User Interface Part 3 – Unit Frames

If you’re still using the default Blizzard UI for your unit and raid frames, you could be doing much better! There are a number of great unit frame mods around. My addons of preference are X-Perl Unit Frames and Grid. Both are highly customizable and can show you a lot of information in a very neat little package.

X-Perl Unit Frames

X-Perl Unit Frames is what I use for self, focus, target and target-of-target frames.

Xperl unit frames

Since I use Grid for my raid frames, the first thing I do when setting up X-Perl is turn off the built-in party and raid frames (I also make sure to turn off the Blizzard party frames in the interface options). You don’t want a million frames on your screen. I also turn off the self buffs option, because I use default Blizzard buffs at the top right of my screen.

Open the X-Perl configuration menu by clicking the button on your minimap. When the menu is open, you can click and drag your frames to position them where you want them. X-Perl has large set of options that control how your frames look. I suggest playing around with them to see what you like. Here are a few of the options I find especially helpful:

Global:

  • Fat Health Bars – This makes the health bars wider than the default and I find them easier to see.
  • Buff Cooldown/Buff Countdown – Shows the time remaining on your buffs and debuffs on your target.

Player:

  • Player Portrait, 3D Portrait – This adds 3D pictures to your frames. Not overly useful, but it looks nice.
  • PVP Flag – Shows when you are flagged
  • Values – Shows absolute health and mana values
  • Percent – Shows percentage of health and mana
  • Cast bar – Shows your or your targets cast bar within their frame.
Xperl cast bar


Target

  • As with my Player frame, I use the options to show 3D portrait, values, percent and cast bar.
  • Target’s target – Shows an extra frame for this person/mob.
  • Enable Buffs, Big Buffs, Pet Too – Displays your buffs on your target larger than buffs from other players. Also shows buffs that come from your pets. The Pets Too option  is good to have on fights which use vehicles, like Flame Leviathan, as your vehicle counts as a pet.
  • Enable Debuffs, Big Buffs – Displays your debuffs on your target larger than debuffs from other players.

Grid

Grid is a raid unit frame addon, and I find it absolutely indispensible, especially when combined with Clique (I’ll get to Clique in my next post). There are other raid frame mods, such as Healbot and VuhDo (which I hear is excellent), but Grid has been my mod of choice for a couple years now. When set up properly, Grid can let you know pretty much everything that is going on in your raid.

Grid raid frames - druid UI

There are a number of extra Grid modules I use to make it even more informative. These are:
Grid Indicator Corner Text – Adds text indicators in the corners of the Grid frame. I use this for keeping track of the duration of my HoTs.
Grid Status HoTs – Adds timers for any spell with a HoT component. Essential for druids.
Grid Status Lifebloom – Shows the time remaining on your lifebloom, color-coded to show how many stacks are up.
Grid Status Raid Debuff – Displays all debuffs applied to players in raids.
Grid Mana Bars – Displays mana bars. Let’s me know when someone could use my Innervate more than me. Also great for shamans to see when their group is in need of a Mana Tide Totem.

How Grid looks is extremely customizable. There are three main menus in the Grid setup. Frame allows you to assign which spells and effects you want to be shown and where they are displayed. Layout is used to adjust the size, shape and spacing of the raid frames. Status is used to add new buffs/debuffs and specify how each effect is displayed.

Frame
When you go into the Frame menu, you will see all the regions of Grid where effects can be displayed. When you click on one, you will see a list of the effects you can assign to that region. Just check the boxes next to the effects you want to display.  Here is my setup:

  • Border – My target
  • Center Text – Unit name
  • Center Text 2 – Death warning, Lifebloom Duration, Lifebloom Stack
  • Center Icon – Raid Debuff, Ready Check
  • Top Left – Aggro alert
  • Corner Text Top Right – My Wild Growth
  • Corner Text Bottom Left – My Rejuvenation
  • Corner Text Bottom Right – My Regrowth
  • Mana Bar – Mana
Grid HoT tracking

In the advanced options, you can specify the size and placement of the mana bar and the font for any text displayed. You can also set the orientation of your frames, either vertical (what I have) or horizontal. This will change direction the health bars go.

Layout
Use Layout to specify the size and shape of your frames. I display mine as small boxes, so my frames take up as little room as possible. Play around with the options until you find a setup that works for you.

Status
From the staus menu, you can add new buffs and debuffs (if you dont want to use Grid Status Raid Debuffs), as well as specify the colours used for each effect on Grid. For example, my aggro alert is red. My Lifebloom stacks changes from yellow to orange to green depending on the number of stacks. In the status menu you can also filter out raid buffs that you don’t want to see, or assign them lower priority so more important buffs will be displayed first.

Druids love their raid frames. If you don’t like my Grid setup, take a look at Rejuvo, Dreambound or Tree Bark Jacket for some other ideas. Edit: Check out One More Alt for a very comprehensive guide on how to set up Grid. Zahia isn’t a druid (nobody’s perfect), but this is an excellent guide that should clear up any confusion you have about what all the different configuration options do.

Public Service Announcement

Now, I have something very important to tell everyone. Grid (or raid frames in general) is not just for healers. That’s right, repeat after me: Grid is not just for healers. Do you have a spell you need to cast on others during combat (Innervate, Battle Rez, Misdirect, Tricks of the Trade, Hysteria, Hand of Salvation)? Use Grid. Are you a class that is capable of getting rid of poisons, diseases, curses or magic effects? Use Grid. Do you participate in raid fights like Blood Queen Lana’thel where you need to be able to see who in the raid still needs to be bitten? Use Grid. Are we noticing a trend here? Grid is an excellent tool that will give any raider a better understanding of what is going on with the rest of their raid. This makes you play better and look good to your raid leaders.


User Interface posts:

Part 1 – General UI Info

Part 2 – Action Bars
Part 3 – Unit Frames
Part 4 – Key Bindings
Part 5 – Combat Text and Notifications

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