Extreme Makeover – Matt’s UI: Part 1

My UI is an absolute mess. But somehow, I’m able to make sense of all that information and I’m able to act on it (usually). As a Priest, I spend most of my time with my eyes glued on the raid. With new encounters in Hyjal and BT, situational awareness becomes much more important.

Here’s a sample screenshot of the current state of my UI. It’s a complete and utter mess. There’s a lot of crap on my screen and a lot of it is redundant.

With that in mind, I decided to do a quick 2 parter before and after series about my UI. I figured I’d share my thoughts and my approach in overhauling my interface so that it’s more zentastic. Yup, that’s right. I intend to apply a minimalist zen approach to my UI. I play on a large screen. It’s quite tiring to traverse my eyes from the left side to the right. I want to start compacting information in one area so that I don’t have to scan the entire monitor for it.

Note: The addons I have below are those that can be visually seen.

Text Chat

First, I’m going to write about the non-addon related stuff: Namely, the text chat.

I’ve split up my chat windows from 1 window into 3 separate windows.

Left window: Handles general, trade, LFG, and Say chat.

Middle window: Raid chat, Guild chat, Healer Chat, and Priest Chat

Right window: This is meant for a separate channel that I share with my friends on the server. They’re all in different guilds but we keep in touch in our channel.

Addons

Aloft: This replaces the default nameplates that Blizzard has packaged with the game. You can see it in action over some of my guildmates on the right. Their health bar is colored to reflect their class. It also shows their mana bar below (or rage or energy). It’s very handy for me if I need to find a player and physically get to them.

Omen: Omen has replace KTM as my personal threat meter of choice. At the moment, I’m seriously considering removing it from my screen or disabling it. I’m almost never going to pull aggro. Knowing the threat levels of other players isn’t going to help me much in any way. I will keep the addon activated in order to transmit, however.

Bongos2: I use Bongos in order to manage my bars. As you can see, I’ve reduced my bar size to something fairly smaller than normal. I do most of my spell casting via my keyboard anyway. The alpha (transparency) has been set to 50%. XP bar is disabled, along with my bags, latency, and keyrings. I use Shift B in order to open all of them.

Elkano’s Buffbars: You can see my buffs in action on the right side of the screen. It shows buffs, debuffs, and durations. I’m trying to figure out how to disable that "Blessing of Demonstration" or whatever it is on the bottom.

Recount: I’ve mentioned Recount before but I mainly use it to analyze my own performance and troubleshoot player deaths. Note that the one linked is to Recount (Preservation). It’s meant for use in 2.4 but I believe it should still work for 2.3.

Pitbull: This is what I use for raid management. There’s a lot of options and a lot of flexibility and I need to spend some serious time going through it and messing with it. Those raid windows are large and I need to figure out how to shrink them among other things.

NECB: Natur EnemyCastBar is what I use to help track spell casts of other entities around me. I just need to find a better place to put it. Maybe to the right of the middle.

DoTimer: It can tell me at a glance how long before my HoTs and DoTs expire and when my cooldowns can be used again (Stoneskin, trinkets).

Targets

As you can see, I have target windows all over the place. There’s my player window, my target’s window, my target’s target window, my focus window, etc.

I don’t use focus macros that often, if at all. Therefore I’m considering removing that. I might move my own player window to the far left side. I plan on downloading a HuD eventually. I’m going to do away with Pitbull’s Main Tanks and tank targets window. I’ll probably axe pet targets and party pet targets as well.

You will also notice the raid in various states of transparency. That’s my range finder. If the player is transparent, they are not in range. If they frame isn’t transparent, then I can hit them with a heal.

Check back next week when I post the results of my modifications.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. To turn off those “Blessings of Demonstration”, turn off the nameplates. I don’t remember how to do it right now, but it’s the same thing that locks their location on the screen. It also takes away the “Buffs/Tracking” and “Debuffs” titles from above the stacks and just puts the bars there.

  2. Pellegri says:

    1. Your ui, it hurts us.

    2. Regarding the Blessings of Demonstrations, try hiding the anchor.

  3. my god matt if i could send you to maury povich for a UI makeover i’d even pay the plane ticket.

  4. Have you tried Grid for your raidframes display? I know a lot of healers who swear by it, and it’s extremely compact.

  5. Katie: Yes, I’ve looked at Grid for a while but I’m not comfortable enough to use it. I know a number of players in Carnage use it but I’m just too afraid ^^.

  6. OUCH.

    For starters, Pitbull is semi-complicated (compared to Xperl), but you can turn off the 3D pictures on your raid frames and cut the size of the actual frames in half. That will condense much of your space.

    Also, if you don’t need the buff bars taking up that much space, you can cut out the text and only have an icon and the timer associated with the buffs/debuffs. Then you can adjust the width to make it super thin and it is hardly noticable.

    Also, I like to keep Omen open at all times as it provides me a tool to know who is flirting with pulling aggro (Granted, DPS should know better).

    After countless hours tweaking my UI, I came up with something comfortable for my play style, as I’m sure you will as well. Good luck with the conversion!

  7. Grid piles a TON of information in an extremely small and very configurable package, it WILL take some getting used to. You may also want to use Clique in combonation with grid (unless you love macro’s).

    If you need a good place to go to get used to differences between clique+grid and your current style, just hop into your local PUG BG and heal away. The consequesnes of missing a heal, being a tad slow, or just off are minimal. After you have a general feel for the new setup, run a 5 man (heroic if possible), then some farmed raid content. By that point you should be ready to rock it out in BT/Hyjal.

    Some food for thought:
    Fear won’t kill Illidan. You are not prepared.

  8. Hmm, well my problem with omen and most other threat meters tends to be that the guys that have them rarely need them, ( or they watch like hawks ) and the people that never install them always seem to pull threat. Its like by the time they realize the need for a threat meter, they are skilled enough to not have to use it anymore.

    I have to admit, my ui is currently even MORE cluttered and ugly that yours. 🙁

  9. I made Omen disappear when I redid my UI on the weekend (I was overdue, I was running with default everything); it wasn’t worth its screen space. It’s still reporting tho so they can yell at me if needed (as if a healing priest ever ends up near the top).

    I also turns off my name plates in raid, I can recognize pretty much everyone without looking at their name anyway.

    Grid rocks, you should give it a week long trial.

    I got the mod minimap button frame (available from curse) and it makes a frame for all your buttons. I have mine in a long vertical line, with no background, no frame and along the right edge of the screen. I also use simple minimap (which you appear to use) and have the map fitting the topright corner of the screen. Saves a lot of room.

  10. I am never changing my UI. It’s taken me months of tweaking, updating, and headaches to set it up. I really should have it posted on my blog somewhere…hmmm. Anyhow, goos lck can’t wait to see the results!

  11. Matford, Nagrand says:

    IMO Grid is the most space efficient means of presenting information needed bar none.

    Grid works because when a particular side indicator is active, you instantly know what it means. You ddon’t have to peer at the icon and determine whether it’s a renew, lifebloom, rejuvination, you know because you’ve set it up to show you what’s important to you.

    Example, on my priest the top icon is PoM. The bottom left is PWS and when that fades a different color tells me that that player’s got the weakend soul debuff, so I know instantly whether or not I can cast PWS.

    A few links about Grid:

    http://www.stage6.com/wowhealing/video/1662363/GRID-and-CLIQUE

    http://chicanery.fibergeek.com/2007/09/25/how-i-heal-gridclique/

    http://www.wowinsider.com/2008/01/22/raid-rx-unkicking-butt-a-grid-story/

    That said our top healer uses the default UI and keybinds. Granted we’re still in ten mans but thought it worth mentioning.

  12. Matford, Nagrand says:

    One other thing, something I’ve failed to understand is why people play with a `damage done’ window open.

    Who cares? During the raid, how’s that going to help you?

    Yes, I know about enrage timers etc but there is no point in DPS opening up if it’s going to pull aggro. That’s the only meter, during the raid, that is of any significance. I can’t see how having damage done displayed is going to aid your raid.

    What am I missing here?

  13. Arduanne says:

    Matt, I would HIGHLY recommend checking out Prat. It’s a chat mod that has made my life so much easier. You can hide those annoying scroll arrows, change your chat line to the top of the window, sticky channels you are currently chatting in, and it saves all the settings across characters including my custom channels.

    I also use bongos2, most of mine are keybound so the majority of my “bars” (they’re in blocks instead of bars) are generally up for mouseover only.

    I actually use my focus frame a lot when I’m healing. Particularly if there are mobs I need to be keeping track of for cc.

    Another thing that I love doing is flipping things like the MT window and Omen upside down and putting them above my map/chatpane area. That way everything is near each other. You could do the same with the buffs too I’m sure, although mine are handled through my frame mod.

  14. Matford: Recount by default opens up with the damage dealt window open. After a wipe or something, I usually switch it over to the “Deaths” window to find out how certain players die. Call it an autopsy window if you will. Sometimes I like to look at the “Healing Done” window and QQ to myself because I get beat out by Shamans and dirty Druids :(.

  15. Matford, Nagrand says:

    Do you really need that screen cluttering your UI for information you occiaionally use?

    Think about what you need to see all the time to do your job. If something needs to be visible at all times, it belongs in your UI. I suggest that Deaths doesn’t fit that category.

    IMO Expiration is a better tool for what you want to do, espeically if you team it with Prat which allows for the creation of aliases.

    Example /expiration report Tadri could be aliased to /exrep %t

  16. Good luck on streamlining your UI. I did this a while ago and haven’t ever regretted it. I’m going to have to be another person to recommend Grid. It gives you -so- much information in such a small space. I can’t imagine healing without it.

    BTW, I’m tickled pink to find people-who-are-not-me linking to my Grid+Clique article in your comments 😉

    http://chicanery.fibergeek.com/2007/09/25/how-i-heal-gridclique/

    Here’s a recent shot of my UI during a Nightbane kill:
    http://chicanery.fibergeek.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/wowscrnshot_022108_215345.jpg

    And an in-action movie from killing High King Maulgar:
    http://chicanery.fibergeek.com/2008/02/07/high-king-maulgar-boring-movie-and-brief-analysis/

    Most of the addons/setup is described here:
    http://chicanery.fibergeek.com/2007/11/21/state-of-the-ui-late-nov-2007/

    Nibuca
    http://chicanery.fibergeek.com/

  17. matford says:

    Well I just had my computer go futz on me and had to do my UI from scratch 😛

    There are two addons that helped me get it right in record short time, Align and nshakedown.

    Align puts a grid on your screen, making much easier to line various UI elements up correctly.

    nshakedown will display on the screen every element of your UI that can possibly happen at the same time in a raid, and everything’s draggable as well.

    Highly reccomend the pair of them for setting up your UI.

  18. Matford, where do you find nshakedown? (I probably can find it, but it’s after 1am and this question will help remind me to look if you don’t reply before then.) 😉

  19. matford says:
  20. Thanks, Matford!

  21. Holy crap, and I thought my UI was cluttered 😛

    You healers have it bad with stuff on your screens, especialy raid healers.

    DPS just needs to make their UIs look “cool” so we don’t fall asleep spamming our 1-3 dps buttons.

Trackbacks

  1. […] the before post of my UI when I was in the process of tearing it down entirely. This is the after post of my UI in various […]

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