Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Addons Continued

I'm going to finish up my addon discussion from yesterday and then throw a couple of tools out there that make addon management easier.

I saved these last two addons for a separate post because I feel they warrant a little special attention.  I've mentioned both of them (and talked about one a little in-depth) in a previous post, and my feelings on both of them are mixed.  They are both very useful tools that get abused and used for status instead of as tools.  I'm speaking of course, of GearScore and Recount.

GearScore - Everyone
Recount - Everyone

There are a few differing methods to measure "gear score."  Be Imba and Wow Heroes are two websites that provide you with gear scores, and the GearScore addon is another.  These each differ somewhat in the numbers used and the methods to achieve those numbers (for example, I have roughly a 4700 gear score as given to me by the GearScore addon, and Wow Heroes reports me around 2550), but the purpose of them is the same - to give you a singular number that is supposed to indicate how well geared you are.

Recount is just one of many of the class of addons known as damage meters.  Damage meters in general provide you with a host of useful statistics about your performance.  Recount in particular, for example, tracks damage done, damage per second, healing done, healing per second, damage taken, healing taken, rezzes, cleanses, rage gained, and on and on, for your entire party or raid.

Both of these types of addons are wonderful tools, and if used properly, can help you better evaluate what is best for you or your raid.

The problem is that they are very often NOT used properly.  For many they merely provide a status symbol for themselves - they have to have the highest score, top the dps meter, and feel no problem telling everybody that doesn't match them that their gear is inferior or they need to learn to play their class or whatever other childish thing they can throw out there.

You can usually tell the two types of people apart, although not always.  Folks that ask for meters to be posted to party/raid after every pull, folks that refuse to take anyone who doesn't meet their minimum gear score on a heroic or low raid, folks that automatically blame the person who is lowest on a dps chart or gear score for a failure in a raid... all of these are *probably* going to be irritating or poor teammates.  There are exceptions, but in general I have found this to be the case.  On the flip side, there are folks that use these tools properly, to help themselves learn how to gear and play their class, to screen the general gear level of possible raid participants, to judge themselves on their own standards, and not judge others... these players tend to make good raiders and raid leaders.

I encourage the use of these addons for players who are willing to let them be what they should be, and for everyone else...  please do the rest of us a favor and ignore them.

Moving on...

You may have noticed that I run more than a couple addons.  Truth be told, I could make do without a few of them, but I find them fun and useful.  More than a couple of folks I've talked to don't want that many addons for the simple reason that it means a lot of time spent keeping track of addon versions and updates.  I was the same way before a friend introduced me to one of my favorite WoW tools:

WoW Matrix.

In a minute I'll explain why, but equally important to me now is the Curse client from Curse Gaming.

Both of these are tools that manage your addons for you.  Instead of keeping track of the latest versions of each of your addons, you just start up one of these applications, let them check your addons against the latest versions available and have them download and install the updates for you if they exist.

The reason I use two of them is that I dislike Curse's policies and limitations but I am forced to use their client for certain addons.  Early on WoW Matrix was the only player, but once Curse decided to put their own client out there, they stopped allowing WoW Matrix to access addons stored on their servers, and prevented those addons from being hosted elsewhere, thus ensuring that players would have to use their client.  Then, they made sure that there were 2 levels of their client available for use - the free version, and the "premium" subscribtion based service.  The main drawback (in my mind) to the free version is that you can only download 1 addon at a time.  In the latest editions, you can queue up several downloads at a time for install, but you still have to tell it to update each one individually.  In WoW Matrix, you can update all your addons (that need it) with a single click, whereas the Curse client requires a subscription to do that.

Either way, though, these two tools make a nightmare of management quite easy.  No more downloading individual addons, no more unzipping and making sure things are in the right place.

There are risks to doing this... you're giving an application free reign to write to your hard drive, and even if it's one you trust, that application is getting files from individual users, which is always a risky proposition.  There is that to consider, and I won't pretend that the risk isn't there.  I use these tools, but then I trust myself to fix my computer if something goes wrong, and I run virus, adware, and malware scanners to be prepared for bad situations.

... and that's all I've got to say about that.

Kaethir out.

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