Monday, October 26, 2009

What's in a UI?

First - um - oops? It seems there is some key combination that auto posts my blog - hence the no word post with a title of "what"....

Poll a hundred different players, and I bet you'll come up with at least 50 unique UIs, and 100 different layouts. Sure - there may be the occasional player running around with a stock UI, but mods are so commonplace today that I find it hard to imagine you'll find two.

Over the years my UI has changed many times - from a complete overload of information, to a minimalist approach. Since I regularly switch from tanking to healing - with the occasional bout of DPS dropped in, I need a UI that is flexible. As a raid leader I need as much information as possible about what's going on, and as a complete data nerd....well - that's recount for you.

What I run

My UI is still getting tweaked, but I run some fairly standard mods - and then some that are slightly different. I still have too much redundant information going on, but I've been playing with IceHUD and PowerAuras to show me what I need.

  • Recount - standard for most DPS (although the Wombcrusher doesn't run one), I use mine mostly for the Grim Reaper function. I need to see why folks are dying, and what we can do to fix it.
  • Grid - I've used several different raid frame layouts, but Grid is the one that I keep coming back to. It lets me customize my information (like a green aura around the box of someone who has BoL on them), and keeps it nice and compact. It also works well with all three of my specs.
  • Omen - Having in game threat metering is nice, but this allows me to quickly slap a Hand of Salvation on someone (including myself) as needed.
  • Carbonite - I don't generally enable this while raiding - but for PvP and questing, it's the way to go.
  • Pally Power - There was a suggestion for a different mod last week that I'm going to try out, but PallyPower has been tried and true for a long time now.
  • Class Timer - shows me every Sacred Shield, BoL, and SS HoT on the raid. I use it more to track my own SS and BoL - but it also lets me find the person who keeps overwriting my SS instead of putting it on another tank. This addon also drops a big icon in the middle of your screen as it falls off - so you know to refresh it. This is next on my list to play with for showing DP timers.
  • Bartender - Great for setting up custom bars and buttons.
  • BindPad - probably the single greatest addon for keybindings. It remembers your key binds to spells, not button locations - so you can keep things off your bars and still have them cast (not shown in the UI).
  • Rating Buster - great for finding out if that upgrade is really and upgrade.
  • Talented - I just got this one and it's working out very well. It lets me save my talent trees, so when I'm resepccing for the 4th time that day I can quickly assign the template I want. It will import talent trees from Wowhead, the armory, or anyone you inspect. It takes a second to inspect someone, but it's worth it (not shown in the UI).
  • LightHeaded - downloads all the quest information from WoWHead. I turn this off for raiding, but it's invaluable when questing - especially since we faction swapped and I still don't know where anything is.
  • DBM - I honestly can't remember if I'm running BigWigs or DBM these days. It's a coin toss as to which one is "better" every week - so I just stick with one and roll with it.
  • BigBrother - this lets me check for buffs, who broke CC, who used MD/ToT, flasks, etc. It's really helpfull when I drop it in our PUG 25s and they can see everyone in Parabola is flasked and well fed, and 1/2 their guild isn't.
  • MK SCBT - My damage out is on the left of my HUD, damage in (parries/blocks/heals) is on the left, with special abillities showing at the top.
What you need

Obviously I run a lot of addons you don't really need. Here though is my list of addons from required to nice to have.


None. Zero. Nada. You don't "NEED" any addons to play sucessfully, the addons just make your life a whole lot easier. Blizzard has many warnings built in now, their own threat meter, and custom timers.


  • Some type of boss mod - Blizzard's default is ok, but not perfect.
  • Raid frames - even if it's just pulling out the standard Blizzard ones (which works much better than it did in Vanilla).
  • Omen/threat meter - This is for seeing what everyone's threat is - not just if you're going to lose it in the next second.
  • Death meter - great for figuring out why someone died.
Nice to have

  • Buff checker
  • Keybinds
  • Inventory management
  • Quest assistance

In short, you need to have a UI that is comfortable for you - and that gives you the information you need, when you need it. The biggest drawback to a custom UI? Big patches will break it into a thousand little pieces.


  1. I need to get Big Brother before our herouc toc25 attempts on Tuesday. Just so I can yell at anyone who isn't flasked or food buffed.

    Great UI, though. I like how sleek it is.

  2. Good call on the raid frames.

    I don't care what someone's role is within the raid. Everyone should have raid frames.

    I can't stress enough how useful raid frames were when I was dps on my shaman. Knowing whether or not you are within range of healers WILL save your life, especially with all the movement fights in Wrath.

  3. The great thing about BigBrother is that you can broadcast it to specific channels, raid, self, officers - etc. It also only checks for the current 4 end level flasks - so someone running old flasks or the Flask of the North will get reported as having no flask (which is good).

    Plus it narcs on that rogue who just broke the sheep with his FoK spam...

  4. What is it that you are using which moves everything to the bottom of the screen?

    I just upgraded to a new monitor and am looking for something to manage screen space more effectively.

  5. Depends on which part you're talking about at the bottom. KGPanels is what is used to make those nifty little boxes, Mapster is the minimap, and Omen and Recount can be moved on their own. Bartender wraps it up with the customized bars.

    You can download this UI here - part of it is in German (I took this package and customized it for my needs) - but it's fairly straight forward.


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