My UI sucks (the before pictures)

Okay, so I got a new fan for my laptop so it would stop overheating (I burnt out two video cards in two years due to the amount of heat my laptop generates). That meant I would need to stop using my laptop’s keyboard, since now it’s too high up and so I got a keyboard & started using my keyboard tray for doing more than just holding papers & schoolwork.

However, switching to a new keyboard & a new sitting position meant I needed to move around where all my spells were, so that I could reach them better, et cetra. While running Ulduar with my new setup, I just realized that my UI isn’t working for Ulduar anymore. It’s too hard for me to see all the things I need to be situationally aware of, too hard for me to use my “oh crap” buttons, and I’m trying to rotate through more spells than I have fingers to mash the keys with my left hand while I run around and meneuver with my mouse.

Here’s my real problem. This is what my UI looked like in Molten Core, where I could literally turn towards a wall and watch health bars, with 2 or 3 actual healing spells I used at any point in time:

mc_ui

I only had 3 spells I really had to cast very often: regrowth, healing touch, and rejuvination.

I spent so many years healing with this UI set up, that my current set up in Ulduar looks nearly identical:ulduar_ui

The only real difference is a couple things:

  1. They put in the feature to disable seeing your group on the left side of the screen when you were in a raid
  2. There are fewer people in the raid.
  3. I got more buttons, and ended up with a bar on the left side of my screen
  4. I got a wide-screen monitor laptop, instead of my desktop with regular-dimension screen.
  5. I’m using Xperl instead of ctraid frames.

NOTHING else about my UI is different. I’ve been healing the same exact way for so long that I don’t even know if it’s possible for me to change to a new UI. I HAVE tried to change on mulitple occassions, but this is always what I come back to at the end of the day. I pretty much kick and scream any time even the font on the UI bars change. I picked Xperl, since their bars looked the most like the CTraid frames I used Pre-BC.

It’s a mess and it’s time for me to learn how to heal again with a better UI so I can keep up with the Ulduar content. That said, it’s not like I’m doing poorly now. I’m staying competitive with my current UI set up. I heal well with it, because I’ve been doing the exact same thing for years without any real problems. I HAVE tried other mods in the past (you name the bar mod or healing mod, and I’ve used it). I’ve gotten good at using the number keys for the majority of my spells, instead of totally being a clicker all the time (though I don’t have all my spells bound to keys). I’m using some hodge-podge of clicking and button pressing that has served me well for a long time. However, it needs a new, fresh, Ulduar-ready feel.

Over the weekend (ie. before Sunday’s Raid) I am going to get a whole NEW UI (a whole new set of mods) and practice using my new healing setup in Battlegrounds (AV or Basin probably), before Sunday’s raid. I’ll post back on this topic early next week and let you guys know what I ended up with…

16 Comments

  1. Posted May 23, 2009 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    question: why switch to xperl? since CT upgraded their mods, ctraid has all the same toys and options as xperl and is more lightweight. :D and CT has their stuff broken into sections to download so if you dont like part of it, you dont need to have it just sitting there taking up memory whereas xperl is an all-or-nothing sort of deal.

    Poras
    Officer/Resto Druid
    -Pango Honoratus-

  2. Kauth
    Posted May 23, 2009 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    There’s nothing inheritly wrong with using the standard UI – except the raidframes.

    You probably already made your decisions which AddOns to use, but nevertheless I suggest a combination of Grid, Clique, Grid Status Hots and Grid Raid Debuffs. I tried many combinations and this turned out to be the best.

    Grid covers a VERY small portion of your screen and provides you with all the information you need: life, visual hot tracking, dispell warnings, relevant raiddebuffs (slack pot etc.) and incoming heals by other healers.

    Click-Casting with Clique is actually BETTER than using the number keys (for PvE, not PvP), as it takes one single click on the raid frame of a player to apply the desired hot. No target switching. A combination of keybound direct (mouseover-)heals and one-click hots/dispells makes you lightning fast.

    Kauth

    Lothar-EU

  3. Aelinna
    Posted May 23, 2009 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    This is my UI, I redesigned it recently for widescreen.
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3635/3555705493_431ec0dccb_b.jpg

    I can email a zip if you’re interested. You’ll want to shove Grid over and fiddle with some other stuff I’m sure, but it’s a pretty nice setup imho :)

  4. Suanyn
    Posted May 23, 2009 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I wish you the best of luck in your UI endeavors! I, too recommend grid and clique (and a host of other addons, but the #1 for a healing UI has to be those ones). I’m using a set up like this one here: http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb144/PandaMisfit/WoW/WoWScrnShot_052009_215846.jpg, its based off OOMM’s wonderful UI (downloadable on WoWinterface.com), with grid moved to a more central location for something a bit more healer-friendly and a few other tweaks.

  5. Posted May 23, 2009 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Your UI nearly made me want to overhaul my own O.o

    Such chaos and disorder! My OCD senses are tingling! There are some choice mods out there to make information easier to read and access, as well as putting a little more customization and ease into keybindings (the Blizz system royally sucks) and overall UI redoing.

    I’d check out Macaroon for your action bars and keybinding needs. It takes a while to tweak and get the hang of it, but it’s well-worth the small time investment. But as with all actionbar mods, part of the time investment is just getting used to the changes :D

    The best way to freshen up a UI is to get graphic mods. Like what I have in my SunnArt viewport, the classy border can change the entire theme of the interface. The tinting on XPerl and SexyMap (if you want to use it) can also set the tone without having to redo keys and such.

  6. Posted May 23, 2009 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Okay, there’s one problem with Grid that I can’t figure out how to fix.

    In my Xperl UI, I have %’s on everyone’s health bars that says what % health they are at, where 0% = dead. With Grid, I only have deficits showing up, where smaller numbers indicate not dead.

    Is there a way to have grid show total life % instead of deficits? I can’t get my brain to rewire and work with healing deficits.

    Also the problem with mouse click bindings is that I have to remember what mouse buttons are bound to what, and I have to undo years worth of learned behaviors & switch to a totally new style -> slows me down more than it helps.

    I suck at change. :(

  7. Kauth
    Posted May 23, 2009 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    1.) Click-Casting
    =================

    Actually, changing from your current routine to a new alternative always slows you down at first, before you profit from it. I know, what you mean, though. That’s why I still use the standard unit frames instead of pitbull or similar addons. ;-)

    Consider this setup:

    I.) Hots:
    Left mouse button: Lifebloom
    Right mouse button: Rejuv

    II.) Emergency Heals:
    Middle mouse button: Swiftmend
    Middle button+shift: Nature’s Swiftness + HT Macro

    III.) Dispells:
    Shift+Left mouse: remove poison
    Shift+Right mouse: decurse

    VI.) Direct Heals:
    Number keys + mouseover macros (i.e. no target switching).

    Of course this is just an example, but it demonstrates “natural key grouping” how I call it. Everything has a logically consistent place on your keyboard and mouse. It’s quite easy to get used to it.

    If you want to experiment with this setup, I can give you information on the macros/clique-configuration if necessary.

    2.) Deficit vs. health-%
    ========================

    I guess that’s really a matter of taste.

    If you want to change it: Go to the grid options. There you will find the suboption “status”. This in turn has another suboption “health deficit”.

    There you should be able to turn it off. (I translated the options from German, so they might be named slightly different).

  8. Taliindor
    Posted May 23, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I had the exact same problem you did going into Ulduar. I also use X-Perl. However, I didn’t find it necessary to change mods. I just moved the raid bars to the lower middle section of the screen, making it easier to see deadly things at my feet and in front of me.

  9. Posted May 23, 2009 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    @ Kauth – I actually have a Razer mouse, that has more than 3 buttons on it, but I pretty much use it like a standard mouse. It’s such a waste of all my extra buttons. :(

  10. Kauth
    Posted May 23, 2009 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    @Lissanna
    Actually, I have five mouse buttons, too. If you don’t use additional buttons, it’s not that much a waste of, though.

    “Thumb buttons” (or whatever the correct English term might be) are not that conveniently placed, that they are great for actions you have to repeat very frequently (such as applying hots). If I’m not mistaken, they aren’t even supported by most of the click-cast addons.

    I personally use them for shapeshifting, which is basically also a waste, now that I hardly use it in arena anymore (in pve even less so). ;-)

    Oh and btw, I’m happy that I can contribute something to the discussion. I’m following your blog for quite a while now. Keep up the good work.

  11. scaresome
    Posted May 23, 2009 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    What a bold (yet scary) project!

    Have fun with it and don’t get lost!

  12. Posted May 23, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I have something worked out with sRaidFrames (the new ctraid) that has a lot of the features I was looking for (but not quite everything!). I’ve been playing with it a bit today, and should have some preliminary stuff to write in a new blog post for tomorrow…

  13. Posted May 23, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    i personally cannot heal with grid either. i think it’s more that i can’t see the colour differential when people are dying, and i can’t get my brain to know what “7.8” in the box means instead of “75%” i see on CTraid.

    i also tend to stay away from “click to heal” mods because it feels like cheating to me. i use a combination of number presses with shift modifiers and some additional hotkeys (my 5 mouse buttons, F, shift-F, shift-C, shift-X, V, shift-V, ~ ) to do my healing. i’ve played with people who use a click mod, and i’ve flat out beaten them. so i’m not changing what works for me. i dont even use a decursive type mod… it’s just my decurse/abolish spell bound to a hotkey and i press the appropriate one.

  14. Posted May 23, 2009 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    you were posting while i was :D sRaidFrames is good. i used it while CT discontinued their work (and then was brought back by popular demand) and i switched back because i used CT for everything else (my unit frames and CD timers…. that’s all i raid with [bartender for my bars, i dont like CT’s bottom bar])

    sRaidFrames definately has some good options and is very lightweight, much like CT

  15. Midorii
    Posted May 23, 2009 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    First of all, good luck with the change. My only advice there is to stick with whatever you decide because I think you will be surprised as to how quickly you adapt.

    I use Grid/Clique and keyed mouseover macros. Clique for HoTs and mouseovers for Nourish, Regrowth, NS/HT and SM. Long ago, I started with CTRaid and then tried a few things including XPerl and sRaidFrames but when I saw grid I immediately knew that was the way to go. The main reason was the compactness which reduced my mouse motion to a minimum. In addition, with the tons of configurable indicators I could put all the information I wanted to see for each person into one little square.

    I believe almost every healer in my guild now uses grid.

    Regarding the inverse health bar coloring, you should try it out because it is much easier to see a bright bar growing on a dark background than a bright bar shrinking. Any brightness that appears on a person’s health bar means BAM, rejuv on the way. A big bright bar and oh-crap, NS/HT or SM. You really do not need to see percentages and in fact additional numbers just tend to make things more confusing.

    Good luck!

  16. Posted May 23, 2009 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    that’s the exact reason i can’t use grid to heal. i can’t see the colour differential between the dark and light. i’d have to modify the showing colours to something i can see… and when i am done, it would look like CT’s raid frames, with all the same info. =\

    i dunno, the percentages help me with which heal i want, but i can understand how the position of the bright bar in the box does the same for you. just doesn’t work for me.

    but i do agree, use what you like and are good at.

    Poras
    Officer/Resto Druid
    -Pango Honoratus-