03 May 2011

UI- Growth of the User Interface

Yes, I did originally say that this blog would not be about guides; theorycrafting and so on. There are plenty of folks in the WoW blog community much more capable than I to fulfill your needs in these areas. The reasons for todays' post does come under the other heading of writing about what has my interest in the game at any given point. Which brings me to the slow but sure development of my user interface. Which is still a work in progress!

Background: When Sol finally hit level cap in Wrath, his attention turned towards end game. In particular, he wanted to PVE and raid. This all happened rather late in the expansion, with most other folks already farming ICC. Undaunted by the hills ahead of him, everything came under the microscope. Gear, dailys, LFD, various add-ons he never used before and the user interface. It became a long journey of learning things, and then trying to put them into use.

Our first screenshot is from July 2010. Still working with the basic WoW interface, add-ons were the first additions made according to much of the blog and website info I had read through. Recount, so I could monitor my dps on the training dummies. Omen for the needed threat meter. The "must have" Deadly Boss Mods, and Chinchilla Mini Map. (because I thought it was cool and I could resize/pretty the map up) I was also learning that the better players were key-binding their spells and abilities. As you can see, my early attempts at this were rather...noobish, to say the least. Although I seperated my buffs and debuffs from my spell rotation (such as it was), I keybound the rotation to the number pad. I'm sure you can also tell that I was still clicking at least half of it. The transition to key-binds went slowly for me, but I eventually got kinda used to it. Mind you now, I was still using the W-A-S-D movement keys. Yep, I had a lot to learn yet.

This second screenshot from November last year shows some improvement, both in style and my learning experiences. Everything is being down-sized here to allow for better views of what's happening all around me. On the top bar, I'm still clicking things. The spell rotation though, has been moved to the hot bar numbers (1 thru =) I've also managed to learn how to go through most all movements with the mouse, rather than the associated keys. There was a point in time a bit before this ss, where one of the patches had done some weird thing and I lost all the changes in the action bars. It was like, back to clicking again. It was, horrible. By this time I had become so used to using the keybinds that I was really lost trying to click spells. Needless to say perhaps, it didn't take long to re-do the UI.

On this last screenshot in the present time: The further additions of Bartender and Chatter have shown up. I find myself still tweeking both of them every so often. Everything has been down-sized a bit more, and I'm currrently working on getting Grid set up. Over all this time, I'm still learning how to use and tweek all these add-ons. It's been a long journey, with both entertaining and frustrating moments. Overall, I'm very happy with all these changes and look forward to growing some more.

TL:DR; This post was written with the "new player" in my thoughts. Hopefully, it will be of some encouragement and/or help for them in the days of Azeroth to come. If I were to offer advice, it would be to start out slowly with a basic add-on (such as your mini-map), and build from there. Take time to use each one to see if it fits you, then move on to the next.

Happy Gaming!


  1. I like the progression of your UI. I used to be much more of a "purist" and only got the holy trinity (threatmeter, boss mod, healing frames) to meet raid standards, but the more addons I learned about, the more I downloaded. Now I have....significantly more than 3...

  2. Thanks for stopping by!

    I also started out with the thoughts of future raiding and kept it simple/purist. Not knowing about add-on's, I chose the simple map change first, then recount and DBM as I learned how to work them. Everything is still a "learn as I go" though. I've still only got like 7, what I think the most useful.