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Addon Spotlight: 6 addons you shouldn't play without

Addon Spotlight 6 Addons you shouldn't play without
It would make a very sad paladin to think that anyone was playing WoW without these addons installed. Sure, some of you are purists -- but if you are, then maybe this column isn't for you! I love these addons, and I want to share.

Do note that this is six addons I couldn't play without. Your opinions may differ; these are mine. None of these are for specific gameplay situations so much as more just for general quality of life in WoW. I'd love to see their features included in the standard UI by Blizzard, but until then, I'll carry on using them. You could give them a try too if you felt like it!

Addon Control Panel

Download Addon Control Panel: WoWInterface, WoWAce, Curse

This nifty addon is top of the list. Why is it top of the list? Because as the name suggests, it's an addon that allows you to control your other addons! It's all very meta. Seriously, though, if you're into addons like me, this is the one addon you should never be without. It allows you, by way of a simple screen, to switch on and off addons and modules of addons at will, without logging out of the game. I honestly don't know why this hasn't been included in the Blizzard interface as standard yet. Addon Control Panel proves it's possible, and it is just such a huge quality of life improvement for anyone who uses addons -- and that's most people.

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Filed under: AddOn Spotlight

Addon Spotlight: Mailbag 3

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.

Do you know where I am right now? I am probably at the Anabella Hotel in Anaheim, Calif., about to hand out some seriously sweet prizes to you awesome fans who are showing up for the party. If you're not here, you're most likely getting yourself pumped for the live stream. If you don't care about any of this and you're just reading Addon Spotlight today, well, I appreciate it and I love you, loyal readers.

Since I am writing this column in advance of my impending journey to California, I went with the mailbag motif. If you have a question for Addon Spotlight, want to recommend an addon for the column, or have a comment about addons that have been featured, send an email to with something Addon Spotlight-related in the subject. Let the good times roll.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Reader UI of the Week: Ymïr's UI

Each week, brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs. Have a screenshot of your UI you want to submit? Send your screenshots, along with info on what mods you're using and some background information, to

Welcome friends! I hope your weeks are all off to wonderful starts. Hopefully, by the time you read this, the servers are back up, life is dandy and Dalaran hasn't crashed to pieces on you. Once you log in to your server of choice and choose your character, gaze and marvel upon the user interface before you, for it could one day be here in this very column. Another Reader UI of the Week is upon us!

This week, I chose to feature Ymïr's user interface. His UI is tailored to his shaman, and as I have recently had a renewed interest in my own orc shaman I might be a little bit biased in the selection. For this UI, I wanted to focus more on functionality and spatial concerns, especially with respect to where buffs and debuffs are placed, as well as the tooltip.

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

Reader UI of the Week: Mar's UI

Each week brings you a fresh look at reader submitted UIs. Have a screenshot of your UI you want to submit? Send your screenshots, along with info on what mods you're using, to

As promised, this week is non-widescreen addon/UI week! Often requested and often put to the side, I receive a lot of e-mail from readers about configuring user interfaces for non-widescreen resolutions and smaller monitors. The secret is that there really is no difference between configuring for a widescreen or non-widescreen monitor -- it's all about knowing how things fit together. On this week's Reader UI of the Week, we are going to take a look at Mar's UI. Mar has asked for some pointers on getting her interface right, so let's see if we can help out and, at the same time, give some awesome design pointers on configuring a user interface with less space.

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

AddOn Spotlight: Castbars

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, can we dethrone Quartz as king of cast bars?

The cast bar addon/mod holds a special place in my heart, mostly because it was the last addon I got on board with. We will never really know why the cast bar was the last bastion of the WoW stock user interface for me, most likely because I was a healer, but eventually the tide turned. For a while, I let my cast bar live in my unit frames, below my health and mana, as a compact little meter that was happily minimal and out of the way. Something changed, though, and I suddenly realized I wanted a more full featured cast bar. Today, we talk about the king of cast bars, an alternative to the king (The Queen? Rival Nation of Castbaria?), a quick discussion about DoT timers and some reader mail. Let's get rockin'.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Reader UI of the Week: Jake's Larger UI

Each week brings you a fresh look at reader submitted UIs. Have a screenshot of your UI you want to submit? Send your screenshots, along with info on what mods you're using, to

This week on Reader UI of the Week I've decided to focus on helping people in need of user interface tips for smaller screen resolutions or the need to have buttons larger, as you will see in just a short time. It's kind of like Dear Abby, except with more video games and less mouthy grandmas. The Community has been great in its response to sending in your user interfaces, so keep them coming! Without further ado, let's go a user interfacin'...

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

Gearing up for PvP: Gaming surfaces and keyboards

My wife recently won a Facebook contest run by those Razer guys to win a Sphex "gaming grade desktop skin", which is actually just a fancy name for a mousepad. That was great timing, too, because she'd been confined to using a ratty Manila envelope as her mouse surface for the past couple of months. She'd been able to raid just fine (apparently Manila paper works better than some conventional mousepads), although a new mousepad might help.

Once you've gotten your mouse, you'll want to pair it off with a proper gaming surface. My wife, who doesn't PvP, uses a generic two button optical mouse which she bought simply "because it's pink". She did drool at SteelSeries' Iron Lady gear (also colored pink), but all the fancy tech and extra dollars would be lost on her. On the other hand, if you've splurged on a mouse for your PvP, make sure to get a mousepad that at least takes care of your mouse. At its most basic, a mousepad is easier to clean and keep clean than, say, your desk.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

Essential addons for Patch 3.0.2 [Updated x6]

Let's take a look at what addons are working for patch 3.0.2. First a simple rule taken from the UI forums post done by Kaydeethree: "Any 'Wrath beta' compatible mod will work in 3.0.2." With that said, there is a long and comprehensive listing of 3.0.2 compatible addons over on WoWWiki.

But the fun doesn't end there. The next step is obtaining all those new addons. I've compiled a large set of the essential addons and linked to at least one direct download source after the break. Each download source is either trusted beyond doubt – or tested and confirmed to be virus free.

Finally, you'll want to combine the addons into a nice looking UI. Check out our special edition of Reader UI of the Week for a look at five complete 3.0.2 compatible UIs.

We're posting this list now, and will continue to update it throughout the day. Begin your addon downloads as quickly as possible to avoid hangups later in the day when download servers become overloaded.

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Filed under: Patches, News items, Add-Ons

New UI woes

I have a confession: I've been mostly using the basic, vanilla UI for as long as I have been playing WoW. I do use mods, I'm not crazy, but the basic unit frames and action bars have served me pretty well.

It's not that I dislike custom UIs, or even that I do like the basic UI. The base interface has done its job, from level 1 in Northshire Abbey to level 70 standing on top of Illidan's corpse. It took that Illidan kill to make me realize that I did it the entire way using a supposedly inferior UI. I could do so much more! I could streamline everything, I could open up space on my screen, remove unnecessary information, enhance the necessary stuff...

Wow, this has turned out to be quite a task. My experience with these things is minimal, and I'm not always the most organized person in the world so I couldn't make myself a proper layout if I tried. Even worse is I need to redesign my UI on all of my characters because they all use different things. What's important to my Shadow Priest isn't important to my Protection Paladin, and what's important to her isn't important to my Rogue.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends

/silly: Where everybody knows your name

"Welcome, stranger. Pull up a stool and make yourself at home. Say, you look like you're a bit run down this morning. Tuesday gotchya down? I here ya. But I think I've got just the thing to perk you up. Nothing gets your blood pumping like a stiff shot of /silly. This ones on the house. I told ya last time, your money is no good here."

Once again I have pulled from my epic stable of alts to fill a starring role in this week's comic. The legendary Banhammer, level 9 dwarf warrior extraordinaire, is here to get his drink on. Which is what he does best. And most often. Not that I'm insinuating that he has a drinking problem, but he often refuses to enter combat unless he is properly "buffed". And by "buffed", I mean "completely sloshed out of his gourd." It's a time honored dwarven tradition, I hear.

It may be the lack of sleep talking, but I'm actually quite happy with the way this comic turned out. I employed a different technique of coloring that I had found in a digital art magazine a few months back, and the results are a lot more clean and professional then I had expected. Perhaps we will see more of this style in the near future - or perhaps I'll switch to drawing stick figures with sidewalk chalk, just to keep you guys on your toes. Expect the unexpected!

Filed under: Humor, /silly, Comics

Reader UI of the Week: AareDub

Have you missed us? We're sorry for the extended break, but as you now know, we've been slammed under helping to get Massively off the ground. (Speaking of which, if you haven't been over there, you do know we're giving away a Murloc suit, right?) But we're back now with lots of Reader UIs to show you -- so on we go with this week's featured UI, courtesy of AareDub from the guild <Sonic Death Monkey> on Eitrigg.

I have to give credit to Taeo for giving me the inspiration. I saw a very crisp UI and thought, "I can do that." I've always tried to re-arrange my UI to allow for the most viewing space possible, but Taeo's UI just made something click for me. It only took me a few days to complete, but it took a month or so for my server transfer cooldown to get me back in a raid for some screenshots.

Curious? Join me after the break for more from AareDub!

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

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