Saturday, January 31, 2009

Therigwin's UI and Mods - Raid Style

UPDATE - Here are updated links to my UI and MODS -
UI Mods Patch 3.2 Part 1 - Solo Play
UI Mods Part 2
UI Mods Part 3 - 5 Man Party Tank
So welcome to my crazy World of Warcraft User Interface. If you click the picture, you will see it in all its wide screen glory. So let me go over the various mods you see in this particular screen shot.

The first most import mod in this screenshot is one that reconfigures the graphics rendering area (or game play area). It is Sunn - Viewport Art. It allows me to make that border around the screen and the large area at the bottom, but I do not loose any screen realestate because it screens the normal screen into the new defined Viewport.

The Next important Mod is FuBar. Yes, I am still a good old user of FuBar. I could use Fortress or go back to Titan, but have chosen to remain in the FuBar camp. I have set the transparency on Fubar to max, so it blends right in with the art from the Viewport mod. So going over my FuBar mods real quick starting at the top right, working accross row one, two and then to the bottom.

LocationFu is the first one you see. It shows where you are at and if you hover over it gives recommendation as where you should go, etc.

RegentFu is the next one in the line. It keeps track of what is needed to buff people and other regents you may need to use.

Next to RegentFu is QuestFu. If you recall from my previous blog post, this is one I was considering replacing since it doesn't appear to be getting any developer attention. It offers some nice things, but you can visit the mod site to read up on those.

Next to that is BugSack combined with !BugGrabber this keeps track of UI errors so I can report to mod authors, plus keep playing without the pop up boxes telling me there is a problem.

Now we have Recount control. This toggles showing the recount window that is down in the lower right hand corner that shows our SV Hunter cranking out the damage last night. Recount is the damage, heal, agro, keep track of the combat log parser mod. Kinda like wowstats in game.

Ok, the next mod on FuBar is my mod for another mod. It is MSBTFu All it does is bring up the Configuration for Mik's Scrolling Battle Text. That mod is what you see on the main screen. On the left is incoming damage and heals. On the right outgoing damage. In the upper middle, mana return, buffs and debuffs. In the middle bottom, you the message letting me know Shield of Righteousness is Ready. Best Scrolling Combat Text mod out there in my opinion.

Next to that is BigWigs. Some use Deadly Boss Mods, I am sticking with Big Wigs. I just like how it works.

Then you have the most important Instancing Mod - Atlas. Shows maps of the instances and where the bosses are located.

Next to Atlas is an oops on my part. It is the Icon for Omen. Notice that Omen is also on the bottom bar of Fubar. How did that happen? Well many of the mods are going over to using the LibDataBroker Method. This allows them to be plugged into many other mods. In order to get some of them to show up on Fubar, you need Broker2Fubar. So Omen does both, so I forgot to disable it in the Broker2Fubar mod so it would only show up once. Now, for those that do not know what Omen is, look next to my Recount box in the lower right, and you will see the omen box and how much threat each person has on the mob I am targeting.

The next icon over is ButtonFacade. This allows me to apply a different look to any button boxes that it supports. I use it for Dominos and ItemRack, which I will cover later in this article.

Next is RaidTracker. This is the who went to a Raid attendance tracker and what loot was handed out. It helps me plan on who to bring to the next raid as we have a large standby list for 10 mans right now.

Ok, still on the top row, head way over to the right to an icon all by itself. Incubator is supposed to tell mob respawn timers. So far for WotLK, it has told me nothing LOL. So I may get rid of it.

Did I mention Sunn Viewport Art? Oh ya, I did, this is the FuBar plugin for that which is next.

Then you have ClockFu and VolumeFu. Nice controls to see the time, make the alarm and stopwatch appear and adjust the volume of the game. I believe that they are defaults with FuBar.

Wow, top line is done and you are still reading!!!!

Second line we start out with DungeonDiFu. This allows me to change it from Normal to Heroic to even EPIX mode. Yup, the Devs have an unimplemented Epix mode in the game. You can use Epix Mode right now to prevent people from entering any instance to stop that oops, I already did this and get everyone saved to completed instance or raid.

Next we have GroupFu. Clicking on it will cause you to roll. It will keep track of all the rolls and will announce it for you if you want.

Now this is a cool mod that is next. InstanceInfoFu tells you for all your characters what Instances you are saved to.

Ok, Now we have GuildFu. Shows the message of the day, who is online, their officer and regular notes. Very handy when keeping track of EM members.

Next is the Combat Logger mod called LoggerHead. This is what turns on combat logging so I can upload it to WebWowStats.

Next is Elephant. This is an in game chat recorded. I use this to post the Sunday Bible Study from in game to the website. It is also used to keep track of past whispers, officer chat, guild chat, etc.

Center of the Second Row, you see the word Tank with a shield icon. This is Broker ItemRack which provides quick switching of gear configurations in ItemRack. I have a few plug ins for ItemRack. One is ItemRack Titles and the other is ButtonFacade_ItemRack. Again, this all allows me to switch gear sets quickly and this is what I used to replace ClosetGnome.

OK, over to the right now for the last two FuBar Mods on the top second row. First is WIM and the next one is All Played.

WIM is a mod that handles whipsers like an IM program.

All Played
show information about where all your players are located and how much you have played them along with total time played on the current character.

Wow thats a lot of mods... and that was just the top part of the screen.

Ok, I am going to skip the bottom line of FuBar mods and go right into the center area and explain what I have got setup here.

I already mentioned Mik's Scrolling Battle Text, but I have not mentioned Comix. That is the Swoosh graphic you see. It is just a silly mod to entertain me. The only useful thing from it is when a mob hits 10% it says "Finish Him".

Next we have my unit Frames mod. I am using Xperl currently. On the left side is the raid boxes along with a raid monitor. Center is my box, my target's target in the dead center so I can make sure they are targeting me and then my target next to that. For the most part everything you see is all Xperl, from the Big Debuffs, the buffs, etc. The only exception is the Holy Shield Icon next to my unit frame. That is placed their by SatrinaBuffFrame which allows you to setup custom buff frames and put them whereever you need them. I have one setup special for Holy Shield and the some more for the Four Horseman's marks.

We already talked about Omen and Recount, but the box above that is my tooltip. I use CowTip to modify the look and location of the tooltip.

The only other mod that is not seen because the tooltip is over it is the Reputation Monitor. This is a very nice thing if you are grinding rep.

Ok, down to the lower portion of the UI. I use the standard Blizz Chat Frame, nothing special there.

Next is PallyPower. If you are a paladin and you raid, get this mod. It allows the raid leaders to assign paladin buffs to all the classes.

Next that is my button mashing central. All done by Dominos and skinned by ButtonFacade. This allows the moving and resizing of Action bars, loot windows, etc. Also using OmniCC to show the cooldowns on the buttons.

Below the buttons is HealBot. The best all in one healing, buffing, and decursing mod out there right now.

Now if you see my Trinkets with a Crab and Rabbit in them. That is TrinketMenu, allows for quick switching of trinkets and using trinkets.

is next. It is the Horseshoe, Winged Shoe, and the pet box on the screen. It allows for summoning a mount, flying mount and pet, all random.

Under the livestock icons is a Ready button. This is part of TargetCharms. If you see the raid icon at the top of the screen it is part of this mod. When a party or raid leader, it pops these up on the screen for easy marking and ready checks.

Under the Ready Check button are some plug ins for Tankadin2. The first button keeps track of Righteous Fury and reminds me to recast it. The next box tells me Ardent Defender information and does the avoided death raid warning messages. Next to that is the main Tankadin window that gives me all sorts of stats, including if I am crit cap, total avoidance, DR, etc. The author of Tankadin is working on making it useful for all tanking classes.

Above Tankadin is Emote Menu. It is a nice menu of all emotes in the game and good for spamming love, hug, poke, etc.

My Minimap is done by Chinchilla. There are added icons on it for Atlas, TrinketMenu.

Ok, and then more buttons (Action bars) from Dominos.

One mod you see in action in my chat window is Sustained TPS. Lets me know how much threat I am putting out.

Ok, bottom row of Fubar. We got Omen, AtlasLoot, Dominos, ExperienceFu, FactionFu, Xperl, AtlasLoot again. Atlas Loot show in Atlas what loot drops from the bosses, provides all sorts of other information about in game loot from world drops, tokens, etc. ExperienceFu lets you know when you are going to level, etc. FactionFu shows your factions and allows you to quickly switch which you are tracking.

In the middle is FuBar_MiniPerffu, basically a performance monitor.

Ok, right hand side, Fubar DurabilityFu, lets me know when to repair and does auto repairs if I have that enabled.

We round it out with MoneyFu and BagFu.

Wow, that is all my mods...... That you see.

Other mods that I use that are not seen right now are -
RatingBuster - Gear comparision mod.
ReadyCheck Announcer - announces in raid the results of ready check.
Totem Timers - For my shammie.
QuestHelper - for questing and flight timers.
Mapster - Great map mod that you can configure to see where you need to explore, but still see the entire map.
Learning Aid - For when you learn new stuff and want to easily drag it to your action bars.
GuildCheck - Lets me know what happens with guild roster changes.
Fishbringer - Helps with letting you know what is needed to fish in the area.
Dresser - A better Dressing Room
Combuctor - Awsome Bag management mod.

There are a few more, but none really worth mentioning, besides, I have been writing this for the past 3 hours, I want to play wow, so see ya in game!!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

4 Tanks = More Options

In the good old days, there was really only one Tank, the warrior. Yes Paladins and Druids could kinda do the job, but there toolset was very limited.

Then BC hit and bam, you got Paladin and Druid tanking love. It took some time for old school people to trust these new tanks, but not in WotLK, these 3 classes seam to have no issues.

In steps the new evil spawn of tanking... The Death Knight. Evil, because, well they are the spawn of Arthas...

Anyways, the Death Knight Class is very unique in that Blizz designed it for 3 trees to be able to tank. All 3 trees have tanking abilities. This make them very versatile and difficult to play, because there are so many options on how to play and tank with them.

Because of this, many people are skeptical of trusting them in Raids or in 5 mans. Reminds me of the beginning of BC. What people have to realise is this.... Blizz now has designed the 4 classes to tank anything with the right speck AND the abilities of the player to use that speck.

Face it, we have all run with terrible tanks. I ran with some awful paladin tanks and missed my bear tank back when I was holy. But once I went tank, it was, Therigwin, can you tank this???

So lets look at what the Tank is supposed to do and how each tank gets this job done.

Damage Mitigation - The Warrior and Paladin share pretty much the same stuff. Dodge, Parry, and Shield Block with High Armor. Death Knights are similiar cause they have the same except no Shield Block, but they have talents that make up for that plus a higher chance to parry. Druids are soakers... They are designed to take the big hit. That is cause they have dodge, high armor, and More HP than the other tank classes. Pretty much if specked right, all 4 classes do great in this area.

Taunting - This is save the DPS and healers butt cause they are pulling too much threat ability. All the classes have a single target taunt. A good player will be able to catch one that has escaped and taunt it back to him. I am not that good of a player. I rely on my consecrate Area of Effect damage spell to keep everything on me. Warriors have a taunt everything in the room on to me taunt that is their oh crap taunt. Paladins have the Target a player and taunt 3 things off of them taunt. (This is how I keep healers alive, I just set them as my focus and hit it every so often). Druids have a taunt like the warriors as well. Death Knights, are in the same boat as the paladins. They do not have a get everything in the room taunt. But what the do have is a spell that causes high threat in a 30 yard radius that they can put down anywhere. I properly geared and specked DK can do better than a paladin in this aspect. They also have the let me pull you to me ability that they can use to drag a mob back to them that got away.

So all 4 classes have stuff dealing with keeping healers and misbehaviing DPS alive, the key is the player knowing how to use them.

Conclusion - It is not the class that tanks, but the person controling the character. Poor speck and gear contribute to a poor tank. Poor gamer abilities contribute even more.

So when you are out with a tank, give that tank time to establish agro and things will go great.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nite off to review broken mods or alternatives

So last night was my break from Raiding. Trying to step out of some of them and let the other Tanks step up their game. EM managed to do it and that is nice.

But I took the time last night to review my mods and weed out those that are not fully working the way I want.

On the chopping block were the following -
Fubar Quest_Fu
ClosetGnome and all its plugins
Big Wigs / Little Wigs

Fubar Quest_Fu survived the cut, it was the only mod that requires load out of date add-ons. It is Ace Based and they have not updated it at all since 2.4.2 version of wow..... ya, it is amazing it is still functioning. I may still get rid of this providing I can find some replacements that do the following -
Jobs Done Sounds for the quests.
Announce objectives as they are being completed to various channels (Party, MSBT Channel, etc)
Shows who else is on the quest in a FuBar plugin (Or LibDatabroker compatible plugin)
There are some possiblities I saw last night, but this was the last one I tackled.

Big Wigs / Little Wigs - Everyone I know seams to run Deadly Boss Mods. So I was going to review it. I did not like what I found. While a good solid mod, their update frequency is less than desired (Last December). Big Wigs, updated this week to accomidate patch changes. So Big Wigs I kept along with Little Wigs which handles the 5 mans.

Closet Gnome - What can I say, I love the old Closet Gnome. The silly sayins when you switch clothes, the ease of changing clothes, the plug-ins, etc. Well, the latest versions have not been working with all the plug-ins and the ease of use went down hill. I understand updating mods, but functionality was lost. So I went back to Itemrack.

Itemrack is an excellent mod. I added the LibDataBroker Addon to get it to show in FuBar and bam, it was much easier than Closet Gnome was to use. I also added a title changer, so as I change outfits, it will change my title. The only problem is I need to setup all my gear sets again. It had all my BC sets from when I played with it back in BC, but ya, that was 70 gear and pre WotLK patch.

So Tonight, I will be setting up my other sets again (Tux, Tank, Healer, Sunday Devos, Mexican)

Maybe saturday I will blog about my complete crazy UI. Some people love (me) others hate it (my wife).

Lunch is over again, back to work for me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Holy Paladin Batman!

Well, I did it, I specked Holy last night for the 25 man raid so we could have 5 healers.

And I have to apologize to all the paladin healers in my guild for forcing you guys to be in a strict spell rotation of remembering to judge and pop cooldowns, etc. Cause it is hard, very hard. Half the time I forget to keep the beacon of light active or refresh my Seal of Wisdom, pop Divine Favor, etc.

Now, our best paladin healers were not in there last night, so I did top the healing meters because of that and I feel pretty good, but my heart is with tanking now. It was good to find that out again last night. I much prefer my shammie healing instead of paladin healing.

So after the run I respecked back to my standard tank speck. I still need to Glyph back to prot, but it was fun doing all that.

Tonight, we are doing the same Raid (10 Obisidian Sanctum) but I am staying out of it tonight to let some of the other tanks have a chance.

Well, lunch is shorter today than I planned, so more blogging tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I Love Paladins

There were so many things I thought about writing today.

Topics from how we did in the Eye of Eternity Last Night (thanks Enok for covering that)
to how we are doing as a Guild overall.... Then I remember, hey, this is my blog, I don't need to cover that stuff here, keep that on the guild website :-)

So instead, I am going to go over why I love paladins.

One of the main reasons I love paladins is they are the Knights in Shining Armor. They are God's right hand of Justice. They are the champion of the week. I think nothing captures this more than the fan fiction my wife wrote for the guild.
Read the full story here
I still remember the first time I saw Therigwin. In retrospect I find it amazing how that first observation of him made SUCH an impression on me. I would later find myself judging all the paladins I met by him and that may have helped pave the way for what happened later. For at the time there was certainly no way I could have imagined what he would come to be in my life.
It was near the front gates of Stormwind, a group of paladins was coming in, heading towards the cathedral when a young girl had her doll snatched out of her hands. The boy went running by taunting her when this gauntleted hand reached down and picked him up by the back of his shirt. Without saying a word the beared, blue eyed young man removed the doll and handed it back to the little girl. He then walking on carrying the now screaming boy with him. He never even broke formation. I remembered thinking. “Now that is a TRUE paladin.” I didn’t actually meet him until several years later.
I just have to say again, I love Paladins. From a lore perspective, they are the hand of the church that rights wrongs, fights for what is right, does what is right. They are the protectors, no matter what spec they happen to be.

I have to admit, in game play, my two strongest specks are Protection and Holy. So what do I love about Paladin game play.

Protection - Wow, I love prot paladins. They are there taking the blow of everything so that the group can survive. They are complicated, but simple tanking style. Again, they are using the powers of light to protect everyone they come in contact with.

Holy - Wow, I love holy paladins. Fast heals, crit heals, cleansing, keeping the group and me alive guys/gals. Again, even though they are Holy, they are protecting the group with the powers of Light.

Ret - Ret has had a bad name for a long time, that RetNub and anyone can play that speck. But I tell you what, I cannot play that speck to save my life. But Bozwick, a ret paladin in my guild, he can play. I see him do incredible things in ret. And he also has the ideals of a paladin, always asking how he can help.

Notice the line of thinking going on here? Protect and help with the powers of Light. It ties nicely into my belief system. Jesus called us to protect the week, love others, and lay down our lives for people. All things that the Paladin is truly about.

I guess that is why Blood Elf paladins disgusted me. Cause they were about using the light for their own glory. Glad Blizz did a story change towards the end of BC that changed that.

Anyway, lunch time is rapidly closing for me (I will try to blog during lunch).

Tonight we face 25 Man Obsidian Sanctum. From the looks of things, I may need to go Holy tonight and let the DKs and Warriors tank it. Will let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Monday, January 26, 2009

My First Blog

So my fellow guildie inspired me to create my own blog (even though he doesn't know it)

Sure, I run the guild website and have been using that medium but it was limited in speck and this will get those ideas out for more to see.

I am rather excited that we cleared Nax 10 man and I got my Key to the Focusing Iris

So that is all for my first boring post, but expect more to come later.