Well, my old UI wasn’t cutting it any more. I’ve ignored it as long as possible, and when 3.1 hit, I could ignore it no longer. 6 abilities that need to be woven around each other does not lend itself well to my old 1-2-3-4 SV keybindings. I’m also not willing to install any new addons! What’s a hunter to do?
Well, to start with, I took inventory of the addons I could use. I have bartender4 for action bars, and power auras. That should be enough, right? Well, what I wanted was a heads up display that allowed me to see what shots were off cooldown without having to stare at the bottom left of my screen.
Like most (lazy) people, I have just about every trained ability somewhere in the massive bloat of action bars I keep attached to the bottom and sides of my UI. I know I almost never use feed pet, but when I do, it’s sorta close to the top right. I know that I’ll almost never have to use tame pet, but I have it in the same bar I keep my alchemy and blacksmithing buttons. Well, burying explosive shot somewhere in that mess will no longer do for me. Additionally, I wanted to optimize my key bindings.
I have 6 abilities that need to be tracked and easily used. In order of frequency, it’s steady shot, explosive shot, aimed shot, serpent sting, black arrow, and then kill shot. The priority is completely different (see my rotation post for details). I put all 6 on a new action bar (without taking them off my old one), and made it click through and only visible in combat with bartender. I moved it about an inch higher than the head of my character when I’m zoomed out, and that way I can always stare at the cooldowns while using my peripheral vision to track other stuff going on (like adds, fire, void zones, etc).
Now that I’m staring at that, I figured I would reconfigure power auras to display my debuff tracking visual queues closer to the “center of action”. I use some of the strings that BigRedKitty posted when he first started survival, slightly modified. Specifically, I use his aspect of the viper, serpent sting, hunter’s mark, low mana, and lock and load auras. I added an aura of my own that tells me when black arrow is available, even if it’s in the middle of a global cooldown.
I moved all my notification auras up a few inches to surround my new action bar of 6 abilities. Since only my viper aura is visible out of combat, my screen is clear unless I’m fighting something. When I am, I can see my cooldowns and auras without having to look at the bottom left action bar and the top middle boss debuffs.
As for key bindings, I have surprisingly little real estate. I can’t easily move while pressing shift-4, for example. This means that any abilities I bind with a shift have to be only used while standing still, like steady shot. But, like I said, I fire steady shot a lot and adding a shift for it doesn’t make ergonomic sense. So, not counting shift and control key combos, my real estate was pretty slim. I use W, A, S, and D to move, Q and E to turn (if my mouse is otherwise occupied), R to reply, C to open my character screen, which leaves precious little else. Also, I am unwilling to unlearn various muscle memory tasks like aspect switching with Z and pet attacking with F.
My solution was to put my most commonly fired shots on 1, 2, 3, and 4, and then my least commonly fired (but very important) shots, black arrow and kill shot, onto shift-F and X, respectively. It took some getting used to, but I’m glad I did it. Some of you won’t already have an affinity for the Z and F buttons that you don’t want to unlearn, so you’ll have a little more flexibility than me.
That’s it for now folks- until next time!