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Addon Spotlight: Getting your addons ready for Mists

It's almost here! If you've been living under a rock at the bottom of the Thousand Needles lake, there is a faint possibility that you might not know about Mists of Pandaria's arrival on the 25th of September.

We did a lot of work here at Addon Spotlight for 5.0.4 addons, giving you a list of addons that are ready, a survival guide, and a couple of question and answer sessions, which will carry on below.

For Mists, the process is all quite similar. I'll be uploading my list of addons that are ready for Mists, much closer to launch day this time, but I'll also be relying heavily on what I've started to call the "big three" addon sites (WoWInterface, Curse and WoWAce) and their lists of addons which are ready. As I'm sure you can appreciate, there are a lot of addons out there being updated, and, unlike for 5.0.4, these sites are running dedicated, automatically generated lists of Mists-ready addons, and I'm just one girl!

So, is there much you can be doing in advance? If you're a Curse Client user, then a lot of the updating process will be automated, and if you haven't set up WoWInterface's email alert system, now would be the time. Bear in mind that it's a good idea to try to check the addon's home site rather than just blindly following one site's system. Beta files and versions may not appear on each site. Additionally, these "big three" sites are the places where the vast majority of addons are hosted with the authors' permission, meaning they are in line with copyright rules, ethically sound and home to the authors' most recent updates.


Be Prepared

We went through a lot of the best ways to get through a major patch a couple of weeks back, so I'm not going to harp on for ages about preparation, the steps are all the same this time around. But, for the TL;DR crowd, here are some bullet points for what you should be doing right now, if you haven't done it already:
  • Get Addon Control Panel, install it. It allows you to switch your addons on and off in-game, and allows you to create sets of addons.
  • Use Addon Control Panel to create a "vital" addon set, stuff that you feel you really need in order to play.
  • Get BugGrabber, and BugSack, or your preferred bug reporting addon set. These consolidate your .lua errors, allowing you to see what's bugging out on you. These addons will also shut down the error reporting system if it gets more errors than your game can handle.
  • Make sure you have .lua error display switched on. If your computer can't tell you what the problem is, you'll struggle to fix it. Hit Escape to bring up the menu, go to Interface, then Help, and make sure the checkbox is ticked.
  • Make sure you're using whatever means you can to keep your addons updated to their very latest version.
It's important to note that many of your 5.0.4 addons could well work just fine on the 25th. A good number of in-game systems are already integrated into 5.0.4. However, it is fairly likely that some addons will break when the patch rolls in.

It's going to be an interesting patch for addon users, as Blizzard aren't actually planning a big restart with a lot of downtime. Zarhym confirmed in this Twitter conversation that the plan is for Mists to roll in pretty seamlessly, with an automatic quest to head over to Pandaria popping up in your quest log at the relevant time. I have literally no idea what's going to happen as far as addons go, and I can imagine that there could be a break point where a few things go wrong. The best thing you can be doing to prepare is making sure your addons are all updated to the very latest version.


Your Addon Questions

Let's get down to your addon questions. It seems that answering questions begets more questions! And this is a good thing.

Aidan asked:

Until it broke in 5.0.4, I'd been using AssistMe which allows me to create a list of characters I want to automatically make raid assistants any time I invite them to a raid (e.g. raid officers). The slash commands for changing raid difficulty and disbanding the raid were handy, too. Is there another lightweight addon that addresses this kind of function?

Alas, AssistMe does seem to be well and truly left behind. There doesn't seem to have been any update since November 2010, which is a bad thing for its functionality in 5.0.5, and doesn't bode well for Mists.

In better news, there is a great little addon out there that does what AssistMe did, and more! It's very lightweight, and seems (for me at least) not to be throwing up any errors. That addon is oRA3, which is described by its authors as a raid leading addon, checking things like durability, cooldowns, ready checks, tanks, that kind of thing. It also does what I think you're asking for, which is promoting to raid assistant based on guild rank, a list of names or just everyone.

It was most recently updated on September 8th, and can be found on WoWAce or Curse. I'm sure our wonderful Addon Spotlight readers will let us know of other alternatives, but oRA3 seems to do everything you need and more!

Natalie asked:

I have a question. I quit playing during WotLK, and when I came back, I found that one of my favorite mods, Cartographer, is no longer maintained. The functionality that I am missing from Cartographer is the ability to place permanent markers on the map, both automatically for things like mailboxes, trainers, repairers, etc, but also manual points of interest.

Carbonite appears to have that same functionality, but I don't want to use Carbonite for that one thing, and I want to avoid Carbonite because it's resource-intensive. Tomtom allows waypoints that are supposed to stay between sessions, but you cannot name them or change the icons for them, plus they seem to disappear between sessions anyway.

Please tell me there is a mod that will do what I want without the problems these other mods have! I will be your best friend!


Well, I'd like a best friend, so here goes! It seems, firstly, that there's been a bit of research behind this question, which is great, and I agree that Carbonite is probably not the best choice. I'd love to see an update that reduced its memory useage, but I can't imagine it happening any time soon, it's a 6-year-old creaking behemoth of an addon.

However, the fan who updated Carbonite when the original developers didn't quite have it ready for 5.0.4, Rythal, has stated that he is working on an addon to do what Carbonite and Cartographer offered, specifically smooth google-style maps. He's looking to make it modular, less of a memory drain than Carbonite, and you can keep track of his progress and interact with him at rythal.com.

There isn't really an addon that does everything Cartographer offered, unfortunately, but a kind soul over at Curse, who clearly missed the addon as much as Natalie has created an Addon Suite to replace Cartographer. In downsides, this is a big bundle of addons, indicating just how much Cartographer managed to achieve in a small package! As it's an addon suite, you'll also need to run the Curse Client to get it, which could be a good or a bad thing depending on your opinion of such programs. I've used it almost since it came out, and haven't had any issues.

Another downside of addon packs is that if one addon breaks, it's harder to be sure what it is. And just one addon that isn't updated could cause problems in your functionality. I would always prefer to use one neat addon over an addon suite or pack, but sometimes that just isn't possible!

But, in good news, a bit of digging through that pack has revealed one addon that doesn't offer all of Cartographer's features, but does offer the specific thing you're looking for. HandyNotes allows you to add notes to your map, either by Alt+right click on the map, by adding your current location, or by specifying the co-ordinates of the point. It also allows other authors to add their own downloadable packs of points to your map, for things like flight masters, vendors, directions, trainers, all manner of things. You can find those packs of points over on WoWAce.

A note on HandyNotes -- it seems that the authors, while updating it, have neglected to mark it as 5.0.4 ready. It still shows as 4.0, but seems to work for me!


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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