Addons, Bane or Boon

It’s a topic that a lot of people ask. Are addons required, or not?



This all came up after my brother came home for a week to visit, and wanted me to help him with some character tuning. He’s got a Blood Elf Priest on Area 52, level 80, and decked out in 10 man T9 gear. While he was visiting my house, he asked if I minded if he did a quick daily dungeon to get his frost emblems. I didn’t mind, I was busy watching the baby, so I told him to go for it.

First thing he asked… “Do you have Vuhdo?” I told him that I had downloaded it once, but never got around to using it, and instead told him that I’ve got some other addons that should hold him over till he gets a chance to download it.

So, we real quick logged him on, and got Grid/Clique and some of the bar addons in there, just to give him something to work with. He started it up, and hopped in the LFD to heal, and waited till the queue popped up. I was still trying to get him acquainted with the addons, and he didn’t get much of a chance to “customize” it to where he might be used to it. Well, ToC5 popped up, and he hopped in. It was crazy, he was lost as to what was where, and who was who. He had grown so accustomed to Vuhdo and his bar layout (default UI with Vuhdo over it) that he just couldn’t figure out what all was happening and freaked out.

I’m sure he’ll hate me for saying this, but he freaked out a bit quick, and probably could have regained composure, but instead just quit the group and hopped out. Sadly, he’s also used to his mouse which has 2 extra buttons I’ve just got 2 buttons and scroll wheel), that he just couldn’t heal without it.

Here’s where my point comes in. I subscribe to the notion that if a patch comes through, and all your addons blow up, you should still be able to do your job in a group or raid. Sure, it’ll be more difficult with less of the information coming your way, and you’ll have to get used to some slightly differently placed buttons, but it shouldn’t be the end of the world.

I myself have a few addons that I use:

  • FuBar: Simply to place some info addons like AtlasLoot, etc.
  • SpartanUI: Cause it looks cool
  • Dominos: Only because Bartender4 was still broke and Dominos worked at the time
  • PallyPower: Gotta love it, though I’m sure it’ll be void by the time Cataclysm comes out
  • Clique: I like being able to map some of the spells directly to buttons, and it handles it well.
  • Grid: It’s just the right size for both group and raid content, and lets me customize that shows up where.
  • PowerAuras: Haven’t really used this to its full potential, but is helpful in keeping track of some buffs I have on targets
  • SexyMap: Cause it’s sexy
  • Omen: For when I tank, I want to be sure that I’m at the top of that list.
  • Recount: Just for shits & giggles, I don’t usually use it much, except to measure how effective a new piece of gear is.
  • Deadly Boss Mods: Cause noises and text during a raid can sometimes be helpful
  • ElksBuffBars: So much cleaner than what I had.

All these are used in unison to provide the extra info that I need to keep my focus on what’s important. If these blew up… oh well, I’d probably put a couple mouseover macros together to help with the casting, and be on my merry way.

I do feel, though, that there are several folks who depend all their abilities on the addons. This is what I would consider a crutch on your actual capabilities. It should be possible, though fortunately not required, to do all that can be done now with the default WoW UI, and in all reality, it can. We have the tools and the abilities to successfully complete an instance without freaking out cause you couldn’t figure out which way the health went when it dropped (ya he wasn’t sure and people died). I also feel that you should be able to tell who is fulfilling what role in your group, by simply looking at them, and if needed inspecting them. I wholeheartedly feel that a knowledge of the other classes as well as your own can increase your capabilities and allow you to adapt much quicker when things go awry.

Now, in contrast, I do feel that Addons are a wonderful addition to any UI. I have probably 3 or 4 different versions of my UI that I use for my Paladin, Shaman, Druid, and Mage. All this because you need different information for different classes. I have come to love the look of SpartanUI, as well as the versatility of the Grid/Clique combo, and will say that it is very beneficial in making quick decisions on who to heal and when. I try not to inendate myself with information overload, though keeping Omen and Recount up have never hurt my performance. I also like to keep things asthetically pleasing, and the combo of SpartanUI and SexyMap do that well. Without Deadly Boss Mods, I don’t really think that I would have learned some boss encounters as quickly as I have. I really consider it a very helpful tool in getting used to fights, and more often then not, I’ll turn it off once I’ve gotten a fight down pat.

<open rant>

Basically, it doesn’t really matter if you have them or not, but be sure that in the case that the GUI blows up, and all addons are made moot, don’t blame the addons if you can’t complete something. Your abilities should be determined by your skill, not the usability that an addon provides.

</end rant>

What do you use as addons? Do you require them to function?


6 thoughts on “Addons, Bane or Boon

  1. Well said! I’m very tired of the mentality from some that addons are cheating. 😦 I repeat til I’m blue that they simple put the information that’s there in a location of our choosing.

    • Exactly, and that’s why I do use some addons, so that I can move them around the screen at will, and to my liking. Other than that, the information is there, or else these addons would likely not be able to display it. If you think about it, the combo of grid/clique is nothing more than mouseover macros mixed with shrunken raid frames… that’s all, and it can be done whether we have the addons or not.

      I don’t see addons as cheating in any way, as more often then not, they may make things more confusing with the plethora of informaiton being thrown at you. I just feel that they shouldn’t be used as a crutch and used as an excuse if something goes wrong.

      I’m sure there is the argument that some addons have their own data storage; however, they still have to get that data from somewhere.

      I don’t want to diss addon developers, as the work they do is great, and I wish that I took the time to do some of it myself. But no matter the work they do, it still shouldn’t be depended on.

  2. I like to raid/group once a month or so with all my addons turned off just for this reason. Don’t get me wrong, I like my Grid/mouseover, and having all my buttons keyed to my Naga mouse is awesome. It’s good to know you can raid effectively when it all crashes. Just think of what it’ll look like after the xpac.

    • I totally agree, in fact just about all my addons were hosed after BC first came out, and then again when the Shattered Sun stuff came out. But it didn’t slow me down any.

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  4. Personally, I love a whole bunch of addons. Titan Panel, Healbot, Alphamaps, Gatherer, TasteTheNaimbow, OverAchiever, ButtonRange, Clock, some of the old Cosmos addons, (of which most are VERY out of date) EasyMail and the Auctioneer suit, (which is probably just wasting my time as I’m not really using it to it’s potential).

    If you look at things like Questhelper, and there’s another one out there that you have to pay for, I consider those cheating to be honest. Exploring and grinding are things that can help you level, and if you always know where to go, you’ll probably level a bit slower. I’m pretty sure my toons are leveling slowly now because I have them flying around Northrend instead of riding and risking random agro pulls. Maybe it’s just me though.

    They’re fairly moot if you ask me though, as you can just look on the Blizzard map to find out where you need to go now……. Although it’s occasionally wrong.

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