Sunday, February 20

Modifying the UI guide



he following read should hopefully assist you in making a UI that suits you.
Read: This is a guide, not a "how-to" step by step. Many people like different UIs; some like graphical UIs, some like minimal UIs and some like the basic WoW UI. I will simply help you create the UI you want.



Is it necessary for me to alter the UI?

I believe that most people can perform better in WoW with a different UI, but for some it is unnecessary.
If there's anything you believe you can improve, and even more so want to improve, addons will in most situations be able to assist you.

Simply think for one minute: is there anything that could improve your performance? Things such as enemy castbar, boss timers, arena timers, debuffs on yourself, raid frames, cooldown watchers and rotation addons are common weak spots in the basic WoW UI. 

I'll try visualize the weak spots of the basic UI:




This is an example of the basic UI. The blue and red circles illustrates how spread out the stuff you need to keep an eye on is.
The blue is necessary to do proper DPS (manage Runes, CDs, Debuffs on target) and the red is necessary to keep yourself alive.

You simply can't keep everything up perfectly when it is spread in each corner.

That is however very much possible if you change your UI. In this specific example you could move up your bars and add some sort of debuff tracker on your enemy so everything would be "boxed" close to your character in order to keep track of everything.

Here's an example of a UI called "Kripp UI" by Kripparrian; a hunter from the US top guild Exodus.
As you may see his UI is much more boxed. Everything is neatly put together in order to help him as much as possible.



Inspiration

There are many ways to craft the perfect UI - and many have thought of it already.
Below are some of the popular sites with already crafted UIs. Many are downloadable and easily installed, but I strongly recommend you at least alter them to suit you the best possible way.

www.wowinterface.com
By far my favorite site to download addons. You can also gather inspiration through their forum topics. All is very neatly arranged and easily accessible.

www.wowuigallery.com
Great site. Many different UIs to inspire you. This site does however not always include download links for the UI, and crafting some of these beauties is close to impossible; especially for beginners.

www.curse.com
The most popular site to download addons. Personally I don't like this site very much due to the huge advertising and not-so-userfriendly interface. There are however more addons here than on any other site.

www.wowace.com
WoWAce is mainly for addon-developers. Most alpha/beta projects will be released here -- this also includes already existing addons; new updates will be released here first in most cases with a slight risk of including bugs.


Let your role reflect your UI

I can't say this enough. 
Each role have its unique missions - hence why they're separated into roles.

There are two main "paths" in WoW; PvE and PvP. 
If you do PvP, focusing on enemy debuffs, your debuffs, managing cooldowns and filtering enemy buffs might be what you should focus on. 
If you're into PvE, getting bosstimers, own debuff and enemy debuff timers might be what you need.

It all depend on which role you are; DPS, tank or healer.
In general, they all just need something to suit their role. DPSers should improve their DPS without overagroing, tanks should improve their threat and awareness and healers should know what to heal (prioritizing healing).

Focus your UI on what you SHOULD be focusing on. There's no point having raid frames filling half the screen if you're a DPSer.


Common addons

Some addons are more popular than other. The more popular addons are, the higher is the chance that they'll be maintained properly - thus making it a safe choice. All addons should be available on wowinterface or curse.


Bars: Bartender/Dominos are both used heavily.
Cooldown watchers: OmniCC will manage cooldowns on the bar. There are a lot more alternatives if you wish to go deeper into this. I suggest taking a look at WoWinterface -> Castinbars, Cooldowns.
Threatmeters: Omen and other minimal alternatives. Generally I recommend Omen as it is fairly lightweight on its own and is a great tool. The default setting is enough for most people.
Minimaps: SexyMap/Chinchilla and various "lightweight" maps. The map itself is easily coded and therefore does not require much to maintain. Many lightweight (aka. minimal) minimaps alternatives are available and will run just fine.
Castbars: AzCastbar/Quartz are both highly used. I find AzCastbar more configurable, but essentially they both do their job very well.
Bossmods: Deadlybossmods (DBM) / Deux Vox Encounters (DXE) are great bossmods. DBM is the most popular and will also include timers for heroic dungeons and battlegrounds. DXE is maintained by a US top guild so it will often include more accurate timers at the start of expansions. DXE will not include timers to dungeons and battlegrounds; it is only active doing a boss.
Debuff/Buff tracking: NeedToKnow / ForteXorcist are both excellent addons which will keep track of your debuffs on targets. Both are highly customizable. NTK is able to track ICD on trinkets as opposed to Forte. Forte does however include a "cooldown line" which is an excellent way to manage cooldowns.
Unitframes: Pitbull / Shadowede Unitframes (SUF) / STUF / X Perl are all great addons. All are incredibly configurable with nearly no limitations. All of the mentioned will also include raid modules so you won't have to worry about raid frames. As a healer you don't want to use that though.
Raidframes: Grid / Vuhdo are both great. I prefer Grid, but from what I've heard Vuhdo should be on par if not better than Grid. These addons are mainly for healers as they can filter buffs to help them prioritize heals. DPSers and Tank should not need these.
Arena frames: Gladius is by far the best in arena. For serious (but not too serious) arena players it is essential to use Gladius to see if they're CC immune, have their trinket on CD etc..


Installing your addons

All addons should be put in /World of Warcraft/Interface/AddOns
Please note that many addons will be in various multiple folders (such as Dominos & Dominos config). This is often to reduce the computers performance. For example, you don't need to have Dominos config active once it is set -- it will just drain your computer's performance.

If you downloaded addon packs other info should be included. If not, this is how it works:

All fonts should be put in World of Warcraft/Fonts 
They need a special name to work ingame, usually they're already named as they should be. If the folder is not there simply create one.

All WTF should be put in World of Warcraft/WTF 
Please note you may need to rename the folders in there to your data (server, account name etc..)

If you wish to keep macros, the files you will need is in WTF/Account/Accountname and WTF/Account/Accountname/Server/CharacterName for specific character macros.

If you wish to keep your ingame settings (resolution, video settings, UI scale) they're located in World of Warcraft/WTF called "Config" and "Launcher".
Please note than in some UIs you may need to use their config as a specific UI scale may be used.


General tips & tricks

I've redone my UI many times over the years, thus gained some experience in the field.
Please note this is not an answer, but rather just my advice.

Keep it simple rather than flashy
When you're messing with the UI, remember to keep it simple and be absolutely sure it does it job before you start the graphical process.
The spacey fonts, flashy button-panels and other stuff with no purpose is to me just trash. Some like it, and I'm not saying you should not use it, but I'm saying that I find it messy and useless.

Center the UI
Most action will be just above and just under your character. A general "focus spot" for a UI is below where fire would be on your character. This is because it is close to fire (easily spotted) and the boss. So yeah, put your important stuff below the fire.

Update your addons
Keeping your addons up to date is alpha-omega. There's a reason why they've been updated. Most of the time it is to fix rare bugs, but I see no reason not to update them.

Center debuffs on you
Knowing that you have 4 different dots on you is never a bad thing. In PvE it is essential that you know when you get a debuff, and with correct filtering you will be able to watch any debuff you may get on any boss.

Generally you should be OK by just filtering auras (such as the one gained at Chimaeron) and exhaustion from Bloodlust/Heroism/Time Warp.

Post the UI on UI forums
Posting your UI in a "Post your UI!" topic is never a bad thing. Ask for critical feedback and people will give you their opinion. You may agree or disagree to what they say, but all in all it may help you to further improve your UI.


Taking it to the next level (LUA UIs)

I put this last in the guide as it is something most people won't need.
.LUA coding is, as you may have guessed, UIs that require coding knowledge.

Every addon in WoW is made with .lua coding, but most common addons include ingame configurations to remove the advance coding aspect for a more userfriendly design.

The reason people use these are because they're significantly better in terms of performance.

The most popular and highly supported minimal UI is called Tukui. It is 99% .lua based with just one or two ingame config. 

LUI is also an option just like TukUI except it is, of course, different. They both rely on complete recoding. Lui can also be featured on WoWInterface like many other minimalistic addons. The main difference between Lui and TukUI is that TukUI is a bit more lightweight and simplistic in its design, where lui is a lot more flashy.

LUI example
TukUI example

Other minimal UIs exist and can be featured on WoWinterface's minimal section. Remember not to pick the ones with nearly no support as it will probably take weeks after a patch to be ready.


Final Words

I hope this will help you creating a UI fitting your needs. 
As I mentioned this is more of a guide that will leave you to your thoughts and creativity. If you're not much into that but still wish another UI, I recommend looking more into the various UIs at WoWinterface.

If you find anything being inaccurate or just plain wrong, please let me know.
If you have questions or want me to elaborate something, please let me know.

Yeah, let me know as long the subject is in my guide. No I won't help you configuring your UI from scratch. I recommend you look at various FAQs for addons if you have problems with them.

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