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Compilations… they change you

July 1, 2009

I’ve been in a bit of  UI slump lately.  After my “By Default” challenge, I was pretty gung ho for it, but I did get tired of the default UI really quickly.  I added a few mods here or there, but nothing to massively change the way the default UI looked.  Then I was plain sick of it and tried to revive my old standby, “A Very Anea UI” and it’s… just flopped.  It’s been held together by nothing more than hope for the last year and it’s just done.  I limped along with it for this past week, under delusions that it would somehow get better.  (It didn’t.)

However, finally I have given up on it.  I have the “latest” taped-together version saved on my computer, of course, but I’m moving on to newer and better things.  Things with gloss!  I will, of course, post about it later.  Today’s post is about something else.

As I was going through separate mods, trying to find the best one, I thought back to when I first found out about addons.  I also found out about compilations for the first time and that was actually my first “use” of addons – as a compilation.  I don’t remember the very first compilation that I ever used, but one that Lus and I both used for quite a long time back when we were wee rogues was Alecthar’s UI.  If memory serves correctly (and please remember, this was two years and billions of addons ago) his UI was the one that changed my keybindings forever.

Alecthar's UI in action, c. 2007

After I installed all the folders and set all the profiles to the correct ones, I tried to run.  It didn’t work.  I was strafing!  WTH?!  I went to check the keybindings, wondering what in the world happened to simple WASD and saw that several other keys had been moved as well.  Some were even added!  He had the “Guild” option bound to “G”; “Friends” to “T”; “V” did not toggle nameplates… whew, at least “M” was still map!  Wait, there are spells bound to the number pad?  What does “alt-3”? mean?

So, thankfully, I learned that spells can be bound to more than just 1 through = and that I could change what Blizz had originally put.  It never occurred to me to change default settings!  I was such a sheep… but usings these suites paved the way to my minimal preferences and heavy keybinding choices.  More stuff off the screen means more to see, my friend!  (Also: I still use “G” for the guild tab and “T” for friends.)

I’ve also become partial to addons that were included in compilations that I’ve tried, even if other people recommend others – it takes a lot to sway me.  MSBT was something I only found through a compilation and I haven’t changed from that (except for the “By Default” challenge).  My truest love, Baggins?  Also from a suite.  Skinner, XLoot, BetterInbox?  Yep, yep, yep.  Even the way I (still) set up my FuBar is directly influenced by Alecthar.

While I felt guilty for using a suite that I had downloaded rather than made myself, it was nice to be exposed to the addons that the authors thought were the best – it was quite the variety and helped me find what I liked and what fit my tastes and playstyle.  I still can’t configure Pitbull to exactly (or even vaguely) the way I want it, but I figure I’ve got time to work on it.

Are there mods that you’ve been inspired to keep from using suites and compilations?  Keybindings you still use?  Other random behaviors that you’ve picked up from other people’s setups?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2009 10:24 AM

    Well, yea, I started with the factory issued one, and lived for a long time with MazzleUI: which sadly broke and got borked around mid-TBC. At which point I got enough.I made my own UI from the scraps and bits and pieces I had liked from Mazzle, but it just didn’t have the feel. Mazzle has so much automated that it really is the easy mode of UI management…I had Spartan running for a while, but it got somehow borked by the 3.1.X patch, and now I’m running with my own, minimalistic UI with action bars visible only when I need… but I’m still looking fro the ‘nice minimalistic’ UI which would be my next UI-home.C out

  2. crazyboomer permalink
    July 1, 2009 12:23 PM

    I have seen many UIs that others use and I must say some are quite impressive, however I’m very comfortable with my current “default” action bars and whatnot and wonder if it might just be more trouble than it worth to have to learn new key bindings, among other things. Making those changes from what I’ve finally become accustomed to scares me a bit. I know where my spells/actions are by finger memory and it has saved me many a time in those hectic “need to get this cast off NOW” moments. Granted, just like with my defaults, I’m sure I’d eventually learn the workings… lets just call me lazy. I’ve only recently even started using addons like Omen and Recount, both of which have really no interference with any of my character’s actions and both I should have been using them from the start but worried they would clutter my screen or cause technical issues. Of course, my worries were unfounded and I kick myself for even having been the slightest bit skeptical.I don’t doubt that I will eventually break down and experiment with some of the shiny UI gems I have seen and heard about, but for the time being I’m perfectly content with my generic layout.~Rai

  3. Anea permalink
    July 1, 2009 1:33 PM

    I definitely agree about changing keybinds now – no way could I change now. I’ve been doing these same keybinds forever. In fact, now that I’ve been playing my priest for so long, on my alts I place spells in a similar fashion following the priest’s spell functions per barspace. That way in a pinch if I have a gut reaction to push 7 on the numberpad (Fade, on my priest) I can get a semi-similar “oh shit” reaction on my alts.

  4. July 2, 2009 1:38 AM

    I’ve never actually used a compilation for a period longer than just trying it to see if it works. I like the way some look, in theory–the screenshots are oh so pretty and everything looks so very tidy, but once I’m dealing with it the way that *i* play? Things are in the wrong spot for me, the wrong size, the wrong colors, the wrong keybinds, etc. Eventually I realized that hey–I am spending twice as long configuring stuff that has addons I don’t even use, when I could just install what I want and need, and start from the ground up.My life is much happier now. ^-^

  5. July 2, 2009 2:59 PM

    The first UI mod package I tried was Cosmos, back in ’05. At some point it went totally bonkers and started eating my chat channels on a regular basis. I ditched Cosmos and went with CTMod, but over the years I’ve gradually dropped pieces of the CT suite for other stuff and now I “roll my own” UI. I’m a mod addict, big-time. XPerl, Bartender 4, Grid, Recount, Omen, SCT, FuBar, Deadly Boss Mods, DoTimer, ElkBuffBars, the list goes on…I’m a hurtin’ puppy come patch time, let me tell you. :)People are surprised that I still keybind everything to the number keys or shift+ and ctrl+number combinations, except for a few special keys like backslash, apostrophe, etc. It’s just how I learned to play. I shocked a shaman friend last night when I told him that playing my warrior requires me to use both hands; I have to bang out a Heroic Strike rhythm with one, every weapon swing (gg borked-up mechanic, Blizz) and use the other for my priority attacks. The one consistency I do have is that I bind “-” to the big periodic whammy attack on whatever character I play. So for Linedan, it’s Shield Slam; for my DK, it’s Death Strike; for my marks hunter, it’s Chimera Shot, etc.My wife, OTOH, plays a feral druid, with those tricky rotations, using a bone-stock UI except for DBM and FlagRSP…and CLICKING half her abilities. And she tops our raid DPS!

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