Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Satrina Buff Frames: Learn It, Use It, Love It

This is going to be a quick and dirty introduction to Satrina Buff Frames (SBF). An Addon I absolutely love to DEATH, and have used in its various releases since... well, a long time ago. I'm a UI whore, and while I could easily do away with 90% of the crap I use, SBF, Xperl, and Bongos (now called Dominos) are The Big Three for my main layout. Other things like Clique, Grid, and SmartBuff/SmartDebuff are nice, but don't get used by every toon, regardless of class like The Big Three. Dominos and Xperl are pretty straightforward (they replace your action bars and unit frames) but SBF had a tiny learning curve. Tiny because there are like 3 or 4 things to 'get', and then once you get it, you can go nuts.

SBF is a replacement for your buff and debuff icons. The biggest, and most simple feature is that those frames become draggable and scalable. That's all I used it for for about 3 versions way back when. I'd put my buffs in the upper left hand corner (unattached from my unit frame), and my debuffs made a bit bigger on the right hand side of my screen. This was actually for PvP, because I was a garbage rogue that would blow vanish while I had like 8 bleeds ticking. This was my way of being like YOU'RE BLEEDING, MORON to myself.

Look, the most basic setup, this is what you're looking at after installing it (all of these screenshots can be clicked for the full version):

Two sets, SBF1 and SBF2 ("/sbf options" brings up the UI, alt-drag the window to move it). SBF1 is your Buffs, and SBF2 your debuffs. We want to arrange these a bit better, so I moved them around and scaled SBF2's size. You can select the buff frame with the dropdown menu, or just (more simply) shift click its little handle to activate that frame. So like, to make our debuffs BIGGER, we shift click SBF2's handle (to make it active) and go to Layout, and scale it bigger.

Looking at the other options in the Layout tab, you can see I also made the frame 4 columns wide, and have them grow from the top right ("grow down, anchor point right"). This is going to sound complicated as I try and type it out, but just move some sliders and it's pretty basic. I also made made my buffs frame 32 buffs deep in the Layout tab (for SBF1!). I usually have more than 16 buffs going in a raid, but rarely do I have more than 16 debuffs at any one time, right?

You can color the buff/debuff timers, and choose whether it displays them in seconds, or minutes and seconds, or whatever font and font size it's shown in, and even where you want the timer shown (on top of the icon, over to the left, whatever). The Layout and Timer tabs both have a little Dpad looking thing over to the right side where you can nudge the icons closer together, further apart, or move the timer up, down or whatever. Again, just click a few buttons, it's not rocket surgery.

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE (that I'm not sure why it isn't default), is to make SBF1 and SBF2 be Blacklist in the general tab (and make sure SBF1 is showing buffs, and SBF2 showing debuffs). Whitelist will only show what spells you explicitly specify, and I learned this the hard way after a quick upgrade of Satrina before Naxx; when I ran into Thaddeus, and couldn't tell if I was positive or negative. Play around with this addon and get comfy on a free day, not 10 minutes before progression in Ulduar. I'll cover white and blacklisting a bit more in a few paragraphs.

It's easy to check if everything is showing up where it should by just buffing yourself, or using a bandage for the 'can't bandage for 60 more seconds' debuff.

Okay, that's set.

Now, one of the biggest features I use SBF for these days is the ability to create an extra frame, and specify a specific Buff or Debuff to show up in that frame so I know when something procs or I've been given Power Infusion or some crap. Let's make a new frame, and assign a specific buff to it.

Click the New Frame button, and you'll see a new group of buffs jump up on the screen. Shift click its handle to make it active, and then go to Layout and make it only 1 buff deep (not 16 or 32). There it is in the upper section of my screen, SBF3.

Let's get a little fancy and move the timer so it's directly on top of the icon, instead of underneath it.

Now we need to make a filter to say 'when buff X shows up, put it here'.

Now, there's one tricky option they added in the last version with the filtering system. All the frames used to be tied to one big filter tab and you'd make filters in a way like "In Frame 3, if the buff's name is Blood Fury, then blah blah blah" but now each frame has its own set of filters. You just make the frame in question, and go to its very own filter tab. This doesn't concern you, except to know that you want your specific frame to ONLY show what you tell it to show (otherwise every buff will overwrite that frame, and as you get one buff it'll show there until you get a second buff which will then show there). Since this frame is only one buff deep, that'd be pretty useless. We have a specific buff we want to show here (the orc racial Blood Fury), so we set Frame 3 to be Whitelisted on the General tab (only show what we explicity say to show). An example of a Blacklisted frame would be when we want our Auras to be in frame 7, and then make a filter saying to NOT show them in frame 1 or whatever. That's for later, for now just make Frame 3 a Whitelist frame, showing "Buffs", and let's make our filter.

Make sure the desired frame is active, and then go to the filters tab. In the little box, type n=Blood Fury and click Add Filter. This is the name filter, and the "=" means it's explicitly called Blood Fury. If you do a filter like n~fury then it would pick up any buff with 'fury' in its name (Fury of the Five Flights, whatever). Full documentation of the filter parameters is HERE, but for now, let's just keep it simple.

Then let's make that frame stupidly large and dead center, so we know when we have that buff.

Let's also make that frame immune to right clicks, since we're fucking spazzes, and don't want to accidentally dismiss that buff while we move our camera around. Put a checkmark in the Clickthrough box.

Lastly (and maybe this should have been firstly?), let's name our frame something useful instead of SBF3. Change its name to Blood Fury, so when you have 8 frames all over your screen, you know what's what. This is totally optional, and I actually don't do it, but the option is there. You can also specify WHO this frame affects. Normally this will be you, PLAYER (the default setting), but if you're trying to make a set of stunlock timers (totally doable) you could set these to Target, or Focus (and "debuff", "whitelist", and "n=Kidney Shot", etc).

Woo hoo, let's fire it up!

You'll notice that it's showing up in our normal buff frame too (SBF1), up top, which is fine, since I don't care if it's in both places. You could create a filter for your SBF1 if you DON'T want it to show up there, but I really don't care. This is the main reason I like this addon, because it allows shit to show up there AND where I want it, instead of having to dig around up there in the middle of a fight looking for some 5 second buff.

Let's say you hate icons, and prefer bars. That's easy. Make our frame active, and go to the bars tab and check the first box there.

Wow, that's pretty ugly, because our icon was scaled so big, let's trim it back down, and fiddle with the height and width.

Better, but I want the name to show up!

Enable the Name (in the name tab), and move the name to a good position on the bar.

Hooray. You can get as deep into this as you want. I'm just digging for features to show you at this point.

Using these basic principles, though, you can have a pretty intricate setup. Here's my warrior's layout:

It has seven frames total.

SBF1 - Buffs
SBF2 - Debuffs
SBF3 - Up along the top of the screen, 6 buffs deep, shows things like Shield Wall, Retaliation, Recklessness, and Trinkets
SBF4 - Next to my IceHUD rage bar, my shouts. Battle and/or Commanding. Two buffs deep.
SBF5 - Next to my IceHUD HP bar, shows my Shield Block or Glyph of Blocking. Two buffs deep.
SBF6 - Right below my character, 6 buffs in a little clump. Revenge Glyph (next Heroic Strike is free, Taste for Blood (overpower procs based on bleeds), Enrage, free shield slam procs from Sword and Board
SBF7 - Right below my execute button, shows when Sudden Death procs (execute anytime, regardless of HP of foe).

ALL of these are basic whitelist frames with n=Sword and Board, or n=Taste for Blood, or n=Sudden Death filters, etc. On my warlock, I have a similar little clump next to my player that uses the filter d>20, showing any duration which is a buff less than 20 seconds (molten core, backlash, glyph of lifetap, t7 4 piece bonus). If you need the name of a specific buff that a Trinket gives, look up the trinket on wowhead, and click the little green text in the trinket tooltip. The part that says 'Infuses the player with the power of the doggie goddess', clicking that text brings you tot he actual name of the buff (doggie fever!), and then you add that to n=whatever. Sundial of the exiled uses a buff called The Time is Now, etc.

Again, more filter crap at the SBF filter page.

I think that about wraps it up. Let me know if you have any questions for specific filters, and don't be shy about digging around on the Satrina site at Evil Empire. Let me know if you come up with any interesting filters of your own, too, since my usage of the addon is pretty limited, but for what I use it for, I couldn't do without. :)


Krunchy said...

SBF does seem like a pretty slick addon. It kind of reminds me of an addon I used for a while when I PvP'd on my mage. I can't for the life of me remember what it was called, but it could be made to flash icons on the screen wherever you wanted in whatever size you wanted. For example I had it flash a frost icon on a frostbite proc and an AI icon when the Presence of Mind cooldown was up. I like that this one has bars and countdowns, though.

A couple of things about your "big three." I used to be a devotee of xperl, but tried using pitbull unit frames and liked the way the settings worked a bit better. It looked almost identical to xperl, but had a few extra bells and whistles that made it replace xperl in my addons.

Second, what's the draw of bar mods like bongos, really? I've tried using them in the past and they look all pretty and you can move buttons around and shit, but I always end up going back to the default bar. Is there something I'm missing here that other people get?

Rich said...

bongos/dominos gives you 10 bars, and I find some bars don't need to be 100% in size (my macros /hi, /bye, /roll, /slap, whatever), and then some bars I like in weird positions (my 'heal' bar with HSes, bandaids, pots, etc)

on my warlock, I have my PVP skillz big, and below my toon, not on the edge of the screen, so I can see when they light up easily.

one of the other major perks is the keybinding system, just hover your mouse over a button and push what you want the keybind to be. That's how keybinding SHOULD work, nit 'Random Ass button #247 = what?'

Jong said...

Cool. Thanks. I'm gonna try this. I have a buff proc that gives me an instant heal, but I always let it run out because I'm looking at my feet.

Posh said...

Powerfull addon. Problaly gonna give it a swing. I like you love addons.

Jong you could also try poweraura's, to spam you with a jong like flashy butterfly when you can throw yourself a flash heal.

Use that when I retri, and works really great.

Kiryn said...

Hmm, interesting. As I prefer bars, a mod called Elkano's Buffbars does most of this for me, but I might try out SBF one of these days to see if I like it better. I wasn't aware it could do bars.

And I use Dominos because I never use my mouse to click on things like my individual bags and my character panel and my quest log (that's what keybindings are for!), and hate wasting so much screen space on useless buttons. If the default UI would let me get rid of that bottom-right area and replace it with an actual bar with useful things on it, I'd happily use the default UI.

Jan said...

That's so cluttered! :(

Rich said...

yeah, but it's not always up, is the point.

things come and go, all those boxes aren't full 100% of the time ;)

Hatch said...

Thank you very much for the guide! I am installing and configuring this as soon as I get home. Hunting for buffs in my list has been my biggest UI problem for months, and NeedtoKnow is way to simple and ugly for this purpose.

Since vanilla wow I've been resistant to bar mods like Bongos because too often they were breaking, leaving me to relearn the default bars anyway. But you make a really compelling case for Bongos as well. Things have been stable for a few years now, so I'm reasonably confident it wouldn't be a complete disaster if I tried it. And I need better freaking keybinding options! Thinking about it, I just realized how much my keybinding strategy has been about mitigating the weaknesses of how Blizz has it set up.

HP said...

I guess I will have to get around to setting up this addon, I've heard about it but never got around to trying it out. Thanks for the article explaining how to set it up!

Skeeley said...

Two questions for the public at large:

First, how to you drag SBF icons? You mention it in your post Iso, but I can't seem to figure it out in game. Probably my ignorance, but thought I would throw it out there.

Second, does Elkano's show debuffs for mobs in large icons? My first time through with WoW I used a mod pack with no idea what was going on, and all of a sudden had giant timer icons (like SBF, but for bad guys) on my target unit frame. Was that Elkano? Can SBF do that?

I know, dumb questions. But after teaching high school for five years, I firmly believe that dumb questions deserve dumb answers. And smart questions deserve meaningless awards.


Rich said...

SBF has handles to grab and drag anything you put up there by.

It's pretty straightforward once you launch it how it works ("/sbf options" to bring it all up).

It's also mainly for shoing stuff in relation to YOU. YOUR buffs, any debuff on YOU, etc.

You can set it up to show debuffs on a target wherever on your screen you like (to track sunders, or warlock DoTs, etc), but I just use xperl unit frames to show what's affecting the baddies. SBF is mainly so I don't miss my own special skills and procs (but can be as expansive as you like if you dig around).

Skeeley said...

Ahhh, now I feel dumb. But thanks anyway. And thanks for the post, it was very helpful.

kyrilean said...

I used to use Bongos3, but didn't like Dominos so switched to Bartender. I also use X-Perl and Bison.

Have you used Bison and if so how does it compare to SBF? Reason I ask is because I'm tired of Bison not being updated soon after patches and am looking for a new one.

Frida said...

I've had Satrina Buff Frames for quite some time, but never really cared too much to shape it the way I wanted and needed it. After reading this post I finally got off my lazy pixelated bum and polished it a bit tho. Yay me. And really, all people should get SBF. Love the addon to death.

Antalayah said...

I have tried to set up so one frame only shows the debuffs by Sara in Yogg Saron, but I can't see them in the debuff list (Saras fervor being the most important to me). Can I add them, or is there an update?

Also, if I set up a frame to only show a specifik debuff, is it possible to have it pop up regardless on whom it's cast, and to somehow display the name of the target, or is that done only through "target of focus", maybe?

Tielc said...

Hey, I was wondering, because you're doing what I'm trying to do with SBF, basically create a proc alert with it. However I would love it if I could pop sounds when I get a buff, like Taste for Blood, or Sudden Death. Any thoughts?

Thebarbarian said...

I'm having a problem getting my 3rd frame to get setup, I followed your step by step but still no dice. I'm trying to get landslide, rageheart and raw fury to who bigger(which I have the size set and timers) but I just can't get the procs to show. I have use your n=Landslide, but it didn't show the proc in my 3rd frame. am I doing something wrong.