Wyn’s UI – Part One

In the beginning… there was stock. And it was okay, but very limited. Thankfully, Blizzard designed the game to be almost infinitely customizable by players. I started out just wanting to show you the view from my chair, but then I realized that I’ve never found “standing around a major city” screenshots useful. Instead, I’ll be posting some “action shots” of my UI, the mods I use, how, and why. You’ll get a better idea of how I heal, and how I’ve gotten my UI to help me do that. There’s a lot of explanation involved, so I’ll do this in a couple of parts.

Personally, I don’t like a lot of crap that I don’t use sucking up power or my attention. I also like mods that pack a LOT of information into tiny packages. That said, I use a lot of add-ons, and I’m constantly auditioning more and deleting the old ones. Your eyes would bleed if I marked each one and told you what it was, so if you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Intro to my UI:

I had this idea in the middle of Black Temple, so I waited to get a nice, basic shot. Things will get a little more complicated when it’s in action. Personally, I want the middle of my screen as clear as possible. Priests have a bad reputation for dying, and I’ve found that keeping my field of vision very clear helps me move out of the way and stay alive. The mods I look at the most are right below my ‘toon, with those less relevant during combat further from that point.

Basic UI Shot. Englarged version coming!

1. The bar across the top is FuBar. Lightweight, with lots of modular plug-ins, FuBar makes it really easy to access and customize your mods. Keeps buttons off my mini-map, too. My personal favorite is RegenFu. This little gem tells me my int/mp5/spirit ratio on the fly, and how much time I’m spending in the 5SR; (85% on last fight). It also has a timer bar (which is faint, over my raid frame) that shows when I’m in the 5SR. Over time, I know if spirit or mp5 food or elixirs are more appropriate for a given fight, and I can better control my mana-consumption rate.

2. AG_UnitFrames. Before I used grid, I used AG for my basic Raid Frames. I still use it for 5-mans and a couple of other things because it’s lightweight, and very customizable. I’ve tried Pitbull, but found that it couldn’t do anything AG couldn’t do, and I already had AG the way I wanted it.
(2a) My frame and my target are at the top of the screen, and just above my chat box
(2b) you can see my focus frame and their target (in this case, I’m focused on myself for
some reason, so it’s just a miniature of what’s going on upstairs. Sorry about that.)

3. Grid took some getting used to, but it’s now my favorite mod. It shows a LOT of information in a very elegant and minimalistic manner. My groups are arranged horizontally, and the player names are cut off at a max of 4 letters. They are also colored according to class. That “W…” is me, and my group includes Wizendone (resto-shammy), Nl (s.priest), Haidi, and Alden (both healadins). Those that are greyed out are simply out of range.

A word on targeting: Obviously, you can see my target up at the top of the screen. One of the best rules of being an efficient healer is to maximize your reaction time. Minimizing the distance your eyes need to travel to get the information you need helps. Part of my solution has been to set Grid to have a white border around my target’s square. (Since I have myself targeted, and priests are denoted in white, it’s not showing properly.) Also, I use Quartz for my casting bar, and have it set to show the name of my target in the cast bar. Like this:

This makes it easy to avoid healing the wrong target, since my quartz goes right above grid.

4. Your spells have to go somewhere, and I use Bartender3 to keep mine organized. There are a LOT of mods that do this; find one that you like. You’ll notice that nearly all of them are hotkeyed – I navigate and target with my mouse, and cast with my keyboard. (That blank spot is for my Spirit buffs when I spec disc on the weekends.) You’ll probably notice a lot of icons you don’t recognize – I use macros very heavily. You’ll also notice how many ranks of Greater Heal and Flash heal I use. 4 of each. The fifth (5 and T, respectively) are stopcasting macros with the max-rank of the heal. (T is a little special, but I’ll get to that in the upcoming post on macros.) You may also notice that the only offensive spell I have hotkeyed is Pain. This is because I’m a healer, not a DPSer. Don’t worry, my offensive spells are easy to access (hold shift and scroll the mousewheel up once), it’s just that in the average raid, I don’t need them taking up space. I tend to click pots and such, so I don’t hit them accidentally while typing. The average amount per heal (or offensive spell) on each icon is from Dr. Damage. It helps me down-rank without having to read tool tips and do math in my head.

5. Recount. Use it. Love it. I have some great shots of how to use it for self-coaching later on. I have it running, set to “current fight” AT ALL TIMES. (Which is why it cleared once the boss was dead. Sorry about that, too.) See my previous post for why.

6. Simple Mini Map. I like it because it interfaces well with cartographer, it’s light, and it is very customizable.

7. Prat. A chat mod that lets remove you those damn arrows, and scroll with your mousewheel. Has a bunch of other nifty features I find useful. You’ll notice I don’t keep a combat log open. Recount substitutes for that.

8. ElkBuffBars. Matt made me get this one, and I’m glad he did. Montiors buffs, debufs, and everything else you need to know in a (say it with me!) Lightweight, customizable format.

Essential mods that you can’t see:

Deadly Boss Mods. Don’t leave home without it.

Omen Threat Meter. KTM was great. Omen is better. If you haven’t upgraded, do it now. Omen interfaces with KTM, too, so just because your Tank lives in the stone age isn’t an excuse for you to do the same.

Instant Health. This is a combat log parser that updates the health of your party or raid, with any raid frames, without waiting for the information to be sent to the server and back. It saves insane amounts of time (up to 3 seconds!!), and buys you time to react. As people keep stacking more and more Spell Haste, this kind of thing is going to become more popular.
(Edit: As I’ve been using this, I’ve noticed it messes with Recount and other combat-log parsers. Please be aware that it may interfere with any other mod you have reading this information; it is a known issue with the beta.)

More on Quartz. This has been around for a while, but I wanted to point out that it does more than allow you to change the look of your casting bar. The tail end of a given cast comes up in red (or any color you pick), and alerts you to your latency. What’s more, it allows you to begin a new cast before your computer has finished communicating with the server. This means you’re less at the mercy of Blizzard and your ISP to get those heals off in time. Pre-2.3, Quartz and a stop-casting macro were indispensible for quick heals. I still use stop-casting, although now more for mana regen purposes than global cooldown.

PoM Tracker – I found this after I took these screenies. I used to use Mending Minder, which stopped working at 2.4. This tells you who has your ProM, how many bounces it has left, and how much it’s healing. Nice.

To Be Continued. . .

22 thoughts on “Wyn’s UI – Part One”

  1. Just out of interest, how big is your monitor and what resolution are you using? I see a lot of nice UI set-ups that I can’t replicate because I have a 19″ monitor and there just isn’t enough space!

  2. It’ll do, priests seem to have a lot of spells. I guess you got more free space than the average priest, I have seen some horrible things in my days! 😛

    I prefer to keep as much as possible visible, that means lot of transparency and spacing. Tried to have a bottom bar like you do, but I never liked it much.
    I also prefer to have me and my target’s unitframe in the bottom center on the screen because there is where I tend to keep my eyes focused. That goes for all spells and raid frames as well. Need to keep everything in a comfortable viewing distance without the eyes having to jump between corners.

    A tip: have bars that become visible when you hold down ctrl, shift or alt. It will save a lot of space.

  3. You don’t like Clique? I barely heal, but when I have to I can’t live without it.

    Also, what is it in Recount that you’re looking at DURING the fight? I have it set to “hide in combat.” I don’t need to look at it. But if you’re gleening some info from it that’s beneficial during the fight i wanna know. 🙂

  4. Oops, I’ll also add:

    For my UI I have Me then down a bit to the right my target then down a bit more to the right target of target. I use this when tanking or when on my SP. Then on the top staggered in the same way I have my Bars. This is because, as a tank, I need to see my rage, my target’s cast bar, and my target of target all very close to my cool downs. So I just duplicate it for my SP. This leaves a TON of room open at the bottom. But the benefit is that all the important info is within about a 3x2in space.

  5. Hulan: I have a 20” square monitor, at 1200 x 1600. I think you could pull it off on a slightly smaller scale – just reduce a few things a little more than I did.

    Regis: Yeah, I’ve seen some nasty UI’s. You wonder how it’s even legible. I’ve tried having my and my target’s frames at the bottom, too, but found that it just duplicated Grid. I can see my health and their health there.

    Curtis: Because I navigate and target with my mouse, using mouse-over mods and macros is a nightmare. Also, I currently use a 4-button mouse, and even with modifiers there just aren’t enough buttons for all my spells. (I’m planning to get a speed pad and a new mouse soon, I’ll let you know how that changes things.)

    As for Recount – I have a shot taken during a fight, and I’ll touch on why I keep Recount open then.

    Also, currently, clicking on the picture does not make it larger as intended. I’ll correct this as soon as possible.

  6. Simple question about using Grid, I’m a COH priest and so it’s useful to understand if a “party” is taking damage or if it’s just 1 person.
    Therefore I have grid set up for the raid, but I currently have also a 2nd set of raid frames setup just showing health of the parties.
    This allows me to see if it’s worth group healing that party with COH or just throwing a heal at 1 person.

    how do you do it with this setup?

    I appreciate that alot of times, 1melee taking damage = all melee taking damage, but sometimes it can be a “whole raid” taking damage and chosing which party needs concentrating on can be important.

    Or am i just over complicating things.
    I’d like to get rid of 1 set of frames as there is 100% duplication of information, 1 showing it by party, another by class.

    I suppose I should point out that my grid uses
    dynamicgrid, which groups according to healer, melee, ranged, tank, pet
    Hence the problem

  7. Dilfred: Grid has a few options in the layout section that allow you to group by class, or simply by group. I just leave it “by group.” Since each row is a group, it’s very easy to see if they’re taking damage across the board.

    I haven’t found a lot of value in grouping people by class, since class doesn’t define a person’s role. (Any Pally stuck without Pally Power can attest to this.) In my raids, “Group 4” is much more likely to be healers, whereas the Priests are going to be dps (except me). Also, in BT, fights with a lot of raid damage typically can be set up so the damage is by group. Bloodboil is the easiest example of this, but it can work on Najentus, Illidan, or Mother.

    For my set up, the health bars highlight down each square as a given person takes damage. Which means if a specific group is taking damage across the board, it becomes very obvious. It’s much harder to explain than it is to just show you. The next post will show a little bit of raid damage as we heal up after trash, so I think you’ll get a good visual on that, but the Boss Fight post will show exactly what I mean as a group takes damage as a whole.

    Sorry to be so vague, but please stay tuned, and I’ll make sure I answer your exact question.

  8. Couple of questions about your mods….

    Recount – I use an updated version of Recap, and I like it quite a bit, except that it is a big memory hog (15M – 40M: depending on how long since last reset). I know that combat-log parsers use a bit of memory by nature, but was wondering if maybe Recount might be a little more lightweight?

    AgUnitFrames – Since I’m not a healer, I have very little use for most of the unit frames (have only played with PitBull). Mainly I only use them for the focus-frame and to be able to scale my frames way down (damn 17″ monitor). Since I only really need to see the groups when buffing, I’d like a UF mod that will let me easily hide/show them depending on if I’m buffing or not. Do you know if Ag_UF supports something like this? I didn’t find anything for it in PitBull.

  9. Dynasor: I have not noticed any system-sapping with Recount, but don’t currently run a mod that will tell me exact specs.

    As for a small raid frame for buffing, I’d go with Grid in addition to PitBull. The options menu is easy to pull up, and a quick toggle in the first panel will enable or disable it.
    It’ll pull up in one nice block, grouped by party or class, and then disappear and shut off just as quickly.

  10. Dynasor: Understand that Recount isn’t exactly a lightweight mod. If you’ve got a fairly recent computer, you should be able to pull it off fairly well. There are a few people in my Guild that can’t run Recount and play well enough because their computer can’t handle the strain. It’s mostly due to the dynamic charts and graphs and other stuff that it can output.

  11. I’ve been dabbling with my UI for quite some time, trying to achieve a similar look to yours, with all the key info along the bottom leaving plenty of screen space. I’m looking forward to hearing more about what you use and why – can’t believe I never knew Quartz could indicate your target!!

    I would like to ask what you do about your tooltips? Blizz standard puts them in the right bottom corner which would clash with where you have your map – so do you use a mod to be able to put them somewhere else?

  12. Tufva: We both use a mod called TipTac. It’s a tooltip mod that appears where your cursor is and it displays a lot of information like – Who else is targetting the mob, health/mana, mob type, etc.

  13. Tufva: Matt jumped the gun on me a little, there. Yes, I also use TipTac, but I don’t let it pop up under my cursor. It has a nifty anchor feature that allows me to stick it somewhere out of the way of the rest of my UI. I also use Mob Info, which DOES pop up under my cursor, and shows different information. I have an up coming shot that shows both of these; I think it’ll be in Part 4.

  14. Matticus, I stumbled upon your website a week or so ago, and your knowledge of the healing class is very impressive. As far as UIs go, I could probably be diagnosed with OCD on having the perfect UI. I will add a link of my latest UI when I get a screenie uploaded(if that is allowable on this site). I never really got the knack for using hotkeys, so in my case I have my bar of healing spells right beside my party/raid member’s status bars so I can keep my eyes and pointer in a relatively small area. I would also recommend setting up buttons/bars (that aren’t needed at all times) to fade out while you’re in combat…there’s no point in having a cluster of buttons for trades, hearth, etc obstructing your visibility.

  15. After a couple more weeks of painful raiding due to my basic gear and my guilds need for a third healer (even though my stats are underpar), I’ve actually structured my UI to be more similar to yours… Grid is absolutely wonderful compared to Pitbull…saves a lot of screen space…IMO all serious priests should just take your advice XD… Thanks for your wisdom.

  16. Wynthea…I’ve gotten used to Grid. Healers not using this mod really have no idea what they’re missing. Anyways, one problem I have is the health bar for pets seems to be showing up on the hunter’s frame even though the pet has its own frame. Before I realized this, I wasted a lot of heals on full health hunters. How can I change this, or is something glitched within my UI? I’d also like to praise the Clique mod. This gem pushed me from third place healer to first place healer overnight. Using different ranks of heals with clique is complicated, so for now I’m just using my top rank heals for flash and greater heals when needed (trying to time them right for mana efficiency). Thanks in advance for any help.

    Dan (Hotheals – Laughing Skull)


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