A little while back, I put out the call for UIs with a bit of history, a bit of evolution to them. I love seeing how my UI has evolved over the years, starting off with the basic Blizzard UI, until I realised that I could tinker with the overall scale, and then began adding unit frame addons, then action bar addons, castbar addons, and the whole thing got completely out of hand and escalated to the point where I started writing addon and UI columns for WoW Insider! And it's always interesting to see how others' UIs have developed, too.
Today, we're delving into the past and present of Alphabot's UI. He's sent over several pictures, of both his current UI and his UIs past. So here, in chronological order, are UI shots one, two, three, four and five, and his current UI out of combat, in combat, and with everything on -- in test mode, so to speak. Let's move into Alphabot's email.
There are several kinds of UI. Lately on Reader UI of the Week, we've looked at several that do specific jobs, that are functional, even those that fulfil particular requirements for specialized players. This week's UI is, instead, one that is supremely focused on form. That is not to say, of course, that Kait neglects the functional elements of the design, indeed, he does an excellent job of integrating the elements he needs to perform his role, whilst still making a supremely pretty UI.
Sometimes players find themselves in the position where they have to downsize. It happens to us all now and then, for whatever reason, you're heading to someone else's house and need to play on their computer, your monitor explodes and you find yourself using that little one you had in the attic to make your raid happen, your desktop decides enough is enough and you're stuck with a laptop, your good laptop goes back to Asus to be repaired for the third time and you've got to use the little laptop with the lower resolution. And your UI's a mess.
We've actually had a few emails about exactly these sorts of issues, asking how to rework or resize a UI for a smaller screen, what's good and what's bad, and what works the best for form and function over both different sizes and on a small screen. Last week's Reader UI of the Week, from Thieren, made an excellent job of this. Thieren plays on a 1280x1024 monitor, and, thanks to her preferred in-game activities, requires both large chat panes and a lot of screen space, something that isn't often available on a smaller monitor, but makes great use of what she has to play with.
Everyone has specific goals to achieve with their UI, it's one of the things I particularly like about writing this column, is seeing what people are up against, and how they've worked with their UI to adapt to that. And this week's UI is no exception. While many of us are playing the game with big monitors, with big computers, or with big budgets, there are others who aren't. This week's Reader UI comes to you from a 1280x1024 monitor, and the submitter, Thieren, has had to work around their resolution to create a UI that allows them the maximum of screen space, and visibility, so that they can be at their most effective.
I've largely run with this UI since early Wrath when I sat down to reign in the mess I'd created when I began tinkering with addons during Burning Crusade. There have been alterations, but they're more quality of life stuff and replacing out-of-date addons. The most recent, and the reason for the delay, was moving my SUF bars down from the typical Blizzard position.
DoT trackers are addons which monitor your DoTs, or Damage over Time effects. If you're playing a class whose damage relies on DoTs, and there are plenty, you should definitely consider using one of these addons. What they do is provide an easy-to-read representation of what DoTs you have on a given target, be it your focus, your target, or any target in the area, depending on your choice of addon. This is important to ensure DoT classes are maximising their DPS, and yes, the Blizzard standard UI does represent them, but the time display is not that clear.
To maximise DoT damage, efficient re-casting is key. You should certainly check out guides for your specific class to ensure you're using the right method, whether that's clipping -- replacing a DoT before it's expired -- or allowing something like a mage Living Bomb to explode. It's often useful to be able to start the cast of a DoT to time it with its expiration, and of course, to maintain maximum DoT uptime for the minimum of GCDs and mana, and for all those reasons, you need to track your DoTs.
What the heck? Why am I starting with a nameplate addon? Well, dear reader, I understand your confusion, but for PvP purposes, Tidy Plates, or any similar addon such as the built-in ElvUI nameplates, is a pretty decent way to track your DoTs.
I've been sitting on this UI for a while, and I'm really not sure why, as it offers a lot of great elements. Kiebs, the submitter, send in a very short email, simply because he had very, very few addons to share with us, the majority of the work behind his UI is, as we can see from the header image, covered in the design. Kiebs designs his UI elements himself. He covers this in his very, very brief email, which I'll pop in below.
Here's an artsy one for you. I noticed you don't see many of them, but I like designing UI artwork in photoshop, and I use KGPanels to add them into the game. I then rearrange the bars with bartender and change cast bar etc. This is my PvP Monk so... very few addons, I like to keep it real simple.
KGpanels, CoolLine, Bartender, CoolDownCount, Chatter, TidyPlates. (unseen ones as well obviously for PvP, Gladius, Afflicted3 etc..)
Also threw in my Mage one that I'm working on at the moment for PvE. Like I said, nothing crazy raid worthy, just some fun!
Kiebs also sent in several screenshots, showing off his rather minimal UI.
The above video shows what awaits for ElvUI users when they log in today. I must say, I've been using addons and UI mods for years now in WoW, but as one YouTube commenter says, "Trolled by an addon, that's a first for me." Personally, I got a good kick out of seeing this on my main and I'm looking forward to logging onto my alts, at least just to see my dwarf scream "DO THE HARLEM SHAKE" to Zangarmarsh.
However, for those ElvUI users among you who may have been less than diligent about keeping on top of updates - and who can blame you really, I swear ElvUI goes out of date every three days - it seems that instead of the Harlem Shake, you get a message saying all your gold has been donated to the Orgrimmar orphanage. I personally can't confirm this, because for once I did update my UI as soon as it said to. Let us know if you can confirm/deny the orphanage joke!
Big thanks to @Vixsin_LiG5 for bringing the video to our attention, as well as the other commenters who tipped us on ElvUI's goofy prank. Happy April Fools' Day!
Patch 5.2, much like the Mists of Pandaria expansion overall, is practically dripping with content. There is content simply oozing out of Lor'themar Theron's over-sized pointy ears. Keeping track of it all is not the most fun thing in the world, and who wants to bother with that, anyway? If you're feeling a tad overwhelmed by it all, you're not alone, and post-its are not the only answer to your problem.
Over at the WoW subreddit, redditor mfontani did us disorganized messes a favor by plugging a guildmate's addon creations. User Saregon has several addons designed to help keep our pixellated lives just that little bit more tidy. Isle of Thunder Weekly Check will open a window to let you know which weekly events your character has completed, so you don't get confused across level 90s. In a similar vein, Daily Tamer Check tracks pet battle daily quest completions, so you don't have to. If you've been looking for a handy way to keep tabs on all this stuff, this may be the solution you've been seeking.
It turns out that Addon Spotlight hasn't done an exploration of what must be among the top ten most used addons in World of Warcraft for many years. So, of course, we had to put that right. Yes, there are categorically other DPS addons available, such as TinyDPS, but I think it's fair to say that these two are the biggest. So we should examine them, it seems, and wonder why people prefer Skada to Recount and vice versa.
As you can see, I've been running with both addons active, in the interest of testing, and what's more, I've been combat logging and uploading the results to World of Logs, in the interest of having the output verified against an independent third party. And the results have been fairly interesting!
But let's start with a comparison of some of the elements of the addons that don't relate to their numerical output. First and foremost, before we get on to the heavy stuff, by far the most important question one can ask about any DPS meter, what visual customization does it offer?
On flipping through the submissions for Reader UI of the Week, it seems to be the different and unusual UIs that really catch my eye. And there's no doubt at all that this is one of them. A cursory glance at the header image will reveal that, and a deeper look at the rest of Revynn's email will confirm that this is no ordinary UI!
I just finished tweaking my newest layout (who am I kidding - it's never done) so I figured I'd send it in.
The overhaul started fairly early in MoP when I got a new video card but didn't really ever come to fruition until I upgraded my monitor a couple weeks ago. With a new monitor came new resolutions and everything I had set up was subsequently thrown out of whack.
In reality, the newest version doesn't vary too heavily from the last one that I used throughout a large portion of Cataclysm (and in fact is the end result of something I've been tweaking and iterating since ICC), but it does serve to address a few things that had been bugging me. Most important of those was clutter. On any given fight, I had too much crap going on, too many timers, too many bars and indicators as is often the case when using a boss mod like DBM. Also, the raid frames, while nicely tucked away for a DPS character, were annoyingly out of place while healing. Lastly, my UI had just gotten a little too big for its britches and could use some trimming.
This week's submission comes from Marsailli of Waypoint, Medivh-US, who plays a red-headed dwarf restoration shaman. She has an elemental off-spec and is an addon junkie! In case readers weren't aware, your friendly columnist also plays a red-headed dwarf restoration shaman, with an elemental off-spec, and is a bit of an addon junkie. This is going to be interesting, for me particularly, as Marsailli's and my UI do almost the same jobs -- the only difference is that I do a lot of PvP, while, as Marsailli states in her email, her main game is PvE.
I play Marsailli -- resto/elemental dwarf shaman on Medivh in the guild Waypoint. My guild usually pokes fun at me because I've been known to /disableaddons during raid encounters and change my UI more frequently than my socks. There are a few things I know you'll probably discuss, so let me just disclaim this entire interface!
I've relied on two primary fonts: Arial Narrow and Friz Quadrata. They're both fonts included in the default interface and I've continued using them. Why? Because they're easy to read and I'm terribly near sighted. I've used Arial Narrow for all of the important info with a Thin Outline turned on to make it easier to read. You'll undoubtedly notice that Quartz does not use Arial Narrow – the reason is that Quartz doesn't offer outlines for fonts. I also like the mix of both fonts as the inclusion of Friz provides some consistency with the default UI pieces I've kept (character pane, chat tabs, and other panels).
We haven't had an Addon Mailbag in a while, and the questions starting to mount up. The poor undead lady you see in the header is getting quite flustered about having such a full mailbox, so it seemed like a logical time to address the task at hand. If you have a question, do stick it in the comments or send me an email!
Let's get started with a very simple question that took me an inordinate amount of time to answer:
I loved your article on getting started with weak auras. I have a question though, how do you make the box showing the graphic transparent? I followed your mindbender example but it showed the box as opaque. I would like to see only the graphic show up like in power auras classic. thanks for any help!
It took me a really, really long time to find this option, which was, quite frankly, rather annoying given that it's on the front page of the options screen.
If you're relatively new to the game or have only been playing casually, you may not have run into the concept of addons, much less used any yourself. However, addons can revolutionize your gameplay experience, making it easy to keep track of how much damage (or healing) you're doing, letting you know when your abilities are off cooldown, map out where you find gathering nodes so you can easily find them again later, or even just change the way things look in the game -- modifying the appearance of your map, buffs, or how your character information displays.
While World of Warcraft's default interface is pretty good -- certainly good enough to get the job done -- you might find that addons take some of the tedium out of tedious tasks (like crafting or selling things on the auction house) and make it easier to see information you want (like how much energy you have or when one of your party members has a harmful effect on them that you can dispell). If your curiosity is piqued, we'll show you what addons can (and can't do) as well as walk you through finding and installing addons to boost your playstyle.
A couple of weeks back, the UI doctor stopped in to help a user by the name of Luthuvien. After that column, there's been quite a few requests for assistance, so the doctor is returning for today. Just like last time, please do let us know of any ideas you might have to help the submitters out -- last time the commenters were fantastically helpful with addon suggestions and the like, so let's do the same this time! As ever, UI modification is hugely subjective, it's all based on opinion, and mine is no more weighty than anyone else's.
I play a human retribution paladin on the US realm, Azuremyst. His name is Khäldrogo. I'm trying to find the perfect UI, one that is most efficient for a dps for raiding, and has room to improve if I wanted to tank or heal. I like things being very lightweight, non-cpu heavy. But I also love looking at the game's art, so I don't want something that takes over the whole screen. I loved Carbonite's look for the quests on the UI, but I didn't like the Carbonite map. Any way to just have the look for the UI? I've tried xperl, but I didn't like it. I am currently using LUI, but it's very buggy at the moment. I've included the list of addons I use. I'm open to any suggestions.
I put out a call a while back for UI submissions featuring, as far as possible, elements of the standard UI. I was curious to see what WoW Insider's readers could make with these elements, and as little else as possible. The restrictions were few -- as far as possible, everything had to be a standard UI element, nothing else. Addons were, of course, permitted, but as far as possible they had to be invisible, or modifying the UI in such a way that they remained hidden.
I had a fair few submissions, and also had a go at it myself, and thought I should share the outcome of all these good people's hard work! Do let us know what you think, and if you have any suggestions or questions, of course leave a comment.
The above shot is my UI. I use the Blizzard standard default UI with a few addons that move stuff.
BasicMiniMap: I use it to move the minimap to the lower left hand corner because it is hard for me to see it in the upper right hand corner. I have a wide-screen monitor and OLD eyes and it is just too hard for me to see it anywhere else. I use it to look for herb and mining nodes and fishing nodes.