Warning: This post isn't edited as thoroughly as it could be. I have content about Runes of Magic starting to back-up and I have other games to discuss. I want to get this information out there for people to use now, instead of waiting the several days in between for me to edit the content more thoroughly.
I appreciate games that open up aspects of functionality to the modding community. Designers are great at what they do but I’ve yet to meet the UI that perfectly suits my tastes and play style. Using mods and UI customizations, I can take the base features and tweak them in a way that improves my overall gaming experience. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t get all the righteous indignation over interfaces being cloned. As long as the features work properly, I could give a hoot. By the time I’m done, it’s all been re-skinned anyway.
I’m habitual like a cat. I’m the Accidental Tourist. I setup my interface and especially key-bindings, identically in all games. Auto Run is [Ins], Follow is [Del], Target Closest Enemy is [Backspace], etc. I don’t click to execute skills. I don’t use the numeric keys for them either. As a touch-typist I have my critical defense skills on Z, X, C and V. My critical offensive skills are on A, S, D and F. Secondary offensive skills that have cool downs are Q, W, E and R. Buffs and consumables reside on keys 1 to 0. And mounting my horse is =. You see, I’m not here to learn new ways of mashing buttons. I’m not interested in memorizing new keys for mounting my horse, what key is follow, what targets enemy mobs vs. friendly ones, etc. I’m there to conquer content, craft, have epic adventures, and tell a few good stories.
You’re going to get tired of hearing me say, that these things are merely the tools used on the journey but not why I came for a visit. I need to learn my class and how to utilize its skills to my advantage. However, that doesn’t mean a reinventing of the wheel. There’s no value in reinventing it. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I can jump in and out of every game I play with ease because I simplify and standardize the TOOLS. Once I decided that I was going to be playing Runes of Magic for a spell, I went in search of the tools I needed to establish my standard interface. At the end of this post I list the mods that I’m using and include screen-shots of my UI.
User Interface Customization
Nothing irks me more than a counter intuitive User Interface (UI). A really bad UI is a distraction, interferes with immersion and in an extreme, it can be game breaking. Because the placement and sizing of UI elements preferences can be SO subjective I think it’s best to just leave it open for player modification. Of course the features themselves have to be good. But let me decide where the mini map goes, player portraits, casting bars, etc. ROM decided you should have the option of customizing the UI to your tastes which is a good thing. Where the game had some elements was annoying me. I mentioned in a previous post that the upper left position of the portraits caused my eyes to play the look-up-and-down game during combat. No fear, there are several mod developers already turning out UI mods for ROM.
The varieties, while similar in nature to the things that have been available for World of Warcraft, are clearly not as plentiful for a new game. If you’ve heavily modded WOW before you’ll notice some of the UI re-skin names and tools. As a former serious WOW player and raider, I recognize the tool names being created, already in BETA and being requested on the ROM forums. This is also how I know for a fact that there are more than casual WOW players, knocking around ROM. So if you’re the kind of player that likes to customize your interface, you’ll have plenty of options in ROM. You can find most things on the recently deployed Runes of Magic section on Curse Gaming. Or you can do what I prefer, which is to check the European ROM UI forums and get things directly from there. There’s a lot more player feedback on the mods than you’ll find on Curse.
Downloading Game Add-ons
The selection of add-ons for ROM is thin at the moment. That’s not surprising since the game is still in BETA and some of the release features have not been deployed. Most of the focus right now is on UI customization since the UI is solid and not likely to undergo sweeping changes between now and launch. However, there are a few add-ons out there. I saw one for mail and the auction house. Honestly, I find the existing features extremely well done – cloned or not, so I personally don’t have much need for mods at this point. Not re-inventing just for the sake of, ROM has deployed a better mail, auction house and character maintenance applets than all of the other games that have launched since WOW. It’s better than Age of Conan, better than Lord of the Rings Online and makes me wonder what the fuk Mythic was thinking when they designed Warhammer’s mail and auction house. Perhaps that’s what you get when you go out of your way not to copy just ‘cuz.
How to download and install an add-on is exactly how you do it for WOW. Just unzip the file into Runes of Magic\Interface\addons. If the addons folder doesn’t already exist on your computer, just create it. All mods/add-ons go into that one folder. Personally, once I have a set of add-ons installed and verified to be working to my satisfaction, I make a copy of the add-ons folder and store it elsewhere. This way if you download something new and your game goes wonky, you can just restore to set of add-ons you know work. That is unless the problem is those add-ons are broken after a patch. Patches can break add-ons. Having to keep your add-ons updated is the chore and risk you assume if you start using them.
There are detailed guides on writing macros for ROM. I’m not going to attempt to do what’s already been done. I just want to impart some basic facts. As it stands now, ROM has a more wide-open macro system than other games I’ve played. Botting and gold-farmers being what they are in MMOs, I’m not sure how long they’ll be able to sustain that level of lenience. There’s a 256 character restriction which is common. However, unlike EQ2 where you can’t execute more than one skill per macro to prevent botting and WOW where you have to press the assigned macro key to execute the embedded skills, in ROM you can have has many commands/skills as will fit in 256 characters and you just press the button once. The pressing the button once part sort of blew my mind. I’ve written macros for myself in every MMO that supports them and I’ve NEVER been able to execute a whole sequence of skills via a single button push.
I don’t see how they are going to be able to allow this to hit live. It makes automating game play much too easy. Granted people who are bent on breaking the EULA don’t let those types of things stand in their way but still, it’s seems excessively lenient behavior. I’ve written some simple macros. I’m not a fan of having ones that execute combat maneuvers for me, that’s why I’m there. I like using macros to logically group buffs, perform utility duties and speak routine party communication. Grouping like tasks also allows you to cut down on the number of hotkeys needed, which is always welcomed.
A detailed guide on creating macros is available on the forums. Here are some simple macros to help you get started if you’d like to dabble.
Targets me and casts my standard set of buffs via a single click.
Benefit of this macro is obvious. Casts all my standard buffs, three of which are party buffs, so it will also buff party members
/cast Grace of Life
/cast Battle Monk Stance
/cast Magic Barrier
/cast Blessing of Rain
Nothing like being in the heat of battle and thinking that you’re healing yourself only to realize too late that you’re still healing your last friendly target. DOH! For that reason, I always have a set of HEAL ME macros and other defensive skills on keys Z to V
Executes my signature class heal which is a Heal Over Time spell
My “oh shit” something is going very wrong bubble- button that ensures the bubble, which has a 10 second cool down, is actually cast on me. People who hated the Paladin bubbles in WOW PVP, would gouge their eyes out and drown in a sea of QQs over this priest bubble (Wave Armor). In my opinion, it's so over powered at the moment that I don't use it unless I'm in dire straights. I don't want to become dependent on this bubble. I just don't see how it can skirt being nerfed after launch. I'm not on a PVP server and as much as I hate PVE viable skills being gutted over PVP, that's the way it works right now.
/cast Wave Armor
My mana is precious and in short supply. I let people know that I’m about to heal them so they don’t waste a consumable and other healer’s know I’m already on the job. My heals all announce who is being healed and what is being cast. The /p command sends the text to the Party chat. Using /s sends text to the Say chat.
Group Heal Macro 1
/cast Soul Source
Group Heal Macro 2
/cast Group Heal
Single Target Heal Macro
Single Target Heal Over Time Macro
Note: /wait is needed in between casting each skill. You need to know how much time each skill needs to cast before casting the next one in the macro. The skill tooltips will give you casting time. For instant casts, there is a global timer initiated that still locks you out from casting another skill for 1 second. The forums said it’s .75 seconds but I tried that value and it didn’t work. I used /wait 1 for all my instant casts that has worked with no problems.
My Current UI
(click to see full size)
(click to see full size)
My current list of Mods/Add-ons:
- AdBottomArt – adds that pretty graphic at the bottom of my UI where I have all my commonly used interface elements
- AdBuffBars – adds a moveable stacking list of my active buffs. As a Priest/Warrior I have several and a couple are critical to my build. This gives me an easy to way see what’s active.
- DPSMeter – displays your min, max and average DPS. Unlike WOW, the exact calculations for how stats affect your damage output, isn’t very clear. This lets me swap out gear and check for myself. I’m playing a melee DPS class which is very unusual for me so I need ways of knowing if my spec and customization of my gear is correct.
- MoveableCastingBar and MoveableMiniMap – basic I want to move thing where they make sense for me.
- qUnitFrames – enables the movement and customization of all frames. This was essential in stopping the eyes up/down during being inflicted on me during combat because of the original UI placement.
- XPExtended – Essential if you’re opting to pay for XP boost generating items for your house. For anyone it will tell you your XP gain and rest bonus XP. For RMT enhanced boosting, it lists the boosts you’re receiving from each furniture type!!! For everyone it tells you average XP gain, XP per hour, etc.
- pbinfo – provides additional mob information on roll-over. I find this usual. I have most the name plating information turned off to improve game performance in congested areas. This lets me see all the information on-demand.
Others I tried and liked but conflict in some way with the mods above which are more essential to my game play. If the conflicts get resolved I will use them, especially HudBars – I really want this one and hope the bugs are resolved soon. The visual bug I can live with but it doesn’t work in conjunction with qUnitFrames.
- Hudbars – displays health, mana and rage as arcs along side your character and target
- Compilation_Angry – compilation that used many of the ones I have but I preferred a different art style
- XBar – if you’re not using the furniture boosts you can get a simplified but XP bar that displays at the top of your screen
- EnhancedCombatLog – adds formatting to the combat log making it easier to read