Saturday, June 20, 2009

UI Spring Cleaning Finalized

Well it's that time of the month again, and no I do not mean to say I was a little crabby and emotional last week.

It's the weekend, and since I only work 2 weeks each month, I only work 2 weekends each month. The weekend around here is a time to catch up on laziness, watching movies and pirated TV series (seen every episode of Entourage, Dexter, Prison Break, and Heroes in the past few months)
Oh yeah, and it's when I get off my lazy ass and post some blog stuff.

Without further ado, my 99% finalized UI.

click to enlarge

1)Pitbull Unit Frames 3.0
I tweaked this around a little to shrink evrything down to consume less screen space, yet provide the same functionality I got out of this addon before, plus some extras. Of course one of my favorite features is the display of incoming heals, which I made more responsive by having health bars move in chunks instead of a smooth fluid fill.

As a sidenote of some of the yummy features I didnt mention in my first UI post, the totem icons you see in this are can be individually clicked to cancel a specific totem.
The melee stats you see above my health bar are courtesy of an addon called Tiny Melee Stats. You can set them to whatever stats you want. I've got Attack Power, Crit and MH/OH weapon speeds.

1a)group health, I usually disable this on raids if I can remember to. I wish I could get pitbull to have 2 seperate config setups for raiding and regular 5man groups.

1b) Raid health bars. Yay! I cleaned this up alot, and setup debuffs to show a huge icon for ones I can cure only.

1c) Nothing here at the moment as I'm not targetting everything,so check this picture out.
'Nuff said?There is a tiny cast bar under my targets mana bar, but as you can see under the Focus target there is a huge focus target cast bar. This is an awesome addon called ACB - "something" Casting Bar. I forget what the "A" stands for. Probably A is for Awesome. More on this addon later.

Shrunk this sucker down LOTS as well as having removed alot of old useless macros, and spells that I never use, or can easily access otherwise. The stuff over here is my main set of "ready" spells that are often used, but not always used.
A nice feature of Dominos is spell range checking. If my target is out of range the keybind lettering will turn from white to bright red.

p.s. I'm an ArrowKeys/numpad player. If you look real close you can see my keybinds on the buttons. The top bar is bound to Numpad 1-9, as well as Numpad . * and -The bottom row is the same buttons but just hold down CTRL. One day I'll make a post exalting the virtues of setting up your keyboard this way versus using the super lame default WASD most games force on you like an overzealous drunk quarterback with the star cheerleader.

2a) my potion belt. Nuff said. The empty space to the right of here is where the red "dismount" button appears when I am on a vehicle. Just right of there are my main spells, bound to Insert, Home, Pageup, Delete, End and PageDown.
Just above that is my big giant "YOU ARE ATTACKING, DUMDUM" button that flashes red when I have autoattack engaged. This is my biggest newb weakness and always will be. Further down to the right are other important and often used macros.

2b) this is nearly faded out completely, but pops to full alpha on mouseover. Has all tradeskills, lesser used spells and macros.
As a sidenote I made a new awesome macro I named "Better WoW" that I use everytime I login or reload my UI. I'll add it to my macros post because I dont have access to the macro lines, but I can say what it does. It'll enable you to zoom your camera view back an extra 15 yards and give you a much better overview of fights, it'll disable the WOW error messages that spam in red saying invalid target, spell not ready etc. etc. I get bad lag sometimes so I mash my buttons before the cooldown is ready and get a ton of these red messages normally.The last thing the macro does is enable a view of my spirit wolves pet stats in the paper doll char screen. With this I found out my pets are better than hunter pets (and there is 2 of them to boot!)

3) This area has a few things going on here that you cannot see in this screenie so I'll add some little pics to explain. Curently you can see my pet bar, and faded above that are cooldown markers for Enhancement Shaman courtesy of Totem Timers addon.
I used to use the Shock and Awe cooldown bars but I am not accustomed to looking at bars as much as the default blizzard "clockspin" cooldown indicator.
Just to the right of the clockcooldowns is the Shock and Awe priority indicator that helps me cast the optimal spell based on cooldowns, and charges of maelstrom 5.

Ready to blast some lightning as you can see!!
The only bar cooldown I did keep from Shock and Awe is the Spirit Wolves cooldown bar

The other part missing in the main screenshot is ACB.

As you can see I have a huge casting bar for my target in the middle of the screen for easy interrupts. This cast bar also tells me when I successfully interrupted.The thing I like best about ACB is that within the cast bar, a green area appears on the far right end of the bar to indicate my casting time difference due to server lag.
This is super helpful when I am casting a heal as I can move before the heal appears to finish casting, thus increasing my reaction time to Staying-Out-Of-The-Fucking-Fire by about a quarter of a second.
STAY OUT OF THE FUCKING FIRE!!! It's impossible to say this too much.

4) Totem Timers
As previously stated, this is the best totem addon BY FAR.
The numbers indicate how many in the raid are out of that particular totems' range.
The red dot on the mana spring totem means I am out of it's range, which is fine in this case because I must have been feeling retarded to put up mana spring when I have BoW...There is a fancy-schmancy Reincarnation timer with Ankh counter, a shield timer and a weapon buff timer/clicker.
Left Click, Right Click or hold shift and click either for all 4 weapon buffs. Ok technically there are 5 buffs but who in the blue fuck uses Rockbiter?? I dont even know how to cast that spell on my weapons with this current UI, and for good reason.

5) Simple Threat Meter.
I like this one, less bulk and resources than Omen, and it simplifies aggro.

You hit 100% and you have aggro. Not like Omen where you have to hit 110% if you are in melee range or 130% at spell casting range or any of that bullshit. It does the math to convert that 110%-130% for you to a simple 100%Only downside is you cant see how others are doing for aggro, but I stopped caring about that ages ago. You are responsible for your own aggro. I'd much rather rez and laugh at someone after they die than have to tell them what to do and drop threat.

6)Skada Damage Meter.
I love it. I hate it. Uses less resources than Recount because you can tell it not to track every minute stat like rage/mana gained (who cares?) and do just the basics. I set it to Dispels, Damage, and Heals. Sadly the UI for Skada is clunky and stupid and tough to get used to. I am not currently using this anymore in favor of WWS or Recount if my framerate is good.

7) Satrina Buff Frames
This one is Excellent. Customizable in every way, can do everything Elkano's (you can set satrina to show bars instead of boxes) or Buffalo can do, and it does those things better.The best part is hovering over a buff shows who gave it to you.
NO MORE SLACKING OFF YOU LAZY FUCKING PALADINS!!! Now I can call you out by name to get the buffz I lack!

8)Sexy Mini Map
It is sexy, but I have plenty of sexy to go around, therefore this is not necessary and I am not currently using it. It was a resource hog. I just want to shrink the damn minimap. Still hunting for an addon that does this but does not make a square minimap. The reason is that I have the map set to rotate and the square ones don't work if you rotate them.

9)It's not currently shown, but this is where Deadly Boss Mods timer bars rest, and then jump down in front of my Totem Timer CDs/Shock and Awe area when they are on short timers. I shrunk these down quite a bit and played with DBM setting to get it just right.

Long timer ------------------------Short Timer (check the main pic of my UI to understand where these appear)

Well I'm almost as tired of writing this shit as you are tired of reading it. Off to make a sammich and eat cookies.
MMMMmmmm, maybe I'll make a cookie sammich /drool

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Daedalus Project

Whilst reminiscing about Everquest, I've been looking up all the excellent webpages I had frequented years ago, before taking an MMO break and forgetting most of them. Well browsing has jogged my memory and I'd like to share a web project I was actively participating in during my tenure with Everquest. (I make it sound like a job, and it almost was!)

Anyways, it a shit load of demographic research of MMO players that was mostly centered on Everquest, as it was the most popular MMO

Check it out! It's still very very pertinent information to WoW!

or for a more basic intro to the site try

And grats me on 2 posts in a day! Maybe I'll atone for my slacking off last month and gain some readers lolololol

UI Spring Cleaning

Spring is nearly over, and for those of us compulsive procrastinators, that signifies the time to maybe think about spring cleaning before it's called summer cleaning. Since I've been meaning to spruce up my UI a little, I am going to share my experiences at getting more of what I want from my UI.

I'll go through my current UI and discuss the pros and cons, and what I am planning to change.

click to enlarge

1)Pitbull Unit Frames 3
One of my "must have" mods, although I am going to check out Vuhdo, it sounds like it can accomplish what I want, I am also gonna check out Pitbull 4, apparently it doesnt have an options UI that has thousands of ways to modify it.What I have now is bar fade on raid members out of heal range, hp/mana in numerical form--an easy way to gear check someone.
It shows incoming heals on a target as you can see on Emfer and Tembell in the screenshot)Health bars flash and change from green to red as health drops, making for very easy mouseover healing.I want to change this so that the bars are smaller, and neater along the edge of my screen.I would also like to re-enable cast bars so I know who is casting what, but I have that part disabled in an attempt to keep over 10fps during 25 mans. I also want to get my unit frames more responsive to debuffs for cleansing duty so that I can get rid of Decursive altogether (it's usually under my buffs but is disabled for Maly as it is not needed.)

at 1A I have target info. You cannot see it at the moment, but just below my health bar is where my pet's bar would go, and just right of my health bar is the target's bar. It's empty because the power spark I had targetted had just died, and I was switching targets back to Malygos.What you see currently is my Focus target (emfer) and the focus' target. Just above the focus is where my actual target would be, as well as a bar of my target's target.
I want to clean these up to make them smaller, and tighter along the edge of my screen. I'm also going to have these bars show or not show buffs/debuffs depending on which bar---my focus target's target is not going to have any info other than a health bar and a name, whereas my actual target is going to have every shred of info possible.

at 1b I have pet health bars. These are going to be either removed completely or changed to very very tiny health bars tucked along the right side of the screen.

2)Deadly Boss ModsGonna resize and reposition this addon, as well as eliminate the occurance of double messages about the Power Spark (this occurs in alot of encounters)

3)I usually use elkano's buff bars, and keep decursive tucked away here. I also usually have a minimap mod that makes it square, smaller and neater, but I have those all disabled for Maly to up my framerate. I'm not sure what I will do here, because it will all depend on my framerate.
I used to have a mega wicked UI but then I began raiding exclusively 25mans and the framelag was horrendous, I had been used to 10man where I could use every bells-and-whistles addon out there.The Ugly buff are on my current UI is fallout from not assembling a proper 25 man UI yet.

4)Totem Timers
This addon rules for shaman, and is hands down the best totem addon out there. Just because someone likes an addon better does not make it better. I have tried every totem addon and quite simply TT can do everything the others can do, and way, way more. And it's configurable to also do as little as you'd like.4a is also from Totem Timers, my plan is to resize and move all parts of Totem Timers to somewhere neater on the screen, as well as shrinking it further and fading it more.

5)Shock and Awe
The awesomest Enhancement Shaman specific addon out there. Audio warnings of when certain spells are ready or down, cooldown tracking and a simple rotation advisor.All I'm gonna do is resize and reposition this one, it's pretty much perfect as is.

What needs to be said about Omen? It's a raiding must. Just gonna resize and tuck this one away better, and make it more see-through.

Super awesome action bar mod. Allows you to place a bar of any size or shape anywhere on the screen. Also certain spell buttons fade if your target is out of range. I'm gonna revamp this one ALOT. As you can see from the domino buttons, I have the top bar keybound to Numpad 1-9, as well as Numpad., Numpad* and Numpad-.The next row down is all the same buttons but with CTRL as a modifier, next row down from there is ALT as modifier, and the 6 buttons on the bottom left corner are bound to my mouse.
Alot of the spells I have on the action bar don't need to be there, so they wont be. Also I'm gonna resize and reposition this area.

7a is kinda like the batman utility belt of potions and stuff. Somehow it has become a placeholding area for professions, that is gonna change. The f5-f6 "potion belt" is gonna get shrunk and the professions are getting their own action bar that will be tiny, and fade to invisible unless I mouseover it.

7b I'm gonna give this a go at removing it. Noobish as it sounds this is simply a big huge button that I never click, but use to see if my autoattack is on.(it flashes red when I am attacking) Since I exclusively auto-attack with my Stormstrike macro I dont really need this at all anymore.

7c this has been my random area of "oh fuck, I have no room to put a button for that!"So I'm gonna not be so lazy and delete half of these buttons, and reorganize the rest.

8) This is where recount goes, but I turned it off for higher framerate and used /combatlog + WWS instead.

So basically, much like Ricky's 1979 Chrysler New York,or my old Dodge Ram, my UI works but it has some issues and is absolutely butt-assed ugly.

Hopefully the "After" comparison will be like my old and new vehicle. A 1982 Hunk-Of-Detroit-Pig-Iron vs the sensible sporty mid-sized SUV I got a couple weeks ago. I'm driving a Soccer Mom vehicle :*( DING!

p.s. to those that have asked, I promise to get the best in slot gems list done this week, along with some "those were the good old days" posts about Everquest

Saturday, June 6, 2009

All I wanna do is BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM

Well it's been a torrid month of partying, driving and partying more.

I took 3 weeks off to go camping in Jasper and then visit my brother in Vancouver (bought a new vehicle there Woot!) and then head off to Sasquatch Music Festival in central Washington ( OMFG it was so awesome ) and then back to Vancouver and then to Kelowna, and then back to Jasper.....

I thought somewhere in there I'd have time to post on this web log but I was either too drunk, too hungover, too busy or too tired.

All I wanna do is sleep in, play WoW and drool--which is what I will do on Tuesday when I start my next week off.

So anyways, I logged in this past Tuesday for raids that went smashingly well.
Just before I went on vacation, my guild had a falling out seperation of the serious raiders and the casual players. I was worried things would be a rocky road but I seem to have missed out on the worst of it and things and going along very well with the new guild. Most of my best WOW friends found their way to Section XII (the new guild) and we've been kicking butt quite nicely with Naxx 25 clears that get quicker and quicker, some nice progression in Ulduar 25.

This week's Naxx run got SNAFU'd by tired people, with a full raid we wiped 4 or 5 times vowing to return for vengeance the next day. So Thursday we logged in and promptly 1 shotted KT with 19 in the raid. Vengeance indeed.

Next up was Maly 25, a long time thorn in our collective sides. After 3 or 4 wipes on phase 3 we
got it down and spanked his pee pee.

Great Job!

(this is a pic of Tim and Eric at Sasquatch in the comedy tent. These guys are friggin