I’ve been a World of Warcraft player for nearly three years.Â I’ve been a Guildmaster for the past two years and until recently have concentrated my time on just the one character – my Rogue.Â In the early days I didn’t really understand the game and it took a couple of sessions / phone calls with Sam explaining a few key basics before I got a better grasp on things.Â I often found the reason why I’d miss things, or not pay them enough attention, was down to my not having been visually alerted or reminded of something.Â Let’s face it, the game has a lot to it and it’s easy to forget things from time to time even in our real lives let alone a game.Â Sam introduced me to the concept of customising my game screen through the use of addons; the idea being to provide some reminder of views of information that would help me improve my play style.Â Me being me, this led on to a surge of experimentation and countless emails and excited conversations describing what wonderful new enhancement I’d installed and set-up to my liking.
Initially, I went too far and ended up with information overkill and, from another point of view, had so many addons installed it affected my computer’s ability to run the game efficiently.Â The pure mass of information on screen cluttered my view and hampered my ability to play well. Some of my addons ended up spamming information to raid, party or guild chat channels and probably irritated one or two people along the way.Â As part of an improvement exercise, I went through a process of identifying which were the most useful and pertinent addons to use and looked for lighter alternatives, or even better, addons that fulfilled the role of many individual addons.
I’ve refined my User Interface many times and most recently undertook the task of making it more logically structured.Â I now have a layout for solo play, a different layout for 5 man party events and further layout for when participating in the larger 10 and 25 man raid events.Â The game automatically switches my interface layout depending on each circumstance occurring.Â I’ve drawn a great deal of inspiration from others, including many of the key people from Tankspot.Â (They create tactics videos for raid encounters).
Some examples of my current User Interface are as follows:
Solo play (out of combat)
Solo play (in combat)
Group play (out of combat)
Raid play (out ofÂ combat)
Raid play (out of combat)
Due to my guild leadership position I have a number of bits of information that tell me about things to do with guild management and raid leading.Â These can include checks on raid health, mana, energy, rage, pots, buffs, debuffs, flasks etc.Â I try to keep the central area of my screen clear so I can see what’s going on.Â Through the use of a viewport addon I have broken my screen into three key areas.Â Top, middle and bottom.Â The top and bottom of the screen have information I can glance at whilst in combat but isn’t essential to do so.Â Most information contained there is for reference on the occasions where I can dedicate time to them.Â The middle pane has a very epic feeling to it due to the very wide aspect viewpoint I’m using.Â I have a wide-screen monitor, but by utilising some of the screen real estate at the top and bottom for other things, the game displays much narrower and therefore much wider, thus I can see more on screen than any other player looking at things from a standard viewpoint.
To the left and right hand sides of my screen are bits of information that I don’t always need to be able to see, but are cleanly located for me to refer to during combat if I should need to.Â The central area isn’t busy, but contains important data such as much health, my target’s health, the target’s main threat, incoming heals, my energy, my combo points, cooldowns and any class specific timers such as my Slice n Dice, Rupture and Hunger for Blood.Â I also see quick information flashing up such as when things have come off cooldown, what damage is outgoing and what heals are incoming.Â If I’ve been a fool and am stood in fire or a poison cloud, big letters will appear telling me to move!Â It sounds a lot, but much of this information is quite small (apart from those “you are stupid” warning letters!) and if you’ve levelled through the game and participate in the end-game content, you’ll know it’s pertinent and relevant – all classes have just as much to contend with.
I’m not going to post an exhaustive list of all of the addons I use and then describe them; doing so, this blog post would end up huge.Â Instead, I’m going to detail all my addons and then go through a selection of them, link to their source (so you can download them too should you wish) and give a brief description regarding them.Â If you have any questions about them, please feel free to ask in the comments section.Â If you can recommend others I might be interested in, or even better, suggest replacements for ones I currently use that’ll be lighter and better, again, please get in touch via the comments section.
Here’s an exhaustive list of all my addons:
Advanced Trade Skill Window, Aloft, Answering Machine Plus, Auctioneer Advanced, AuldLangSyne, AutoTabard, Bagnon, Bartender, Big Brother, Castbars, CBH Viewport, Chatsounds, ClassLoot, Dailies Quest Tracker, Doublewide, , ElkBuffBars, FactionGrinder2, FuBar, Gatherer, GearScre, GuildCheck, Headcount, IceHUD, KickAlert, Lightheaded, Mapster, Minimalist, OmniCC, Overachiever, Parrot, PerfectRaid, Pitbull, Poisoner, Possessions, Postal, Postman, Prat 3, pRogue, QBar, QuestHelper, QuickMark, RaidBuffStatus, RatingBuster, Recount, RoguePowerBars, Sapper, SexyMap, SilverDragon, Skinner, Talented, TidyMinimap, TipTac, TomTom, TotemCaddy, Trix, VisualHeal, WinterTime, XLoot
And on to the addons I’ll really find important:
CBH Viewport is a simple, lightweight veiwport mod. Options are in the Addons Options Frame. You can either choose to modify the viewport by exact numbers or the slider option.
Castbars is a lightweight and efficient enhancement of the Blizzard castbars, including both the Player/Vehicle Castbar, the Pet Castbar and the Mirror Timerbars, with the following added features: Spell Icon: Adds an (optional) spell icon on the left side of all castbars. Timer: Adds a timer, showing the time left of the cast on the right side of castbars. Latency: Adds a latency meter, showing the exact latency at the time of spell cast.
Mapster is a very simple world map enhancement addon, which was designed to work in conjunction with all other map addons out there. The idea to create Mapster originated from pure lack of a simplistic addon that only modifies the world map, without adding a full scale feature set
OmniCC is an addon that adds text to items/spells/abilities that are on cooldown to indicate when they’ll be ready for use. OmniCC should be compatible with any addon that uses a cooldown model
PerfectRaid is a whole new look on raid frames, giving you as much information as possible in an easily recognizable format that’s easy to place. Show as much or as little as you’re interested in, and completely customize using the each options editor.
Talented is a replacement to the default Talent UI, with a lot of added features. Feature List See the complete talent tree on a single frame. Create and view templates for all classes and all pet types. Set a specific template as a target, and see it when you’re spending your next talent point on level up. Apply complete templates with a single click, after a talent wipe. Hunters can view the spec of their pet and apply templates to them. Share your current build with other, or any template you’ve made
An Advanced Tooltip Addon TipTac is a tooltip enchancement addon, it allows you to configure various aspects of the tooltip, such as moving where it’s shown, the font, the scale of tips, plus a lot more
VisualHeal is a small and simple but powerful tool for all classes that visually shows your heals to others and heals incoming to you from others by means of two information-packed, yet intuitive bars: The PlayerBar: Whenever anyone is healing you a bar will appear, showing you your own health, how much healing will be done by this particular heal, who is healing you and when it will complete. If several people are healing you, the heals will be sorted and stacked on a third bar at the end of the first two.
A replacement system for the built in loot frames.
The last time I conducted a complete User Interface rebuild I set aside a good portion of time to do so.Â (2hrs+)Â It’s not something you can rush and the last thing you want is to go to a raid or instance and find something loads itself, putting some obstructing box right in the middle of your screen and you can’t work out how to move or disable it.Â I would wholly recommend installing one or two addons at a time, look at all the options available and have a rough idea about where you’d like to place things before getting stuck in.