Tuesday, August 31, 2010

wtb screen space

I've procrastinated making some UI changes I knew I needed to make for some time. I have never posted a screenshot of my UI because, it's not impressive but it's also downright embarrassing. I could blame my small screen, but that's only the half of it. My UI looked like my desk: cluttered, redundant, and a bit dusty.

So I spent a couple of hours today reworking how my UI helps me play. Because in the end, a pretty UI is nice but it has to have the things I need to be a healadin. This time around, my focus was getting more crap off my screen.

Saving Space Through Addons

Bartender or Dominos are fantastic addons to "buy" screen space. It takes a bit of configuring to get it going, but potentially offers much more free screen space. They get rid of the extra junk (spacing, padding, and decorations) around the standard UI, and allow you to move your bars wherever you want. You can shrink 'em, but most importantly, you can shove 'em wherever you like. You can also hide bars that you don't need in combat. My hearthstone, professions, and self-only oh-shit buttons are keybound and invisible.

You may notice that I have no addon mini-map buttons. They are all disabled, because of how few I actually need when I'm in combat. Most addons have menu or config options that can be accessed with slash-commands.

/al - Atlas Loot
/sg - Surgeon General
/radur - Who's Tanking Frames
/dxe config - Deus Vox Encounters

Healbot and Grid both have drag-tags that you can remove. I set up HB so that the options open up with the right-click of the dead space outside of the bars (I also set it up so that there is no padding or spacing between bars, another space saver).

I used to use Pitbull for raid frames as well as Healbot, but it's redundant (and bogs down an older computer). If your screen is tiny, it's an important question to ask: do I need the same information/spells taking up space twice?

I used to have a bar devoted to blessings, but I've been using Pally Power long enough that I couldn't justify that space on my screen. I have them bound (a bit awkwardly, but that's alright, they are for out of combat) in healbot, as well. That was three places to cast one thing.

Saving Space Through Macros

Macros that can save you bar space. Abilities you always use together, for instance, will only take up one spot on your action bar instead of two or three if they are macro'd (trinkets, too!). Cast sequence macros can help you buff, i.e., a priest can click the same macro button four times and buff fort>spirit>shadow>inner fire. A macro like this would be handy for after-rezzing. A paladin macro might have Seal>Divine Plea>Kings.

Macros can also be set up with modifiers, allowing one button to do different things. A blessing macro could do kings, wisdom, or might, determined by modifier. I have three buttons dedicated to judgments (one is keybound, the others are next to it so that I can switch depending on our raid composition), but if I cared I could set it up so that shift or control judged differently. I may give this a try, but I prefer just to set the right judgment to the non-modified keybind before the pull. In combat, I prefer to keep things as simple as possible. However, if your raid has a pretty darn consistent group and you almost always judge light or wisdom, setting up a modifier for the other wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Mouseover macros can also cast a spell determined by whether the target is friendly or hostile. My priest saves bar space by having a dps spell and a healing spell tied to the same button - smite and flash heal, holy fire and greater heal, and shadow word: pain and renew. While I (rarely) use the DPS portions of the macros, they are helpful and a time-saver when you do need to nuke. (I haven't PVP'd in a while, but there's the obvious application).

I just learned something new! In clique and healbot, you can add macros directly into the interface. For Clique, you type your macro text directly into the window, and in Healbot, you create a macro (using the mouseover script) in Blizzard's macro menu, then import it.


I have a confession to make: when I was leveling my paladin, I had some serious druid-envy. When HB broke and I learned to use mouseover macros, I chose icons for druid heals instead of paladin heals. I never changed it, because it's kinda silly.

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