Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bearly Useful AddOns

I can't stop bad puns.  They just happen.

So, everybody probably knows that some addons are really useful in WoW.  I'd like to talk about what aspiring bears should check out, a few for trees as well, and a few that are generally useful to all.

Ok, I don't have any bear-specific ones, but some are more necessary for bears than others.

Deadly Boss Mods - All Raiders

The number one must-have addon for raiding is the nearly ubiquitous Deadly Boss Mods.  If you have any hope of making it as a raider, pug or guild, you absolutely must have DBM.  It's nicely configurable, but even straight "out-of-the-box," as it were, it's exceptionally useful and almost impossible to be successful without it.

Just in case you DON'T know what it is, it provides you with warnings when all the things you need to pay attention to (with respect to the bosses you are fighting) happen.  It warns you when you are standing in fire, it warns you when a boss is about to cast something that needs to be interrupted, it warns when you're too close to certain things that will kill you.  It's not perfect, but without a doubt it is the mod that has done the most to make me an effective raider.  It helps in all dungeons as well, providing similar information when needed.

Omen - All Non-Healers (and maybe even them too!)

Omen, according to it's description, is "a lightweight, multi-target threat meter."  Tanks and DPS, especially, need to be able to see who is generating threat on mobs, especially if they are in danger of stealing aggro from the tank.  Off-tanks on big mobs should be #2 on the threat table, and everybody else needs a way to tell when they can't push their DPS any harder without causing problems.  I'm sure there are other threat meters out there, but Omen is the one I've always used.  Easily configurable to show/hide the window for grouping or solo play.

Grid - All Healers/Rezzers/Raid Leaders

As a healer, Grid needs something like Clique (see below) to bring it to it's full potential, and requires some work with it to really show you what it's full usefulness is.  Grid is not the only unit frames addon out there, and I would encourage you to choose the one that you like best, but it's very configurable, very powerful, and has several modules coded up for it that you can use to extend its capabilities.

The short version of what Grid does is display an entire group's or raid's status for you in a single box on the screen, rather than having to drag groups/units out of the raid interface.  With proper customization, it can also display all sorts of information for you - if a player has a raid target icon on them, if a player has debuffs you can dispel (and which kind!) on them, if a player has certain buffs on them (and how many stacks!), if a player has an incoming heal and how much of their life that heal should refill, how low they are on life/mana/rage/energy/runic power, and on and on.

For healers it lets you quickly assess who needs healing, target and heal them (more powerful with Clique! see below), for raid leaders it lets you more easily assess raid composition and dead/alive status for possible battle rez, etc. etc.

Out-of-the-box, Grid is not very well configured, but with a little work it's one of my favorite addons.  Do a search for some advice on customization if you plan to use it.

Clique - All Healers/Cleansers

Clique plays well with Grid and other unit frames addons - it lets you cast spells by clicking the different buttons on your mouse while hovering over the unit frame of the player you want to cast on.  As a druid healer, I can leave my target as the tank I'm healing, and still cast rejuvenations, swiftmends, wild growths, etc. at the rest of the raid.  Requires a little configuration so as not to be annoying, but a big part of the reason I'm an even semi-useful healer.

Let me rephrase those last two addons together, in case you missed it.  With Grid and Clique together, you can cast any spell in your arsenal at any player in your raid without ever actually targeting the player.

There are options to use Clique for offensive actions, but I've not found that particularly useful, myself.  Perhaps I'm missing something.

Those are the really, really important ones I use, and I have a bunch of them that I find randomly useful as well...

Outfitter - Druids, lazy people

A lot of the usefulness of Outfitter has been superseded or made obsolete by Blizzard's Equipment Manager, but I still find some use in Outfitter.  It provides easy methods to switch between gear sets, and for me, I like the fact that it will automatically switch between gear depending on which druid form I'm in, or if I decide to go fishing it will (theoretically...) put my Nat Pagle's Extreme Angling Fishing Boots on without me having to do it manually.  It does integrate with the equipment manager and allows easy updates to sets defined there.

Titan Panel - Everyone

There are other "panel" type addons as well, but what this does is put a bar (or two) at the top (and/or bottom) of your screen which displays information you can configure as you so desire.  I like to use things like the gold meter (records the gold each of your characters have, and shows you the grand total in addition to the individual numbers), the performance (shows you frames per second and memory usage), the loot type (shows you if your group/raid is using Group Loot or Master Looter and what level of item is limited by this), and CritLine (tracks your hits and tells you the highest normal and critical hit for each of your attacks/spells/abilities).  That's just a small sample of what is available in it, and it's more of a convenience feature than anything, but I like it and think it's useful.

Atlas/AtlasLoot - Everyone/Raiders

Atlas is an addon that shows you maps of just about everything in WoW.  It's useful for finding flight paths and dungeon locations and points of interest in the game world, and has annotated maps of every dungeon so you can see where you have to go to finish quests or dungeon requirements.  AtlasLoot provides you with lists of loot available from each boss, in each dungeon - useful for picking out where to focus your efforts to get the best upgrades available to you.

ArkInventory - Everyone

ArkInventory is a bag management addon.  It shows you all your bags in one window, and all your bank + bank bags in one window, with customizable options for sorting how items are displayed in the window.  Makes bag organization a thing of the past.  Also records what is in each character's bags and bank, and shows you how much when you hover over items in addition to allowing you to view each character's bags and bank.  Also provides search capability on bags and banks.  Occasionally buggy, but extremely useful.

Auctioneer Advanced - Everyone

Shows you sell values and projected auction values when you hover over items.  Has a lot of functionality on the auction house, most of which I have not explored.

Gatherer - Miners, Herbalists, and Dwarves

Records the location of items you gather from the map, and displays them in the minimap and on your map interface.

DruidStats - Druids

Provides some information about what items actually mean to you stat-wise in your druid form (as opposed to just seeing the base stats).  It's a bit rough and not as powerful as I would hope, but I find it useful.

FishingBuddy - Anybody working on Fishing

Get this if you're working on fishing.  Ignore it if you don't fish.  If you're in between... think about it.

Tomorrow I'll touch on the two naughty addons, and some other useful tools.

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