I’ve been contributing a lot recently to a site called Icy Veins – a place where you can find WoW guides for pretty much anything Cataclysm PvE related! You can find the most up-to-date version of the guide here.
Icy veins has turned out to be a well written and maintained site which condenses primary information (places like Elitist Jerks) into easy to understand guides, and I think that’s really useful and relevant to your everyday player. I’m also working on getting some deeper discussions about class mechanics within their forums (this will get better with more people, which is the reason for the plug here today!). I really enjoy contributing to a community which is trying to provide clear, accurate and easily accessible information to all WoW players for free. I strongly urge you to jump in and talk with people about whatever interests you – it’s a real pleasure, especially with the community which is starting to build up there.
Have you ever found that you’re missing out on refreshing Water Shield, that your Earth Shield keeps falling off or that you always miss the debuff timer on Ultraxion? These are all common problems, but they have the same solution! Power Auras Classic, an addon for WoW, lets you customize graphics which can change or animate your screen to remind you do do certain things, or give you information about any event you like.
Power Auras is an incredibly powerful tool, but it can be daunting to new users! Everybody I’ve talked to about it has expressed how difficult they found it to make something useful out of the myriad options, sliders, menus, etc. This guide is centred around using some basic ideas and examples as a way of introduction to using and creating with Power Auras. This process will talk you through the challenges of making a good Aura and arm you for creating your own. What it will not do is show every feature and combination – that would take forever! The guide is split into the following sections:
- Where to Begin
- Your First Aura
- Making a Good Aura
- More Advanced Functions
- An Example: Stoove, Restoration Shaman
Where to Begin
After installing Power Auras Classic and enabling it in WoW [I assume here you are familiar with addon installation], log in and type /powa – this will open the main Power Auras menu, which allows you to control the activation of Auras, to debug them, to manage and delete them and to enable/disable them. To edit an Aura, you can right click on its icon to show the edit pane. The Aura’s effect will also be shown on your main UI (and highlighted in green). There are also buttons for importing or exporting auras, which I will make use of now.
Press the Import button on the main window and paste in the following string;
Version:4.23; buffname:Spirit Link Totem; begin:1; x:-80; customname:Spirit Link Totem; bufftype:15; speed:1.6; exact:true; PowerType:0; off:true; customtex:true; combat:true; size:0.24; y:-247; timer.enabled:true; timer.cents:false; timer.Relative:CENTER; timer.Transparent:true; timer.ShowActivation:true
Now right-click the icon that appears in the grid window and replace “Spirit Link Totem” with any ability with a long cooldown that your character has. Congratulations! You’ve just enabled your first Power Aura! When you enter combat, the icon for your ability should appear near the bottom-centre of your screen. When you use the ability, the icon will disappear until it’s ready for use again. That’s the basic functionality of a Power Aura.
Your First Aura
So now we dig a little deeper into creating Auras and making them your own. Perhaps the title confused you? Well, I believe that an Aura isn’t truly yours until you’ve at least had a good long think about how it fits into your UI – Ideally, everyone would make all their own Auras completely custom for their own interface. I’ll guide you through a few things as a starting point.
Firstly, we’re going to move the Aura I gave you around. Right click the icon to open the edit pane and look for the sliders named “Position X” and “Position Y” – moving these sliders will change the horizontal and vertical position of the icon I’ve given you. You should be able to see the Aura highlighted in green on the screen as well – if not, left click its icon in the main window. You can move the Aura around by click-and-drag on the green highlighted area, or you can use the more accurate positional controls (shown in the screenshot below). Have a think about where your Aura would go best on your UI and move it there. Now you have “your own” Aura. Nice!
Now let’s make some more changes – By clicking the “Timer” tab (highlighted in Green above) and checking “Show”, you enable a timer to show you when the cooldown will be available. If you go to the “Animation” tab and select an option from the “Begin Animation” menu, you enable an animation when the Aura becomes active – so you don’t miss it! There are many different options like this, and it’s best to just have a play around until you find something you like. (Seriously, the best way to get to know PowA is by messing around – go mess about some and come back later!)
I’ll assume that by this point you’ve played about with the first Aura quite a bit and have got bored with it. Want to make a new one? OK then, we’ll walk through making a low mana warning Aura. Start by pressing “New” in the Power Auras “Aura Management” section in the main panel (highlighted in blue in the screenshot above). This opens up the customization menu for the new Aura and places a new icon in the main panel.
The best place to start is by selecting what you want the Aura to trigger off. Since we’re doing a mana checking Aura, find in the “Activation Options” section (Red, above), choose the “Mana” option from the dropdown menu and set the “Threshold” slider to 70% (or whatever you think “low mana” should be). Now check the “In Combat” option in the “Enable Controls” section (Red, above). Have a play around looking at the other options in that area. You might want to select the Spec number you want it activated in, or if you’re a tank you could select the “Focus” option to make the Aura display when your focus target is on low(ish) mana.
Now select a texture for your low mana warning. By checking “WoW Textures”, you can use the in-game textures for UI overlays, and by not having it checked you can use the Power Auras default textures (have a look at some of them and pick one you like – I’d pick texture number 141 myself). Select the size and position with the sliders just below (Red, above) and the colour using the colour selection pane (click the white box above the “Random Colours” checkbox). You can select an animation for the Aura too, if you want to.
And that’s it! You now have a functioning “Low Mana Warning” Aura. Good job! If you don’t want it, Shift-Click it in the Aura Select section (Blue, above). Awesome! There are loads of settings to play with, so experiment and see what you can do.
Making a Good Aura
Making a good Aura is challenging, to say the least. While there is a large amount of context to it (since the best Aura for you will undoubtedly depend on the other UI elements you’ve got), I believe that there are several keys to making a good Aura. Good Auras must;
- Be intuitive to understand – there’s no use having an Aura for everything if all it does is confuse you. This gets more important the more Auras you have – if they aren’t easy to understand, you will spend more time struggling with your Auras in combat than you would waste on watching your action bars.
- Be easily differentiable from other Auras.
- Take up a relevant amount of space – The size and positioning of the Aura should be just right. You wouldn’t use an Aura half the size of your screen for something that isn’t absolutely crucial to success, and you wouldn’t make an important Aura tiny and tucked away in the bottom corner of your screen. It’s worth taking the time to think about how big it should be and where it can fit without obstructing your view. This can also work the other way – I’ve rearranged my whole UI several times so it fits around my Auras better.
- Be easy to see – any Aura that can’t catch your attention when it needs to is useless.
- Not be distracting – Auras don’t make good players. Paying all your attention to your Auras will destroy your playstyle, so don’t make your Auras too distracting when they aren’t relevant.
When making an Aura in a hurry, it’s important to find an icon or picture for the Aura which will allow it to be easily recognisable and not be intrusive. You could play around with new textures and colours, but a reasonable solution is to use the Blizzard icon for the related skill. This way, the Aura will be easy to read since you already know what its icon means (e.g. “Spirit Link Totem is available now”). You can find an example of how to make a Blizzard icon Aura later in the guide.
More Advanced Functions
There are many many MANY more options which you can play around with. I honestly haven’t had time to play with all of them, but I’ll list the ones I have found extremely useful:
Making Auras invisible – useful if you want an Aura thay just plays a sound or is used as a dummy (see next item) – To make it imvisible; Change the colour to White and move the slider down to Black, then tick “Glow”.
Making a “Dummy” Aura – Dummy Auras can be used to make a check for something you want to have (or don’t want to have) and do nothing else. You can then connect the Dummy Aura to another Aura by typing the Aura number into the text box next to “Exact Name” in the “Activation Options” section (remember that the chaining is to the input: you must put the dummy’s number in the other Aura – the wrong way round and it won’t work!). Find the Aura number by mousing over it in the management pane.
Inversion – By checking the “Inversion” option (highlighted Green in the picture above), you make the Aura do exactly the opposite of what you tell it to do in the rest of the menu. Example; an Aura which would normally show when a spell is off cooldown will now show only when it is on cooldown.
I’d humbly submit my UI as a reasonably good example of using Power Auras – I have cooldown reminders at the bottom of my screen and reminders in my peripheral vision of when I’ve forgotten something important. I made myself my own “mana meter” (four blue spots), as well. I also have the center of the screen free for mechanic warning Auras – I have a “your mana is below 75% and Mana Tide is off cooldown” warning, and I also put warning for things like Ice Lance stacks there as well. The warning icons are big and hard to miss (they also obscure the screen so I REALLY can’t miss them because they are crucial). The cooldown Auras are small and near the bottom – I can check them easily whenever I want but won’t be distracted by them.
Not shown in the screenshot below are two new Auras I’m toying with – Nature’s Swiftness and Trinket1 cooldown availability Auras which will be very small and on the left of the screen – I do not need to know those very often, but when I do they must be close to the healthbars.
I think that pretty well sums up my experience with Power Auras! I hope that you got something out of the guide, and I sincerely thank you if you read this far. Make good use of your new skill, and go make Power Auras for ALL THE THINGS!
Stoove’s UI for a Restoration Shaman, and selected import strings:
Version:4.23; anim1:4; g:0.1255; icon:spell_nature_riptide; buffname:Riptide; r:0; begin:1; x:-160; customname:Riptide; bufftype:7; texture:73; inVehicle:0; speed:1.6; customtex:true; combat:true; size:0.24; y:-225; texmode:2; ismounted:0; timer.h:1.56; timer.Texture:WhiteRabbit; timer.enabled:true; timer.cents:false; timer.Relative:CENTER; timer.Transparent:true
Mana Tide Totem:
Version:4.23; g:0.7412; icon:Spell_Frost_SummonWaterElemental; buffname:Mana Tide; r:0.0824; x:10; customname:Mana Tide Totem; bufftype:7; inVehicle:0; customtex:true; combat:true; size:0.24; y:-225; texmode:2; ismounted:0; customsound:alert_35.wav; timer.a:0.75; timer.h:1.56; timer.Texture:WhiteRabbit; timer.enabled:true; timer.Relative:CENTER; timer.Transparent:true
Spirit Link Totem:
Version:4.23; icon:Spell_Shaman_SpiritLink; buffname:Spirit Link Totem; x:95; customname:Spirit Link Totem; bufftype:15; speed:1.6; exact:true; customtex:true; combat:true; size:0.24; y:-225; timer.enabled:true; timer.cents:false; timer.Relative:CENTER; timer.Transparent:true
Version:4.23; icon:Spell_Shaman_ImprovedStormstrike; buffname:Unleash Elements; x:-75; customname:Unleash Elements; bufftype:7; customtex:true; combat:true; size:0.24; y:-225; texmode:2; timer.enabled:true; timer.Relative:CENTER; timer.Transparent:true
Version:4.23; anim1:4; icon:Ability_Shaman_WaterShield; buffname:Water Shield; begin:1; x:-245; customname:Water Shield; stacks:1; speed:1.6; customtex:true; combat:true; size:0.24; y:-225; texmode:2; inverse:true
Version:4.23; icon:INV_Spear_04; buffname:3; x:192; bufftype:19; texture:221; symetrie:1; combat:true; size:0.88; torsion:0.76; y:94; texmode:1; inverse:true
Version:4.23; icon:Spell_Nature_GuardianWard; buffname:1/2/4; x:-220; bufftype:19; texture:53; alpha:1; sound:23; combat:true; randomcolor:true; y:89; texmode:1; inverse:true