Addons (not to) Die For (part the second)
In part one of this mini-series, I worked up to a more-or-less raid-ready user interface. In this part, we’ll fill in the blank spots with the UIs that make your life less tedious and/or boring in-game.
BetterFont does one thing – gives you a better default font to use in the game. People with bad eyes such as myself are usually quite grateful for little visibility tweaks like this.
eAlign is one of those addons that you don’t use a lot, but is very useful for tweaking sessions. It puts a grid up on the screen against which you can align your UI elements so that they’re in a straight line. One chat command brings it up, and banishes it again when you’re done.
Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text is a replacement for all scrolling battle text; if it only did that, I wouldn’t use it, though, since I prefer to keep the default battle text (damage appears over the head of your victims, rather than in one place, which MSBT does). I turn off the scrolling battle text overrides but keep the additional features that it adds, such as telling you how much of a thing you have in your bags when you collect one (such as herbs).
Que’Level just sticks the level of a quest in front of its description, so as to help you sort out which ones to do first (like, before they go gray).
There are many auction-specific addons, but I prefer AuctonLite to others due to its smaller footprint and quantity-specific buying features. However, it lacks a number of advanced features, which others bring to the table. I’ve taken a different approach will be explained later. For the time being, keep Auctionator and Auctioneer in mind if you need more powerful features.
Trade Skills / Professions
Big in MoP is farming, and Farmhand brings very useful features to the table, affording one-click planting, trouble crop tracking, and auto-discard of farm implements when you leave Halfhill. The trouble crop tracking annoys at times because it always only marks ONE example of any particular trouble type, rather than ALL.
Hand in hand with farming is fishing, which is used to get raw materials for cooking along with your garden vegetables. Fishing Buddy offers several convenience features, such as auto-lures, easy casting, and stat keeping. Its only real weakness is that it doesn’t know how to work with the new feature that allows you to fish without having a pole equipped.
Archeology Helper offers many convenience functions that speed up surveying and digging; however, since I haven’t done any archeology since MoP launched, I don’t know if it still works.
Gathermate2 and Routes go hand in hand to help you manage your herb, fishing, and ore farming. Routes … doesn’t appear to be actively maintained, but it’s hanging in there for now, so fingers crossed.
Reagent Tree is great for figuring out what recipes you and your alts know, what mats you need, where they are, and how to get them.
Skillet, and its relative Advanced Trade Skill Window, provide means to queue crafting tasks, determine what you can and cannot make, and otherwise make the trade skill window a lot less painful to use. I started using the former when the latter developed serious lag-inducing behaviors.
Postal automates a lot of the tedium of opening lots of mail, mailing it off, etc. For example, when I cancel all my glyph auctions that have been undercut, I generally have 400-500 mails in my inbox; this automates opening them and sorting them into the bags.
TradeSkillMaster is a suite of tools that makes it easier to auction things off, find mats on the AH, track where items are, how much they generally bring, and so forth. It’s a complex little beastie but our glyph business would be dead without it.
Finally, The Undermine Journal’s addon provides you with up to date prices on items, what they’re actually selling for rather than what they’re vendoring for. There is a general purpose version available on Curse, or you can download a realm-specific version that updates many times a day, guaranteed to have the most accurate prices of all. We’ve created a Python script to automate this task.
Managing bag space is always a joy, right? And addons that make it easier, moreso.
One of the things that AdiBags was missing at the time of its review was a way to view other toons’ inventories. BagSync provides this utility in a bag-addon-agnostic fashion.
Finally, failing to keep consumables stocked up can be embarrassing, though not as much as it used to be with Warlock shards and Hunter bullets and other reagents. Steal Your Carbon automates the task of buying these whenever you open up a window at the appropriate vendor. Do note: it is not 100% reliable, so make sure it works reliably. My experience is that it fails on a per-character basis, rather than pre-account.
Rating Buster come to my attention when it was recommended by BRK back in the day. It’s a tool that compares an item’s stats with your own gear’s. It’s still trundling along, though it’s not current with MoP (last update was for 4.3.4). I use it for rough estimates, with custom weights, and my own tool for final decisions. The beta version is more up to date, so if you use the Curse client, you can select that.
Pawn is a more current addon, but doesn’t directly interface to the tooltips like RB does. It uses weights from WoWHead or allows for custom weights. When an item that’s a definite upgrade for you appears in a loot roll, it makes real sure you know it with bright colored arrows. Naturally, it doesn’t agree 100% with the other tools, so you’ll need to use your judgment. It also provides guidance on reforging, gemming, and enchanting.
VendorBait is useful when leveling; quest rewards that are an upgrade are highlighted. If no upgrades are available, then the one with the best vendor price is highlighted. Unfortunately it doesn’t offer an option as to which would DE to a better enchanting mat, but there are addon for that if you need them.
MogIt is more a social app in that it merely allows you to browse different gear and model it on your character for purposes of finding the best (for you) transmog set. I usually disable this unless I’m in search of mog fodder.
There has been nothing even close to the legendary Cartographer for map managment, but Mapster plus TomTom (or TomTomLite) provide a lot of its features. I haven’t found anything else to fill that gap.
Ara Broker Guild Friends is an addon that puts two displays up on your LDB display (such as ChocolateBar) and shows how many of your friends and guildmates are online. Hover over either display, and a dropdown panel appears showing details related to your friends and guild. A lot more convenient than the full-on friend and guild displays.
Friend & Ignore Share basically propagates your friends and ignores across all of your toons; friend someone on one toon, and it automatically friends them on your alts when you log in.
Chatter is one of two good chat replacements; I was using Prat until it broke, then changed to Chatter because I was impatient (Prat’s back up to date again). Both offer similar features, such as colorization based on class, guild rank, faction; timestamp and level tweaks; chat tab management and filtering.
WIM is a small IM-like window for private chat, including your battle.net and RealID friends. It can even notify people when you’re in the middle of a fight.
Rares and Reputation
NPCScan (and its map overlay companion) notifies you whenever you come within range of a rare spawn, and optionally marks it with a symbol. Hunters of rares will use this or Silver Dragon, depending on your preferences.
Ara Broker Reputations provides a convenient drop-down interface to the reputations panel, providing a quick overview of where you stand with various factions.
Pets and Mounts
I haven’t touched battle pets since Cata first came out, so I’m not going to pretend to know what’s good in this regard any more.
GupPet is a random pet and companion summoning tool; it allows you to filter out those mounts or companions you don’t want to summon, if you feel so inclined. It does tend to lag behind the state of the game with regards to what is available to summon, so you may need to hack it yourself. We have a guild on how to do that.
Addon Control Panel (ACP) helps you keep addons turned off until you need them, or turn them off when you don’t need them any more. It also provides useful information such as how much memory the child addons of an addon suite (such as all 40 parts of Pitbull) are consuming when loaded.
Better Blizz Options is a quiet little addon that just tweaks the Blizzard option panel a little, such as making it movable and resizable.
WoWHead Looter is part of the WoWHead client, and basically collects stats on what you loot, gather, or otherwise come across. It does nothing for you directly, but does feed back to WoWHead, thus making it more accurate, which benefits us all. Consider it a way of paying WoWHead back for the years of useful data you’ve pillaged.
That’s a Wrap
Aaaand that’s all! Probably around 80 or 90 addons accounted for. I hope this has proven useful to you. I don’t think I’ll try this again! 🙂