Default WoW UI: Not that bad, really!

***Disclaimer:  I am a simpleton.  I like things uncluttered, chaos-free and minimal.  Keep this in mind while reading this post. I also change my mind frequently, so I may end up creating a whole new UI again. >.> For reference, I play on a widescreen monitor set to 1920 x 1080 resolution. Kthxbai***

I’ve read many, many forums posts, blog posts, and heck, even Trade channel rants about how a lot of people dislike the default UI in World of Warcraft.  The issues are it’s clunky; it’s not pretty enough; it doesn’t display information needed/displays it obtusely… I’ll agree that some information is not as readily available as some addons have made it and that this information is quite important for success in certain aspects of the game (e.g., raiding, arenas, questing, etc).  But sometimes, when looking at completely overhauled UIs, I get the feeling that some people replace default components with addons just to do it.  I think this need to replace the UI can be, at times, a little overzealous (and in certain extreme cases, lazy) while not being as beneficial as it appears.

For instance, take the raid frames.  I know there are healers (and DPS and tanks) that swear up and down that the default raid frames are garbage.  Up until Patch 4.0, I would have been inclined to agree.

Default raid frames prior to Patch 4.0.1. I also have MoveAnything enabled in this old screenshot.

But have you seriously played with the new default raid frames?  They are pretty slick.  And the best part?  They come with the game.  No need to download something and tie up memory that can be better utilized to look at pretty spell effects, just sayin’.

I am currently running the default UI plus Deadly Boss Mods, Omen and Recount, as seen below:

All that is added to the screen is Omen/Recount, and they share the same space (Recount is hidden during combat; Omen is hidden while not in combat)

Gun'Drak run showing my UI in a 5-man situation.

Eye of the Storm battleground. Notice the little orange and blue indicators on the death knight's unit frame. Disease & magic debuffs.

I’ve done the “completely overhauled UI” before (many times) and enjoyed it (for a time).  I’ve used Dominos, Bartender, Pitbull, Shadowed UF, ForteXorcist, Mapster, Skada, Satrina Buff Frame, SexyMap and more great addons.  I also had lots of lua errors and “Interface action failed due to an addon” messages — and those bugged the ever-loving snot out of me.

After taking a lot of time to painstakingly set up all of these addons (sometimes it would take days), I would end up reverting back to the default UI.  As in delete my Interface and WTF folders and login.

My observations have shown me that some people are resistant to opening info panels or drop-down menus.  They want stuff in their face, screaming at them.  For me, I just get distracted really easily by shiny things.  I also don’t need to be 24/7 aware of my stats or how much money I have or even which spec I’m in (if you don’t know this based on the spells on your action bar, something is really wrong, amirite?)

Along with the default UI (and my 3 4 mods – I added AtlasLoot), I also use mouseover macros to use with this for healing.  Tanget: if there is one piece of peripheral equipement you should get, it’s this mouse. I found that using the new raid frames while in a party is quite good, as Matticus mentioned a really long time ago (Okay, it seems like an eternity ago).  As a healing priest, I can dispel magic and diseases.  The raid-style frames identify these two debuffs pretty well — I mean I really don’t need to know which exact debuff it is, right?  If I do, I can just mouse over it to see the tooltip in case I need to conserve mana (and let the tank stay rooted in ice for 10 seconds while he’s not moving anyway). I actually like the disease icon; it looks like the Pac-man baddies. :3

One of my biggest pet peeves with interface modifications is lack of consistency in organization, textures, fonts, etc.   You know what I’m talking about — The tricked out unit frames, inventory panel, action bars, minimap, default character panel.. what?  Yeah, I said it.  The bane of my UI modding-existence.  I know “there’s a mod for that.”  Call me persnickety, a control-freak, or ridiculous; I don’t care.  I really like the consistency of the default UI as a whole.  There’s no random texture somewhere sticking out like a sore thumb.  I like consistency in visual media. So sue me. (No, please don’t sue me.  I paid my mortgage twice this month by accident, so you won’t get much anyway.)



6 thoughts on “Default WoW UI: Not that bad, really!

  1. I agree entirely. Most times people dont give the default UI the time it deserves. With a couple of additions like DBM it can handle most things quite well. I got stuck in the patch-update-rebuild loop for so long but after Cata I decided to “go native” and am really pleased with it. I will say, however, that I also have a widescreen monitor set to 1920 x 1080 resolution, so it might be that its more suited to having that wide area with smaller scale. It could get cluttered with a lower res setup?

    • I have the same resolution and I agree that smaller resolutions may experience a less desirable interface “out-of-the-box”, but scaling the UI down really can help. Unless you have poor vision, then a modified interface would be your best bet.

      Thanks for commenting! <3

  2. Nice read.
    There’s a very nice middle-of-the-road place to be with addons. I try to stick things that drastically improve quality of life, or are informative and sometimes mission critical to performing my absolute best in a given role. Many addons, some which are memory intensive and are cluttering, can easily be replaced with macros which are often already out there ready to be Copied and pasted.

    Blizzard has improved many things with their stock UI based on addons. I think addons are good to an extent, though some people use addons like early 90’s wep pages used animated GIFs. :)

    Hoofit ~ Bear

    • Thanks for stopping by and your comments! I agree whole-heartedly about the macros… I’m currently using a very simple one right now to track leather while farming (#showtooltip Light Leather) and it works like a charm! I’ve actually been playing without addons for the past 2 weeks and I have realized that there is only 1 addon I cannot live without: OmniCC. The little cooldown timer on the buttons can be hard to distinguish on some icons. I’ve also found I have been playing smarter – paying attention to my DOTs and aggro percentage…which admittedly pulls my eyes all over the screen. But that also means less tunnel vision and better spatial awareness, for me at least.

      • If you like OmniCC you will probably also like Inline Aura. It puts a mini cool down counter underneath your OmniCC counters on the spell icon indicating the remaining duration of your current DoT(s) or HoT(s) of your current target. It will also indicate number of stacks as well or duration of a proc.

        (example: Great for seeing how much time i have left to use Berserk proc, cycling through Lacerates on trash or seeing if FFF is applied; from DPS perspective easily seeing how much time is left on your Living Bomb or Pyroblast procs; from healing perspective seeing stacks of Lifebloom on a target in addition to its remaining duration.)

        I also use RedRange as well as OCC and IA. it simply makes the entire icon red instead of just the number or dash icon being red. much easier to notice when you’re out of range of something with all the other normal in game effects being quite distracting sometimes. They’re all super small addons that use existing hooks so the resource consumption is very minimal. :) If you check these out, I hope you enjoy them!

  3. I saw Inline Aura on WoWInterface but I think there was only one image and it only showed the green “equipped” border, so I never looked at it again, unfortunately. But I am going to go check it out tonight! Thanks for the tip!

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