Addon Review: Bartender 4

Way way back, I realized my UI was ugly. Like, really ugly. Crowded, clunky, and just overall barely manageable. I needed something new. BRK recommended Bartender 3 and CyCircled, so I grabbed them both and fell immediately in love.

Of course, all good things must come to an end, as Bartender 3 and CyCircled crashed and burned at patch 3.0.2. But Bartender 4 rose up from the ashes and found its way into my addons folder.

At its core, Bartender 4 is just like its predecessor – it lets you fine-tune your action bars and display up to 10 on your screen at a time. You can dictate how many buttons show on each bar, how big the bar scales, and where exactly you want it to sit on the screen. New (at least to me) features include nearly the same amount of control over your menu bar and backpack buttons.

So I’ve got my backpack in the bottom right corner, plus I made sure that it shows the keyring for good measure. Right above it is a scaled-down version of the menu bar, set to fade to invisible when I’m not moused over it. Bottom center of my screen holds an empty Bar #1 – the original action bar that you’d see with the default UI. I keep it empty for two reasons: firstly, so I can put temporary buttons on it (like an item I’d need for a quest). Secondly, so that it sits there invisible until I hop into a vehicle – at which point it switches over to the vehicle action bar and everything transitions without a hitch.

I use another bar for abilities I want easily accessible outside of LunarSphere (in Tchann’s case, all her aspects), and another for food and other handy consumables. I keep a bar on the far right for a lot of addon and macro things, and a bar tucked underneath my chatbox for easy professions access. I have to say that overall, I’m really happy with my interface now. :)

The downsides to Bartender 4 have been somewhat minor. CyCircled, the mod that turned all of the default square buttons into lovely circles, was busted, so I had to switch over to ButtonFacade, which at the time had yet to be updated. For a few days I had to deal with it causing errors in the background before a new version cleared that all up.

The second downside still bugs me. Bartender 3 came with a button on the minimap. With the advent of 3.0.2, however, it appears that minimap buttons for addons were the exception rather than the norm. While the old Bartender button would let me easily unlock (i.e., make it possible to move) the bars with a simple shift+click, Bartender 4 comes with no such functionality, and forces me to go into the configuration window to move a bar even a pixel aside.

Still, I can’t imagine my UI without Bartender. My screen is clean, organized, and well-tended – everything my apartment is not. ^.^;

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