When Blizzard announced/introduced their very own version of Power Auras into the default UI I was very skeptical. Were they going to be customizable? Will they show what I want them to show? Will they be adjustable at all? The answer was largely “no”. When I got into the PTR with Beru, and then subsequently into 4.0.1 when that went live, the first thing I wanted to know was how to turn the god awful things off.
They interfered with my current UI, I couldn’t move them, and about the only thing they show for resto druids was Omen of Clarity. Where was my low mana warning, and Innervate Ready, or Swiftmend Reminder? The bottom line was that, for me, the default auras were useless and in the way. I was going to continue to utilize my beloved, and highly customizable, Power Auras Classic. And after disabling the default auras I didn’t really give them much more thought.
Until I went back to my level 72 Death Knight that I hadn’t played in probably close to a year.
I honestly had no idea how to spec her, so I just went and copied an unholy spec from our DKs in the guild, and a Blood Spec (even though I hate tanking with her) from EJ. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and I vaguely remembered how to play a DK…something with diseases and then plague strike, I think. Regardless, I started about my way again – not really having thought about much in the UI other than making it functional for leveling. And as I was questing about all of the sudden something very strange popped up on my screen:
Wait, what is this? Why is this happening! It only took me a few seconds to realize that I hadn’t disabled the in game auras, but that was OK, because I didn’t have any power auras set up for this character they weren’t really interfering. But even more than that, clearly something important was happening and I had absolutely no clue what it was. In the time I was trying to process all of this, the aura faded, and so I continued on. The next time it popped up, I was ready. Ok…wtf is this telling me I am supposed to do? Oh – I see. The little box around deathcoil is all lit up in conjunction with the aura – and so I mashed the deathcoil button.
It didn’t take me long to say, “ok, why is this doing this”, and go into my spell book and track down what was happening. Hey! Look at that! I have an ability that will randomly proc and give me a free deathcoil! Doesn’t consume runic power, does extra damage, puts up unholy blight – seems full of win to me! And so I continued questing along my happy way, deathcoiling my way to victory and glory…or something like that!
At some point, I think in an instance, it happened to me again, only this time something different happened:
This time it wasn’t quite the shock it was the first time, and so I was more ready for it. I frantically began searching for what was all lit up – and saw that it was Dark Transformation. I was elated, because I had been wondering how in the hell I make my ghoul that squid thing. I immediately punched the button and had my squid. Of course, that then lead to the question “ok, how in the hell did that happen?”. And so I opened my spell book once again and went to track it down. Oh, hey, apparently when I use deathcoil (of which I get free ones) I “empower” my ghoul. If I manage to empower him 5 times, he can transform.
Got it. Deathcoil for Unholy DPS is very important. Not only that, but I get squid beats by utilizing deathcoil. MUST DEATHCOIL MORE.
But at some point in all of this thought process, it truly dawned on me:
The Default Auras Aren’t Necessarily Meant For Seasoned Players
As a player that has been intimate with my class since Vanilla WoW, I was already comfortable with what abilities my druid already had, and what abilities I wanted to keep track of. I was already utilizing a third party add on to do this for me, and had been doing so for some time. For me, someone who has been druiding for 6 years now, the default auras seemed basic and lacking in so many ways. I didn’t need them, because they weren’t telling me something that I didn’t already know, or wasn’t already tracking on my own.
However – when I switched to a character that I was very unfamiliar with and had no clue what I was doing, they were somewhat of a god send. They clued me in to things that would have most likely passed me by for quite some time. They caused me to investigate why things were happening with my character, and as a result made me better understand the basic mechanics and game play of my character. In short, they made me a better death knight…simply by acting as a teaching tool as I was learning to play my class. And then continuing to assist me as I level.
Granted, if I ever seriously play my Death Knight at level 80, I will convert over to Power Auras. Set up DoT Timers, create my own auras for things I’d like to know. But for learning, and for leveling, the default auras are magnificent. Where I once scoffed at them and thought they were a waste of resources, I can now absolutely see their value. And as I thought about this, I realized that the default auras aren’t only helpful for those leveling or learning their class, but they are also potentially an asset to a player who is familiar with their class but hadn’t previously been utilizing a notification add on. I imagine there is potential benefit to those players as well.
Sometimes It’s Hard To Remember It’s Not Always About You
In the end, I came to the realization that I was perhaps a bit snobby about the default Aura system that Blizzard implemented. I stuck my nose up to it, and like many others thought “dear god, these are terrible”. But in looking at it from a different angle – no, they aren’t terrible. I’m just more advanced than they are, and past the point that I would find them useful on some of my characters. I’m a grizzled veteran of the game, and I’ve seen a lot, and at this point it’s more likely than not that many of the things that Blizzard develops as far as UI improvements, anyhow, will not be useful for me. However, that absolutely doesn’t mean that a new development isn’t going to be useful to someone else.
At the end of the day, I’m very happy that Blizzard spent the development hours on creating the default aura system – even if it is fairly basic. I think that ultimately it will help to craft better, and more informed players. Players that have a more thorough understanding of their class, and a stronger grasp on the abilities available to them. And sometimes it takes teaching an old dog new tricks to realize the value of new things.
What do you think about the Default Aura System? Have your experiences with it been similar to mine? If you never used Power Auras – but have been playing/raiding on your character for some time now, do you find the default auras an asset? Have you leveling a new character since the new aura system was implemented?