Month: January 2014

Spec/Equipment/Title Change Macro

This is my macro for changing specs/equipment sets/titles.  I also use it for enabling or disabling Simple Taunt Announce so I don’t see chat messages when in non-tank specs.

/stopmacro [combat]
/equipset [spec:1]Ret;Tanking
/usetalents [spec:1]2;[spec:2]1
/settitle [spec:2]the Proven Defender;the Immortal

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WoW’s taint system, addons, and why classic was so much easier.

There used to be a time in WoW’s history where one button could change to do everything you ever needed.  It could dispel on demand and target the person automatically, it could change depending on your ability cooldowns.   What you never see spoken in those we killed X boss 40 man videos…”with some people only using one or two buttons.”  Blizzard stopped allowing that with their “taint” system.

Probably few know about taint, but they probably know the effects of it:

  • Talent and glyphs won’t change.
  • Quest items on the Objectives tracker won’t work.
  • Random “[ADDON_ACTION_BLOCKED] AddOn” errors.
  • Raid frame issues in combat with people coming/going (targeting wrong people/missing frames/strata issues).

“When WoW starts executing lua code, the execution starts off ‘secure’, and able to run protected functions. Execution remains secure until it encounters ‘taint’ – which is an indicator that a function or object came from an untrusted (AddOn or /script) source. The basic idea is that execution becomes ‘tainted’ as soon as it reads tainted data or executes tainted code, and any data written by a tainted execution is itself tainted. Protected functions refuse to operate when called from an execution path that is not secure.” – Wowpedia.org/taint

What that boils down to is if you can /reload and if something does work again then you “tainted” something previously.  I check for taint with my taintlog using “/console taintLog 1”.  Then I look for messages like action blocked or uidropdown.  I’ll use clique as an example.  It works perfectly until you bring up it’s setup.  Once you’ve done that you tainted the uidropdown global and everything starts downhill from there.  This is the message my taintlog shows after opening the clique setup menu (“/clique”).

You probably don’t realize it, but that UIDROPDOWN variable is called on any frame you have drop down menus.  Think right click drop downs or button drop downs.  That is a lot of frames that gets taint all because you decided to “/clique” without “/reload”.

Even the addons I use cause taint indirectly, but I know when they do it and I /reload afterwards.  Anytime you access the interface menu (Default is ESC > Interface) and have any addons it will taint the uidropdown global variable.  I get in the habit of /reload after I click the interface button and change anything.  I suggest you get in that habit too.

The addons I use not only perform a function, but outside of the interface menu don’t create taint issues.  I “/reload” every time I access the interface meu.

What my macros generally look like

I’ll just post it first then explain it next:

#showtooltip Hammer of the Righteous
/startattack
/cancelaura Hand of Protection
/use [bar:2]10
/use [bar:2]healthstone
/use [spec:2,bar:2]Guardian of Ancient Kings
/use Hammer of the Righteous

Of course I choose the question mark for the icon and select which icon to use by #showtooltip.  The /startattack is so when a mob dies I change over to a live one immediately.  The /cancelaura Hand of Protection is so the others paladins can BoP me and one button takes it off without some inconvenient right clicking on a buff.  I highly recommend all tanks macroing that into their most used abilities.  The rest using [bar:2] is interesting.  I have “full control mode” of all abilities when action bar 1 is showing and “lazy mode” when bar 2 is showing which uses most my off-gcd abilities on cooldown.  I find just flipping between action bar 1 or 2 is too convenient to pass up between say trash/boss or raid difficulties.

Big Wigs vs Deadly Boss Mods

I firmly believe BigWigs with it’s “emphasize” feature and minimalist alert philosophy is better than DBM, but I’ll share the differences you’ll truly find, but on a basic level they fulfill the same duty.  If you haven’t tried BigWigs since Mists of Pandaria you haven’t seen the latest version.  Prior to this version I would have been in the DBM camp.

The main thing between Deadly Boss Mods and Bigwigs is their approach to alerts.  BigWigs is minimalist and gives you information.  What you do with it is up to you.  This allows your group or guild to come up with their own strategies.  DBM tells you what to do.  Hopefully if you use DBM your strategy confirms to your raid’s strategy. Subtle, but important difference.  A classic example is how alerts for DBM vs BigWigs occur on Blackhand in Blackrock Foundry.  DBM might say “move right” when you have the bomb yet the guild’s strategy might be bombs left/marks right.  In this case DBM is actually conflicting with your raid’s strategy.  BigWigs might just say “Bomb on you.”  Also the sounds the two use reflect the minimalist versus “I’m a child and need to be told what to do” style.  My opinion is DBM has a habit of dramatizing all alerts.  This tends to make people start ignoring them.  I refer to this as “the boy who cried wolf” syndrome.  When that important alert does come they’re so used to ignoring them all because DBM dramatizes them that they ignore that important one as well.  While I used DBM for years I believe I’m an advanced enough player to make my own decisions given information so I gravitate to BigWigs.  I encourage others to think likewise.

Bigwigs accepts all DBM broadcasts so you don’t miss out on pull timers or anything else. It also will transmit pull timers to DBM and BigWigs users so DBM users won’t miss out.

The single coolest thing is “emphasize” in BigWigs.  Let’s say you die to a mechanic every time or there’s so much chaos you miss an important event.  It happens.  Maybe you need to taunt or use a raid cooldown for some special ability.  Go into the settings for the encounter and select “emphasize.”  It has a countdown for the ability visually and audibly.  It *can* flash your screen.  It puts the ability in bold block letters.  I used it for tanking the Dark Shaman in Siege of Orgrimmar just to prevent me overlooking certain things with all the chaos in there.  It allows concentrating (tunneling) on other aspects of a fight without having to focus on the deadliest parts.  I can’t miss an emphasized alert.  These are mechanic by mechanic so you can tailor your alerts as you need them.

BigWigs doesn’t disable itself if presented with a newer version.  Apparently if DBM is out of date too much it disables itself until updated.  I can’t confirm this yet, but I believe the underlying issue is people are using alpha/beta versions so the release version users keep getting their boss mod disabled or people aren’t updating their boss mods and shame on them.  I can see their desire for forced upgrades, but I think an annoying message each use would be a better solution than completely disabling the boss mod.

My basic guide to set up BigWigs and emphasize encounters.

Here’s a guide I found on youtube for setting it up:

WOW UI SETUP Part 3: Big Wigs

Remember the UI/Addon golden rule:  Only show things that “you need to know about or need to react to.”  If you have to ignore something either turn it off or find a different solution

Addons that replace Blizzard frames

In my UI I try to use as much of WoW’s default frames that I can. I do alter some by scaling or repositioning. The reasoning for this is simple: major patches don’t break them nor are they “missing” certain things that blizzard expects you to have.

Vehicle fights

I remember back in ulduar when some people couldn’t see the energy of their vehicles on the first boss nor did they have an updated mod that changed into the vehicle action bar when they hopped on. We wasted time waiting to have them download the newest version which didn’t fix the issue because they needed to download a beta or alpha version or it wasn’t available at all.  Malygos targeting of the drakes proved strange for some raid frame addOns as well.  Anyone with default frames even back then had no issue.  Blizzard makes sure that whatever targeting you need during a vehicle fight works.

Missing components

I was using a player and target frame add-on to level in jade forest when I came across a quest that had a balance bar. Unfortunately I found the quest impossible to do without the extra bar. I turned off the add-on and one-shot the quest. This reminded me of ulduar. I had the newest version available, yet I didn’t have an additional module for it just to display this one bar.  Some buffs/debuffs don’t show up on raid frames unless specifically added.  Some weird mechanics like absorb shields are strange on some encounters.

Completely broken mods

If mods break you can just turn them off and still be 100%? I don’t think so. When you keybind using add-ons or set up additional action bars those all can disappear when you turn them off or they break. Now we’re talking wasted time while you quickly redo or keybind the default action bars again. If you’re one who logs on just in the nick of time for raids you’re either sitting out or everyone’s waiting for you. That’s just for action bars. Anything else you’re used to being in a certain place may not be there or be presented in a different fashion. Try making cool macros in some add-ons and have the add-on break.

Lazy Authors?

Don’t forget that as World of Warcraft ages some authors leave the game.  Others pick up the addOn and “maintain” it as best they can.  Some only sub for new content.  That “fix” for whatever you need might be a while before it gets released.  The default frames are always ready.

Why the default frames?

Blizzard frames are pretty good anymore. At one time I wouldn’t have said that. What I do use occasionally are add-ons that give benefit to the Blizzard frames or ones that do things the default frames won’t do. The worse thing you can do is have an important role on raid night and waste other people’s time by your add-on choices. You get frustrated toward the add-ons, everyone else is frustrated for you not being ready, and all that happens is wasted time. There’s no wasted time when my UI doesn’t change much when add-ons break.

Security

Everyone should have an authenticator.  Blizzard sells them cheap.  Most mobile phones can download them for free for World of Warcraft.

What people don’t think about is their WTF folder.  If something goes wrong with your computer your entire UI is gone with that WTF folder.  My solution is to use Dropbox along with a trick called junctions or symbolic links.  Even if the computer dies, your WoW settings and UI will remain intact.  As soon as WoW writes to your hard drive Dropbox starts uploading it to their servers immediately.  Also works great if you play wow across multiple machines and want an up-to-date UI flowing seamlessly between them.

I’ll give an example of the command I use for the junctions inside a DOS Command box:

mklink /D “C:\World of Warcraft\WTF\Account\Defective” “C:\Users\Defective\Dropbox\World of Warcraft\WTF\Account\Defective”

Interrupt and Taunt Mods

Highly recommend Simple Interrupt Announce and Simple Taunt Announce.  They will show you when you interrupt and when someone else does so you don’t spam /raid chat or /say “I interrupted <spell>”.  Highly customizable how and when they announce.  Also don’t have to say “taunt” in vent a thousand times.  This goes back to not creating distractions for others even if you mean well.

Don’t post things in /raid or /say if you can avoid it.

Avoid raid broadcasting if you can.

I bet nobody in this raid even cared about that message, but this person has just created a potential distraction for 9-24 other people.  They now have to read and process the information in addition to what they were doing.  I’m sure this person meant well, but anyone who needs that info already has that information at hand through either the DBM spell module, BW common auras module, or something else similar.

Tunneling in WoW and how your UI could encourage it!

A common issue in WoW is “tunneling.”  Don’t be that guy who has all the cool mods that adds indirectly to this problem.  As we’ve all known even a few seconds distraction can kill you on some game mechanics.  Turn off things you don’t need to raid with.  Take some time to set up your mods right and turn off alerts you don’t need to see.  I advise Bigwigs over Deadly Boss Mods because out of the box BigWigs has a lot of these unnecessary alerts turned off.

There comes a point in your UI that too much information can be overwhelming and you “have to tunnel through it all” until you miss that one important thing.   A common philosophy in my UI/addon set up is “if I need to know about it or react to it” then it’s there and it’s prominent.  If I don’t then it’s not.  Things I care less about are in the corners of the screen like my dps/healing meter and world marker flares.

Make sure you have a clear viewable area around your character so you can see ground effects.

A little extreme from what I expect most people have, but a very bad raiding UI.