January 29th, 2012 by admin
Posted in Blizzard

One of the smartest things that Blizzard did with the design of World of Warcraft is to make the user interface customizable through the creation of add-on modules that can supplement or even completely replace the built-in UI.

The WoW user interface is pretty decent overall, but there are a lot of places where obvious shortcuts have been overlooked, and a lot of rough edges and sharp corners.  Many of these things would be relatively easy to fix, but because they’ve spent so much time and effort in making the UI customizable, when it comes to fixing or improving these things, Blizzard is usually content to let someone make an add-on that addresses the issue.

It’s awesome that this possibility even exists in the first place, but unfortunately, not all WoW users are comfortable using add-ons.  Some believe that using add-ons is cheating in some way, despite Blizzard’s seal of approval. Many users are simply not confident enough in their own technical skills when it comes to something like installing or updating an add-on.

For many users, system performance is an issue when using add-ons. As programming tasks go, creating a basic add-on isn’t all that difficult, but that means there are a lot of add-ons written by people with questionable programming talent.  Combine that with the fact that WoW add-ons use the LUA scripting language, which is not really commonplace elsewhere in the computing world, and the result is that there are a lot add-ons which are inefficient and often just plain badly written.  As a result, for players with computers that aren’t quite state-of-the-art, a poorly written add-on can use up too much memory and suck down too much processor power.

With all this in mind, I’d like to present an open-letter to Blizzard requesting that they finally get around to including some of the more basic and obvious improvements to the UI, so that they no longer require add-ons.

Multi-Monitor Support

This isn’t really specifically a UI issue but the reason I’m asking for it has to do with better UI organization.  Awhile back, Blizzard added the option to select which monitor would be used for the game on a multi-monitor system, but it doesn’t use both monitors at the same time.

I want to be able to have the basic game display on the primary monitor, but move things like the chat window, raid frames, and possibly a few other things over to the secondary monitor.  This would leave the main display much less cluttered than it is now.

Map Coordinates

Many of the very first add-ons were devoted to the display of map coordinates, showing the player’s position on the world map, or showing the coordinates for the position where the mouse cursor was located.  However, seven years and more after launch, there is still no built-in option for displaying map coordinates.

There are three obvious places where map coordinates should be shown.  First is on the mini-map.  Second is on the world map.  The user’s current position should be shown and the position where the mouse cursor is currently hovering should be shown.

Chat Window Options

Please let us select the font used for the chat window!  And let us choose a wider option of font sizes!  I would really like to use something like a 6 or 7 point Arial or Verdana so that I could minimize the chat window and still get a reasonable amount of text in there, but it just won’t let me unless I use an add-on.

Moveable Action Bars

Yet another really basic, commonplace thing for add-ons to do.

Moveable Windows

For some reason, most of the basic windows and dialog boxes that the game uses cannot be moved unless there’s an add-on in place to do it.  Makes no sense.

 

 

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