Saturday, 13 March 2010

Rune Display Mods

Death Knights don't use mana. We don't use rage, focus or anything like that at all.  When Blizzard created the Death Knight class, they decided on an odd collection of runes and runic power to control the availability of our abilities.  Official statements from Blizzard have stated that the rune system is going to be overhauled for Cataclysm, until then we're working with what we've got.

Put as simply as possible, the Death Knight has six runes that act as individual mini-cooldowns that limit the use of many instant-cast abilities, which will require using one, two or three of these runes to power it.

But wait, there's more... runes come in three flavours: blood, frost and unholy - they're not interchangeable and different abilities require different runes.  Spamming one particular ability becomes rather tricky as normally, at most, you're going to be able to hit off a couple of shots and you're waiting for the runes to cooldown.  That's 10 seconds under the most common circumstances.

Add into that the wildcard Death Runes that you can have popping up all over the place (which act as blood, frost or unholy as you so wish) and you can see that to keep things flowing smoothly you need to know just what you've got available and how soon you will have to wait before you unleash more pain upon your target of choice.

Using your abilities will generate another resource, Runic Power, which functions fairly similarly to a warrior's Rage mechanic.  This allows you to unleash completely different offensive and defensive abilities and can smooth over those stagnant periods whilst you're waiting for those runes to pop back up.  Add to this an obsessive desire to keep your diseases up on your target and you can see that there are quite a few things to keep track of in the middle of all of the carnage of a 25 man raid.

Personally, I find this need to keep an eye on so many things at once rather satisfying.  Neglecting the constant juggling act of Runes, Runic Power and Diseases relegates you to the category of Deathtard.  You can have the right gear, gems, enchants and specs, but get the runes wrong and basically, you'll suck.

Blizzard Default.

This is what we're given as default to help us with our juggling act.  See those six little circles?  Those are your runes.  See those little clock-face, pie-style counters over the top of them?  Me either...  See that thin, blue line?  That's your Runic Power.  It's stuck up in the top left corner of your screen miles away from where all the action is happening.  "Don't stand in what?!  Oops, sorry... I was too busy squinting at this stupid little circle to see when I could press another button..."

So.  Not a fan at all.

Enter the Rune Display Mod...  I've got some requirements that I want out of my display mod.  I want to be able to put it in my line of sight so that I can focus on what I'm doing, I want the information to imprint itself into my brain, via my retinas without me have to do any of that annoying concentrating business.

I want to be able to still see the fire that I'm not supposed to stand in.

When I don't need it, I don't want to know that it even exists.

Having a built in disease tracker makes me smile.

Finally, looking cool and Death Knighty is a bonus.

This is my search for a UI mod that lets me get the job done, /follow me and see where we end up... Runes

Together with its best buddy Diseases, you get something that looks like this.

I used this for quite a while, it looks very much the part and it's very easy to see what's happening as well as what's about to happen.  Having runes a sliding bars lets you see what is going on without having to think about it.  A simpler graphical interface is available and it can disappear when you don't need it.

The only thing that caused me to look elsewhere was my inability to put it somewhere where I could see both it and the action going on around me.  Towards the centre distracted me from seeing the fire, too far away and my eyes were having to flick around too much and focus.

Magic Runes

All the information that you need in one place.  As clear and simple as you like with sliding bars, so nice and easy to see what's going on and when the runes are going to be back up.

On the downside, all the bars are a little too similar to each other for my liking.  I prefer the runes, RP and diseases to have different looks.  Doesn't make me feel like a resurrected, unholy killing machine, either...

Magic Runes - Icon Display:

Nice and simple.  As usual, lots of different setups to tweak. but no diseases and no sliding things.  Not bad if you want the minimalist approach somewhere that you can easily see it, but not really the thing for me.  It has as much flavour as you can pack into six little icons, but I like more!

Rune Watch

Ooh... Me like... shiny...

More flavour than a whole pack of Starburst... this thing is a work of art.

It's got runes, runic power, diseases and even a Horn of Winter countdown timer.  They all have differing appearances and it disappears when you don't need it.

Did I mention how pretty it looks?

The only reason that I'm not using it is because it relies on the numerical countdown for the timers.  If it had sliding runes and diseases, I'd grab it... might spoil the look, though...


Sliding runes? Check.  Runic power? Check.

Take a look at it!  It's flippin' Frostmourne!  Another work of art to remind you what your job is.

No diseases, unfortunately and the runes are a bit squashed up to make it all fit in.  Again, like its cousin Runes, it's a bit too tricky to put in a place where I can see it but not be distracted by it.

Yuri's Rune Display

Another simple one in the vein of Magic Runes - Icon Display.  Exactly the same pros and cons, but rather neat and tidy looking.

Acherus Runes

Named after everyone's favourite floating citadel with trainers to help you re-spec, it's Acherus...

Several different layouts, from the very simple to this one I'm using here.  It's got everything that I want (almost) from a mod.  Runes, runic power, diseases and all of them on sliding bars.  I can place it right where I want it, assimilate all the information on the go and it's not distracting me.  Out of combat, it's gone.  It even has proc watcher icons that appear when Rime and Killing Machine proc.

Whilst it may not have the artistic stylings of some of the others, at least it tries its best with the inverted triangle thing.

So that's what I'm using at the moment.


In the end, everyone has different needs when is comes to assimilating the information that you want quickly.  What works for one person may give another person a raging headache when they try to use it.  All of these mods have lots of settings and layouts to tweak, so try them out, play around with them, give yourself a bit of time to get used to them and move onto another if it doesn't work for you!

Keep your diseases up and move out of the fire...

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