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The Death Knight Tank and You: Your UI

November 11, 2009

Elnoriah2“No Munch, do not touch that, I have been working on this for…*zap*! [Censored]!!! What in the Hell was that for!?” says our Death Knight Hero with some quite complicated equipment…

Good day students, how goes the journey into Tankhood? Excellent, so now that we have talked about Specs, Gear, Stats, Caps, Rotations, and how to play a Death Knight (basics mind you), you are ready for a bit more personal lesson in Tanking. No, I do not need any tissues, what we are talking about is your User Interface, or UI for short.

Disclaimer

As with Death Knight Tanking, there are many choices to pick through, and each should be carefully chosen.  What may be the best UI since sliced bread to me, may be unethical and down right impossible to work with for others. Is there anything that we can all mutually agree on, possibly, but for the most part mine will look much different from yours even if we have the exact same addons.

That being said, how about we set some ground rules for what a UI should do for you, in my own opinion!

Ground Rules

  • List additional information that Blizzard does not already (or does not easily) show in the base UI
  • Condenses bars and information into a more viewable space
  • Clears the center of the screen to allow a more viewable area of your character (allows you to see fire/aoe/circles of doom/ect.)
  • Better Raid Frames
  • Changing the look of the Blizzard basic UI

The Basic Blizzard UI is not THAT bad, unless of course you are trying to do something in-game. As a Raider, we need to be able to see how much Threat we are pulling, what is our DPS like, and of course Raid Frames. DPS is downright impossible to calculate without an addon to do so, and Threat is only accountable when you have the boss on top of you without an addon as well. As for Raid Frames, sure you can take the ones that Blizzard provides as a base, but generally we want something that is tailored to our needs, and catches the eye for when we need it.

Another problem I have with the Blizzard basic UI is simply that the Bars are all over the place and are far too big for my eyes, I like a small and condensed space that does not take up most of the middle of my screen. During any Raid, quite af ew bosses will throw down AoEs and the like, we want to be able to see these things easily, so how does one do that? We need the center of our screen free of space is how, so sorry Blizz, it’s workable for pretty much very low levels.

Will the Blizzard UI work for Raiding?
Sure, but for me it is the difference of using a bike with two wheels or a unicycle, you will get to your destination in the end, but one is significantly easier and more sought after than the other. In this case, a custom UI is the Bike, we are not all robots that can suffice with the same UI as everyone else, so we may have to get creative and create our very own UI.

Elnoriah, show us “the money”!
First of all, I based my current UI heavily off of Lore’s from Tankspot.com, but of course with a few more “tweaks” to better suit my wants/needs.

Do note, I am going to tweak the View Ports and such to look much more appealing than just two large black bars. Also, that large black space on the bottom is where Omen should be, and it will pop up when I am Raiding and not just being a Tool in the middle of Dal.

WoWScrnShot_111109_114953

It is efficient, I can see any major mechanics in a boss fight, and it is simple to perform as a Tank. The only time I ever need to look at my action bars is when I am doing something nutty with my Engineering, (Jeeves, Wormhole, Mailbox, Goblin Switch Blade of Rezzness) or mounting up.  To me this is a simple, but pretty UI, I like seeing Elno all punked up and ready to kill on my Unit Frames, and I love the Skinner Addon, it is simply delicious!

Pros

  • Because of Skinner, I have a workable UI with widescreen viewing ability. It is a bit of work to set up, but certainly worth it! Think of it as viewing a movie in widescreen, you actually see MORE of the film around you, and the exact same goes for my UI.
  • It is easy to Tank with. I can move around and view the rest of my group with ease (look at the top left corner for Grid)
  • It is appealing to the eye, which to me is a big factor when going through my UI, I want to be able to have a bit of appeal when I am playing. Hey, I am an artist at heart! (Despite the fact that I’m not good at art)
  • My diseases and procs are easily kept track of do to ClassTimer (the addon to the left of Elnoriah). It can keep track of my buffs/procs as well as diseases that are on the target. Although I use Death Knight Info Rune/Diseases for disease tracking, it stands out much more, making it easy for me to glance at the diseases.
  • Runes, RP, and HP are easily viewed. I have Death Knight Info Runes above my Player/Target/Target of Target frames, and large frames for Elno to be viewed in. Damn straight that is some kung foo text!
  • My buffs are at the top-right of the screen and are exactly how I like mine!

Cons

  • It needs something on the top portion of the screen, that black chunk between useless abilities/food and the screen is certainly annoying. I am thinking of putting FuBar on there to list my Gold/Repairs and some other useful bits of out of combat information.

Basically, this bad boy presents everything that I want and need out of an UI, thus making it appealing and kickass for my tastes. It is not completely wrong of you to disagree with my thoughts on a UI, after all it is YOUR game, not MINE.

Addons Used

Each of the addons that I use can be found from the Curse Client, or even Curse.com. Yes, I am a lazy bastard!

Chinchilla Minimap- A simple minimap with a clean feel to it, also has great amounts of customization.
Skinner/View Ports- Changes the basic Blizz UI to whatever your heart desires. View Port comes with Skinner and allows you to change your views of the WoW screen. (For example, my widescreen mode)
Pitbull Unit Frames 4.0– Unit Frames, EXTREMELY customizable. Highly suggested!
Omen Threat Meter- Displays TPS/Total Threat of the Raid/Party members on each individual mob.
Recount- DPS Meter, can view more than just DPS/Damage done though.
MikScrollingBattle Text– Scrolling text that shows how much damage I do, if an ability comes off of C/D, Healing Received, if the Target Avoids the attack,ECT.
Prat 3.0- Easily organizes chat, will show the class color and level of every player chatting.
Quartz- Cast bar and swing timer
SatrinaBuffFrame- Buffs and Debuffs
Dominos- Action bars, comes with 10 regular Action Bar, a Pet Bar, Vehical Bar, Roll Area, and a Cast bar (not used).
DBM- Basicly reminds me of the encounter, yells at you if you are in fire, and warns you of incoming special abilities that bosses use. (DXE and Bigwigs work as well, if you Raid you NEED one of these).
DeathKnight.Info Runes- Runes and Diseases
ClassTimer- Shows a timer of procs/diseases/DOTs/Pet Abilities (Customized to your liking)
Button Fascade- Prettier Buttons
Grid/GridManaBars- A Raid Frame that is HIGHLY customizable, easy to set up and highly recommended.

If there are any other questions about my Addons feel free to leave a comment or drop me an E-mail!

WoWScrnShot_110109_181712

"ENERGY LEGS" Macro caused some win in /2

What does a UI do for Tanking?
In my case, clearing the middle of the screen of useless crap allows me to view the boss fight, as well as Skinner’s View Ports in the sense that my wider screen lets me see much more of the game than the basic settings. Tanks need to be on their feet, we have to see everything that is going on around us, or else we will not be able to react successfully towards it. I also like to view a bit more information than the general Blizzard Frames. It is a bonus for me to get alerted when key abilities are off CD, and when they are currently on me when I am getting wailed on. If I know what is and isn’t available, I can act MUCH quicker and more efficiently than searching my bars for something that is or is not on a C/D.

When I Raid Lead, addons like  Recount can give me a basic idea as to who the problem can be/is in a Raid. Correcting a problem is 1/2 the battle, because let’s face it, not very many people like to “fess up” if they did something wrong, so if I can physically see this out of their DPS/Combat log I can correct it. Omen does a bit of the same thing for me, although more useful as a Tank, I can call out if someone needs to slow down on the aggro for a couple of seconds, rather than not knowing and letting the group burn and crash.

Efficiency and being able to evaluate your raid are key qualities for Tanks and Raid Leaders need to have, Addons just make these qualities easier to use.

Conclusions

Do remember, your choice of addons/UI is yours to make, I will not go all Dictator on your sorry asses if you still use the Blizz UI. If you are extremely comfortable and efficient, that is your choice to make, NOT mine. If you want to critique mine, or want me to critique yours, feel free. This is a relatively new setup for me, so some criticism would be ideal. Either way, go toy around with some addons, class, you can’t judge until you tool around for a bit!

Return around the same time next week for more knowledge of the Death Knight Tank!

Happy WoWing!
-Elno

P.S. If the site blows up within the course of the week it was not because Aifel/I were touching the layout, no sir!
P.S. x 2  Sneak Peak of Aifel’s Avatar!

Aifel1

In all his badassery

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Alex permalink
    November 11, 2009 3:06 PM

    That was all in /y, tardo.

  2. November 11, 2009 5:25 PM

    I’ve a similar UI and philosophy. I’d add a key objective for me is to simplify. I remove everything I can or fade it out or whatever, so the only info on screen is important or useful.

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