This blog will be deleted soon. We have moved to nedruid.com, transferring all old content. Please update your bookmark.
If you are the admin of a board or guild website, please update your links. The feral gear posts, Kara guide and Bartender overview are all on the new site, in addition to plans on upgrades to all those posts and more.
See you there!!!
Interested? I’m assuming I’m not the only one out there who needs more money.
I’ve long since wanted to write a series on how to effectively use Auctioneer to make money; living the high life of buying low and selling high. Trouble is, I never really felt like I had a good handle on how best to use Auctioneer effectively. I just couldn’t get my furry little head wrapped around the ins and out of Auctioneer. Maybe us bears get slapped in the head too often, or maybe we’re just not cut out to be accountants, but it just wasn’t sinking in.
Compounding the problem recently is the introduction of Auctioneer Advanced. So now I have to learn two add-ons???
Well, I’ve found a nice little blog that solved my problem for me (and you). I recently found Og’s Ledger, and there are some great Auctioneer resources on his site. Not only does Og have an overview of Auctioneer Classic, and a two part overview of Auctioneer Advanced, he has ongoing threads around how to make money using the Auction House. For those of you that would like to understand the ins and outs of Auction House trading, this is a blog you should have bookmarked.
Og also has a category called “Rags to Riches” where he details his adventures on a daily basis trying to make money buying and selling on the Auction House. It’s from the perspective of low level starting characters, but his detail in describing the process I think could help anyone.
Here’s a summarized list of links into Og’s Ledger for this topic:
Og’s Ledger has a lot of other good information. Most of the posts are concerning with buying and selling and making money. If this is something that relates to you, then add Og to your blog list. I will be right after this post.
As in “I’m in it!”
I haven’t updated my add ons for quite a while, just checking the “load out of date add ons” every patch. Generally, everything works fine. However, since it’s been quite a few patches since I’ve really updated, I have started to get some errors here and there with enough frequency to become annoying. With a couple hours to spend last night, I set myself to the task of updating everything. Why does this activity take so long and become so frustrating???
Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that Blizzard opened this up to the player community and it’s obvious from the amount of add-ons we have to choose from that that variety of choice would not have been able to be generated by Blizzard. Add-ons I (and you presumably), can’t live without. But why does the process of updating them have to be so cumbersome, time-consuming, and sometimes fruitless? For instance, I use FuBar over Titan and I always have a ridculously tough time finding complete Fu updates, whereas Titan seems to be all over the place. A couple other add-ons I have I can’t even find on the major sites.
In my perfect world, I see one site for all World of Warcraft add-ons, where they are tested and debugged and put on a central server with unlimited connections and bandwidth. Blizzard programmers busy themselves to create an add-on manager for the game client that automatically manages the download and installation of updated add-ons. Additionally, those same programmers also continuously ensure that they add no code to the game that will break old add-ons, even if they are never updated. If an add-on isn’t updated for a particular patch in a reasonable amount of time, and at least one player uses it, then Blizzard updates the add-on themselves.
/wakes up, shakes head and wipes drool off desk
I suppose you can’t have it both ways: you can’t have the creativity of the player community at large along with centralized management by the game developer (or probably anyone for that matter). I also know that there are some auto-updaters out there, although I’ve never experimented with them. I gotta think though that some enterprising player out there has the same gripes, is a lot smarter than me, and could figure out how to solve this issue. That person would be my hero.
How about you guys? I try to keep my add-on list to a minimum and I still have a bunch. I know there are some of you out there with tons of add-ons. What’s your strategy to keep them up to date, yet preserve your sanity?
I can always count on a big spike in hits after a major patch. Everyone is searching for help on setting up action bars. I got about a 30% or higher number of hits yesterday, with most of them finding my post on setting up Bartender 3. I still stand by Bartender 3 and really haven’t done anything to it since setting it up a while back. So if you follow the guide and get it set up once, you should be good to go for quite a while.
Just to reiterate, I switched to Bartender from Bongos due to persistent form switching issues with Bongos. I’ve since read that there is a new version of Bongos out which I suppose I should try. I’m really hesitant though to try a new setup since Bartender is still working so good.
Anyone out there using Bongos 2 and willing to offer a review and/or setup guide? I would pay handsomely (read: no money, but immortal fame and glory from the credit you would get for the post 🙂 ).
I just ran into a Bartender 3 issue that I didn’t cover in my previous post that you need to be aware of if you plan on setting it up on one account for multiple characters.
There is a profile system in BT3 just like many mods. I just realized this last night as I had played my Hunter alt over the weekend and layed out his action bars via BT3. Well, when I logged into Amanna, my Druid main last night, some of my action bars were all re-arranged. Obviously, the changes I had made on behalf of Mangle had impacted Amanna.
There is a profile option on the BT3 menu. If you’re using the mini-map button, just right-click on the button to get the big, vertical menu. Down almost to the bottom you’ll see the profile option. I played around with it last night and couldn’t quite get the hang of it. Most mods I use that have a profile option, let you just save the current configuration as a named profile and assign it to the current character. At least at first blush, that didn’t seem to be how BT3’s profile system worked. The only way I could get Amanna’s bars back to the way I had them setup, was to select the “default” profile.
I’ll play around with this and try to figure it out. If anyone out there is using BT3 and has the profile system down, then please share with us how it works and what we need to do to support different configurations for different characters.
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As I’ve posted before, corresponding with the release of The Burning Crusade, I switched from Bongos to Bartender 3 for action bar modification. If you are looking for an action bar mod, and your needs are basic, or you’re just getting started playing around with bar modding, then I highly recommend Bartender 3 (BT3). In this post, I’ll give you an overview of how I setup the mod for my use and my thoughts on the mod itself.
So before we get started, let’s cover some Bartender basics. Bartender offers all the basics you are probably looking for in a bar mod, including:
- Full style control ( Alpha / Scale / Padding )
- Split up Bars into Rows
- Set the number of buttons per bar ( only 1 – 12 supported, for short bars )
- Dynamic Page Swapping for Stances ( on all Bars, by default enabled on Bar1 )
- Dynamic Page Swapping on Modifier Down ( Shift / Ctrl / Alt )
- Custom Styles included: Zoomed Buttons, Dreamlayout
- Integrated Cooldown Count and RedRange
- Self Casting using a modifier key, or Right Click on the button
Important Note 1: That third feature is important and may be an important consideration for you in deciding whether to use BT3 or not. While you can configure the number of buttons per bar from 1 – 12, you are limited to 10 action bars overall. Other mod give you virtually unlimited functionality on bars, BT3 does not. So if you need that level of functionality, you can stop reading. Personally, this hasn’t been a limitation for me and I believe is a contributing factor to BT3’s stability and lack of stance switching issues that I saw in other mods.
Important Note 2: Button key binding is controlled via the standard Key Bindings menu from the game interface. If you scroll down past the standard key bindings menu you will eventually find a BT3 keybindings menu. Find the bar you want to keybind, and assign keybindings just like you did for the standard action bars. Important: once you assign keybindings for a particular action bar, you have by default assigned keybindings for any other bar you will be switching to when switching forms. So, if you assign keybindings for Bar 2 and define a switch to Bar 3 when you go to Bear form, then there is no need to define keybindings for Bar 3. They will be the same as Bar 2.
Important Note 3: While BT3 can be used by any class, this overview is written from the perspective of a Druid. For us Druids, one of the main benefits is the ability to automatically switch action bars based on our various forms. I cannot speak with authority on what button paging options are available for other classes. However, my alt character is a Hunter and I can say that there are no button paging options for aspects.
So, just to get us started, here’s what my UI looks like:
You can see my default action bar setup in the lower right-hand corner (click the image for a full size view). I have the Blizzard main menu at the bottom in case I need to get at my character, talents, etc. in a hurry or in while I’m in chat. Over on the right side of the screen, I have a vertical bar where I put my low- to medium-use buttons. Things like hearthstone, professions, food and drink, etc. Then underneath my form switch bar, I have one bar that is my catch-all bar. It’s my temporary holding area for actionable quest items I need to get at quick, and some other miscellaneous items. I don’t use a lot of macros currently, so between this bar and the vertical bar on the right, I’m pretty much set with just these two above and beyond my main action bars.
So, to see where we’re headed, here’s what my bars look like when I switch forms. Here’s my buttons in Bear form:
Here’s Cat form:
And here’s Cat Form – Prowl:
Planning your layout
“Hear me now, believe me later”– a little planning up front will help make your whole setup process go smoother; and it’s not that hard. Fire up World of Warcraft and get out a piece of paper. Now for each form you have (Caster, Bear, Cat, Tree of Life, Moonkin – dang we get to have a lot of fun), write down the buttons you currently have defined. Total the number of buttons you have for each form. Now here’s your first decision point. Given the bars you have to work with (10 total) and the number of buttons you have defined by form, work out a scheme for laying out your buttons.
If you’re not currently using an action bar mod and are pretty happy with your current layout, then you can forge ahead. When you install BT3, it draws upon your current button bar layout for to setup it’s initial configuration.
Myself, I wanted to change things a bit. I had seen a UI screenshot before where someone had three rows of Regrowth, Rejuv, and Healing Touch stacked together representing three different levels of each spell. I liked that layout and decided to implement it with BT3. So I knew at least in main Caster form, I was going to need 3 bars.
You’ll also notice in my UI that I only have 9 buttons per action bar. This was a decision on my part to try to scale down the amount of space my buttons took up on the screen. After adding up the number of buttons I needed in my animal forms, I found I needed two button bars per form. Once I threw in another bar for Prowl (even though I only needed two buttons), I found I was out of bars (2 miscellaneous bars, 3 in caster form, 2 in bear form, 2 in cat form and 1 for cat in prowl form).
I was okay with this, as I’m not button crazy and don’t need a lot of extra buttons. If you do, then either extend the length of your bars (up to 12 buttons) and/or combine more buttons on one bar. I easily could have freed up 2 or 3 more bars.
Install and configure BT3
Once you’ve got your action bar setup mapped out, you’re ready to install and configure Bartender 3. The install is just like any other mod. BT3 can be found on all the major download sites. I happen to like wowinterface.com.
Once you have the mod installed, it’s time to log into WoW and set it up. If you have multiple characters you may want to allocate BT3 just for the character you are going to setup. Your action bars are going to be all over the place until you configure them, so this way you won’t have to configure every single character you have all at once.
So now you’re ready to configure your action bars. Log in to the character whose bars you want to setup. Most likely, you’ll see a mess. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it looks. In fact, you should notice that your buttons are all pretty much in place, they just aren’t formatted very well. So let’s start by configuring your main (caster) bars.
To configure your bars, you need to unlock them. To see your options, just hover the pointer over the icon. To unlock your bars, simplyShift+leftclick it the icon.
Once your bars are unlocked you can move them around and configure them. You might need to move some bars around to uncover bars underneath them. You’ll know which bar is which because there will be yellow “Bar x” text over each bar.
To access the action bar configuration menu, right-click any of your action bars to see the bar configuration menu.
This is the action bar configuration menu. From here you can size your bars, set transparency, padding, etc. etc. Start here and get your main caster bars setup the way you want them. BT3 doesn’t have any automatic bar snapping or aligning, so you’re on your own to get your bars lined up the way you want.
The “Enabled” check mark controls whether the bar in question is active or not. The “Hide” option controls whether the bar is displayed by default. Your main caster bars should be set to Enabled and not hidden. All the bars for your alternate forms will be hidden so they only display when you switch forms.
You can use the Buttons option on the bottom of the menu to control how many action buttons are on this bar. You’ll also notice there is no vertical option. If you want a vertical bar (or a square group of action buttons), use the Rows option to increase the number of rows. A vertical bar of 12 buttons would have a Button setting of 12 and a Rows setting of 12.
I won’t go into the other options. You can play around with them yourself.
Okay, now that your main bars are all setup, let’s setup your automatic bar switching by form. Let’s start with Bear form. Your bars need to still be in unlocked mode.
Pick the action bar you want to turn into your first Bear form action bar. Right click on it to get the configuration menu. From here you simply press Button Paging / Stances / Bear Form. A little slider window will pop up. Move the slider so it indicates the number of the bar you want to switch to when you enter Bear form. That’s it! Pretty easy, huh?
From here, go on to setup your other Bear form bars (if you have more than one), and bar switching for all your other forms.
Now, if you didn’t do it before, go into the game menu’s Keybindings menu and scroll down until you find the Bartender 3 action bar section. From there, setup your keybindings as desired for your action bars. Remember, and this is important, only setup keybindings for your main display bars. You do not need to setup keybindings for any bar you switch to based on a form change. The new bar will have the keybindings of the original bar by default.
You may need or want to play with the individual action buttons on your bars. For me, the easiest way to do this was to wait until I have all my bars setup and form switching defined. Now just go form by form and move your buttons around. By default BT3 locks individual buttons so you can’t accidentally remove them. To move a button off it’s current slot, just press Shift and then click and move the button. This option can be turned off via the mini-map option. Just click to set the Button Lock option to Off. Personally, I leave this option on as I’m prone to those accidental deletions.
So, once you’re all setup, you may have something that looks like this. You can see my main caster bars, and miscellaneous bars are green since they are the only ones not hidden. My alternate animal form bars are red as they are hidden. I have them all spread out so I can see them all at a glance in configuration mode and get at them separately.
What I like about Bartender 3
* It works! No keybinding issues, no form switching issues – it just works.
* Good flexibility and configuration options for laying out your action bars and buttons.
* Integration with FuBar. I use FuBar and I’m always annoyed that everything seems integrated with Titan but not FuBar.
* Some nice basic perks included – red out of range indication, cooldown count, self-casting modification, and the ability to turn off tooltips.
What bugs me about Bartender 3
* It’s strength is how basic it is, but some aids to help bar setup would be appreciated – like sticky bars and auto centering like I had in Bongos.
* The system to save different configuration profiles for multiple characters isn’t real easy to understand. I’m trying to get a handle on it and will post a follow-up once I have it figured out.
So there’s my long promised overview of Bartender 3. It’s a “must have” addon for me and I’m sure it will be for you too. I really did try to keep this overview to a reasonable length, but I wanted to make sure to give you benefit of my experience in setting it up. Please give me comments if I forgot anything and I will add to the post.
In case you missed the link above, you can download BT3 here.
Just in case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a new version of Outfitter available. The new version is 2.0.1 and you can download it here.
I just installed it and it seems more stable than the version I was using. I was having a lot of quirks with items not switching correctly between forms, and getting attached to the wrong outfit somehow. That’s all cleared up now, in addition to some minor, if not useful, tweaks (like an indication of which outfits the item is configured to in the item tooltip.
A while back, I published an overview of Bongos and called it part 1. I intended to cover this addon in two parts simply because there was so much to say about it and I wanted to cover it’s configuration in great detail to help you out. I had been using it for a while and it was a tremendous gameplay aid for us Druids as we switched forms.
Well, shortly after I published part 1 of the overview, Bongos underwent several version changes in the space of a couple weeks. In one instance, completely reverting back to code from a few version prior because of issues with a newly released version (the new version was, I thought, a great step forward in making setup more straightforward). In monitoring the message boards, I found lots of users having issues with keybindings and stance change problems.
Given the frequent code changes taking place, and the ongoing user issues, I made the decision to switch my action bar mod. I wish Bongos the best and I may come back to it one day. I continue to see it mentioned in other blogs and other than the few (albeit critical) issues it had, it was a great tool.
However, my approach to addons is very simple:
- They need to be easy to setup
- They need to add to my gameplay
- They need to work, consistently
I like to play World of Warcraft; I don’t particularly like to fool around with addons and mods. Some people really like that – I’m not one of them. I understand there are version updates for patches and the odd functional update. But if a mod gets to the point where I need to keep updating it just to keep it working, then I start looking for a replacement.
And so it was with Bongos.
I hit the major addon websites and started searching for a replacement. I looked for mods that were highly rated, had active author participation on the boards, had an easy setup, and didn’t seem to have a lot of ongoing issues reported by players. I immediately eliminated Discord as to labor-intensive to setup, and shortly thereafter dropped Flexbar from consideration for the same reason. That left me with Trinity and Bartender 3.
I was initially concerned with Bartender 3 (BT3) as I had read about a number of issues with it around key bindings, which was what I was trying to get away from with Bongos. However, I then noticed that most of the issues were with previous versions of Bartender and 3 was a complete rewrite for the Burning Crusade release.
I checked out Trinity on a couple of the site and hit some forum boards. While I like the look of Trinity and it seems to offer some flexibility I might take advantage of, I became concerned when again I read posts complaining of key binding issues and stance (form)-switching issues. Also, it quickly became apparent that Trinity setup, while not as complicated as Discord or Flexbar, was still complicated enough that it required downloading several guides to take you successfully through setup.
So, eventually I settled on Bartender 3. It took me about 20 minutes to get it completely setup and that included time to plan the layout of my action bars by druid form (an activity I highly recommend). I’ve been using BT3 now for about 3 weeks and it has been rock solid with no issues at all. BT3 keybindings are done through the standard Blizzard keybindings menu, so maybe that helps it’s stability.
Bt3 is a very basic mod, so if you’re looking for a lot of flexibility you will probably be disappointed. But if you want an action bar mod that is simple to setup, is stable and has sufficient configuration to support action bar switching for all your forms (including Prowl), then BT3 may be your answer.
I will get an overview of Bartender 3, including setup and configuration, up on the site over the next week.
My research sites:
I’m going to write my long-promised overview of Bongos in two parts. Bongos is an action bar modification addon that gives you virtually complete control over your action bar setup. It is not tha only mod out there. It is the mod I selected because it offers fairly a good amount of action bar control, with fairly ease of setup. There are other mods out there offering more functionality, but from what I read they require much more setup and maintenance.
That being said, action bar modding is not for the faint of heart. After all, you are playing around with the very mechanism by which you tell your character and the game itself what you want it to do. The first time you install an action bar mod, login and see all your bars totally screwed up, it can be a bit unnerving. However, using a well-established tool like Bongos, and about 30 minutes or less of configuration time, you will be rewarded with a custom action bar setup, giving you:
- More screen real estate to see the action
- Better performance due to these addons being coded from the ground up to be more efficient than the standard WoW interface
- An action bar setup customized to your playstyle
- Automatic bar switching based on your current form (supports Caster, Bear, Cat, Aquatic, Moonkin/Tree of Life, Flight and Prowl)
In this first part, I plan on giving you the “real-world” overview of what you will be getting in to if you want to setup Bongos. One of my big complaints with Bongos used to be the lack of documentation on how to use it, and the relatively complexity of the addon, even though it was one of the simpler action bar mods out there.
Well, much of this got addressed in the latest release of the addon. Some overview documentation, although condensed, has been posted along with the addon on all the major UI download sites. Also, with the last release, the author has done I think a great job updating how Bongos is setup and configured to be much more understandable.
So in this post I want to do two things – give you a very overview of the basic concepts of Bongos and respond to the documentation posted on the UI sites with some real-world observations having setup and configured the mod.
Bongos gives you total control over 120 action buttons. You could create 120 one button action bars, 10 twelve button action bars or any other combination. On each action bar, you can control size, scale, button spacing, opacity and location.
Bongos downloads with the following modules:
- Bongos – The core addon
- Bongos_ActionBar – Breaks up the main action bar into movable parts
- Bongos_Stats – A display for latency, framerate, and memory usage
- Bongos_RollBar – Makes the frame for rolling on items movable
- Bongos_CastBar – A movable casting bar, with the ability to show cast time
- Bongos_XP – A movable experience/reputation bar
- Bongos_MapBar – A customizable minimap
- Bongos_Options – A dynamically loaded options menu for Bongos
So not only do you have complete control over your action bars, but you get access to some of the other bars as well.
Bongos also has the concept of “paging”. For each action bar, you can define which pageset it is part of up to 6 pages. Pages let you do things like define actions bars that only display for particular forms. So you can have an action bar for Cat that only shows when you are in Cat form.
The new release of Bongos also supports action bar “docking”. This allows you to drop one action bar on top of the other to dock the two bars. You can dock any number of bars together. The docking effect along with paging allow you to have different action bars show onscreen, in the same location, based on your various forms. The two effects together give you a lot of flexibitliy in what appears on your screen. You can also therefore have some action bars that stay on screen regardless of which form you are in.
Bongos Documentation and “Real-World” Comments
So here I’ll post the documentation that the mod author has posted on the UI sites. Most of it is self-explanatory and works. After the documentation, I’ll give some of my real-world comments based on my experiences with Bongos.
- To bring up the options menu, left click the Bongos mini map button, or type /bongos
- To unlock bars, uncheck the lock bars option in the main options menu, or right click the mini map button
- To hide or show a bar, unlock bars, then middle click or shift right click it.
- To move a bar, unlock bars, and then click and drag it with the left mouse button.
- To bring up a bar’s configuration menu, right click it
- Bindings for the Bongos action bar should only be done via the bindings menu in Bongos.
- To bind keys, open the main options panel, and select the bindings option. Hover over a button, then press a key to bind it to that button
- To access general action bar options, like enabling right click self cast, hiding hotkeys, or showing empty buttons, open up the main options window (/bongos or left click the mini map button), and select the action bars panel
- To adjust the layout of a given bar, or reduce its size, unlock bars and right click the bar you want to adjust to bring up its configuration menu
- Moving buttons: Hold down the key for moving buttons (shift by default), and drag a button. Alternatively, unlock button positions by shift right clicking the mini map button, or unchecking the option in the main options menu
- Making a bar bigger: You can increase the maximum size of a given bar by reducing the number of action bars. To do so, adjust the action bars slider on the action bar panel of the main options menu. This option will reset the settings of your actionbars
- Its possible to make a bar switch to another set of buttons using the stances panel in the Bongos Options menu.
- To do so, open up the stances tab of the options menu. A list of current bar transitions will be displayed on the screen. Follow directions from there.
- Enabling paging on a bar means that pressing the appropriate key binding (shift+1 to shift-6 by default) will cause a bar to switch to the next bar.
- To enable paging, either right click a bar and check the paging option, or check the option for the bar via the paging menu
- Its possible to adjust how many bars are jumped when paging by adjusting the skip option on the paging panel. The default is to skip 0 bars, meaning going to page 2 will go to the next bar, whereas setting skip to page 1 would shift up two bars.”
Okay, now that I read back through all this, only two real world comments:
- Pay close attention to the comment in red. If you go into the options panel and adjust the number of action bars, for example from 10 to 15 because you underestimated the number of action bars you needed, Bongos more or less completely throws out your bar configuration. Yea, most if not all of your buttons will have the action you place there still in place, but things like sizing, location, docking, etc. will need to be completely re-configured. This is really a hassle and I hope this is addressed in future releases.
- Basically ignore all the stuff in Stances and Paging. That applies to previous releases and is configured differently in the newest release.
In the next post, I’ll give you step by step instruction on how to setup Bongos to support your Druid forms. I’m using Bongos for both my Druid and Hunter so everything I tell you is applicable for other classes as well. Interestingly, Bongos doesn’t give you Hunter aspect options on action bar configuration menus, but you do get all Druid forms.
Of course, Burning Crusade is out in two days and I did pay for overnight shipping so don’t hold your breath on a detailed configuration guide for Bongos once I get my expansion disk. However, I will be taking some screen shots and hopefully posting pics of all the cool new gear I’ll be getting once step through the portal.
So parting shots on Bongos – if you’re looking for a performance boost and want some better control over your action bars, but don’t want to go crazy setting it up, Bongos may be what you’re looking for. It has some quirks, but from what I’m reading in the mod forums, most of the action bar mods do. You can always not load it and you’ll be back to your standard Blizzard bars. So, don’t be scared – give it a try. I’ll try hard to get Part 2 of this overview written soon and give you some guidelines on getting it setup.
After the patch got applied last night, I noticed that all my add-ons were “out of date”. I forced out of date add-ons to be loaded anyway and didn’t have any problems with any of them except for Extended Quest Log.
Anyway, something in the process must have reset Outfitter because it appears to now be properly equipping my character when I switch to Bear form. I was switching quite a bit while setting up my Bongos action bars (got it working but still don’t understand it).
So if any of you out there were having problems with Outfitter and Bear form, force the out of date load and see if that fixes your issue.