Blog Archive by month: June 2011
by Tachyon on Wed. 22. June 2011, 13:15
Filed under: raid, ui, pluginsThe look&feel of the raid user interface (UI) is one of the hot topics discussed in our guild* this week.
* <Flying Shrimp> on EU-Destromath
The basic questions revolve around whether players can see enough of the fight and have all the important information that is needed to perform their role successfully.
Revising my UI for the n-th time, going through all the addons and the layout, I decided to condense my findings and publish them here (yarr, every so often I manage to beat my cataclysmic writing blocade).
Here's what my UI looks like at the moment (Click on image to enlarge it):
Make a UI that fits YOUR role
Be very concise about your role in the raid. The addons are important tools to help you fulfill every aspect of your roles.
My roles in the raid are:
- Dealing damage, so I need to monitor my damage output absolutely and relatively to other players, keep track of my reactive abilities and cooldowns, and make sure I don't draw aggro.
- Staying alive. Yes, this should rather be my primary role. That's the only role I fail too often, and I'm trying hard to improve on this. Staying alive is all about positioning, tracking boss abilities, monitoring your health and wire the boss encounters to your autonomic nervous system.
- Crowd controlling assigned targets (sheep and resheep), and sometimes helping with snares.
- Interrupts. Counterspelling is also sometimes on my duty list, so I need to quickly identify what my target is casting and track the (freaking long) cooldown of my counterspell ability.
- Debuffing using Spell Steal, so I need to see the debuffs of my target or have an alert when there's something to debuff.
- Cleansing Debuffs: decursing players
- Do you see all units you're supposed to see? Usually, you do not want to only see yourself and your target, but at least also your pet and focus target. That's the bare minimum for each player.
- At least the tanks and tank healers need to also see the target's target, though I advice for any player to show it, as quickly shows when a boss switches its target to another player because of aggro or any special ability the boss performs.
- Displaying the raid frames is crucial for healers and any class that can perform in-combat resurrection. I have them also enabled, simply because I want to have an overlook about the raid (and be more careful when for example everyone is low on health or the healers dead or short of mana).
- It's also important which details you show on the unit frames. The target cast bar needs to be shown if your class can interrupt spells, and if you have CC-abilities such as sheep, you'll need the CC-debuff to be shown clearly. For the player and target frames, be sure to display not only the absolute but also the relative health, as it is significant for certain encounters.
- Most players display the player and target frames in the lower center of the screen (the default is upper left), so they have them always in sight without turning the head.
- Make sure you have the distance indicators enabled (players out of a certain radius get grayed out), as you want to notice when you run out of your healer's healing range.
- Arrange your the bars with the in-combat abilities in a way you can clearly see them, but so they won't clutter the screen and obscure your sight.
- Many bar addons allow to hide certain bars when in combat or in general (and show them when you hover over them). You certainly don't want to have the main toolbar and bag icons to take up precous screen space.
- The bars should also have range indicators and display which abilities are on cooldown.
Buffs and Debuffs
- Besides displaying the normal player buffs (Arcane Intellect, Blessing of Whatever, ...), it's beneficial to have the buffs and debuffs that are important for your gameplay, such as procs and powerups, displayed on a special location. I use TellMeWhen for that purpose, with different setups depending on my current spec.
- Buff display addons such als Elkano's Buff Bars allow to create any number of bars, and have blacklist/whitelist options you should use (for example, I blacklisted all buffs without duration). Have dedicated locations where you display your buffs, your debuffs (important to allow you react quickly on boss abilities), the target's buffs (important for spellsteal) and target's debuffs.
- Curable debuffs should also be displayed in a separate location. When you use Decursive, that location is the decursive grid. My tip is to enlarge it (you can more quickly cure if the cells are large) and set it's background to nearly full transparency.
- Make sure you always see which abilites that make or break you gameplay are off cooldown. I use a special bar in TellMeWhen to display all those spells (counterspell, iceblock, evocation etc.).
- Addons such as CoolLine allow you to easily track abilities that are on cooldown, so you can prepare for them being available again.
- The alert zones of your boss mod addons should be enlarged and centered, so you clearly see them. Coupling them to an acoustic signal allows you to react even faster.
- GTFO is a great addon to give an acoustic alert when you take ground target damage over time (e.g. from fire or poision puddles).
- Timers from boss mod addons should also have a dedicated location on your UI. My problem is that I have them on the left, where I seldom look at them, but I can't really have them in the center as they would obscure my sight. I ain't got a good solution for that yet, though I'm aware that I often die because I don't see certain boss abilities come in advance. Any advice is very welcome, just leave a comment.
What's your concept for creating a great raid UI? Do you have any additional tips you'd like to share? Comments and suggestions are welcome ^^