Buff Icons and Interface Issues

There are a lot of cool new legendary items coming in Patch 2.2.0, and one thing we’ve noticed while testing them on the PTR is… many of them have a buff icon that shows over the belt interface. Such buff icons are a useful visual clue, but 1) they’re really small to derive info from out of the corner of your eye, and 2) not enough can show at once.

Buff Icons and Interface Issues:

UI buff display

Belt UI buff display

The “too-small to see clearly” issue is coming up with the Blizzcon Elemental Ring, since its belt icon shows which element is currently getting the ~200% buff, and that’s something a player needs to know so they can synchronize the appropriate elemental attack. It looks clear in the thumbnail there, but when it’s just another tiny box near your belt and game visuals are flying…

I like the idea of the elemental ring, but the animation is lacking. To figure out which element is active, I have to look away from the action of the battle I’m in and down to the small box. The color palette of the elements is subtle and not distinct. Playing DH, the only one I could easily recognize was fire, because the red stands out. But still, to do that, I’m paying attention to the little box and not the battle I’m in.
Tyvalir: I really like that this points out a case where, simply because of how the user interface is set up, the icon can become more of a hindrance than a help, or ends up pulling you out of your gameplay too frequently (i.e. beyond just checking it really quickly). Definitely passing this on. Great feedback, Phaelanx!

The other issue is inadequate display space for all the buffs your character is enjoying, and that’s a complaint that’s heard more and more often. It was an issue back in 2012 when only five icons could show, but thankfully the space/number was increased before Reaper of Souls. It’s become inadequate again as more and more cool legendary items add their own buff icons.

Buff bar needs size-buff like second row or something.
Tyvalir: There are a lot of items or skills right now that have buff or cooldown icons. When players have lots of different icons stacking up or disappearing from the bottom of the screen, it can result in visual clutter that may make it more difficult to interpret what you’re seeing at a glance.

That said, we’re currently reviewing how we display buffs and cooldowns, and looking for ways to ensure this information remains easy to access and interpret quickly, so you can stay focused on the game.

Diablo 3 seasons

4 auras, 1 icon

I think they could streamline by showing the long term buffs somewhere else. On top of the screen where the pet profiles go, maybe. If I’m playing my Monk in Inna’s set, I don’t need all 4 aura icons showing on the belt… forever. (As Muggs suggested on the podcast, how about one icon that showed all four auras at once, maybe each one in a corner.)

In the case of Inna’s or other full time buffs from your own character’s gear, there’s no need to show them on the belt. I know what my own equipment is giving me. What I need to see on the belt interface are the short term buffs and debuffs, so I know what’s impacting me for the next 3 or 5 seconds. It’s worse in multiplayer games with shared buffs, and not uncommonly players literally do not know what Shrine or Pylon effect they just gained, since there’s nowhere for the icon to display.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Blue Posts, Interface


You're not logged in. Register or login to post a comment.
  1. This was my mockup for the inna's


    It got a decent response on the blizz monk forums.

    Original size

  2. As far as the miserable D3 UI is concerned, look to WoW and profit.

    I suppose we can add this to the list of things JW pooched during his reign.

  3. WoW is almost unplayable w/o a few UI addons. TellMeWhen was one of my favorites; you could set buffs, timers, cooldowns, and other important stuff anywhere on the screen. Very handy to put important stuff right in your field of vision. Let us add TellMeWhen to D3, problem solved.

  4. As much as I hate quoting WoW, customizable UI would be the best way to do things. If you want ponies, you can have ponies.

  5. This reminds me of the system tray issue on Windows. Now one can configure icon to be shown or always displayed or shown on the pop up menu. But this can't be applied in here 🙂

  6. I'd prefer if the currently active elemental buff would be represented by some kind of clearly visible graphical effect around our character, a colored shield maybe. Having to check the UI for gameplay related things is just bad design, as it's a distraction.

    As for the customizable UI suggestion, my opinion as a long time WoW player is that it's better to have a good but fixed UI than a customizable one. I feel that the latter promotes lazy design decisions on the part of the dev team more than anything else. Oh it's customizable, the players can fix things if they are non-functional or get in the way.

    Think about it this way, what does it say about a game when its core user interface is modded by almost every player? Moddability is fine, but when pretty much everyone does to some extent that to me says that the dev team did a bad job and it shouldn't fall on players to change that.

    • I think saying the devs have done a bad job is really missing the point. First off, making a moddable UI is more work than just making a fixed one. Secondly, if the devs spend less time working on the UI – because the know the players will come up with an optimal solution – it means they can spend more time on other features in the game, features that aren’t moddable by players. Really it’s a very sensible investment by the devs.

      • I dont know…. maybe the making-moddable UI stuff work-stuff would improve their face and make them more dough.

Comments are closed.