Mar 192011

                Welcome back Cats and Kittens!  We have taken time lately discussing different things to help make us better cats.  Mainly these discussions have covered free tools available to you like Mew.    Now let’s talk about a basic tool that everyone paid for already, but may not be using correctly-the WoW UI.  Ask any raider and they will tell you how important your UI is.  You must track cooldowns, DOT timers, procs and more with accuracy.  Most importantly, you must do this efficiently.  Your camera is centered on you.  Your attention will mainly be focused on yourself in relation to the boss.  Things can happen so fast during a boss fight you need to be able to concentrate the information available to you.  But at the same time this information can not take your attention away from the fight.  Many new raiders make the mistake of “overloading” their UI with so much information that it takes away from what you can do.  As smart as you are (or might think you are) the human brain can only take in so much information at a time and efficiently process that information.  So let’s get into it shall we?

  • Focus Area:

        The first thing we should define is your “Focus Area”.  The Focus Area is where your eyes should spend the majority of the fight.  This is represented by the green oval in the illustration below.  This is where your toon is and, by default, where the boss is.  Great raiders take in the whole screen but concentrate their efforts on this green area.  When building your UI this is where the, “I have to know this right now” stuff is placed.  When placing these things, be sure not to cover up anything you need to see.  Out a section from there (represented by orange) is your next area of focus.  Here we will place important information that is easily accessible but doesn’t need to be in my face the whole time.  Finally we have the red area.  Whatever you place here will take your eyes away from the fight and thus away from a potentially game changing occurrence.  Information placed in this area is not typically needed during a fight but is usually what you need to know before the fight starts.

Focus Area

  • DOT Timers:

        The core of a feral’s DPS comes from applying DOTs on the target.  Optimal DPS comes when you refresh these DOTs at the right times and maximize your energy usage.  Therefore, it is vital for us to track DOTs on the boss.  My personal favorite is Class Timer.  Many great ferals use DroodFocus.  They both work fine IMO.  The important thing is to get a visible DOT timer.  As you can see in the picture below it provides nice timers to the debuffs and DOTs I have currently placed on the boss.  The importance of this is to know how long before I need to reapply a DOT.  This needs to be in the green area.

DOT timer

Some argue that all my bars are the same size and will burn down at different speeds.  That is why I configured it so that the 1st thing that will end is always on top.

  • Personal Buffs:

        It is also vital to track your personal buffs, but not all buffs are vital the entire fight.  Things you’re your food buff and MotW do not need to be front and center.  With 1 hour durations they just need to be somewhere you can see them before a fight starts.  The ones that need to be tracked constantly are things like trinket procs, Omen of Clarity, 4pT11 and such. 

        For the stuff that “lasts” a long time I use the standard blizz buffs frame.  Many use an addon to track these things by the second, but I choose not to.  Part of the reason for this is that I looked at this frame for so long in my early days, I can now just glance at it and tell every totem I am getting and such.  This should be in the Red area.

Long Buffs

For MY personal on-use procs I use Class Timer.  This works well for seeing how long Berserk has left or TF and SR.  It is also nice to track your T11 4 piece bonus.


For trinket procs, I use Ovale with Leafkiller’s Script.  It is fast to set up and Leaf did all the work for you.  Thanks, Leaf.

Trinket Timer

It is also important to have a combo point counter near the action.  Your combo points are make or break to your DPS.  You can’t take time to search for your combo points to know if you can Rip or not.  It needs to be right there in your focus in the green area.

Combo Points

  • Boss Timers:

        I don’t care what people say.  You have to run boss timers.  If you feel you don’t need them I can guarantee someone in your raid does and you can help by calling out abilities.  People point out that world-first guilds don’t use them since they aren’t updated yet.  This is true, but are you in a world-first guild?  I am not and 99% of WoW players aren’t either. 

        DBM works great.  You can use Big Wigs instead, but I use DBM.  Now that you have the mod,  it needs to be set up.  Don’t put everything to the side (Red).  But don’t put everything in the middle (Green).  That takes your focus away from the action or covers it up.  My preference is to have the timers start on the side and have them move into the center top at 5 seconds left.  This gets the big bars out of your way for a majority of the time until it is actually time to react.  So the first picture below is the center right side of my screen which is the red area.  I can see these bars if needed and they aren’t covering any action going on.

DBM Small

At 5 seconds remaining the bars will move to the center top of my screen, or the orange area, and get bigger.  This lets me know that NOW is the time for a special and I need to do something or be prepared to react.


  • Raid Frames:

        Raids frames are needed even for DPS.  It is important to see the state of the raid.  This doesn’t need to be in your primary field of view but it does need to be on your screen.  With 4.1 allowing you to click raid frames to do BR it makes them even more important. 

        I use Grid myself.  I can set it up to track whatever I want on my raid members and it is small and clean.  In fights where I would have to tank swap I used to just focus the other tank and watch his debuff counter.  This worked 9 out of 10 times until we started working on Heroic Halfus.  I had to tank a drake while watching the Halfus tank’s debuffs and interrupt Halfus.  I was using a focus macro to interrupt Halfus before, but that would no longer work since I was focusing the Halfus tank.  I adjusted grid to show only the debuff on the tank.  This allowed me to focus Halfus for interrupts while watching the tanks stacks.  In many videos you see on you-tube the raid frames of the filmer are right in the middle of the screen.  These videos are usually shot by a healer and seeing the entire raids health is a focus for them.  The same is not true for us.  Your raid frames will do the job needed sitting up in the red area.


  • Threat Meter:

        While feral cats might be sinking down the DPS charts we are still freaky high on the threat charts.  You need to know where you are on threat.  Don’t screw up a tank rotation by pulling the boss off and making the tank have to taunt at an inopportune time.  Also, on a fight like Chimaeron, in the final phase he just runs down the list 1-shotting people.  You need to be ready if you are next.  Omen is the best threat meter I have seen.  It has been around for a long time and it simply just works.  This is not really something that needs to be in your focus area.  I keep mine in the red area because you can set a screen flash and audio tone to warn you when your threat is getting too high.


  • Buttons/hotkeys:

        We, as ferals, can have our hands full at times.  It is important to hotkey your buttons.  You can also use mouse-over macros and such.  I personally use Bartender and the WoW Cataclysm mouse.  This allows me to hit what I want when I want.  Once you set up your hot keys you must practice and memorize them.  You don’t have time to search for an ability in the middle of a fight.  In the picture below, you might notice some odd groupings.  That is simply due to most, if not all, of my stuff being on my mouse, so I don’t really care where it is on the bottom 3 rows.  Since you have hot-keyed your abilities, memorized them and practiced with them it is not advisable to put them in the green area.  Orange will do just fine.


  • Optional:

        If you are new to the cat or are still working out your rotation, I highly recommend using Ovale with Leafkiller’s script.  It is a next move indicator that will really help you.  Spend time on a dummy with it and learn why it is suggesting a move.  Don’t just pound out what it says.   If you do decide to use it, it should be in your green area as you will need to keep a close eye on it the entire fight.


  • Damage meters:

        I am honestly up in the air on this one.  You need to know what you are doing and Recount will help.  It is nice after a fight to be able to go back and quickly see your rotation in graph form and see what you are doing wrong or right. However, DO NOT stare at this during a fight.  DO NOT worry about where you are on the meter during a fight.  That is a selfish thing to do and it is to the detriment of your raid.  Do not take your focus away from the fight at hand. Keep this in the red area.


  • Scrolling Text:

        I like to use Parrot because during the times I am tanking I want to see what heals are coming in.  I also like to see what damage I am putting out per ability during testing.  It is also good to see incoming damage. This should be in the orange area.

Scrolling Txt

  • The Final:

        Now we need to put all this together.  Your focus should be the middle of your screen.  That is where your cat is so that is where your eyes need to be.  Highly important information needs to be close to this area but not covering.  The less important info can be spread out from there.  Now, before I show you my UI you need to understand I have some OCD issues with things being symmetrical :)  I included Ovale with Leaf’s script in this shot.


        My main focus is me.  I am always right in the middle of the screen so this is where my eyes are looking.  There I have the most important information that I need to know immediately.  My health, my energy, my Combo Points, my target, my target’s target (tank hopefully), boss’s health, dots, and procs.  Spread out from here is information I would like to have access to on a less frequent basis.  This includes incoming heals, incoming damage, outgoing damage, outgoing heals, final seconds of boss timers and raid warnings.  Just above the boss’s head is where my DBM timers are when an ability gets to 5 seconds.  The rest of the information is spread out along the edges to help not obstruct my view.

        I realize I did not go over every add-on I have.  This is intentional as I am trying to show the basic setup, not show you my cool looking map in the corner.

        Is this the best UI ever?  No, but it gets the job done.  There are a couple things I could strip off to clear space but I have been using this for sometime now and would just feel naked without it.  The important thing is to remember your Focus Area and how to work around and within it.

       As always be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed and use the forums.  Are you on Twitter?  I am, follow me @Sylvaneart.  Feel free to PM me with any questions you might have, but the forums on this site are your best bet. This will help to answer one question one time instead of one question multiple times. This site is a posting spot for many great cats. If you are the noob with a noob question and are a little embarrassed then a PM will do fine. I will never ridicule you.


  155 Responses to “Where to stick it: The Raiding UI”

  1. Great writeup. Lots of good data to mine from this post.

    Quick question: What unit frames are you using? I’m getting a little tired of X-Perl and I like how clean yours look.


    • Ron, looks to me like it’s Pitbull for player/target frames and Grid for raid frames. I think version 4 of Pitbull is harder to set up than version 3 (but still not as awkward as Grid), but the most recent version is better once it’s set up.

      • Thanks Unglar!

        I messed around with Pitbull, but it looks like I’m going to stick with X-perl for now.

        As for Grid…I used to be a fanatic in WotLK. The thought of setting it all up again gives me nightmares, so I tried out VuhDO. After fiddling with it for a bit, I must say I like it better than Grid =)

  2. Hi,

    Nice work Sylvaneart!:)

    I personally use CatRotationHelper addon for tracking bleeds, CPs. It also has berserk, TF timers. Its advantage among all the other addons imo is it’s compact character, which shows almost all you need to know in smallest area possible.

    It’s worth checking also if you are a bear. It shows pulverize, mangle cd, lacerate stacks and timers, maul, thrash,swipe readiness, FF …


  3. I like how you did the buff and debuff tracker. For awhile I wondered how I could be able to distinguish between the two and what I found works best for me is this : Satrina’s Buff Frames, and I setup all my “Buffs” to be viewed horizontally on the top of the screen and all the “debuffs” vertically along the right side of the screen, may not work for everyone, but DEFINITELY worked for me!

  4. The important thing to remember is not WHAT add-on you use but the fact that you track what you need to AND place it correctly in your UI. There are a million add-ons that track the same thing. Use whatever you want but if you track something like DOT timers they must be in your green Focus Area. Also don’t get discouraged if you make a UI and it dosn’t feel right. It may take some time to get used to it.

  5. Sylvaneart, as we discussed the other day your setup has a lot of similarities to mine. Kind of scary actually…

    Since people are asking about mods, here are some of the ones I use:

    I use x-perl for my unit and raid frames. My unit frames are in the same area of the screen as Syl’s but my raid frames are in the lower right hand corner rather that the upper left – I find it easier to see them there. To make this work I put the tooltips in the upper left corner of the screen. I like to use x-perl for my feral specs because I have total control over where I put each of the party boxes. When I play resto I switch to Vuhdo – I like the built in click handling and find it easier to use than grid. But a healing UI is very different than a feral UI.

    I use Druid Timer Bars for the buffs/debuffs. It is easy to use and works for all druid specs/abilities. It seems like there are a lot of decent timer bar mods available now so it is mostly a question of what you are used to.

    I prefer skada to recount for the damage meter. With recount I have experienced fps issues on some fights such as phase 3 of Ascendant Council. I have not had fps issues with skada.

    For those looking for a simple action bar mod – check out dominos. It is easy to setup, very lightweight and allows you to swap action bars when you change forms and go into prowl. I like having totally different bars in each form so that I can customize them without too many complex macros. You can use ButtonFacade with Dominos. I did this recently and went with round buttons. What this did was it actually created more whitespace in the action bars – which make them less of a distraction on the screen for me.

    One thing I do not see in the UI picture that I like having is the micro unitframes from decursive. I like seeing the curses separate from the raid frames in a very compact space. I also used it for CCing mind controlled targets on Lady Deathwhisper :P

    • How do you get Leafkillers script into Ovale, I can’t seem to figure out how to copy it and then where to put it. Thanks

      • you copy the Ovale script from Leafkillers post under the feral dps section of the fluiddruid forums. In game you go to interface addons Ovale and right there you should see a huge wall of text. Basically highlight and delete this text wall and paste in Leaf’s script, close it out and your good to hit up the dummies to get use to the feel of it all.

  6. I’m considering a UI thread on the forums. I will post mine done with MS paint or something ponting out what add-ons are used in each area.

  7. I think an important thing to add is screen real estate or having the most clear picture of what is in front of you.
    The black bar on the bottom of Syl’s screen is what I can only imagen is viewport which means the actual wow part minus the black bar is the normal screen the black bar is 100% extra space created by the addon if you look at my ui here
    it is the same way. Bascially the only part of my ui that would be on anyone’s screen who doesn’t use viewport is bigwigs, my buffs and debuffs, minimap, and droodfocus. Every other part of my ui would not show up on the average wow player’s screen.

  8. Qbear – what’s the feral combopoint/buff/debuff console you have in the center of your screen there?

  9. Woah just noticed how much of what I said was cut off due to the length of the url, opps!! Have fun guessing, it was inspirational just so ya know I don’t normally play that zoomed out just wanted to show just how much room on my screen there is, its huge!

  10. The #1 addon I could not dps without is Hear Kitty ( having an audible CP counter is amazing (and it also tells you when CPs drop, useful now with SR). My name link is also my little buff/debuff/move suggester in the style of the old Feral By Night.

    I highly recommend Shadowed Unit Frames, similar to PitBull, but more lightweight. I’d also recommend checking out the new default raid UI, they have made big improvements in it and I have stopped using addons for it.

  11. I’d like to work more audible tones into my UI, but I’m often afraid I’ll miss something if there’s a lot of Ventrilo traffic. For combo points that’d be nice though to detect misses more reliably.

    I just wanted to throw Power Auras Classic out there; I am a huge believer in Sylvan’s description of putting your info in the right zones and PAC allows you to throw up easy to see graphics in your green zone, and you can make them transparent so they don’t obscure anything. Blizzard evidently agrees because they’ve been adding the exact same thing (the graphic for the free bear mangle; Clearcasting, etc). I use this to display a small graphic when Mangle or FF falls off, or Unheeded Warning has proc’d.

  12. Am I the only one seeing frog inside ice?

    “Domain Unregistered. bla bla bla..”

  13. HaHa – I still use FbN’s “Cat Abilities Monitor” to watch my buffs/debuffs. I just haven’t found another addon I like better. One row of Icons w/timers that don’t jump around so I always know which timer is which without having to read. Until another addon will do that I am staying with FbN (and yes the timers are correct – the shred count isn’t if you’re worried about that sort of thing)

  14. I’ve been writing a couple of UI posts over on my blog too (the first one is due to be published Wednesday morning) – strange how these things seem to occur at similar times. The focus area here will be really handy for the rebuilding stage!

    The main issue I am currently having is with debuff timers – I’ve tried Ovale, TellMeWhen and Droodfocus and get a similar issue with all 3 – that Rip and Rake will suddenly go from 2 seconds remaining to having fallen off the target with no steps in between. Has anyone else seen anything similar or got any suggestions as to why it happens and how to prevent it?


  15. Hi, i am new in this page, but its great thx

    some of you have your ui to download?, i see both and are better than mine.

    • I honestly don’t know how to pack my UI for 1 stop downloading. Qbear and I are trying to get a UI area started over in the forums but don’t currently have that hi of rights to the site. Waiting on Alaron to create it. Since the Kitty UI is so critical we thought it would be a good idea.

  16. […] from the blogs I read.  Needless to say, on the very weekend I started actual work on the post, Sylvaneart posted on the topic as well.  I found his diagram of a focus area extremely useful as a reference for each of the […]

    • Oh man i’ve been linked to! Thanks and hope it helped.

      • Thx today i start adjust to the new UI

      • I loved Fluid Druid when Alaron was writing it (and I know he still contributes when he can), and you, Qbear and Leafkiller all seem to be carrying on his good work.

        My blog is still fairly new, but this is the third or fourth time I’ve had an article planned and seen someone posting on a same topic – it seems to happen quite often!

        I think this article will be more useful when I start rebuilding my UI, you’ve suggested quite a few addons I can trial!

  17. The one addon you left out that I would strongly recommend to raiders in general is Power Auras ( Because I’ve used this mod for ages, I’ve disabled the Blizzard version

    For druid stuff alone, I use it to track combo points, clearcasting, combo points, when the target is <25% hp.

    I also have various power auras set up to warn me of specific boss abilities, which came in handy when various boss mods were lagging behind the content I was clearing.

  18. Tell me more about trinket procs, pls. For example, I want to see the proc of UW or EotC, timer of tolvir’s pot in every place what I want. Ovale don’t do this. I use FbN and it shows me only BL timer.

  19. I think the best way is to use Power Auras or NeedToKnow addons. Second one is bar-based but PowerAuras gives you really awesome way of showing Your procs. You just need to know the names of the buffs they give (UW gives “Heedless Carnage” and EotC gives “Twisted” buff)

  20. Oh, tnx. That’s what I want

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