So let's begin. I'm going to put my best foot forward here, and that means Altoholic. This addon, as the name suggests, is designed to do exactly what we are looking for here -- it caters for everyone's altoholism. OK, fine, my altoholism. I only heard about this four-year-old addon about six months ago, and I can tell you it's revolutionized my alt leveling! Installation is extremely straightforward, the standard copy the folders into your addons folder routine, and it can be downloaded via Wowace or via Curse.com.
Altoholic has a similar visual arrangement to the standard Auction House screen, so the view you're greeted with immediately makes sense. As it's grown over the years, the developer Thaoky has added more and more functionality to it, which does confuse at first since using the interface is no longer as intuitive as when it first came out, but the added functionality more than makes up for that. Let's have a look at a few screenshots and talk through the interface and functionality.
This is the home screen, where you start when you first open Altoholic. If you've only logged in on one character since installing Altoholic, you'll only see one character's information here, but as you can see, it draws information from all your characters (well, all the ones you've logged in on, anyway). When you first log in with it running, go and visit the bank and your guild bank, and Altoholic will gather that data and add it to its interface. On this screen, you can also see your level, your gold, each character's average ilevel and rested percentage (that is, what percentage of their total available XP they have thanks to resting -- no, it doesn't just keep increasing forever and ever, so sorry about that!). It's pretty clear how this is a great tool for ambitious altoholics who want to maximize their leveling with rested XP.
It also tells you your total gold holdings and the total number of levels you have achieved over all your characters, although of course Scroll of Resurrection levels will throw off this total a bit. Oh, and a warning: It shows your /played time, but you might not want to look at that. It could lead you to seriously question your lifestyle choices.
All of this information and most of the subsequent information I'm going to talk you through can be viewed for any one character, all the characters on one server, or all your characters across all servers, as you see fit.
The next tab along, the Character tab, allows you to see far more detail for each of your characters, and you can choose which character you want the information on from any server. This information includes inventory, quests, auctions, talents, mail, spellbook and professions. The professions screen also includes helpful hints for leveling professions.
Moving logically to the right, we then encounter the Search tab. This is pretty self-explanatory. It allows you to search all your characters banks, guild banks, and bags for items within categories across all servers. Simple! The Auction House-styled search function is an incredibly simple and powerful tool, and almost every player already knows how it's divided up, which just serves to make it even more intuitive.
Next, the Achievements tab. Again, this is pretty self-explanatory; it allows you to see all your characters' achievements! I'll be interested to see how Thaoky works this in Mists
, when, as we all know, achievements are going account-wide. I'd love it if he could design it so each achievement shows on the original character that completed it, but that may not be workable. I just think it'd be cool!
The Agenda tab deals with your packed diary of WoW
commitments. You social butterfly, you! You'll have noticed that the Totals pane hasn't disappeared in our ever-easterly travels through Altoholic's interface. It stays there, mocking you. All the agenda events in your calendar are indicated by green numbers, showing the total number of events that day for the character or characters you have listed. If you choose to show raid lock expiries on your characters' calendars, it will also show those.
The final tab, the Grids tab, is essentially a clever way to show your items or gear or anything you like in a direct character-by-character comparison, pets, mounts, professions, reputation -- you name it!
Altoholic also comes with several customizable warnings, such as when mail is soon to expire on any character, which it brings up on login. If you find these tiresome, they can be disabled in its extensive configuration options screen. So, if Altoholic isn't your style (and frankly, if it isn't what you want for this type of addon, I'm surprised), there are a couple of viable alternatives which work differently from Altoholic with different functionality.
The first I'm going to delve into is Carbonite. This behemoth of an addon is principally known for its mapping features, but that's just the start of what Carbonite offers. I'm definitely not going to go through a full run-down of its entire portfolio of services, as we'd be here all week, but as far as alt management goes Carbonite has some strong features. It is, as ever, installed in the usual manner and is downloadable direct from Carboniteaddon.com
Carbonite is a little more proactive at obtaining your character's information than Altoholic, prompting you to get your character's questing information. It also adds all your completed quests to its database, which could be incredibly useful for transmogrification questing, to see if you had completed a quest that yields a specific item as a reward, or for heading back to an uncompleted zone to grind out reputation or similar (I'm looking at you, Therazane). This is handled within the history tab of Carbonite's extensive quest log.
Carbonite offers you a screen from which it is possible to view your inventory's contents character by character, for all characters on a server, or for all characters on all servers and so on, as well as gold holdings, guild banks, PvP progression and rating, profession levels, location, durability, last visited and played time. However, this is not handled with quite the finesse exhibited by Altoholic. I personally find Carbonite's interface rather counterintuitive, but of course that is deeply personal, and your mileage may vary.
The last addon on our hit list is Armory, a less ambitious offering downloadable from Curse.com
. Armory is a great tool for handling alts when you don't require quite the level of information offered by Altoholic or Carbonite. Armory is quite cleverly designed to mimic the character screen, so like Altoholic, the interface is instantly recognizable and intuitive to use. Like the others, you will need to log on to all your characters in order for Armory to build its database, and check all tabs of all your guild banks and the like. Armory holds your hand very well through this process and makes it all very easy for you.
Once the database is built, you can view all the information on the current character in one place. The side tabs offer inventory, quest log, achievements and social lists for every character you've logged onto so far. The inventory is searchable, which is a great help, but it only seems to show characters on the current server. So for a simpler addon that simply allows you to locate your elusive heirlooms and see all your characters' information in one easy-to-use interface, Armory is perfect.
One word of warning with Armory, though: I found that after having had it running for about three months, it was using an inordinately huge amount of addon memory. I'm not technologically well-versed enough to be able to tell you exactly why, but I suspect it could have something to do from drawing information from a large database. However, Altoholic has no such memory usage issues.
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