Saturday, June 19, 2010

UI Setup for Tanks: Part 1

Addons.  Those little bit's of code that are supposed to make our WoW lives easier.  If used correctly they are quite adept at this task.  If used incorrectly they can vastly decrease the performance of both you, and your machine.

Every addons in existence uses system memory to do what it is intended.  Most of them only use a small amount, but the effects compound with the more addons you chose to utilize, and therefore starts to wear on your available system resources and drain them.  So the trick is getting the most bang for your buck by finding what is useful, and what isn't.  The goal is to keep your user interface (UI) as lean, and streamlined as possible while still having all essential information available in an easy to understand format.

I have found (through extensive trial and error) that most addons fall into the following categories:

  • Essential
  • Situationally Useful
  • Raid
  • Out of Raid 
  • Non-Essential but Nice
  • F***ing Useless

By now your eyes are probably rolling back in your head, and you're tasting butter.  Don't worry the seizure will pass because I am going to break this down into easy steps.

First things first.  You need to know where to get these wonderful little trinkets we call addons.  Personally I prefer to get everything I can from Curse.  They have everything I will be recommending in these guides.  So go ahead... Click the link. Get the client V4.  I'll wait.

Now that you have downloaded, and installed you're shiny new curse client you'll need to understand how to use it.  It's fairly straight forward but nonetheless you can find a tutorial on Curse's website here.

Now something to keep in mind is that this guide is being written with a tank's needs in mind.  I will cover UI setups for DPS, and Healers at a later date.  Now onto the tanky goodness!

The first thing we need to do is establish screen real estate by value.  You want everything radiating out from the center of your screen by the degree of importance.  The reason for this is that the center of your screen is where your character is standing, and you always want to be able to see what is going on in that area.  If you are looking at the bottom of your screen all the time for the information you need that you will end up standing in the something evil coming from the floor, then you will die a quick and ugly death followed by everyone else  in the raid that you were supposed to be keeping safe.  The healers will start yelling at you, the DPS will laugh at you, and the other tanks will start calling you stinky.  ~Starts rocking back, and forth clutching his knees while sobbing~.  I digress.  Below is a rough image of the kind of screen value that we're looking for.

So what exactly falls into each category?  Well that will be mostly up to you.  But the way I classify it is as follows:
  • Essential:  If I don't keep a constant eye on this will I, or someone else die?
  • Moderately Essential:  Do I need to be able to view this info quickly, and occasionally to keep everyone alive?
  • Non-Essential but Useful: Spells, Meters, Etc.  Things that will only be looked at every so often, and are not considered vital to my task
  • Non-essential:  Things that need to be there, but will have no impact on the task at hand.
As you can imagine by looking at this, screen real estate is at a premium, and can fill up very quickly.  So being choosy is a must.

So today we have covered the categories that addons fall into, a delivery method to attain addons, and a nice streamlined template for setting up these addons.  Check in next time as we start to cover the essential addons to fulfill your tanking duties!


  1. Oh wow i may just learn something after all and become a good player just to impress my favorite preist and pally!

  2. Great information here. I love how you categorized the add-ons. Maybe now there will be clearer screens across the globe thanks to your efforts here. I can't wait to see more!

  3. I love a good UI post. I look forward to hearing some good tanking addon recommendations.