Posted Mon, Apr 19, 2010 by Messiah
Of the multitudes of UI mods out there, it really can be hard to find the ones that really stand out. One that has been recommended to me several times now as a stand out is Prat. Prat is a chat window add-on that allows a lot more customization of the chat window than what is possible with the default UI.
In addition to changing the UI around it offers a lot of extra features such as raid frames, raid tools, range finders, HoT management, and much more. Some of the changes are extremely small, such as showing who is rezing a dead player as it is being cast, but once you are used to them they become so ingrained that you take it for granted. Let’s take a more in depth look at this UI mod.
Mod Name: Prat
Category: Chat and Communications
Project Manager: Sylvanaar
Version Reviewed: V 3.3.9
Homepage: Click Here!
Starting off with the install, it installs easily in the normal way, just drop it in your addons folder and away you go. Once Prat is installed you immediately see several things. The most obvious are the time stamps in your chat windows and colour coding of player names by class type. While these things alone make the mod useful there is a lot more to it once you dig beneath the surface.
A great thing about Prat’s implementation of character name colouring is that it seems to apply almost everywhere. Even when I posted a DPS meter from Recount, the listing showed up coloured so that I could easily see which class all the players were. Everywhere you look you see players names in the appropriate class colour and it is so easy to get used to you quickly forget that it normally doesn’t show up that way.
Time stamping is also nice as you can tell how long ago someone said something. This may not seem like a big deal, and it wouldn’t be normally due to the short history kept in chat. However, Prat also allows you to lengthen that history, so it becomes infinitely more important to know when a message came through since you can scroll back further.
Besides the basic colour coding of classes and timestamps just a few of the additional features include:
One of the really nice features that you can use if you are in a guild where players have a ton of alts is tagging their alts all together. This ability allows you to quickly see in the chat window who their main is when they send a message. I know that this could save players a lot of time as they learn who is who in a guild. I still have issue remembering all the names for everyone.
A great feature for the trade and general chat areas is the ability to display character level. I like this because when you are in trade and looking for group, you can probably safely ignore any messages from anyone other than level 80’s (assuming you are looking for a raid or heroic).
Another good feature for either those super busy channels like trade or general, or for your raid channel is the ability to change the amount of channel history. You can change the settings to be able to track a lot of chat history, just remember the more you save the more memory you use up. If you are low on resources you may not want to change this to be too big of a number.
All of the features in Prat can be turned on or off, and can even be completely disabled so they do not load. There are a ton of them though and it will take some time to figure out which you want on or off. The list above and the features discussed are just a very tiny sampling of the feature set that Prat has to offer.
Prat also comes with a high-CPU usage folder that has some extra features. As the folder states it ups the CPU use required by the addon as it does some additional sorting and enables more advanced features, such as the two column chat window. Luckily you don’t need to enable it if you do not want to.
When I first installed this addon I had to send my friend that recommended it a message asking the question, “Am I missing something?” I went on to explain that this mod essentially just made chat colourful and added times, and that was about it. I also asked the question, why would anyone recommend it, sure colours are nice, but it was nothing anyone needed.
His response was that there is a lot more to it, encouraging me to just play around with it and wait a while. Well, I used it for a few weeks, constantly playing around with it and experimenting with different features. Honestly two weeks later I still didn’t feel like it did much. Then I turned it off…
Going back to the default chat after getting used to coloured names, shortened channel names, colour coded channels, character levels, time stamps and more was a lot harder than I thought it would be. While I am still not sure that the addon accomplishes all that much, I missed it when I took it off, and it quickly landed back on my computer.
Maybe that’s the sign of a great addon? I never really thought about what it did and why it did it, but when I removed it I felt something was missing. Now I too can heartily recommend Prat. I just give one note to new users, don’t dismiss it too quickly. Give it some time, it will grow on you.