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Addon Spotlight: Gathering and trade skill helpers

Addon Spotlight focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. We'll look at everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your interface folder will never be the same! This week, Addon Spotlight lies to you, ditches Power Auras and shows you some resource gathering and trade skill addons instead.

Hello, addon enthusiasts. I know that I promised some more Power Auras this week in the form of some more advanced techniques, but as I was writing it, I realized I wanted more time to flesh out some concepts. So, you'll have to cut me the tiniest bit of slack and give me until next week for some more excellent Power Auras selections and suggestions from the community, as well as some of my own tips and tricks.

Instead, here are three addons that will greatly enhance your trade skill gathering and crafting. Who doesn't love addons that make things easier? I know I do. Trade skills used to be my favorite thing about World of Warcraft. Then they petered off in usefulness for a while, making a triumphant return in Wrath. I remember back when the game was announced and the Blizzard dev team said you couldn't fail on crafting! As long as you had the materials, you were good. Amazing! What other fun surprises await you? Click on, heroes.

Trade skills rock, and these addons will hopefully give you a leg up on the competition. Let us introduce a new generation of WoW players to ...

Gatherer

Many people new to World of Warcraft might not have heard of Gatherer, an old favorite to almost everyone. Gatherer was, and still is, one of those addons your veteran player friends berated you about downloading while you were just getting into the game for the first time. "You have to get Gatherer!" they would exclaim. Well, if you are a newbie to World of Warcraft and you haven't had someone berate you about Gatherer, I am more than happy to do so.

Gatherer is a simple minimap and world map addon that remembers where you've mined nodes, picked herbs or opened treasure chests. It is an excellent tool for planning resource collection routes (more on that in a second), making sure you are reminded that there are resources nearby or just getting a head start on running towards those precious resources. There are robust tools included for generating reports about which herbs and minerals exist in each zone, as well, to take the guessing out of the equation for the novice or experienced gatherer.

Gatherer is ubiquitous for a reason: It is lightweight and it works well. In addition, the data that Gatherer collects can be fed into other addons for tandem awesomeness, as we will see soon. Recommending Gatherer for WoW players is like saying Girl Scout cookies are delicious. It's just right.

Download Gatherer at [Curse] or [WoWInterface].

Routes

Routes is the best gathering addon this side of Gatherer. This addon is a lifesaver and, once set up, just may make your resource gathering as close to perfect as possible. Routes is an addon that adds an overlay to your minimap that draws routes to mineral nodes or herbs spawn locations; coupled with other addons like TomTom and Gatherer, it allows for an awesome guide to resource collecting.

Routes is heavy under the hood but is fairly seamless in integration into the user interface. It is also simple to use. Simply click "add," enter a name, pick a zone and select the resource. The addon will use its algorithms and magic math and generate a route for resources. The line appears on your minimap, allowing for easy following.

Importing Gatherer data and the functionality added by TomTom make Routes really work together. You do not make the line, but using Gatherer's data, Routes will make it for you. TomTom allows you to follow way points generated by the line, creating a perfect synergy for efficient gathering.

Download Routes at [Curse] or [WoWInterface].

Panda

I mentioned Panda before, when we did our first Community Choice addons, but did not really give this addon its due. Panda is the best mass disenchanter, prospector, herb miller and assorted trade skill functions addon I have used. The interface is simple -- just a few clicks and you're off to the races. Tradeskills Panda also includes a visual display of the items you can create, keeping them one click away.

Why am I bringing Panda back for a second go? The one crucial feature I did not discuss before with Panda is the combined functionality with AuctioneerAdvanced, another incredibly useful addon for viewing auction house prices. If you use AuctioneerAdvanced in conjunction with Panda, you can view auction house prices on all sorts of craftables from the Panda window. I use this to check what gems are currently selling for the most, create them using Panda and then list them on the auction house for massive profits. Then I go and swim around my Scrooge McDuck-esque gold bank and laugh maniacally as raiders swipe up those Inscribed Ametrines right before Icecrown Citadel.

Download Panda at [WoWInterface].

Before I get a million emails and comments about recommending Gatherer, an addon probably everyone and their uncle knows about, I want to remind you that everyone and their uncle don't know about all of these addons. Just the other day, I had someone ask me the five addons everyone should have in WoW; I mentioned Gatherer, and this person had no idea what I was talking about. With addons, it is an incredibly useful exercise to go back into the past and bring to the forefront addons that might have become so ubiquitous that people who are new just might have never seen before. Gatherer, you're my first blast from the past. New people, you don't have to be left out in the cold.

Addon Mailbag? Addon Mailbag!

Mat,

I've been meaning to write to you about this for a while. I'm a big fan of the addon SexyMap, it rocks. I love to see it in screenshots of so many peoples' UIs, however, lately I've become more and more exasperated because almost EVERYONE uses the default blue swirly skin. In fact I've seen it so many times that I refuse to accept that that many people like it (I think its rather ugly and distracting), and that they just install the addon and never actually play with the options. Please help them! SexyMap has so many awesome skins and options, the people need to know! (My favorite, personally, is the "Parchment" skin).

Cycon (Trevor)
US - Kargath
Thanks for the email, Cycon! This SexyMap email, or some variation of the email above, is one of the most frequent in my inbox. Antiarc, the developer of SexyMap, has told me that SexyMap is intended to be a platform that you play with and tweak to become your own creation. The default skin is the default skin because it looks neat. The main issue with things that look cool is that people like to leave them as such! I don't think the default SexyMap skin is bad -- on the contrary, it's awesome. However, there are tons of options for SexyMap that can fit loads of different UIs.
Hi Mathew
I want to cleanup my Addons folder and throw out all of the old addons I no longer use. It's easy just deleting them until I get to the several library files that fill up my Addons folder, like Babble and Banzai. The brief descriptions they have in the TOC files doesn't help me much, and I would love to throw them all away for a fresh start. How do I know if a library is in use, other than the long, slow way of deleting them one by one, and seeing if my UI still works?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Regards,

Mzungu the Priest of EU-Ghostlands
Thanks for the email, Mzungu. Really, if you are looking to start your whole user interface over and start from scratch, just delete your Interface folder completely. The next time you start WoW, the game will repopulate a new Interface folder with the original game's UI. Now you have a fresh canvas to work with and do not have to install any of the libraries you do not want to have or now find useless.
Hey Mat,

PallyPower looks like crap. I hate the way this addon functions and it just looks... awful! What gives? Why has someone not come out with a PallyPower alternative that looks nicer but functions the same way?

Thank you for the columns,

Jaspon
Thanks for the email, Jaspon. That's what you get for being the big dog in town. PallyPower hasn't had to change because it doesn't have to. People use it and think it works fine. Most people that I know who use PallyPower have the class bars hidden so only a fraction of the addon is visible.

Really, your best bet for a PallyPower replacement that looks amazing is bug Antiarc to continue to work on and complete his secret paladin addon. Yeah, you heard me. He will probably respond with "I'm too busy," or "I have a real job too, you know," or the favorite, "My family hasn't seen me in months" excuse. Don't believe any of it. It is our only hope. (And it works with ButtonFacade! You didn't hear that from me.)

Next week, I will make good on my second Power Auras column and show you some pretty fun, complex Power Aura setups and tips. Until then, happy interfacing.

Addons are what we do on Addon Spotlight. Hey, I heard you like HUDs, so I put a HUD on your HUD and made it IceHUD. And remember, Addon Spotlight is fueled by viewers like you, so if you have a mod you think we should take a look at, email Mat at mat@wow.com.

Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

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