Tidy Plates/Threat Plates question

I use the Tidy Plates addon with the Threat Plates addon to supplement it.

I use that on all my characters. I love it.

If you have not tried it, I will take this time to suggest you give it a shot. Just in 5 person runs. What can it hurt?

I’m by no means in expert in the capabilities of Tidy Plates, though. So, I present to you this question.

Is it possible to get my DoTs to show up on the Threat Plates of mobs?

Think about it. You’re a Moonkin wanting to drop Insect Swarm and Moonfire on every individual mob in a pack of 6. Wouldn’t it be nice if small Moonfire and Insect Swarm dot boxes (with or without timers, I don’t care) appeared somewhere on the target’s health plate?

I could look out at the swarming group of moving mobs, and pick out exactly which three or four did not have my dots on them yet, click on those name plates to target and boom boom, next target, boom boom.

No wasted time.

Is it possible to do that with the addons as they are?

I’m dying to know.

I’d imagine that would be nice for Death Knights wanting to see how many mobs in the swarm have Frost Fever and stuff like that too, but screw them. I just want to know for me.

Beat the Inscription blues!

Why, yes, I DO happen to have a lot of new alts, thank you!

Yes, they are just the cutest batch of bunnies you ever did see. Death bunnies. Hmm, should I make that a new gui… naaah.

And they grow up so fast!

It seems like just last week I started them all, and look, one of them’s already past level 25! They’re ALL almost to 25!

Oooh, it’s a good thing I’ve got that max level Inscriptionist with every Glyph recipe trained, so I can make all those Glyphs for them. At 25 they’ll want a Prime, a Major and a Minor… for EACH spec! And when dual-specs only cost 10g, that there be a lot of Glyphs down the road, ayep, ahuh, I reckon.

I’ll just pop on over to the Inscriptionist…. or Scrivener… or Scriber… or scribbler… or dude that makes Glyphs, or whatever the ridiculous pedantic people insist they be called when we all know what we mean, and just scribble me down a list of mats!

Oh, and my wife has needs too… alt Glyph needs, that is. I’d better get a list from her before I get started!

Okay, mats, mats… wow, that’s a buttload of inks of all level ranges. Damn good thing I have acres and acres of Ink of the Sea to trade to Jessica Sellers, right? I’ll just pass along these Inks of the Sea that I made with extremely valuable high-level herbs from Northrend, and she’ll pass over all those low level Inks that I need for 80 levels worth of varying milled herb stuff.

“Hi Jessica! how’s it going? Pretty quiet now that Dalaran is in isolation, I’ll bet!”

“Hey, I’ve got some Glyphs I need to make, so how’s about you shoot me over about thirty Moonglow Ink, fifteen Lion’s Ink… better make that eighteen, nine Jadefire, three Ink of the Sky, and toss in some Ethereal Ink while you’re at it, maybe twelve or fifteen.”

“What… what the heck do you MEAN my Ink of the Sea ain’t worth taking? Blackfallow Ink? BLACKFALLOW?!?!”

“But Blackfallow ain’t in the damn GAME yet! There ain’t no recipes to learn how to make it!”

“Oh… that’s why you want it. It’s rarity is what makes it so valuable. Gotcha.”

“So… how the hell am I supposed to get all these Inks for the Glyphs? The Glyphs you learn leveling are good for characters of all levels, but I who the heck is level 80 and rolling in ALL the low level Inks? That’s a whole heck of a lot of Ink just on the off chance you need one of those Glyphs, darnit!”

“What do you mean, farm it? Holy crap, do you have any idea how many kinds of herbs there ARE out there? How the hell am I supposed to know which herbs get milled into what kind of Pigment when I only need Moonglow or Etherial? Or what kind of Pigments turn into what kinds of Inks for that matter?”

“Oh, Wowpedia has a great page showing all the herbs, derived pigments and inks?”

“Oh.”

“Okay, that’s fine, but what if I don’t want to spend all freaking day flipping back and forth between my guild bank… um, I mean my personal bank where my herbs are, and Wowpedia, checking and cross-referencing?”

“Oh, there’s a simple addon called Millhelp that shows me what an herb turns into when you Mill it when you mouse over it?”

“Oh…”

“Well, fine! Be that way!”

Mutter, grumble… How the heck’s a guy supposed to get a good case of the cranky on if you’re gonna go and get rid of the confusion, huh? Answer me that!

Now to just go blast through a few carefully targeted low level zones to score some prime herb, and I’ll be rolling some new Glyphs in record time!

Hey Paladins! Holy Power UI got ya down?

One of the big changes for Paladins, of course, was getting a new little user interface for their ability, Holy Power.

Much like the Death Knights’ Runic Power UI, and the Rogues’ and Kitty Druids’ Combo Points UI, the default Holy Power UI makes you look up at the upper left corner of your screen to see whether you’ve got all three or not.

Now sure, you might have some big custom package UI that already handles this issue, or maybe you use a form of Power Auras or Scrolling Combat Text to tell you when you’re full.

Me, I like going minimalist… but I also hate having to look away from the center part of the screen, where most of the action is. I don’t want to be glancing anywhere but at the targets, and what they might be doing.

So, I went browsing in Curse’s addon section, because I’ve come to learn that if something annoys me, somebody else somewhere has already invented a cure for it.

Oh, and if you’re thinking, “Oh yeah? Well what about traffic congestion, smart-butt?” I have an answer for you; Mr. Horace Smith and his esteemed colleague Mr. Daniel B. Wesson invented my favorite solution to that issue over a hundred years ago, but they went and made using it illegal. Damnit.

Back to the Paladin Holy Power UI, sure enough, a quick perusal of the database, using the incredibly imaginative search terms “Holy Power” came up with an addon called KAHolyPower by Khaalk.

Reading the description, it told me that here was exactly what I had been hoping to find; an addon that let me undock the default Holy Power UI and move it wherever the hell I wanted on the screen, and then lock it back in place much as I already do with one of my other favoritist addons of all time, QBar.

Even better, if you don’t want the special Holy Power UI graphics, if you’d just like to know how many charges you’ve got without all that wiggly line nonsense, you can change it from the normal graphic to three simple squares. Normally invisible, when you get a charge, a box lights up. A solid square of light. Nice, simple, VERY easily recognised and intepreted with peripheral vision when moved down to the bottom left.

It can’t really be that easy, can it?

Yes it is.

So, if this issue has kinda annoyed you as well, go forth assured that keen intellects have already pondered the situation over an ounce of shag, and developed a solution. Isn’t that wonderful?

Oh, and I wasn’t joking about QBar. I consider that to be an essential addon. I wouldn’t like to ever have to play without it. If you hadn’t seen it before, you could do worse things than check it out as well.

Bug Hotfix – X-Perl UnitFrames right click dispell buff workaround

This is a very specific, focused blog post to address one specific issue.

I, like many others, do not like the default WoW user interface.

I prefer, no, scratch that, I LOVE the X-Perl UnitFrames UI addon.

The changes it implements, on the surface, seem relatively minor, but there is a ton of power lurking under the hood. I like minimalist designs that provide me with tons of tools, designs that leave the majority of the screen real estate for me to actually see the game. If I wanted to see a ton of text describing the action, I’d play Zork.

With the introduction of Patch 4.0.1, there is an existing known bug with Raid UnitFrames addons in general.

The problem is that if you try and right-click onto buffs to dispel them in your addon, it will introduce what is called a “Taint”, and that causes bad things.

In X-Perl UnitFrames, the ability to right-click to dispell buffs has been temporarily disabled to prevent “Taints” from occuring.

If you use X-Perl, it also currently prevents you from right-clicking buffs displayed by the normal UI.

For just a second, I’m going to quote a description of Taints, just so you know I’m not talking ’bout “Taint one thing nor the other”, ’cause I know my audience.

From a discussion on WoWwiki;

When WoW starts executing lua code, the execution starts off ‘secure’, and able to run protected functions. Execution remains secure until it encounters ‘taint’ – which is an indicator that a function or object came from an untrusted (AddOn or /script) source. The basic idea is that execution becomes ‘tainted’ as soon as it reads tainted data or executes tainted code, and any data written by a tainted execution is itself tainted. Protected functions refuse to operate when called from an execution path that is not secure.

When the UI first loads, all code and data from Blizzard signed FrameXML and AddOns (plus their saved variables) is secure, and all code and data from user provided AddOns (plus their saved variables) is tainted.

 Okay, so right now, if you love and want to run X-Perl UnitFrames but run into buffs you need to be able to click off, you have to either logout your character to disable your addon, use another addon that allows you to temporarily disable addons from within the game without logging out, (such as Addon Control Panel), or specifically cancel the buff by using a line item command such as “/cancelaura Buffname”.

Is this earth shattering? Of course not.

At least, not unless, oh, they did something like release a All Hallows Eve holiday event a week after the patch that includes Trick or Treating, and the tricks gave you buffs of costumes that last an hour… some of which prevent you from mounting. Or spellcasting. Buffs that… needs to be canceled. Right click style canceling.

Oh wait… Doh!

So, for you few peeps out there that love your X-Perl as much as I do, and want to keep using it, but are sick and tired of having to disable the addon in order to right click your Tricks to dispell them, here’s a solution that finally works.

First, make sure you have the very latest beta build of X-Perl. To do this, you have to visit the project page for X-Perl UnitFrames at WoWAce. They’re posting fresh builds constantly as they make corrections.

Second, with your current X-Perl UnitFrames Options open, go to the Player Tab. Within the Player Tab, look at the Player Buffs section and UNCHECK the “Hide Default Buffs” checkbox.

What this has done is display the default WoW UI buff panel, in addition to your X-Perl setup. Yes, a second set of buffs. For me, it’s worth it.

Now, this alone has not fixed the problem. There is one extra step you have to take.

Remember the description of a “Taint”, from above? It all comes from running code that isn’t “secure”. Code that is secure comes from Blizzard’s FrameXML data, then takes input from addons.

Well, as a purely short term fix, here is what you can do;

Go to the official Blizzard download site for the Interface Addon Kit, and download the appropriate version for your language. In my case, that’s US-English.

When you unzip that file, you copy the FrameXML folder, and you place it in your World of Warcraft game folder, at C:Program FilesWorld of WarcraftInterface (or whatever your destination folder may be, ending within the Interface folder).

This establishes the correct baseline FrameXML data for you to fall back on when right clicking those buffs on the default WoW UI buff bar.

Now, this is strictly a short term solution for JUST until there is a new patch.

The reason for this is, FrameXML is establishing a set of frame data specific to the game build it was created for. If a significant patch is released changing the frames (or actually fixing the core issue causing the bug in the first place), leaving this FrameXML in there will cause you lots of headaches.

BUT… for the pure short term, it will correct the problem. 

Can you believe the bug has annoyed me so much I went to these lengths to find a solution?

Wanna know what really annoys me? I start writing this, go to various websites looking up links to copy to send you to the right reference locations, and what do I find? A poster named Twintails over at WoWAce posted this solution already, just hours before I started the post.

I hereby proclaim this entire idea as belonging to Twintails, and I thank them very, very much for their helpfulness to the community. Especially since I don’t really know anything about addons, and I was only guessing at things to try and make it work, and clearly they actually knew what they were doing and went to the Interface Addon Kit intentionally.

I just wish I’da seen that before I started writing.

UPDATE: This post was correct as of X-Perl UnitFrames beta build r448, and the patch status as of 10/20/10.

To watch ranks or not is the question

Rankwatch.

When I first heard about it, I thought it was a great idea, but I didn’t want it myself.

It’s an addon that you install, and if you or someone else you are grouped with uses an ability that ain’t at the max available to someone of the persons’ current level… it whispers them (or you) and tells you.

I’ve posted here before that I caught myself on my Paladin doing that while tanking, because I leveled Retribution, but Dual Specced at 40 and set up my tanking bars.

Fast forward 40 levels later, and find out that every time I dinged a level and trained, I was in Ret spec. Every time you ding and then train, your currently active spec has it’s buttons updated to tie in to the new level spells. Your inactive spec… doesn’t.

So Rankwatch, which warns you when you are using underlevel abilities, is a proven help.

My first, initial reaction to it? I didn’t want it.

The reason was simple… I didn’t want to be “that guy”, the one that has “I’m an asshat calling you out for being a scrub” addons.

Failbot, or whatever the addons are called that people in raids used to have all the time, announcing in raid chat “Brutus, Simias and Maximus failed to avoid the Fire” during Sarth fights. Or announced that the same folks can’t dance during Heigan when they took damage from the floor zones.

I didn’t want to be the guy that had an addon that announced to others that they had problems. I had visions of “Well, screw you man, kiss my ass”, because let’s face it; Most people, no matter how well you phrase it, are NOT inclined to be graceful when caught making a mistake, even so simple a mistake as using the wwrong level spell in an off spec in easy content.

Not from a stranger, not when it is so difficult to convey inflection, nuance and attitude (or lack therof) in typed communications across the internet.

“Better to hold my peace”, I thought, “than to antagonize someone over a mistaken spell level in a pug.”

Advance a few weeks after that decision, and I pop on my Horde Paladin, literally for 5 seconds, and some friends invite me to join them in ICC 10 man, clearing some trash.

“Sure”, I say, “sounds like fun!”

I’m not in the instance for 5 minutes when I get a whisper from one of their members… and automated whisper generated by their Rankwatch, telling me that I am using a downranked Holy Wrath.

So, I’m in a run, with mostly people I don’t know, and here I am in the same position that I had worried about putting someone else in.

How did I feel getting an addon whispering me?

I felt grateful. Damned if I want to be using a weak version of a spell, and I sure didn’t know on my own, or I woulda fixed it. So shit, thanks! Now I can get the right one on my bar!

I had to laugh about it. After all, I expected I knew how someone else might react… but that’s not how I reacted. So why do I just assume someone else would get all pissy about it?

Do I really have THAT low of an opinion of most players I meet in PuGs? Ouch.

So I downloaded Rankwatch myself.

The very next day, I queue up to heal a quick Heroic, and get Utgardt Pinnacle with a Paladin Tank.

Very first pull out of the gate, the tank grabs the trash, and my unconfigured addon fires off three whispers to him, telling him that Rankwatch has seen that he’s using Consecration rank 6, the max rank of Consecration at level 80 is rank 8, that there is a known issue about button bars not updating with dual specs, and if he intentionally intended to downrank Consecration, the addon is sorry for bothering him, and if he lets me know I can stop it from spamming him again in the future.

ACK!!!

Holy shit, does that mean every time he uses Consecration for the run, it’s gonna spam him? HELP! I don’t know how to configure it yet!!! I don’t how to shut it off mid run!

That’s okay, it turns out it didn’t whisper him any more during the run.

The tank also clearly didn’t care if he was using a lower ranked Consecration, because he never broke stride, not for a second, the entire time he was chain pulling Pinnacle. Not once, ever, the entire run, was there a moment where he stopped long enough to have flipped through his spellbook to find the spell and move it to his bar. He was either attacking stuff or bouncing around or running, never just standing still, even for loot.

So, no worries, right?

I find it very useful to personally have that reassurance that, from now on, I don’t have to worry about making that mistake myself.

On the other hand… I still debate whether or not to turn it on and off when in PuGs.

I now come down on the side of optimism. I was grateful to have my mistake pointed out to me, and I think now I like having it be from an addon.

I think that, if you are going to have something like that running, having it be an automated addon that is very polite, and whispers the person once in private, and then never brings it up, that’s about the best way of doing it. 

Kind of removes that temptation to suspect someone else is judging your performance, when it’s just an addon giving you a private whisper, right?

I think it is highly revealing that, when faced with a decision to make, I choose to err on the side of “let’s not start shit with strangers”, though.

GuildFu and FriendsFu are Fu.. I mean, Fixed!

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.

As long as I'm repeating myself

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?

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.

Sabotaged from within!

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?

Some help with your journey

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.