Like so many players out there, I have made my visits to Curse and played and toyed and messed around with a variety of add-ons to assist in my World of Warcraft experience. I have done some for healing and tanking; played around with Deadly Boss Mods and have used Recount. In the end, though, I have done away with them, as I found them a nuisance – and that, more than anything, they just get in the way.
I know many players use and love them. They love to tweak their interface and try to open it up as much as possible. Me, I like it just the way it is.
Politically and socially, you will find few who are more liberal than me. But, there are times when I don’t deal too well with change, unless it is forced upon me. It is here, where WoW fits.
When I first played, I spent a few minutes toying around with the interface. I noticed that I could change the controls here and there and made those suit my own needs. Regardless, the whole UI just felt right. The character movement, the camera, the hot keys, attack buttons, all of it just made sense in my head.
Then I made a healer and started to play a bit more in groups and the like. It was suggested I get Healbot. I had run into another player on a quest when Abby (one of my characters) was just a baby, she pulled me aside and gave me some wonderful tips on healing. Priority number one, she said, was Healbot. With that, I went and downloaded the add-on and then made my way to a dungeon to test it out.
What I liked about Healbot was that it helped me to see a bit more clearly who needed a heal or dispel and who did not. I eventually figured out how to use the interface a bit more efficiently, so that depending on how I clicked on a player’s icon in the Healbot interface, a certain healing or dispel buff was thrown that player’s way. For five man dungeons, this is not so necessary, but in ten man raids, it seemed to help things a bit. In all, though, it was mostly in the way when I opened it up. I rarely used it, as I was more comfortable just looking at a player’s avatar and hitting him with the heal or dispel that was needed.
I did try one for my tank, something that shows aggro and the like. Two reasons why I got rid of this one: the first, by paying attention to another player’s avatar, I can tell if someone is pulling aggro off of me. The second, if I can’t control aggro, then I shouldn’t be tanking.
I am one of the people, once again, who does not change things much around me. When something is presented to me, I don’t stop and immediately think to myself: How can I change this to make it more efficient? My father-in-law is most definitely one of those people who, just after he opens a box, immediately has his tools out to make modifications to suit his needs. Of course, this is also a man who built an air plane in his garage some 40 years ago. Me, I just let it be.
As WoW continues to grow and expand, so does the UI. I’m sure there is a group at Blizzard that checks out the forums and pays attention to how people play the game – and then they follow suit with a change in the UI. It took some time, but after dual specialization came out Blizzard finally added a control panel to change gear with the click of a button. Which is simply wonderful, by the way.
A while back, I am not sure exactly when, there was a nice addition made to the interface for raids. Like Healbot, a panel opens up that shows all of the players in a group. This can be easily organized for raids, too. It shows a player’s health, what spells are on him, any heal-over-time buffs, and the like. It also presents who has aggro at a given moment, and when someone is pulling aggro. These are all nice to know in the middle of a dungeon or raid. Like Healbot, it can be moved around – so it can be repositioned if necessary (players can also switch between vertical and horizontal viewing).
All of this gets me thinking about that part of our culture that is bent on control. Our foundational mythology is predicated on controlling our environment. We see this myth acted out in so many aspects of our lives. Look at a park, for example. Rather than let it be, we groom it and make sure kids have a controlled environment in which to play. As we grow in population, we take native land and create “open space” with it, but make sure it is space that we can utilize for our needs and wants. And, when the “weeds” get overgrown, we mow them down.
So often, we try to control so much around us that I fear that the more we try to control, the less control we actually have. After every patch update, it is so much fun to watch all of those players spend time trying to figure out which add-on is getting in the way and causing lag – or seeing players who can’t throw out the right heal because the add-on that tells them what to do is not functioning properly.
I am not saying that we should abandon modifications altogether, quite the contrary, many beautiful things have been created from modifications – that is how we advance. I just wonder if we have taken it all a bit too far. If we keep it simple, then we can focus on the task and game at hand. The more we clutter our lives in Azeroth and out, we lose sight of the task at hand, which in the case of World of Warcraft, is the game. However, like reality, we have a hard time not changing something to make it more efficient, rather than enjoy the simple beauty of that which is around us.
How many add-ons do you use? Do you still use the original UI, or have you downloaded a new one? Feel free to show us your UI in the comments.
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