This week in WagingWAR Greg takes a look at the basic interface offered in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. Well, he said he would take a look, but then he mumbled something about needing a blindfold first. Instead, he writes about all the great ways it can be changed via third-party add-ons and shows us why WAR's modding community really is just the bee's knees.

Let's be honest with ourselves right off the bat and agree that the WAR default interface, although functional, is lackluster in some respects. That's not to say that the developers of WAR made a disastrous UI for us to play with; in fact, the truth is quite the opposite. The standard UI is functional, genre-standard, and provides all the necessary information at a glance. It gets the job done. It also offers a layout editor that allows for simple, easy customization. But sometimes, someone else's idea for a UI element is simply better. Thankfully, WAR supports the Lua programming language and enjoys a strong and talented modding community.

Continue reading for the lowdown on what I consider to be the best of the best of what WAR's mod community has to offer as of patch 1.4.

For me, Squared represents the quintessential WAR add-on. It's more than just a healer's mod; it's a fully customizable raid frame that, in my opinion, should be installed by every single WAR player. The benefit for healers is immediately obvious, as it clearly shows the health status and buff/debuff status of all members of the raid. But it's superior to the default warband unit frames for all careers due to its customizability. Squared also shows which raid members are affected by cleansable debuffs and class-castable buffs. The mod truly shines as a healing addon. The ability to identify, find, and resurrect dead players in RvR is indispensible and can quickly turn the tide of a heated battle. Squared provides that functionality in a much clearer fashion than the default warband frames do.

Enemy, as I understand it, used to be much more functional than it is now (at patch 1.4). With that said, however, it still stands to be one of the most popular add-ons used by Warhammer players. Although it no longer supports click-casting and auto-focusing, the assist functionality is still considered essential to RvR gameplay. Truth be told, though, I've never actually used Enemy, and after reading about it on war.curse.com, I feel as though I missed the boat on a great mod. The feature list is extensive and covers a broad range of useful tools for RvR. It can show what the developer calls a "zone kill stat" window, which tracks the kills-to-deaths ratio of nearby players. It also maintains the player's own K:D statistic globally until it is manually reset. It can be used to replace the GroupIcons mod, which shows the location of group members on the HUD very clearly. It also provides some great tools for tanks and their guard targets.

Pure is another one of those add-ons that, in my opinion, is a must-have. Whenever possible, in all the MMOs I've played, I've enabled the option to show enemy health bars at all times, whether those enemies were hurt or not. This effectively increases the visibility of enemy players who attempt to hide in bushes or behind trees. Pure takes this ideology to the next level and adds other vitals to the target's health bar, such as class and actual level (before bolster). And for PvE mobs, it will also show their "eliteness" and any wards required. The mod will also display a similar bar for the friendly target and even the pet's target (if you have a pet, that is). Pure shows the player's own health and action in a clean and simple fashion. The whole mod can be best described as a sort of sophisticated minimalism that works to really clean up the basic UI.

BuffHead2 is essential for any player concerned about the status and remaining duration of any debuffs he's applied to enemy players. The mod will show those debuff icons directly over the head of the enemy, along with the time remaining for each. I recommend this add-on to anyone who has a debuff that is critical to his successful gameplay, like a tank's taunt, for example, or a Magus' DoTs. I used to swear by similar addons during my old days as a Warlock in World of Warcraft, as managing and refreshing my DoTs was critical to the class' playstyle, and there are several careers in Warhammer that rely on debuffs and DoTs in a similar manner. But BuffHead2 really stands out as a great addon for healers, as it can be used to show career-removable debuffs on friendly players. It also works out great when used in tandem with Pure.

Motion is another one of those addons that I've never used but is very popular, and with good reason. Essentially, Motion streamlines and simplifies crafting in Warhammer to the point that the whole ordeal goes from a nightmare of inventory and window management to a fully functional and efficient experience packed into one tiny little window. The mod can even be used to remember certain "recipes" even though WAR has a recipe-less crafting system. The best part about Motion is that it can be used to queue up multiple items in a crafting session and will do all the work for you. And by "all the work," I mean sitting there pressing the "craft" button a bunch of times and waiting for the bar to fill up before starting a new item.

Now, if you're like I am -- quite satisfied with the bare essentials -- then you can stop there. However, if you're one of those mod-crazed loonies who has to go all out and completely transform the UI so that there's nothing left of the default interface at all, then head on over to war.curse.com and surf around for a bit in the addons section. While there are dozens of dozens of other addons for WAR, the few that I described above will probably be considered standard for most players. A few other great addons that didn't make the top five (but are still definitely worth your time to investigate) include: WSCT, TexturedBars and NerfedButtons.

Leave your comments, suggestions, and questions below.

Every Saturday afternoon, Waging WAR hits the cover of Massively with the latest and greatest in all things Warhammer Online. From patch news to career reviews, Greg Waller writes about it all. Email comments and questions to greg@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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