Adventures in Azeroth

It’s a Druid’s World (of Warcraft)

Final Notice – We have moved!!!

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!!!

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February 21, 2008 Posted by | 1, Attunements, Burning Crusade, Custom UI, Druid Blogs, Druid Gear, Enchants, Factions, Fun, Instances, Interface Add-ons, Must have addons, Online resources, Raiding, Site Meter, Strategy - Balance, Strategy - Feral, Strategy - General, Strategy - Resto, Way off topic, Wordpress, World of Warcraft | 3 Comments

Auctioneer and making money

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.

Forms Bar

January 25, 2008 Posted by | Interface Add-ons, Must have addons, World of Warcraft | 4 Comments

Ah, sweet nirvana of bliss

As in add-on bliss.

Based on comments by a number of folks in my previous “add-on hell post” post, I did some searching and found the WoW Ace Updater program

WOW!  (No pun intended).  Things sure have changed in the automatic updater world.  I tried a couple of these programs a while back with very little luck.  Not the Ace updater, but one or two supposedly generic programs to update anything.  Install problems, bugs and errors on running, and difficulty getting them to work was my memory of that endeavor.

This Ace updater is sweet, though.  A simple download, unzip and move files and install the program.  I’m the impatient sort, so I just fired it up without reading any of the Help documentation.  The program came right up, and found not only my installed Ace add-ons, but also found (I’m guessing) my downloads folder as it reported additional add-ons I had that weren’t yet installed.  It was a simple matter to tell the program to update everything.  Bingo-bango and I’m updated.  Really just that simple.

Of course, and all the commenters pointed this out, the utility only updates Ace add-ons.  So the more Ace add-ons you have the more this utility will update.  This led me in a couple new directions which I’m pretty excited about and I’ll document soon in an upcoming post.  Pretty cool stuff, new for me, but I’m just going to leave you with that teaser for now so stay tuned.

For you Mac users, there is a Mac updater also.

Thanks to everyone that commented for opening my eyes to this utility.  For all the rest of you that haven’t tried this program yet – it’s well worth your time to install. 

Forms Bar

October 10, 2007 Posted by | Must have addons, World of Warcraft | 4 Comments

Druid Add-ons

Hey, do you guys read or subscribe to WoW Insider?  I do, although since I check it at work there’s a lot of fluff I delete through.  Don’t get me wrong – they do a great job with lots of content to appeal to the varied readership I’m sure they have.  I just tend to be attracted more to the in-depth article vs. the short breakfast topics and shots around Azeroth.

So it dawned on me yesterday when I was reading the latest Shifting Perspectives, that I had yet to give a shout-out to this little corner of WoWI that focuses on Druids.  Two bloggers, Dan O’Halloran and David Bowers contribute to the column, which is completely about us, the most versatile, fun to play class in all of WoW.  I’m adding the Shifting Perspectives feel link to my blogroll with this post.

The latest column discusses some Druid-specific add ons you may want to consider.  In fact, after reading the article, I’m tagging this post with “Must have addons”.

The first set of addons addresses the issue of how to keep track of your mana bar when you are in a feral form.  Personally, I’ve never had a big problem with this.  I’m not sure if that makes me a crappy Druid since I rarely shift out to heal, or a great tank since I rarely need to.  No matter – it’s an issue.  David offers a couple solutions.  There doesn’t seem to be a clear winner on this one and your “best” solution may be more dependent on your current addon configuration.

The second class of addons he tackles though, is something I’ve really been struggling with especially in Outland.  Comparing gear is just getting out of hand for me.  Not only are we all carrying around multiple sets of gear, but with the item specialization in Outland and the great greenies available here and there – what to keep and what to DE isn’t that simple anymore.  David lays out a number of addons here, and ends up recommending two in particular:

  1. EquipCompare, which lets you see your equipped items’ tooltips right next to the tooltip of whatever you’re looking at, just like in the Auction House or on the Armory.
  2. DruidStats gives you a more direct look at what stats each item will give you after the various druid talents have been applied, so that you can judge its usefulness for yourself.

David gives a good overview of other tools along with their strengths and weaknesses for Druids.  This is the kind of honest, helpful information that keeps me coming back to WoW Insider. 

Check out the article, and if you haven’t subscribed or bookmarked the Shifting Perspectives column, take a second to do it now.

Forms Bar

July 18, 2007 Posted by | Must have addons, Online resources, World of Warcraft | 3 Comments

Bartender 3 with multiple characters

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.

February 6, 2007 Posted by | Interface Add-ons, Must have addons, World of Warcraft | 6 Comments

Addon Overview – Bartender 3

 *** Please Note: My site has moved to nedruid.com.***   While I will keep this site running for a while, eventually it will be turned off.  Please update your bookmarks to point to the new site.  If you are the admin for a forum, board or website that links to this site or article(s) on this site, please consider updating your link(s).  Simply removing “wordpress” from the domain name should do the trick; i.e. nedruid.wordpress.com/post_url would become nedruid.com/post_url.
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.

Bartender Basics
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.

My UI
So, just to get us started, here’s what my UI looks like:

Main UIYou 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:
Bear Form Buttons

Here’s Cat form:
Cat Form Buttons

And here’s Cat Form – Prowl:
Cat Form Prowl Buttons

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.

Mini-Map icon optionsTo 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. 

Action Bar Options MenuThis 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.

Bars setup and unlockedSo, 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.

February 4, 2007 Posted by | Interface Add-ons, Must have addons, World of Warcraft | 56 Comments

Outfitter updated – 2.0.1

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.

January 31, 2007 Posted by | Interface Add-ons, Must have addons, World of Warcraft | Leave a comment

Addon replacement – Bartender 3 for Bongos

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:

January 30, 2007 Posted by | Interface Add-ons, Must have addons, World of Warcraft | 8 Comments

Auctioneer seems to be working

I downloaded the beta version of Auctioneer yesterday.  With all the new items on the AH, I didn’t want to be buying and selling without at least a couple scans.  Lots of disclaimers about this being “not fully tested”, but I haven’t had any major problems.

Complete Auctioneer download
Download page for individual modules

January 18, 2007 Posted by | Must have addons, World of Warcraft | Leave a comment

Outfitter – working?

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.

January 10, 2007 Posted by | Interface Add-ons, Must have addons, World of Warcraft | Leave a comment