WoW has a pretty unique user interface in that it is very easily manipulated. I haven’t played any other MMOs but according to things I have read on the internet, the UIs of other MMOs were pretty locked. Your UI is pretty important. As a tank there is an awful lot of information that you need to be able to get at a glance and process quickly but at the same time you want a relatively clear viewport so you can see what is going on around you.
Starting from the top I have FuBar to organize a bunch of my addons. I used titan panel for a long time but I think the author stopped developing it so I switched to FuBar. You may notice that I have a whopping 338 gold. I might get an epic flying mount by the time I hit level 80 >.>
For the character frames I use Pitbull and you can see me and my target in the top left corner. Those two frames aren’t particularly important so they get tucked up there kind of out of the way. I have many HPs.
Underneath those is my combat log which is handled by a mod called Eavesdrop. Eavesdrop is pretty kickass since it lets you quickly glance at your combat log and wade through piles and piles of garbage to find the info you want since it only shows things that are incoming to you and outgoing from you.
Under the combat log are my chat windows. I have found that I simply cannot keep up with guild chat or raid chat while tanking. Boss yells and emotes and raid warnings fill up that window pretty fast so I pulled the important things like the tank channel and whispers into a separate chat frame so I don’t miss anything good. The tank channel is the place to be anyway, I think half my guild hangs out in there… I have an addon called Prat that handles my chat windows and it does a whole lot more than I use it for. I have no clue what most of its features do but it truncates some stuff and colors names by class and some other little things that a not vital by any means but are nice to have.
To the right of the chat windows is where things start getting important. The thingy with the green letters is an addon called Demon. It keeps track of important debuffs on the boss and the letters turn red if the debuffs aren’t up. The ‘T’ lets me know that it is tracking my target and not a focus which it can do in a separate ‘F’ window. DS is Demo Shout, TC is Thunder Clap, SA is Sunder Armor, then Curse of Elements, Shadows and Recklessness, then Faerie Fire and the number at the bottom is the total number of debuffs on the boss. This is a very fast way to figure out if the boss has the proper debuffs. We don’t use Curse of Recklessness because Illidan hits hard enough as it is.
Next to Demon are my hotbars. I use Trinity Bars to cut them up. All of my important abilities have keybindings and I really only have the hotbars visible so I can watch cooldowns.
Right above the hotbars I have my target of target frame courtesy of PitBull. Between watching my cooldowns and my own HP and Demon, I probably spend the most time watching this part of my screen.
Next to the hotbars are my raid frames. I tried to use PitBull for my raid frames so it would match my other unit frames but I couldn’t get a setup that I liked so I just went with XPerl which I had been using for a while. I like XPerl because it has a feature called Grim Reaper which will show the last 10 things that happened to anyone in the raid before they died which is great to quickly figure out how someone died.
Next to the raid frames is an add-on any tank should be familiar with, Omen. We don’t have a rule in our guild about KTM or Omen as long as everyone has one or the other. I like the funtionality and cleaner look of Omen so I run with that. I was making many threats at the time I took this screenshot.
Next to Omen is my minimap which is modified with an addon called SimpleMiniMap that lets me make it square fit nicely in the corner.
Just above the minimap is Natur Enemy Cast Bars which is an excellent addon for any class. I have it set to show only the time remaining on debuffs I put on the boss. There is a lot more that it is capable of showing but I have enough info to digest as is so I try to keep that simple. I don’t know why it always shows me mortal strike though…
Above NECB are my Deadly Boss Mods timers. Some guilds use BigWigs, mine uses DBM. The functionality is pretty much the same. Anything with a longish amount of time shows up on the right side and then when there are only 5 seconds left on a timer it switches to the left side that I labelled DBM Timers 2. So I can glance at the timers on the right to see what is coming in the long term and I can look left to see what is about to happen in the immediate future.
Above DBM is my buff bar. I finally took the 3 minutes it takes to figure out Buffalo and have been loving it ever since.
Above the buff bar are the Main Tank windows. I can’t raid without MT window, it drives me nuts. CTRaidAssist has been around since Molten Core and does the job well but I like the look of oRa2 better and they are totally compatible with each other so, just like KTM or Omen, you can use whichever you prefer.
And finally in the top center of my screen is the enemy cast bar. I use Quartz for this and I made the cast bar as large as it would possibly go. Its nice for just about everything but when there is a specific ability you need to look out for and interrupt or spell reflect or break a castable fear, nothing beats giant cast bar.
That’s it. That’s my UI as of last night. It presents me will all kinds of good info at a glance and isn’t too cluttered. I know it looks like a mess with all the combat text in the middle, but in the middle of the action I almost don’t even notice that. I know there are some Neanderthals out there who claim that the defualt blizzard gives them everything they could possibly want or need, but I think those are the same people who didn’t think the first sliced bread was a big deal.
Edit: The original picture was pretty huge so I shrunk it by 75%