A UI on a Budget

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I’m not talking money here, but space. Some people have amazing amounts of space to work with because their screen resolution is roughly the size of Monaco, whereas some of us have a mere 1366×768 to play with (and for those of you still stuck on 800×600 I truly feel sorry for you). Even with limited space however, you can get all the information you need on your screen.

What are the basics? The things you REALLY need?

  • You. Your health bars should be easily seen so you can monitor your HP. Your cast bar should be easily seen too, so you know what the bugger you’re casting at any given moment!
  • Your enemy. Their health should be close by.
  • Your friends. You may not be a healer, but having the health levels of your group visible is key. After all, how can you Soulstone someone when you don’t know they’re dead?
  • Your environment. Try and keep the area around your feet clear, lest you stand in fire.


As you can see, I have my health, Yu’lon’s health bar, and the clear space around my character’s feet to monitor whether I’m standing in gunk. You can also see my demon’s health bar, though I tend to raid with Grimoire of Sacrifice, so there’s not much detail on it bar his name.


Here’s where my raid frames are. In the corner, just above the chat box. As you can see, I’m in a group with lots of Raenahs, and TankRaenah3 seems to be about to die! Also we have 5 tanks. And one’s a priest.

So, if this is the bare minimum information, then what can we add to it? Here’s what I have:


The majority of this is accomplished using 3 addons. Elvui is your basic UI overhaul addon. It’s where the raid frames, health bars, action bars et al come from. It’s highly customisable to your specific needs, and of all the UI replacements I have come across, it’s probably the simplest, most user-friendly one I have come across.

The only problem I have had with Elvui is that in some fights where a LOT of things are going on (mainly world boss groups, especially when more than 40 people are fighting), the cast bar tends to disappear. This is why I use Quartz 3 for my cast bar. It’s very customisable, much like Elvui, and I find it to be more reliable.

The other information comes from an amazing addon called Weakauras. Got something you wanna track? Weakauras is the addon for you. That big, obnoxious fire graphic at the top? That tracks whether Fire & Brimstone is active, so I don’t forget about it, cast on single target, and wonder where all my embers went. Below that are text indicators for the legendary meta gem proc (Tempus Repit, which increases haste by 30%) and the tier 16 4-piece proc (Ember Master! When it procs, I refresh Immolate, and try and squeeze out a Chaos Bolt to take advantage of the 15% increased crit chance). The number above Raenah’s head is the number of “emberbits” she has (remember, 1 ember is made up of 10 “emberbits”, and to stop myself from capping, I cast Chaos Bolt at 35 or so. In theory), and either side of her are bars to track Immolate, her main DoT, and Curse of Elements, her main debuff. Below Metasik’s health bar are 3 icons that track the activation and duration of my two trinket procs, and Dark Soul: Instability. The proper tracking of these procs/cooldowns play a BIG part in increasing your DPS!

You’ll notice I’m still trying to keep the area around Raenah’s feet as clear as I can. Don’t stand in the fire! I made all the Weakauras myself, bar the numerical ember tracker. Credit for that one goes to Megan O’Neill/Poneria, former Warlock columnist at WoWInsider. I heartily recommend you check out her brilliant weakauras guide on WoWInsider for more!

So, you’re all set up. You’ve got every bit of information you need about you and your opponent, and you’ve taken advantage of the small space your monitor gives you. Except… Do you have all the information?


You might want to know what you’re doing to your enemy. I used to use Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text as my damage tracker. It’s really nice, it lets you set several scroll areas and damage/healing you do is displayed for you. Trouble is, it also takes up a lot of space, so now I just use the default UI’s “numbers pop out of heads of enemies” with the font changed via the addon NiceDamage.


Then we have the event bars provided by Deadly Boss Mods. Far-off events are tucked away nicely in the corner, underneath the pet bar. Imminent, threatening events move from there to above my character for better visibility, and so I know that I need to move the hell away in 5.1 seconds. You’ll want to move them manually in the options menu. Just type /dbm and go to Bar Setup in the Options tab and hit Move Me. By default, they cover up where my health bars are!


Sitting in the far corner, when I remember to actually open the window, is Skada. The other alternative for DPS tracker is Recountbut they both fulfill the same function. These allow you to see who’s got bragging rights for the day, and who is just AFK-ing in LFR. I’m not going to go into all it tracks, you probably already know, but it’s pretty powerful. Skada is a bit less memory-intensive than Recount, plus I think the bars are prettier.


Hovering above these terrifying beasts are nameplates customised with TidyPlates. Useful for helping you switch target easier by clicking on the bar, as opposed to hitting tab and hoping the roulette picks the target you actually want to damage. Now let’s get out of here before they turn on us!


Here, you can see the map in the top corner provided by Elvui. Your self-buffs (flask, potion, food, trinkets etc) are displayed to the left of the map, whereas along the right side you have the raid buffs (you can see I have Dark Intent active, which increases spell power and stamina. You also have stats, spell haste, crit, and mastery show up there with their respective timers).

So there we go. Hopefully I’ve shed some insight into how you can get a lot of info into a small space! Here’s a video of all these components in action! Raenah (and a few others, I guess) versus Garrosh Hellscream in flex! Yes, that picture of Skada up there is from that fight. /brag /flex


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