Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Great UI Overhaul, Bars (Part 2)

How often do we see this UI?

Yes, that is a lion. We dinged 25 after Sona noticed we were within a million points of achieving max guild level!  But, back to the task at hand.

Creating Something From Nothing

Someone commented on a Youtube video (that was linked by someone else, and now I cannot find it!) that it is generally easier to build up from nothing than to chisel away at default settings. So very true. And so, here you have it, folks, the default UI.  The first addon I installed was Bartender4. As I mentioned in my last post, Bartender has been with me for some time, probably since shortly after I stopped using one of the larger addons (Perl Unit Frames and similar predecessors).

Bartender has some wonderful functionality, but it’s primary purpose for me is moving and resizing my bars.  Sona uses a two bar approach to her actions. Those bars are placed directly under her feet, making them easily accessible.  I decided I’d try that method, though Breige gets three bars – the top bar is actually a combination of two bars: The pet bar and a 4-button bar that has pet commands that come from my resources.

I was suddenly a little sad when I realized a very useful ferocity pet talent didn’t make it onto the action bar, and to be only functional, I would need to remove the play command. Being able to have a dancing pet is too much fun, so instead I removed the defensive status button that I never use. (I would have removed the attack button, but, well, I actually use that one!)  So I urge all you pet wranglers to take a look at your pet’s spellbook to be sure they have the right abilities out on their bars!

I have additional bars out, which run the bottom of my screen. These contain the buttons that I use when I’m not in combat, like professions, my hearthstone mount and pet summoning, and so on.   I current have my XP and Reputation bars stacked on top of them to make a nice smooth break, but I may be moving my XP bar to just below my two action bars (clearly, much smaller!) as I only reference it lightly.

Yay! Pretty Bars!

Yay! Pretty Bars!

Next up, Unit Frames!

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The Great UI Overhaul, The Start (Part 1)

Sona mentioned today that she wanted to overhaul her UI, with some very salient points about addons she doesn’t really use, and addons that she thinks might be causing her some issues.  I thought a bit about my own UI, and decided that it is perhaps time for an overhaul of my own.  I’m going to chronicle this process because, well, it’s a handy thing to do on a blog, now, isn’t it.

Where We’re Starting

First, let’s look at what I have. For this exercise, I’m using Breige’s UI, because it’s more thrown together than Gurdrid’s. (As in, less put-together, and more crap-I-need-to-see-my-pet)

Breige's UI, Standing on a Rock

There are several things I like about my UI:

I like the openness of the middle area, really allowing me to see the game I’m playing.

I like my four bars grouped above my rep/experience bar, laying out my abilities in a good order.

The location of the minimap works for me.

I like having my character, focus, and target (and target of  target) set up in a nice triumvirate.

Omen is there, but generally out of the way, which I also like.

There are several things  I need to fix about my UI:

The bags are over the top of a group of three bars that I use for out-of-combat buttons, it can also cover up parts of my quest log when it gets too big. This is definitely sub-optimal.

The bottom of my screen is a bit overcrowded, leading to a tendency to not see things coming up behind me.

Stuff feels like it’s just floating. I need something to draw the various elements together.

Most of my party (and my pet) are way over on the left side, this is not useful.

Addons Now

Here’s my surprising list of addons, along with a few comments:

Ackis Recipe List:  I use this as a checklist for when I want to go poking around for patterns. I find it useful to have on my crafting toons, though it is by no means a requirement.

Adibags: My bag addon that, now that it is updated, usually doesn’t lose things for me. The new mobile nature of the addon does sometimes give me fits when selling, though, as it will dynamically change the location of items I wish to sell mid-click, causing me to pay much more attention to my vendor clicking.

Auctionator:  This (or something like it) is a must-have for my bank toon. Most of my other toons don’t have it installed.

Bartender4:  The basis of my bar-moving functionality, I’ve been using bartender for a really long time, and really like it.

Battle Pet – Quality Notifier: Sure, the battles tell you the quality of the pets you’re fighting, but they don’t get compared to your list of captured pets, providing a handy (Upgrade) or (Not Owned) notation!

Castbars: Used to keep track of important things like healing spells that the enemy might be casting.  Also for timing interrupts.

Gatherer/Gatherer HUD: I like gatherer addons when I’m farming. They assist with route planning as well as things like the best zone for a particular resource.

Mogit: Do we really need to talk about the transmog addon?

Move Anything:* The addon does what it says, but… We think it might not be playing nice with other addons, like Tidyplates. 

Prat 3.0: My preferred chat addon

Raven: I use this on my casters for watching cast times and minimizing lag downtimes.

Sexymap: Used to skin and move the map. I likes me my square maps.

Silverdragon: For tracking Silverdragons, duh!

Slidebar: I don’t actually use this addon (It came with Gatherer), though I think I might start, it will make my map look tidier.

Tidyplates/Threatplates: This seems to be buggy as all heck for me. It works on some toons and not on others. Usually not on the ones I care about more. Go figure.

Vuhdo: I use this addon on healers and other classes with click-on-player utility. Like Sruith and Sveala.

WoWhead Looter: Because more information is good, right? Besides, I use WoWhead all the time, why not send them information to help their database.

* I forgot to include move anything when I originally posted. Sorry ’bout that.

Reflecting on a full day of WoW

I took the day off of work today to play WoW.  Now, let’s not get hasty in our thoughts that I might be addicted (I might be, but that’s not what’s at play here.)  You see, I took a vacation day, which I planned a few months ago, because Sona is a Wheel of Time fan. And she is currently gasping about something in the last book of a 14 book series.  She took the day off to enjoy this monumental work of fiction all in one day. Yes, she reads that fast. To keep our vacation time in sync, we tend to take these days together. So, since she wanted to read her book, I planned a day of WoW.

The Plan Was an Unmitigated Success

I had one goal for today. Breige was about 15% into level 89 when I got up this morning. I wanted to get her to 90. Nothing else was on my plate. Just get Breige to 90. She did that at about 3:45.

I knew what the next step of my plan for Breige was, but I wasn’t really prepared to implement it.  Next up was getting her i-level up to 425 435. Tyledres was on, and I asked her if she would like to do some heroics when I got my item level sorted out. She thought that was a grand plan, and I went about trying to do so. I was struggling. I didn’t want to just grab PvP gear. I wanted to do it right.  While I was thinking I only needed to get to 425, I went and picked up some 408 gear to replace my 399 gear. And I went ahead and grabbed the PvP gloves, giving me 426. That’s when I realized I had failed my reading check. So I needed 9 more points. Perusal of the guild bank yielded a Long-Ranged Trillium Rifle and a Ghost Iron Dragonling.

Frustrated, I went to the Auction House and saw the Quick Strike Cloak, realized I could buy the pattern, but hadn’t yet, and made it myself. Still not enough, so back to the AH I went, looking for rings and necks, this time thinking I’d find something I could make on Shoryl. Sure enough, I came away with the knowledge to make some 450 items there. Still shy, I broke down and made the PvP pants, and that pushed me a couple of points over.

Gems and enchants followed – the best I could come up with from my toons, which meant I didn’t have *every* item enchanted that I should have, but I wasn’t running completely empty.

My First Mists Heroics

Then Tyledres and I headed into heroics. Three heroics down, with a noob moment or two on my part (though now I need to remember to turn growl back on on Sionnach before I start doing dailies).  I saw the Pulled Grenade Pin drop in the Gate of the Setting Sun, but the rogue won that. I did, however, come away with a couple of quest upgrades and a couple of drops, so I’m quite happy.

Gate of the Setting Sun was interesting. Tyledres accidentally started the first boss fight while the healer, the gnome (mage?) and I were still outside the room.  While the fight was really long with just a rogue and the tank inside, I could tell we had a good group. When he did Sabotage to one of the three of us outside the room, we would space ourselves so that only one of us took damage, and then the healer healed us back up to full. I suspect some of the success there was I got hit with Sabotage probably eight times in the fight.  The healer keeping all three of us alive meant that those inside didn’t have to worry as much about that damage.  After that everything went smoothly, though (as is typical for me) I died to junk on the ground trying to keep up with the group.

Our healer stuck around for the next dungeon, which turned out to be Scarlet Halls. We had a wipe on our first attempt on Armsmaster Harlan. I died to the first whirlwind, which probably contributed, what with dirt naps causiong a 100% reduction in DPS. I picked up an upgrade via quest reward here.

The final dungeon we did was Siege of Niuzau Temple.  This one was by far the trickiest for me. I died a couple of times, and had to follow other people’s examples to figure out what I was supposed to do on General Pa’valak. When we were finished, I hadn’t realized that I’d not finished the quest Somewhere Inside. So Tyledres and I tromped around the area to find the imprisoned Shado-Pan, which included a bit of killing things. Who needs a healer anyway? (Well, for trash… I sure do on bosses!)  Niuzau was definitely the richest for me, with two upgrades from the bosses and one from a quest.

After I turned in the quest, we sat around and showed off our rarer mounts, and I grabbed a quick screenshot of the two of us on our Winterspring Frostsabers.

Nice Kitty

Nice Kitty

Achievements

I (obviously) picked up the achievements for completing all three dungeons, but I also picked up a couple more, which were exciting. We got Bomberman in Gate of the Setting Sun; and in Siege of Niuzau Temple, we picked up both Where’s My Air Support and Return to Sender. Those tell me that we just had awesome groups for those runs.  Personally, I also picked up Looking For More; Cataclysmically Superior and Superior. Not bad for a toon who never really got much dungeon love.

Also Coming Back – LBDs!

I’ll be going back to running the Laid Back Dungeons on Wednesdays starting tomorrow!  As we have done in the past, we’ll pick something fun that has a little bit of use for at least one person. It may even be Pandaria Heroics or Scenarios if that’s what the group is interested in. We’ll start at 6:00 Central Time with whomever happens to be on, no need to be there for the whole thing, you can pick up or drop whenever you’d like. We won’t run past 8:30, so I can do silly things like get the dishes done.

Of Pets, Battles, and New Years

The holidays brought about a whole lot of time doing things other than playing WoW, and the new year has brought about extra work and extra things to do… not to mention a burst water main taking most of my evening away yesterday (no one was reported as being hurt, and I just didn’t have water at the condo for several hours).

But, during the time I actually have gotten to play, some interesting patterns have developed.  I got Gurdrid through a big chunk of the Klaxxi story line, achieved Exalted status with both the Golden Lotus and the Lorewalkers, then… haven’t even been on her to farm for a week.

Muirri has gotten a bit of love as well, having made it to Outland, but I think my next big focus is going to be on Breige.  You see, I don’t want to tank raids, but I think I’d like to do some LFR dabbling. I’ve noticed while playing Muirri and Sruith that in situations where I have to *see* something, being right under the boss isn’t helpful, so I won’t be trying to run as a retribution paladin.  I’ve also been having a lot of fun playing her, and being able to snag tips from both Mr. Bear and everyone’s Godmother will definitely be bonus. (I’m prepared to not get a decent weapon.)

The Year in Review

I took a look at my annual stats, which I’m not going to share greatly. My most prolific commenters are JD, Navi, and Cymre; with Tome liking quite a few of my posts (I think of the “like” button as a thumbs up, I’m all for thumbs.)  I also saw that the zone-by-zone achievement guide I wrote was quite popular. Perhaps I should go back to doing those.  I was also kinda surprised that I surpassed 5,000 visits. Might not be much in comparison to others, but I’m not part of the “famous” crew. 🙂

My in-game year has been wonderful. I got up to 7 85s before Mists dropped, and even though I still only have one 90, I’ve been working steadily on the professions.  I’m pretty happy with where my game time has gone.

More Winter Veil Presents

I logged onto Shoryl for the first time in a while, and discovered that I had mail from… Tyledres. I was a bit surprised, what with her being on a different server, so this would have been a character created just for the purpose of visiting, and we chat briefly quite regularly.  The mail was not one, but four pets. Very excited was I! So excited, talk like Yoda did I! (Um, no, not really).

Other Pet Related Things

On Wednesday night, I did a little pet battling, and acquired my first flawless battle stone. It was a beast stone, and I used it on my Winterspring Cub, whom I had leveled to 10 before I realized his lack of rareness would be an issue. Well, no more!

Then, on Thursday, I realized I was only a few pets shy of Eastern Kingdoms Safari, so I went to hunt down what pets I could. Since I’ve not got a team ready for Twilight Highlands, the only three pets I could look for were the Mocassin, Irradiated Roach, and Baby Ape.  I decided to head south first, and arrived on Jaguero Isle in sunshine. But, as I turned to fly away, it started to rain. Suddenly there were about twenty people on the island, but I still managed to snag one baby ape (a poor quality one, darn it all for spending my battle stone the day before!).  The mocassin and roach were pretty easy, though I had to actually go down the elevator shaft in Gnomeregan to find one, there were none outside.

I was really excited about it, and knew just who to tell… and she admonished me to “update your blog already, woman!” but was still happy to hear of my successes.  So here you go, Navi, a proper blog update. (BTW, go look her up on Warcraft Pets! She is a pet collecting Fiend!)