Many of you will be asking, "Why did I choose a gear addon to spotlight?" There are a few reasons. First, Elitist Group is gaining popularity among the WoW playerbase. Second, the addon is a marvelous tool for an environment teeming with pick-up groups, thanks to the dungeon finder, and pick-up raids, thanks to the accessibility of the new high end content in Wrath of the Lich King. Third, Elitist Group is one of those addons that gets better as more people use it. So my goal is simple -- discuss this addon now so that more people will understand it's use and function without having to catch up later.
What is Elitist Group?
Elitist Group is a standalone addon that parses and shares information about a player's gear, achievements and talent specializations, categorizing that information into easily understandable "Pass" checks for high level WoW content. Elitist Group tracks the equipment a player is currently equipping and checks that against their talent specialization, in addition to looking for enchantments to gear and gem slots, to provide comprehensive information on using the correct gear for the specialization. In addition, Elitist Group allows you to filter the data you receive from only "Trusted" sources, making abuse of the system harder and less compelling. For me, Elitist Group is a savior for putting together pick up raids. The simple interface makes "alt-tabbing" out to the Armory a thing of the past, allowing a raid leader to quickly have the player's metrics at his disposal. If a player has Elitist Group, requesting their information is simple. If the player does not use Elitist Group or the Elitist Group Sender (more on that later), you must be targeting the person you wish to gain information about.
There are three frames to Elitist Group that we will address individually -- Information, Gear and Experience. First, the basic commands:
- /eg will open the Elitist Group window.
- /eg [name] will open the Elitist Group window with data on that person if that person's data is in your database. If the person is not in your database and has Elitist Group installed, the addon will request his statistics and send them to your addon.
- /eg db [name] will request database information from your sources (guild, friends) or from [name] if specified.
- /eg send [name] will send your player's data to the specified person who has Elitist Group.
The player information pane gives a player's name, the source from which Elitist Group gathered the data (in the image above the source is myself, a trusted source), how new or old the information about the player is, and their talent specializations with appropriate role (tank, DPS, healer) included. Next, the addon shows a Pass check based on gear level, enchantments and gems. If each piece of enchantable gear is adequately enchanted, the check comes back 100%. If there are pieces missing an enchantment or gem socket/slot, the check comes back with the missing information.
Below the gear/enchantment/gem checks are a set of recommended dungeons with an average item level needed to be successful in that dungeon. Thankfully, Elitist Group separates the "tier 7 heroics" from the new Icecrown "tier 9 heroics." These gear summaries can be helpful in putting together pick up raids, giving the player a ballpark figure to look for in requisite players.
Elitist Group also allows players to leave notes about individuals or groups that will get shared among the database data. Personally, I am not one to leave negative notes. However, the feature is excellent for positive comments. A good tank or healer gets a good review, and people who knew the encounters will get a thumbs up.
The gear pane shows the ilevel of the player's gear per slot and whether their gear is enchanted and gemmed, as well as the type of role the piece of gear is associated with. As you can see, I have all of my tank pieces equipped. Gear with certain statistics translates into a certain role: strength for melee tanks/DPS, spell power for healers and casters, etc.
The experience pane is where Elitist Group's true strength lies. The experience pane breaks up a player's experience, achievements and boss kills into categories based on raid, size and difficulty. As you can see in the screenshot above, my character has experience in killing all of the Trial of the Crusader Normal 10-man bosses 11 times. Therefore, if I was to be invited into a PUG Trial of the Crusader 10 man, the raid leader could see that my experience with the bosses is solid. This information can be critical when dealing with explaining fight mechanics to new bosses, or gauging the knowledge of the group as a whole.
Here is an invaluable tip when using Elitist Group. The addon has an option called "Main/alt Experience," which sends your selected Main character's information along with your alt's information. However, none of your main's personal details like name are sent along with the data. This allows a raid or group leader to see the experience of you as a whole, not just the character going on this particular run. You may have already defeated Marrowgar on your main, but not on your alt. The raid leader gets to see that you have the knowledge of the fight without your own explanation.
Elitist Group Sender
If you do not want to install the full Elitist Group addon, there is a secondary addon called Elitist Group Sender. EGS is a platform for communicating with people who have Elitist Group, allowing your character's data to be viewed and requested by Elitist Group. It's not invasive, and runs light in the background.
Here's my final thought -- Elitist Group is a contested addon in a contested addon category. Many people feel that an addon like Elitist Group alienates new players, puts unfair gear burdens on up and coming players, and makes reaching a statistic the goal rather than having a good time playing a game. I agree to a large extent. But this can be easily remedied
by us, the players. Elitist Group is a tool to use to make certain tasks, like assembling a pick up raid or giving advice, easier. Try to teach, not chastise. We were all little newbies once, in our barely ilevel 200 gear trying heroics for the first time. We could do it then, and we can do it now.
Check out my interview with Shadowed, creator of Elitist Group, on the next page!