06
Jul
09

Furious addons – Satrina Buff Frames

The first addon I’ll go over is quite possibly the most important one I use during combat. I’m not speaking of Bartender or Omen, but Satrina Buff Frames. Like the name suggests, it displays buffs and debuffs. Since nearly everything in combat has a buff of some sort attached to it, tracking these can mean the difference between a wipe and a win.

SBF works with entities called buff frames. Each frame shows a number of buffs, arranged in columns and rows. They can be set to grow left, right, up or down according to your wishes and needs. The standard setup features a frame for buffs and a frame for debuffs, just like the normal UI does. But that’s just the beginning really.

To make an example of my own frame setup. I use five different frames, placed in various corners of my UI. One for buffs, one for debuffs, one for warrior buffs, one for Bloodsurge procs, and one to check for debuffs on the tank (useful for tanking Gluth for example).The buff and debuff frames are placed next to the minimap. While nice to have, they’re not central to combat, so I’ve moved them away into a corner. The warrior buffs frame contains short duration buffs, either cast by me or related directly to my combat. So, things like Battle Shout, Recklessness, Heroism, Death Wish, and Loatheb’s Shadow go in here. Its situated close where I’m constantly looking so I can always see what’s happening to me and my DPS. The Bloodsurge proc frame contains only a single entity: the Bloodsurge proc. It pops up right below my character so that I can’t miss it.

The final frame is, as mentioned, for debuffs applied to the current tank. So in fights where debuffs to the tank matter, I can see when to aggro (if I’m tanking). You aren’t limited to buffs on yourself or the targets target however. You can show the buffs and/or debuffs of any of your party/raid members, party pets, focus, focus’s target, or even the vehicle you’re in. Essentially, you can track any buff on any person in your group, for whatever reason you might care to have.

Furthermore, you can route things into different frames, depending on their remaining time, i.e. you can create emergency or “act now” frames. You can also sort buffs, so that ones cast by yourelf get shown whilst identical buffs by others don’t (this can be useful for tracking Bleeds or even Battle/Comm Shout). This leads me into the filter/spell system, which is one of SBF’s strengths (and weaknesses too, see below). The filter system is essentially the nuts and bolts of SBF. It is a tiny scripting language and it can do a lot of things, but unless you want to get into it, you don’t have to. It is possible to configure SBF entirely without writing code.

The major downside to SBF is its daunting configuration screen. Like other highly configurable addons (Pitbull and Grid for example), it can be a daunting job to set up. And unlike Grid or Pitbull, if you don’t take the time to set it up, you’ll have something that performs just like the standard buff UI. A big part of this complexity arises from the filter system. If you don’t know code, it will look like gobbledegook, and this can be offputting to many. A further small kink is the fact that, at first, you wont have any spells in the spell list. SBF adds spells it encounters to this list, but before you encounter it, you cant set up a filter for it. Essentially it means that you can’t preprogram anything before having actually been in the fight. However, in the grand scale of things, this is a very minor point. Any new buff or debuff will merely show up in your “standard” frame when you first encounter it.

If you’re currently using Elkano’s Buff Bars and Power Auras (or any other buff addon of choice), should you change to SBF? While I’d like to say yes, I’ll also say “if it works, don’t fix it”. Changing what doesn’t need to be changed is not necessarily a good thing. That said, if you’re like me, having one addon that can do the work of two (or more) is a good thing, if the addon is good at what it does, and can display what I need it to.

And this is where SBF shines. It does its thing extremely well. It may be a bit of work to set up, but when it is, you’ll have access to all the buffs you could ever want. Want to see whether the sunder count in the middle of the screen? Done. Want to see Mortal Strike on targets target? Done. Want to see bleed effects on the healer? Done. If its a buff or debuff, you can track it.

Pros:

  • One single addon for all types of buffs, debuffs and procs
  • Highly customisable

Cons:

  • Can be daunting to configure at first
  • Filters can’t be done ahead of time

Without doubt, SBF is a staple addon in my addons list. While no addon is indispensable or irreplacable, SBF sets a high bar for others to jump over.

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