HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Improving the Interface using Addons 1

My interface needs a complete overhaul.

For the last couple of years I have been playing World of Warcraft on a laptop computer with wireless internet connection. Turning off Recount improved the performance of my laptop during raids so I learned to make do with the default interface. Playing using the default interface isn’t a bad thing. It means that on patch day you don’t feel completely disoriented and you don’t suffer through days or weeks of “what addon is throwing these errors?!”.

But now I have a brand new computer that can handle addons and I want to stop drooling over the beautifully uncluttered interfaces I have seen in user videos and create my own.

My history with interface addons

MetaHuD moves your health/mana bar information to the center of your screen

MetaHuD moves your health/mana bar information to the center of your screen

Back when I first started raiding I was playing a rogue and spent my time looking from the middle of my screen and flicking back to the very top left of my screen to monitor combo points.

At the time I experimented with MetaHud. HuD stands for Heads Up Display and it helped me keep my eyes focused in the center of the screen.

I played for quite some time with MetaHud simply added to my default raiding interface. It didn’t remove any of the existing elements, just displayed a duplicate of my health bar, my energy bar, my combo points as well as my target’s health bar neatly around my character.

I loved it. I felt like I was more aware and more in control of what was going on.

The holy grail

But I’m a designer at heart. Even while I grew dependent on MetaHud a part of me was frustrated that it was duplicating information. I didn’t like turning off the default portraits because I couldn’t do simple things like leaving a party or self-targeting with MetaHud.

So this time around I’m going to build an interface that feeds me the information I want to know and simplifies my interface at the same time. I want maximum space to see the action please!

Design goals

The only way I know how to approach something like this is to try and get specific about what I want my interface/s to do, what information I want to be prominent and then try and make it happen using what’s available.

First off I know that I will be building slightly different interfaces because I have different requirements when I am DPSing on Cassandri than when I am healing on Xata.

Cassandri’s Interface (Shadow Priest)

I’d really like to be reminded when some abilities come off cooldown (notably Mind Blast) and make my own DoTs/debuffs on the target very large and visible. Seeing my own health and mana is important and I’d like to be able to see how many of my raid members are alive and how much mana they have too (for Hymn of Hope situations) although this is much less important. The center of the screen must be the focus because I need to see what’s happening under my feet in order to react quickly.

Very Important

  • Visual emphasis or highlight when Mind Blast (or other abilities) come off cooldown
  • My DoTs on the target
  • My own health and mana bars
  • Focus on center of screen/what’s happening under my feet


  • Being able to click and target myself or fellow raid members (mostly to apply Fortitude after a battle res etc)
  • Who in the raid is dead/alive and how much mana they have
  • Text instead of icons for buffs (I’m always hovering over the icons in order to read what buffs are what)
  • Seeing healing done via Vampiric Embrace (mostly this is so I know when VE is up and working)

Not Important

  • Chat (my guild uses Vent almost exclusively during raids)
  • Mini map

Additional Considerations

  • Sometimes I will need to switch talent specialisations and heal for a few fights. Whatever healing system that I put in place for Xata must be available to Cassandri without logging in and out.

Xata’s Interface (Restoration Shaman)

For Xata I need something that clearly shows what totems I have down. Blizzard intends to modify how totems work somewhat in the next Patch, so I won’t spend too much time working on this part of the interface until I see more.

Most importantly I need a really efficient raid frame/healing system. Up til now I’ve been a big fan of Healbot and I still think this is a great healing addon for Shadow Priests (who only need to heal occasionally and have most of their keys taken up with damage spells). I’m willing to try other addons for Xata – getting the healing right is the most important thing.

To sum up Xata’s requirements:

  • What totems are down, and how long they will last
  • Water Shield (on me) and Earth Shield (on my target) charges
  • Efficient healing raid frames system

What’s next?

View/read all the articles in this series.

One Response to “Improving the Interface using Addons 1”

  1. AneaNo Gravatar says

    I’m in the middle of perfecting a new UI I’ve thrown together – I will be interested to read more.

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