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Filed under: Add-Ons

Addon Spotlight: DoT trackers

Addon Spotlight DoT trackers
DoT trackers are addons which monitor your DoTs, or Damage over Time effects. If you're playing a class whose damage relies on DoTs, and there are plenty, you should definitely consider using one of these addons. What they do is provide an easy-to-read representation of what DoTs you have on a given target, be it your focus, your target, or any target in the area, depending on your choice of addon. This is important to ensure DoT classes are maximising their DPS, and yes, the Blizzard standard UI does represent them, but the time display is not that clear.

To maximise DoT damage, efficient re-casting is key. You should certainly check out guides for your specific class to ensure you're using the right method, whether that's clipping -- replacing a DoT before it's expired -- or allowing something like a mage Living Bomb to explode. It's often useful to be able to start the cast of a DoT to time it with its expiration, and of course, to maintain maximum DoT uptime for the minimum of GCDs and mana, and for all those reasons, you need to track your DoTs.

Tidy Plates

What the heck? Why am I starting with a nameplate addon? Well, dear reader, I understand your confusion, but for PvP purposes, Tidy Plates, or any similar addon such as the built-in ElvUI nameplates, is a pretty decent way to track your DoTs.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Track your Isle of Thunder to-do list with this handy addon

horridon i think
Patch 5.2, much like the Mists of Pandaria expansion overall, is practically dripping with content. There is content simply oozing out of Lor'themar Theron's over-sized pointy ears. Keeping track of it all is not the most fun thing in the world, and who wants to bother with that, anyway? If you're feeling a tad overwhelmed by it all, you're not alone, and post-its are not the only answer to your problem.

Over at the WoW subreddit, redditor mfontani did us disorganized messes a favor by plugging a guildmate's addon creations. User Saregon has several addons designed to help keep our pixellated lives just that little bit more tidy. Isle of Thunder Weekly Check will open a window to let you know which weekly events your character has completed, so you don't get confused across level 90s. In a similar vein, Daily Tamer Check tracks pet battle daily quest completions, so you don't have to. If you've been looking for a handy way to keep tabs on all this stuff, this may be the solution you've been seeking.

Filed under: Add-Ons, Mists of Pandaria

Addon Spotlight: Skada versus Recount

Addon Spotlight Skada versus Recount
It turns out that Addon Spotlight hasn't done an exploration of what must be among the top ten most used addons in World of Warcraft for many years. So, of course, we had to put that right. Yes, there are categorically other DPS addons available, such as TinyDPS, but I think it's fair to say that these two are the biggest. So we should examine them, it seems, and wonder why people prefer Skada to Recount and vice versa.

As you can see, I've been running with both addons active, in the interest of testing, and what's more, I've been combat logging and uploading the results to World of Logs, in the interest of having the output verified against an independent third party. And the results have been fairly interesting!

But let's start with a comparison of some of the elements of the addons that don't relate to their numerical output. First and foremost, before we get on to the heavy stuff, by far the most important question one can ask about any DPS meter, what visual customization does it offer?

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Addon Spotlight: Your addon questions

Addon Spotlight Your addon questions
We haven't had an Addon Mailbag in a while, and the questions starting to mount up. The poor undead lady you see in the header is getting quite flustered about having such a full mailbox, so it seemed like a logical time to address the task at hand. If you have a question, do stick it in the comments or send me an email!

Let's get started with a very simple question that took me an inordinate amount of time to answer:

Chester writes:
I loved your article on getting started with weak auras. I have a question though, how do you make the box showing the graphic transparent? I followed your mindbender example but it showed the box as opaque. I would like to see only the graphic show up like in power auras classic. thanks for any help!
It took me a really, really long time to find this option, which was, quite frankly, rather annoying given that it's on the front page of the options screen.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Everything you need to know about getting started with addons

Everything you need to know about getting started with addons
If you're relatively new to the game or have only been playing casually, you may not have run into the concept of addons, much less used any yourself. However, addons can revolutionize your gameplay experience, making it easy to keep track of how much damage (or healing) you're doing, letting you know when your abilities are off cooldown, map out where you find gathering nodes so you can easily find them again later, or even just change the way things look in the game -- modifying the appearance of your map, buffs, or how your character information displays.

While World of Warcraft's default interface is pretty good -- certainly good enough to get the job done -- you might find that addons take some of the tedium out of tedious tasks (like crafting or selling things on the auction house) and make it easier to see information you want (like how much energy you have or when one of your party members has a harmful effect on them that you can dispell). If your curiosity is piqued, we'll show you what addons can (and can't do) as well as walk you through finding and installing addons to boost your playstyle.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, WoW Rookie

Reader UI of the Week: The UI Doctor returns

Reader UI of the Week The Doctor returns
A couple of weeks back, the UI doctor stopped in to help a user by the name of Luthuvien. After that column, there's been quite a few requests for assistance, so the doctor is returning for today. Just like last time, please do let us know of any ideas you might have to help the submitters out -- last time the commenters were fantastically helpful with addon suggestions and the like, so let's do the same this time! As ever, UI modification is hugely subjective, it's all based on opinion, and mine is no more weighty than anyone else's.

Khaldrogo writes:
I play a human retribution paladin on the US realm, Azuremyst. His name is Khäldrogo. I'm trying to find the perfect UI, one that is most efficient for a dps for raiding, and has room to improve if I wanted to tank or heal. I like things being very lightweight, non-cpu heavy. But I also love looking at the game's art, so I don't want something that takes over the whole screen. I loved Carbonite's look for the quests on the UI, but I didn't like the Carbonite map. Any way to just have the look for the UI? I've tried xperl, but I didn't like it. I am currently using LUI, but it's very buggy at the moment. I've included the list of addons I use. I'm open to any suggestions.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Reader UI of the Week

How to make gold without breaking (much of) a sweat

How to make gold without breaking much of a sweat
Making money in World of Warcraft can be a drag, requiring boring grinding or spending tedious hours watching price fluctuations in the auction house. And, while there's tons of advice out there on how WoW players can make piles of gold, it tends to be more involved than my attention span allows. (Though if your attention span does allow, you should go for it!) This is, after all, a game I am supposedly playing for fun: spending my fun time farming leather turns it into not fun time pretty quickly.

However, fortunately for me (and those like me), you can turn a decent profit in WoW without jumping through many hoops -- even at low levels. All it takes is paying attention to the loot you find and following a few general guidelines, and you can make enough gold to buy (almost) anything you want as you level your way to greatness. Sound too good to be true? It's really not. So if you're a new character or rolling on a new server and want to be sure you have the gold to buy anything you might need on the trip to level 90, read on! (If you're already at max level, you may find a few useful tips here, but Gold Capped caters more to end-game players.)

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Filed under: Add-Ons, WoW Rookie

Addon Spotlight: Bags and Banking

Addon Spotlight Bags and Banking
This is a really big topic, likely one that we'll be dealing with in several parts, rather than in one fell swoop. There are so, so many bag addons available in WoW right now, and so much of the assessment of them is simply down to personal preference. Addon Spotlight is going to attempt to cover just a few bag addons at a time, but please do be aware that we can't ever hope to get through them all in the one column!

As a result, I'm asking you not to be surprised or angry that your preferred bag addon isn't being covered, rather to let me know what it is and why you like it. I'm starting with my favorite today, and working through some others that I've either used in the past, or known of friends using. Let me know what you use, and next week, I'll take a look!

Adibags

I said I'd start with my favorite, and that is Adibags. I've used it for a while now, after giving it a go on a friend's recommendation, and I love it. Why do I love it? Well it's a very simple addon really, provides the user with a single bag, as opposed to several separate ones, which is such a straightforward and seemingly popular change that I don't know why Blizzard doesn't just make it standard.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

New Blizzard Video: How to disable all your addons, hopefully solve lots of issues

Blizzard's Customer Support team have posted the latest addition to their WoW Tutorials site, this time it's a video filling you in on how to solve your WoW technical issues in 60 seconds or less!

If you're suffering from high latency, low framerates, disconnections or similar issues, resetting your interface is worth trying before attempting more extreme measures. They're not talking about a simple /reload UI, which can be typed into the chat box, rather about renaming your Cache, Interface and WTF folders.

Why rename them? Don't you usually delete them? Well, you can certainly do that, but if the reset doesn't fix your issues, renaming them will mean that your settings can be restored to how they were before. As the video says, exit the game, and open the containing folder of your WoW installation. Rename the Cache, WTF, and Interface folders, to whatever you like. When you next start WoW, the folders will be recreated. If this fixes your problems, reinstall your addons one by one. You could, theoretically, grab installs and profiles from your old folders, but if something has become corrupted you risk replicating the previous issues.

A less extreme course of action than the one suggested in the video is to get an addon like Addon Control Panel that allows you to switch your addons on and off without logging out. Disable all your addons, then re-enable them one by one. You may find that one addon is the culprit! If this doesn't work, then your next step is the action recommended by Blizzard's team.

As always, keep your addons updated, either at their own sites or via Curse, WoWInterface or WoWAce. These "big three" addon sites are where most addon creators host their work, so other sites may not necessarily have the latest updates or correct versions.


Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Add-Ons

Why WoW won't be killing off add-ons anytime soon

It's a question we get often enough in The Queue, and one that always comes up whenever there's some brouhaha over add-ons: why doesn't Blizzard just turn off the ability to all third party add-ons?

In some respects this would solve a lot of problems. All players would have an equal footing in terms of raiding and PvE technology. There wouldn't be a magic add-on that everyone needs to have to do basic things (Deadly Boss Mods), or one that you should have if you want to be a good player (Recount/Skada). Blizzard would be forced to design these add-ons into the game, or overhaul the game systems to account for their absence. We'd probably see simpler raids and simpler DPS mechanics as a result.

But, that's not a terribly good solution. Ghostcrawler weighs in:


The add-on system WoW has is an economy. Blizzard provides the framework for the utility/value that add-ons provide the community. From there it's up to the community to create the add-ons that will service itself, which then live or die by their popularity and perception of utility in-game. In many ways it's a brilliant system that allows the dedicated players what they want while taking much of the design and implementation out of Blizzard's hands (although as Ghostcrawler notes, the support of the underlying mechanics is quite a task). If Blizzard were to kill add-ons and bring all the "necessary" functionality they provide in-house, then they'd have to dramatically expand their development team, something which is very costly.

At the end of the day, no, Blizzard is never going to kill add-ons. If anything, look for them to expand. A Twitter interface would be amazing.

Filed under: News items, Add-Ons

Addon Spotlight: Weak Auras, getting started and strings

Addon Spotlight Getting into Weak Auras
Weak Auras is a really incredibly powerful addon, enabling users to create custom alerts for pretty much anything they want to see. However, like many very powerful addons, it can be a little daunting, and there's an awful lot going on. Unlike several other very powerful addons, a user guide also exists, that walks you through the basic starting point of Weak Auras, creating your first display. But, it's missing a few bits. While I use it a lot, I am far from an advanced user, given some of the things I've seen people create with this addon, so I'm going to keep it basic, and I'm also going to hopefully, with your help, start a useful set of Weak Auras strings!

Weak Auras, when created, can be imported and exported as what are called strings. These, essentially, are huge text files full of mumbo jumbo that can be translated by Weak Auras into displays. When I first got started with Weak Auras, a while back, I found that the easiest way for me to learn to use it was to start with an existing aura and go from there.

We've collected some of our favorite Weak Auras strings, and published them for each class (and some general ones) on their own page:

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Reader UI of the Week: Light and shadow

Reader UI of the Week Light and shadow
Last week we featured a very different UI from Bull, which he had largely created from scratch with his considerable programming knowledge, and cunning use of custom textures from the game. One thing that was notable about Bull's UI was how it functioned well across several different characters. Bull, it seemed, was playing the same role over several characters, being DPS, and this week we're looking at a UI that has to perform a somewhat harder task.

Nesavare is a priest on Jubei'Thos, and plays both as holy and shadow. While Nesavare's UI only needs to function (for the purposes of this column) for one character, the different demands of a healer and a DPS are difficult indeed to cater for with a uniform UI. And Nesavare makes a good stab at it, using ElvUI as a base, along with several additions, but as always, there's room for improvement! Nesavare sent over several screenshots, out of combat, raid healing, group DPS, and a test mode screenshot, showing off all his weakauras.

Let's dive straight in with Nesavare's email. As ever, I've had to whack it down a bit with the editing stick!

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Reader UI of the Week

Addon Spotlight: Readers' addons

Addon Spotlight Readers' addons
Along with the usual questions about addons to use for specific tasks, and the like, we receive a decent number of readers' own addons that they ask for us at WoW Insider to take a look at. So here, we have a compilation of reviews of addons created by our very own WoW Insider readership! All of these addons have been sent over to me by our readers, and if you want yours featured in a future round up, do email me on olivia@wowinsider.com!

I have to say, I'm really impressed with these addons I've featured today. I would love to have a go at creating an addon of my own, and it occurred to me that we could have an addon spotlight addon creation brainstorm, and go through the process as a sort of collaborative effort! What do you think, dear readers?

Anyhow, let's get started with the reader addons from programmers who actually know what they're talking about!

Claw

Claw, created by Jpapertowels, is described as an addon for cat and bear druids that simplifies gameplay and maximizes DPS by doing all the decision making for you. Claw uses an advanced priority list developed by the people over at the SimulationCraft project and improved by Jpapertowels for ease of use in actual gameplay.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Addon Spotlight: Your addon questions answered

Addon Spotlight Your Questions Answered
Welcome to another addon question session! I was prompted to do one of these by the fact that a recent reader question has been answered by some updates on my curse client downloader. A while back I wrote a column about archaeology addons, in which I asserted that much-loved addon Archaeology Helper was all working perfectly, despite not being updated since 2011. Since then I've had a few people contact me to let me know that, actually, it isn't.

Apparently, it was all good in the old world, the only place I could test it as my toons don't have very high level Archaeology, but wasn't working in Pandaria. Prolific addon author Oscarucb has recently taken it over from Biasha, starting from mid-December, and since I wrote that last column back on November 1, has done a lot of updating. There's now a new release version for all you Archaeology fans out there, so do go and check out this fantastically useful archaeology addon.

Moving swiftly forward, let's tackle some more addon questions. If you have addon questions, or want to make us aware of an addon that we should be covering, do drop an email to olivia@wowinsider.com.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Addon Spotlight: PvP Addons

Addon Spotlight PvP Addons
You must have seen it coming, people. I'm the PvP columnist, and now the addon columnist, too. So, naturally, I had to eventually write a column about the addons I use for PvP. For clarity, I should state that the majority of PvP I do is in the arena. I am also on a couple of rated battleground teams, and do random battlegrounds to gear up my characters, but not once they're geared beyond honor gear, thanks to the changes to the conquest point cap. Now that that's out of the way, let's get started. I've got a lot of addons to talk to you about today.

SaySapped

When there's a rogue in your midst, particularly in random battlegrounds, and you're going about your merry way with a couple of cohorts nearby, they may not notice when you're suddenly sapped. SaySapped is a great little addon that does exactly what it says on the tin -- it makes your character say "Sapped". Simple as that! It's also very handy in rated battlegrounds, saves the use of the chat channel to announce such things, and allows your team to make a decision on whether to leave you as rogue-bait, or to stay and fight. Especially if there's two of you defending the flag or base, it's a boon.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

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