I love Add-ons. They are, in fact, one of my favorite things about World of Warcraft. I can’t really tell you why. Maybe it’s the programmer in me, maybe it’s the fact that I feel like I can make my UI mine.
Before we begin I should state that I am not in any way, shape or form a minimalist when it comes to my UI. I like a lot of information and I like it to be in an easy to find location without a lot of eye movement. This is not to say that I don’t believe in a slick and clean UI, it’s just that you won’t be seeing a lot of empty or dead space in my interface.
That said: My UI as of last night.
Looks a bit different than when you first load up the game. How did I get there? I’m glad you asked. I’ve broken up my Mod list into three separate categories: Informative, Functional, and Pretty. Let’s take a closer look shall we?
ag is a mod that allows you to change and move your unit frame, your target frame, your focus, your group, your raid…well, all the frames. It is highly customizable, including size, color, shape, position, even whether to show the frame or not. To go into great detail would take a post in and of itself. That said, as far as unit frame mods go I find it to not only be the best overall but the easiest to plug-n-play. I mean, look at that 3D rendering of that sexy rogue.
Cartographer, Lightheaded & nQuestLog
I list these three as a pack because they work together so well. Cartographer fills out your entire map for you while also giving you the ability to create waypoints. Did you see the arrow in my full UI with a distance on it? That was from a Cartographer waypoint. You can right-click anywhere on your map and set a waypoint. Neat stuff. However, when you combine it with the other two mods, life gets real smooth. Clicking on a quest in nQuestlog will bring up the Wowhead comments on that quest! From there you can click on any coordinates given and a waypoint will appear! Tada! Questing made easy.
Want to know how much time you have left on Slice and Dice? Need to know when Rupture is going to drop off? How many stacks of Deadly Poison are applied? Look no further than ClassTimer. The bars are easy to customize, adjusting both their size and position (I like to keep mine close to the center of my screen to keep that limited eye movement I was talking about). It also has bars for your target and focus. It should be noted that this mod is not just for rogues as it will monitor the abilities of other classes as well (whatever those may be).
Having my current combo points as little dots on my target frame never did it for me. Information that important should be much more in your face. Enter EPR with both a visual and textual representation of your combo points in an easily re-sizable and movable format (seeing a trend here?).
You ever wish you could move your tooltipr or that it had more information? Congratulations, your wish is granted with CowTip (it’ll graze your pastures). Mousing over a player just got more interesting, as you can tell what they are targeting, their guild rank, and their spec right in the tooltip! You can also tell if they are noob or not*.
Elkano Buff Bars
As you can probably tell – I like bars. Like, a lot. I strongly prefer an exact amount of time that a buff or debuff will last rather than having to guess from the timer that appears on the default buff icons. Elkano displays your buffs and debuffs in a (you guessed it) highly customizable manner. You can even decide which buffs to display or not. Don’t care about that silly spellpower buff? Turn it off!
If you only install one mod ever, this is it. You must, must, must have a threat meter. You pull aggro, you die (probably), and everyone will hate you forever and always. Harsh, but true.
Have I mentioned how much I love information? Well I do. It’s delicious…num, num, num, num. Parrot is the scrolling combat text mods. It’s the one to rule them all. Outgoing damage and heals? Check. Incoming damage and heals? Check. Cooldowns and Notifications? Check. Completely customizable? Double-Double Check. Download it and thank me later (I accept cash and all manner of gifts).
I don’t have a whole lot to say about this one. Recount is simply a damage meter (it does have other functions that you can use for some quick theorycrafting -tracking your miss and crit rate for example- but I won’t go into them here). Just remember to clear it now and then because it can be a resource hog.
Advanced Tradeskill Window
This is a mod I only recently came across and boy do I feel like I wasted a bunch of time with the default tradeskill window. If all it did was increase the size of the tradeskill window then it would be a great mod, but ATSW goes beyond that – way beyond. You can set up queues of items to create, tell it to check your bank and alts for materials, and automatically buy the reagents for the items in your queue!
To me, this is the ultimate bag mod. It can be a little heavy on memory (not super bad though) but after using it I don’t think I could survive without it. On the simplest level it merely puts all your bags into one window but as you dive deeper into customizing it you can add filters for sorting and even search! As you can see, my bags aren’t the most organized but they’re getting there. Certainly more organized than my work desk.
Everyone has their own favorite bar mod and I’m no exception. Bartender4 is the mod for me, in fact, we’re going to run away together to whatever state it is that a man and several lines of LUA code can be married (New Hampshire, I think). My favorite thing has to be the easy to use keybindings. Simply enter keybinding mode (/kb), hover over a button, push the key and you’re done.
Do you ever miss an important whisper? How about an unimportant one? Well, no more. Cellular turns your whispers into an Instant Message like client, complete with history. And would you guess that it’s very customizable? Good, that means you’ve been paying attention, have a cookie. Before you ask, yes I do talk to myself often, I’m just so amusing.
Chatter is a nice chatbox replacement. I enjoy it because of it’s small memory footprint, the ability to easily change the font family, size and color, and it’s overall slickness. I’m not saying much about it but don’t let that fool you, I highly recommend this one.
You see the bars with a ton of variously information at the top and bottom of my UI? That’s FuBar and it’s many many plugins. Going into detail would be a post in and of itself (and maybe will be!) so I’ll just say if you like quick access to information and want to get rid of all those buttons on your minimap, FuBar is for you.
A mailbox mod that lets you get all your mail at once with one button press. Do I need to say anything else? Nope, didn’t think so.
Have you ever wanted to change WoW’s font? I mean, all of the fonts. This is your answer. This may seem unnecessary at first but once you install it you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Trust me.
SexyMap is just that, sexy. Move, resize, or load up any of the many templates for a super slick looking map. Look at it man, it spins! Need I say more?
Did my UI look a little…different to you? Everything kind of smooth. Almost as if every piece of the Blizzard UI had been stripped and reskinned. Well, that’s Skinner for you. Currently I just have it set to add the flashy red bursts around the edge but you can even import your own skins and really make your UI stand out.
Are these all the mods I use? No. That list is embarrassingly long, but these are the big ones that I just couldn’t live without. My main focus when I’m building my UI is the ease of access to information when in combat. You’ll notice most of the important combat related information is around the center bottom of the screen. By limiting your eye movement you are able to gather and process this information quicker which, I believe, will greatly improve your situational awareness and as we all know, the number one rule of WoW is: Don’t stand in the fire.
So, is it the greatest UI ever? In my opinion, yes, yes it is…that is until I build a new one. Should you copy it exactly? No, because it won’t be the greatest UI for you. Your UI should be just that, yours. Only you can truly know what information you need and where the best place is to put it for you. So play around, try different things, and most importantly have fun. UI design can be a game within the game so get out there and enjoy it.
Questions? Comments? Love? Hate? Presents? Cool Mods I missed?