Tag Archives: UI

The Witcher 3: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (part 2)

Creating a game with a huge open world like The Witcher leaves a lot of room for error. When the world is so big, the systems are numerous and complex, and there is so much to do and see, it’s not easy to capture every issue in QA nor please everyone with the decisions made. Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of issues.

The Bad

Saves

Let’s start with the big one. I’m playing on XBox One and there’s an issue where the game will just stop saving your progress. Autosave won’t trigger, trying to manually save will return a message saying you can’t save at this time. If you die during this time, the game hangs indefinitely on the load screen. I’ve run into this 3 times and each time ended up losing a couple hours of gameplay. The cause seems to be allowing your game to get suspended, either by leaving it running with no activity or using another game/application without quitting the game. A hard reset is required to fix it. Now that I know the cause I can avoid it, and the developers have said they’re working on a patch, but still – this is really bad.

Accessibility

There are a number of easily fixable accessibility issues. For such a big world, a lot of things are really small.  The font size for text is tiny. It’s likely okay on PC, but as someone who plays on console and sitting 8 feet away from the TV, I really have to strain to read things. The subtitles for speech aren’t so bad, but it’s very difficult to read anything in the menus. Thankfully, this is something that will be patched soon. There’s also a bit of an issue with the symbols on the map. Areas you haven’t completed are indicated by a white symbol, while places you’ve finished are indicated by a slightly darker kind of grey, but really still looks white, because it’s so small symbol.

The Witcher 3 - map

I’m also a bit annoyed that the zone maps are so large that there are (many) times when you can’t zoom out far enough to see both your current location and your objective at the same time. The above image shows the zone map fully zoomed out, and it only shows about a quarter of the zone. Plus, if you zoom out any further, you end up on the world map and annoyingly have to reselect the zone to go back.

Combat

Combat is clunky. I know this isn’t necessarily an opinion shared by all, but I find the animations for each sword swing overly long and you need to wait until they’re completed before you can do anything else. This results in me furiously spamming my Sign button as I’m fighting, trying to finish off a sword strike with some fire to the face, and the game just not responding. It gets worse when you fight multiple enemies as they often come up and hit from behind while you’re still finishing your swing on another opponent and there’s nothing you can do about it. When things are going smoothly it’s not so noticeable but when you’re surrounded or against a tougher enemy, it seems like there’s a frustrating delay between each action.

One thing they did in this game is have Geralt automatically draw the correct sword for the opponent he’s fighting, which is great. When it works. About 5% of the time I find Geralt won’t draw any sword (especially if combat starts after a cutscene) and he’ll just start punching things. The clunky combat is really noticeable here, as if you instinctively do an attack when combat starts, you need to wait for the animation to complete before the game will respond to your command to draw a sword.

UI

The Witcher 3 - inventory screen

Most games, but huge open world RPGs in particular, really need better UI design. The Witcher 3 is no exception. Let’s start with the inventory screen. What a mess. First, there are just way too many items. I just counted and I have 183 items in my Alchemy and Crafting tab. There’s no custom sorting. There’s no search. It’s just a page full of stuff I know very little about.The huge amount of items in The Witcher doesn’t benefit the game in any way. I don’t need to pick up broken rakes or empty vials to be immersed in the world, they really just add clutter. Likewise, it would be easy enough to have fewer herbs and magical ingredients and just use the remaining in more recipes. At the moment I have 16 green mutagens in my inventory. Why? And why aren’t they all at least grouped together in my inventory? Do we really need both leather scraps and leather straps? You can craft or disassemble one into the other, so it makes me question why the need for that extra step.

When it comes to vendors one of my biggest complaints, that I’ve have for the whole series, is that the game gives you no indication if you already have a recipe or a book when you see it for sale. Reading books will often add entries to your bestiary or markers to the map, but only the first time you read it. Since there are dozens (maybe hundreds) of books in the game, it’s hard to keep track of what you’ve already read and what is worth buying. I probably waste a lot of money because of this.

A few other things

It’s nice to have an equine companion in game, but Roach sure is fussy. He listens to your commands when he feels like it, but bridges or changes in terrain will often make him come to a standstill. Also, Geralt’s verbal commands (slower, faster) often don’t even remotely correspond to my inputs.

Repairs. What a chore and a gold sink, especially at the start of the game when gold is hard to come by. Give me convenience over realism any day.

The Witcher 3 - lighting candles

And then there are the candles. So many candles and you can light, or extinguish, all of them! Sometimes the candles are right beside an object you’d like to pick up, or a person you’d like to talk to. It’s no fun having to re-position your camera until you can finally interact with the right thing, rather than playing with a stupid candle over and over again. In the above picture, the candle is laying across a book. Why would I want to light that?! Unless there’s a ‘burn the house down’ objective, don’t let me interact with this. This is going to be patched soon – “Geralt will not longer interact with candles near chests and other interactive elements.” Really, I don’t see a need to be able to interact with candles at all. Light a brazier or torch in a dark dungeon – sure. Candles in houses? No thanks.


Most of these issues aren’t huge, but put together they result in a lot of frustration. Hopefully upcoming patches will resolve a few of these but I have to say, when I buy a game on release day I expect a finished product.

All is not lost, next time I’ll talk about all the things I love about The Witcher 3.

Jasyla’s Resto Druid UI

It’s been a while since I’ve done a UI post and it’s been updated a fair bit over the last year or so.

A good UI is an important aspect of raiding, especially for healers. Having all the information I need on-screen and placing somewhere easily visible (but without causing unnecessary clutter) helps a lot with my awareness and reaction times.

I need to make sure my UI tells me everything I need to know. As a resto druid and healing lead, here are the important things:

  • The health levels of the whole raid
  • The mana levels of the raid
  • Who has a debuff that I can get rid of
  • Who has a debuff that needs to be healed through
  • When my abilities are off cooldown
  • Who my HoTs are ticking on and for how long
  • Who has aggro
  • Who is out of range
  • When a boss is casting or using a special ability
  • The status of everyone’s healing/mitigation cooldowns
  • When other healers are using certain abilities

To me, determining the things that are not important and can be cleared from my screen is almost as important as determining the things that are important. Things like trade skills, mounts, spells I never use in raids, and holiday items do not need to be visible on my screen. I don’t even use healing/threat meters in my UI because I feel like they take up too much space (and I’d rather look at healing in World of Logs anyway).

Here’s what my UI looks like while in a raid (though I usually have my achievement tracking turned off).

Resto Druid PVE raid UI

And one while in combat:

Resto Druid PVE raid UI in combat

Here are the addons I use:

Action Bars

Dominos bar addon
Dominos is my main bar mod. With it I can arrange my action bars as I like. One of my favourite things about this addon is the ‘faded opacity’ settings. With this I can keep abilities that aren’t used much in combat (mounts, bags, menu buttons, and in my case dps abilities) on my bars but have them invisible until I mouse over them. In the above screenshot all the bars outlined in red are normally hidden.

GreenRange turns buttons red when abilities are out of range.

OmniCC cooldown counter addon

OmniCC adds numerical countdowns to abilities that are on cooldown so you can tell exactly when they’ll be ready for use again.

Frames

X-Perl unit frame addon

X-Perl is what I use for my self, target, target-of-target, focus and pet (if applicable) frames. I also use the X-Perl cast bar.

VuhDo raid frames

VuhDo is what I use for healing. I made the switch to it from Clique a few years ago and now I can’t imagine using anything else. I use VuhDo to keep track of everything I need to know about the raid (health, mana, debuffs, my HoTs) and I do all my healing through VuhDo’s built-in mouse bindings.

Tidy Plates addon

Tidy Plates are tidy (duh) and customizable name plates. I use the Grey/Damage theme.

Combat Text and Notifications

Deadly Boss Mods

Deadly Boss Mods is what I use for raiding. I keep the boss timers off to the side of my screen and then they move front and center when an ability is about to happen.

Mik's Scrolling Battle Text

Mik Scrolling Battle Text makes it easier to see combat information like your healing done and incoming damage and heals. I used to use the font MS Porky’s just to drive people crazy, but I just changed it to match my X-Perl and VuhDo font.

ORA3

oRA3 is a raid assisting addon. I mainly use it to track raid healing and mitigation cooldowns.

Restoration Druid Power Auras
Power Auras Classic
gives big, visual (and sometimes audio as well) reminders. I use this to track when spells are available for use and my Harmony uptime. I previously wrote a post on my power auras.

Raeli’s Spell Announcer (not shown) announces when I use certain spells in whichever chat channel I choose. I like for all my healers to use this mod so we can all see when a cooldown is being used in healer chat.

Fatality (not shown) announces the last damage a person took before they died. Usually the raid leader uses this, but I make sure to turn mine on if she’s not in the raid. I feel lost without knowing immediately what killed someone (and if I could have prevented it).

Other Nifty Things

SexyMap

SexyMap sexifies my minimap. It makes it look all leafy and druid-like and hide all buttons until I mouse over the map.

Prat 3.0 (not pictured) is what I use for my chat frame. The main thing I use it for is to move the text input box so there’s no longer a gap between the frame and the bottom of my screen.

My VuhDo Spell Bindings (also works with Clique!)

If you were to ask me what my most essential mod for raid healing was, I would say VuhDo, hands down (6 months ago the answer would have been Grid + Clique). Besides providing an awesome set of compact raid frames that shows me everything I need to know, VuhDo includes spell click-cast bindings that you can set up however you want.

A little while ago Beruthiel wrote a post sharing her bindings which I though was a fantastic idea, so now I’m going to share mine.

Why Click-Cast?

I’ve tried healing in a number of ways. When I was a noob, I used to manually click on a raid frame then click on a spell (my god, how did I keep anyone alive?), I’ve tried the method of clicking on a raid frame then pressing a keybind, but for the last 3 or 4 years I’ve been using click-casting. I’ve found this to be the fastest way to heal. You never have to worry about having the correct person targeted, just mouseover their frame, use the appropriate click+modifier and bam! they’re healed.

Mouse

My mouse is Microsoft wireless laser 7000 with 5 buttons. It’s not specifically made for gaming but  it suits me just fine.

Microsoft wireless laser 5-button mouse 7000

My fiance recently bought the Cataclysm gaming mouse (that thing is HUGE, you need big bear paws to hold it – it reminds me of the original Xbox controller) so he have me his old Logitech gaming mouse. However, I’ve gotten so used to my own that it just didn’t feel right, so I continue to use mine.

Bindings

Since I raid on 2 different healing classes I need a good set of binds that will cause as little confusion as possible when I switch characters. Luckily, resto druid and disc priest spells are highly congruous so I’m able to bind similar spells to the same buttons.

Bindings are made using a combination of the left and right mouse buttons (1&2) and the buttons on the side of the mouse (4&5) combined with the modifiers Shift, Control and Alt.  I use my middle mouse button as my push-to-talk key for Ventrilo.

Here are my bindings for both classes:

No modifier

Binding Druid Spell Priest Spell
Button 1 target target
Button 2
Button 4 Barkskin Prayer of Mending
Button 5 Healthstone Inner Focus

Shift modifier

Binding Druid Spell Priest Spell
Button 1 Lifebloom Power Word: Shield
Button 2 Rejuvenation Renew
Button 4 Remove Corruption Dispel Magic
Button 5 Cure Disease

Control modifier

Binding Druid Spell Priest Spell
Button 1 Wild Growth Prayer of Healing
Button 2 Regrowth Flash Heal
Button 4 Healing Touch Greater Heal
Button 5 Binding Heal

Alt modifier

Binding Druid Spell Priest Spell
Button 1 Swiftmend Penance
Button 2 Nourish Heal
Button 4 Innervate Power Infusion
Button 5 Tree of Life Leap of Faith

There are a number of abilities that I do not bind to my mouse, mostly because they are things I don’t want to hit by accident or I just don’t have enough binds for them. I keep the following abilities on a bar right beside my unit frames, so I just click on them when I need to use them:

Druid:
Battle Rez
Tranquility

Priest:
Divine Hymn
Hymn of Hope
Shadowfiend
Pain Suppression
Holy Nova
Mass Dispel
Power Word: Barrier

Both:
Healtstones, mana pots, on-use trinkets

I do not have any offensive abilities bound.

Raid Frame Showdown: Blizzard, Grid, VuhDo

Three raid frames enter. One raid frame leaves.

As a healer, my raid frames are the most important part of my user interface. If you had asked me 2 months ago what my raid frames of choice were I would have said Grid, hands down. This is both because it is an excellent addon that tells me everything I need to know but also because I’m stubborn and refused to try out any others. After patch 4.0.1 Grid hit me with some very annoying issues that caused the most important parts, the HoT timers, to stop working as I liked. This gave me a very good excuse to broaden my horizons and try out some new raid frames, namely the default Blizzard raid frames and VuhDo. Here’s my evaluation of them. For the TLDR version, skip down to the summary.

Blizzard Raid Frames

I’m going to insert a big spoiler here and tell you that the default raid frames do not win this contest. However, they underwent a major overhaul recently and I thought they deserved a proper look.

Customization and Options

Customization of the default raid frames is extremely limited. You can change the size of the frames, though even the smallest settings are still very large, you can choose to display class colours or leave everyone green, you can also choose whether or not you want to see things such as incoming heals, aggro, power bars, and debuffs.

Blizzard raid frame options
The default raid frames don’t allow for nearly as much customization as I’d like. The biggest problem for me is the size. I like to keep my raid frames as small as possible so I get a good view of the action rather than have the raid frames take up too much space on my screen. The size of the smallest setting needs to be cut in half in order to make me happy. I also prefer vertical health bars, which is not an option.

Aesthetics

I’ve set up the Blizzard raid frames to my liking, as much as the limited options allowed. Here they are:

Blizzard raid frames

The raid frames really aren’t bad-looking. The things I like most are the incoming heals and the raid roles clearly indicated on everyone’s frame. However, there are many things I don’t like. As I mentioned already, the frames are too big. I also think the percentages are unnecessary.

Information Displayed – HoTs and Debuffs

Default raid frames - HoT displayYour own HoTs are shown in the bottom right corner of the raid frame, represented by the spell icon. There are no numerical countdowns to tell you how long the duration is but it does show time left though shading. Only three HoTs are shown at a time. There are no options to change the size or display of the icons. As you can see in the above example, with mana bars showing and the smallest setting, HoT icons cover the health percentage display.

Default raid frames - Debuff displayDebuffs are shown in the bottom left corner. There is an option to show only dispellable debuffs.

Ease of Use

Lack of options make the default raid frames very easy to set up.

Grid

I’ve been a staunch Grid supporter for almost as long as I’ve been healing. It is highly customizable and can show you everything you need to know to heal effectively.

Customization and Options

Grid can be customized in many ways.

Grid frame options
You can change the fonts, size of the notification icons, how many characters of each person’s name displayed…

Grid layout options
Size of the raid frames can be anything from teeny, tiny to very large. You can set it to expand/contract to a certain number of groups based on your circumstances.

Grid Indicator options
Triggers (HoTs, debuffs, aggro, etc.) can be set to appear in the area of your choice. You have the option to show things in the four corners, on the four sides (requires an additional mod), in the center of the frame or as a border.

Grid Options - auras

You can customize how the triggers display by changing the colour, priority or adding filters. You can add custom buffs and debuffs, or use a mod like GridStatusRaidDebuffs to add them all for you.

Aesthetics

Grid Raid Frames
Grid has a nice, compact layout. Of course, it all depends on how you set it up, but Grid can really look any way you want it to. My favorite parts of Grid are:
1) debuffs shown as icons so I know exactly what people are affected by;
2) numerical countdowns to let me know how long my HoTs are ticking for.

Information Displayed

Grid HoT tracking
I have a separate countdown timer for each of my HoTs, displayed in different areas of the frame. This makes it very easy to tell, at a glance, which HoTs are up and how much longer they will tick for. The Lifebloom counter is colour-coded to tell me how many stacks are up.

Debuffs are shown as an icon in the middle of the frame. I do not use a generic trigger to tell me when I can dispel something (though you can), instead I learn to recognize all the icons.

Ease of Use

With many options comes much confusion. I’ve introduced a few people to Grid and they were quite overwhelmed by it at first. The menus are not very intuitive and it does take quite a bit of work in order to turn the out-of-the-box frames into something usable and informative.

For me, the biggest downside to Grid is the number of addons you need in order to get it working optimally. Search for Grid on Curse and you will get 3 pages of results. In addition to the main addon, I use extra modules in order to show: side indicators, text indicators, mana bars, HoT timers, raid debuffs. As you can imagine this makes staying up to date a bit of a pain. They are not all updated at the same time and occasionally (like after 4.0.1) this can cause problems.

Vuhdo

No longer the new kid on the block, VuhDo has been around for a while. Those who use it swear by it, so I finally decided to test it out.

Customization and Options

VuhDo has almost every single option for customization that I could want.

VuhDo size options

Customize the scale, size and spacing of your raid frames.

VuhDo HoT options

Customize where you want your HoTs displayed on the frame (2 layout options with a total of 7 spaces for HoT icons), which HoT goes where, how big they are and how they look.

VuhDo debuff options

Decide where to display debuffs and how they look. You can set sound alerts or animations to draw extra attention to certain debuffs or set it up so the frames change colour to indicate what type of debuff is present (not pictured).

VuhDo mouse bindings

You can assign your spells to mouse keys, add keybinds and set smart casts.

Aesthetics

VuhDo Raid frames 2
I’ve set up Vuhdo so it looks almost identical to Grid. The frames are a little brighter, and there are many different textures to choose from for the frame backgrounds. HoTs are shown with both icons and countdown timers which I really like. The only aesthetic problem I have is that there is no option to make mana bars vertical (if I’m wrong about this, please let me know).

Information Displayed

Vuhdo HoT tracking

All my HoTs are displayed in their own part of the frames. The icon for each HoT is displayed along with the countdown for how long it will tick for. This makes the frames very easy to read. Lifebloom has an extra counter to show the number of stacks.

Debuffs are shown in two ways. First, the icon is displayed in the top left corner along with a countdown timer. Second, name of the player changes colour to let me know what type of debuff they are affected by (blue for magic, purple for curse, green for poison).

VuhDo out of rangeThere is also a nifty feature that shows which direction people are, relative to you, when they are out of range to make finding them easier.

Ease of Use

As with Grid, the huge number of options makes setup a little complicated. A nice thing about VuhDo is that the option screens are clear and full of large, well-labelled, colourful buttons and tabs. When setting it up I was able to figure out most things fairly quickly, but did have to resort to Tam’s excellent guide a couple of times to figure out some of the options.

The best thing about VuhDo is that you get everything – frames, HoT timers, debuffs, mana bars, click-bindings – all in one addon.

Summary

Blizzard Raid Frames

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Part of the standard UI – adds no extra memory usage to your game
  • Each person’s raid role is clearly displayed

Cons:

  • Lack of options
  • Frames are too large
  • Can only display up to 3 HoTs
  • No numerical countdowns for HoTs

Verdict: The default raid frames have improved immensely, but they still aren’t quite there for healers who want to track everything that’s going on. Customization options are very limited. If there was an option to scale down the size of the frames further, I would use the default raid frames on dps characters, but as they are now these frames do not fulfill my healing needs.

Grid

Pros:

  • Extremely customizable
  • Compact and attractive (once it’s set up correctly)
  • Extendable – there are many modules available to help you track any specialized spells or information

Cons:

  • Menus are not very intuitive
  • Takes time to set up
  • Need for separate modules makes staying up to date a bit of a pain

Verdict: Grid, combined with the click-healing mod Clique, has provided me with everything I need for in a raid frame for years. There are a ton of options which let you customize the appearance and information displayed to suit your needs. The biggest downside to Grid is that you need multiple addons installed in order to have a complete raid frame package. Most modules are maintained by different developers which means they are not all updated at once and can lead to problems.

VuhDo

Pros:

  • Extremely customizable
  • Compact and attractive (when set up properly)
  • Includes everything you need to see on your frames in one mod
  • Includes built-in click binding assignments
  • Menus are attractive and mostly straightforward

Cons:

  • Takes time to set up
  • No option for vertical mana bars

Verdict: VuhDo has a ton of customization options and can be set up in almost any way you could think of. All HoT timers, debuffs and notification options are included in a single addon. With its built-in click and keybindings, it provides everything I need to stay informed and heal effectively.

Conclusion

In terms of aesthetics and ability to display the information I need Grid and VuhDo are neck-and-neck. Both show me everything I need to know in a compact and attractive package.

In terms of setup, both mods do take a bit of work. VuhDo has a slight advantage in this area as the option screens are cleaner and more intuitive.

The biggest difference between Grid and VuhDo is the number of mods needed to get it to work effectively. In order to set up Grid as I like I need 7 or 8 different mods, for VuhDo I just need one. Because of this, VuhDo is now my raid frame addon of choice.

Winner

VuhDo!

Resto Druid Power Aura Strings

Power Auras Classic is a very useful mod that gives you visual cues when certain events happen. It is insanely customizable and can be used to tell you when cooldowns are up, when procs happen, when buffs are missing and a hundred other things.

I use power auras on my druid to let me know when certain spells are off coooldown and when I’m getting low on mana. All my auras are positioned closely around my character so they’re easy to see.

Here are the strings for my resto druid power auras:

Swiftmend

Icon appears when Swiftmend is ready for use.

Swiftmend Power AuraVersion:st3.0.0J; gcd:bofalse; b:nu0.83529411764706; anim1:nu1; g:nu0.50196078431373; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; Instance25ManHeroic:nu0; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterfaceIconsINV_Relics_IdolofRejuvenation; size:nu0.1799999922514; torsion:nu1; r:nu1; Instance5ManHeroic:nu0; begin:nu0; x:nu-34; customsoundend:st; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu15; stacks:nu0; focus:bofalse; Instance10ManHeroic:nu0; raid:bofalse; texture:nu23; alpha:nu0.90000003576279; aurastext:st; InstanceBg:nu0; symetrie:nu1; spec1:botrue; randomcolor:bofalse; owntex:bofalse; isResting:bofalse; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; Instance5Man:nu0; sound:nu0; InactiveDueToState:botrue; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; id:nu1; HideRequest:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; Active:bofalse; anim2:nu0; wowtex:botrue; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; soundend:nu0; beginSpin:bofalse; InstanceArena:nu0; inParty:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; GTFO:nu0; aurastextfont:nu1; stance:nu10; spec2:botrue; Instance10Man:nu0; customtex:bofalse; PvP:nu0; Instance25Man:nu0; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; inRaid:nu0; combat:botrue; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; buffname:stSwiftmend; y:nu-50; off:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; party:bofalse; finish:nu1

Wild Growth

Icon appears when Wild Growth is ready for use.

Wild Growth Power AuraVersion:st3.0.0J; gcd:bofalse; b:nu0.45098039215686; anim1:nu1; g:nu1; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; Instance25ManHeroic:nu0; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterfaceIconsAbility_Druid_Flourish; size:nu0.1799999922514; torsion:nu1; r:nu0.32156862745098; Instance5ManHeroic:nu0; begin:nu0; x:nu31; customsoundend:st; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu15; stacks:nu0; focus:bofalse; Instance10ManHeroic:nu0; raid:bofalse; texture:nu23; alpha:nu0.90000003576279; aurastext:st; InstanceBg:nu0; symetrie:nu0; spec1:botrue; randomcolor:bofalse; owntex:bofalse; isResting:bofalse; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; Instance5Man:nu0; sound:nu0; InactiveDueToState:botrue; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; id:nu2; HideRequest:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; Active:bofalse; anim2:nu0; wowtex:botrue; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; soundend:nu0; beginSpin:bofalse; InstanceArena:nu0; inParty:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; GTFO:nu0; aurastextfont:nu1; stance:nu10; spec2:botrue; Instance10Man:nu0; customtex:bofalse; PvP:nu0; Instance25Man:nu0; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; inRaid:nu0; combat:botrue; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; buffname:stWild Growth; y:nu-50; off:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; party:bofalse; finish:nu1

Barkskin

Icon appears when Barkskin is ready for use.

Barkskin Power AuraVersion:st3.0.0J; gcd:bofalse; Active:bofalse; isSecondary:bofalse; g:nu0.63921568627451; thresholdinvert:bofalse; tooltipCheck:st; Instance25ManHeroic:nu0; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; InactiveDueToState:botrue; beginSpin:bofalse; buffname:stBarkskin; r:nu1; Instance5ManHeroic:nu0; y:nu-72; x:nu0; customsoundend:st; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; spec1:botrue; bufftype:nu15; party:bofalse; focus:bofalse; Instance10ManHeroic:nu0; raid:bofalse; texture:nu29; alpha:nu0.75; aurastext:st; InstanceBg:nu0; randomcolor:bofalse; owntex:bofalse; isResting:bofalse; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; HideRequest:bofalse; Instance5Man:nu0; anim2:nu0; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; symetrie:nu0; b:nu0.047058823529412; threshold:nu50; off:bofalse; anim1:nu1; optunitn:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; icon:stInterfaceIconsSpell_Nature_StoneClawTotem; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:botrue; size:nu0.12999999523163; InstanceArena:nu0; inParty:nu0; torsion:nu1; begin:nu0; aurastextfont:nu1; unitn:st; stacks:nu0; Instance10Man:nu0; Instance25Man:nu0; PvP:nu0; speed:nu1; sound:nu0; exact:bofalse; inRaid:nu0; id:nu4; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; soundend:nu0; GTFO:nu0; stance:nu10; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; spec2:botrue; customtex:bofalse; finish:nu1

Nature’s Swiftness

Icon appears when Nature’s Swiftness is ready for use.

Nature's Swiftness Power AuraVersion:st3.0.0J; gcd:bofalse; Active:bofalse; isSecondary:bofalse; g:nu0.81176470588235; thresholdinvert:bofalse; tooltipCheck:st; Instance25ManHeroic:nu0; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; InactiveDueToState:botrue; beginSpin:bofalse; buffname:stNature’s Swiftness; r:nu0.15294117647059; Instance5ManHeroic:nu0; y:nu-10; x:nu0; customsoundend:st; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; spec1:botrue; bufftype:nu15; party:bofalse; focus:bofalse; Instance10ManHeroic:nu0; raid:bofalse; texture:nu33; symetrie:nu0; alpha:nu0.85000002384186; aurastext:st; InstanceBg:nu0; randomcolor:bofalse; owntex:bofalse; isResting:bofalse; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; HideRequest:bofalse; Instance5Man:nu0; anim2:nu0; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; b:nu1; threshold:nu50; off:bofalse; anim1:nu1; optunitn:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; icon:stInterfaceIconsSpell_Nature_RavenForm; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:botrue; size:nu0.37000000476837; InstanceArena:nu0; inParty:nu0; torsion:nu1; begin:nu0; aurastextfont:nu1; unitn:st; stacks:nu0; Instance10Man:nu0; Instance25Man:nu0; PvP:nu0; speed:nu1; sound:nu0; exact:bofalse; inRaid:nu0; id:nu7; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; soundend:nu0; GTFO:nu0; stance:nu10; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; spec2:botrue; customtex:bofalse; finish:nu1

Mana

Graphic appears when I reach 70% mana, along with a radar “blip” sound.

Low mana Power AuraVersion:st3.0.0J; gcd:bofalse; b:nu1; anim1:nu1; g:nu1; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; Instance25ManHeroic:nu0; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterfaceiconsSpell_fire_meteorstorm; size:nu0.75; torsion:nu1; r:nu1; Instance5ManHeroic:nu0; begin:nu0; x:nu0; customsoundend:st; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu9; stacks:nu0; focus:bofalse; Instance10ManHeroic:nu0; raid:bofalse; texture:nu2; alpha:nu0.75; aurastext:st; InstanceBg:nu0; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:bofalse; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; spec1:botrue; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; Instance5Man:nu0; sound:nu23; randomcolor:bofalse; InactiveDueToState:bofalse; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; threshold:nu70; exact:bofalse; id:nu3; HideRequest:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; Active:bofalse; anim2:nu0; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; soundend:nu0; beginSpin:bofalse; InstanceArena:nu0; inParty:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; GTFO:nu0; aurastextfont:nu1; stance:nu10; spec2:botrue; Instance10Man:nu0; customtex:bofalse; PvP:nu0; Instance25Man:nu0; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; inRaid:nu0; combat:nu0; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; buffname:st???; y:nu-30; off:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; party:bofalse; finish:nu1

You can import any of these strings and make manual adjustments if you want to change the icons, colours or add sounds and animations.

How to import a power aura string:

  • Copy the text of the string you want to import (highlight and press CRTL + C on a PC)
  • Open the Power Auras configuration menu by typing /powa
  • Click the Import button
  • Paste (CTRL + V) the string into the text box
  • For more infomation on creating or modifying your own power auras see my UI post.

Hunter UI

I’ve finally morphed my hunter’s UI into something I’m willing to share.

My hunter UI is similar to my druid UI and I use most of the same addons. The biggest difference is what the focus of my screen is. On my druid, the focus is Grid. On my hunter my focus is my ability bars, my own unit frame and my target’s unit frame.

As a raiding hunter, the things I need know are:

  • When my abilities are available to use
  • When stuff procs (trinkets, armor bonuses)
  • The position and health of mobs
  • The duration of my DoTs and debuffs on my target
  • When the boss is using a special ability
  • My threat level
  • When a mob is enraged or casting an interruptable spell

Other things I like to know:

  • The status of the rest of my raid group (health, dead, debuffed, out of range)
  • Who has aggro
  • How much damage I’m doing

The abilities I need to have extremely fast access to:

  • Umm…all of them. Main damage abilities, traps, pet abilities, aspects, life-saving abilities, misdirect, tranq shot, cooldowns. I have lots of buttons to press.

Here’s an action shot of my UI (click for full-size version):

Hunter UI

Here’s a brief rundown of the addons I use:

Action Bars

Dominos, OmniCC, ButtonRange (not shown)

Hunter UI - Dominos bar mod
  • I use Dominos to place my actions bars at the bottom middle of my screen, so my eyes don’t have to track too far between my character and my abilities. I also set the size to 85% so they take up less room. I use faded action bars for my menu options, bags and buttons that are not used in combat (mounts, mage food).
  • OmniCC adds countdown timers to my abilities that are on cooldown (see on Chimera and Aimed Shot above)
  • ButtonRange turns your ability butttons red when your target is out of range.


OPie

Hunter UI - OPie
  • OPie creates radial menus for different ability types which are brought up by pressing the keybinding you assign to them.
  • I use OPie for Aspects, Traps, Pet Maintenance and Trade Skills – things I want fast access to, but do not need to see at all times.

Frames

X-Perl Unit Frames

Hunter UI - Xperl unit frames
  • I use Xperl for self, pet, target, target of target and focus frames.
  • For my target’s frame I make sure to check the options: Enable Buffs and Big Buffs so I can clearly see my own debuffs on the boss, along with timers for how long they will last (seen on Serpent Sting and Piercing Shots above). I use this in place of any additional DoT timers.


Grid

Hunter UI - Grid raid frames
  • I like to know what’s going on with the whole raid group. I use Grid to see debuffs, health, range, aggro and incoming heals.


Tidy Plates

Hunter UI - Tidy Plates
  • As the name suggests, these name plates are much tidier than the default ones. They also look much nicer when stacked.

Combat Text and Notifications

Deadly Boss Mods

Hunter UI - Deadly Boss Mods
  • This one is self-explanatory. The only modification I make is to move the timers close to my target frame so they’re easy to see.

Mik Scrolling Battle Text

Hunter UI - Mik Scrolling Combat Text
  • Seeing 30k Kill Shots pop up on my screen always puts a smile on my face. I remove my pet’s damage as well as energy gains to cut down on the amount of spam from this mod.

Power Auras Classic

Hunter UI - Power Auras
  • Most of my Power Auras were taken from the great set posted at The Huntsmen’s Lodge. I copied the strings then modified the icons, colours and sounds to my liking. I use PowerAuras to notify me when:
    • Armor/trinket bonuses proc (with timers)
    • Kill Shot is ready
    • Hunter’s Mark missing from my target
    • Serpent Sting is missing from my target
    • Rapid Fire is up (with timer)
    • I’m low on mana (not shown here)
    • My pet is low on health (not shown here)

Other Good Stuff

Clique

  • I use Clique for two things: Misdirect and Master’s Call. With Clique all I have to do is use the appropriate mouse button over the tank’s unit frame in order to cast an MD. I never have to change my target and I don’t need to worry about focus macros.


Omen
and Recount

  • Aggro bad.
  • Hunters at the top of the damage meter, good.

Sexy Map

  • Gives the minimap a nice frame and hides all buttons until you mouse-over it.

Prat

  • Prat cleans up the chat frame. It enables me to move the text input box, so there is no longer a gap between the bottom of the chat frame and the bottom of my screen. It also lets me get rid of the scroll arrows and Social button.

Recommended Reading

I’m feeling a little blogged-out recently. Not a whole lot is going on in game. Druid is plugging away at hard modes (currently 8/12), Hunter is working on normal 25s (10/12) and heroic 10s (7/12) when I can make the raids. I also recently got another character to 80. However, I seem to be suffering from a case of writer’s block and can’t think of anything I want to blog about right now.

So instead, here are some great posts from other blogs about one of my favorite topics, User Interface:

Kae at Dreambound talks about layout and positioning mods. Complete with cute stick figures!

Ecclesiastical Discipline talks about designing a UI from scratch.

Hots & DoTs shows off a shadow priest UI.

The Huntsman’s Lodge provides Power Aura code strings for pretty much everything a hunter needs to know. I have borrowed quite a few of these myself.

Lastly, while not strictly UI related (although there is a section on addons), Keeva at Tree Bark Jacket has created an awesome and extremely thorough guide to playing a resto druid. Everything you ever wanted to know about trees but were afraid to ask!

In other news, the G20 is now over, but the city is a little worse for wear. I don’t want to get too politcal on this blog, but I’m rather disgusted at what happened over the weekend.

The summit itself and any legitimate protesters were heavily overshadowed by a few hundred anarchist idiots who thought it would be a good idea to smash storefronts and set things on fire. These people weren’t even protesting anything, they’re just a bunch of malcontents with mother issues looking for an excuse to cause a ruckus.

Note to any rabble-rousers out there: coming to Toronto and smashing up Tim Hortons is not going to make you any friends. I hope all the vandals are put in prison and quickly make friends with some large, angry, sexually-frustrated inmates.