Posted by: Makakai | July 22, 2009

Beginnings of a UI

So one of the biggest draws for me in writing a blog about WoW is the opportunity to write about my work on my UI and addons in general. I’m going to try to stay away from comparisons of healing addons since that has been handled so well by other heal bloggers out there such as the extensive Grid vs Healbot one by Tree Bark Jacket. No my interest is in developing the “lightest weight” comprehensive UI that I can manage with minimal coding myself. I can do the coding but I choose not to when there are much more talented folks than I at that producing wonderful products. So I’ll start today with the current state of my UI and describe where I plan to go with it…

First, I’m taking each major change one step at a time and the first step for me was to change up my keybinds and actionbars to be something that I can use efficiently with just my left hand on the keyboard. This frees up my right hand to use the mouse for turning, targeting and moving. I’ve set up my action bars to page using Z, Shift+Z, Alt+Z, F4, F5, and Ctrl+Z in that order. Bars 4 and 5 contain special use and out of combat stuff like my mount and food, the remaining bars contain all of my spells. Now the bars themselves are keybound with 1-6, R, T, F, G, C, and V so that I can use Q, W, E, A, S, D, and X for moving. I re-bound character and nameplates to I and J respectively. So then it was just a matter of training myself to use the appropriate keys instead of the default keys.

Next, I have all of the little addons that make game play just a tiny bit easier. I’ve worked really hard to keep these to a minimum so that my package remains “lightweight”. These include:
AtlasLoot
BankItems
BetterQuest
Cartographer
Cartographer_QuestInfo
FuBar_BagFu
FuBar_ExperienceFu
FuBar_FactionsFu
FuBar_MoneyFu
Gatherer
MBB
Outfitter
RatingBuster

Yes, notice I use virtually no quest helper addon even with all of my alts. I’ve found that BetterQuest and Cartographer_QuestInfo are absolutely awesome for providing just what I need for questing. I’d like to find something besides BetterQuest for my QuestObjectives pane since it’s pretty heavy and that’s all it’s really being used for at this point, but to no avail. Also, Outfitter is used because when I’m leveling a character it helps me maximize my set(s) for a specific combination of attributes with little work and because I don’t want to go through the trouble of loosing some of my auto switching of items for specific conditions (e.g., tabard switch upon entering dungeon). The rest are pretty much fluff that I just like having right at my finger tips, especially with all of my alts.

Now for the true interface components and why I chose them. These include:
Chatter
Chinchilla
Decursive
Grid
GridDynamicLayout
GridManaBars
GridSideIndicators
GridStatusHealingReduced
GridStatusGrace
GridStatusMending
Omen
OmniCC
Quartz

I’ve tried to keep these as lightweight as possible as well, but I will not stint on the best raid addons I can find. Yes, Chatter and Chinchilla are not typically what you would consider part of a raid UI, but they are part of providing the overall design of the final raid product so I consider them part of it. Also, Chatter and Chinchilla were chosen because they have a smaller CPU footprint than their better known counterparts Prat and SexyMap.

Now for the “meat and potatoes”; I use Grid and Decursive. All I can say is don’t leave home without them! I play a druid in progression raids so there was no Healbot for me even though I also play a priest. I’ve tried VuhDo but I got frustrated with trying to configure it for keybinders and not click casters so I went back to Grid. I’ll keep my [target=mouseover] macros thank you very much! The plugins I’ve chosen for Grid are a ever changing list as I progress with a new healer and I want to get the most out of it that I can. Omen, OmniCC, and Quartz are what could be considered bells and whistles but I love having my cooldowns in big visible numbers on my interface, knowing the latency of my casts, and when I need to hit fade.

Finally, my plan is to eventually add in an action bar addon to move my bars out of the way of grid/decursive and use a different Unitframe addon to bring player, target, ToT, and focus down to the bottom of my screen. With my current keybindings and from what I’ve seen with minimal testing so far I’ll probably be going with Bartender4 for the action bar addon and oUF for the unit frames. So that is the current state of my UI, tune in later for an update on what tweaks I make next.

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