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Addon Spotlight: Quoth the Raven, Grab Bag 4

Each week, WoW Insider brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which 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, Grab Bag 4 is probably better than Grab Bag 3 but not as good as Grab Bag 2.

Once upon a website cheery, awake at midnight barely clearly,
Running another troll instance studying their forgotten lore,
While on Eagle Boss, DPSing, suddenly I heard his rasping,
Annoying me with all that chatting, chatting in my Chatter box.
"Who's there?!" I muttered, "rasping in my headphones loudly?"
Fine, I'm back to DPSing.

"Addon columnist," he told me smiling,
Grinning like that stupid Jin'do, Godslayer of trollish Loa,
"My addons broke and I need fixing and by god I need it now-ish,"
Can't you see I'm in an instance, running, DPSing serpents, boas,
"TELL ME NOW, my framerate's dying!" he sqawked like Outlands' Arakkoa
Quoth the patch day, "Addons broken!"


Raven

Many people have been asking for alternative to Satrina Buff Frames for tracking buffs, debuffs, and more, but I wasn't comfortable recommending anything else because I had thought I had already talked about Raven. Well, apparently I haven't talked about Raven yet! Google searches and text document searches be damned, I checked to see if I'd spoken a word about Raven since my time began here at WoW Insider. Whatever, let's talk about Raven.

Raven is a comprehensive timer bar and buff and debuff tracker, as well as a multi-target HoT and DoT tracker. Yes, that's right -- multiple targets. Plus, the addon will remind you of other buff and debuff trackers, so it won't be a huge pain to configure. Even so, there are plenty of options to consider and settings to tinker with, as well as complexity in conditions and values for players looking for that extra bit of control.

Installation is easy, and the addon comes preloaded with a set of bars. Bar sets are easily created and customized, however, and provide endless amounts of options and conditions for use. Raven even supports user-made modules based on class-specific setups for buffs, debuffs, and cooldowns that you can download and plug in. Check the Curse site and description for more information on these sets, or to the addon's website for more Raven plugins.

All in all, I like Raven because of its full-featured approach to tracking, as well as its customization and easy out of the box setup. If you're in the market for new a new buff, debuff, and cooldown tracker, quoth the Raven, "give me a whirl."

Download Raven at [Curse] or [WoWInterface].

Broker Show/Hide Names

Quick LDB addon suggestions are always fun because they neatly fit into an already established addon bar -- no need to make room for something new and large on screen. I'm a fan of Broker Show/Hide Names, especially since I take a lot of screenshots for WoW Insider.

This simple Broker plugin will, with the click of a button, show or hide all names above player characters and NPCs. That's it! Simple and easy, without the hassle of going into the options, forgetting to hit "apply," then having to go back into the options again. That isn't something I would ever do, I assure you.

Download Broker Show/Hide Names at [WoWInterface].

JS' Hunter Bar

How on earth did I go from having barely any level 80s during Wrath of the Lich King (two, maybe three by the very end) to having almost the same number of level 85s? Maybe it's because of how awesome the Twilight Highlands are. Whatever it is, I have an 85 undead hunter and don't even remember when it happened.

It seems like everyone and their mother has a hunter or a hunter alt. Well, they should -- hunters are super fun. With great hunting comes great responsibility, and with JS' Hunter Bar, your own proverbial Uncle Ben won't have to die so tragically.

Color-changing focus bar? Check. Autoshot swing timer? Check. Predictive focus gains from Cobra Shot and Steady Shot? Check and check. Plus, the addon is nice and compact, keeping all your hunter tools close together and easily readable. You've even got a Tranquilizing Shot alert in case you have to be at the ready so your tank doesn't get eaten alive. Timers? We've got timers for all your hunter abilities and even the option to add more to make JS' Hunter Bar a one-stop shop.

Download JS' Hunter Bar at [Curse] or [WoWInterface].

You guys have been sending in so many emails I don't know what to do with myself besides cry in a corner. Or answer them in the Addon Mailbag. Whatever.

Hi Mat,

I like the addons series. I suspect like alot of ppl I have fps issues with some addons. Carbonite drops my fps by 10-20 in raids. I like the small world map to the side so really miss it, esp the BG maps which show team mates in combat.

Could you discuss map addons and/or addons that effect on game performance.

Thanks,
Peter
Thanks for the email, Peter. There are some notorious addons out there that do in fact hurt game performance. Usually you can tell how much an addon will effect game performance by how "big" an addon is. Let's examine that statement a little more carefully.

"Big" addons are addons that, generally, have to do either (1.) a lot of calculating and number crunching or (2.) have a lot of database stuff they have to access or information to show on your screen. Carbonite in particular puts a huge amount of new stuff on your screen, in a really cool but really costly minimap that just gobbles up resources.

Recount, for many people, has this problem as well because of all the back-end number crunching and chart preparation it does. It's gotten better over the years, and you can turn a lot of that off (and I recommend Recount along with Skada).

If you're worried about performance with addons, look for "modular" addons. When you're shopping around for an addon for a particular purpose, look for addons that have modular components that can be turned on or off depending on your personal preference. That should help performance greatly. For the most part, though, most addons should not and will not give you performance issues.
Mat,

Is there a good easy addon that will track which of my many alts has what heirloom gear? I have a set for pretty much every armor type and spec type, but hate having to check multiple chars to remember where each piece is when I'm trying to send gear to the toon I want to level with. Any tips?

Thanks
Sarhna - Nesingwary
Thanks for the email, Sarhna. Personally, I would recommend either Altaholic or Arkinventory. With both of these addons, you can search through all of your characters' belongings from any character to find the heirlooms you are looking for.

I asked this question to a lot of my friends who have alts and got the best answer: The best addon for this job is Microsoft Excel.
I use PitBull4 for unit frames for its great depth of customization. It does a great job. However, the one thing I still want is a detached, free-floating mana bar which I can position near my raid frames to more easily keep an eye on my mana as I heal raids and heroics. Have you ever seen such a critter in your years of addon exploration?

-JC in Delaware
Thanks for the email, JC. Stuf Unit Frames is incredibly customizable in the way that you want, and I would suggest giving it a whirl. You can detach all sorts of bars from the "traditional" setup and might be able to get your free-floating mana bar using the addon. Give it a shot -- what have you got to lose?

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@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: AddOn Spotlight

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