Interview with Shadowed, creator of ShadowedUnitFrames, Elitist Group and more.
AddOn Spotlight (AS): Shadowed. I love your Unit Frames. How are you?
Shadowed: Good, yourself?
AS: I can't complain. We went sledding today. I wanted to talk to you about your addon Elitist Group. Can you give our audience your own personal overview of what the addon is about?
Shadowed: It's intended to give people a better overview of what to expect from a player, or a group. Not necessarily "If a theory crafter looked at this person, is it optimal?" but "Do they know the basics of their class." What it really does is tell you information you could already find out if you inspected people, but it saves you looking at 16-17 slots (And looking at 4/9/24 players manually).
AS: It's nice to be able to not have to alt-tab out to the armory for ever player you're going to invite to a raid. What spurred the development of EG? The new prevalence of pickup raiding?
Shadowed: Actually, it was sort of by accident. Antiarc was talking in IRC about making a mod to do player notes/ratings (Where /eg rate comes from), and I had been thinking of writing a mod that could automatically classify gear. We decided to merge those two ideas, as well as his Experience addon into what became Elitist Group.
Also was a bit of wanting to make a better alternative to Gearscore. But it wouldn't be the same addon you see today without Antiarc.
AS: Have you worked with Antiarc on other mods/addons before?
Shadowed: Not really. I've done some very small patches to things like SexyMap, but we haven't really worked on a project together.
AS: Here's the big question. How much do you hate Gearscore? EG seems to be a well deserved shot across Gearscore's bow.
Shadowed: I don't think Gearscore is necessarily a bad idea (Boo, hiss, I know!) It is helpful to have a simple way of filtering out somebody who wants to main tank Icecrown Citadel in 200 gear. The problem is it's designed in a way that makes it very easy for the average user to misuse it.
From a programmer's standpoint, I think it's overcomplicated and an average item level tells you as much (that you need to know) as weighting by item level and slot. That's why Elitist Group still includes average item level information. It is useful to know, but it's something that should be done in a way that it's a lot harder (and discouraged) from being the only thing to look at.
AS: One of the trends people have been seeing lately is turning away a player without the experience needed, but experience nonetheless. Take a new tank, who has his defense above the requisite amount but is turned away from the group based on HP. Can Elitist Group help ease player's minds about a problem that doesn't really exist?
Shadowed: Can't give you a solid answer. If somebody is judging a tank purely by HP, especially in lower level dungeons (We all have to start somewhere), then I don't think Elitist Group can help with that since they'll try and find one little thing to nitpick on. However, a player who is using Elitist Group could see that despite the tank not having the best gear, he still has everything enchanted and gemmed and so he probably knows what he's doing.
I actually had this happen once. A Priest in ~174 item level gear had everything fully gemmed and enchanted and he did fine. I'm also overgeared for tanking heroics, but I didn't worry as much about his gear since he put the effort into enchanting/gemming it all and doing it correctly.
AS: Do you have a few tips for users of EG? Anything you don't see enough people doing?
Shadowed: One of the more common complaints I've seen for EG are people who dislike the experience feature, because it hurts those who player twenty different alts. Which isn't true, if people go into the configuration (/eg config) they can set a character as their main. Making it so other EG users can view both their alts and mains experience. Overall, I think people are using it in the way Antiarc and myself intended when we started on it.
AS: Are you afraid of EG being skewed from its original intention much like how Gearscore has been?
Shadowed: Absolutely, I try to keep the detections as fair as possible to reduce the chance of abuse, but it's possible somebody will. Because EG doesn't give you a single summary of the players item level, it's a lot harder to abuse the same way Gearscore is.
AS: Anything you can talk about that you're working on now?
Shadowed: The "core" Elitist Group addon is essentially done. I want to improve the UI still, but I don't have any major changes planned. I'm currently working on a new plugin called Elitist Group Leader which will make it easier for raid leaders, especially those who form pug raids to do their groups.
Shadowed: I'm also working on an Elitist Group port to a website, something like WoW-Heroes but a bit more in-depth.
AS: Any advice you'd like to give to players about using either your addons or addons in general?
Shadowed: Give as much details as you can when reporting errors, and make sure you're using the latest version! The more details authors get for bug reports, the easier it is (and faster) for us to fix them.
AS: And the last question - what's your favorite mod or class of mod? (For instance, Antiarc once told me that the game is unplayable for him without a Chat mod).
Shadowed: Would have to agree with him on that, no chat mod is a pain! I can't say I have any one favorite. Dominos, Chatter, LightHeaded/TomTom, teksLoot are all addons done by authors (Tuller, Antiarc, Cladhaire, Tekkub) I trust not to do anything wacky that would make me want to rewrite the addon and curse their name.
AS: Thank you for taking the time to talk to AddOn Spotlight!