I should reiterate what I said on the previous column, since some might have missed it, that these addons are not for raiding, not for PvP, not for hardcore Auction House play, and not for roleplaying. This is just a set of addons that improve your general quality of life within the game.
"But there were six addons in your original column!" There sure were, dear readers, but nobody seemed to want to suggest an alternative to the fantastic Addon Control Panel, so then there were five. Bag addons are a whole different ballgame and worthy of their own column. Also, too many were suggested as alternatives, so then there were four. It's like an Agatha Christie novel 'round here.
Download Prat: Curse, WoWInterface, WoWAce
Prat is a pretty funny name if you're English like me. I'm not sure if it translates across the pond, but here, a prat is a bit of a muppet. It may well be why the addon's called that! Anyhow, Prat was presented as an alternative to Chatter, and it does serve a very similar purpose. Prat allows you to do almost all the things Chatter allows you to do; it lets you set up the font and color scheme of your chat pane, click links from chat, and set up server names, player names, class colors, levels, and the like. It can also play sounds to you when you receive messages and various other options.
Prat is clever in its prioritization of memory useage; it is built in modules and allows you to disable the modules you don't need, item by item. Don't need the Alt Names section? Turn it off! It doesn't run anyhow nibbling at your memory like a hungry rodent.
Where do Prat and Chatter differ? Well, in the configuration screens, for one. Chatter is not particularly well laid-out in comparison to Prat. Prat's menus are subdivided into tabs, as you see here, and that makes things a lot easier to find than Chatter's long list of options. Prat and Chatter offer about the same overall level of customization, it seems, even if they go about it slightly differently.
The only major difference I found is that Prat doesn't allow you nearly as much chat pane and edit box customization as Chatter does, but that can easily be worked around with addons such as KGPanels. So, really, it's up to you! I personally will continue with Chatter -- the lack of skinning functionality is something I'd miss -- but I can't deny that Prat's menu system is superior.
Download Postal: WoWAce, WoWInterface, Curse
Postal, as the name implies, is a post addon. I know, amazing, right? I'm wasted in writing -- I should be a detective. Postal was mentioned by a few readers as an alternative to my beloved Easymail, and as before, I spent quite some time testing it on my main Auction House character to get the most use out of it. I have to say, I'm quite impressed with this little addon, especially for Auction House characters.
It provides a lot of the same fuctionality as Easymail, such as autofilling names and remembering who you last sent mail to and that type of thing, but it's a lot more clever in the collection of mail and the overall functionality. If you're able to read the writing in the picture above, you'll see how Postal lets you pick and choose what you want to automatically open with its Open All feature, which does exactly the same as Easymail's Get All Attachments feature. It can, for example, ignore all expired and cancelled auctions, and just collect all the successful auction mail.
There are various other filters and options and other great features such as DoNotWant, where a mail is automatically deleted or returned on expiry. This is a much more powerful addon than Easymail, and I will definitely be keeping it on my Auction House characters. However, for those characters where I don't really need the additional functions -- my gathering characters, for example -- I'll stick with Easymail. It's just so, well, easy!
Download Dominos: WoWInterface, Curse.
Dominos was suggested to me as an alternative to my preferred action bar addon, Bartender. I have to say, the two are very, very, very similar. I have been using Dominos since the last column on my leveling alt, since I figured that was the best way to test its functionality for me. I change things around and try to optimize keybinds and action bars a lot more when I'm leveling than I do at max level. And I have to say, it's just as easy to do in Dominos as it is in Bartender.
I only had a few observations with Dominos. For starters, I found it a bit of a pain that its default state was with every single bar enabled and stacked up in the middle of your screen, but it's easy to fix that, even though the bars don't really seem to disappear, just become invisible rather than disabled like they are in Bartender.
But this isn't a huge deal, really; it doesn't matter. Apart from that, the two addons are much the same. Both have sticky bars, so they neatly lock together when you're trying to line them up. I did like how Dominos groups docked bars automatically for you so they can be moved together. Both have the possibility to alter settings such as padding, size, scale, opacity, fading, columns, rows and the like. Bartender does it via a menu screen, while Dominos does it through a menu accessed by clicking the bar in question within the configuration setting. Both approaches have their pros and cons.
The default look of Dominos, as exhibited above, is very much like the Dream setting in Bartender, but Bartender does offer a few more button skins by default without the need for ButtonFacade, or Masque as it's now sort of called. Both addons are fully compatible with Masque/ButtonFacade/The Addon Formerly Known as ButtonFacade.
My only quibble with Dominos in comparison to Bartender was the profiles. Both employ profiles but take a slightly different approach, Dominos working class-by-class by default while Bartender works character by character by default. My preference is for the latter. I'm a creature of habit with my keybind setup; for example, my top row of buttons almost always goes 1, 2, 3, Q, W, A. So with Bartender, I have a GM alt who's the "store" for that default setting. Now, Dominos has the ability to do the exact same thing, but it's marginally harder to set up. Despite this, the two addons are all but identical! I will stick with Bartender, though -- it knows all my quirks already.
Loading up Auctioneer was almost like coming home for me. Back in the day, I used to run Auctioneer as my Auction House modifer. I then ditched it for its friend Auctionator, and then later added the big daddy of the Auction House addon scene, TradeSkillMaster. Auctioneer has had a fair few changes since I last used it, so the interface was a bit foreign and clunky for me at first. But I soon got back into it.
There's no denying that Auctioneer is a more powerful addon than Auctionator -- and indeed, if the initial post had been specifically about Auction House addons, Auctioneer would have been mentioned. It has a vast amount of functions, almost all of which are customizable by the keen user.
Importantly, it has a great wiki from the developer, Norganna, who also makes several other great addons and bundles them together in the Auctioneer Suite. You will need to check out the wiki if you want to make full use of Auctioneer. I certainly can't run through all its features in this column (I haven't the space), and I don't find it that intuitive to use.
However, it is absolutely loaded with features. It edits your tooltips, posts your auctions, maintains a pricing database, and offers huge amounts of customizable searches and advice on buying and bidding. In short, if you can imagine it, Auctioneer can probably do it.
If you're into the Auction House game, there are basically two alternatives that are widely used, Auctionator and TradeSkillMaster, or Auctioneer Suite. For me, Auctionator is more than enough functionality for characters with gathering professions, and TradeSkillMaster is the powerful suite for my crafter characters.
Addons are what we do on Addon Spotlight. If you're new to mods, Addons 101 will walk you through the basics; see what other players are doing at Reader UI of the Week. If there's a mod you think Addon Spotlight should take a look at, email firstname.lastname@example.org.