In recent news, yet another Sanctuary talent bug has been hotfixed. I'm really starting to get annoyed at this wonderful talent that keeps us crit-immune. This time, the issue was that it would de-talent itself for players under level 30 when they logged off, zoned, changed continents, etc. This should now be fixed, for those of you who've been leveling new tauren paladins as protection.
As far as the column this week goes, we're talking about addons. From holy power tracking to gear swapping to buff reminders (like the one shown above), there are a lot of things that can make our day-to-day dungeon running a lot easier. These aren't the only addons for each solution (and I hope our commenters will point out any good ones I missed), but they're a few of the more popular, and each has its own features and limitations.
Holy power tracking
NugComboBar This was originally for rogues and cat druid combo point tracking, but it has been expanded to handle holy power for paladins and soul shards for warlocks. It adds a simple line of circles that fill up with each combo point you have built up. It's good for moving your combo points to the middle of the screen so you can actually see them readily (instead of glancing up in the corner every time).
IceHUD If you like a more heads-up display type, you might consider IceHUD, which provides a HUD for health and mana as well as some customization of your holy power layout. You can swap it between the usual runes, a number, bars, and a couple of types of circles. I like this format, because all of the relevant info is in the center of the screen instead of tucked up in the corner.
KAHolyPower While not the most polished of addons, it is one of the more simple. If all you want to do is move your runed holy power bar from under your avatar to the middle of the screen and nothing else, then this is for you. Yeah, it provides some alternatives to choose from, but it is one of the more lightweight alternatives. You could nab MoveAnything, but sometimes you just want a plain knife and not a Swiss army knife.
PallyPower The original, the classic, the often-maligned and cursed bane of blessing management. However, that stigma came more from the fact it was one of the only addons to fill that job well, and having very few options to fall back on, it was scorned when it didn't work "just right." Back when we had a half-dozen blessings to manage, this was a must-have for every paladin in a raid so that each paladin didn't overlap on blessing casts. With today's raid-wide blessings, the addon defaults to its secondary features: maintaining your seals and Righteous Fury (if you're prot). It will still let you assign who is casting what, but that's less of a concern in today's world of two blessings.
ZOMGBuffs I found out about this addon during a panel with Cartographer addon author ckknight. Because he played a paladin and was an addon author, I asked if he had ever thought about coding an alternative to PallyPower that would also hook into the same blessing assignment back end. His answer was (and this is paraphrased), "I don't use PallyPower. I use ZOMGBuffs by Zeksie, which already does that." When I got home from the convention, I swapped, and I have been using it to this day. It is more class-agnostic than PallyPower, so it will hook into any alts or mains of other classes you happen to run and manage buffs for them. Also, it handles the self-buffs much like PallyPower. If you play more than one class, this would probably be the better choice, as it provides buff management no matter what class you're playing.
Proc and rotation tracking
clcInfo For those of you who used to use the Retribution FCFS helper (clcRet) addon, then you might enjoy just plain clcInfo. This is from the same guy who writes clcRet, but this is the more generic version that will also work with other classes as well. For those of you who haven't played with it, the addon gives a sort of cheat sheet on what you should be hitting next in your rotation. If you're new to the spec or are just having issues figuring out how best to play with the new holy power system, then you might want to check this out.
Power Auras Classic Almost everyone loves this thing. Hunters, warriors, druids, warlocks ... heck, Blizzard liked it so much that it decided to add basic Power Auras functionality into the game for all major talent procs. What this does is provide a way to create custom visual alerts for when certain buffs, debuffs, or events happen. Prot paladins, do you need a reminder to cast Righteous Fury after rezzing? This can do it. Ret pallies, do you want something to flash on your screen when you have 3 holy power? There are settings for that. Do you want to be warned when someone hits you with Curse of Mending so you stop attacking? It can cover you there.
Decursive There aren't many good, straight-up alternatives to Decursive when it comes to quick and easy debuff removal. Sure, you could create a mouseover macro for Cleanse and handle it that way, but that takes up space on your action bars. There is always the choice of an addon like Grid, VuhDo, Clique, or HealBot, but those are intended for doing healing as well and usually take up a lot of screen real estate. All in all, with the lack of magic debuff removal in both prot and ret, you probably won't have as much call for being on Cleanse duty, even in 10-man raids. Still, if you want to help out and have the mana to Cleanse in a tight situation, then this is probably the addon you'll need.
Outfitter Probably the premiere gear swapping addon for WoW. I'm including the gear managers because if you're playing dual spec, you have five completely different types of gear you can possibly choose from. Outfitter is nice, because it can provide automatic gear swapping based on certain situations (such as changing specs). This is also a nice way to manage resistance sets or just individual items to swap out based on certain scenarios or having a stamina set vs. an avoidance set.
Crossdresser If you don't need all of the bells and whistles of Outfitter and just use the Equipment Manager in game, but you want it to automatically swap gear when you swap specs, then this will do it for you. That's about the only thing it will do. If you're a minimalist, then this is probably your best choice.
AnnounceRes When we still had Divine Intervention, I'd occasionally get a healer saved on a wipe. As a thank you, I'd normally be one of the first people they would rez. As a rez class, I was expected to use my tiny mana bar to help get the rest of the raid back up and running. The problem was that I kept getting rez sniped. This was especially true as prot as I had virtually no haste to speak of. After that, I started to encourage people to let everyone know who they were trying to rez to avoid rezzing the same person twice and burning mana. This addon just does what it says: It announces when you start casting a rez on someone. Nothing more, nothing less. Making people watch their chat window is the hard part.
SmartRes2 If you want a little more information in your Redemption attempts, then you might want to look here. This color-codes your cast bar based on who is currently being rezzed. Green is good. Blue means someone has already finished re-live-ifying them, but they haven't accepted. Red means multiple people are trying to rez the same person. Less overlap means getting the raid back up and running faster for another attempt. That's always a plus.
The Light and How to Swing It tries to help paladins cope with the dark times coming in Cataclysm. See the upcoming paladin changes the expansion will bring. Wrath is coming to a close and the final showdown with the Lich King is here. With Cataclysm soon heating things up, will you be ready?