Life in Group 5 – A Resto Shaman Blog
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November 22, 2009

The Obligatory UI Thread

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Written by: Vixsin
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Vixsin's UI (Phase 1 of Anub HM)

Vixsin's UI (Phase 1 of Anub HM)

When I lived back in LA, I used to spend some weekends working at the Lowrider Car Show. It was an amazing experience, if for nothing else than sheer morbid curiosity about what someone armed with yards of purple felt, rolls of yellow piping and a deep, abiding appreciation for the Lakers can do to a ‘87 Caddy. Sometimes when I’m looking through the UI forum threads on various sites, I get that same feeling I did standing in front of a Chevy with mirror panels or the drop-top with shag carpeting—to each his own.

So, as a new blogger, I thought I would throw my hat into the ring and offer up my own tricked out UI (sans bikini girl), complete with my list of absolutely, unequivocally indispensable add-ons, in the hopes that there might be something useful in my own homage to customization.

 

The Brief Explanation

I revamp my UI every couple of months, whether due to a new hardware acquisition (which allowed me to finally utilize keys 6 through =) or an attempt to further refine the way in which information is presented. As you can see in the screenshot above, I feature my raid frames front and center. Incidental information, like chat, extraneous spells/actions, meters, and totem bars are banished to the left and right sides, so that my eyes don’t have to stray too far away from the middle of my screen.

 

The Add-ons I Can’t Live Without

Grid CloseupGrid – This compact, powerhouse of information is so integral to my healing that raiding without it feels like I’m back in high school learning how to drive a stickshift. In order to exercise more control over the buffs/debuffs I see, I elect not to use GridStatusRaidDebuff, (though it does require more effort on my part to make sure that I have all necessary auras included.) And because our entire healing team uses Grid, we can establish assignments based on relative positioning, eg: first mage in G3, and know that we’re all talking about the same person. (This makes assigning Penetrating Cold healers to targets an absolute breeze.

Clique – I didn’t fully appreciate the glory of this add-on until Ulduar hit and I was introduced to Hodir, who forced me to either lose my lead healer feet or die. Since then, my Riptide usage has gone up from 0% – 30% (approximately) on movement-based fights, and my response time to incoming damage has improved significantly as well. Although I gave mouse-over macros a try, using Clique allowed me to free up additional primary hotkeys for other crucial CDs and macros. (My eternal thanks to Bogaa on Cho’gall for this one. He is my own shaman Yoda.)

Power Auras Classic – Another add-on that I discovered in the last six months, PowerAuras has quickly become something I cannot live without. Setting up very noticeable visual and auditory warnings has enabled me to increase my WS/ES uptime, stay out of fires, clear debuffs faster and be more efficient about my mana replenishment options. Though you won’t see it in the screenshot above, I have a number of warnings/timers set up, including a BoP timer, a Riptide CD alert, Earthshield count, mana threshold alerts, Watershield replenishment, etc. which display right in the middle of my screen.

Decursive CloseupDecursive – One of those redundant crutches that I still cling to, I keep decursive on my screen so that I can easily (and peripherally) reference what raid members are affected by what poisons/curses/diseases. Though this is information that I could simply display in grid and solve with one macro, I found that the clutter it added to my raid frames actually degraded the clarity of information and demanded more of my focus to interpret. Since the last thing I want is to be tunneling into my raid frames in the middle of a chaotic fight, Decursive squares for everyone!

 

Addons that I find helpful (but not crucial):

BigWigs – for obvious reasons, any boss timer out there can be a very helpful tool for a healer by acclimating you to damage trends and fight milestones. In the DBM versus BW versus DVE battle, BigWigs still wins out for ease of use, clarity of information, and timer accuracy. But I can’t say I pay much attention to it beyond the occasional glance.

Skada – Although my competitive edge sometimes gets the best of me and momentarily convinces me that meters do matter, most days I find Skada is a useful tool for identifying the “whys” and “hows” of a wipe or kill. Although our guild runs WoL in realtime during every raid, I often find that a quick death log or incoming damage review in game is quicker than alt-tabbing to query the online log. Dispels, healing breakdowns, interrupts, and target-specific damage are also nice features to have at my fingertips.

 

The Honorable Mentions for Important but not Live-Saving:

Buffalo, Chinchilla, Pitbull, Kgpanels, Bartender, Outfitter, TotemTimers, Quartz, Omen, Prat, Classtimers






16 Comments


  1. Great UI! (and nice blog too by the way – thanks to Drug at Shields Up for linking to you).

    I use most of the same addons you do, but have not arranged them nearly as nicely. (power-aura’s I find daunting though, and instead have a mish-mash of timers and warnings in standalone addons that work, but certainly aint pretty). What do you use for the borders and arrangement? Is that the KGPanels? I’d bet that a link to a UI-compilation file would be popular.

    Happy Trails


  2. Thanks for the compliments! All of the background panels were created in Kgpanels using default textures and alot of patience. And I agree that PowerAuras can be daunting at first, and a tad time-consuming to set up, but the benefits for me far outweighed the effort I invested. There’s nothing like a big icon in the middle of my screen to remind me that the tank needs a new application of Earth Shield (lol) or that I need to move my lead feet.


  3. Hello, dunno if you will see the comments on this entry, whatever though.

    What makes you prefer Skada over Recount?


  4. I made the switch a while back (mid-Ulduar I believe) when I noticed that Recount was hogging a significant amount of my memory, even while in an “idle” state. Since then, I’ve come to appreciate Skada’s easily-navigable UI and dial-down features which can, for example, quickly show me a breakdown of my effective healing on a spell-by-sell basis over the last 20 or so fights (instead of only the last 6? offered by Recount.) I wouldn’t say it’s leagues beyond the available options, rather just that I’ve become used to it.


  5. Recount does indeed use quite a large amount of resources, but I haven’t had an issue with it causing problems with the 2GB cap imposed by the 32 bit nature of WoW. Since I have 8 Gigabytes of Ram it is more common for Windows to give WoW as much as it can possibly use causing it to crash once it goes over 2 GB, that’s usually caused by flying around too much.

    Trying it out, I haven’t been able to adjust to the changes easily, probably not worth it for me.

    Oh, and 30 fights is possible in recount if you put in the correct command.


  6. Hey Vixsin! Welcome to the blogging world, credit to Miss Medicina for linking your blog ;D

    I had a few questions about your (very sexy) UI!

    What addon gives you the 3D models of your characters? Such as yourself and your target in your picture?

    I use X-Perl for mine but I like your’s alot better :O

    Also, do you think you could list all of the addons you use? I’m very interested in your setup!

    Much love from Balance of Power _<


  7. Thanks for the welcome!

    My character frames are configured with Pitbull (portrait provides the 3D character models). Not detailed in the thread are: Kgpanels (for the background panels), Buffalo (for buffs/debuffs), Bartender (for bars), Prat (for chat), and Chinchilla (for the my minimap, typically toggled off for boss fights.)


  8. Awesome! Thanks much ;D
    .-= Presaya´s last blog ..Scammed. =-.


  9. Sham

    Nice UI, im currently leveling a resto shaman via RAF and do bg’s with grid to mix it up. I like the way you’ve set up your Grid with the health bars but havnt been able to find an option to make it look like that, any suggestions?

    Thanks!


  10. Sham

    and by health i mean mana, etc. (oops….)

    @Sham


  11. I must admit, my Grid configuration isn’t as custom or cool as it seems. I simply went into Grid Config > Status > Health > Unit Health and unchecked “Use Class Color”. Then in a fit of daring I went with solid and boring grey. The mana bars on the bottom are made possible with the Grid Mana Bars add-on. Other than that, it’s pretty out-of-the-box.

    Hope that helps!


  12. Gigawatt

    Just found your blog, brilliant site, just shared with my guild. I want that UI..have you got this for download anywhere?


  13. Thanks for the compliments! Unfortunately, I don’t have my UI packaged just yet. But if you like the visuals, I might recommend iLive’s UI (available on wowinterface.com); it’s very similar to mine.


  14. […] my UI, I’ve set up a designated area above my Quartz castbars to serve as my pseudo heads-up display, […]


  15. […] how to make your tools work for you. Some classes may not have very large arsenals, but regardless, developing your own spell selection roadmap will go a long way to increasing your healing effectiveness. And to take it one step further, […]


  16. Hobert

    <3 Power Auras! Mine shows a GIANT green leaf whenever I have failed to press Wild Growth the second it is available.

    This leaf takes up a quarter of my screen in the bottom left, so it's not like I CAN'T see the fight. It's just, I'd be enjoying the fight a lot more if the leaf wasn't cluttering up my screen. So in a way it forces me to press 1 for Wild Growth.



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