UI & Addons

The Building of a Shaman UI

I have a confession to make.   I LOVE playing around with my WoW user Interface.

There, that wasn’t so hard.

Greetings All, this is Mukluk.  Ceraphus has kindly lent me this space to talk about my new UI.  Let’s start with the obligatory history:  I’m an Elemental/Resto Shaman and Officer of the guild Phalanx of Nod.  I specifically call out both specs for one reason: It is critical to my UI design.  In our raids, I heal and dps just about equally, depending on what needs shoring up for the raid (or even individual boss fights).

For me,  UI design always starts with an “idea”.   I played WoW for the first few years with the stock UI with very few addons or modifications.  For many, this is fine and works well.  I found, however, as I continued to advance in the game (and eventually began to raid) that the stock UI just wasn’t optimal for how I wanted to see information.   My journey began.   I’ve had a number of UI changes over the past year or so, but my current UI -which is still under construction- is the one I’ll be discussing today. My “Idea” for this UI started with the concept of keeping my raid bars central to the screen.

Getting Started is the Hardest Part

Like any design, getting started is the hardest part.   In the past, I’ve installed a bunch of addons and then spent hours configuring, moving and removing them until I liked what I got.   That method just leads to frustration.  This time, I followed a more structured method to get to my end design.  Let’s talk about the process, at least briefly:

  • Think it through!   What matters most to you when you are playing WoW? What do you find yourself constantly looking for and can’t find?
  • Before you build it, design it!  You can see from the picture that I started with a design (in my case I used Visio) where I created a storyboard of functionality and location.
  • Create a Sandbox UI (see this post at No Stock UI). This incredibly important step allows you to make changes without impacting your regular WoW interface.
  • Figure out what the central theme of your UI will be and start there.   For me, I started with Bartender because one of the key features of my UI design was the left bar setup for my Belkin NT52e.
  • Install and configure one add-on at a time, trust me, you’ll be happier.
  • Once you get a design you like built,  get into game and play!  Make note of what works and what doesn’t.  Iterate your design and make changes

Muluk UI – Version 1.0!

Now let’s drive down into UI design that I created for my resto/elemental shaman.   This UI is flexible enough to work for my alts as well, with only minor changes.

MuklukUI v1

Key to my design is the use of panels created by the add-on KgPanels.  I would eventually like to add some custom art to the panels but I am not an artist and so I have to rely on what is publically available.  Using panels created by KgPanels,  I’ve sectioned my screen into 3 major sections.  Section 1 is the Chat Frame.  Section 2 contains all my button and unit frames and Section 3 contains all my combat data.  Central to the screen are my raid frames.  I am an avid and rabid fan of VuhDo raid frames and its flexibility allows me to handle every raid frame scenario I’ve had so far.  I find it useful for both DPS and Healing.   In a 10 man (seen here) my frames fall just below Mukluk’s feet, keeping my eyes on the center of the screen and able to see what’s going on.   When healing, I can keep my attention on the on-screen action as well as the raid.

MuklukUI v1-marked

Let me list out the add-ons that are visible on-screen:

  1. Prat
  2. Skada (showing both a Threat and DPS/Healing Window)
  3. Bartender 4 (note the left box mirrors the buttons for my Belkin NT54e)
  4. VuhDo
  5. Stuf Unit Frames (an awesome, low memory unit frame…very customizable)
  6. Chinchilla Mini-map.  I’ve used both Chinchilla and SexyMaps… Either would work here.
  7. Satrina Buff Frames
  8. Cool line (shows spell cooldowns)

Not shown on the screen is another of my favorite adds:  Power Auras.   Blizzard obviously found Power Auras a compelling add-on since in patch 4.01, they have added in similar functionality.   However, Power Auras adds in additional functionality and therefore is still a favorite of mine.  Here some other key add-on’s:

  1. Fortress (an LDB bar dock)
  2. Plugins to display Latency & FPS (see them in the Chincilla Mini-map)
  3. SocialState: an excellent LDB guild/friends plug-in
  4. Bagnon (best bag addon)
  5. Auctionator
  6. Gathermate
  7. Deus Vox Encounters (I’m still playing with this…I’ve used DBM mostly and see if I may like this mod)
  8. Broker add-ons for Durability, XP/Rep and Currency
  9. Opie:  For quick access to mounts, trade skills and other things you don’t want cluttering your screen.

What’s next?

As I say, you must continually iterate your design (agile wow ui?).  I have a list of things to work on…Here are my top items to fix:

  1. Fix up my unit frames (stuf) to add back a portrait and fix the location of a number of icons and such.
  2. Remove the Group unit frames when in raid (easy)
  3. Add in more procs (for bosses and such) to Power Auras
  4. Finish the Power Aura configs for both Resto and Elemental…that’s going to be a blogpost in-and-of itself!
  5. Work on my buffs and debuffs windows.  I’m not happy with where they are right now.

In a nutshell, my strategy for UI design has lead me from the stock UI to many different versions of a highly modified UI.  In the end,  I find that a customized UI not only makes my DPS or Healing more effective, it enhances my overall enjoyment of the game.    How about you?

6 Comments on The Building of a Shaman UI

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  2. Dude, you should be proud of that. I am equally addicted to my UI and its the best thing, Every week I am finding news addons to continuously improve my UI. The additions can be purely cosmetic or functional, as long as it is moderately cool, I will try it out.

    My UI folder has 93 addons right now (not counting multiple folders for the same addon, such as DBM and all it’s modules).
    Bronte´s last blog post ..“I Thought my Work Was Done” or “Assassin’s Creed- Brotherhood Story Trailer”

  3. Comito

    Tampering my UI is always good fun, though mine doesn’t look a work of art like yours via KGpanels, I get what I need on screen currently……might have to remove some stuff as its getting cluttered lol

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