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?

Maintaining a Tank / Healer UI

I had promised to provide more “guides” to tank/healer coordination, and felt that this was a good topic on how they each display and use different UI elements. 

Holy and Protection UIs

Holy and Protection UIs

I consider your UI (User Interface) the most important thing on your screen when playing WoW, well at least when raiding/dungeon-crawling.  Well, and outside of the fire that you are not supposed to be standing in… that’s important too; but I digress. 

When participating in a raid or dungeon, you need information at your finger tips.  Whether it be the health of your fellow party when healing, or the health of the boss and his adds when dpsing, or even the health of both the boss and your party when tanking.  As I have mentioned before, I’m a glutton for punishment since I have spec’d both Holy and Protection as my dual specs.  Basically I get to either stress out over keeping everyone alive, or stress out over keeping everyone alive and making sure that nobody goes and kills one of my teammates. Kind of speeds up the burnout process, but as the Help Tips during the loading screens say “Be sure to take all things in moderation, even World of Warcraft.” 

Anyway, being both a tank and a healer, my UI needs to change each time that I change specs.  I was in a hurry, and unable to send the pics to the PC that I post from, but will add them later, as I have an example of my tanking and my healing UI, and the differences between each. There are different focuses that you need to… focus.. on when healing or tanking.  I’m guessing that some would say that that’s obvious, but I’m simply trying to point out the specifics. 

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