Tag Archives: ui

Dual-Specs Info At Last

Blizzard have finally released information on the dual specs feature talked about for months. You can read the full Q&A on the official site; here are some of the highlights, with my reactions.

Nethaera: Who will be able to use it?
Ghostcrawler: Players who have reached the maximum level will be able to set up dual specs.

Nethaera: Why do players need to be max level in order to do this?
Ghostcrawler: We didn’t want to burden lower-level players with extra complexity as they’re working to level up and learn their class. But if the feature proves popular we might consider expanding it.

Frankly, I hope they do expand it; it’d be tremendously useful to be able to have a DPS spec and a tanking or healing spec while levelling.

Nethaera: How will you be able to set up a dual spec?

Ghostcrawler: Players will be able to visit their trainer and pay a one-time fee to be able to use it.

Nice and easy.

Nethaera: How do you switch between specs?
Ghostcrawler: Players will be able to switch between their talent specs by visiting any Lexicon of Power provided they’ve paid for the ability to have a secondary spec.

Lexicons of Power will be available in major cities, and inscribers will also be able to create a new item that summons one. Anyone can purchase this item, but it requires a ritual of several players to summon it for use by the party. It’s similar to a repair bot in that it will exist in the world for a short duration.

It’s important to keep in mind that you will not be able to switch specs while in combat or Arenas. While you won’t be able to switch your spec without the Lexicon, you will still be able to look at your secondary spec whenever you want to.

Nethaera: Will solo players have the ability to switch their specs outside of the cities or will they still need to visit a Lexicon of Power?
Ghostcrawler: Solo players will still need to go into the city to visit the Lexicon of Power to switch their talent spec or will need to get together with other players to summon one in.

Okay, that’s a pretty awesome way of handling it. I’ll be interested to see whether the item used to summon a Lexicon requires a Scribe to use it – will raids need to take Scribes for Lexicons in the future, in the way they need an Engineer for Repair Bots now? My guess is yes.

Nethaera: Can I respec only one of my talent sets, or will I need to respec them both if I reset one?
Ghostcrawler: When you reset your talents, it will look at the spec you currently have in use as the talent set you want to change.

Excellent. I’d been wondering how they were going to tackle multiple specs for those people for whom two regular specs isn’t enough. You’ll still have to fiddle about with the manual respecs when you go to and from your third spec, but at least it’ll be a simple process.

Nethaera: Will players be confined to only setting up two specs?
Ghostcrawler: We will be launching the feature with just two specs, but depending on how we feel it works out, we might consider additional specs in the future.

Speaking as someone with about five specs to choose from, I hope they decide to add more.

Nethaera: Will you be able to switch gear easily to match your spec?
Ghostcrawler: At the same time we implement dual specs, we will also be setting up a gear system. The feature is called “Gear Manager.” It can also be used to just swap weapons or trinkets or put on that tuxedo to strut around town. It will not automatically switch your gear when you change your talent spec, but it will allow for an easy gear change between them. The feature may not be fully functional immediately in the PTR, but we’ll have more information to share about it before too much longer.

Hello, in-game ItemRack! ItemRack’s one of my ‘can’t live without it’ addons; this might relegate it to a nice optional extra, or replace it altogether.

Nethaera: Will you be able to change your Glyphs as well?
Ghostcrawler: Glyphs will be tied to each talent spec so that if you switch between them, so too will the Glyphs. You’ll notice the UI will have changed a little bit so that the Glyph panes show up alongside the Talent panes now that they are associated.

Excellent! Of course, if you do want to change glyphs around in a raid, you’ll have this handy summonable Lexicon of Power…

Nethaera: What about hotbars? Will players be able to save them for the talent spec they’re running?
Ghostcrawler: Yes, you will be able to save hotbars and use them with your talent specs. It just saves your bars at the same time as it saves the glyphs and talents. If you want to switch to your other action bar, you will need to change specs.

Five bucks says this breaks every hotbar addon in heinous ways. Most of the addon authors will no doubt be all over the PTR getting their addons ready for the changeover; I hope the author of my bar mod of choice (Macaroon) does the same.

Nethaera: Is there a way for players to choose their talents without them being saved? Currently, once you spend your talent point, it’s spent unless you pay the respec cost again.
Ghostcrawler: With the dual spec feature, we are going to allow players who respec to configure all their talents before they get saved. They will be able to allocate the points, then choose if they want to use that as their spec, rather than needing to carefully diagram out their talents ahead of time. This will allow players a little more freedom when deciding on the talents they want to pick and avoid costly mistakes.

Well, there’s a feature that’s about four and half years overdue. ;-)

Fix your UI in advance!

Patch 3.0.2 is close on the horizon – if it’s not here within the next couple of weeks I’ll be surprised – and your UI is going to break. That’s right, all those lovely addons you use are going to stop working!

…well, most of them will.

And the big addon sites are always hammered on Patch Day; UI-Breaking Patch Day will just be that much worse. You can forget playing with your preferred UI if you haven’t done something about it in advance.

So! Download and patch the PTR client, transfer your most important characters over, and set to work rebuilding your UI now. Sites like WoW Interface make note of addons that are WotLK compatible – which means they should also be Patch 3.0 compatible.

You’ve got two ways of doing it:

  1. Copy your WTF folder and the contents of your Interface/Addons folder to the equivalent places in the PTR client folder, and try to fix it a bit at a time, replacing addons as you establish that they’re broken.
  2. Start with a blank canvas, no settings files, and download brand-new copies of appropriate addons from your download site of choice. Build the UI from scratch.

The second option is the method I’m going to choose myself, and I’d recommend it in general, just to make certain there are no legacy files persisting to cause incompatibilities and grief down the track. (The exception is ItemRack; I have a lot of different sets with only a few differences between them, and I really don’t want to have to make all those gearing decisions again.)

Step 1: Think!

When you do it, first identify what kind of addons you’ll want.

  • a unit-frame mod?
  • an action bar mod?
  • a raid-frame mod?
  • a threat meter?
  • a DPS/performance meter?
  • a gear set changer?
  • a map mod?
  • a boss mod?

Those are the common mods most people are likely to want; have a think about other key features of your UI – whether stylistic (like a reskin, font replacer or viewframe mod) or functional (like a DoT timer, a chat manager or a combat text mod) – and whether they’re absolutely essential or whether you can afford to install them later.

Step 2: Research and Download!

Once you’ve made those decisions, you’ll be better-equipped to navigate the “WotLK Mods!” sections of your favourite addon sites to try and find mods that will do what you want. Don’t be surprised if your favourite mods haven’t been updated for WotLK yet – many mods get abandoned around expansion time, and others are slow to be updated. You might have to get creative when looking for addons that will do what you want – remember that many addon names aren’t very informative, so check out anything unless you’re sure you don’t want it.

Step 3: Profit!

And then, once Patch 3.0 goes live, rename your WoW Addons and WTF directories and copy the equivalent folders over from the PTR client – everything should work fine, and you’ll have a minimum of downtime. (Just don’t delete your old addons and wtf folders until you’re sure everything’s working perfectly, just in case.)

Happy interface-overhauling!

A Raiding Paladin UI

I’ve been meaning to make one of these posts for ages, so here goes:

A Guide To My UI

First up, here’s a shot of my UI, full-size, for comparison’s sake. Note that I’ve resized it down to 1200×750, so you can actually see it onscreen; I play at 1920×1200.

Now, let’s take a look at it piece-by-piece:

Sailan's UI

1. FuBar and a whole swag of FuBar plugins. This provides me with configuration menus for a lot of my other addons, and informational displays on all kinds of things (reputation progress, bag space, who I’m set to assist, and lots more). Similar to TitanBar, but much less memory-intensive.

2. BunchOfBars, my raid frames. Excellent for healers, this mod is compatible with the LibHealComm-3.0 library (which means, in practice, that you can see incoming heals being cast by other healers if they’re using BunchOfBars, Grid, VisualHeal or similar mods).

3. PallyPower, a blessings manager for Paladins that allows you to set Greater Blessings by class and single Blessings by individual, and then recast your set blessings repeatedly with just a few mouse clicks. Even better, the config allows you to set blessings for other pallies in the raid too, making sure that every blessing is covered and no-one’s doubling up. Almost essential for pallies.

4. ag_UnitFrames, also known as AGUF, which I use for my party frames…

5. …and AGUF again for my unit frames. Here you can see that on the left of my action bars, I have my own unit frame; above it is my focus frame, and above that is the target of my focus unit. On the right of the action bars is my target’s unit frame, above that is my target’s target, and above that is the target’s target’s target. (Confusing, yes? In practice: if I have the MT targeted, he’ll be my target, the boss will show above him as the MT’s target, and then the MT will show at the top as the boss target. If that top bar changes to another player, it means the MT has lost agro and someone else needs some healing – usually urgently. ;-)

6. Informational bars. The top two are PallyTimerFu, below them are main tank and tank target displays, courtesy of oRa.

7. Action bars! Trinity Bars 2.0. Others swear by Bongos or Bartender, but I love Trinity, despite the fact that it’s not an Ace mod. What I love about it more than other action bar mods: you can set each bar’s number of buttons individually, which means I can have a five-button bar here and a ten-button bar there with no problems. It also has some neat other features, as you’ll see:

7A: These are my “use in combat” consumables: health and mana pots (and various specialty variants), healthstones and charged crystal foci, bandages.

7B: My main spell bars. The square buttons at the top are activatable effects (mostly trinkets, with a macro and a cooldown spell for good measure). The round buttons below them are spell buttons. Yes, pallies have a lot of spells – and that doesn’t even include those spells that are bound to keypresses only, with no position on the actionbars. (Again, something handled by Trinity.) The class bar of auras is positioned vertically down the left side.

7C: My “tank emergency” bar. This bar is set, via Trinity, so that all spells on it are automatically cast on my focus, regardless of who I have targeted. I’ll usually set focus on someone likely to need emergency heals – usually the tank, sometimes someone else with a critical role. The bar has my “holy shit” heal macro, cleanse, Blessing of Protection and Lay On Hands, which means if I see the essential person is in trouble I can get a one-click heal onto them without having to acquire them as a target first. On Australian latency, that can be a wipe-saver.

7D: Miscellaneous crap. Mount macro, hearthstone, tradeskills, food/drink/elixirs, that kind of stuff.

8. ElkBuffBars for buffs and debuffs. Buffs go to the left of the minimap, debuffs and weapon buffs go to the right (although I don’t have any in this screenshot).

9. The minimap, as repositioned and squarified by SimpleMiniMap.

10. Chat windows, managed by Prat. As a guild leader, raid healing lead and master looter, I use a lot of chat – as you can imagine. I manage this by splitting different channels into different windows. The left-most window is for guildchat, officer chat, and custom channels (healer channel, tank channel, some server-wide custom channels, etc). The middle window is for raidchat, party chat and battleground chat. The right-most window is for general chat, trade chat and whispers – ie, it’s the one I can usually safely ignore unless I hear the ‘whisper’ alert sound.

Others: You can also see a Recount window open to ‘healing done’ on the right hand side of my UI. Normally I don’t have Recount open, but this screenshot was taken during a PuG raid and I was curious to see how I rated compared with the other healers. (Top on healing, top on overheals – such is the price of Aussie latency! ;-)) I also use a number of other addons that aren’t really visible on my screen, but I still wouldn’t want to play without them. These include:

  • ItemRack inventory manager (not an Ace mod). Others swear by Closet Gnome or Outfitter, but I still prefer ItemRack.
  • BigWigs raid boss warnings, and its 5-man cousin LittleWigs.
  • ACP Addon Control Panel, for activating and deactivating addons without having to log out.
  • ClearFont2 font changer.
  • SunnViewport, for the black section underlying my chat windows.
  • AtlasLoot loot reference mod.
  • Cartographer: the best map addon ever.
  • Quartz casting bar.
  • BankItems and Possessions inventory managers, great for those of us who are packrats. BankItems is better for browsing what you have on a character, Possessions is better for searching by text string when you know you have something, you just don’t remember where you put it (or which alt you mailed it to).
  • Parrot: scrolling combat text of awesomeness.
  • TradeSkill Info: a handy browser of tradeskill recipes, filterable by name, profession, what your characters know, etc. Very useful for looking up crafting mats.
  • TankPoints helps you assess tanking gear by giving each item a points value based on how much effective health it grants. Invaluable for tanks and occasional tanks.

There are others I use, but those are the awesomest – the ones I wouldn’t want to do without.