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Add it Up.

Back in the day when my college roommate and I would game together, he would give me a bunch of grief whenever he glanced over to my screen due to the amount of add-ons I run at one time. Years later I am running more now than ever, but it is because I like the look. I know some of the “Elites” out there are thinking to themselves….

“Wow this scrub uses so many add-ons; they are just playing the game for him.”

To this I would respond…”That is not true, I am a DK. I can just punch my keyboard and things die. The add-ons just make it nice and cool looking.”

(P.S. To my Raid Leader – I keed I Keed…*video link I want to use is too scandalous to post unfortunately, so watch this instead if you like.*)

The cool thing about WOW is the ability to customize your User Interface (UI) to your liking. Blizzard did themselves a favor when they opened the door for inspiring programmers to create add-ons that allowed its massive player base to play the way they want to play. It would be impossible for Blizzard to create a UI that over 12 million people enjoy, but with the help of add-ons, every single player can view the game in a way they prefer. There are thousands of different add-ons that do different things, but in my opinion you can break them down into 5 categories.

1. Cosmetic – Cosmetic add-ons allow you to change the way things look on your screen. These types of add-ons allow you to move, change, or sometimes remove things from the default UI to appear how you want them to.

2. PVE  – These add-ons are used for PVE (surprised?). Most of these add-ons do not offer much utility outside of raiding or running 5 mans, but they are very helpful. Any add-on that a Raid leader requires you to have is going to fall into this category most of the time.

3. PVP – Can you guess what I am going to say??? Wait for it….yes these add-ons are used for PVP! Some of the PVE add-ons fall into this category as well, but there are healthy amounts that are purely for PVP purposes.

4. Economy – These add-ons are tied in with the WOW economy. Most of them work with your server’s auction house or your character’s professions.

5. Informational – This category has the least amount of add-ons, but they tend to be very popular. I tend to turn these off when I enter raids or BGs mainly because they can be the culprit of a large portion of lag/lower FPS.

A lot of these add-ons do the same exact thing, but present it in a different way. Some of them are quite tedious and difficult to set up and can be a huge time commitment. However once you get that UI to exactly the way you want it, you can rest assured that your gaming experience is going to be a lot better. If you do not use any add-ons currently then I would suggest trying some out. When I started playing I didn’t run any add-ons, and to be honest I didn’t even know they existed. Then when I started to watch how-to videos I would notice how cool some of these people’s UIs were and thought to myself “man I want that.” After a bunch of searching around, asking, and simply trying, I have come to a happy place with my UI.

Personally I prefer my add-ons to be as flexible as possible. The reason I like add-ons is the ability to change it to my personal taste, so why would I want to use one that doesn’t allow me to do just that. Other things I factor in when choosing my add-ons is the difficulty and time required in setting it up. Also be aware that add-ons will eventually break. Now that Blizzard is going to release smaller patches at a more frequent pace you can assume that add-ons are going to break more often. Make sure to always keep your add-ons up to date. To help me manage this I use Curse’s Add-on client. It is free to get and once you download the client it will check your add-ons for you. If something is out of date or broken it will update it and your settings will be applied with the new version.

To answer the ultimate question I am going to give you my list of add-on that I use on a daily basis. Some add-ons require more explanation than others, and please keep in mind that  my choices are based off personal preferences. When you get down to it, what makes a good player is the ability to know what you are doing, and the ability to flat-out play. Having add-ons are not game changers, but they sure can make your job a lot easier.

All ratings will be on a 1-5 scale, 5 being top-notch.

Deadly Boss Mods – PVE – Utility : 5 – Ease of use : 4 – Overall Rating : 5

How can I not put this add-on first on the list. Without doing any research at all 🙂 I would be willing to say this add-on is number 1 on the most download list. For those of you who do not know, this add-on serves as your own personal raid leader on your screen. Depending on the boss this add-on will warn you and notify you of key mechanics during the fight in-case you missed it. Every guild I have been a part of has required everyone to run this add-on and it is pretty easy to see why. The default settings for this add-on make it ready to go the second you install it on your computer. It is completely customizable from the look of the warning bars to the types of warnings you receive.

Bartender – Cosmetic – Utility : 4 – Ease of use : 5 – Overall Rating : 5

This nice little add-on allows you to move your action bars anywhere you want on your screen. Really simple and I am sure that most people know how to use it. The thing I really like about Bartender is the ability to click and drag the action bars when setting it up. Some additional features include extra action bars, scaling of bars, and the ability to adjust the amount of rows and column for each set (you can make shapes if your heart so desires).

Omen – PVE – Utility :5 – Ease of use : 5 – Overall Rating :5

This is a must have for anyone raiding. If you do not have it then you are simply asking to get yelled at mid raid (unless your damage is so low that you cannot pull threat off a tank). A lot of people think that this is a tanking only add-on, however it is as important for a DPS to have as well. There is nothing more annoying then when a DPS pulls off a tank mid-fight. In current content especially, positioning of a boss is very important, and pulling a boss off the tank can easily wipe the raid. When you download it onto your computer a small box that looks like parchment shows up on your screen. You just click to drag, and you can scale it to whatever size you prefer. This add-on is especially useful when your tank forgets to get into its tanking stance that is used for threat. (Righteous Furry, Defensive stance, Blood Presence, and Bear Form(have not seen that happen yet)

Recount – PVE/PVP – Utility : 5 – Ease of use : 4 – Overall Rating : 5

OMG DAMAGE METERS!!!!. Yes this add-on tells you your DPS along with everyone’s in the raid. Much like omen there is little to no set up required to get this add-on to work. However recount offers much more than the ability for you to drool over your DPS. It also keeps track of healing done, damage taken, activity, deaths, and much more. If you click onto one of the meters with-in the add-on you can see a much more detailed description of what actually happened mid-fight. If your damage is strangely low for a  certain fight, dive deeper and see how many times you may have missed, got dodged/parried, or glanced. In a lot of fights the melee have to be spread out, and some people may be crossing that line from the side of a boss to the actual front. Also look into deaths and you can see what people actually died from. If you see that someone died to a 200k chain lightning then you know that someone wasn’t paying attention to some game mechanics.

Skinner – Cosmetic – Utility : 5 – Ease of use : 2 – Overall Rating : 4

If you look at my UI you should notice the black space at the top and bottom of my screen. This is all due to skinner. Skinner is an add-on that allows you to re-size the “Game-play” vision on your screen. It creates dead space where you can throw your UI so that it is not blocking your vision of the room. This add-on does NOT limit your playing view, it actually allows you to see more than the default settings. I find it useful since I have so many add-ons running at one time. I put all of the add-ons that I can into this dead space so that I can have a clear and clean look at what my toon is actually doing. Setting this up is relatively tough to figure out, but once you do, it is easy to adjust. Skinner is extremely helpful if you play on  large monitor, since you should have a lot of room to work with.

Shadowed Unit Frames – Cosmetic – Utility : 5 – Ease Of Use : 2 – Overall Rating : 4

What does this do??? Yes it allows you to customize your unit frames. The nice thing about this add-on is the ability to move your unit frame, your targets, your pets, target of target, focus, ECT. This add-on is not the most popular of the unit frame add-ons, but I like it because it has the least wear and tear on your FPS. You can include anything or nothing in the unit frames depending on what information you need to operate. For me I have 3 levels with-in each frame. On the top there is a health bar that shows actual value and the percentage left. Second level is the resource bar (runic power, mana, and rage). The third level is reserved for things like cast bars, runes, holy power, ECT. Buffs and de-buffs are re-sizable and if you know what you are doing you can do basically anything you want with this add-on. Be warned that this is a very difficult add-on to set up since there is no click and drag feature. Instead you have to input coordinates for your screen and takes some time getting used to.

The rest…

Omni CC – Overall Rating : 3 – This one puts a countdown on anything that has a cool-down. It is very useful and easy to set up. The reason I gave it a 3 is because it is not a game changer and I can definitely do without it. It is just nice to see an actual value to the time left on a certain ability.

Marking Bar – Overall Rating : 4 – Simple marking bar that allows you to mark targets without having to right-click on a mob and search for the correct mark to select. It simply streamlines the ability to mark targets on the fly.

Grid – Overall Rating : 5 – IMO this is the best raid frame add-on out there. The reason I threw this in “The Rest” section is because it would take about a year to type out an explanation of how to use it effectively. If you are a DPS or tank that just wants to have a clean and neat way to see the raid frames, then the default settings will do. Some healers prefer to use Clique with Grid to heal for raids (allows you to heal the entire raid off keystrokes and macros by simply hovering over the raid frame of the target you want to heal with your mouse.

Bagnon – Overall Rating : 3 – A bag add-on that combines all of your bag space into one massive bag. It is just a different way to organize your bags and bank slots so things are easier to find. The nice thing about this add-on is it also has a search bar feature.

ChitChat – Overall Rating : 3 – This add-on will record any whispers I receive when I am afk or mid-raid. Extremely easy to use and it could be a helpful tool for all those raid leaders out there who get spammed with pink walls of text all day.

Auctioneer – Overall Rating : 4 – Auction House add-on that is stuffed with utility and information. Be warned however since the in-experienced user can easily use this add-on incorrectly, which results in a loss of profit. Make sure to read guides and “how-tos” before you dive into this one.

Chinchilla Mini Map – Overall Rating : 3 – A simple mini map add-on that allows you to move and re-size your mini map any way you like it. It is not that great on its own, but with everything being customized it is nice to have your mini map feel like part of the group.

BugSack – Overall Rating : 5 – Have you ever been mid fight and have an error pop on your screen? Well this add-on prevents that from happening and it becomes more and more useful with each add-on you add to your UI. If you need to report an error it logs them all. Later you can go into the settings and look at all the errors during a time that is not as important as phase 3 of Cho’ Gall.

Postal – Overall Rating : 5 – Open your mail box, click the “Open all Button” and watch this add-on open all of your mail and drop everything into your bags. Extremely useful if you are someone who uses the AH a lot.

As you can see I have a boat load of add-ons that are running at the same time. It is merely due to personal preference and everyone is different. Like I have said before, do not be afraid to try some of these out, you may come to find that you really like the change in game-play. I know this is a “dry” topic and to be honest I struggled when writing this since it did not allow for much “creative writing” (maybe this is true of all of my posts who knows 🙂 ), but I feel that it is important information to get out there since it is the most frequently asked question I receive.

Thanks once again for reading this week’s blog post. For the record this was the shortest post I have put out there in some time so good for you, take the rest of the night off. If you have any questions comments or feedback please feel free to e-mail me at DKTWSS@gmail.com or leave a comment below. Thanks again and I hope you enjoyed. See you next week.

-TWSS


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  1. Tote
    March 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Bagnon is the bag add on you mentioned.

  2. March 22, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Postal makes my bank alt happy.

    Really good list here for any character, thanks TWSS!

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