Weak Aura Design Philosophy

Aka “Bink tries to explain the logic behind how he creates Weak Aura sets”

I’m not a master at making these things, partially because I lack the art skills to make custom images, while also only having rudimentary LUA skills to be able to take something & modify it slightly. However, the things I throw together seem to be semi-popular, by which I mean I get a few likes/replies when posting work in progress & a few thousand views on wago.io.

Different Approaches

Notes WA setup.png

The above image is what I would consider a “typical” WA setup. This particular one is by Notes, but I’m using it as an example to show how rotation helper/icon set designs look. Sets like these focus on showing everything as a set of icons, and located just under your character model in the middle of the screen. There’s nothing wrong with a design like this, but it does require looking directly at the aura set to gain information.

The HUD approach

frost hud

I prefer a semi-HUD (Heads Up Display) approach, as you can see from the above (now slightly outdated) screenshot of my Frost Death Knight set. I’ve taken the default aura images for the spec & made them show more information.

The top graphic is the default Rime indicator, but in my version I’ve also made it trigger when Frost Fever isn’t on the target so you can reliably say “If this is up hit Howling Blast”. Similarly the Killing Machine graphics on the left & right, which would normally only trigger when KM procs, now shows when Obliterate can be used without capping Runic Power as well as pulsing when KM triggers. The bottom aura, which is actually a rotated & squished version of the Fingers of Frost texture for Frost Mages, indicates when Frost Strike can be used and is disabled if Breath of Sindragosa is up.

This means I can keep my focus on my character in the middle of the screen for longer while also seeing important information about the rotation. Generally I try to have the more frequent actions, with other important things in the icon row having button glow when available so that it grabs your attention.

In either approach the idea is instead of reading everything, processing that & making a choice of what action to perform next, your weak aura set can grab your attention to look at a specific thing when it’s ready and reduce the amount of time you spend making decisions.

Going Through The Steps

I’ve just posted my Blood DK set on wago.io so I figured it’s a good example to run through my design process.

Step 1: Resources

The first thing I consider are resources, and resource-like things that should be tracked. Resources are basically any power bars & secondary power bars, like mana and arcane charges for Arcane Mages, runes & runic power for Death Knights, etc. The “resource like” ones tend to either be charge based (brews for Brewmaster Monks) or a stacking buff (Bone Shield for Blood Death Knights, or the WoD era Lightning Shield for Elemental Shaman).

Blood DK resource bars

The top bar here is for Bone Shield charges. Each cell is an individual progress bar with a maximum progress of 5 seconds. This means each cell shows as a solid colour until the buff has 5 or fewer seconds remaining, at which point it will show normal progress bar behaviour. This helps with making sure that you keep your buff stack up rather than losing 5+ charges at once.

The middle bar is for Runic Power, and is fairly normal for a power bar. I enabled the “smooth animation” option to make it flow a bit better.

The lower bar is another set of 6 individual progress bars for Runes, coloured blue when available or purple when recharging. I have made a change since recording the above gif so that the cells are in a dynamic group ordering left to right based on recharge progress.

The hardest bit with all of this was actually making everything line up neatly with the other bars & 2 pixel borders.

Additional parts, covering the “HUD” auras & icon bars will be added to this post in the future.


About binkenstein
I'm a geek, living in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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