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Addon Spotlight: Mailbag 5

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Each week, WoW Insider's Mathew McCurley 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.

As the Mists of Pandaria beta rolls along (lots of monks are on the beta -- it's a joke about rolling), almost all of the zones are open to testing and nearing the level cap. Soon, very soon, Blizzard will flip that switch and we will be able to enable addons and it will be glorious. Until then, there are many questions about the current version of World of Warcraft (Cataclysm) that many people would like to have answered.

If you've got a question, answer, addon recommendation, complaint, invoice, or other correspondence, you should email Addon Spotlight's amazing author Mathew McCurley at mat@wowinsider.com. Through that email, you will reach me and my eyes. Let's get going.

In honor of Diablo, (H)el(l)ephant

Our first email comes from reader Jmaximus, who sounds like a totally badass paladin on the Thunderhorn server. Any name with Maximus in it is going to intimidate me to some degree. Anyway, Jmaximus has an addon recommendation for the lot of you, so thank him, because this one is pretty cool. Elephant!
Recently I posted an post on my guild's forums about how useful an addon that I stumbled across when looking for a way to solve my need for being able to speak in Draenei while still not being stuck with the default chat frame.

The addon is Elephant

Long story short the addon allows you to look back through chat logs up to the past 1,000 lines. That includes item loot messages, system messages, trade chat, custom chat channels, guild, officer channels, whispers. The best part is that all that information is still there even when you come back from a disconnect. It can't record information unless you're online though, but not losing that information after a disconnect is an extremely valuable tool especially to guild masters and officers. I'm sure you could find the addon on curse if you were to search for it. Happy Trails.

-Jmaximus - Holy paladin from Thunderhorn.
Thanks for the recommendation, Jamaximus. Elephant is, in fact, one of the best utility-type addons that you can download because of just how damn useful it is. I always make the joke that nothing in WoW is really that advanced because, at the end of the day, everything is just still text. Text is still the most expressive form of communication in video games, to some degree, but that's changing rapidly. For MMOs like WoW, though, chat is king.

Unfortunately, WoW doesn't treat chat as king most of the time. The chat interface is arguably one of WoW's weakest points during this age of its existence. The whole chat interface needs a rework; we'd all benefit from a spruced-up set of options for the primary form of communication in the game.

Elephant is an excellent addon for sprucing up your chat's ability to store, save, and parse your logs. Elephant logs your chats in the background, creating a detailed log of everything in your chats. These get saved when you log out or get disconnected, so you never lose your place in the conversation. You'll have them ready in the history when you log back in if you so desire, as well.

Copy and pasting was never easy in WoW. Elephant adds a bit more polish to the basic copy and paste formula by supporting BBCode for anyone copying and pasting forum posts and other assorted internet garbage -- I mean, uh, time-sensitive, important internet business.

Whatever. You get the picture. Chat is important, and Elephant takes better care of your text than WoW does on its own. Chat and combat logs are separate files, so you're not going to have to dig through a zillion numbers to find that one really hot time with those two night elf ladies in Goldshire. Elephant! Seriously, it's a no-brainer.

If you're the type to worry about memory or CPU footprint, Elephant has many options that allow you to turn on and off logging for all sorts of channels, putting you in full control of what gets saved. If you're just looking for combat logs, just log combat. Elephant is cool like that.

Download Elephant at [Curse] and [WoWInterface].

Pesky UI transfers

Our next question comes from Dave, who wants to know the best way to copy that one perfect UI over to other characters in the simplest, most direct way, which is something I personally have done multiple times in my World of Warcraft career.

Dave asked:
Hi say you have designed a perfect ui on one char and want to replicate it across other chars and accounts is there a simple way to do it without setting it up manually on each char / account

Regards Dave
Thanks for the email, Dave. There are many methods out there for transferring the UI of one character over to another character. I won't lie, it's a bit of a painful procedure. That doesn't mean that it's impossible, though. There are a few routes you can take.

The first route is my route. I first log on to the main character that I want to use as the base UI and make sure all of those settings are saved to profiles in their respective addons' options. Once I know for sure that my settings are saved, I turn off World of Warcraft completely and begin the process of moving the files. In your WTF directory, you will find your server by folder and then your character's own folder of settings. Copy the base character's folder, and rename it to the character you wish to put the UI on. If it's a new character, first create the character and let the game make the folder with his or her name, delete that folder, and rename the copied original your new character's name.

If the character already exists, rename their folder "backup" or some such, then rename the copied folder your character's name. When you log in to the now-copied UI character, open each of the addons and switch the profile to the original character's with the settings that you had saved earlier. Boom, your UI is transferred! It's not perfect, but it works for me.

The other big option is the addon option. Reflux is the man for the job. Reflux is an addon that creates profiles of addons rather than profiles of settings. It's like an uber-profile that exists above the other profiles. You install Reflux, create your profile, and then add each of your addon's profile and settings into the meta-profile. Then log in to the other character, and use Reflux to swap to the other character's profile. Ta-da!

Download Reflux at [WowAce].

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How to tinker with a raiding UI while raiding?

Our last email comes from Larzi on the Silvermoon (EU) server, who wants to know how to configure a complicated raiding UI or addon while, well, not having to deal with a 50-foot-tall monster trying to murder 25 people nightly.
Hello,

Every time I have a slow night in WoW, I tinker with my UI. It has gone through many changes, and improved a lot. Although there is one problem that seems to consist through every change. There is always some bar or box that ends up on top of something else when I go into a boss fight or bg. Two or three bars from DBM is no problem, but suddenly there are five or even ten bars, and I cant see my unit frame. I move and rearrange the bars after the dungeon is complete, and next time, there are som many buffs that the block out my party frames.

My question is, is there any wayto simulate a boss fight (or at least the way my UI would look in a boss fight) without actually being in a group and fighting a boss? I have tried putting all relevant AddOns into test modes, but there is always something that doesn't have a test mode, or where the test mode can only be used while the interface box is open

Thanks for a great column

Larzi@Silvermoon (EU)
Thanks for the email, Larzi. You're going to kick yourself (metaphorically, of course) after you hear my solution for just this issue. The thought process is, "I cannot tinker with my UI during a raid because I will be concentrating on the fight and its difficult aspects." Well, what about fight a boss that can't really hurt you? Molten Core and AQ-20(10?)/40 are perfect places to find raid fights where, as a tank, healer, or DPSer, you can spend a good amount of time just not getting killed while seeing where you want to put your bars and such. If you're a rogue, you've got it even better since you can just vanish away.

You say you've tried the test modes, and I believe you -- but give them one more try. Turn on every test piece you possibly can and just go nuts with it. If you're finding that some bars are appearing during a fight that you don't know what addon they belong to, grab MoveAnything or do /framestack to see what addon is controlling that specific bar.

Next week, we shall return with another exciting episode of Addon Spotlight as well as some more interface changes in the Mists of Pandaria beta. There are some really cool additions to the cooking interface that you guys are going to love, and we can talk about how iterative Blizzard is being with the UI this time around -- many more UI tweaks and changes than I anticipated, to be honest.

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: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

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