One of the more important things to playing the game is having a good UI. A good UI should have all of the following points:
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Helpful in your gameplay
- Uncomplicated/takes up less memory
Here are just a few components that I have in mine. A good UI can make a huge difference in your play.
Ever since I discovered Add-Ons I’ve not used Blizzard raid frames. In BC I used XPerl and had probably one of the most cluttered UIs of all time. I previously used ElvUI since it comes as a huge package and I can configure so many things just the way I want it. Eventually I switched to VuhDo. I understand a lot of people use VuhDo or Healbot to substitute using hotkeys on the raid frames as heals (ex. Right click player = holy shock that player). I use it for the sole purpose of being able to bind my dispel to right clicking the frame. Other than that, VuhDo has a more customizable debuff/buff frame and can be configured to show other things such as a healer mana specific frame which I have to track the raid’s mana for mana return cooldowns. Ultimately I think it depends on what you’re comfortable with (stole this idea from KatyeMoss’s UI).
Where to put them: I used to place my raid frames at the bottom of the screen above my toolbars but I found that it was very hard to keep an eye on my raid frames as well as on where my character was. By placing the raid frames to the left or right of my character, I could pretty much keep an eye on where I was standing as well as who I needed to be healing. In addition, DBM timers placed next to the raid frames helped a ton since I could glances at those while keeping an eye on my raid frames.
If you choose not to use a raid frame add-on with built in spells, I would still recommend macroing all of your spells to mouseovers. A nice mouseover macro guide can be found here. I’d strongly suggest using the one here:
/cast [target=mouseover,help] Lifebloom; [help] Lifebloom; Lifebloom
Take time to customize your raid frames. They are what you’ll be staring at for a majority of the game. You want them to be clean looking, displaying any necessary debuffs you need to keep track of or any HoTs that are about to run out. You want it to display who your beacon target is on without have to recast it on someone. Regardless of what you use, you should be familiar with it and customize it to display everything you need, and find out where the positioning is best for you.
Commonly Used Raid Frame Add-ons: ElvUI, Healbot, Grid, Vuhdo, Shadow Unit Frames
Skill Bars: ElvUI
For most other parts of my UI, I used ElvUI. I’m not sure whether Blizzard allows you to move your skill bars around but there are great benefits to being able to move your skill bars around either to keep them out of your main view on the screen or to put them in the middle if you need to keep an eye on them. Otherwise, just having them all in the corner rather than in a line along the bottom or to the side of the screen is not really helpful to keeping your screen uncluttered. Once you play your character enough, you may be comfortable not using skill bars since you’ll be used to all of your hotkeys. Regardless, you want something that will allow you to move your skill bars around.
I personally used WASD for moving but I’ve heard using ESDF is also good because you have a whole slew of keys that you can use as your hotkeys. I just find WASD to be more comfortable for me and have acquired the bad habit of not binding important spells like Lay on Hands to hotkeys. because I’ve run out of keys I remember. The more that you play though, the easier your hotkeys will become to use. Sometimes it just takes a few days of just trying them out to get use to it. Regardless of what you use, the most common spells you use should always be placed closest to the keys easiest to reach so you can react quickly to things.
Character Unit Frames: ElvUI
I discovered ElvUI a few months back and I just fell in love with the sleek design. Apart from the fact that I bind dispel to right click on VuhDo I could almost go back to using ElvUI unit frames for raid as well. In addition, I use the Shadow and Light mod for it which adds a whole bunch more interface options customizing your datatexts and bars, etc. ElvUI does require some configuring in terms of what kind of buffs you want to display and using either aura bars or just an icon, etc. You’ll want to configure these yourself to make sure your character frames are showing what you want it to show. It’s also important to customize your target unit frame as most of the time you’ll have it on the boss (if you have mouseover macros) to keep track of what he’s doing.
ElvUI comes with its own castbar UI however I prefer to use Quartz since it’s more configurable. You can move the cast bar of targets to more prominent positions. I’m sure that ElvUI’s castbar would be perfectly fine as well although I’ve heard that Quartz is very lightweight (doesn’t take up too much processing power) which is generally more favorable.
For meters I use Skada and I have displayed healing and damage. Both of these can be bound or skinned to ElvUI through ElvUI Addon Skins.
Scrolling Combat Text: xCT
For scrolling combat text, I try to keep it to as simple as I can. I know how great it feels to have all those numbers popping out but how many times do you actually see how much you’re healing. It is important to see how much damage you’re taking at times so I do leave it on but it’s very minimal at the bottom left above the chat frame. There is an additional frame for outgoing damage or heals at the right below the map.
Not really a UI or add-on but extending your camera distance allows you to have a much larger region of the room in focus which will help you with noticing things coming to kill you or people in your raid, to watch our for mechanics, etc. Just type the following in to your chat and it will extend the amount of zoom out that you can do.
/script SetCVar ("cameraDistancemax" ,50)
This add on is one of the main things that puts a great deal of distance between someone who uses something like it and someone who doesn’t. The human brain can only keep track of so many things and WeakAuras is there to help you out. WeakAuras is also extremely complex if you really want to get into the LUA programming language to make it do incredible things. For now, I only use it to do the bare minimum of what I think it’s capable of.
Most of the WA are situated in the middle of the screen where a majority of the time I’m looking. I’ve considered placing them closer to my raid frames so that I can see it more with peripheral vision. I’ll go through the individual components below. Most of my WA have 3 different forms for when the spell is usable, active and when it’s on cooldown so you will typically see 3 different images of each below.
Mana Return Cooldowns
Large Healing Cooldowns
Short Healing Cooldowns
Tier 6 Healing Talent (glows when CD is up, changes depending on talent taken)
Lucidity (Legendary Meta-gem Proc)
Holy Power Indicator
Below are the links to my WeakAuras if you want to download them separately or all of the mat once. I also have a set of WeakAuras under the Separate files to track holy power which is in its own group.
Separate WeakAuras: http://pastebin.com/8SYYqBCQ
All WeakAuras: http://pastebin.com/y8haK96P