Posts tagged unit frames

Heroic Lich King attempt in progress, phase 1.

I take screenshots like this periodically not because they show anything especially cool or interesting, but because they show my UI at the most hectic mid-fight moments. I can examine it calmly later on and spot the problems to be fixed.

My raid frames are still Pitbull 4, and I am still in love with Pitbull_AuraBars. I turned on showing the Weakened Soul effect from players other than me, which gives me an extra cue about players who might be in need of more healing from me. However, it’s sort of noise in this encounter, since I’m tank healing almost without letup. I’m very happy with my Pitbull layout in general, however. I figured out how to use the Aura module to do custom highlighting to display who has special debuffs (vampire for BQL, Infest active for LK, etc) and buffs. I do this via frame color, not by showing an icon Grid-style, because color is easier for me to see during hectic moments. Pink means there’s something funky going on with that player; the meaning of “funky” is context-dependent.

Problems:

My buff bars somehow got moved and now overlap with my self/focus frames. Bah. 
And at the same bloody time, the buff bars are clipped by the DXE longer-term timer bars. Grrr.
I need to make sure I have the DXE option that stifles messages from other boss mods, because man, those raid warnings from DBM are annoying.
The DXE movement arrows are useless. I should turn them off.
I need another long session with Align turned on so I can get stuff lined up. Those buff bars, argh! But also my action bars.
I should do a font unification pass. I’d like to see maybe two fonts on my screen, total. 
That roster, by the way, is my favorite roster for progression fights. I always feel comfortable raiding with that gang of people. I know what they’ll each do at any time.

We got out of Phase 2 into Phase 3 for heroic Lich King, by the way. I’m pretty sure we can do it again and stabilize, now that we’ve done it once. The key to handling heroic phase 2 from a healing point of view was stricter assignments. The disco priest is 100% concentrating on Infest shielding and leaving the tank healing to the holy pally and to me. I cannot catch up with a ticking heroic Infest. Once my two cooldowns are burned, that’s it. Doomed. So better to have the disc priest prevent it from ever reaching that point, while I panic about the tank damage from heroic Soul Reaper. Nourish spam should do the trick! I’m in my max-regen gear set for this fight, and flasking for regen as well, so I can afford bursts of Nourish spam.

My hat is off to people who two-healed this. I have no idea how you guys survive when a healer gets picked up by a Valk. I understand why you want to two-heal, though. As it is, we’re near the enrage timer. If we need to bring in more dps, we should probably sub me out. Sniffle.

Also, sigh. I’m really going to miss being able to roll Lifebloom onto both tanks at once.

Heroic Lich King attempt in progress, phase 1.

I take screenshots like this periodically not because they show anything especially cool or interesting, but because they show my UI at the most hectic mid-fight moments. I can examine it calmly later on and spot the problems to be fixed.

My raid frames are still Pitbull 4, and I am still in love with Pitbull_AuraBars. I turned on showing the Weakened Soul effect from players other than me, which gives me an extra cue about players who might be in need of more healing from me. However, it’s sort of noise in this encounter, since I’m tank healing almost without letup. I’m very happy with my Pitbull layout in general, however. I figured out how to use the Aura module to do custom highlighting to display who has special debuffs (vampire for BQL, Infest active for LK, etc) and buffs. I do this via frame color, not by showing an icon Grid-style, because color is easier for me to see during hectic moments. Pink means there’s something funky going on with that player; the meaning of “funky” is context-dependent.

Problems:

  • My buff bars somehow got moved and now overlap with my self/focus frames. Bah.
  • And at the same bloody time, the buff bars are clipped by the DXE longer-term timer bars. Grrr.
  • I need to make sure I have the DXE option that stifles messages from other boss mods, because man, those raid warnings from DBM are annoying.
  • The DXE movement arrows are useless. I should turn them off.
  • I need another long session with Align turned on so I can get stuff lined up. Those buff bars, argh! But also my action bars.
  • I should do a font unification pass. I’d like to see maybe two fonts on my screen, total.

That roster, by the way, is my favorite roster for progression fights. I always feel comfortable raiding with that gang of people. I know what they’ll each do at any time.

We got out of Phase 2 into Phase 3 for heroic Lich King, by the way. I’m pretty sure we can do it again and stabilize, now that we’ve done it once. The key to handling heroic phase 2 from a healing point of view was stricter assignments. The disco priest is 100% concentrating on Infest shielding and leaving the tank healing to the holy pally and to me. I cannot catch up with a ticking heroic Infest. Once my two cooldowns are burned, that’s it. Doomed. So better to have the disc priest prevent it from ever reaching that point, while I panic about the tank damage from heroic Soul Reaper. Nourish spam should do the trick! I’m in my max-regen gear set for this fight, and flasking for regen as well, so I can afford bursts of Nourish spam.

My hat is off to people who two-healed this. I have no idea how you guys survive when a healer gets picked up by a Valk. I understand why you want to two-heal, though. As it is, we’re near the enrage timer. If we need to bring in more dps, we should probably sub me out. Sniffle.

Also, sigh. I’m really going to miss being able to roll Lifebloom onto both tanks at once.

State of the raid frames: priest edition. White bar is the timer for PW:S. Beige bar is the timer for Weakened Soul. Green is Renew. There’s a dark orange for Prayer of Mending, not visible in this shot. Also not visible is the special highlighting I’ve set up for specific ICC encounter debuffs of interest to me. Vampires in the BQL fight, for instance, are shown with an extra color. A sparkle, if you will.

And yes, that is the tediously familiar floor texture of ICC visible in that screenshot.

Angmark the discipline priest almost, but not quite, became my third character to earn a Kingslayer title. She healed our ICC10 alt run last night, when for once we had extra tanks and not enough healers. Our usual healer couple (who play DPS classes as their mains) weren’t around, so we had to scrounge. We didn’t get LK down, but we did do a great job on all the other fights in the instance. Some people were on their mains and providing very strong DPS the whole time. Angmark now has heroic-mode kills for Blood Queen and Gunship. I feel she earned that BQL kill, too.

It was interesting to approach fights I know extremely well as a druid healer from the perspective of a bubble-user. Leafie is a reactive raid-healer and a pro-active tank healer. That is, I use Wild Growth and Rejuv to react to raid damage as it happens, but I mostly pre-hot tanks to buffer them before damage comes in. I can, of course, switch modes and use Nourish & Swiftmend to bring a badly-damaged target up, but mostly I leave that to other healing classes. I stabilize to prevent death; they heal the rest of the way. The disc priest is the other way around. Shields are pro-active on the raid: they prevent damage, and are cast before it comes in. Penance is a reactive big heal: I cast it on the tank after the mob has blasted her in the face with dargon-breath.

Of course there are exceptions, but this is the general pattern I get from the two healing classes. Both are fun. I like them both because they’re mobile healers. I have a blast chasing tanks around.

I am here to say this about that: Discipline is seriously overpowered. I was effective despite being undergeared and having constant mana problems for one very simple reason. A reason that has nothing to do with my skill as a plyer, note well. That reason is this: there is no overheal from Power Word: Shield. They’re always useful, whether I’m shielding the tank or shielding dps that’s being pummeled by adds, or random people in the raid against an AOE.

Penance is just plain fun. So is Prayer of Mending. I got a real kick out of sending the PoM-hammer out during the transitional phases on the LK fight and listening to it ricochet through the raid.

Things I learned that weren’t so good:

Two disc priests in a ten-person raid is one disc priest too many. I have my raid frames set to show Weakened Soul from other players, and I was seeing it too often for my comfort. Too much of my healing (and the other player’s!) depends on that spell. I’d rather have the other healer(s) be different classes, good at different healing styles. Synergies, baby, not conflicts.

Cleansing on the Lich King fight is tweaky. The other disc priest kept doing it even when I gave myself the assignment and that annoyed me. I changed my Clique setup a little bit so that right-click on a friendly casts Cure Disease instead of Abolish Disease. That seemed more reliable.

Angmark is pretty horrible at reacting to steady incoming AOE damage, as in the LK transitional phases. Leafie is is awesome during those phases. Tradeoffs! This is why you bring a mix of classes to a raid.

I read that in the Cata beta, the healing classes to play are resto shamans and holy priests. Druids & paladins are disaster areas, and disc priests are sort of meh. I guess I can always go holy and make Angmark my main, if Blizzard continues to ignore people like Lissana on the how Trees play. Or the healing class formerly known as Trees. Erk.

State of the raid frames: priest edition. White bar is the timer for PW:S. Beige bar is the timer for Weakened Soul. Green is Renew. There’s a dark orange for Prayer of Mending, not visible in this shot. Also not visible is the special highlighting I’ve set up for specific ICC encounter debuffs of interest to me. Vampires in the BQL fight, for instance, are shown with an extra color. A sparkle, if you will.

And yes, that is the tediously familiar floor texture of ICC visible in that screenshot.

Angmark the discipline priest almost, but not quite, became my third character to earn a Kingslayer title. She healed our ICC10 alt run last night, when for once we had extra tanks and not enough healers. Our usual healer couple (who play DPS classes as their mains) weren’t around, so we had to scrounge. We didn’t get LK down, but we did do a great job on all the other fights in the instance. Some people were on their mains and providing very strong DPS the whole time. Angmark now has heroic-mode kills for Blood Queen and Gunship. I feel she earned that BQL kill, too.

It was interesting to approach fights I know extremely well as a druid healer from the perspective of a bubble-user. Leafie is a reactive raid-healer and a pro-active tank healer. That is, I use Wild Growth and Rejuv to react to raid damage as it happens, but I mostly pre-hot tanks to buffer them before damage comes in. I can, of course, switch modes and use Nourish & Swiftmend to bring a badly-damaged target up, but mostly I leave that to other healing classes. I stabilize to prevent death; they heal the rest of the way. The disc priest is the other way around. Shields are pro-active on the raid: they prevent damage, and are cast before it comes in. Penance is a reactive big heal: I cast it on the tank after the mob has blasted her in the face with dargon-breath.

Of course there are exceptions, but this is the general pattern I get from the two healing classes. Both are fun. I like them both because they’re mobile healers. I have a blast chasing tanks around.

I am here to say this about that: Discipline is seriously overpowered. I was effective despite being undergeared and having constant mana problems for one very simple reason. A reason that has nothing to do with my skill as a plyer, note well. That reason is this: there is no overheal from Power Word: Shield. They’re always useful, whether I’m shielding the tank or shielding dps that’s being pummeled by adds, or random people in the raid against an AOE.

Penance is just plain fun. So is Prayer of Mending. I got a real kick out of sending the PoM-hammer out during the transitional phases on the LK fight and listening to it ricochet through the raid.

Things I learned that weren’t so good:

Two disc priests in a ten-person raid is one disc priest too many. I have my raid frames set to show Weakened Soul from other players, and I was seeing it too often for my comfort. Too much of my healing (and the other player’s!) depends on that spell. I’d rather have the other healer(s) be different classes, good at different healing styles. Synergies, baby, not conflicts.

Cleansing on the Lich King fight is tweaky. The other disc priest kept doing it even when I gave myself the assignment and that annoyed me. I changed my Clique setup a little bit so that right-click on a friendly casts Cure Disease instead of Abolish Disease. That seemed more reliable.

Angmark is pretty horrible at reacting to steady incoming AOE damage, as in the LK transitional phases. Leafie is is awesome during those phases. Tradeoffs! This is why you bring a mix of classes to a raid.

I read that in the Cata beta, the healing classes to play are resto shamans and holy priests. Druids & paladins are disaster areas, and disc priests are sort of meh. I guess I can always go holy and make Angmark my main, if Blizzard continues to ignore people like Lissana on the how Trees play. Or the healing class formerly known as Trees. Erk.

The obligatory Frostwing Halls & Crimson Hall achievement spam post.

UI problems visible that I will fix next time I log in:

Raid tank display is overlapped by the MSBT incoming healing/damage scroll area.
Raid tank display is too verbose given that it’s clickthru/informational only. Erase repeated non-data ink (“tank:”) and make it into a one-line display. I might also see if there’s a way to show raid debuffs on the tanks using Satrina. (I might try Pitbull4’s aura module if not.)
Move tanks to under the target frame.
Raid leader’s raid warning spam (from a boss mod different from the one I use) is too verbose. DXE has a way to suppress it that I will turn on. 
MSBT outgoing heals scroll area looks off-center.
My spam-the-button casting tendencies result in achievement badges always covered in “spell not ready” red text. One or the other needs to move.
Make the raid frame background slightly less transparent.
Other notes to self:

I need a better rez macro.
I should have given my Innervate to the poor resto shammy.
16fps in the 25s is crud. Turn off mods/turn down graphics. No, you can’t buy one of the new MacPro desktops.
Tighter healing assignments next time.

The obligatory Frostwing Halls & Crimson Hall achievement spam post.

UI problems visible that I will fix next time I log in:

  • Raid tank display is overlapped by the MSBT incoming healing/damage scroll area.
  • Raid tank display is too verbose given that it’s clickthru/informational only. Erase repeated non-data ink (“tank:”) and make it into a one-line display. I might also see if there’s a way to show raid debuffs on the tanks using Satrina. (I might try Pitbull4’s aura module if not.)
  • Move tanks to under the target frame.
  • Raid leader’s raid warning spam (from a boss mod different from the one I use) is too verbose. DXE has a way to suppress it that I will turn on.
  • MSBT outgoing heals scroll area looks off-center.
  • My spam-the-button casting tendencies result in achievement badges always covered in “spell not ready” red text. One or the other needs to move.
  • Make the raid frame background slightly less transparent.

Other notes to self:

  • I need a better rez macro.
  • I should have given my Innervate to the poor resto shammy.
  • 16fps in the 25s is crud. Turn off mods/turn down graphics. No, you can’t buy one of the new MacPro desktops.
  • Tighter healing assignments next time.
State of the unit frames, priest edition. Well, they’re the same frames for everybody. Pitbull4 + IceHUD + Satrina Buff Frames + Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text on display.

I haven’t been able to play WOW all that much in the last two weeks, so yesterday I binged a little bit. This wasn’t entirely a good idea, because I was stuck home with a head cold that got progressively worse. By the time I stopped and went to bed, I was running a fever. Oops.

The daily agenda can be very long if I let it. Instance with Thissell for Frosts. Instances, as many as I can stand, with Angmark for Triumphs. Argent Tournament dailies for Thissell, or questing, because he’s my current cash-grinding character. Herbing on Leafie for flask mats. Then, of course, the raid if there is one.

Last night was partially-pugged ICC25. We had maybe 13 or 14 guildies on, so it was heavily puggy. Also, our regular raid leader was out. It was a pretty great PUG run anyway, with 9/12 bosses dead and some serious progress on a Blood Queen kill. (What messed that up was guildies failing to bite when they needed to, which was a bit embarrassing. I do think that a bite target mod is a good idea in the 25s.)

The run had some controversy early on when one of the PUG hunters (a really obnoxious guy) pointed out that the other PUG hunter was in PVP gear and did we allow that? Elitist Group had already told me that the second hunter was in PVP gear, and the DPS warrior was partially as well. It was, apparently, a surprise to the raid leaders, who I guess still haven’t tried out EG as a tool for evaluating puglings. Still using GearScore, which leads to exactly this problem because it doesn’t distinguish the pvp gear from the pve gear. The hunter’s DPS was pretty awful. Not that I care. The 30% buff means you can carry even more people than you usually carry in 25s. You can even carry people in the 10s now if you really want to.

That ran late, which meant I was late for tanking my friends & family guild session, which was down to 3 people because one of them canceled their account until Cataclysm, and a second person didn’t want to move their computer into another room to play. Yeah, the motivation levels aren’t high there. I tanked three heroic runs anyway, to give my husband & our friend a chance to cycle all their alts through for Frosts. We did an Utgarde Keep run at a breakneck pace. The DPS was not stellar, but it was good enough, and I trusted my husband’s healing to keep me up. Praet is in T9 + a couple of Frost badge pieces, with the ilvl 200 crafted shield, but this is plenty good enough to trivialize heroics.

We also did an Old Kingdom run that was the opposite of breakneck. Everybody except my husband’s DK was in new 80 gear. So I methodically cleared the place and we killed every boss. I like tailoring the run to the needs of the people in it. You need badges? I don’t, but that’s okay. I’ll get them for you. I can tank these places in my sleep these days. Which is good, because by the end of those runs I was, as mentioned above, feverish and not entirely coherent. I really really should have gone to bed instead of doing that.

State of the unit frames, priest edition. Well, they’re the same frames for everybody. Pitbull4 + IceHUD + Satrina Buff Frames + Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text on display.

I haven’t been able to play WOW all that much in the last two weeks, so yesterday I binged a little bit. This wasn’t entirely a good idea, because I was stuck home with a head cold that got progressively worse. By the time I stopped and went to bed, I was running a fever. Oops.

The daily agenda can be very long if I let it. Instance with Thissell for Frosts. Instances, as many as I can stand, with Angmark for Triumphs. Argent Tournament dailies for Thissell, or questing, because he’s my current cash-grinding character. Herbing on Leafie for flask mats. Then, of course, the raid if there is one.

Last night was partially-pugged ICC25. We had maybe 13 or 14 guildies on, so it was heavily puggy. Also, our regular raid leader was out. It was a pretty great PUG run anyway, with 9/12 bosses dead and some serious progress on a Blood Queen kill. (What messed that up was guildies failing to bite when they needed to, which was a bit embarrassing. I do think that a bite target mod is a good idea in the 25s.)

The run had some controversy early on when one of the PUG hunters (a really obnoxious guy) pointed out that the other PUG hunter was in PVP gear and did we allow that? Elitist Group had already told me that the second hunter was in PVP gear, and the DPS warrior was partially as well. It was, apparently, a surprise to the raid leaders, who I guess still haven’t tried out EG as a tool for evaluating puglings. Still using GearScore, which leads to exactly this problem because it doesn’t distinguish the pvp gear from the pve gear. The hunter’s DPS was pretty awful. Not that I care. The 30% buff means you can carry even more people than you usually carry in 25s. You can even carry people in the 10s now if you really want to.

That ran late, which meant I was late for tanking my friends & family guild session, which was down to 3 people because one of them canceled their account until Cataclysm, and a second person didn’t want to move their computer into another room to play. Yeah, the motivation levels aren’t high there. I tanked three heroic runs anyway, to give my husband & our friend a chance to cycle all their alts through for Frosts. We did an Utgarde Keep run at a breakneck pace. The DPS was not stellar, but it was good enough, and I trusted my husband’s healing to keep me up. Praet is in T9 + a couple of Frost badge pieces, with the ilvl 200 crafted shield, but this is plenty good enough to trivialize heroics.

We also did an Old Kingdom run that was the opposite of breakneck. Everybody except my husband’s DK was in new 80 gear. So I methodically cleared the place and we killed every boss. I like tailoring the run to the needs of the people in it. You need badges? I don’t, but that’s okay. I’ll get them for you. I can tank these places in my sleep these days. Which is good, because by the end of those runs I was, as mentioned above, feverish and not entirely coherent. I really really should have gone to bed instead of doing that.

Mods visible in this screenshot: Satrina Buff Frames, Pitbull4, IceHUD, Bartender, Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text, SLDataText, and HudMap.

Hmm, I’m not sure why the XP announcements are doubled. Will have to fix that. Also in that screenshot, you can see Forbearance on me, and note that I was grouped with an excellent paladin tank from my own server. This made up for the horrible Special DK who’d tanked the previous run. No tank talents in his spec, only a few pieces of tanking gear, which explained why I was having trouble keeping him alive. To cap it, he announced in all caps that I was fail because he’d healed more than I had. Then he linked Recount healing meters. NB: I’m a disc priest. Recount fails with discipline, which is why I use Skada. Dumped the group, got randomed into this one, and stayed with them for three instance runs. The DK in the second group called me “an amazing healer”. From fail to amazing in five minutes!

It wasn’t me. It was a tank who knew what he was doing, making my job easier.

But anyway. On to the main stream of this morning’s symposium, which is Pitbull 4.

For the last few months my unit frames have been a custom Pitbull Layout plus IceHUD for pretty bars and combo points. Specifically, I’m using Pitbull4 plus Pitbull4 AuraBar. Here’s my review of that setup.

Pitbull4 configuration is much better than Pitbull3’s. As in, I took one look at Pitbull3 and decided I’d rather write code for oUF than deal with that mess. Pitbull4 is nicer. It is completely possible, even easy, to make a standard bar-based unit frame layout with Pitbull4. You can even skip the bars altogether if you like. Once you figure out its internal logic, the slightly wacky mode of thinking of its authors, you’ll be able to make standard unit frame layouts quickly. It’s a completely solid mod and I recommend it if you want to try custom layouts but don’t want to learn Lua.

I use the aura bar module for HoT tracking. Druid hots, priest hot/shield/weakened soul: all get a little bar falling on the right side of the unit frame. The aura bars are awesome, but they change the size of the health bar when shown. As in, the health bar is full length with no hots; I cast a full set on the tank and the health bar shrinks. This makes it unreliable as a visual cue: you can no longer rely on noticing that somebody’s bar is shorter than somebody else’s. The alternative is to make the aura bars always visible, which is even worse. (Imagine your druid seeing an always-empty bar where the Power Word: Shield you’ll never cast would be shown.) If there were a way to attach them to another bar, or to a sub-region of the unit frame, I could work around this. But they are bars, and to Pitbull bars are things that slice up the unit frame itself. They are either horizontal in the center, vertical on the left, or vertical on the right.

The aura bars force me to move the name display to below & outside the unit frame, so that it isn’t truncated and it isn’t overlapping or obscuring other text on the unit frame when all hots are up. Therefore the name is not actually part of the frame, and hovering over it/clicking it will do nothing.

The module approach is nice. You can turn off features you don’t want and be confident they’re not sucking up CPU anyway. It also makes for some useful object-oriented design: you can implement a new indicator type, and it’ll show up with the other other indicators and be laid out nicely with them.

The highlight color is distracting & over-emphatic. It looks like a debuff. I chose white, but it’s a strong yellow. Buzzuh?

If there is a way to make a bar with a completely transparent background, I haven’t yet been able to discover it.

The raid configuration options are very nice. I like being able to have different frames shown in 10-person raids, and shrink down to more compact frames in larger raids. I like that I can choose any row or column length I want, without being constrained to group size. (A 3 x 4 grid is a very nice healing layout for 10-person raids.) I dislike that there’s no convenient way to choose a group-centric layout if you want one— it’s possible but more work than it’s worth. This means that holes in the raid roster are always shown at the end, and you need to check the Blizzard raid frame for the real group if you need to know.

You can’t share layouts. There’s no export feature, and the per-module arrangement of layout data in the config file means that picking out a specific single unit layout is agonizing work. So you share your config in a lump, or not at all. I discovered this to my dismay when I attempted to fold in a new RealUI layout for player & target frames. I spent 20 minutes fishing through visual diffs to figure out what had changed in RealUI. It was bad enough that I simply abandoned that part of RealUI, and now use my own layout entirely.

Buff filter editing is difficult to discover (it’s in a surprising place) and confusing. I was eventually able to figure it out well enough to make a custom highlight filter for Blood Queen vampire bite victims. This is sort of the theme of Pitbull: most of what you want is eventually possible. You will end up with something idiosyncratic and unsharable, but tuned for you.

Final verdict: When I feel energetic and have a day free for uninterrupted hacking, I’m going back to an oUF layout hand-tuned for my own purposes. I’ll have to implement my own version of the aura bars, but that shouldn’t be too painful. The end result will be prettier, in my view, and more perfectly laid out. But that’s the tradeoff. Total control requires that I do the work.

Mods visible in this screenshot: Satrina Buff Frames, Pitbull4, IceHUD, Bartender, Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text, SLDataText, and HudMap.

Hmm, I’m not sure why the XP announcements are doubled. Will have to fix that. Also in that screenshot, you can see Forbearance on me, and note that I was grouped with an excellent paladin tank from my own server. This made up for the horrible Special DK who’d tanked the previous run. No tank talents in his spec, only a few pieces of tanking gear, which explained why I was having trouble keeping him alive. To cap it, he announced in all caps that I was fail because he’d healed more than I had. Then he linked Recount healing meters. NB: I’m a disc priest. Recount fails with discipline, which is why I use Skada. Dumped the group, got randomed into this one, and stayed with them for three instance runs. The DK in the second group called me “an amazing healer”. From fail to amazing in five minutes!

It wasn’t me. It was a tank who knew what he was doing, making my job easier.

But anyway. On to the main stream of this morning’s symposium, which is Pitbull 4.


For the last few months my unit frames have been a custom Pitbull Layout plus IceHUD for pretty bars and combo points. Specifically, I’m using Pitbull4 plus Pitbull4 AuraBar. Here’s my review of that setup.

Pitbull4 configuration is much better than Pitbull3’s. As in, I took one look at Pitbull3 and decided I’d rather write code for oUF than deal with that mess. Pitbull4 is nicer. It is completely possible, even easy, to make a standard bar-based unit frame layout with Pitbull4. You can even skip the bars altogether if you like. Once you figure out its internal logic, the slightly wacky mode of thinking of its authors, you’ll be able to make standard unit frame layouts quickly. It’s a completely solid mod and I recommend it if you want to try custom layouts but don’t want to learn Lua.

I use the aura bar module for HoT tracking. Druid hots, priest hot/shield/weakened soul: all get a little bar falling on the right side of the unit frame. The aura bars are awesome, but they change the size of the health bar when shown. As in, the health bar is full length with no hots; I cast a full set on the tank and the health bar shrinks. This makes it unreliable as a visual cue: you can no longer rely on noticing that somebody’s bar is shorter than somebody else’s. The alternative is to make the aura bars always visible, which is even worse. (Imagine your druid seeing an always-empty bar where the Power Word: Shield you’ll never cast would be shown.) If there were a way to attach them to another bar, or to a sub-region of the unit frame, I could work around this. But they are bars, and to Pitbull bars are things that slice up the unit frame itself. They are either horizontal in the center, vertical on the left, or vertical on the right.

The aura bars force me to move the name display to below & outside the unit frame, so that it isn’t truncated and it isn’t overlapping or obscuring other text on the unit frame when all hots are up. Therefore the name is not actually part of the frame, and hovering over it/clicking it will do nothing.

The module approach is nice. You can turn off features you don’t want and be confident they’re not sucking up CPU anyway. It also makes for some useful object-oriented design: you can implement a new indicator type, and it’ll show up with the other other indicators and be laid out nicely with them.

The highlight color is distracting & over-emphatic. It looks like a debuff. I chose white, but it’s a strong yellow. Buzzuh?

If there is a way to make a bar with a completely transparent background, I haven’t yet been able to discover it.

The raid configuration options are very nice. I like being able to have different frames shown in 10-person raids, and shrink down to more compact frames in larger raids. I like that I can choose any row or column length I want, without being constrained to group size. (A 3 x 4 grid is a very nice healing layout for 10-person raids.) I dislike that there’s no convenient way to choose a group-centric layout if you want one— it’s possible but more work than it’s worth. This means that holes in the raid roster are always shown at the end, and you need to check the Blizzard raid frame for the real group if you need to know.

You can’t share layouts. There’s no export feature, and the per-module arrangement of layout data in the config file means that picking out a specific single unit layout is agonizing work. So you share your config in a lump, or not at all. I discovered this to my dismay when I attempted to fold in a new RealUI layout for player & target frames. I spent 20 minutes fishing through visual diffs to figure out what had changed in RealUI. It was bad enough that I simply abandoned that part of RealUI, and now use my own layout entirely.

Buff filter editing is difficult to discover (it’s in a surprising place) and confusing. I was eventually able to figure it out well enough to make a custom highlight filter for Blood Queen vampire bite victims. This is sort of the theme of Pitbull: most of what you want is eventually possible. You will end up with something idiosyncratic and unsharable, but tuned for you.

Final verdict: When I feel energetic and have a day free for uninterrupted hacking, I’m going back to an oUF layout hand-tuned for my own purposes. I’ll have to implement my own version of the aura bars, but that shouldn’t be too painful. The end result will be prettier, in my view, and more perfectly laid out. But that’s the tradeoff. Total control requires that I do the work.

Minor iteration on my 10-person raid unit frames, as seen last night a few seconds in to an attempt on the Lich King. (Still not dead. We’re not making it far into phase 2. Got any Defile positioning tips?)

The tank at the top left has Regrowth, a nearly-expired Rejuv, a freshly-cast Wild Growth (also visible on the two melee players), and a fresh stack of 3 Lifeblooms on him. Most players are down slightly because Infest has just been cast.

Bugs visible: Need to move the master looter & group leader icons away from the aura bars. Need to suppress the level display. I haven’t been able to figure out why the aggro module doesn’t seem to be putting any highlight on the health bar the way it’s supposed to.

Minor iteration on my 10-person raid unit frames, as seen last night a few seconds in to an attempt on the Lich King. (Still not dead. We’re not making it far into phase 2. Got any Defile positioning tips?)

The tank at the top left has Regrowth, a nearly-expired Rejuv, a freshly-cast Wild Growth (also visible on the two melee players), and a fresh stack of 3 Lifeblooms on him. Most players are down slightly because Infest has just been cast.

Bugs visible: Need to move the master looter & group leader icons away from the aura bars. Need to suppress the level display. I haven’t been able to figure out why the aggro module doesn’t seem to be putting any highlight on the health bar the way it’s supposed to.

The result of today’s work with Pitbull 4. All of the druid hots (and priest effects like Renew, PW:S, and Weakened Soul) appear as little vertical bars on the right side of the frames. You can see Wild Growth ticking on  people in the shot. This neat effect is courtesy of the Aurabar plugin.

The frames get fancier as the targeted group gets smaller; visible in the screenshot are the 10-person raid frames. This feature is alone enough to make me like Pitbull 4. I don’t have to have a one size fits all raid frame! I can make them fancier when I have more room to display data.

The numbers across the middle are from a phantom Sexycooldown bar that I never could manage to find and eliminate. So I turned off Sexycooldown altogether: don’t need it now that I have those nifty AuraBars.

I gave everything the acid test of helping me heal through some Lich King attempts in ICC10 tonight. As the night went on, I got better at reading the data on the frames. Familiarity is legibiity, as font designers say.

How did the Lich King attempts go? Very well, thank you! By the end of the night we were routinely getting into phase 2 with the encounter under control. We need practice with the Valkyrs and with handling Soul Reaper. A few more nights with that raid team hammering on Arthas, and I think we’ll have him.

I R optimistic.

The result of today’s work with Pitbull 4. All of the druid hots (and priest effects like Renew, PW:S, and Weakened Soul) appear as little vertical bars on the right side of the frames. You can see Wild Growth ticking on people in the shot. This neat effect is courtesy of the Aurabar plugin.

The frames get fancier as the targeted group gets smaller; visible in the screenshot are the 10-person raid frames. This feature is alone enough to make me like Pitbull 4. I don’t have to have a one size fits all raid frame! I can make them fancier when I have more room to display data.

The numbers across the middle are from a phantom Sexycooldown bar that I never could manage to find and eliminate. So I turned off Sexycooldown altogether: don’t need it now that I have those nifty AuraBars.

I gave everything the acid test of helping me heal through some Lich King attempts in ICC10 tonight. As the night went on, I got better at reading the data on the frames. Familiarity is legibiity, as font designers say.

How did the Lich King attempts go? Very well, thank you! By the end of the night we were routinely getting into phase 2 with the encounter under control. We need practice with the Valkyrs and with handling Soul Reaper. A few more nights with that raid team hammering on Arthas, and I think we’ll have him.

I R optimistic.

In which Soames the DK rides again.

We didn’t have enough people online to raid in ICC25 last night (second verse, same as the first), and alas we didn’t have the core of the ICC10 team either. So I decided to have Soames tank a heroics binge until he could buy his next upgrade. Halls of Lightning, Pit of Saron, DTK, the Oculus, Strat, zoom! Jana the Living Bomb Addict trailed behind him ripping aggro from him and making everything fall over dead. He now has the 4pc T9 bonus. I surveyed his gear this morning, trying to figure out what he needs next. There are only two things he can get to improve himself outside of raids:

[Verdigris Chain Belt]: 60 Frost
[Saronite Swordbreakers]: 8 Titansteel, 20 Saronite, 4 Crusader Orbs

So Soames needs a couple weeks of heroics, maybe the raid weekly once or twice. Also, a week of remembering to do his daily Titansteel transmute. His Triumph badgers can now go to building a DPS set.

Everything else needs raid drops to be upgraded. For instance, to upgrade his ilvl 219 ring, the most farmable thing I could get would be the Ashen Verdict ring. ICC rep runs make me want to cry. So I think I should instead just fling myself into tanking my guild’s next alt run, whatever that turns out to be.

I’ll have difficulty not because of gear now, but because I’ve never raid-tanked before and it’ll require new skills of the wetware kind.

I wonder if I should tweak Soames’s spec.

Oh. The other thing I did last night: I completely broke my user interface. I’m now running a slightly tweaked RealUI. I’m either going to have to overhaul the Grid setup or replace it with some other set of party/raid frames that I design to fit with the look. I will start by spending some time tinkering with Grid, which I’ve never used before. If that doesn’t go anywhere useful, I’ll try tinkering with Pitbull 4 layouts.

I figured out what I hated about Vuhdo most: I couldn’t figure out how to make clicking on a unit target it instead of casting a spell. Vuhdo is very focused on click-casting, and I am not. I do use Clique. I have it set so in combat only, right click de-curses and left-click de-poisons. Middle click targets. Out of combat, the mouse buttons do what they normally do. This lets me react to Decursive warnings without moving my mouse away from my unit frames.

Also I need to find something to handle all the minimap button icons that showed up once I got rid of Chocolate. I also want to show some Databroker displays that the core UI doesn’t. Maybe Carousel?

Finally I’d like to replace the Omen/Recount combo with two Skada windows.

Unit frames.

I think I’m going to redesign my unit frames today. (Yeah, yeah, it’ll probably take more than just today to settle it out.) The current code is likely modular enough that this won’t be particularly agonizing to implement. It’ll just be the usual agony over information design.

I was looking at this great set of airport boarding pass redesigns and feeling inspired. Also frustrated by how much space my party and raid frames occupy. It’s the tension between “large enough to provide an easy mouseover target and large enough to show the information” and “small enough to allow me to see the battlefield”.

Geronimo!

State of the UI, raid edition, during a rather disastrous attempt on Sarth2D last night.

New additions include HotCandy (meh, probably will remove it tonight), and ACB’s target auras (meh, too much information). Also, note the action button layout that mimics the shape of the G13 gamepad.

State of the UI, raid edition, during a rather disastrous attempt on Sarth2D last night.

New additions include HotCandy (meh, probably will remove it tonight), and ACB’s target auras (meh, too much information). Also, note the action button layout that mimics the shape of the G13 gamepad.

I’m fairly certain my arena partner thought I was an idiot, but I completely missed seeing the Blizzard arena frames the first couple of matches we fought. I had no idea how he was identifying the classes of our opponents. But hey, look at them: tiny, squashed up into a corner far from my other frames, and covered with illegible numbers. Not to mention overlapping my poor minimap.

This is just the kind of problem I enjoy solving.

I’ve already stubbed out the stuff that spawns the frames. Now I just need to implement buildArenaFrame(self, unit) and find a way to test it before my next real match. Er. A task for tomorrow, probably, since unfortunately I’m not going to be home today.

I’m fairly certain my arena partner thought I was an idiot, but I completely missed seeing the Blizzard arena frames the first couple of matches we fought. I had no idea how he was identifying the classes of our opponents. But hey, look at them: tiny, squashed up into a corner far from my other frames, and covered with illegible numbers. Not to mention overlapping my poor minimap.

This is just the kind of problem I enjoy solving.

I’ve already stubbed out the stuff that spawns the frames. Now I just need to implement buildArenaFrame(self, unit) and find a way to test it before my next real match. Er. A task for tomorrow, probably, since unfortunately I’m not going to be home today.

State of the unit frames, Oct 24.

Concepts shown:
Dots on the frames showing auras of interest to the player’s class. In my case, druid hots. The raid mostly has Rejuv (yellow dot) or Wild Growth (orange dot). Except for poor Aniron, who’s dead.
Inverted health bars.
LibHealComm 4.0 support, displaying incoming heals properly on the inverted bars.
Focus (in this case Brucille) and focus’s target (Hodir, who has just died). The pet frame & pet target are identical, and positioned to the left of the player’s frame.
Player buffs (looking kinda crowded).

Supporting mods: SexyCooldown for the cooldown bar across the bottom of the region in the shot.AzCastbar for player & target castbars, and for target auras (not shown in this shot).

State of the unit frames, Oct 24.

Concepts shown:
Dots on the frames showing auras of interest to the player’s class. In my case, druid hots. The raid mostly has Rejuv (yellow dot) or Wild Growth (orange dot). Except for poor Aniron, who’s dead.
Inverted health bars.
LibHealComm 4.0 support, displaying incoming heals properly on the inverted bars. Focus (in this case Brucille) and focus’s target (Hodir, who has just died). The pet frame & pet target are identical, and positioned to the left of the player’s frame.
Player buffs (looking kinda crowded).

Supporting mods:
SexyCooldown for the cooldown bar across the bottom of the region in the shot.
AzCastbar for player & target castbars, and for target auras (not shown in this shot).