I am going to do a short series on some of the million things you can do with Satrina Buff Frames 3, at the request of my lovely Lunaris guildie Barbi.

In this first part of the guide, I’m just going to cover the very basic process of setting up a buff frame for your character.

Once you have the add-on downloaded and installed, you will need to log onto the character you want to configure and type

/sbf options

to open the configuration menu. The result will look like this:

SBF puts you in a pretty good starting place. The frame is appropriately named (“Buffs”), it’s set up to show buffs only, and buffs that are on you, the player.  That checked off box that says “Blacklist”? That means it’ll show you every buff on your character unless you tell it not to – but more on that later.  For a basic buff frame, it’s unlikely you’ll change anything on this screen. The next place to go is the “Layout” tab.

As a default, SBF puts your buffs into on vertical column. This might be what you want, but it’s CERTAINLY not what I want.

The first thing I do when I make a new frame is click that button that says “Make Rows” – that will make all your buffs into horizontal rows rather than vertical columns. This is a personal preference – if you like the rows, by all means keep them. The default is set to show 20 buffs – I find this is normally plenty, but if you want more, just type in the box on the left hand side to increase the number.  You can also work your buffs into a square box instead of a big strip by playing with the “Buffs per Column” slider.  I tend to stick with the default of 20, and I find that making four rows of five buffs makes a manageable buff box.

The next thing you may want to tweak is the “Buff growth” and “Anchor point” options. The name of the frame (visible only in config mode) is your anchor point, and with the settings as shown above, new buffs will grow out to the right of the anchor point, and when a row is filled, the next row will appear below. Switching either of these sliders will change the way buff growth behaves. Personally? I like to set my buff growth to left and my anchor point to the top, and then I set my frame right up next to my quest tracker, just below and to the left of the mini map. This is an easy place for me to look to check buffs, and it doesn’t interfere with any of my other UI elements.

(Please ignore the debuffs frame in this screenshot – I hadn’t yet configured it, and I ASSURE you it won’t live there when I’m done.)

The last thing you want to configure in this tab is your sort preference.

My preference is for Duration Ascending – this will show the buffs with the shortest duration closest to the anchor point. However, if you are displaying auras as part of your regular buff frame, and you choose either time ascending or duration ascending, your auras will always show closer to the anchor point than any buffs with times.  I find this irritating, and tend to make a separate frame for auras, so that my buff with the shortest duration will always be closest to the anchor point. I will explain how to remove auras from your regular buff frame and make a dedicated aura frame in another post.

Some people prefer to not mess with sorting so that their buffs don’t roam, and additional buffs will always be added to the next available space. If you’re not sure what  you want for sorting, play with the different choices and see what works for you.

The next tab is “Icons”:

Again, default setting is 20 – you can make this larger or smaller by typing in the box and clicking on the apply button. Now, icons is the reason I love SBF and I can’t think of a single scenario in which I would want to turn them off, but that option exists here if you want it. There’s a checkbox for “Disable Right-Click in this frame” but at this time, Satrina Buff Frames does not support the right-clicking of buffs to remove them due to changes to the Blizzard defaults. If you’re attached to clicking off buffs, this add-on in it’s current incarnation is not for you. To my knowledge, right now, checking or unchecking that box makes no difference.

Next tab, timers:

This is where you configure how your timers show up. By default, they are below the icon, but by changing the Y axis to 0 instead of the default -15, you can move them into the middle of the box. If you choose to do this, I highly recommend checking the “Outline Font” option – I tend to use it even with timers OUTSIDE, but it’s a matter of preference. As a default, your timers are yellow. You can change that to any color you like (or that’s easy for you to read) by clicking the upper white box, and choosing a color for your timers.  The lower white box allows you to change the color for buffs that are about to expire (which, I believe in SBF terms, is any buff with a duration less than 30 seconds), which as default is set to the same color yellow as the normal timers. If you want a visual difference, be sure to change that.

If the “N/A for Auras” is checked, auras will have the next “N/A” where the timer would normally be. If you want to closely track how much time is left on your buffs, you can check the “Show 1/10 of a second” box, which will show timers to the tenth of a second on any buff with a duration of less than 5 seconds remaining.

You can change the font in use for these timers, as well as the font size, but make sure to check the final outcome – overlapping timers are really hard to read! Finally, you can choose the format of your timers. I use “Blizzard Style II” but again, this is totally a matter of preference.

The next tab is Counts, and is useful for tracking how many charges a buff has.  This is useful for things like a shaman’s Lightning Shield. The default for this puts the count in the middle of the icon, so if you prefer your timers there, you may want to turn this option off or use the X/Y positioning box to move your count outside of the icon. Again, for any text inside an icon, I highly recommend the “Outline Font” option.

The next tab is for bars – if you like bars, feel free to experiment with them, but I never use them – I think they take up way more screen real estate than they’re worth.

No thank you! I just wanted to make the point that is option is available for folks who like that sort of thing.

(Bear with me – we’re almost through!)

The next tab lets you turn on display of buff names. Again, I don’t use this option at all, and I can’t see how it wouldn’t be too much information in a basic buff frame. This is also why I keep tooltips turned on in the icons tab – it allows you to mouse over any buff and see what it is.

The next tab is Expiry, and in my opinion, it’s use is very situational.

The Minimum Duration drop down menu lets you select which buffs you want to display – if you only want short duration buffs to show, you can do that. For a basic buff frame, though, I want to see them all, so I leave this set on “All Buffs”.  The Warn At drop down allows you to choose what about to expire means to you. You can have a text expiry warning appear in your chat frame, or in Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text, if you also run that add-on. You can also set it so that the icon will flash when it’s about expire.

The last two tabs have a similar – although not identical purpose.

Way back on the General tab, you had the option of “Whitelist” or “Blacklist” – the buff frame is blacklist by default. This means it will show EVERYTHING that the game considers a buff unless you tell it not to. The only change I usually make to this frame is to tell it not to show auras (I will display those in an alternate frame), and if you’d like to do that, you can select “Auras” from the “Common Filters” drop down. If you change your mind later, you can always click on the filter in the gray box on the left, and then click “Remove”.

The last tab will allow you to filter out individual buffs you don’t want to show. If you don’t care if you have “Essence of Wintergrasp”, you can use the spell tab to remove just that one spell from your buff frame.

Once you’ve gotten all your options set, you just drag your frame by the anchor to wherever you want it on your screen. Then, for debuffs, you go back to the general tab, choose “Debuffs” from the “Current Frame” drop down at the top and start the whole process over. I won’t lie – setting up SBF exactly the way you want can take some time. However, once your have your frames set, you should be able to copy the layout to all of your other characters using the Profile tab at the bottom.

Be warned: If you hit the “New Profile” button without logging out, all of your work will be lost.

The remainder of this series will cover making special frames for various uses, and making frames to replace the buffs/debuffs that frequently come attached to unit frames. If you have any questions on basic frames, please leave me a comment, and I’ll do the best I can to answer them.