Saturday, September 13, 2014

Addon Highlights - Impending Warlords Edition

Warlords is around the corner - today marks exactly two months until its release. My biggest preoccupation in preparation for its release has been a focus on my addons. My goal is that before Warlords is live, we have a majority of working addons and I can do a complete wipe and refresh of my addons folder without outdated addons that can cause periodic lua errors or display bugs. 

This will be harder than it seems for me because there are addons that I have become so used to that are not part of the default UI, but haven't been updated in a year or more. Of course, we haven't had a content patch in a year, so it may just be that they authors are waiting until it's actually necessary to look at their projects. I know that before Mists came out, a vast majority of my preferred mods had been ready for compatibility with Mists days before - this was probably due in part to basically everyone having beta access, but hopefully our addon authors have the ability to tweak theirs for the upcoming expansion. I was able to use certain out of date addons reliably at Mists release but what I really want is to cut down my dependance on addons whose authors have stopped updating them, and hopefully cut down on addons that are not entirely necessary to begin with. 

The good news, for me at least, is the features that are being integrated into the default UI. Just as we could easily drop Outfitter once they added the default equipment manager, I will be able to drop Livestock as they are adding default support for the entire reason I use that mod. Most addon authors will add additional functionality to their mods in order to keep them useful - the equipment manager was added to the game in 3.1.2, May 2009, but Outfitter has been updated as recently as 2013. 

Personally, I am a huge fan of addons, but I don't need too many extra features. I need to keep my memory usage low and I really am not asking for much. I'm function over fashion and I don't need my equipment manager to do anything except save my equipment sets and allow me to swap between them easily.

They are also improving the default cross-realm group finding functionality, which may alleviate the use of oqueue. Now, I use oqueue - it's definitely a big help in finding groups quickly and easily, but it can be complicated for some users and honestly adds too much extra stuff. It's not simply a way to find groups, it also adds more information to your personal character screen and your inspection screen, it sends you chat messages about your dungeons, raids, and battleground groups, and it encourages adding random people's battletags to your friend's list in order to make connections so that it's able to find groups in the first place. 

It's also oddly uncustomizable, not allowing you to reduce or change most of these functionalities. In addition to that, it's understandably a memory hog and is currently in the top five of my most demanding addons. If that's what you're all about, then I'm sure oqueue will still see plenty of use, but personally I will be relieved to be rid of it. This article discusses the new default cross realm group finder in more detail.

My highlights today are mods that have functionality that looks like it won't be included in the default UI for Warlords, and also that will hopefully stay updated for the release. One addon that I would recommend to anyone with more than one character on their account is Altoholic. This mod catalogs the items, professions, gold and other currencies, and many other things across all of your characters and allows you to access this information while on any character. 

This addon is specifically very helpful for figuring out which character has which items - including materials and heirlooms - and whether or not your alt knows a certain recipe without having to switch characters and do a personal investigation. It will show you on mouseover if another character owns that item, whether it's in their bank or bags, how many total of that item you own, and even if an item exists in your guild's bank, including any amount of guild banks if you are in multiple guilds. You can look at your other character's auctions, quest log, and even their spellbook. You do have to log into each of your characters and open your bank in order for the mod to be able to cache the data, but it does it automatically. If you ever deactivate the mod on a character, it will keep the cached data it has for that character and display it, which will probably be inaccurate. You can manually remove a character's data and disable the mod individually for that character if you don't want its information to be cached. This mod also keeps track of the played time of every one of your characters and provides a quick at a glance update to exactly how much time you've invested into the game.

Another mod that helps you manage multiple characters is Saved Instances. This mod keeps track of what bosses and raids you have cleared on all of your characters - from molten core to siege of orgrimmar - along with whether you've already done a heroic dungeon that day, whether you picked and planted crops on your farm, how many warforged seals you have and whether you did the quest to get more this week, and more. While most of this functionality will be useless fairly soon, the addon author is active and it will of course serve its function in the coming expansion. It's an addon you probably don't need to make sure you have the moment Warlords goes live, but I would put it on your list. It's monumentally helpful especially considering that you can't actually tell whether or not you've killed a world boss this week in the default UI.

These two mods will probably only be of interest to pet battlers - PetTracker and PetJournal Enhanced. Pet Tracker does what I used to use several different mods for - it shows you the rarity of pets encountered in the wild, the cooldown of abilities of the enemy team's pets, and whether you've collected all of the pets in a zone, which ones you need, and where they spawn. It does other stuff and everything is easily customizable - there is a short tutorial when you log on for the first time after installing the mod that shows you how to turn off any functionality that you aren't interested in. Pet Journal Enhanced greatly modifies the battle pets tab. It currently hasn't been updated since November of last year, but the author has mentioned that they will be working on it again in the future. 

default pet journal

pet journal enhanced

I've been focused on figuring out how to clean up and limit which addons I'm using for a crisp and clean slide into new content on Warlords release. Redoing my entire UI is not a task I take on lightly, though with so many changes occurring it almost seems like I don't have a choice. With the changes to balance druids including our eclipse bar and changes to our dots (as well as everyone's dots), removal of symbiosis, and overall ability pruning for everyone, my UI won't be able to go unchanged with the arrival of the expansion. The last thing I need is to have UI issues at release when I should be crushing content. There are mods that are useless for the leveling process that I can go back and get later, but the default UI is not at an acceptable level for me to throw them all to the wind. Unfortunately, a lot of what I can do for the time being is limited to "wait". 

Previous Addon Highlights
1    2

1 comment:

  1. Good idea. I guess I don't technically need the addon Gara'jal Announce anymore. Hmmm. Once every six months or so I'll go through my TradeSkillMaster groups and wipe those to start fresh with whatever new knowledge or techniques I feel like trying but I haven't thought of doing this for the entire addon library. Thanks.
    Reckles, WTBGold