Posts Tagged ‘healing’

Tweaking my UI is by far one of the things I enjoy most about WoW. I love that the game gives so much flexibility on how the interface can look, and it’s something I very much miss in games that don’t allow for add ons. Actually, I think part of my issue with SWTOR was the fact that I couldn’t change around my UI. I was always happy to log back into WoW and see the  prettiness that was designed only for myself.

My love affair with UI customization began when my friend told me to download Bartender, Xperl, Quartz, and healbot to help out with my play. Over time, my UI has gone from something that I look back on and cringe to see to what it is today. I’ve been using my current UI since the launch of Cata, and I’m still very happy with it.

I’m a graphic designer by trade, with a degree in print design. I’ve never been interested in web or interactive design, so originally I found creating a UI a daunting task. After a lot of tinkering and failed attempts, I finally have a UI I’m happy with, and a process for creating it that I think, if perhaps not unique, is interesting all the same.

One thing we learned in design school was that we should approach all projects as a problem solving exercise. This is something I kept in mind while creating my UI. After seeing tons of beautiful examples on blogs and on the Add On of the Week column on WoW Insider (which this whole thing was originally intended for, but I was lazy about sending it in), a few things that struck me were that many of the very clean UIs felt a bit sterile and almost looked like something from a sci-fi game. What I wanted was a UI that looked clean but still felt like it fits in a fantasy game. I was pretty confident I could do this if I chose the right colors, typefaces, and textures to support my design.

The basic layout of my UI is fairly standard. Chat box on the bottom left, action bars bottom center, raid frames centered for my healers, and lower right for my dps. Once I was happy with the placement of everything, I started tweaking it so that it fit my goal of looking like it belonged in a fantasy game.

STUF unit frames and how it influenced my UI

I downloaded STUF after having used Shadowed unit frames for awhile. I instantly liked how much I could customize the look of it, and started playing around with creative ways to approach the look of my frames while still having the information I wanted. Not everyone will agree with me here, but I like knowing exact amounts of health and mana, along with percentages. I know a lot of people aren’t big on player portraits, but I wanted to see if I could include them in my unit frames in such a way that made them fun, and I’m really happy with what I came up with. And I love that STUF will let me use textures as a background on the portraits.

Those bar textures were what inspired me to add another criteria to my design. Along with looking like my UI could work in a fantasy game, I wanted to see if I could make it look feminine as well, without it looking like Hello Kitty puked all over my screen. The texture of the bars I used (Glamour 7) has some swirly stuff going on with it, and I decided to use that on all of my bars (Vuhdo, dbm, recount, omen, raven, and quartz all have the same treatment). To keep it from looking overly girly, I made the bars grey, and they fade to dark purple as health gets lower, and I echoed this by having the color of my KGpanels be a dark purple that fades to black. I like the purple also because it contrasts well with most of the settings in the game, so that it’s neither too jarring or too faded. It’s also my favorite color, so I enjoy looking at it all the time.  I kept my panels semi transparent as well so that I don’t feel like I’m completely blocking out the game world.

My next challenge was finding a typeface that would work well for my design. I’m a type snob (even wrote a 50 page paper about it for an independent study in college) but I recognize that in a video game, there’s a little more leeway for using a fun font. Still, the thought of using something as ugly as Comic Sans makes me cringe, and most of the fonts included with addons are pretty ugly as well. I looked around until I found a type called Sansation, and decided it looked appropriate for the clean, girly fantasy look I wanted.

What I love about all of this is that just by changing the textures, colors, and font that I used, this UI can go from looking pretty feminine to something that would appeal to a much wider audience. I will occasionally switch things around for different characters, just to reflect their character better.

Flourish with purpose

I like the idea of having fun UI elements, and wanted to include some on my UI but still have them serve a purpose. For my resto druid, I used Power Auras to create a way for me to track cooldowns and add some flavor to my healing frames. The little leaves that you see around the frames help me see when my Wild Growth, Swiftmend, Innervate, and Tranquility are ready to use. I also have an aura set up to help me track Harmony so I know when I need to refresh it.

For my paladin, I use Power Auras to tell me which seal I’m using, and the ring of words near my unit frames changes color depending on which seal I have on. The sun and time that are stacked with the Holy Power sword (one of the few elements from the stock UI that I like) help me track Inquisition to make sure its on and that I’m refreshing it at the right time. I have similar auras set up for all of my toons to help keep track of important cooldowns, procs, and buffs, and I try to match the style of the toon to the art that I use for the aura.

Despite liking the way that combat text addons like Mics look, I found ultimately the numbers didn’t help me during combat, and actually served as a distraction when trying to not stand in stuff, so I deleted them. In their place, I’m using Raven to track short term buffs and debuffs, along with target debuffs as well. Long term buffs still go up in the upper right hand corner, along with the mini map. I’ve moved the mini map to the bottom of the screen before, but I’m happier with it up top.

I changed the default colors on my DMB so that the go from gray to hot pink  and also made it so that the placement of the countdown bars would be in a place that I absolutely could not miss it, so I wouldn’t have an excuse to miss an important event during a fight. For my healer, having that go right about my healing bars was imperetive.

Vuhdo is my add on of choice for healing because of both its ease of set up and versatility. I keep this running on my DPS characters as well, and use it for utility spells that can help save the day.

Check out the gallery to see the UI in action:

No idea why the slideshow is cutting off the bottom of the images. Click to see the full thing!

Add ons used:
ArkInventory Because having super organized bags makes me happy
BigBrother Helps me track raid member buffs among many other things
Chinchilla Map
DailyGrind Makes doing dailies less annoying by having auto accept and auto complete
DBM Don’t raid without it!
GTFO Has seriously helped so much. We ask all of our raiders to use this one so they know when they are, in fact, standing in fire.
GupPet I collect pets and mounts, so I love having this addon to help summon random ones.
HearKitty (on appropriate toons) Makes playing my rogue, pally, and kitty druid much easier with audio sounds to match combo points
LovelyLoot Skins the loot window. Purely visual and not needed. But it’s nice!
Masque (with Darion skin) Makes buttons pretty!
MogIt Makes it much easy to know where to look for pretty gear. I mean upgrades.
OmniCC Countdown timers on abilities. Have no idea how I ever played with this.
Opie Amazing ring ability replacement. I use this to access all of my tradeskills, auras, quest items, and more.
Outfitter I like this better than the default Blizzard gear management system.
Prat It started with the stupid chant entry box window and not being able to shove it into the corner. Couldn’t handle it, so I had to replace it.
Quartz Cast bar management and more
Rarity Mount and Pet hunting tracker!
Raven Buff management
SLDataText Super simple data broker
Stuf Unit Frames
TipTac tooltip replacement
VuhDo Healing!
WIM (with Everlook Skin) Turns tells into a tradition instant message window
WOWScribe This chat logger has been such a huge help to me. I raid a lot, but I also RP, and I love having a record of old RP sessions. As a guild officer, it’s super helpful also to have a record for when their are disputes in /g or /raid.

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I thought I would post my response to the Druid Class Feedback thread here, since I suspect my response might have been slightly drowned out amidst 76 pages of people complaining about their form, lack of form, and whatever else happens to irk our little druid souls. I’ve modified my response a little here, since I was trying to be fairly concise on the forums, and possibly failed entirely.

Coming soon after this….my ret pally feedback. It is far more ranty.

What type of content do you focus on? 
PvE (Resto with feral off spec)

If PvE, what type of PvE? 
10m raiding

If PvP, what type of PvP?

What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? For instance, no longer requiring ammo could be considered a quality-of-life improvement for hunters.
I’m actually very happy with where resto is at the moment. I….don’t even miss being a tree all the time, and I thought having to stare at a big tauren butt would ruin the class for me. 😉

Lifebloom switching can be a little scary when I’m tank healing, especially if there are some moments of overlapping damage on the tanks. The ramp up time to get lifebloom stacked is an issue for me on fights with tank swaps.

It’s not an issue for me anymore, but I HATED not getting to play with fun shapeshifting toys when I was in ToL form, and I think it sucks that the other specs don’t generally get to, especially with the shorter duration ones like Orb of the Sin’dorei. The fact that I can run around looking like a flame druid using Leyara’s Locket but still be in kitty form is pretty much the most awesome thing ever. I would like to see this applied to more transformation effects.

The cooldown on Rebirth is kind of irritating. Since it can only be cast once per fight, I really do wish the cooldown were either shorter, or not there at all. I’m the only person in my raid group that has a battle rez, and it’s so frustrating to not have it available for every attempt during the learning process.

What makes playing your class more fun?
HoTs on the run. I love the resto toolkit, and I think our major cooldowns are awesome.

I love the versatility of druids in general. I love that I can play my healer as a melee dps as well, and that I can easily pop over to bear form to save myself when I make the mistake of pulling a few too many mobs when soloing. I love being able to sneak around in prowl and I love flight form.

What makes playing your class less fun?
HoTs getting sniped by other healers, resulting in a gigantic waste of mana. At times feeling powerless when there is major single target damage incoming and despite having full hots up on the target and spamming healing touch, still watching them die. Fights like Baleroc also make me feel incredibly weak. Nourish could have a slightly shorter cast time and I wouldn’t complain.

I don’t play my kitty spec in groups often (it’s mostly for me to do dailies and solo things) but when I do, I really can’t believe how unforgiving the positioning for Shred is. I greatly prefer playing melee dps (in fact, all of my dps toons are melee) but I think that would drive me absolutely nuts in a raid setting.

How do you feel about your “rotation”? (Rotation is the accepted order in which abilities are used to maximum efficiency.)
Not really much of a rotation here, except being sure to keep up lifebloom and harmony, which I like. I do think the duration of harmony could be a tiny bit longer, because it can fall off when I’m dealing with heavy raid damage or recovering from a disaster.

What’s on your wish list for your class?
I’ll speak for the Boomkins here and say that I hope they see a graphic upgrade soon. I know that I personally could never get into playing balance because I hated looking at the model. Gender variations between the rest of the forms. I love playing as kitty, just wish I didn’t look like a guy when I did so. Wish there were a more feminine looking graphic for ToL as well. I just use glyph of the treant as it is.

Some way to switch lifebloom easier between tanks. Possibly also a damage mitigation cooldown, but NOT at the cost of potency of our current tools.

More tier helms that don’t look utterly ridiculous on a tauren.

What spells do you use the least?
In my resto toolkit, I use mostly everything, with the exception maybe of nature’s swiftness which I tend to forget about. Would love to see a shorter CD on that. Also, nourish has become almost useless for me in a raid setting.

Can’t remember the last time I casted soothe.

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