Monday, February 22, 2010

The UI Evolution

I spent quite a bit of time tinkering with my ui today, and while I am happy with the result, I figured it might be educational to go through the steps I took.

Step 1: Identify what you want to change about your current UI. In my case, I wanted it prettier, wanted to remove the forteexorcist cooldown bars, and wanted to do something about my buffs. Trying to get vuhdo to the point where I no longer needed xperl would be a bonus, but it didn't quite happen.

Step 2: Figure out what addons you need/want. In this case, I wanted to add an art panel and needed a buff management addon. A bit of research led me to Satrina Buff Frames and Sunn Viewport Art. Remember to always download your addons from reputable sites to avoid keyloggers!

Step 3: Get everything looking the way you want. This is probably the most complicated step. Addons such as Align, which puts a grid on your screen, can be very useful.

So here's what I started with....

This is the UI I've had for quite a while. It's functional, but not very attractive, and there's a lot of overlap in functionality.

And here's an intermediate step. The basic idea is there, and I am still using that layout for my dps only toons, but that placement did not work for healing. And the best way to figure that out was to heal a 5man with it. Drove me nuts!

And here's what I ended up with...

Things I did that weren't switching out addons...
I changed the skin button facade was using. Button facade is a nice way to make your bars look different. I also fiddled with the size, shape, and visibility of my bars in bartender.

I fiddled with Vuhdo. A lot. In fact, in that intermediate step I had even set the health bars to shrink vertically rather than horizontally. I learned that does not work for me because I can't see it. But it was a good thing to try.

I moved the chat window repeatedly. I actually really liked it on the lower right corner, but that's also where tooltips and the like show up and especially in Dal, I couldn't read chat for them.

And just in case you were curious, this is the dps version thus far...

I have a lot of dead space in this one, and I will continue to fiddle with it. I like having my bars front and center so I can see cooldowns, and the hud means I don't have to be looking at Xperl. Not sure how I feel about the buff frames being right next to the raid frames though.

And yes, I know the pictures aren't centered on the blog. I apologize, but blogger and I are having an argument about that, and he's wining. So click on the pictures to actually see them properly. Grr, stupid blogger...

Leveling and Guild Websites

Mages are so much more fun when you level them in dungeons. Whee Blizzard everything!

Yeah, so I spent my week leveling toons. The druid's now 65 and has gone to the broccoli side, the shammy hit 30 (and there will be a sum-up post about that) and the mage hit 28. Also, the mage is a little aggro magnet of DOOM, and I was very thankful there was a good priest healer willing to trade bubbles for water in both runs I did.

I'm still working up the courage to tank on the DK, and I need to find the BC raiding guild on my server so I can sign up the tree with them.

I've also become an officer in my guild in charge of old world/outlands runs, the website (I have to make one), and whatever else I see that needs doing. There are only 3 officers (including me) that log on on a regular basis right now so there's quite a bit that needs doing, especially with our esteemed guild leader trying to plan her wedding.
So blog posts may be short on the ground for a bit while I figure all this stuff out.

Which leads me to a question: What should a good guild site have?
So far I have...
Code of Conduct
Raiding Loot Rules (and raiding rules in general)
Calendar (if I can figure out how to sync it with the ingame one)
Place for people to talk
Listing of Professions
Alt Listing

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Having dipped my toe into the Lunar festival, I have noticed something rather annoying. Last year I got eastern kingdoms, outlands, and kalimdor done on Garetia, as well as the low-level dungeon ones and one northrend one.
Well, they reset them, so I have to go run those dungeons (and hit Valience Keep) all over again. Not a huge thing, but kinda annoying. But at least the dungeons and northrend are the only things keeping me from the Elder title on her. And I now know to get all the elders for a given achievement or not bother. I need to get them on Lyllea (and possibly all but the Northrend ones on Llonya), mostly because I like this holiday and it's a good excuse to go get some mining done and get Explorer done.

In other news, I was inspired by this week's Scattered Shots to try extreme soloing again. I picked me up a turtle (one of the ones in Duskswallow) and wandered into regular Nexus to try to grab the Elder. Probably should have leveled him to 80 first, because he was taking way too much damage for me to keep up. So that's now part of this week's project, along with getting Garetia all the elders and working more on Loremaster of Northrend (for the gold). I'm more or less ignoring Love is in the Air, since a) I don't like it much, and b) I don't like the title.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Valentines!

This was my valentines' present to myself. Is it not nifty? Okay, so nine other people helped, but without me the tank would have died much sooner...

Sadly I lost the roll on the drake, but there's always next week. And the Lunar Festival has started, and I love this one. Love is in the Air I can take or leave, Winter's Veil was kinda eh, but yay Lunar.

Oh, and I want to point out a nifty addon called Talented while I'm at it. It allows you to do many nifty things with specs, like importing them from armory or wowhead urls and then using them as templates for leveling or respecing. No more alt-tabing between windows to respec for me! And no more specing a toon, leveling them, and then not being able to remember where the next talent point goes!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I Will Buff You When I GET THERE!

I am completely stealing Big Bear Butt's latest blog post and sharing my own experience with "special" pugs.

I ran Heroic Halls of Reflection last night as shadow (you couldn't pay me enough to heal that thing), and well, it was "special" to say the least. It took us 3 tanks to get through the gauntlet (apparently the other two dps had not heard of kill order and the third tank hadn't heard of shackle undead for riflemen), and it was after our second wipe in the run that the following occurred. I was running back in (since the tree had died and because that's my default action upon party wipe) and I see...
tank: priest buffs
I keep running, and wonder briefly how the space goat tank got in before my NE.
tank: Priest Buffs!
me: I'm not there yet.
I keep running, and just as everyone (apparently the tree was soulstoned and rez'd everyone else) comes into range...
warlock: priest buffs
me: underwater breathing!
me: *hit all three buffs*
I did not get underwater breathing, sadly.

Then, on the second wave of undead, as we're in combat...
warlock: druid buffs
me: *puzzled, continues to melt faces like mad and kinda wishes that skada was working so I could see if the warlock was actually attempting to dps and type*
warlock: druid buffs?
warlock: druid?
warlock: hey, the druid put me on ignore.
me: *snicker*

We did get through the place, but well, I feel that there should be a small set of common politeness rules for buffing/asking for buffs...
1. Do not ask during combat. Do your job. You can live without that buff for a bit. There is no automatic win buff.
2. After a wipe, make sure that the person you're badgering is in range and visible before pestering.
3. Allow for drinking after buffs. I have three party buffs and it takes a chunk of my mana to give all of them. You want all of them, I know you do.
4. If you want something specific (like might from a pally when he's just given kings to everyone) be willing to accept no as an answer. Do not pester. And while we're at it, asking politely "My dps improves significantly with might, could I have that instead of kings please?" will get you much farther than "MIGHT!"

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I should be running heroics like mad to pick up the other 2 tier 9 pieces for my disc set and all 4 for my shadow spec. But I really can't face the Sanity Tap.

I suppose the new patch is something to talk about, but I don't remember seeing any earthshaking changes, and I won't be seeing the new bit of ICC any time soon.

So, in a wow rut again. I did get my DK to 65 (yay Terokar forest, great leveling zone, lots of clumped and overlapping quests) and she is now a grand master enchanter. Shockingly I am having fun playing her. I have my rotation down pat, and I love blood spec. Self-heals are awesome. She might actually be my next toon to 80, and will likely be the next toon to get dualspec (so I can tank and try the other two trees). I do need to sit down and figure out what dungeons she should be running for the beginnings of a tank set.

I think Tamarind was right on the money with Letting Go of the Joneses, and I think that's what's causing part of my problem. I am a fits and spurts kind of person, it's the way I've always done things, and endgame gearing doesn't really lend itself well to that. I can only do the same thing for so many days in a row before I say "Screw it" and go do something else. I could run around Dalaran looking for someone to make me the Bejeweled Wizard Bracers (since I spent 1600g + 500 lost g for the mats), or I could level someone. Or catch up on my hulu queue while reading webcomics, or make a Wow wallpapers Windows 7 theme. So why exactly would I go run a dungeon that I've run a hundred times before just to get some badges to replace my Ulduar 10 head and TOC 5man boots? After all, those are darn nice boots, even if I did have to put a to hit enchant on them.

Yeah, motivation. I lack that. And since I can't go on the Positive Push raid this week (hello Imbolc, my favorite pagan holiday), I'm just sitting.

But if anyone would like to get me two pieces of shadow tier 9 as a birthday present, I certainly wouldn't object. It'd distract me from trying to figure out the int vs spellpower mana question. Or figure out how to optimize my shadow spec, gear, and rotation so that I have the dps to participate in a Sarth 3d zerg.