lot of people always say things like Blizzard does not design the game around addons or people using them. Is there a conflict with that statement and Ghostcrawler's acknowledgment of addons as part of boss fights?

Thanks for the email, Danni. It's a good question -- does the fact that Ghostcrawler mentions addons as a factor in boss design finally end the argument over whether boss encounters are created with addons in mind? To me, yes. Addons have always been a part of World of Warcraft, and the user interface was made malleable for a reason: Blizzard wants you tinkering with it. When an addon becomes too good or too important, like Antiarc's poison-swapper utility for rogues back in Wrath, Blizzard changes the code or incorporates some of the addon's ability into the game itself. Addons are used by players to deal with encounter mechanics and gain information.

Addons are what we do on Addon Spotlight. If you're new to mods, Addons 101 will walk you through the basics; see what other players are doing at Reader UI of the Week. If there's a mod you think Addon Spotlight should take a look at, email
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