As a DPS caster I cannot stress how important it is to have a good cast bar. I barely mentioned this requirement in the first part of the Improving the Interface using Addons series because I’m so happy with Quartz that I don’t even think about it anymore.
Getting maximum DPS out of your casting sequence is about queuing up your next spell as soon as possible. Quartz monitors your latency (the information transfer gap between your computer and the server) and displays this on your cast bar as a red zone. I tend to treat it like this: when your current spell has hit the red zone, start casting your next spell.
I love Quartz and it does everything I want my cast bar to do. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t need some customisation.
Please note that I’m casting a channeled spell (Mind Flay) in the example. For channeled spells the bar progress animates “down” from right to left so the red zone is at the end of the spell on the left. Most direct damage spells (like Mind Blast, Fireball etc) would be the reverse traveling left to right.
It’s very rare that I take my gaze completely off my cast bar during combat. I’ve positioned my cast bar directly under my feet in the center of my screen and stretched it out wide. In Quartz settings this is all done in the “Player” menu (ie the Player Cast Bar).
Quartz will also replace the Mirror, Target and Focus Cast Bars if you enable them. I like to leave everything except my own bar turned off and let the default interface handle the rest.
Most of my changes to Quartz are cosmetic. I’ve dropped off the shaded border, removed the background gradient shading (choosing the Flat option) and even removed the name of the spell from the bar. I’ve kept the spell icon up (this registers in my brain faster than the spell name) and the cast time.
I’ll probably recolor the bar at some stage too.
Some Shadow Priests have suggested customising the background texture of the Quartz bar to show approximately where the 3 Mind Flay ticks occur along the bar. I’ve decided not to do this because my latency is high and fluctuates enough that I think the 3 markers would be misleading.