Monday, July 27, 2009

Mailbag: My UI

I've been on vacation for the past week and have been unable to post. So, what is a better way to start than to answer one of the questions I receive most frequently:

What addons do you use? Can you post your UI?

I want to make one thing clear up front. In no way do I think I have an awesome UI, or that any one should mimic it. I do not have an overall design plan for my UI as some people do, and there are probably several ways that my UI could be improved if I knew about the addons and had the desire to maintain them.

My UI "design" is the product of two very simple concepts. 1. I have a problem. An addon helps to fix the problem. I use the addon. 2. Important info in the center, Secondary info on the sides, with on exception.

If you have a suggestion on how to improve my UI, or think I left something out, please post them in the comments. I think that will be helpful for everyone. Also, please post a link to your UI.

The Picture:

The Addons:

Power Auras Classic - I love this addon. If you have any issues with situational awareness Power Auras will help. To quote the WoWInterface page: "This addon was created to provide visual cues (auras) when you gain buffs, debuffs and many more." I use it for several things.

  1. Raid Buffs and Debuffs: I started using it with Hodir so that I would know when I had the various buffs or when Bitter Cold started to stack to high. Then I started to see all these other fights where it would be useful. This aspect is very nice for any fight where you have to run away from the group.
  2. Health Warning: You can set it up to warn you when your health gets below a certain level. I've tried to use other addons for this with mixed success, but I think PAC does it best so far.
  3. Cooldowns: One of my big problems as a raiding moonkin has always been watching my DPS cooldowns. I wouldn't see them come back up and I end up using them a minute late if at all. You can set up PAC to show you when an ability is available. Above my HUD you will see two little icons. The totem next to Squawk and Awe is my Force of Nature indicator, and the Fireball underneath the IceHUD text is my Starfall inicator. You can also set it up to look for "On Use" trinkets.
IceHUD - This is another survivability addon for me. It allows you to put all of your Player and Target info right in the center of the screen. I originally picked it up because I wanted to have my health bar closer to my toon to help recognize when my health was low. It took a while to get used to and I had to turn off the Blizzard Unit Frames to force myself to use it, but I think it is working well know.

Some of you may be thinking that XPeral or Pitbull is better. I tried both of them and personally didn't like either. I found both hard to configure and very cluncky.

ORA2 - This is a raid management tool. Some of you may be thinking "I am not a raid leader, therefore I don't need it." Wrong. It is true that a majority of its fuctionality can only be accessed by a raid leader, but a lot of that functionality only works if the raid members have the addon. However, it does have uses for a the average raid member. The Tank list is great for switching targets and monitoring progress on fights like Mimiron phase 4, but I think the best part is the long cooldown timer. As a druid it is important that the raid knows if our Battle Rezs are up. If every druid has this addon then the Raid leader should never have to ask who has a rez up, and can give instructions more clearly during raid. If you guild requires this addon, do them a favor and get it,.

Omen - If you're a raider and don't know what Omen is then you need to figure it out quickly. Omen is a threat meter. I have put it on the right side because it takes up a lot of real estate, and I generally don't have to worry about threat. However, if threat is generally an issue for you I suggest you put it some where else or come up with another way to manage it. IceHUD has a threat bar that you can include in the UI and I find it is helpful on the few situations where threat is a big issue for me.

Squawk and Awe - This is probably the most commonly used addon for moonkin. It does several things but I use it for only one reason. It is a great addon on for managing your Eclipse buff and cooldown. In 3.1, this addon or something like it is pretty much requred for maximizing DPS. In 3.2, it will be much less important. I will probably still use it to help identify which Eclipse buff I have and others will continue to use it for the DoT timers and such.

ButtonTimers - I use this addon as a DoT timer, but it is kind of an Action bar addon as well. The buttons on your screen are clickable if necessary and it can work with an addon like OmniCC to show your cooldowns. It is a little hard to configure, but I really like it.

Decursive - This is a required addon for a moonkin. We can now Decurse and Abolish poison in Moonkin form therefore if it is asked of us we need to do it. In the screenshot I have it over on the far right, but in a fight where I am expected to decurse I move it to above Squawk and Awe. What I like about it is that it shows me who needs to be decursed and I just have to click the box. Its a bit like playing wack-a-mole, but very easy.

Quartz - This is a fairly standard cast bar addon. Whats nice about it is that it shows you how latancy affects your cast so you can cast your next spell a little early. It also has DoT and Buff timers, but are a little hard to read. I also use it to see my target's cast bar. That way I can make better use of Barkskin and rooting bomb bots.

Recount - I used to hate damage meters. My damage sucked, and most people seemed to only use them to stroke their e-peen. However, they are helpful for a couple of reason that many people over look. The primary thing I use recount for is Death information. If I died early I want to know why. Could I have prevented it? Is there something I need to be more careful to avoid? It's also good to see why your DPS is abnormal. Who is dispelling? Who is taking to much damage? Basically a lot of good info to help your raids be a little more successful.

OmniCC - This is a very simple little addon that "adds text to items/spells/abilities that are on cooldown to indicate when they'll be ready for use." It adds a number to your abilities that are on cooldown instead of the shadowy clock animation that Blizzard uses. It allows you to dafinatively know how much time you have left on your cooldowns instead of estimating.

MultiShot - It takes a screenshot when specific events happen in game. You can configure it for multiple events like, levels, achievements, or boss kills. I picked it up for the blog, but I am thinking of dropping it. It will fill up your screenshots folder quickly. I have to go in every month or two and clean it out. Also, most of the time I don't have my camara pointed in the best direction for a screen shot, so a lot of the photo's are useless.

Auctioneer - If you want to be a goblin this is a required addon. Heck, I recommend it even if you don't use the AH much. It's nice because it gives you info on average prices and such if you look at the item fairly regularly. On top of that it makes posting items on the AH very easy. I love it because I can post a stack of Flasks as individual flasks in less than a minute. Warning: Turn this addon on off while you raid. I only have it turned on for my bank alt, because it takes up a lot of memory.

Lightheaded - One of the best questing addons you will find. It allows you to see the quest comments from WoWHead ingame. It can also work with addons like Tom Tom and Cartographer to show you where your objectives are. Turn off while raiding.

Doublewide - This may be irrelevant after 3.2 is released, but I will list it anyway. The current blizzard Questlog is horrid and Doublewide makes it managable.

Zygor - I only list this one because it is an addon and I use it. This is my leveling guide addon on. You do have to pay for it, but I think it is worth it. Some people prefer addons like Questhelper, because they are free. I tried Questhelper and hated it.

Cartographer - Some people love it, I hate it. I only have it because Zygor uses it. Don't get me wrong. I think it has some very nice features, but it seems to cause a UI errors for me. I know that Cartographer is not necessarily the problem, but getting rid of it fixes the issue. Therefore I don't raid with it.

My Raid Frames:

I want to make a quick comment about my raid frames. For those of you that don't know the raid frames at the bottom left of the screenshot is from the Blizzard UI. I've thought about using Grid or somthing else, but they all sound like they are more trouble then they are worth. The only problem I have with the blizzard raid frames is that I can't lock them down.


Ruavian said...

I personally think its messy lol, but we all like what we customise on our own.
I'm using a premade UI called TukUI, just type /reflux switch tukui ... and everything is done for you (but not very customisable unless you know bits about .lua)

Theres also IshtaraUI which i think you might like you'll have to do lots of profile sorting on that one though.

You can add what you want to these, so SquawknAwe, Recount/Skada (skada has an in built threat meter as well as the dmg meters) and anything you want.

Grid/Clique is fantastic if you've got an healing offspec - and grid is highly customizable if you put the time and effort into using it.

Thats my 2cents anyway :)

Macbook said...

Hah! Funny enough I also tinkered with my UI this weekend, even before you posted yours!

I spent AT LEAST like 4 hours on it, testing out new addons, deciding I didn't like any, etc.

I tested out ICEHud and ArcHUD, but even after configuring, and despite the coolness factor, I really couldn't get used to using it and I feel it clogged the center of my screen.

Caanrial said...

Unless you have similar functionality in another mod you need "DruidAnnounces" which is a very small and simple addon that announces things in various chans, like in /raid when you do major things such as innervate someone or bres. It also sends a tell to that person at the same time. It is nice for progression raids when everyone is still learning the fight and you do things without being asked such as innervate a healer because you saw them going oom...

Nightedahs said...

Looks pretty nice, even if I personally could not play with a HUD in the middle of the screen.
I disagree about using Decursive, because you can do that with Clique and some UnitFrames much easier and you don't have another couple of Bars on the screen.
Thats the way my UI looks like:]Interface

Nightedahs (Khaz'Goroth DE-EU)

Daemon said...

I love fiddling with UIs myself :) And for the most part, with the help of nUI+ (must get the + edition IMO) I think I have found my ideal UI set up.

With the help of a few moonkin pics to protect the innocent (lol) you can get a good idea of everything I have set up. In the pic above (taken May 12th) I had nUI+, decursive (not shown), squawk and awe, the HUD is built into nUI, recount, omen, deadly boss mod, aura/buff manager also built into nUI, chatter chat mod (not really shown), and fubar for some quick references across the top. It does tend to look a bit busy considering the point in the fight we were but overall I find it very clean, perfect utility, and my own complaint is the bottom UI takes up a little more space than I prefer. In that space though you can fit 5, 10, 25, and a full 40 raid quick glance of every player.

I hope you like :) As always, I love your blog!

Daemon said...

Sorry the link above got cut off - here it is again:


Daemon said...

OK please delete the comment above -.- I don't know why it keeps cutting off. I added enters so you'll have to cut and paste a little differently but hopefully this shouldn't get cut off.

Quor said...

Pickup Grid and Clique my friend. You will be able to combine both your Decurse and Raidframes.

Stock grid gives you most of what you need but you are now able to add in specific info, like seeing X debuff on the raid. Just handy.

And with Clique you set it to left click Decurse, middle click Abolish Poison, Right click brez. Cleans up targeting hastle greatly and reduces the amount of keystrokes needed. I suggest you try it out on an offnight and do a few BGs with it. It'll help you identify what you don't like quickly and give you time to fiddle with it. After the conversion can not imagine raiding without it.

Thorn said...

Did you know there's an eclispe module for quartz?

I was using S&A just for eclipse but found the quartz addon takes up a lot less space and means one less bit of screen real estate being eaten up. You can resize quartz to make the mirrors a bit more readable. Like you say though come 3.2 its not going to be as necessary but I like that my dots are above my cast bar & eclispe just below it in one complete 'set'

Azrune - Bloodhoof US said...

I believe you forgot to add Titanpanel to your list of addons.

Grid is also really not very hard to setup.

I use Squawk and Awe, and Button Timers as well.

Azrune - Bloodhoof US said...

Here's my UI. Except when I apply DoTs the bars start upwards and move downwards on ButtonTimers.

I tried using Pitbull, and I didn't like it either.

Macbook said...

Okay -- finally got a working screenshot (I couldn't upload the damned thing to my own blog for awhile there).

Kheldar said...

i need to get decursive working again. now used it since 40 mans and am finding when healing now i need to do some decursing/poisoning etc sometimes.

i looked at grid/clique for off spec healing but they did look rather complicated for what i do- ie i dont raid.

so i went with healbot.

Xaktsaroth said...

Hey greylo thanks for a wonderful site of very good posts. You manage to confuse me with the mats at some points but in the end you seem to be right :)

Watched youre UI thread and noticed at the end youre question about raidframes.
I attach link to 2 images of my ui (not exactly how it looks today) but how I have my raidframes are still the same. The name of the addon is "sraidframes" and is a really good addon to have an overview of the raid. Fairly simple to setup and does not take much space. Its an old Ace addon so it co operates really good with Ora2. For example through the use of Ora2 I can see when people are getting resses by others. I can see if people are healed by others and I can set exact what heals/buffs I want to track etc.

//Xaktsaroth @ Eonar

Argrenthal said...

I have one question. How did you get your range out so far? I have been told that there is a macro that will max out your range but i have not been able to get it to work for me. The only time my range is out that far, is when i have ben dropped from the jaws of the drake after finishing the Sons of Hordir daily. I would love to be able to extend my range like that.

Eleena said...


/script SetCVar("cameraDistanceMax",30)

Increases the camaera range to max.

Regarding UI's I suggest this addons in general:

Rating buster -

Tired of figuring out how much sp, haste etc you get from an item? Use rating buster, convets all those pisky intelligble ratings and stats into things we understand, sp, haste%, crit% etc, and sums up the total you gain from an items comparing it to what you are wearing. Just sadly the current version doesn't seem to convert spirit correctly as it still seems to think we gain 15% sp from it.

Ghost: Pulse - (a newer version is out, which I haven't tested yet so not sure if its better)

Anyways this addon shows you "pop ups" of skills just as they finish cooldown you can addjust the size, transparency position etc. of the pop up, I really like it as moonkin since there is a "fairly" long time between each cd use, and I sometimes risk forgetting them.

I know you use Power auras for this, but I don't personally like the icons always being there.

Also a tip for dounces like myself who like to get audiovisual warnings, I suggest setting up power auras for giving a sound warning whenever eclipse is proccing. (I use this sound file, whcih i found quiet fitting =P - Link)

For those who are keybinders, these addons might be interesting:

Bindpad -

You to bind skills, macroes and items to specific keys, without taking up action bar space, has dual spec support.

Ranger -;80182

Handy addon to remove action buttons from your window and still allowing you to know when in range for a spell, gives you a single movable icon, that displays when ever you are in range of the target to cast a specific spell.

DoTimer -

Alot use this for dot tracking, personally I don't takes too much space, however in the package is also a great cooldown timer which allows you to track your cooldowns with movable bars, providing yet another reason as to why you should remove skills from your screen. =P

Eleena said...

ahh forgot the link for the soundfile.

For those who want the sound file and need some pop up text for tracking damage, I've made a lil package I share with the moonkins in me guild for starting up. (and I was terrible boored at the time =P)

Scrolling combat text, + WTF file(setup for the addon) + Sound file + some tracking goodies.

Xaktsaroth said...

To make another answer to argenthal what I am using is a command line:
/console cameradistancemaxfactor 10

In my ui setting I have camera zoomed out max. If you then as well type in that you will zoom even more.
Now 10 is max and 1 is standard when you have maxed zoom on the standard interface zoom option maxed.

Me personally prefer to use that command line cause depending of fight you can easy switch around youre setting.

Standard setting I have it set to 2

For example a fight like mallygos where I have to keep an eye on sparks that is really far away a distance of 10 is nice.

On Council and Ignis where its not as big area to cover I use 3.

So its all about playing around and set the distance you like.

I always try to set it so for that boss encounter I can cover most of the scene with the perspective set.


Ratingbuster is indeed a lovely addon for comparing 2 items.

//Xaktsaroth @Eonar

Brynk said...

Here is mine. For raiding I use as few as possible that provide the most information.

I use Grid (for quick targeting for Brez and for its compact size), Omen, ORA2 (in the bottom left but not shown in this shot), Power Auras (the green stuff in the middle are showing me that I need to apply IS and MF. They disappear as soon as I do. I use recount but it is not showing as I am in combat.

I like my screen as clean as possible to leave as much visable as possible for environmental issues. Ulduar is hell for things being thrown on the ground. I do have other things there but I use Bartender and they are shown only on mouseover.

Brynk said...

Had the same issue as others. Had to split the URL up so it would display.

Phil said...

Lots o ppl say that their URL's are getting cut off... they all look and work fine in the first postings... dont know what the issue is.

I like simple the best. I can manage my rotations without S&A so i just have Healbot and Omen displayed durring fights... I decurse and abloish with just a shift right or left click on the affected party member. I have it set so the party member affected turns Green for poisen and bright red for curses. I would like to try Druidannounces thanks for the tip Caanrial.
My major issue seemes to be when i need to target someone or find their corpse. I dont know if there is an add on that shrinks the bosses but i toos a baby spice on the boss sometimes before i start my rotation just so i can see what the F is going on... Why is Blizz obsessed with huge animation and skinns for boss's and their adds?
Targeting is the biggest problem i have so if anyone has a sugestion let me know... i end up inervating the wrong person or my self, sometimes even haveing to tab through all the trash adds to get to the correct one
~Gargen of Vek'nilash

Rankol said...


I see that you said you use DoTimers. There is an updated version of Squawk and Awe that includes the CD's for Force of Nature and Starfall. It's very handy and keeps down the amount of Addons you use.

Serawyn said...

My dependence on UI mods is something I hold no shame of. I figure they must be good if I'm unable to function without them. *shrug*
I forget why I stopped using healthbar HUDs, but I've used atleast two. I wanted something a tad flashier and more... theatrical though. I recently grabbed StUF and put my nose to the grinding stone for a day to work up something I enjoyed. Then again I usually take more pleasure playing with mods than actually playing the game with them...

Just be sure to do what works for you. If you find yourself strapped for screen space you can always look at what information is superfluous and redundant. Examples:

> Reducing the number of bars that show with Recount/Omen. With Omen I limit it to 3 bars. You're always on the list by default so in three bars you can see yourself, the MT, and the "Pull Aggro" bar.
> Hiding unnecessary or rarely used buttons with some manner of mod. I nabbed OPie yesterday and am still adjusting to having my heals and utility abilities hidden in pop-up radial menus.
> If you aren't a raid healer, you can probably lower the size of your raid frames greatly. All I use mine for is to see who's dead when they call for a BR.

Here's what I worked with tonight, tweaking along the way, as it's still fresh.

Mid-Fight XT HM
Mid-Fight Mimi
Post-Fight XT

The unitframes are my guilty pleasure. They and my main spellbar row are amoung the largest thing in the interface. Everything else is considerably reduced (buffs, raidframes, Recount/Omen, chat font size, etc).

The SCT has my damage scrolling up and damage and healing to me going down. The areas to the left and right report on much less important things. I'm considering axing them next.

Kelenda said...

If you're looking for a damage meter than does more than just provide e-peen lubrication, I can't recommend Skada highly enough, if only for it's breakdown of damage done to specific targets in fights by player. For example, on yogg you can see who is DPSing constrictors, on hodir you can see who is taking damage from biting cold, etc. While you can access this info in recount, you can only do it for individual players, you can't get a flat list of players and damage done/taken. Very useful.

Shivan said...

I've enjoyed this blog silently for sometime now, but with this topic on addons I can't really keep silent.

Most of the addons I use have already passed been mentioned in other reactions. I would like to add three.

1) Since Scrolling Combat Text died somewhere last year I switched to MikScrollingBattleText and it works perfectly for my needs.
2) I really can't stand those square buffs in my screen and I use Elkano's BuffBars instead. Takes some fiddling to get it to your taste perhaps, but I think its a lot cleaner.
3) My favorite perhaps, and its not a real addon, more a modification. Ethan's Druid Icons (Tororian's update) are new Icons for the druidspells. These are made with higher detail and I think they fit better with the atmosphere of druids. It may take some time to get used to them but I really can't play with the normal Icons any more. Ow and before people start about 'skinning is illegal' you are right, but this isn't skinning and is totally legal. There is even a Icon folder already made by Blizzard in your interface folder ;) Just almost no one makes Icons. A repost of them can be found here:

Keep up the good work!

Shivan said...

Oi... forgot the link to the Buffbars:

Sowwy! :(

Bearme said...

So, I'm pretty crazy about my ui myself. I've spent several hours moving things around to have it exactly right. I kind of have a freakish problem with it...

I use grid, pitbull, and bartender3 as my main interface mods. I also use EEpanels2 to put on the lower half of the screen, kinda spruces it up a little. Elkano's buffbars are key and so is Mik's scrolling battle text.

Anyway, here's a post to it

jabol said...

I second the use of Grid/Clique, although I now use VuhDo and very happy.

To ease the setup curve here is a link to Resto4Life's setup steps.

VuhDo is even easier -

Now you have no excuse.

btw - thank you many times over for all your work on your blog. It is the reason I can raid as moonkin.

Leanda/Ibrox said...

To Gargen of Vek'nilash
If you use Healbot then targetting is very easy. I have my middle mouse button set as 'target' so that I can target for a spot buff or rez or whisper etc.

I have used grid and healbot and way back grid had more capabilities but now it's healbot all the way as it's just so much more user friendly. I use it as my raid frames on nearly all my toons, healer or not, as it does decurse functions, targets, buffs, debuff warnings and I like a single addon that does the work of several.

Other addons I love are Pitbull (very easy once you work it out), Macaroon action bars, Squawk and Awe, Quartz, ItemRack, Fubar, Power Auras, Omen, the list goes on.

I customise my UI to make it work for me, to compensate for my needs and quirks, and to make ho hum tasks easier.

Thank you for writing such an informative blog Graylo, I've learnt a lot from your posts.

Lothildin said...

IMO, yours is a little clumsy. Not that mine is way better, anyway. But I like it. Here it is:

sJiht said...

Macbook sorry to say but I really don't like your interface.

Atm I'm working on this one:

Fixing target frames, and not happy with minimapbars etc. etc. etc.

Graylo said...


I didn't know about DruidAnnounces, but in general I don't like that type of addon. A couple of people in my guild have those types of addon and they drive me crazy. I understand that communication is important, but if it's truely important then you can say it in vent. Most of the time they just clutter up chat.

@Multiple people recommending Grid and Clique.

I may give it a try some time. I may like it better, but I'm happy with how Decursive works. I'm not sure Grid and Clique would work the way I want them to. The big advantage I have with Decursive is that I can put it very close to the center of my screen without taking up to much real estate. That way when I need to decurse. I can do so quickly and still keep an eye on the fight. I can't do that with grid.


Yes, I know about Quartz Eclipse. I had been planning on trying it out as a part of a blog post where I tried all of the Eclipse addons, but with he change to Eclipse it seems unnecessary.


Thats actually Fubar instead of Titanpanel. I went with it because it was a little lighter.

I did forget two other addons that I use. The first is SCT. I used primarily for the health alert so I may drop it soon. The other is DBM, but I am giving BigWigs a try at the moment.


I used the /Console method that Xaktsaroth indicated, but I put the factor at 40 or something. I did it a really long time ago so I'm not exactly sure.


I used to use RatingsBuster, but I didn't find it that helpful. I could already do the math pretty quicly in my head.


Yea, I know that SnA can do all of that, I just didn't like how it did it. I felt like the dot timers were laggy, and I didn't like the bar cooldown indicator. I think Power Auras is much better for that.

Xaktsaroth said...

About /console cameradistancemaxfactor

The factor has been changed graylo its max 5 now you can have if you zoom out max in interface options.

Did you take a look on

I think you want the same thing out of it like me. Decursive with those fills the needs I have of keeping track of the raid.

Phil said...

@ Leanda/Ibrox,
Thanks I'll try to set the center for that.. it's not doing me anything in Healbot right now might as well set it. I even use healbot on my tank, as you can set it for any spell (i.e. buffs) it's like a mini macro matrix, I think it is a great add

~Gargen of Vek'nilash