Addons are the topic of discussion!

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.


15 thoughts on “Addons are the topic of discussion!

  1. I just like this post in general… but specifically: your goal discussion. I think a lot of people forget there are two sets of guidelines: personal and group. Group guidelines are always going to be more “strict” in nature, but it’s always up to the raid leader to make it sound less than so (I would also add that you can’t be too soft, but I think most people know that if they’ve raid led). Personal guidelines are going to be more internalized, which is hard to really”teach” or ask for. But it’s those who set high personal goals that end up succeeding more than those succeeding at base line.

    Arguably, as long as everyone is having fun and there’s gear to be had and there’s no screaming in Vent… and no drama, I’m a happy guild and raid leader.


  2. The only crippling loss of functionality for me when it comes to broken addons, is usually when my HUD isn’t working (only happens on major version patches that disable all addons), I just can’t seem to pry my eyes away from the action on the screen to look up in the corner to see what my health is doing. With a hud i have my health/mana/energy/rage/runic power just left of my character. Speaking as a DPS type, I find that I die more often if i don’t have that information in the place i’m accustomed to looking. but can still fight moderately well. Then again.. Moonkin dps is a matter of rolling through a handfull of spells. Starfire, Moonfire, Wrath, Hurricane, Imp. Faery Fire, Insect Swarm.

    I never have tried healing, tho I do have healbot (normally disabled) for the rare occasion I’m asked to pinchheal and decursive is always running. (downed Sapphiron Last night for the first time and was only decursing person in the 10man) Without decursive I am not sure that we could have managed that fight or noth.

    Do addons make me more efficient, yes, can I live without them, yes but, at reduced efficiency for decursing. Most of my addons are of the informational variety: Atlas loot, Enchantrix, Auctioneer, Altohaulic, Titan Panel (and its various subroutines), DBM, Omem, Recount, Gatherer.


  3. I used to use lots of addons for every aspect of the game. I liked them and was used to them. Then my computer got hacked and I had to reformat my pc to get everything cleared up. Reloading WoW and the following prospect of having to completely redo my UI was overwhelming. Since I was still paranoid of getting hit again I adapted to the default UI and once I got used to it my performance wasn’t any worse then it was with addons. Right now I use itemrack a bag addon and recount, everything else is pure default. I’m certainly not against people using addons I just have gotten used to not using them and have enough awarness in raids to move out of bad stuff. But my guild has required mods. DBM and several others but I refuse to dl them. Even without them I stay ontop of dps charts and have less deaths then the rest of the raid… so should I give in and DL boss mods? I’m fully capable of dodging flame waves in sartharion and every other fight is easily predictable enough that I don’t find these mods usefull anymore.


  4. I was a part of a guild once which had a policy during raiding of checking addons before the raid started (if you didn’t have DBM/Big Wigs installed you weren’t allowed to go) and checking flask/elixir buffs and well fed buffs during raids. And this was a guild which was less progressed as a guild than the Sidhe Devils were in BC. Setting all the requirements just seemed to be a projection of what they thought they needed to do to be a “real guild”.

    I use addons to heal, and find that I spend just as much time tweaking and obsessing over the set up of my addons as I would if I was using mouseover macros. I could heal without them if I had to, but I am a brain-healing shaman so it’s hardly a great testament to my twitch capabilities. If my addons broke and I couldn’t fix them, would I sit out of a 25 man? Maybe. And maybe some DPS or tanks would have the same problem if their threat meter broke. Some, who have trained themselves to be able to monitor threat accurately without a threat meter might think that was a sign of a poor player. Some, who can heal consistently well just using raid frames (to my embarrassment I must admit that i don’t know how to operate the default raid frames) might think that I am letting myself down.

    It can equally go in reverse – I used to have someone in my guild that refused on principle to use addons – no threatmeter, no decursive – nothing. And everyone was pretty frustrated sometimes at the limitations this placed on his ability to improve that extra 1% or whatever in performance. But that was just how he rolled, and in the end, it didn’t make a whole heap of difference to the level of guild we were at.


  5. Well bear, it’s not like I always try to ignite a controversy or anything. And I think a lot of readers and commenters took my post too literally. I think I should’ve used a better analogy like this one:

    I’m a student. I have a laptop. I like to take my notes on my laptop because I can take more of them, I’m faster at typing, and I can still pay attention to what the professor is talking about. So having a laptop allows me to be a better student because I can get more information that might be relevant later.

    But then I have another prof who has a no electronics rule in class. No cellphones, iPods, or laptops and I’m stuck using a pen and a clipboard. I have to pay closer to attention to what’s really relevant and what I can get away without. My mark in this class won’t be as high as the one where I’m allowed to use a laptop. But at last I’ll still pass the course.

    And for the record, call me Matt. Matticus is fine too. I’m one of the few bloggers that uses their real name on the WoW blogosphere. It’s how I prefer to be addressed. I don’t use toon names because toons can change.


  6. First of all, I have found that the only addon that I cannot remake as a macro, is deadly boss mods (which doesn’t fit in a macro, although any individual boss fight could be macroed with timers and warnings). Proximo, Grid, Decursive, DoT Timers, Clique, they all CAN be macroed, if you spend the time finding the proper scripts. And the /wait command, which a lot of people don’t know about, is a godsend.

    So I only use DBM, Itemrack, and Atlas now. Macros take up less memory, and they transfer between computers. Grid is fairly important, but I’ve raid healed without it by messing with the interface name bar settings.


  7. I like addons…
    Addons are shiny…
    They make my screen more fun 😀
    They make portraits move 😀
    They make the game more user friendly…
    They eat up my memory usage 😦
    But saying that someone who uses addons is less skilled is like saying people that make macros are failures also…


  8. Hey bbb,

    seems your wow-career took more or less the same steps as mine at least in druid-ways.
    I remember clicking myself through these 40 unit-frames, too. I had 4 keybindings then and guess what I was always on top in healing and fought for the least amount of overheal with a fellow resto-shaman. So I guess theses addons really can make your life easier and if someone depends on them to do their best its ok. But I thought that it was my role to decide right then what to do and what was best to do rather then depend on an addon that does the spell-choosing for me. My point always was that it has no AI build in that has the perception and experience of a human player. The results proved me right and mind your I was not the best equipped Druid in the raid, since I could only attend about 50% of the raids.

    Since I am a lefty I am still used to click more than bind things to keys (i use the numeric-pad for movement), seems the druid and now especially the feral druid favour that to a point.

    Maybe I suck compared to pro-players, but I was in a progression guild then – so I guess there are more ways of reaching something than the “most used” one.

    Reading this again it sounds a bit arrogant which it should not. Just a little note out of my wow-life. Just like you I always try to give my best in raids and since I am a tank people really rely on me so its only natural and competing with yourself to become better at something is part of the fun of this game.



  9. I use Grid to heal with and find it is (for me) really useful. The default UI has no ability for me to see at a glance how long my rejuv or lb stack or whatever has on it without having that person specifically targeted. I know that the little dot in the bottom of the frame is red then the rejuv is about to disappear, same with the colored number in the bottom middle representing LB etc etc. I can and have used the default UI to heal heroics but it is just harder for me. Maybe because I play on a 13in laptop and the pets health bar in the default UI are about 3 millimeters tall.

    O yeah, when my alt hunter gets to 80 I have already decided not to ever use a gun again. I got so sick of hearing the noise from the Don Santos that I have decided to partial rp him so he only uses bow’s/crossbow’s. If that isn’t accepted by anyone then o well, he will in all other aspects min/maxed to the best of my abilities (just no bang, bang). 🙂


  10. My alt is a Resto Shammy who does use Healbot. A couple times the addon has crapped out on me or wouldn’t load correctly. I’ve managed, but definitely was not at the top of my game. Mostly because I’m a clicker. I don’t use a lot of hotkeys. Healing as a clicker, as you mentioned, is a fairly slow process. Click the unit frame, decide which spell is best to use, find the right icon, click it…rinse, repeat. Emergency situations can be tough to adjust to in time to save a wipe.

    I also find that, when using Healbot, I can spare a little bit of my attention to see what’s going in the raid. This is not something Bears get to do very often. Without the addon, I’m stuck staring at unit frames and action bars the whole time.


  11. I love my keybindings and my macros.

    My hunter class lead uses none of them. He is a clicker and a keyboard turner (/gross). When I was looking through the stats on the Grobullus fight for this week, He not only had the highest dps by far, he also was one of the lowest on the list for damage taken. I dunno how he does it but he sure does it right.


  12. I’m afraid I don’t think having addons is a necessity. Ultimately, a player *should* be capable of performing their role without addons. In fact, 1 really has to question what addons someone is using that the loss completely destroys their ability to perform. If that’s the case, who’s really playing the game, you or the addon? That being said, when I started raiding, I didn’t know what an addon was, much less have my UI modified for healing in a raid. I just went in and did it, and I did ok.

    I performed better after I did learn about them, and started using them. Occassionally, I’m forced, for any number of reasons, to not use my addons. I still do ok, but my responses are generally slower, and my situational awareness is reduced. Without the addons, specific assignments become much more crucial. I can’t fly by the seat of my pants. I can’t back other people up, or not very well. I’m still capable, just not as capable as I’d be with an addon. People are going to die more often, and I’ll still be giving the best I can.

    I don’t think its unreasonable to expect someone to perform without addons, but I do think its unreasonable to expect their performance to be as good without them as they are with them. If addons don’t help you play better, what would be the point in having them? If a player wants to take 5 to fix their addons, and its raid time, I’m going to be perterbed that they waited til raid time to address this, assuming they had advance knowledge of the raid. If your UI goes to crap, I’m not just going to call off the raid, and I’d be furious if the raid leader did. Not because I’m “hardcore” but rather because someone was allowed to waste my limited playtime.

    I’m always glad when someone wants to do all they can for their group, but if its conflicting with what the group is wanting to do, there’s a problem.


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