*Queue the next line from some song from the 80’s* KLF?
I actually mean Power Auras Classic. The addon, not the band.
Enter my decision to finally get my act together and re-bind my mouse wheel to something more useful than zoom in/zoom out for my warrior and we have a perfect marriage of form and function.
So what are we looking at? Well i’ve seen people with some of their action bars and other stuff displayed towards the centre of their screens and not anchored to the top or bottom. Matticus, I think it was, posted about eye strain from zig zagging his eyes all over his screen and it occurred to me I spend a lot of eye travel time moving between the center of my screen, the bottom left where my action bars were and the top right where buff icons appear.
Ding! An exclamation mark appeared above my head as I discovered a new quest had an idea to experiment with a new layout for my warrior. Previously I had a pretty typical setup with two bars of 10 actions at the bottom left of screen with the chat window above. Nothing was displayed in the middle where my toon was. So I made some changes.
Firstly I moved my Shield Slam and Revenge actions off my visible bars (BarTender4) and on to a new bar which is enabled, but permanently hidden. I then bound the ‘=’ and ‘-‘ keys to zoom in and out (which doesn’t work that well, but that’s a minor issue) and bound Shield Slam to mouse wheel up and Revenge to mouse down. Now I need a way of figuring out when to use Shield Slam and Revenge.
Enter Power Auras Classic. The gorgeous little addon should be core functionality I think. It allows you to display graphical effects around your toon when certain conditions are met. To configure it type ‘/powa’. I set up three effects straight up:
- Shield Slam – I display a red dagger pointing up icon to the upper left of my toon when in combat and Shield Slam is usable.
- Revenge – I display a blue dagger pointing down icon (some icon, different colour and 180 degree symetry) to lower left of my toon when in combat and Revenge is usable.
- Battle Shout – I display a red shield icon to the bottom right of my toon when i’m in combat and I do not have the Battle Shout buff.
These all zoom in and out when they appear and disappear and they flash while visible. Actually the Battle Shout one might pulse slowly, but the effect is similar.
Thirdly I moved my chat window to the very bottom left corner of the screen and moved my two main action bars above them and centered on my toon. This means they are now only about 2 inches below the feet of my toon. This means at least 3-4 inches less eye travel between targets/toon and action buttons. Quartz displays just above these and immediately below my toon. I also shuffled my buttons a bit. Originally I had my main bar with, from left to right: Attack (bound to 1), Shield Slam (2), Heroic Strike (3), Revenge (4), Concussion Blow (5), Shock Wave (6), Shield Block (7), etc. This is pretty much the Prot warrior skill priority order from left to right. The new bar has Heroic Strike (1), Concussion Blow (2), Shock Wave (3), Shield Block (4), etc. This means I can easily reach my keys with my left hand, which hovers over the QWEASD movement keys. Shield Bash is bound to the ‘~’ button, to the left of number 1, which is easy reach for interrupting.
I then added a 4th and 5th effects:
- Glyph of Revenge – I display a white crossed swords effect immediately above my Heroic Strike button when my toon has the Glyph of Revenge buff (free Heroic strike after hitting with Revenge). This also zooms in and out and flashes. This is to inform me to use it after the glyph triggers.
- I also have set the same crossed swords effect to display when I have more than 80 Rage so that I can dump rage via Heroic Strike.
Prot warriors have a lot of buttons to push. When soloing this results in a priority like this: Charge then if red shield appears hit Battle Shout > if red dagger up appears mouse wheel up to Shield Slam > if blue dagger down appears then mouse wheel down to Revenge > Shield Block + Blood Rage + Berserker Rage if off cool down > Concussion blow (button 2) > Shockwave (button 3) > Thunder Clap > Demoralising Shout > etc
If at any time the white crossed swords appear hit Heroic Strike (button 1) also. Lots of buttons as I said.
The end result of this reconfiguration is that i’m pushing and clicking buttons a lot less. I’m also not watching my buffs at all and watching the cool downs on my bars a lot less. When i’m using the bars I am not having to move my eyes so far from the centre of the screen. Formally the buff bar to action bars distance was about 20 inches with the center of the screen in between. Now the eye travel distance is only about 3 inches. My situational awareness has started to increase already.
It is also visually more interesting. Watching buttons for cool downs and the buff region of the screen for Glyph of Revenge and Sword and Board procs is no where near as interesting as big red and blue daggers and shields and crossed swords appearing to tell me stuff. Maybe the novelty will wear off, but so far so good.
Try it out sometime.