Saturday, December 22, 2012

[Gameplay] I: UI Setup and Addons

     I've played a few MMO's since I came into the business of computer gaming, and always a thing people seem to have a million different suggestions and opinions on is the UI setup, add-ons, and macros. Of course there's different ways to set up your screen for your own personal comfort and choice. It depends on if you like your screen to be pretty much bare of things except the "essentials" like your portrait, the mob your attacking, and a few key icons, or if you like to be able to see everything that's available to you at all times. The main games I play, WoW and Rift, are quite different in this respect. While WoW has a very rigid UI setup inside the game, allowing little to no customization, the thing the I love most about Rift is that this game is completely opposite. You can literally change everything you see on your UI. Want your portrait size smaller? Or in a different location? Sure, no problem. Want to put your quest list elsewhere, or change the way it reads to you? Just go to the set up and do that! Since I have a specific way I like my UI set up, I'll use that as my example in this post, but of course there are many different options and I'm not saying mine is awesome or the best or anything. After all, I'm a casual gamer and RP'er at heart, even though I do raid on occasion. So I set up my screen so that it is of greatest benefit for me in that respect. Here's how I set up my screen!

     First off, in order to find the window that will allow you to customize your UI, you hit the ESC key. From there, click on the EDIT LAYOUT button. Once you do that, a separate window will pop up and everything on your screen will become highlighted. From there, merely click on the item you wish to change and the little edit window will change to reflect what you want. You can play around with controls to see what you want, and if you do something accidental that you didn't like, you can always click on the "defaults" tab in the edit window.

    To change other things like the size of font, the names of mobs and players/npc's you want visible, or what messages you want to display on your screen, just hit the ESC key again and go to SETTINGS and then click on INTERFACE. Within that window, you'll also find a whole bunch of customizable options for changing things around the way you want. This is also where you can find more action bars for your spells/profession icons, potions, etc. Say for example, I prefer to work with 7 action bars. 2 extra on the bottom, 1 extra on either side of these, 2 vertical bars up against the far right "wall" of the screen, and 1 horizontal bar running along the very bottom of the screen to the right of the default action bars. This last one overlaps with my bag bars, but I have the "don't show action bars" option checked, which means that all the action bar squares that are unoccupied are invisible, so you can't even tell that there is an action bar down there. I have that set up because that's where I put all my Ascended and Patron status potions and Lures and suchlike. Experiment with different things, keep changing size and position to get the items on your screen to lay the you want. Of course, there are a few things that you won't be able to change unless you are in a group or targeting someone who is also targeting you (if you want target of target set up anyway). For me, I prefer all the portraits of myself, pets, party members, target, etc. to be relatively small and out of the way in the left-hand corner. For raid portraits, I just bunch them all together unless I'm on a character that heals. Along the far right, on the side of the screen, is where I keep my profession skill icons for crafting, foraging, fishing, etc. This is also where I keep my mounts and any mini pets I want to summon while in cities. At the bottom of these action bars are the icons for my role switching. In Rift, when you have multiple roles, or "specs", you can click and drag the role button from the talent tree window and place it on your action bars. That way, you can just click on that icon and switch your spec as soon as you are able, instead of having to go to your talent tree window and clicking on the role and then activating it. On the bottom action bar that overlaps the bags, I usually place my Soul Recall (hearth) button, as well as all my Patron and Ascended status buttons. After a while, especially if you are high lvl and have a high planar attunement level, as well are far along on the Patron window, you tend to accumulate a lot of that stuff. I have about 9 different Patron potions for Artifact Tracking, Experience Gain, Dungeon and Warfront Extension, Summoning Trainers, Mailbox, Bank Vault, and a few others I don't remember. As well as your Ascended stuff like your Fury buff, resurrection, Nexus Infusion, Lures. I don't use these things "too" often, but I do like to have them handy for when I do need them.
     On the default action bar that comes with all characters as soon as they are "born", is where I like to keep my main spells and attacks. Since I'm left-handed and feel most comfortable doing things left to right, I put my spells on my action bar in that order, from most relevant to least. All attack, offensive, and killing type attacks are listed first, from left to right. All buffs and weapon enhancements are located on the extra action bars I added on the left of this. All mana and health potions, stunning spells, healing spells, items that cause dmg or healing, are located in the extra action bars that I placed above the default bar. Right above this is my casting bar and water breath bar. Above my head, I have the quest message window that displays when I complete objectives for quests. This I keep relatively tiny because there's tons of ways to keep track of quest progress without having that there too. Same with the quest text. I keep it relatively tiny and out of the way on the right, under the map. The map I also changed the size of, making it half the size of it's normal state. All the buff icons to the left of the map have also been scaled down since I don't see the necessity of them being so large.

     For the chat windows, to change the size of the actual window, put your curser over the little triangular tab on the bottom right hand side of the chat window and hold and drag to whatever size you want the window to be. You can easily change the size anytime you want for the window. To change the size of the font, or customize the chat channels, right click on the specific tab you want (for example GENERAL and COMBAT are default chat tabs) and click on "settings". From there you can scroll through options on the left hand side for what you wish to change. There are slider bars for sizes and things.

     Addons are tools that are outside the game's usual influence and are like extra packages that the player can install to change specific things about the game. While there isn't nearly as many addon options for Rift as there is for say WoW, there are still quite a few out there. I don't pay too much mind to them, because Rift already has most of the things that I would want in an addon anyway, such as quest locations, co ordinates, bag sorting. But there are a few that I'll list and explain that I like to use that have turned out quite handy in Rift.

     First off, if you want a handy program that will download and update your addons for you with very little time spent on your part, as well as an easy list of all addons the game as to offer, search up and download a program called Curse Client. This is a program separate from any game that you can download on your computer. Be aware, I highly recommend you have some kind of virus protection or internet filter system set up on your computer before downloading this or any program straight from the internet if you don't want trouble on your computer. After you've downloaded Curse Client, you can set up an account with the program and put in your personal preferences as well as allow the program to scan your computer for the games you play. Once it has found them, you can just click on the game in the left hand side of the program's window. In the main window will be a white background. At the top two tabs will say "My Addons" and "Get More Addons". If its your first time on Curse Client, the "My Addons" tab will obviously be empty. Just click on the other tab and scroll through the list of addons for ones you like. To download an addon you want, simply click install. The addon will be automatically installed and added to Rift's files. You can then log into the game and have the addon available immediately. If you download an addon while you are already logged into the game, you'll need to exit the ENTIRE game and then re enter it again. You won't have to uninstall the game though....just mentioning that in case some don't know :)
List of my addons:
  • RareDar-a really handy addon that presents as a little grey meter on your UI that you can move anywhere on the screen. Place it somewhere out of the way but where it's also easy to remember. I have mine next to the main system bar on the bottom left, beside the cash shop icon. When there is a potential rare nearby your location, the little meter will turn green and you'll get a chat message stating whichever rare is nearby. You can then click on the meter to see if the rare is indeed nearby or not. If it is, you will automatically target the rare and then you can pinpoint it by looking at your mini map or whichever direction your target arrow is pointing. If there is no rare present, a chat message will tell you. If it is a rare you have already killed, you will be told that. Also, if a party member has the same addon and encounters a rare, you will get a message flashing across your screen at the top telling you found it/killed it.
  • SimpleMeter- this addon is a dps meter. It measures how much damage you and your party members are doing. It's not as sophisticated as some of WoW's dps addons, as you can't do much to filter it, but it works if you are wondering how your dps holds out against your allies. It doesn't seem to have a limit to what will display on your screen though, so the list of names and numbers can grow quite large if your in a raid or IA.
  • King Boss Mods-an instance and raid addon with detailed information on the various boss encounters in late game events. Kind of like Deadly Boss Mods for WoW.
  • Puzzle Map-gives you the location of the puzzles and cairns in the game so your not wandering all over creation for them or having to tab out and look it up. Quite handy if your also writing a blog!
     The list of addons you can get for Rift seems to be growing every time I look, which makes me very happy! I remember when Rift didn't even have that option, when they first came out. So long ago now!

     A few more interesting things of note. If you want, you can change and add key bindings to things you want, like the jump animation. I prefer mine to be the 0/Insert key on the number pad, because its right next to the arrow keys and so it's handy to just move my pinky over and hit it to jump in the air lol. And a few other things that I change up to match with my WoW characters, but that's just me. Like the guild key, achievements and raid key, etc. Also, if you don't want to spend however long on each and every single character every time you want to create an alt and need to fix up the UI, you can go your main character, type /exportui and then log into your alt and type /importui. And voila, like magic you'll have everything the same! Saves a lot of time and effort. Also, to change one of the action bars from a horizontal position to vertical like in my video, just right click the bar in question and it will automatically switch to vertical. Keep the bar near the middle of your screen or high enough up or it will disappear below your screen's view after changing to vertical!

     Well I hope this post was helpful for those who are new to MMO gaming or to Rift and were curious about UI setup and other things! I am not going to mention macros because I'm not familiar with them. I've never used macros except for one specific occasion while playing WoW and that was because I was looking for a specific rare pet to tame that wandered in various locations...I've never been a fan of macros. Also, I'm a "clicker" player. That means that I use my mouse to click on spells and keys, instead of using keybinds and my fingers. I've used a mouse for way too long to try changing now, and I'm pretty good at it. Or at least, I've done lots of progression raids in both Rift and WoW with no problems as healer, tank and dps. If you have questions, reply to me as a comment or a PM, or in game on Nightfever, Raeslyn, or Karazhan! I am always happy to reply! :)

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