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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.