I'll be covering some of the most interesting options from a Sniper's point of view, but even non-Snipers may find this section useful. I've organized this post to mirror the ingame Preferences window. Be advised that this list is not exhaustive and I won't be explaining every option.
NB: To get to Preferences, hit "ESC" ingame and click the button on the menu that pops up.
Area Loot: Loot everything in an area! Also always on.
Auto-target closest enemy: This one sounds good, but can be more trouble than it's worth. You can experiment with it and decide whether or not you like the effect. I prefer to keep it off.
Enable Focus Target: This is good for healers. It takes a special keybind or two in order to use this setting effectively.
Deselect Target upon Clicking on Terrain: This is a new feature! I like using it on all my characters. The game naturally "sticks" on your targets. Clicking on terrain is one way to "clear" your targets between pulls. For healers (aka: Heal-Operatives), this is also a fast way to clear your target in order to be sure you're healing yourself.
Camera Max Distance: This setting determines how far your camera can zoom out. Higher ratings are preferable for PvP. Healers may like mid-to-high ratings. Entering buildings or "rotating" your camera next to a wall may cause it to zoom in. The mouse scroll wheel is auto-bound to the zoom in and out functions.
Camera Rotation Speed: This is a matter of personal preference. I usually play at no more than 35% (depends on what I'm doing).
Ability Action Queue Window: I mention this one a lot on the blog. This is a relatively new setting that you can use to raise or lower the length of time you can queue an ability. Lower settings = lower queue times. I keep mine on 0.0. Many people have reported more success by keeping their queues between 0.5-0.25. Use whatever setting is most comfortable or natural for you (and/or keeps you from having issues with interrupted channeled abilities!).
Chat Timestamp: I turn this on. It would be even more useful if we had a combat log.
Chat Panel Fade: I like it. Some people don't. You can keep your chat from fading by turning this setting off.
Chat/Group Awareness Ping: You get a "ping" sound effect when your name is mentioned in chat. This can be useful (unless and until you have a friend who finds out you have it on, and then that person pings you incessantly).
Auto-swap to Group Channel: This is handy while you're leveling. You automatically switch chat channels to "party" or "Ops" or what-have-you.
Enable Tutorials: I usually turn them off. They are helpful if you're new to the game.
Display Item Modification Warning: I keep this on. It's helpful when I'm messing around with items.
Lock Quickslots: Useful if you like to click things. If you use mostly keybinds, locking quickbars may or may not actually be annoying or harmful to you. There are a handful of abilities I move between "bound" quickslots (i.e. PvE vs. PvP situations, where accessibility can be important), so I find that having them unlocked is helpful. For example, I might swap a PvP-only consumable onto my main hotbars.
Enable Bottom Center/Left/Right Quickslot: I enable all of them. This is personal preference. These additional quickslot bars give you additional places to put the abilities you'd like to keybind. I also use them to store things it is okay to click (i.e. class buffs, quick travel, social abilities).
Enable Cover Bar: I like it. Some people don't. This is personal preference. I've seen reports of disabling the cover bar helping to alleviate some ability-lag issues.
Companion Expanded Quickslot Placement: This setting tells the game where to put your Companion's expanded toolbar. That toolbar is where you turn companion abilities on and off and where, if you so choose, you can micromanage your companion in combat.
Display Subtitles for Conversations: This is off by default. I turn it on. I like to know what's going on even when I skip conversations. Turning this on can also make it easier to know "when" to hit spacebar to get through dialogue faster.
Show Conversation Alignment Gain on Mouseover: I keep this on because I don't like to guess. If you'd prefer not to know whether you are making a Light or Dark decision, turn this option off.
Show Converation Alignment Gain: This shows the "alignment" of all available conversation options. I turn this on because I like to evaluate conversation choices at-a-glance. This is the lazy man's option.
Map Gutter Max Icon Count: Increasing the percentage increases the number of icons your large map displays. Decreasing the percentage decreases the number of icons displayed on the map (and, hence, the range of that display). I go for a medium percentage. I like knowing a fair bit about the immediate area, but I don't want to be overwhelmed with a large number of icons.
I turn all of these on. Tooltips are invaluable when you're comparing two items. You can turn them on or off according to your preference.
Show Detailed Item Tooltips: This allows you to see exactly what stats you're getting from each mod in your gear. It's a quick way to compare two mods and see if you've found an upgrade.
Operations Frames are the alternative display to the normal "Party" frames with portraits. Operations frames are also a more simplistic interface. They are especially useful for healers. A healer's Operations Frames settings would look like this (with the highest possible settings on health height/width). The interesting bit is that the text in the frames, like the names of your party members, scales in proportion to the size of the frame, itself. Healers may want to use larger frames and DPS may prefer smaller frames.
I turn all of them on. You'd be surprised at how useful it is to be able to tell, at a distance, which NPCs are hostile to you and which are friendly. Players who prefer RP may prefer to keep nameplates off the majority of their targets.
On a PvP server, however, I've found it useful to have as many nameplates as possible in order to more readily identify friend and foe. Turning on nameplates makes it much harder for non-stealth classes to either sneak up on you or avoid detection.
This is just a small sampling of some of the most important Preferences/UI settings in SW:TOR. I encourage you to experiment with each of them in order to find the configuration you like best.
Questions, comments, or corrections? Add them here at the end of the blog or email me: Fentanyl213@gmail.com