IceShadow's recommended WoW addons

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One question that comes up frequently is what addons are recommended for use in World of Warcraft. I will give my advice here.

Introduction to Addons

First, what are addons? Addons are programs that modify the user interface in World of Warcraft (WoW), using a Blizzard-approved scripting language. They are NOT a breach of the terms of service for WoW, and as long as you use the correct method of installing addons, you know that you're not running afoul of any requirements that Blizzard sets forth. If they don't want an addon to do something, they'll simply remove the ability of the scripting language to do it (and this has happened several times in the patches for WoW).

To install an addon, you should ALWAYS download a .zip, .rar, or some other compression format. NEVER install an addon from a .exe, unless you are CERTAIN of its source (and even then, it's iffy). Executable files can have hidden keyloggers and other nasty software piggybacked on the install, and it's not safe to install from them. To actually install the addon, just unzip the file into your World of Warcraft\interface\addons\ directory. You should now see a little red button that says "Addons" in the lower-left hand corner of the character selection screen. NOTE: After a patch, addons will often still work, but Blizzard has them disabled by default. To re-enable them, you must check the "use outdated addons" checkbox on this screen.

Where to get Addons

There are several websites that allow people to upload the addons they create and share them with other players. The more prominent ones are here:

A word on Ace2

Ace2 acts as a set of libraries for the scripting language World of Warcraft addons use (LUA). It has become a very popular tool for addon creation, and like all popular things, comes with some controversy.

Many people who use Ace2 to program are rather vehement about the superiority of using Ace2 as opposed to coding without it. They claim that while the interface takes longer to load (and I can attest to that part, as my loading screen takes a good 60-120 seconds for me, now), the game will run faster with Ace2 addons, giving players better pingtimes and/or framerates. Personally, I can't framerates can drop, but I have a LOT of addons installed, and I don't know if non-Ace2 addons would fare better or not. I do know that Ace2 has one big advantage over non-Ace2 files: WowAceUpdater.

A lot of authors of Ace2 programs use the URL above to distribute their addons. There is a utility, called WowAceUpdater, that allows you to quickly update all of your addons that use the above URL to distribute all at once. It is an executable, and as such you should be VERY careful as to where you download it, but if you get it from an official site you SHOULD be safe. Being able to update a majority of your addons with one button press is EXTREMELY useful as you run more and more addons, and I personally look for Ace2 versions of addons for this reason.

Addons that I use

I will link to the homepage of whatever addons I can find homepages for; others can be found at the above links.

General Use Addons

Guild Event Manager (homepage): An addon that does in-game scheduling of events such as instance runs and raids, and allows people to sign up for them. This is EXTREMELY beneficial to any attempt to organize guild events. It's rather buggy and can have some strange effects (since it's done peer-to-peer instead of on a dedicated server), but it's better than the alternatives we've tried to use.

CT_Mods (homepage): CT has an entire mod package that you can pick and choose from. I highly recommend CT_RaidAssist (gives you a bunch of notification/UI changes to your raid windows, and also has a one-button debuff removal), CT_RABossMods (more notifications for use during boss fights), CT_MailMod (gives you a mass-mail tab on your mail window as well as a mass-pickup button for your inbound mail), CT_QuestLevels (adds a level to each quest that the game bases the quest difficulty from), and more. Personally, I download the entire package, and then disable the mods I don't want on the character screen. This allows me to update the entire thing easily, without deleting out the folders of addons I don't care for.

Sanity Inventory 2 (Ace2): Gives you a searchable, sortable box for your inventory, a button to compress stacks down as much as possible, and gives you the ability to see what's in your bank, bags, on the character, or in the mailbox for any character that you've checked in the past. EXTREMELY handy for people with lots of alts and mules.

Auctioneer (homepage): An addon that scans the auction hall (you have to do this manually, and it takes about 10 minutes or so to do) and stores the pricing. If you scan often enough (daily or so is best), it will recommend pricing to you for auctions based on current auction hall trends. INVALUABLE for someone who sells a lot of things on the AH and wants to do it quickly but at a price they will actually sell.

Gatherer (homepage): An addon that stores the location of each node you mine/herb collect/treasure pickup/fish/other nodes, and displays them on the minimap and zone map. Great for miners and herbalists to have, as these things respawn in the same locations.

MobInfo-2: An addon that shows a lot of information about enemies you fight, including their estimated HP (based on damage done to them and their current health %), and stores what all they drop.

SwStats2: A meter that will show everyone in your group's performance numbers, such as damage done, damage taken, healing done, and more. Very customizable.

KLHThreatMeter: Attempts to keep track of all the threat being put out by various raid members and estimate when a mob will aggro someone that shouldn't be taking aggro. Everyone in the party/raid has to have this to let it really estimate well, however, as it shares info with the party/raid addon channels.

Nurfed DKP: Shows DKP totals in-game (for raiding).

Raid Attendance: Gives you a cut-and-paste-able box of everyone currently in your raid (for raiding).

CensusPlus (homepage): An addon that will do a /who on the entire server, broken down by levels so as to get everyone (takes 4-5 minutes, usually) and stores the information. It graphically displays it, and you can see how many of each level, race, and guild affiliation are on your server (given enough time to build a good database). You can also upload the information stored to the database at the website, and thus browse other people's information on the website.

Outfitter: An addon that allows you to set up different gear sets, both whole sets and accessories. Allows for quickly switching between gear between fights, such as to switch into fire resist gear and back. It also allows you to set up sets for specific occasions, such as sets for when you mount (carrot-on-a-stick, spur boots, riding enchant gloves), changing stances as a warrior, when you enter or leave battlegrounds, equipping your Argent Dawn commission in the Plaguelands, etc. VERY handy.

Swindler Preventer: An addon that will show a tooltip if a recipe can be bought at a vendor, along with which vendor you can purchase it at. Great for filling out your trade professions at the auction hall...just search for recipes you don't have, make a list of them, and then figure out which you can buy (for less inflated prices) at various vendors around the world, and which you'll have to buy off the AH or get incredibly lucky with a drop to get. It also helps with various token systems in the endgame, telling you what is needed for what rewards.

UI Mods

IceShadow's current party interface in action
IceShadow's current inventory UI
IceShadow's current map UI

These are mods that change the user interface (UI) that World of Warcraft provides. I use them to make my interface look as it does to the right.

CT_Viewport (part of CT_Mods): Changes the viewport, allowing movement the center of the playing field (in my case, toward the top of the screen).

eePanels (Ace2): Allows the user to put "panels" down behind other parts of the UI. They can have custom textures, allowing one to truly change the look of the UI, but I use them to provide a simple gradient background and delineate different areas of my UI.

Prat (Ace2): Allows customization of what one sees in chat windows beyond what Blizzard allows with its base UI. I use it to color code names by class as well as add levels, to change the display of channel names, to timestamp channels, to hide the chat window tabs, and to move my edit box to a more central location.

ClearFont2 (Ace2): Changes the default font for chat channels, player names, warning texts, everything.

Bartender3 (Ace2): A "barmod," Bartender3 allows you to move around your action button bars and arrange them in different ways.

CyCircled (Ace2): Allows you to skin your action buttons, changing their look.

CooldownCount (Ace2): Gives your action buttons a more obvious cooldown count, a giant number that counts down the cooldown on that action.

DetachedMiniButtons: Allows you to move your minimap buttons around your screen.

simpleMinimap (Ace2): Allows you to move your minimap, change its shape (square for me), add a coordinate counter to it, and also lets you move around various parts of your UI that are hidden (like PvP counters and control indicators, the quest pane, the armor rag doll, and more).

agUnitFrames (Ace2): A unit frames mod, this replaces your character pane, target pane, party pane, provides a focus target frame, and more. Has a raid function that I choose to disable. Also quite customizable; I use mine to show all the debuffs on party members and targets, as well as casting bars for my entire party.

Grid (Ace2): This is what I use for raiding. Shows each raid member as a box with their health as the background, and you can put indicators on it for various status changes for each member as a border, dots in the corners of the boxes, and more. A very quick way to see the status of everyone in the raid. Also has various plugins to show missing buffs, add more indicators like lines on the edges of the boxes, and more.

eCastingBar: A casting bar mod that shows casting bars for yourself, your target, your focus target, and lets you move things like the breath bar.

sct (Scrolling Combat Text) (Ace2): The original version of damage numbers on the screen that Blizzard's UI attempted to copy. Gives you more options than Blizzard's UI will, including what numbers go where (my damage to enemy goes up from the top, my damage to myself goes to the left, healing to me goes to the right).

ElkBuffBar (Ace2): A mod that shows all the buffs currently on you, along with a bar timer to show when they'll expire.

naturEnemyCastBar: A mod that will show your debuffs on enemies and a cooldown bar for them (great for CC), also can use the raid/party addon channels to synch up with other raid/party members.

ErrorMonster: Suppresses error messages from your screen, or moves them to a chat pane of your choosing.

ArkInventory: An all-in-one bag addon that also allows you to sort things into different areas of its all-in-one display, clearly delineated.

Cartographer (with assorted plugins): Replacement for the world map, and also can notate points of interest like vendors, quest givers, resource nodes, can share them with your guild, and more. Has assorted plug-ins that increase its functionality.

FuBar (Ace2)

Provides a bar of information along the top or bottom of your screen. FuBar requires other plugins to actually display data, but because of this is very customizable as to the data you want to show. (FuBar is similar to TitanPanel.) All FuBar plugins are made with Ace2.

Almost every Ace2 plugin comes with Fubar support, meaning that their menus can be accessed from an icon that you can display in FuBar (the row of icons in the middle of my lower bar at the top of my screen are these icons for me).

FuBar_AmmoFu: Simple ammo count.

FuBar_DurabilityFu: Keeps track of your item durability. Can show a popup or automatically repair at vendors, although I have these turned off.

FuBar_FactionsFu: Keeps track of your reputation with various factions.

FuBar_FuXPFu: Gives you a display of your current experience. Also gives a very pretty bar that goes right on the Fubar pane to show you your experience to next level.

FuBar_GarbageFu: Love this one--shows bag space available, and the cheapest item in your bags, so that you can drop the least-vendoring item if you need more room. Initially set up to only show grey items, I have it set up to also show white ones (this takes a bit of setup so you don't have it showing all your food, potions, and crafting things, however). Also gives you a button on vendor screens to sell all grey trash.

FuBar_GuildFu: Shows a count of online guild members.

FuBar_ItemBonusesFu: Shows your equipped bonuses to stats from items.

FuBar_LocationFu: Gives a simple coordinate and area display.

FuBar_LootTypeFu: Shows the loot type currently selected in a group.

FuBar_MailFu: Shows new mail and how many items are in your mailbox (after you check one). Also gives you a nifty sound when you get mail.

FuBar_MicroMenuFu: Puts the game menu into FuBar (I have mine hidden from my UI with Bartender3).

FuBar_MiniClockFu: Simple clock.

FuBar_ModMenuToFu: Shows you a list of all your addons, and their menus if available. You can also disable/enable them ingame with a console reload.

FuBar_MoneyFu: Displays your money, and also if you wish a tally sheet showing your income and expenditures for the last playing session and week.

FuBar_NameToggleFu: Simple way to display character/NPC names on the screen without going to your interface menu.

FuBar_OutfitterFu: Gives you a FuBar button for Outfitter.

FuBar_PerformanceFu: Simple FPS and latency counter.

FuBar_QuestsFu: Another favorite of mine, it gives you a replacement quest tracker and basically completely replaces your quest log. The tracker will not only show who is on the quests with you, it will also show how many of each quest objectives other players in your group have if they are also using QuestsFu. Will also announce to others when you get a quest item (so you don't have to constantly ask "How many more widgets do you need?").

FuBar_RestFu: Another favorite...shows all of your characters and how much rest they have in one display.

FuBar_SwStats2Fu: FuBar icon for SwStats2.

FuBar_ToFu: Countdown timer for Wind Riders.

FuBar_uFriends: Simple display of online friends from the friends list.

FuBar_VolumeFu: Shows the in-game volume and allows muting and such.