Friday, January 17, 2014

What WoD Needs: Customization

This is the forth in a series about things I would like to see in warlords when it comes out.  You can see the previous parts here.  Part 1 - Non raiding gearing options Part 2 - Intelligent zone design. Part 3 - Profession updates.

What WoD Needs.  Part 4 - Customization

Some people might put this high on their list of things they would like to see done while others might consider it a waste of development time and resources just like I consider the redesign of the old world for cataclysm a complete and total waste.  This will, without a doubt, be something that could be a hot topic depending on how you feel about controlling what goes around in game.

First off you will notice that blizzard has a long track record of taking some great add on tools and adding them to the game.  If something works, might as well add it.  At least for many things that has been the approach of blizzard.  While there are some mods they are adamant against adding such as something like deadly boss mods most things they would at least entertain the idea of adding to the game.

So with that in mind what type of in game customization would I like to see added as a part of the game and no longer require an add on, kind of like how quest finder used to be and is now in game.  And, not to be forgotten, what customization would I like to see that is not offered by an add on or in game as it stands.  Lets start there, fresh changes to customization I would really love to see.

I would love to see a way to adjust spell effects and their visuals.  Perhaps a slide bar for how "visual" they are from ultra to standard to reduced to off and options for friendly offensive spell effects, friendly healing spell effects, friendly defensive spell effects, enemy offensive spell effects, enemy healing spell effects, enemy defensive spell effects, neutral offensive spell effects, neutral healing spell effects, neutral defensive spell effects.  Things like that.  The list could be broken down even better if need be, and need would be.

One of the main reasons I hate playing as a melee DPS is because all I see are flashes of light and graphics all over the place and sometimes the only way I can tell that the mob has moved is because I can no longer hit my abilities and need to chase after it and sometimes even at that I can not see it. Many times I had my back turned to it and didn't even notice for a second because I could not see what the hell was going on.

There are just to many visual effects going on there that I just see a giant mess of lights and graphics.  All that and I keep my camera out a fair deal even as melee so it all melds together into one massive spell effect which can be anywhere from mildly distracting to amazingly annoying to completely unplayable.

Even when trying to do it with my camera closer, as I have tried, it does not help that there are just too many graphics there.  I've tried playing with graphics at low setting trying to see if that made much of a difference only to say it doesn't.  No wonder when healing I always find that melee need more healing than ranged.  It is because they can not see the "bad" because there are a million and one flashing lights going on they might not even notice they are taking damage unless they are looking at their own health bar.

Some sort of customization for spell effects is needed.  They keep adding more exciting visuals for spells to try to make them unique and interesting that is has become one giant mess.  While there are some, maybe even many, players that have no issues what so ever with this collection of flashing lights and graphics, I for one would like to see a way to tone them down, or even remove the ones that mean nothing to me.

Now to name plates.  I use an add on for my plates called tidy plates.  I've been using it so long I forgot what the game looks like without them but as I recall, unless something changed that I do not know about, there is one set of name plates and it is boring and not very informative.

I would like to see options added in game for name plates and how they display and what is displayed on them.  But that is not all.  I want to see a few things I have not even seen in an add on when it comes to name plates.  I want it so when you click on a plate it targets that target.  Maybe I am doing something wrong but if I click on a plate I get something standing behind the plate, not what the plate is representing.  One more thing about plates.  I want to be able to position the plates where I want them.  I would put them at the feet of the mobs, not at the head of the mobs.  Putting them at the feet of the mobs just seems so much more user friendly, for me at least.

Now lets get to UI customization and something many of us do at some level or another.  I use bartender personally.  But the game needs something similar as default, we should not need an add on for it.  We should have the ability to move anything anywhere we want and adjust how it displays and its size.

I have different templates for my hunters, my death knights, my priests, etc.  Each class has its own set up with bartender.  Some with centered bars.  Some with right and left bars but nothing in the middle, like my healers where I keep the healing add on in the middle.  Some, like my hunter, have a million bars, some like my rogue, have very few.  But each and every one of them is designed to be comfortable for me to play with.

Why hasn't some UI customization been added do the game already?  It seems as if it would be a simple conclusion that something like that is required of games of this type now.  We should be able to move anything anywhere we want and choose how we interact with it.

Now to something already in game that would just need some updating.  The in game raid frames are a nice little set up for healing.  What?  You never used it to heal?  Well I have and it is not so bad, or should I say it would not be so bad if they added some customization to it.

I use all mouse over macros for everything when healing.  Sure, I have a healing add on but having everything as a mouse over is just good game play and there is no reason you should not employ good game play tactics at any given point.  One time I DCed on the pull, came right back in and found my healing add on was gone.  I grabbed the in game raid frames and dragged it over to be in a more comfortable place and healed the entire fight with my mouse overs and the in game raid frames.

So why not just make those in game raid frames have more options such as a click on option where you can choose what spell is cast when you right click on it, left click on it, middle click on it, shift right click on it, oh, you get the idea.  And please give it more sizing options because between me, you and the blog here, those in game raid frames are freaking huge and it would be nice to be able to make them smaller. 

It would not be too much of a stretch to give those raid frames a little more use, and I would like to see them do that.  Even if it was only a simple one click thing only.  As in if you left click on someone it will cast a revive on them.  When DPSing or tanking on my monk I do not have my healing add on up so I do not have a one click revive.  So instead of clicking on the person than hitting my revive I could just click on the frame and revive.  Or how about hunters, they can just click on the frame and misdirect or masters call.  Or maybe a mage so they can one click take care of curses.  Or so many others doing so many other little things, even if it is just something you can only assign one spell to.

They can do a lot more with the raid frames already in game so I would like to see them do something, anything, with them in warlords.  Just to move further into a step in the right direction.  Oh, and again, a sizing option would be really really really nice.

Now, last but not least, for now, another big dream of something I would love to see added.  And if anyone knows of an add on that does that please tell me because I don't know of one.

A UI save option to save the set up for your character and where their abilities are.  So say on my hunter I choose to "save" my set up and I call it Hunter-Survival and then go create a new hunter I can choose the hunter survival set up that will change my UI to the exact same set up I have and put all the abilities in the same exact place I have them with all the binds for the same things I have them for.  If it is a new hunter then it would add the new abilities, as I get them of course, to their appropriate places with their appropriate binds.

More so, I want this for the fact I have different set ups and key binds for PvP and PvE.  So say I have a set up for Hunter-Beast Mastery-PvE and Hunter-Beast Mastery-PvP and I want to pop into a battle ground I can just switch my UI set up and it will switch to my PvP set up with all my skills and abilities in the place where I have them for PvP with all the key binds I have set up for PvP.  Lets face it, there are a fair deal of abilities a hunter has that I do not even consider binding in PvE that I have bound for PvP.  I just hate switching back and forth.

And then there is the good old third spec, the one you are current not using.  Say I want to play around with MM for PvP for a while and see what it is like now.  I need to make a whole new set up with new key binds for it.  With something like that I would just go to the choice of Hunter-Marksman-PvP and tada I am all ready to move into the battle ground 3 seconds later instead of an hour later after I dropped a spec, picked up a new one, and then set up the bars and binds the way I like them.

I would love if WoD would give us the ability to save set ups, and not just by spec and purpose.  So if I wanted to have a second set up on my bear for kiting only I could switch to the UI set up I labeled Druid-Guardian-Kiting and then when we move to the next fight I could go back to my basic Druid-Guardian set up.

Oh yeah, I would really love this.  It just seems like it would be a huge quality of life update for people like myself that have many characters and do many things that I change my bars and binds for.  It would save me lots of time and as I often say, I am not a huge fan of wasting time.

I think warlords could use with a few quality of life updates to the customization of our game play and I would like to see that.


  1. I'd like some of those as well. Where I'd like Blizzard to focus their attention, though, is on the elements of the game where there's really just one add-on that players use. Things like raid frames and action bars are very personal, I think those are best left to add-ons.

    Things like nameplates, though (TidyPlates is the only one I'm aware of anyone using, I used to use it but stopped in MoP, using default since then), or being able to move individual UI elements (MoveAnything does that now, I think), or moving the tooltip window (I use Tipsy, there are others but they all do the same thing), chat window (Chatter... might be others but I assume they all do similar things - font size changes, adding time marks to chat, etc)... that type of stuff. If they could knock out some of that basic stuff I could probably stop running 20 add-ons. That still leaves a lot but any reduction would be welcome.

    And yes, the two non-UI things I'd like to see above all others are having some granular control over spell effects and having more options for sound... mainly with that, I'd like to have dialog as a separate slider, in order to hear in-game dialog I have to turn up the effects slider enough that effects are blaring. Makes no sense.

    1. I just do not like the idea of having a million and one add ons to do things that should be past of the basic package of the game. Such as raid frames and UI and move anything and tidy plates. All that stuff and more should already be in game.

      I know exactly what you mean with the not being able to hear. I needed to do that yesterday when my monk was doing the legendary quest line (yes I still like to listen to it) I had to jack up the volume to hear him speak.

  2. Would Action Bar Saver do what you're looking for?


    1. more... It does most of those things you listed, like saving different set-ups / keybinds for pvp/pve, MM/SV/BM. So, for example, I have 7 set-ups saved for my main hunter: SV-Raid, SV-Solo, BM-Raid, BM-Solo, BM-PVP, MM-PVE and MM-PVP.

      I'm not in front of my computer, and I don't recall what the other options for it are, but I think it does most of what you were referring to.


    2. Thanks for the head up, I will have to take a look into that one.

      If I start a new hunter will it put everything in the same place on him or does it only work on the one character. Would really be nice for someone like me so all my 90s of the same type are all using the exact same set up without me needing to spend a year and a day setting it up.

    3. I'm not in front of my computer right now (on laptop for the weekend without wow), so I can't double check to make sure i'm not lying to you... but yes, I believe I can from any character (on my main computer where the addon is saved) type "/abs restore sv-raid" (or whatever you save it as) and you'll get those settings, and it will save the abilities key-binds that you don't have yet, so they'll be there when you get them (though maybe you have to reload, which is mildly annoying, especially if you've got a potion and are leveling quick).

      Though now as I'm thinking about it, I also save bartender by character, so if I create a new character, I first "/bt4" and copy from the most similar other character, so Bartender is already set up in place. Then, if it's another hunter (you can never have too many hunters) ABS will set up the keybinds for me. So, I guess ABS only does the keybinds and the ability's placement on each action bar. I started using bartender before ABS, so I don't know how exactly it works with other action bar addons.

    4. That would be amazingly awesome then.

      I use bartender for that as well. So I can just get the layout I like instantly. It has saved me so much time setting up new characters. Do you know how long I did not notice that part of it and would spend an hour or two setting up a new character. Now it is just copy from and tada, done, all set up. Love that.

  3. You could use Bartender for that GE. Just set up how you want your action bars (with abilities in the slots you want them in) and save it as a new profile. Name it HunterPvP1 or HunterMMPvP or whatever. Then all you'd have to do is open Bartender's config window and switch profiles. Same goes for switching between your example of Guardian Kiting and Druid-Guardian.

    Also, fiddle with Bartender's "page swapping"...I think that's what it's called. It's really handy for Druids. What it does, basically, is swap out what abilities are on your action bar based on what form your Druid is in. So, if you normally run as bear action bar one would have all your bear-ie stuff. As soon as you pop into kittie action bar one would now have all your kittie-ie (?) stuff. You could even have it so that when you aren't in any form you can have stuff like your healing spells or dispell spells or moonfire and so on. Oh, the same will work, I believe, for Demo Warlocks when they switch between demon form and normal form.

    1. I already use bartender. I can copy my set up, as in healer, tank, hunter, etc. But not where the spells are so all my hunters are the same. I have to remember where they are and place them manually. That is more so what I am looking for, the lazy route.

      If I switch from PvE to PvP it might change where the bars are, but it does not change where the abilities on those bars are or the binds for those bars. Maybe there is something and that is why you mentioned it, but I have not found it if there is. Only a way to change the bar set up, not what is on them.

  4. Forgot to add...if you are looking for something that will adjust more than just your action bars, check out Lui ( ) over at Curseforge.

    With this addon you can move pretty much anything around and save individual profiles for each UI you design.

  5. I never play as melee so I don't really notice the spell effects that much, but I've heard several different people express their concerns about them. So I'll go with you on it.

    I use Tidy Plates as well, so I agree with your name plates comments.

    I also use Bartender. I keep my map in the lower middle and then I have bars flanking each side (6 bars total + stance, pet, etc). I use the same layout for all my toons, but some use less of the icon slots than others.

    I never heal, but for unit frames, I use X-Perl. It's not perfect, but let's me resize the frames to take up significantly less space than the normal frames and I can organize things better as well.

    I'd like an option to combine all bags into one or keep them separate. I use ArkInventory, but I think Blizz should add that basic feature. I think they said they're adding the filter option for bags.

    I really want them to redo the Auction UI. I use TSM which is a bit advanced, but for the general player-base, they should add Auctionator-like functionality.

    I'm an add-on nut though... Curse indicates that I have 104 add-ons installed... I'm probably not using all of them but I'm using most...

    1. I wish I could use the same layout for all my characters but for some reason I can't. I tried it once. Just messed me up. It depends on the character which I use. Some make some sense, like on my shaman I have one where I made my own totem bar being there isn't one any longer. But you would figure I should be able to use the same one for the rest. I just can't.

      Yeah, they said there are adding some filtering to bags so you can assign things to go to a certain bag. Like gear goes in this bag.

      I have been trying to trim the fat from the add ons I use and have deleted a lot recently. Yet I still have about 60. I would have more if I could find ones that did what I wanted but in all honesty I believe I should have less. Many add ons I have I should not need. Their functionality should already be in game.

  6. Now that ^ is a good point. I want an addon that brings back past lovers!!!!!! with spells!!!!! but not too much spell visuals. Make sure doctor edionwe knows to not have too many visuals with his love spell...


    1. LMAO

      I deleted the post you were referring too, but as I read it reading your comment was very funny. Seems like it was just one of those advertising post.

      But a spell to bring back past lovers. Hhhmmm. Some things are better left in the past. If they are an ex, they are an ex for a reason, maybe you just do not remember it. ;)

    2. Aye, somethings are - dont need grief from the wife!

      But then one can always go jackin' it in San Diego :P