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Addon Spotlight: Leveling your pre-Cataclysm alt

Addon Spotlight focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your addons folder will never be the same. This week, level those alts quickly!

It's been a heavy past couple of days in Azeroth. First, we've got heroics on the beta. Second, the public test realms are lighting the world up pretty good. Third, the clock is ticking faster and faster down to Cataclysm, so time is running out for getting those pre-Cataclysm alt characters ready.

This week, Addon Spotlight focuses on a few of your old favorites -- addons to help you level up that pre-Cataclysm alt faster, hopefully ready in time for the big shakeup. From reputation trackers to quest helpers, these addons will make leveling a breeze. Let's roll!

XToLevel

Tracking experience can sometimes be a pain in the butt, especially if you just want some estimates on how much you need to do to push over into that next level. XToLevel comes to the rescue with some awesome features to help you guesstimate how close you are to gaining just one more level before you go to bed. I swear, just one more quest!

There are some pretty awesome features hiding in this little addon. The ability to see how many quests, kills and the estimated time to level are some of my favorites. All of the pertinent information is shown in a compact interface. The addon itself is LDB-compatible and allows players to configure XToLevel in a myriad of ways. The LDB components can create custom text output patterns for the addon, making the addon even more compact, living happily on your broker bar. For your convenience, instructions for working with the LDB text output is included in XToLevel's folder.

If you're the kind of person who loves having this type of exact information while you level, to plan out the exact number of kills, quests or dungeon runs needed to hit that elusive next level, XToLevel is definitely worth a look!

Download XToLevel at [Curse] or [WoWInterface].

Questhelper and TourGuide

Two of my favorite quest helpers are the aptly named Questhelper and the often-touted TourGuide. We've discussed Questhelper in the comments before when dealing with Loremaster addons, but I figured it was worth a big mention when talking about leveling, period. Questhelper does a good job computing the best paths to complete your quests as well as provide valuable information on completing quests, finding objectives and removing most of the mystery from finding those elusive creatures you're required to kill. Fashioning the fastest path to completing quests is what makes or breaks leveling speed, as the routes with the least overlap make for a more conducive leveling experience, especially when on time constraints. If you haven't used Questhelper before, it is a competent quest helper addon that won't steer you wrong.

TourGuide, after being gone for awhile during its brief hiatus, is back with a vengeance. Everyone's favorite free guides program is back for download, and I can't recommend it enough. Tekkub's addon is simple to use and provides excellent quest tracking information in a nice, tight package. I recommend also using TomTom and LightHeaded in conjunction with TourGuide for the full effect, but leveling is a breeze when you pair up your drive to get to 80 as fast as possible with these quest helper addons.

As people already know, I'm big on the LibDataBroker system, and Tourguide does not disappoint, featuring an LDB data feed for use over the regular interface, if you are so inclined.

Download Questhelper at [Curse] or [WoWInterface].

Download TourGuide at [Curse] or [WoWInterface].

FactionFriend

This next Addon Spotlight recommendation comes from an email from reader Impen that I received a while back. I remembered reading about a great faction helper right here on WoW Insider, actually, so I stormed off into the archives. Lo and behold, I found it, way back in 2008. Here's the email:
Dear Addon Sensei,

I am doing some of the old world reputations that I have missed in my travels before the
Cataclysm comes to burn away the land. I am, however, coming across a problem. My bank is so filled with items for repeatable turn-ins that I cannot remember what item foes where. Do Savage Fronds go to the Sporeggar? No, but seems they should. Do Dark Iron Scraps go to Thorium? Seems right, but maybe not?

My request is this: is there an addon out there that will tell me, maybe in the tooltip, who wants a specific item for reputation gains? If you know of one, could you please reply soon? I am currently on a nice vacation from work and would like to get exalted with a few factions before I go back to the grind.

Your guidance and assistance is, as always, much appreciated and welcomed.

Your faithful addon-ite,

Impen
Well, Impen, the wait is over. FactionFriend is an awesome reputation addon that I personally love. Plus, watching out for items that affect reputation gains while leveling is a great idea, especially in the Outland, where items that you pick up and otherwise would throw away could be used for the various reputations. Sadly, I speak from experience. After fighting ogre after ogre for Oshu'gun powder, I threw away the warbeads I did not need anymore since I was exalted with the Mag'har, completely forgetting that the Consortium in southern Nagrand would take it for reputation as well. There was much head-slapping, I promise.

FactionFriend has some pretty cool mechanics behind it. First, the addon will display your most recently earned faction, which is great for grinding out reputation where killing mobs is needed. Your totals will automatically appear. Second, the addon is configurable to display reputations based on the zone you are in. This was particularly helpful to keep reminding myself to kill more furbolgs for Timbermaw reputation. They really love me in that tunnel ...

Arguably the most important feature is the ability to mouse over the reputation bar and see what items can be turned in to gain points in that particular reputation. Astounding. Absolutely astounding. And it gets better. If you have items in your inventory that can contribute towards a particular reputation, the addon will give you a potential reputation gain on the bar itself, showing how much reputation you will gain once you turn those items in. You couldn't ask for more.

Download FactionFriend at [Gazmik Fizzwidget's website].

Take heed, little alt characters. Cataclysm is coming. Cataclysm is coming soon! You'd best be prepared for the coming storm of fury and fire. In the meantime, grab some of these addons and see the world one last time before it all changes and we never get to see it again.

Addons are what we do on Addon Spotlight. If you're new to mods, Addons 101 will walk you through the basics; see what other players are doing at Reader UI of the Week. If there's a mod you think Addon Spotlight should take a look at, email mat@wow.com.

Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

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