Thursday, August 20, 2009

Class timers and add ons

I had an interesting night, last night, experimenting with the UI for Znak.

She's finally took up her dual spec as a Resto PvP shaman. I've got quite a few things to learn about the Resto spec for shaman.

The first thing I did for the evening is watch almost all of the video tutorials from I skipped the one about Gladius, since I'm not doing arenas.

There were some good tips in those videos. Sticky Targeting and reducing duplicate information were the first good tips.

I ended up installing MSBT, and Elkanos, which would bring up the list of active addons to:

  • Xperl Classic Unit Frames
  • Bartender 4
  • Power Auras
  • ClassTimers
  • Quartz
  • Elkanos
  • OmniCC
  • TotemTimers
  • Healbot
  • AtlasMaps
  • Deadly Boss Mods.
  • Doom CooldownPulse

Passive Addons include, but are not limited to

  • Prat
  • Fubar (and a whole bunch of info on there)
  • Autobar
  • Recount
  • Omen
  • SexyMap

Passive Addons are addons that have a presence on the screen, but dont tend to tell me anything informative about what is going on with the situation at hand. The head tells me I should just remove them from view, but the player enjoying his game says leave them there for when you're in in AVs.

I should actually post a picture of my UI, but I'm not at home right now, and dont have access to the screenshot that I took.

UI Changes

Here are a few actions that I took with my UI, over and above what is already there.

I enabled Sticky Targets. I remapped my Strafe keys to A and D. However, I neglected to map my turn keys to Shift A and Shift D. More on that later.

Tried to make Autobar fade out when not in use. There did seem to be a global option for this, and then options for the individual bars that make up the autobar, but I couldnt work out how to make the global options stick. I ended up making the individual bars fade out. BTW, I sit my Autobar vertically on the right border of the screen, taking up two columns: common stuff on the right most bar, and class/race specific stuff next to it. I may have to remove the class stuff, since I tend to use Bartender for ghost wolf and mounts, and TotemTimers for shields and totems.

I deactivated buff displays on the unit frames, via Xperl. I have a setup with player, pet, target, target of target, pets target and target of target of target at the bottom of the screen, then I move the party unit up, and place the focus and focus target next to that at the top of the screen. The screen shot will help when I get it up.

I placed the Quartz cast bars in the appropriate position just above player and target, and just below focus unit frames.

I disabled the Xperl raid frames, and moved the AtlasMaps frame beneath the party unit frame. I like having the map up, in a reduce, semi-transparent state, so I can see where all the players are, what goals have been taken and how many AFKers there are in the save (and report them during quiet periods).

I configured Healbot to have 3 columns and placed it on the right hand side of the screen. I'm still not totally happy with this setup. The problem is, now that I have A and D mapped to strafe, I need to right click the to change my orientation. Ah.. maybe I've found a solution to the problem right there. In a normal FPS, mouse look is enabled. This means when the mouse moves, the camera moves and do does the orientation of the player. In WoW, I tend to click alot. This means I've setup my mouse so that it only kicks into mouse look when I right click and hold the mouse on the screen. This becomes a problem when my mouse cursor spends alot of time hovering over a Healbot frame housing at least 40 units.

I guess I need to find a solution to this. I could ditch Healbot (which I'd rather not do), or move to total mouse look model, and use a modifier key or toggle key to enter and leave mouse cursor mode. A toggle key might be better, since modifier keys tend to get used for Healbot as well. The Tab key might make the perfect toggle key for this, if it wasnt that I used it for Tab targeting. Hmm. This will take a little research. Maybe one of the mouse buttons will do the job.

The next part I'll need to work on is binding my abilities to the keyboard. I always have my keys mapped, but I don't often use them. There are some abilities I use. Given my time spent tanking in Classic WoW, and leveling my priest the long way, I have 2 as Taunt, and Alt-4 as button deep in my muscle memory. I also have a Belkin n52te that took about 6 months to actually order, got about 10 minutes of use, and has been gathering dust ever since. Maybe this will be the time to fire it up.

Class Timers and Cooldowns

The only other bit that has left me in a quandary is what to do with target debuffs, player debuffs and cooldowns. I've been using ClassTimers for quite along time, and have made limited use of Power Auras to remind me to put up Replenishment when playing Shadow Priest, or special abilities when playing the Prot Warrior (shouts and free heroic strikes).

However, what I've seen and really like is the tracking of special abilities on the target, and even tracking my own cooldowns, to a certain extent. For example, if a pally has just come out of a bubble or done a stun, I'd like to see what that is going to become available again. Much like DBM tracking the abilities of particular bosses. Elkanos and ClassTimer dont do this, and the Cooldown Watch, the addon showcased in the videos is no longer being maintained, since the author recently quit WoW. I'm pretty sure it works at the moment, but I dont want to introduce a dependency on an addon that is not being actively maintained.

So for the moment, I'm sticking to ClassTimers to track my abilities on myself and my target. I may remove Elkanos total, and go back to the default Blizzard buffs and debuffs, and use Xperl to display target, focus and pet buffs and debuffs, but with bigger icons. Then I can configure Power Auras to track certain abilities I need to keep active, or take advantage off, and use large buttons in Bartender 4 to keep a track of key cooldowns.

The only other thing that's a bit of a problem is gear and level. Znak is only lvl71 at the moment, and only has a few items of spell gear. So she tends to get owned very quickly, and runs out of mana even quicker. I guess these are the things I have to look forward to while doing PvP leveling with Znak.

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