Archive for the “Addons” Category

I’d just like to personally thank Elkano for fixing GuildFu and FriendsFu, and thus restoring my sanity.

As a guild master, and I know I speak for Cassie as a guild master as well, living two days without these addons in our Fubar was akin to living sans one arm.

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for fixing these.

Bless you!

P.S. For those of you that don’t use Fubar, and have no idea what I’m talking about… it’s cool. It’s a Fu thing.

I’d thank ckknight too, for Fubar itself, but he already knows I luv him.

Comments 7 Comments »

As long as I’m repeating myself, , or *ahem* being recursive…

One of the things about writing a blog that, every once in a blue moon when the stars align, tries to be helpful is that once you post about something… you tend not to repost about the same thing.

I said it once. Saying it again would be redundant and wasteful of your time, right?

Yeah.

Yeah, um… I’ve been writing this thing a long time now.

Some of you… some of you may not have been around reading this tripe when I posted about somethng I use and find enormously helpful, say, a year and a half ago.

I never assume that new readers go back and read the archives.

I just assume I never get new readers.

I keep on going, assuming I’m talking to the same crowd that’s been hanging out since I started.

So, sure, why would I tell you all the same stuff? You already know it.

But I DO have newer readers, and there is one software tool that is well worth my reminding you of, or telling you about, just in case you haven’t come across it before.

And that is the ever awesome Rawr.

In the words of the author;

Rawr is a program for comparing and exploring gear for Bears, Cats, Moonkin, Healadins, Retadins, Mages, ProtWarriors, Trees, Hunters, Tankadins, HealingPriests, ShadowPriests, EnhShams, and DPS & Tank Death Knights, in the MMORPG, World of Warcraft. Rawr has been designed from the start to be fun to use, and helpful in finding better combinations of gear, and what gear to obtain.

Features

  • Extremely user friendly, graphical, fast, easy to use interface.
  • Automatically handles items. The ability to load your character from the Armory, automatically download info about items it doesn’t know about, download info about possible upgrades, and download info about specific items you tell it to, ensure that you won’t need to type in any item stats with Rawr.
  • The most comprehensive, and most accurate system for calculating your character stats, and ratings for individual items, based on your current gear, enchants, and buffs.

I have used Rawr in it’s various forms for years. It may not be perfect, but it’s an incredibly powerful tool to help you figure out what gear upgrades you should be looking for, and where they come from for a LOT of different classes and specs.

If you used Rawr in the past, it used to only be for Druids, and feral druids at that. They’ve consistently expanded and added new classes and specs though, so go back and give it a shot. It’s a lot of fun to tinker with. :)

Sometimes there are items in it’s database that may indeed exist, but aren’t available to you to find from Wowhead, so it can be a mite difficult to track down where these upgrades actually can be found. It does happen.

But honestly… give it a go, have fun, and see what you think of it.

There are a lot of mods and addons and software choices out there. This is one that, if you are so inclined, ought to see a few donations from those that can, because the work and effort that has gone into making this a quality job is pretty great.

And for those of us that HAVE been using it for a long time… tell me what your personal experiences with Rawr have been for you. Have you found inaccuracies in it’s gear choices for your talent spec, even after you entered in your talents and your rotation in it’s guts? Did you just disagree with some of it’s recommendations? Or did it rock your world, chula, and make you a god among players?

Comments 18 Comments »

Apparently, it’s railroading time in the blogosphere.

The current topic on many bloggers’ keyboards are Addons.

I read World of Matticus’ post earlier this week, and Egotistical Priests’s, and enjoyed both posts quite a bit. And then my mind turned to other matters.

Oh, and I’d call them Matt and Vonya, but frankly I don’t want to presume by name dropping… I might not be that cool. :)

Anyway, it was interesting to me that the subject of raid healing and Addons came up twice in rapid succession, and that both of them took stands against players not being able to raid without Addon assistance if necessary on short notice.

As I don’t play a healer anymore, all I could do was hearken back to my days of 40 man raids, playing my resto druid (before the existence of Treeform) and staring at 40 unit frames in the default raid UI and being grateful for the assistance of Decursive… and wondering what settings people kept talking about when they said it one button healed for them, since it sure didn’t do that for me.

Of course, back then I was following the story on the official forums about how Decursive was about to be destroyed by the upcoming Burning Crusade patch because they didn’t want an auto-heal that did your thinking for you. Apparently, I didn’t know how to configure it properly to do my healing for me. Alas, I had to suffer through with clicking on those unit frames myself and choosing what I felt was the most mana-efficient heal powerful enough to not overheal to fit the situation.

I decided to trade staring at 40 unit frames for staring at a big bear butt in BC, and never looked back.

It took rolling a Hunter to finally see what the hell we’d been fighting all those years.

/end digression.

Today Slashhug (/Hug) posted kind of a rebuttal to both posts, where most of the things I idly thought at the time were highlighted and then discussed.

Slashhug calls it an angry rant, but honestly, what came through to me was simply that he felt very passionate about the subject, and that while he agreed with many of the points made about being careful when relying on Addons to heal, the things he disagreed with were mostly the reasons for not approving of someone that is not prepared to heal if they find that at that moment, suddenly, the Addons they were used to stopped working. 

I thought that it was a very good article, it came from the heart. And both Matt and Vonya are great people, somehow I don’t think they are going to go into a tizzy about being pulled into a conversation about it. It’s a damn good topic, with plenty of points of view, Raid Leader expectations, skill at playing a class with and without Addons, level of content being faced, etc. Lots of meat for the discussion.

At the heart of itto me is really the question, if you rely on something other than built-in Blizzard UI functionality to play the game, how prepared are you, or should you be, to play without them if something happens? Should it be an expectation that you be ready to perform at your normal skill levels both with and without your Addons?

Is that even realistic? When some Addons cut down on the very time it takes you to react to a changing situation, is it possible to perform at the level your raid leader expects?

Earlier this week, Banana Shoulders wrote a post that damn near made me stand up and cheer, about NOT being a twitch gamer and doing just fine, thank you.

It all ties together, doesn’t it?

It’s a video game, and we can play it however we want, but when we choose to play the part of the game that makes us interact with others, and when we tackle together a challenge that requires teamwork, skill and coordination, someone will choose to judge the performance of the others based on their expectations.

We all do it at some point, and to some extent, because when you are responsible for the success of a joint venture, you assume the duty of verifying that everyone is ready and prepared to take part and help the group succeed. Whether you want to or not.

And if you play with only good friends, who wants to be the judgmental one that says, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think you are ready just yet to main heal that raid. We can give it a shot, but I think we need to run some more stuff to get you better geared first.”

No matter whether you are raid leader for a 40 man zerg, or the person taking charge of a three man effort at a group quest, someone has to make sure everyone knows what to do, and is prepared for what is to come. Poor bastard.

For me, as the guild leader and raid leader and leader of plenty of 5 man Heroics in my small, itty-bitty casual friendly guild, one of the most important things to recognise is that each person is a player with feelings and an equal right to have fun. Telling people that they aren’t prepared or performing at the minimum level needed to succeed as a group, that they need x, or y, or are lacking in z, may be true for one particular situation… but it needs to be said from the heart, and not as an indictment of a person’s value as a friend and skill as a player.

The next most important thing is to keep in mind that your expectations must be appropriate to what your challenge is.

My way of doing things or my understanding of how a role can be performed is not necessarily the best way, is certainly not the only way, and it is not appropriate for me to tell someone else how to play their class or spec or fulfill their role.

It’s not!

It IS in my opinion appropriate for me to set certain goals, thresholds that I should reasonably expect someone to be able to reach, that are at the level of the challenge we intend to face.

If as the raid leader I research a boss fight, and it is clear from a 5 minute hard enrage timer that will wipe the group and the 4.25 millionhealth of the target that the DPS we bring must, as a group, be able to provide a sustained 1400DPS or we will simply not win… well, that to me sets a goal taht I feel justified in sharing with the team. Whatever else the DPS is doing, together they must reach that individual goal. If, through running more often than others, some can bring 2200 DPS, than that to me means some of the others can get away with less, and I’ll share that in case some folks are stressing about how to reach the goal. I’m not a hardcore raid leader. I’m concerned with winning and having fun, that’s all.

The goals I set for myself will be a LOT more challenging. For myself, when I am going to play my character, I am doing my damndest to prepare myself to the utmost of my ability to overgear anything we will face. But I don’t set that expectation for anyone else. Because it’s not really necessary or right to tell someone their Hunter can’t run a raid or Heroic until they get the Epic Nesingwary 4000 or the Bow drop from Heroic Utgardt Keep. Because it’s NOT. I see plenty of Hunters doing massive DPS with blue guns in the 115 dps range.

Just because some fights in Naxxramas, like the Abomination wing and Patchwerk, are a DPS and healing race against a hard enrage timer, and require a certain amount of sustained DPS to take him down before he enrages and wipes the group, does NOT mean that the standards appropriate to that fight for DPS are the same standards you apply to a Heroic.

You may like 2200+ sustained DPS when powering through Heroics, but setting that as a mandatory minimum of who you’ll let run with you says more about your priorities in the game than anything else. In case thats unclear, I’m saying that if you put someone’s DPS total as being more important on a run than if they’re your friend, your priorities in playing a recreational game are out of whack. Judgmental? Hey, I’m 40. I’m giving in to the Cranky side. I play with friends first, end of story.

And on Addon support…

Just because someone prefers to perform their role for a large group when they are at their best, and they feel their ‘best’ is when they are using the Addons they are most comfortable and confident with, it does not make them a poor player.

On the contrary, to me it says that they care enough, and respect the other players enough, that they want to be sure they can do their absolute best when playing so they don’t let the team down.

They don’t want to fail their friends.

And if they need an extra 5 minutes to reload UI or reboot to clear up an Addon issue… well, so?

Maybe the level of the challenge is low enough that they could use the default UI, and power through it and succeed anyway.

But go ahead and reboot, and get your computer set up the way you like, and thank you very much for caring enough to bring your very best.

Comments 15 Comments »

Damn, this made my night. It’s just too good to keep to myself, too.

The names and screenshots are withheld to protect the innocent… ’cause somebody is gonna get smacked by the end of this.

I love getting mail from readers. I do.

I try and reply to everyone that emails me, but if you don’t hear from me, you can pretty much assume your question stumped me, and I decided to wait until I had time to research it. Which, well… means you may never hear from me, because I have a research list as long as my… okay, no, I won’t go there. Except by implication.

Anyway, I always open my email as soon as I get it, and if there is a question, I try to figure out if I can answer it in short form, medium or long form.

Short is, I know the answer, and can immediately reply. Medium is, I may not remember off the top of my head, but I know where the answer can be found, and it should just be a case of grabbing the right link, opening a blank reply email, and juxtaposing the two.

Long form? I have no idea what your answer is, and while I know where to find out… developing the answer will take time and, probably, maths. Boo. Welcome to the glacier of my pending email.

By the way, my favorite question from emails?

“Is it true that I am uncrittable now if I have 3/3 Talent points invested in Survival of the Fittest? I don’t need Defense Rating anymore? Really?”

I love that question. How wonderful to get a question I can actually answer.

Because it literally takes little time to answer, and I can feel helpful by doing so.

“Yes, yes you are. So long as the mob is no more than three levels higher than you, you cannot suffer from critical strikes by that foe. And Survival of the Fittest is in effect no matter what form you are in, so your cat form doesn’t get crit, either. You do NOT need Defense Rating, at all, in order to be uncrittable. Defense Rating is still valuable for Dodge, of course, do not avoid it, but it is not as valuable on a point for point basis as Agility or Dodge Rating for your tanking. Thank you for reading!”

So we come to the email I get last night.

I am playing my Druid (for a change, ding 75!) and flip out to check my mail… and I’ve got an email from a very excited reader, who opened their Character Info panel, and found brand new analysis tools added to the game!

On the right hand side of the info panel, he had a new ranking category… TankPoints. And a rating. And at the bottom he had an option ‘Open TankPoints calculator’.

Selecting that option opened a brand new window in the game filled with slider bars that lets you increase or decrease stats to see how it would affect your Dodge and Parry and Block and Armor, tons of options, live displays of how the changes would affect all of your tanking stats, all sorts of amazing things for Tanking viability analysis based on proposed stat changes.

Almost like a tanking version of RatingBuster, built right into the game! A version where, instead of just comparing two items, you could control JUST what changes you would see live, if you were looking at Wowhead item stats on another monitor, or browsing AtlasLoot for example.

Damn, the dude was seriously excited. Blizz just slipped this massive change right under the radar, and he was the first to notice!

I took a look at the supplied screenshots.

And I was impressed. Looked like a pretty powerful built-in utility, lots of customization options, certainly appeared very handy for playing around with tanking thoughts in game if you weren’t using Rawr or RatingBuster. Even if you do use them, I can still see how having that available would be quite handy. Sometimes RatingBuster’s trim and smooth interface isn’t enough when you have a sack full of gear from Quests, and you’d like to see exactly how each item would affect your Dire Bear form tanking viability. And by how much. And what if I add the same enchant my existing gear has to the new one? What if I changed gems or added an Eternal Belt Buckle with a 24 Stam gem to that? Hey, instead of loading Rawr i can find out right now in the game by changing the sliders to reflect how my gear would change if such-and-such an enchant was added! Or a new gem!

Yes, I could definitely see where this new TankPoints thing looked pretty cool. I got more excited at getting my hands on it as I thought about it.

Only one small problem, of course.

TankPoints isn’t a new suite of tools built into WoW by Blizzard that nobody noticed before.

TankPoints is an addon. An addon available for download from Curse. Recently updated, too.

I established this fact by going to Yahoo, and entering “TankPoints” into the search field.

Top result?

The TankPoints addon download link from Curse.

So, yeah, my detective powers will go untested on this one. I’m not even providing you with a link.

I felt so bad for the guy.

I mean, how smoking awesome is it to find something in game that you’ve never seen anyone else ever mention before? Especially right after maintenance day?

Maybe you’re the first!

And then, to find out that someone that uses your computer must have downloaded and installed this new Addon, and never told you…

And you just emailed this blogger dude all about it…

Who talked about it on his blog, ’cause he’s a jerk….

Yeah. Someone deserves a smack upside the head.

Heck, I’m not sorry.

For one thing, if you can’t laugh about stuff like this, then you need to relax a bit. I think it’s great.

I can SO see myself doing this EXACT same thing, only to find out Cassie was checking an addon out she saw Phaelia or BRK recommend on their blog. Except, thankfully, we use totally different computers.

For another thing, I’d never heard of TankPoints before, and thanks to his email I carried my happy butt on over to Curse, downloaded it and played around with it last night.

I like it. Pretty damn professional.

It’s not a one stop braindead shop, it’s a smart, well designed and valuable tool, just like Rawr and RatingBuster. Nothing can replace your own judgment… well, I guess Rawr comes close… but I love having more tools that reduce how often I refer to a damn calculator when looking at upgrades or possible purchases in game.

Oh, and the ‘somebody else installed an addon on my computer’ thing?

I have to wonder how often that kind of thing happens.

After all, multiple accounts can log in using the same computer. It’s not even a question of account sharing, it’s just computer sharing. And I gotta figure there are lots of households where several teens play WoW, sharing the same computer. Playing in shifts, or something. Or a couple shares the same computer, or whatever the case may be.

And if one person, playing on one account, installs an addon into the interface/addons folder of the WoW installation on a computer, doesn’t that affect all other accounts that would log in using that same computer?

I certainly think so.

Makes me wonder how horrible it would be to get your Bongos or other super sweet custom UI JUST right… and have your little brother install a different addon that hosed it all up.

Hmm… also makes my mind wander in the direction of practical joke addon installs… like popup windows in game… hmmm……

Hmm… an addon where, if your class is a Hunter for example, and you log in, fly out, engage a mob with your pet, and target that mob, as soon as you activate Steady Shot, a large window pops up in the middle of the display, asking “Are you really sure you want to do that? It seems awfully violent. [Yes/No]”

Or….

“Are you really sure you want to kill something? How about a nice cup of tea instead? [Yes/No]” Some nice question that has two sentences, each of which asks a question with a different answer. “Wait, do I hit yes ’cause hell yeah I want to kill something, or no because I don’t want a damn cup of tea? ARRRGGHHHH!!!!!!”

Damn, the possibilities for practical joke addons are endless. How did we miss this category?

Comments 12 Comments »

As I entered the Fjord… ah, the Fjord…

It occured to me that there might be one little thing I could do to help some of you in your new explorations.

I’m sure quite a lot of you use quest help addons, but the two I use are pretty fun, helful, and more importantly, have been updated for Wrath.

Lightheaded is an addon that builds into each quest an easily accessible accumulation of the posts of the comments on WoW Head, and also shows what XP or rep you will get, and has links to the NPC names.

Doublewide is an addon that doesn’t add any info… but it does modify your quest log itself so everything fits on screen quite a bit nicer.

Having started in the Fjord, I can tell you that yes, quests in the Fjord are already in the updated Lightheaded, and it can be quite helpful. And make sure you bookmark Lightheaded, and check back frequently for updates. I imagine we might see a few over the next month or so.

And now, back to Druiding against giant barbarians….

UPDATE!!!

As an update… thanks to your recommendations, Cassie and I have installed QuestHelper, and yes, we agree with you… it is like unto a god for leveling. And it works great in conjunction with Lightheaded, too.

We don’t really know how to configure it yet, the arrow always being up is driving me crazy, but it’s amazing.

Oh… and my Mining is at 440, and my Engineering is at 398 on my Hunter. I am loving it!

I went to the Fjord, trained mining, then Trinket hearthed to Blades Edge Mountains and flew to Netherstorm when the expansion went live, and spent that time doing nothing but mining while everyone else started leveling. I hit 420 the easy way on Adamantite and Rich Adamantite and Khorium before I ever spied a Northrend Cobalt Node.

Oh, and do yourself a favor… if you’re not using the updated Gatherer… please try it out. It’s very lovely.

What’s that? What about the Druid?

Oh, I’m PLAYING my Druid… with Cassie. Almost to 71. And when we aren’t leveling, my Hunter is running around mining. It’s very relaxing.

Comments 19 Comments »

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