The Rogue UI: Your Silent Partner
(MODERATOR NOTE)I'm just going to be very clear to start with: if you make a post in this thread copying the OP's format and listing the mods you use in place of what Latito listed, you will get an infraction.
This thread will live as long as it contains useful discussion of the kinds of things that are important in a rogue UI, or of how to design rogue UI's such that important elements are placed optimally, or other topics of similar nature. (Basically, the kind of posts that have mostly occurred so far.) If it becomes an endless jerk-off session with each idiot showing off his unique snowflake UI and posting a stream of consciousness explanation of every last thought behind it...you know where it will go.(END MODERATOR NOTE)
First, let it be said that this is a ROGUE UI thread. This isn't supposed to replicate the UI forum, but rather guide rogues in creating a useful UI, highlighting important concepts specific to rogues. Part of a UI is invariably your macros and key binds. I don't want to discourage discussion about either of those, but the primary focus here should be mods and such. This is NOT a thread to post a large screenshot of your UI and nothing else. If you want to post your UI, post a link to a screenshot (or several), a list of mods and mention WHY you are posting. Talk about what makes your UI unique and what feature(s) you think other rogues should consider. Don't post asking for a mod or some very specific question about someone's UI - use the PM feature these forums offer.
Basically, I just want this to be a disclaimer: Don't be an idiot or you will receive infractions and/or other stuff.
Moving on! I've been wanting to make a UI thread for a while now for 3 main reasons:
-The UI is generally highly undervalued in terms of dps/survivability
-There are a LOT of bad UI's posted in screenshots/videos
-I'm always looking to tweak and improve my own UI
I don't have a great overall plan of how to write this post, so I think I'll just link my own UI and describe how it functions with comments along the way. On that note, please don't post a screenshot of your UI with you standing in Dalaran, not in a group, with no buffs, targeting nothing. You might as well not post. A UI is supposed to help you play better. You don't need help playing in Dalaran (well, Chat mods would say you do). This is a PvE forum and this thread should be about how your UI helps you in PvE.
Default Shot: http://img21.imageshack.us/img21/7680/randomaak.jpg
Target Casting: http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/4813/castingo.jpg
Incoming Damage: http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/682/takingdamage.jpg
Outgoing Damage: http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/3458/fokv.jpg
I'll mainly reference the default screenshot, although most of the features you can see in all of the pics. I'll start with some of my favorite mods that I use the most and work my way through everything.
MSBT (Combat Text)
I use MSBT for outgoing damage, incoming damage, notifications, etc. I have 3 narrow scroll areas lined up against the top of my screen, centered width-wise with text scrolling up and off the screen. The middle area has all "auto attack" damage - white hits/crits/misses/dodges, instant and wound poison damage. The right scroll area has ability damage (Mut, SS, Hemo, Enven, Evis, etc). The left area is for DoT's (Deadly, Rupture, Garrote). These 3 areas have a small font and scroll pretty quickly. The intent here was to allow me to see the numbers if I need to, to have an indication that I'm in melee range (staying on target is SO important on any fight with movement of any sort) and generally just get all that spam out of the way. After all, rogues are a class with LOTS of little numbers. In the center of my screen, just slightly above my character is another MSBT area which displays AoE damage (FoK, Blade Flurry) and Parries/Blocks. Parries and Blocks are always sticky-crit format to send me a message that I'm in front of the target. AoE damage tends to fly by too fast on the other scroll areas and its difficult to tell if I'm positioned well. Knowing if and how many things you hit with AoE is important. I let that AoE stuff scroll off to the side. Announcements and the Blizzard raid warnings also go in that area, but in a separate scroll area that overlaps the AoE/Parry area and they scroll down (most are sticky anyways though).
Incoming damage is done on the left side of my screen, scrolling down. This scrolls slower and has a slightly larger font. Knowing when you take damage (and how much) is important. The right side has Buff gain/fade messages, although I really only use this for... nothing. For all of my damage scroll areas I include the spell Icon but not the name. I find the name wastes a ton of space on your screen and the icon works just fine.
ElkBuffBars (Buffs / Debuffs)
I use this mod a LOT. Knowing what buffs you have and when can be a huge dps factor. Knowing how to properly filter buffs is key for this mod. There are several mods out there for Buffs, some of which specialize and just show specific rogue buffs. I prefer to customize a more generic mod (EBB) to do the job, but to each his own. I have 9 buff groups. In the top right I have 2 groups, aura (timeless) buffs and timed buffs. I never got around to filtering out the caster buffs, although I probably will at some point. I also should probably sort and organize these a bit better. On the left I have a group for poisons - always know when your poisons will expire and refresh them early. Poisons are cheap to buy and a huge part of our dps. In the very bottom, below my player frame and between my char area and action bars I have a buff group which shows only Sunder / Expose Armor on my target. The space below here used to be where Demon sat (a mod that tracked specific target debuffs) until it broke. Sunder/EA is huge and you should make sure every boss has it up.
On the left side of my screen, around the same spot as my incoming damage, is a "Debuffs on me" group. I have these setup to show just the icon (super large to its easy to see) and the duration. Not sure why I did this, I just like it. I suppose most times in PvE a debuff means you should run somewhere - knowing that you HAVE the debuff is generally the key, not the duration (which a bar is handy for representing, but hides spell effects).
In the center of my screen, just below my character I have 4 bar groups. The top one is for super-important buffs like HfB and SnD. This group grows up, but never too high that it blocks view of my character. Below that to the right is "debuffs I apply" - the debuffs I have applied to my target so I can track poison/rupture durations. Just to the left of that are proc-type buffs I give myself (trinkets, weapon enchants, etc). This is an extremely important group as it lets me know when to burst. As a rogue, storing energy and bursting when procs are active allows you to, on average, achieve better-than-average effective uptimes for yellow damage on your important procs. Instead of getting a Mutilate and maybe a finisher off while someone has tricks on me, I'll get off an Envenom, Rupture and 2 Mutilates by working with my rogue partner(s) and pooling energy / combo points for when I know tricks is coming. I wouldn't recommend sitting at full energy, but pooling as much as you can helps a lot. This is partly why I use a 1/2 Murder + Vigor (glyphed) for PvE Mutilate on live servers. Come 3.1 that will no longer be an option, but for the time being its been worthwhile. The 4th group there just to the side is for important melee-specific buffs. SoE/Horn, UR/TSA/AM, Kigs, BoM/BS, WF/IT, Tricks (from someone else!), etc. This was especially useful on fights like KJ back in Sunwell to make sure I was always in range of my enhancement shaman for UR, SoE, WF. Its also handy pre-pull to make sure you have pally blessings and such. The 4 groups in the middle there I have recently added some opacity to (not seen in screenshots), shrunk the height by 15% and moved them down about ~20 pixels. This further helps me view the environment around my character.
Pitbull (Unit Frames)
I think the key for rogues here is the energy and combo point display. There was a mod a while back for Pitbul (I think specifically the DogTags lib) to update the energy display per 0.1 second tick, not every 2 seconds. If you don't have a mod that does this, get one and/or modify your existing mod. As for combo points, I like having both the little dots along the bottom of the target bar as well as the big pink digit below. The dots let me have a "corner of my eye" type view to see roughly if I have a lot or very few combo points. The digit gives me a quick glance to have an accurate number. I keep the digit display quite large and in pink so that it stands out and doesn't blend in with fight scenery. It's also offset to the side so that target cast bar doesn't block it. As a general note, knowing the precise boss health % is handy. Knowing that Illidan was at 65.4% instead of "about two thirds" helps you know if you can sneak in another sinister Strike or not before hitting rupture and going into phase 2.
Cheater (Helpful Info)
This is a custom mod I wrote for myself. You can see it below my "debuffs I apply" group to track deadly poison TICKS. This helps me Envenom directly after a deadly poison tick to maximize deadly poison damage by mitigating my losses. By checking afterward on WWS, I often have an average delay between DP tick and Envenom of ~0.3 seconds for any given boss fight. This increases average damage per tick (so you don't 4-pt envenom directly before a tick) and reduces the gap between ticks (so you don't 5-pt envenom just before a tick and end up with a 6+ second gap between ticks). The second module in this tracks the ICD on trinket procs as well as Overkill time. Knowing that your Greatness proc is up in 3 seconds lets me know to be extra careful in pooling energy. Knowing that Mirror proc is up in 5 seconds when Heroism is popped lets me know to wait before I Haste pot (just make sure you use the pot by time Exhaustion has 4:35 left).
Dominos (Action Bars)
I use Dominos for action bars, it works quite well. Don't waste much (or any!) space on your screen by having huge bars. Unless you click a bunch of stuff it should just be a reference at most. I would suggest using a mod that allows you to disable having a stealth bar. Often there is a bit of lag between switching to/from stealth which results in you hitting binds for the wrong bar. Instead, macros are handy for this purpose. I also move my menu/bag buttons up to the top so its out of the way.
I use: Quartz (cast bars below raid frames for kicking), BigWigs (boss timers really help!), Omen (more for adds than bosses really), Recount, Chatter (lightweight, full of features chat mod), Grid (even for a rogue, its handy), Chinchilla (map mod), CowTip (tooltips), Fubar: DurabilityFu, MoneyFu, PerformanceFu (Handy info, out of the way)
I'm hoping this thread can sustain some positive discussion about Rogue UI's and help rogues think about how they design their UI. Try not to blindly say "I use XYZ mod", but say WHY its good. I think the overall goal with my UI was to let me see a lot of information really quickly, without obscuring my view of important spell effects.
In my own mind it's not necessarily the mods themselves that you use in your UI but how many and where you place them. A lot of mods do the same thing, they just look a bit different so the ones you actually use are largely unimportant as long as they accomplish your goals.
How many? Only the ones you need. A lot of bar mods, bag mods, map mods, etc have options to turn themselves off in combat. There's a reason for that. The more you can see of your surroundings, the better the chance you can see incoming danger. And it doesn't even have to be just those things that turn themselves off. In my own case, I know my keybinds by heart and could play with my bars turned off (you'd be surprised how easy this can be). Just a few timers to countdown when cooldowns are back up and there you go.
Where to put them? The answer in my own case is "where I will see them". Ever notice that almost everyone moves their own unit frame out of the top left where Blizzard puts it and down under their feet? That's because as melee (and plenty more players) we're always looking for markers of one type or another on the ground... or hitboxes or any number of things. Putting our health/energy there is a sure way to keep all the important stuff where we keep our eyes.
Put all your alerts and warnings in one spot but not directly on top of each other. If you have to look in one corner for debuffs, another for damage and a third area for timers then your not going to catch them. Decide what's important and put those warning ins the same area.
ReCount is distracting. Yes I run it, but I keep it hidden so that I can take a quick glance if I need to but normally I just check WWS afterwards when I actually have time to interpret what the data means. If your trying to do analysis between bosses, you're either not taking enough time with it, not pulling your share on trash, or you're slowing down the raid.
That seems like way too much information on the screen. For instance, why do you have scrolling combat text show things like Abomination's Might and Moonkin Aura gains? Why do you need to write out the names of all the buffs like Mark of the Wild and so on? Why do you need buttons on screen for all the bags/UI stuff/etc? I don't know, it just seems really cluttered.
I would say pretty much the only mod that's absolutely required for a raiding rogue is a mod that tracks your main buffs (HfB, SnD, etc). There's a lot of discussion on what people prefer, some like Elk or ClassTimers. Personally I've stuck with NeedToKnow.
I'd totally agree - its not about what mod(s) you use, its about the task they accomplish. That is exactly what I'd like this thread to discuss.
Chalon you make some good points, I've been meaning to filter out my buff groups in the top right for a while and I think I'll add some more minimizing to them while I'm at it to clear up some more space. As for the MSBT scroll area on the right side of my screen, I could probably do well to just remove all the buff gain/fade messages from there. I'll clean things up on Tuesday and put out an update.
Do you have the Cheater mod that you wrote posted on any ui sites to be downloaded.
Currently I'm tracking Overkill/Master of Subtlety buffs, trinket ICD's and Deadly poison tick timer. If there are other ideas you have that fall along those lines, I'd consider adding them in. So far those are the only 3 things I could think of that no other mod handles well (if at all).
While many of us use Deadly Boss Mods, a little known feature that can come in handy on fights with very tight spacing is the /range command. It can show you who is within 10/11/20/etc yards from you. This is very handy for perfecting your spacing and ensuring that other melee classes aren't encroaching on your space on fights like Kel'Thuzad. If done properly, you can actually create a 5 point start circling him with no overlap. So I guess I'm recommending DBM and the /range command.
I think when designing a UI for yourself the biggest thing you need to do is identify what the most important things are for your class/spec role, and then thinking what information you need to excel at said role. EJ does a lot of this for us, for example looking at the Theorycrafting Think Tank and Pocket Guide to WotLK you see what we need to do.
TTT article (outdated, but still appropriate as an example):
After that, #2 and #3 are fight mechanic specific and skill based. Having a boss mod like DBM can tell you how close you are to others during Gruuls shatter or show a warning when Shade of Aran is casting flame wreath, but it is ultimately up to the player to not suck.
#4, #5, #6 (essentially keep up rupture, or now HFB), and #7 though, are again made easier and more manageable through proper addons and/or a well thought out UI. To do #4 most effectively, you need to know your current energy (provided by any unitframe addon), as well as your energy regen procs (best provided through a scrolling text mod imo). #5 and #6 are made much easier through a properly configured classtimers, elk buffbars, quartz, or my personal favorite Discodice (fanupdate) from curse. #7 is essential as not maximizing the use of your cooldowns is detrimental to reaching your max DPS, and made easier with addons like omnicc or ghostpulse-like addons.
After those basics, knowing things like buffs and debuffs being applied or dropped is, knowing who is down and who is alive, recount to quickly compare boss fights/attempts, omen for threat values, or timetodie for approximate time left in a fight can all help enhance your play.
It all eventually comes down to how you execute as a player, but it certainly is easier with a proper set up, and thats best designed not by first opening photoshop and designing a leet texture that you configure your UI around, but rather by figuring out what you need and arranging that intuitively, then making it look pretty if thats your thing.
Here's a kinda old picture of what mine used to be before I accidentally deleted it a few weeks while trying to troubleshoot a lua error, though now it's essentially the same plus and minus some polish and without the transparency (which I actually liked but am to lazy to reconfigure anytime soon). Bartender4, pitbull, quartz, prat, parrot, recount, timetodie, omen, EBBars, squeenix, sldatatext, omnicc, and discodice (fanupdate) are the visibles, but anything will do as long as it truncates the useless information and concatenates the important stuff.
I'm just going to be very clear to start with: if you make a post in this thread copying the OP's format and listing the mods you use in place of what Latito listed, you will get an infraction.
This thread will live as long as it contains useful discussion of the kinds of things that are important in a rogue UI, or of how to design rogue UI's such that important elements are placed optimally, or other topics of similar nature. (Basically, the kind of posts that have mostly occurred so far.) If it becomes an endless jerk-off session with each idiot showing off his unique snowflake UI and posting a stream of consciousness explanation of every last thought behind it...you know where it will go.
(edit) For some non-moderation-related content: I have found the EventHorizon addon to be extremely, ridiculously useful. You can find it demonstrated in this screenshot of my UI (sorry, needless pimping, but I'm only linking this to show off the mod, not my UI design skills - and god help any of you if you respond to me asking "what's that mod?"): http://s5.tinypic.com/2wpp9ar.jpg
It's located immediately below and to the left of my character on screen, and it displays bars for (in order from top to bottom) Reflection of Torment, Fury of the Five Flights, Envenom, Deadly Poison (and its ticks), Rupture (and its ticks), Slice and Dice, and Hunger for Blood. It's very similar to what Latito's described in his Cheater mod, except that it consolidates the information into one set of bars instead of multiple, and it doesn't [yet] track internal cooldowns.
(edit 2) To elaborate on why I like EventHorizon - the fact that it consolidates all those different types of information in one place makes managing a rotation much easier. When you are making your next decision on an ability to use, you need to know the durations of your personal buffs, the durations of your debuffs on your current target, the tick status of Deadly Poison, whether you have trinket/Envenom/Berserking buffs active, etc. This typically involves looking in at least two different places, and sometimes three. EventHorizon reduces it to one.
It's for this same reason that I have action bars displayed - they provide cooldown status on the specific abilities you want to see, as well as range status and power status (though this is less relevant for a rogue). Using cooldown bars or buttons of any sort, determining whether the ability I want to use is off cooldown is typically a linear search of a bunch of bars/buttons. Using action bars, it's a constant time process.
I have no idea if it's perfectly accurate but you can trigger events in Scrolling Combat Text for the deadly poison tick. You basically add a new event for any time deadly poison does damage. I just have it announce TICK! next to my combo point/buff cluster to time my envenoms after the text flash. If you have a mod that actually tracks the time in seconds between poison ticks, that is different and would be awesome if shared.
I have been using Evl slice and dice located below my player frame in this screen shot.
This mod tracks rupture, slice and dice, and hunger for blood stacks (a 3 stack is a brighter red color) consolidating them into a nice format. Also, the Ticktimer mod posted in the envenom modeling thread has been useful to me for tracking deadly poison ticks.
For people looking for a mod to track internal cool downs on trinkets, procodile has been working nice for me currently. Very interested in trying out eventhorizon and ditching evl though, eventhorizon seemingly combines the two mods I linked into one.
I've built my UI around the basic conceptions of User Interface design. In hindsight, most of them seem obvious, or at least something "everyone does" but without clear idea why. I'll try explain here the reasons for my decisions regarding building an UI. Note: I do have 24" screen. With 9" notebook screen I probably would make different decisions with the visibility of least important things, but same basic rules apply.
1) Keep important items in the middle of field of vision
Our sight is best in the middle of field of vision, both color vision and sharpness. You can concentrate on sides, but that means eye movement, or even head movement. Worst example what you can do is Blizzard's default UI; player in one upper corner, your buffs and debuffs in another, ability cooldowns in down middle. You need to move your head constantly with 24" screen if you keep that arrangement and follow everything you want.
Important items: YOU. Your environment. What you are doing. As you really can't move your char easily (well, maybe with Aperture or CT_Viewport), you need to bring everything else important around you. That, in turn, means your health, CPs, buffs, debuffs, target's buffs and debuffs and so on. That's why Player and Target frames are usually in char's feet or HUD-like around.
Of course, reversed, this means that less important things (map, raidframe, recount) can be moved far to the left or right.
2) Keep important items unmovable
Moving targets are harder to find. In this sense, NeedToKnow is better for tracking buffs than ClassTimer/EBB. Buffs are always in same place, same color. Hotkey bars have some CD's you need (AR, BF, evasion, whatever), and they are always in same place. If you don't have these CD's in view, it's mistake to hide actionbars, even if you can play without.
You will also learn the places for these items, if they're always there. I don't like hiding anything in combat (map/recount/questlog), just keep it hidden if it is not important and not pop it back and forth.
Classtimer's and EBB's timers are otherwise good, but the stack moves and changes depending how much buffs/debuffs there is (unless you make own group for each of them). So, they have to be bigger than I'd comfortably like. Which brings up the next item,
3) Keep important items visible
Lose everything less important from the expensive and small real estate that is the middle of the screen. Movement catches eye, and you don't want anything less important to distract your concentration. On PVP, your numbers might be important, but at least on PVE perspective, not really. Move SCT/MKBT/Parrot somewhere else from the middle. Least important things (raidframes for rogue) can be far off, at the sides of the screen. Conversely, if something is very important, that alone is a reason to grow its size, maybe even keep borders around it, and stick it to the middle area.
4) Keep similar items together
This flies a bit against the need to unclutter the view, but logically, if you're interested in cooldowns, it's easier to keep them all in one place (let's say, left side) than "buffs here, debuffs there, ability cooldowns down there, and rare 10min CD up there!". BUT: prioritize. If you really have some 10min CD, and you don't usually need it, put it in the corner you want. Important items fly first class.
Goes without saying that ugly UI is worse than good-looking one, but I'll mention it anyway. If you are comfortable with the UI graphics and placement, the sheer ugliness doesn't distract you all the time. Use Align for the neat placement of things. Choose the least irritable bar graphics there is, plain ones are usually best ones. Choose font that is extremely clear and readable and looks good in small or large sizes (old wisdom tells that Serif is better on written text, but WoW doesn't have good Serif fonts, and Sans-Serif ones scale smaller). Keep that font everywhere.
Building the UI: it is possible to move your toon around, but why? Probably the chair and the keyboard and the monitor are positioned so that you can sit comfortably long time. Monitor little below your eyes, and centered. If you char is in the middle of the screen, you can see farthest away to every direction around you. So, middle of the screen is good, begin from there. This is just an example, centered on Rogue PVE combat, and not 100% what I'm using now.
The boring list of items I consider important: Player HP/energy/CP/temporary buffs/cooldowns, Target name/debuffs/HP%, Targetstarget, DBM warnings
Playerframe below the toon. Left/right/above works too, but blocks more easily part of the environment. The way zoom and camera works in WoW, I've found above being the worst place. Semitransparent HUD works, too, but doesn't really remove the need for Playerframe (at least for me).
NTK and important timers around Playerframe, lets just put them on right side with the CP's. Snd, Rupture and Envenom on mutispec.
Targetframe gets tricky. Best place probably is right side of NTK, so I can put rest of buff/debuff timers (berserking, greatness, less important stuff) under Playerframe . Target don't need to be large; name, HP% and maybe mana% are important. Targetstarget below this, name is enough there.
Ability cooldowns to the left side of playerframe, if actionbars are to be hidden or moved away. Cloak, Evasion, AR/BF/CB/KS/...
DBM and raidwarnings right in the middle of screen. You don't want to miss them.
Less important items: Main Tanks and MT targets, Omen, guild/raidchat, scrolling information of CD's/incoming damage
At the moment, I keep MT/MTT's on far right side so I can compare targets easily. Omen below my Target/TT frames, and guildchat down and left (omen is right of chat). Incoming damage left side, CD availability from Parrot above everything. Combatlog usually hidden, or open on the right side.
Least important items: Raidframe, raidbuffs, Map, Questtracker, PVP objective, Blizzard menubar, Recount.
Anywhere you like, really. There's probably half of the screen unused for now.
Addition: I used word "important" a lot. In this context, it means anything that might affect or change your future course of actions. Environment around your toon is important, probably the most important thing in PVE. Don't clutter and fill that space with everything so you can see the fires. Priorities go much like that old TTT article.
Wonderful thread, as I plan to redo my UI pretty soon.
Only thing i have to contribute right now is my support of NeedToKnow; its a wonderful addon. The only thing I could wish for is if it would blink the bars like BigWigs do (example: >3s left on HfB=blink), and perhaps outline the Deadly Poison bar when it reaches 5 stacks.
I can't recommend SliceCommander highly enough. The main feature I really use it for, are the audio alerts that you can set to warn you -before- snd or hfb are about to wear off, or your energy is about to cap, rather than after the fact like the alerts you can set in msbt, etc.
It really allows me to stop focusing on watching my buff timers when learning new encounters, and allows me to devote more attention to the rest of the encounter.
SliceCommander - Addons - Curse
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