It’s been a while since I’ve updated my official user interface package, and while there aren’t a ton of major changes I have made a few adjustments and additions since my last iteration.
For those of you that have been around the site for any stretch of time then you know I’m a minimalist. I like my addons to help me play the gamer better, not play the game for me. So if you’re looking for some massive package, sorry, you probably won’t find what you’re looking for here.
Download the Zug Gaming User Interface Package.
Download Saved Variables File
note: will allow you to generate this exact U.I. immediately, this is for advanced users only, install at own risk
Zug Gaming User Interface Explained
AG Unit Frames
So let’s go through the basics, I use AG unit frames for all my frames. It’s very simple to setup and uses almost no memory. There’s tons of functionality in the addon if you choose to use it, personally I’ve chosen to leave it fairly close to stock settings, simply removing buffs on my target’s target / focus’ target bar, bumping the scale on all my frames to 170%, and adjusting some colors and other minor issues.
Quartz Casting Bars
I use quartz for casting bars, once again there’s a lot of functionality in this addon should you choose to use it, but for me I’ve left it very simple. I simply bumped the size and positioned each casting bar in such a way that I can easily differentiate between them, particularly the focus frame up top. I’ve had it in a variety of locations around my screen and always found it works best up top. There’s nothing else up at the top of my screen for this reason, which is why using focus macros (particularly on my shaman) has become a very large part of my PvP strategy.
Most of the other addons and u.i. elements are fairly self explanatory. I move all the SCT frames to the far right so they don’t block my character view, I have proximo visible above the focus frame when I’m in an arena match, and finally I use OmniCC for watching cooldown timers on abilities / buff / debuffs.
In the past I’ve used bongos, which I believe is called dominos now, to handle my action bars. But in all honesty I just don’t think they are all that helpful anymore, especially considering the number of alts I’d have to set it up for. By simply setting up a U.I. scale of .64 in the blizzard default interface the default bars are quite minimal and really don’t bother me enough to go back to an action bar mod.
Addons Included in Package
- AG Unit Frames
note: addons are current as of 11/1/08, check curse.com for future versions of these addons.
Optional Addons Used
In Blizzard’s continual attempt to bring additional casual players to World of Warcraft they’ve finally introduced an in-game threat meter for the Wrath of the Lich King beta. The threat meter will appear as a percentage of the total threat in your floating combat text and will also be viable via the target’s mouse over frame.
Note, these changes are reflected in the most recent update to the beta client (build 8714).
The guys over at worldofraids got some nice screenshots of how it will look in your user interface.
By popular demand I’ve finally put together my full user interface package up for download. If you’re new to World of Warcraft addons or don’t know how to install an addon checkout the short video I’ve included below. It should clear up any confusion.
A brief note for new players, a World of Warcraft addon (aka “mod”) is a small file which enhances your WoW user interface, this could be changing the way a frame looks, adding a different action bar, or any number of other items.
Now, enough of the introduction, let’s get on to the addons.
Ace3 – This is the foundational addon used for the majority of my addons. It runs lean and mean and is a product of the Ace development team. You need this addon to run virtually all addons and mods from wowace.
AG_Unit Frames – This mod is a lightweight yet highly configurable unit frame addon. It replaces the blizzard default unit frames. You’ve got a new player, target, party, focus, raid, pets, target’s target, target’s target’s target, focus’ target, etc (you get the idea, virtually anything you can think of).
Bulk Mail2 – Now, this mod isn’t exactly needed to get the basic functionality of the user inteface I use. But, since I do a lot of auction house farming It’s incredibly helpful to have this available. Using this you can send multiple mail messages at the same time.
Closet Gnome – This nifty addon allows you to specify a set of gear and equip all the pieces of that set in one click. For example, I have a PvP healing set on my shaman that equips all of my pvp gear instantly.
Grid – While AG Unit frames does have raid frames it’s not ideal. Grid solves this problem, it’s highly configurable frame allows you to fit up to 40 raid frames into it’s box.
OmniCC – Adds textual overlays of your cooldown’s timers on top of your action bars. An absolute MUST HAVE.
OmniCC Options – Options menu for OmniCC.
Open All – Another non-essential addon, this mod allows you to take all the cash or all items from your mailbox in one click. Another awesome addon for auction house farmers.
Proximo – This arena addon brings up a frame with all of your opponents names and HP percentages. This list is populated by simply hovering over the enemies unit frame. Absolutely crucial for serious arena players.
Quartz – This mod replaces the blizzard casting bar. In addition, it adds a customizable target’s casting bar, focus’ casting bar, and many others.
SCT – Replaces the blizzard default floating combat text with this configurable (and signifigantly cleaner) scrolling text mod.
SCT Options – Creates an options / config. menu for SCT.
Building the perfect user interface in WoW is no easy task. With an endless of addons, modifications, and scripts, it’s easy to get lost. So, let’s just start with the very basics of user interface building, the stock blizzard view.
When I construct a user interface I do so with a few basic principles in mind.
- Performance – The blizzard default U.I. can be considered our baseline. As far as FPS performance is going to be concerned the Blizzard U.I. will generally represent the maximum
- Information – What info do you need to know? What information is the most important (you’ll want this prominently displayed)?
- Design – Organizing your frames and bars in such a way that your view field isn’t obstructed is absolutely essential
User Interface Performance
In a day where video cards have pushed to 1 GB and having 8 gig of memory can be attained for a couple hundred bucks this might not be as big of an issue for you. Even so, I’m a minimalist, I strive to build my user interface as lean as possible.
For a lean U.I. there’s only one option, library of functions, ace mods are different because they are all built off the same library. Meaning mods use less memory, run leaner, and faster than their counterparts.
Even better, there is a great community of addon developers who are constantly updating mods. Popular mods are updated several times a week with changes, new features, bug fixes, and patch updates.
If you’ve browsed through addon repositories at all then you know the immense amount of information available via mods. The vast majority of this information is parsed through blizzard default combat log (even if you don’t use a combat log it’s still stored). Mods are able to gather information that would otherwise buzz right pass you and rebuild it in such a way that it’s easy for you to see and decipher in the heat of combat.
Mods like Natur’s Enemy Cast Bar (NECB) is a great example of this. The mod produces bars and timers for other players (both friend and foe) casts, cooldowns, and other abilities. Allowing you to make faster judgments based off quick information.
The big problem with this mod is it simply does its job too well! By default the amount of bars it can produce is simply too much. Bars are created so quickly it’s difficult to really tell what’s going on. It’s very important to turn off unnecessary options in the mod, for example you really don’t need to see the cool down refresh on a winter’s chill every time a mage casts a frostbolt.
The overall point here is, make sure you take a look at the options in each addon you download. Information is great, but if you don’t filter out to get just what you need then you end up in a situation where you have more information than you can easily handle while still fulfilling your classes primary role.
Designing a great user interface is like art, sometimes the most simplistic creations are the most elegant. Here we have a few basic categories to consider.
- Unit Frames
- Action Bars
- Other Mods
We’ll start with unit frames. Here we kind of go back to how much information you really need. Your role in an arena match will really determine what you need. For instance, the party frames on my rogue are really point less. I basically need to know 2 things about my partner members, their health and their debuffs. So the U.I. on my rogue is literally just a health bar with debuffs below, they are are small and out of my way.
Healers are a bit different, issues like a range checker, buffs, debuffs, health, mana, and casts are all potential attributes you may want to include in your unit frames. Just remember to avoid excess information where possible. I haven’t tried it out in arena yet, but based on my raiding experienced with it, grid could be the ideal unit frame mod for healers, combining lots of information in a very small area.
Action bars are probably the most simplistic aspect of your U.I. Though, you’ve got some options to further reduce the amount of clutter in your U.I. Most action bar mods include options to change size, position, and visibility.
So for example, on my restoration shaman I really don’t need to see most of my action bars. Healing spells and many totems really don’t need to be shown since I have all of my hotkeys memorized. So basically I only show the cool down based items: bloodlust, grounding totem, nature’s swiftness, mana tide, etc.
Since unit frames and action bars are the bread and butter of your U.I. other addons and modules can simply be placed around these. Depending on the type of information these mods provide will determine their position on your screen.
Items like target’s casting bar and focus’ casting bar are very important, as such they are dead center of my screen. Other mods like NECB’s cool down times are located along the outer ring. It’ll be up to you to determine information which is most crucial to your class.
If there’s one thing I cannot stress enough it’s just…keep it simple. If you are struggling to handle multiple addons and mods and a hundred other pieces of information at once you’re probably doing yourself more harm than good.
In my opinion you’re just better off going with a more simplistic approach and allow yourself to make quick decisions based off a greater view field and more simplistic approach to PvP.