Addons, Bane or Boon

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

GUI BOOM

GUI BOOM

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?

Advertisements

DPS Validation and Accountability

Well, here’s the final role specific addition to this series. It is also the one role that rew people realize as being as important as it is. The role of DPS is also the most popular role to follow, simply because of this misconception.

More often then not, though, most DPS feel that Tanks and Healers have some sort of entitlement when it comes to grouping. Simply put, they feel that because they are “must-have” roles, that they are more imporant than the lowly DPS. In some cases this is true, as if you did not have a tank, the DPS would get swarmed by mobs, and if you didn’t have a healer, those mobs would slice down the DPS with no resistance. However, without the DPS role, Tanks and Healers would never finish an instance within a single night, nor would they ever meet enrage timers. It was once joked that 2 paladins could almost do an entire instance (at level), it would just take 3 weeks to do it.

Because of this perception, a lot of DPS feel that they have to push themselves into the forefront so that they can get noticed. Hence the rise of Damage Meters, and the DPS ePeen. However, there are those who still stand in the back (figuratively or literally) and work hard as hell to keep the pain flowing, but also help out the rest of the group/raid. It is here that you can separate the real DPS from the twatmelons.

Don't be a twatmelon.

Don't be a twatmelon.

Continue reading

Tank Validation and Accountability

Tanks make mistakes too.

Tanks make mistakes too.

I’ve decided to continue this series on my observations about how different roles are treated. I’ve already hit the big one to me, and that is healing. Next, I plan to point out some of the faults blamed on tanks, including a story from a fellow tank and friend of mine.

Like healing, tanking is often a required role in a group. Not always, at least 98% of the time in 5 mans, but 100% in raids. The short and sweet is that if you do not have a meat shield on the front lines, you are going to become that meat shield. That mound of flesh wrapped in plate (or furry leather) armor is there to get punched in the face repeatedly so you don’t have to. Because of this, they too should be treated with a certain level of respect. In addition to their normal duties, Tanks also often are placed in a position of leadership, whether they like it or not.

For nearly 6 months, I would tank on my Paladin. It was a nice change of pace, but also changed my view of how a tank’s job works. I remember when I first started the dungeon crawl, that the tank was allowed a certain amount of time at the beginning of a pull to gain aggro. This was before threat became such an easy thing to come by. Back when Warriors had to get a certain number of Sunder Armors off before the raid or group even thought about casting anything. Now-a-days, from what I’ve noticed, that is no longer the case. It is now a race to the end of the dungeon, and a test to see who can kill the mob faster. Normally this wouldn’t bother me, as quick runs mean quick rewards, but it can cause problems as well.

Continue reading

Healer Validation and Accountability

It’s not easy being a healer.

You get the short end of the stick pretty often, and often get blamed for a wipe. I’m sure this has been said a million times before, but I got a quick lesson in it this weekend.

More often then not, it is a PUG that will bring out the Elitists in people, it will also bring out the most fail in some cases. It was a mix of both during that Friday night venture into Icecrown Citadel. As I mentioned in my last post, this group didn’t look too bad, folks would talk in Raid chat, and keep things somewhat lively while we waited to fill the ranks. I was good to go with consumables, reagents, etc. (forgot to grab some water though). Once we all got inside, we determined who had what role.

1 Prot Paladin Tank
1 Prot Warrior Tank (slightly undergeared)
1 DK DPS
1 Ret Paladin DPS
2 Rogue DPS (one of them being the RL)
2 Warlock DPS
1 Druid Healer
1 Paladin Healer (me)

A decent setup, though a bit melee heavy if you ask me. But with Holy Light splash heals, it should be ok to keep the group together while still focusing on the tanks.

Continue reading