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, level those alts quickly!
It's been a heavy past couple of days in Azeroth. First, we've got heroics on the beta. Second, the public test realms are lighting the world up pretty good. Third, the clock is ticking faster and faster down to Cataclysm, so time is running out for getting those pre-Cataclysm alt characters ready.
This week, Addon Spotlight focuses on a few of your old favorites -- addons to help you level up that pre-Cataclysm alt faster, hopefully ready in time for the big shakeup. From reputation trackers to quest helpers, these addons will make leveling a breeze. Let's roll!
Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.
Oh ho, what is this? Another edition of The Queue, approximately one day after the one before it? How unexpected! Who knew that daily features could be so... daily? I, for one, am shocked. And perhaps a little appalled.
"What do you think will happen with the Undead after the Lich King is defeated? I realize for gameplay purposes they won't suddenly disappear from the Horde, but from a lore view Sylvanas' entire grudge against Arthas was most of the reason for using the Horde as a means to her end.
Plus after all the Wrath Gate drama... it just seems as though the Forsaken should almost be their own faction or something."
NEW - QueryQuestsCompleted() requests that the server send the client a list of completed quest ids. Once the list is received the QUEST_QUERY_COMPLETE event is fired. (There is a limit on how frequently this can be called)
NEW - tbl = GetQuestsCompleted([tbl]) populates a table (creating one if necessary) with the ids of completed quests.
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Individual results may vary. If you are not level 80 yet, you won't make as much gold, but you will gain a whopping amount of experience!
So how can you take advantage of this once-a-day offer? By going on a Troll Patrol of course! You need to finish in 20 minutes or less to get the full benefits, but lucky for you, I have all the tips to get you movin'.
AddOns are great. We all use them and they enhance game play. Indeed as we've seen from sites like Curse there's a thriving trade. The thing is a lot of newer MMOs, most notably Aion, have everything that AddOns provide and a bit more built in. While Blizzard is starting to cotton on with the introduction of their own threat meter and quest tracker, there's still a long way to go. Perhaps the most notable change in this direction is the promise of a somewhat basic quest helper in 3.2. Now I've been using the actual QuestHelper for quite a long time (indeed it's one of my essential AddOns) and from what I've seen of Blizzard's version, they have a long way to go.
But, it's a start. In the past year Blizzard seem to have finally realised that their player base like the perks of AddOns and the way they enhance the game, but not the frequent updating which is required with every major patch. So readers, what are your thoughts on the whole Blizzard/AddOn thing? Do you think they are just taking the best ideas and adapting the most popular AddOns into their own versions? Do you prefer using AddOns like Omen and QuestHelper? Do you see yourself using them for a long time yet? What would you like to see AddOn-esque feature would you like Blizzard to implement next?
Blizzard dropped a bombshell on the addon community last Friday with their new addon policies (among a few other clarifications, addon developers can no longer charge for their addons or even ask for donations in-game), and developers are reeling. Already, the creator of the popular QuestHelper has responded on his changelog, saying that the addon is "dead." He says that he has tried to get donations without having an ingame link, it doesn't work, and that without any money coming in, he doesn't see any reason to keep the addon in development. Likewise, the developer of Outfitter has pulled his addon from the usual outlets, saying that he "will no longer add value to the World of Warcraft" and that Blizzard is trying to "continue a system of treating addon developers as if their time and products are worthless."
Blizzard may not be too worried about Outfitter -- they're planning to add an official Equipment Manager into the game soon (and Tobold makes a point that Blizzard may want addons to be worthless). As far as we've heard, there's no word from the folks behind Carbonite yet -- there's lots of speculation on their forum, but we've contacted them to try and get an official statement. They are the addon that's believed to have kicked this all off -- they were actually charging (and holding up full time jobs) for their addon, and word is going around that Blizzard released these new policies to put the kibosh on them.
We'll have to wait and see on the long term policies of these changes -- a few developers have already called for a strike, though who knows how successful an idea like that would be. We'll definitely see a few devs hold back from working on their addons, but it's unlikely changes like these will shut down the community completely.
Hoo boy, what a show at our podcast on Saturday. After one of the craziest starts our show has ever had (BRK's house decided to go a little nuts right before we started), we got as professional as we could and got down to business. After answering emails (including more on why you should listen to your mother), we talked about the addon changes and how they'll affect players and developers, Blizzard's plans for a mobile authenticator, and more of the latest news out of patch 3.1. We also brainstormed new flavors for Mountain Dew, and finally, we played what everyone was waiting to hear: Turpster's new WoW Insider song.
Yes, because our fans were kind enough to get 4,000 people to join in on our Facebook page, we recorded that abomination of hilarity. You can download it as an mp3 right here, for use in remixes or machinima or whatever you want to do with it, and I've posted the lyrics and liner notes after the break. Enjoy.
And don't forget we're currently in a campaign for OVER 9000 Twitter followers. Join up to Twitter and follow us, and please tell your guilds and friends to do the same -- if we can meet our goal there, we'll do a live video version of the podcast that you'll be able to see right here on the site. Enjoy the show as always, and we'll see you next week.
Get the podcast: [iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes. [RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator. [MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
The Godmother over at ALT:ernative ducked into the PTR recently, and noticed something new: Blizzard is apparently testing adding Questhelper-style notes to tooltips of the quest-related mobs you come across. This looks so familiar that I thought it was an addon, but no, apparently Blizzard really is planning to tell you when a mob you're looking at happens to be the target of a quest.
It shocked me for a second -- not only is this dumbing down the questing game even further (maybe someday we will have a large red arrow pointing out a quest target from zones away), but it seems to be an awfully big break in immersion. Blizzard is basically telling you that "this is the mob you need, right here," and actually reading the quest text becomes even less necessary.
But then I realized that tooltips themselves aren't exactly paragons of game immersion -- it's already a little jump in the reality of the game to see a box with a mob's name and level whenever you mouse over it. Tooltips are already where the UI meets the road, so to speak. And as for the "dumbing down" of the game, most experienced players already had this functionality through addons like Questhelper and MonkeyQuest anyway (and if you do plan to complain that this makes things way too easy, make sure Questhelper is out of your Addon directory before you start typing). But if the tips stay in the game when the patch goes live, questing will be that much easier for people who stick to the basic UI.
Gamespy has an interview up with Jame of Jame's famous leveling guides, which are the how-to of choice if all you want from your character is to get to 80 as fast as possible. I have to admit that I've never used them -- while I do use Questhelper quite a bit (which takes lots of the guesswork out of where to go next), I also like exploring on my own pace, and Jame's guides turn Azeroth into a list of to-dos rather than an actual game. Still, they do work -- if you're leveling an alt or just don't care about the content, following the guides to the letter works fast.
Jame says his wife was the major driving force behind the site -- she needed help leveling, and he found that he had most of the major steps memorized. His site is run completely off of advertising, which he says keeps him from competing with other leveling guides that you must pay for to use. He's also working on an addon, and he says that it actually works faster than Questhelper, so that should be something to see.
Finally, he says he's working on putting together guides for other games -- "Diablo III, Starcraft II, and other MMOs" all get mentioned, so if you've already been following Jame's advice, you might be following it for a while longer. Good to get a little insight and background into the man behind the gold standard for leveling guides.
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.
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.
Amid the madness of yesterday's patch, there has been some desperate drama happening in the official UI & Macros Forums. It seems the massively popular leveling addon QuestHelper has encountered some troubles, with many users not able to use their beloved quest... helper.
As with many crossroads in life, this presents an opportunity to consider a change, or at least a reason to try something else out while the developer of QuestHelper figures out the disconnect. Some time ago, I stopped using the memory-hogging giant in favor of one of Tekkub's creations. TourGuide may very well be Tekkub's greatest mod to date. It serves much the same function as QuestHelper, but it takes a different approach, one that doesn't eat up nearly as much memory. To me, it was sort of like selling my huge truck for a fast, agile Subaru. (Which I did in RL, yay!)
I've been promising to profile this bad boy for a couple of months now, as I've yet to finish my own work on it, but I felt like you all needed an alternative. Besides, you may end up swearing by TourGuide like I do, it was more my style. (I've been working on a guide for TourGuide, but my day job has been bogging me down.)
TourGuide is more akin to a traditional leveling guide than the so-called smart system of QuestHelper. With the "helper", I felt like I wasn't doing quests in the right order, at the right level and that I was missing out on some great quest chains.
There's no denying that patch 2.4 has been one hot topic today. Not just here on WoW Insider, either. I'd say it's safe to assume Google is a pretty good indicator of what's what on the internet, and Google Trends reveals all.
Patch 2.4 and many other WoW-related things dominated March 25th as the most popular Google searches. As of 8 PM CST, out of the top ten searches, only two were unrelated to the World of Warcraft. As you can see above, the Omen Threat Meter ranked number one. Not particularly surprising, since it is one of the most used WoW addons around. If WoW is going to dominate the charts, it should be no shock Omen took the lead, especially on a patch day.
As the night goes on, things are tapering off a little bit, but the numbers were still very impressive for most of the day. A screencap of what Omen's search traffic throughout the day looked like is just behind the cut, and you can see pretty clearly when people discovered the patch was coming.
We love quests, but they can be excessively frustrating sometimes. Usually they annoy you most when they make you wander all over, back and forth, without seeming to accomplish things efficiently. The fastest levelers will tell you to try to "stack quests," or do all the quests in a small area first, then gradually move around the map to other areas. But often the best way to do this isn't clear -- you may not even know exactly which area a quest is asking you to go to.
Addons to the rescue! First, there was LightHeaded: an in-game database of comments from Wowhead.com that could help you when you get confused. Now, there's QuestHelper: an in-game guide which can tell you which direction to go, what to do, and what order to do everything in, all before you even get confused in the first place. QuestHelper isn't always right -- you still have to use your own brain, for sure -- but using this addon you'll be much less likely to make silly mistakes in your questing that slow you down and waste your time.