Invasions are Great for Leveling before Legion

I’ve been very busy with invasions & World of Warcraft refer-a-friend leveling. Check this post on Reddit for a how-to guide and tips. You can do this by yourself – run two windows of Warcraft on your own computer for two different Warcraft subscriptions. Even if you start Friday evening, you can likely get a full server of characters on your main account to 90 over the weekend before invasions end when Legion launches.

You can save time over the fellow who wrote that guide by using the grant-levels feature of refer a friend. One way of approaching it is leveling two pairs of characters to 90, one pair to 60, one pair to 45, and one pair to 28. Then, use level granting, to bring your main account to two 45 characters, then three 60 characters, then five level 90 characters.

Over the next few weeks, stay tuned for a re-polished class guides compilation for Legion, a roster management tools system for guild leaders, a third user interface post, and more.

If there’s any content you are particularly interested in reading about or any questions you have for Legion, leave a comment and let me know.

Best of luck with the invasions!

Remember to Buy Legion

Legion launches in just a few weeks. You may have pre-ordered the game digitally from Blizzard. If you have, you’re all set. If not, now is a great time to order the game (Amazon US store link).

If you’re like me, and you want a physical copy, ordering from Amazon is an excellent choice. Shipping should be free, you should receive the game on launch day, and, if you have Amazon Prime, they currently offer a 20% discount on pre-orders and recently released games!

Here’s that link again to order: World of Warcraft: Legion Standard Edition PC/Mac (Amazon US store link). I ordered Overwatch: Origins Edition (Amazon US store link) from Amazon and couldn’t have been happier with my shopping experience.

The Legion is ready – are you?

Amazon and Amazon Prime are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

Seven Tips for Legion that Gul’dan Never Saw Coming

Here are some useful tips that will help you prepare for the launch of World of Warcraft: Legion. For even more resources you may not have encountered, check out the class guides or general raiding guides (both are also linked in the navigation bar).

It has always been a dream of mine to write a useful List of N Things blog post with a catchy title. Enjoy!

Swag Your Spellbook

When Blizzard reworked the Glyph system with the 7.0 Legion prepatch, several classes lost cosmetic effects. Some will be available again from Inscription Glyphs when Legion launches. Others are available for you now!

Are you a Druid missing your stag appearance? A Shaman that misses making it rain (of frogs)? Check out this Reddit post with a list of vendors that sell cosmetic enhancements.

Some like Quartermaster Miranda Breechlock in Eastern Plaguelands sell only a few items (she sells a Contemplation Tome for Paladins and a nifty toy for Priests). Others like Lorelae Wintersong in Moonglade sell many Tomes – any Druids looking for Flap or cosmetic effects should check her out.

Speaking of Flap, if you are a Balance Druid, check out the FlappyBirb weakaura which creates some mini-games based on Flapping!

Enhance Your Exploring

Preach made a great video guide with some Legion leveling tips. Some folks on Reddit summarized and discussed his recommendations – definitely worth a read-through.

A few other tips and tricks threads have popped up on Reddit: here’s another one I found useful. Make sure to plan your attack so you hit the ground running once the expansion drops.

Analyze Your Artifact Weapons

Poneria wrote a lengthy article on the math behind leveling up multiple artifact weapons. Check it out to get a better understanding of where you should be spending your artifact power.

My executive summary? Two fully-filled artifact weapons (a main spec and one offspec) is doable. But once you get to the hidden “percentage improvement” traits, you want to focus on one main spec early on in Legion. The artifact power costs of each additional percentage will get prohibitively high for multiple specs.

If you are interested in looking at more artifact weapon numbers, check out this spreadsheet by Kibo.

Automate Backing Up Your Addons

This guide on the official Blizzard Battle.net forums explains how you can automate backing up your addons (and their settings) to your favorite cloud storage provider – at no additional cost! Once everything is set up, you can also sync addons between different computers. The process is a bit involved and requires some tech savvy, so proceed with caution.

For a paid alternative, consider Curse Premium, which includes an addons backup and sync feature.

Calculate Your Cooldowns

As I noted in my recent post on User Interface, Weakauras can be a great way to manage your cooldowns. I also noted that it can often be a good start – and sometimes finish – to borrow Weakauras from someone else.

Several Weakauras repository websites are popping up for Legion. They include weakauras.online and wago.io. As someone who is very likely going to main Balance Druid, I love Cyrous’s Weakauras on wago.io. Restoration is my favorite offspec, and Ablution’s Weakauras on weakauras.online are a great resource for Restoration Druids as well as Holy and Discipline Priests.

Optimize Your Offspec

Are you still considering what class to pick or what offspec you should prioritize? Are you wondering what specs have secondary stat priorities that mesh well, so you don’t have to maintain two separate sets of gear?

If so, look no further! This spreadsheet, linked on Reddit, lays out which specs have synergistic stat priorities. For me, Balance Druid with Restoration Druid offspec has never looked better, with both specs prioritizing Haste then Critical Strike.

Perfect Your Performance

I may have saved the best for last. This spreadsheet, with discussion on Reddit, is a comprehensive guide to the start of Legion. It covers, leveling, professions, gearing, your artifact, and more. It is focused on players who want to immediately gear up a main and an alt for heroic split runs.

A word of caution: the original spreadsheet was written in Russian, and is being constantly updated by the creator. The translated English version may become outdated.

More Legion Prepatch User Interface Fun

I’ve continued to work on my User Interface since my post last week. In this post I’ll cover a few more addons and UI tips!

Prior UI post: Updating My Addons and User Interface for the Legion Prepatch.

Enemy Grid

In my last post, I listed dozens of addons I find useful and mentioned two addons I had heard of but not yet tried. Enemy Grid is one of them and it is a game changer!

It essentially allows you to have raid frames for your enemies. According to several forum threads, this had not been possible in the past, since non-boss units did not get a UnitID until they were targeted by you or a party member, and thus could not be displayed in a raid frame. Something may have changed in the Legion Prepatch, since Enemy Grid displays every enemy within a range you specify that appears on your screen. At least one other player noticed how powerful this was and even wondered if it was allowed – no Blizzard response.

Just like Healbot or Vuhdo, it has click-to-cast functionality built in, and just like raid frames, mouseover macros work if you hover over your desired target. This addon is especially useful for classes that like to cast damage over time effects on many targets – it’s easy to keep track of 10 enemies if they are all in a tidy grid! Especially if you play a class that has to keep debuffs up on enemies, you owe it to yourself to try this addon.

Raven

Raven is the other addon I mentioned in my last post. Raven reminds me of a specialized Weakauras maker that is focused on tracking cooldowns, buffs, and debuffs. If Enemy Grid didn’t exist, Raven would be my new go-to for tracking debuffs on enemies.

I’ve experimented with Raven, and though I didn’t notice an export feature, which is a bummer, it seems like a ready replacement for creating your own cooldown/buff/debuff monitors. It’s a solid addon worth checking out if you want to experiment with another tracking tool.

AdiBags

After my last post, a few folks referred me to the AdiBags addon. Thanks friends! If you haven’t tried it, you should. It sorts your items into different types, separated by titles. Looking at the screenshots on the addon page is the best way to understand how it works. I will be sticking with this one for a while!

Raid Frame Repositioning

I have tried several different positions for my raid frames, and nothing felt right. To the left or to the right obscured my view of the playing field too much, and at the very bottom of the screen diverted my attention too far down. I looked at a few other people’s UI, and stumbled across Ashleah’s great UI Philosphy post. Keeping the raid frames centered and below my character was great; I didn’t think to raise them up and push the player and target frames to the left and right a bit to fit them. This setup is perfect! My focus lies near the center of the screen, and my vision of the encounter remains unimpaired.

For purely DPSing putting the frames off in a corner may work best for some players. I think that the center-down position is extremely solid for healing, and a great fit overall for me. Again, the key component to setting up a good UI was trying different options and discovering what worked for me. I encourage you to do the same.

Key Bindings

I assume the reader agrees that clicking spells is bad. Once we’ve decided to use keybinds though, which should we use?

Changing key bindings is an often-underappreciated component of user interface. In World of Warcraft, the defauly is W forward, QE to strafe, AD to turn, and S to backpedal, with most abilities on the number row. That’s fine for learning the game, but we can do much better for raiding.

Infrequently used cooldowns can go on the function keys, and situational abilities, like interrupts, stuns, and self-heals, can go around the QWEASD block. I have RTFGZXCVB all keybound. The way I do it, remaining somewhat consistent across characters, is: R to inteRrupt, T to sTun, F to Fly (blink or speed boost), G to Go (lesser movement ability), Z to heal myZelf, X for minor proteXtion, C for Complete protection (like bubble or Aspect of the Turtle), with V and B Varying Between characters. Alright, some of those letter associations may have been a tad forced.

In addition, in a raid setting, keyboard turning is sub-optimal. It’s quicker to turn with your mouse, and with a 1.5 second GCD, there’s no reason you can’t use your mouse to turn before doing any clicking you may need to do. I bound A and D to strafe, freeing up Q and E for abilities. I try to place instant abilities that I use frequently on those keys, so I can easily use them during movement.

As a side note to the above: some players like a setup with movement on ESDF, with room for abilities both to the left and right of their hand. It’s too hard to hit Shift/Alt/Control like that form my tastes, but if it works for them, great.

We can also use Alt, Shift, and Control modifiers for certain binds. I use shift + Z, X, C, V for once-per-fight items like potions. I also use alt + 1-4, QE for less-used rotational abilities as needed.

My way is surely not “the one true best way.” However, changing the default settings is a big improvement over taking the standard keybinds. With one month left of Hellfire Citadel before Legion comes, now is a great time to try out different combinations and find what works well for you.

Macros

I wanted to mention macros, because they are so useful for improving your UI. I could easily dedicate a whole post about them – maybe I will at some point. For now, I’ll mention briefly that macros with conditionals can really be a boon to your play. Here are three examples:

#showtooltip
/cast [@mouseover,harm][] Moonfire

This macro casts Moonfire, an offensive damage over time spell, at the harmful unit my mouse is hovering over. If my mouse is not hovering over an enemy unit, Moonfire will cast on my target.

#showtooltip Displacer Beast
/cast [stance:0/4]Displacer Beast
/cast [stance:2]Moonkin Form

This macro casts Displacer Beast, a blink ability that transforms my character into a cat (stance 2), if I am in Moonkin Form (stance 4) or in no stance (stance 0). If I use the macro while in cat form, it will ignore the first line, and shift to Moonkin Form.

#showtooltip
/use [nomod:alt] Aspect of the Turtle
/cancelaura [mod:alt] Aspect of the Turtle

This macro casts Aspect of the Turtle, a defensive cooldown that prevents me from doing damage, so long as I am not holding alt. If I am holding alt, it will cancel the defensive buff early, allowing me to resume doing damage.

For more ideas on what’s possible, check this thread on the official forums and this compilation of macro conditionals on Wowpedia.

Conclusion

A few people e-mailed asking to see my UI. I will continue to tinker with it, but here is a screenshot of my UI as it exists right now: http://imgur.com/pVPsuvI.

Note the Vuhdo raid frames positioning, the raid cooldowns and DPS meters to the sides of the screen, and DBM warnings, Enemy Grid, and my Raven cooldown/buff/debuff monitors near the center.

I hope these posts have helped you think about your UI and how it can better serve you. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.