I love Wowhead to death, but what I don't love is tabbing in and out of the game in an endless search for information on any achievements I'm working on. This is where the wonderful world of addons makes its entrance, and we're blessed with an abundant supply of good ones in the early days of Mists of Pandaria.
These addons have made a significant difference to the ease and enjoyability of our achievement hunts lately. By my count, these will help you with two Pandaria rep grinds, all of the new dungeons and raids, the endlessly fascinating Glorious!, pet battles, and some oldies but goodies. If you have any additional suggestions, drop them in the comments and I'd be happy to add them to the article.
Oh, and while this has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with achievements, if you can't wait for Blizzard to add a mount search function to the default UI, download Mount Search. Congratulations, you can now stop going crazy trying to find all the new cats, serpents, cranes, and goats you trained up.
Where would we be without Overachiever? It would almost be easier to tell you what it doesn't do than what it does. In short, it does everything, but its most useful function is telling you at a glance whether an item's related to an achievement you still need. If you haven't eaten or cooked a particular food for something like The Pandaren Gourmet, you'll know. Did you already read that book for Well Read? Where are you in a meta-achievement's progression path? Need a countdown for any time-sensitive achievements like Cleaning Up? Overachiever does all this and more.
I can't say enough about this addon. It is a must-have for any dedicated achievement hunter, and you will never have to worry about inadvertently tossing or bypassing something that would have netted some extra points.
- Good for Everything.
- Special notes Get it.
- Probably should not be downloaded by Total compulsives.
If you're hunting rare spawns, you need NPCScan and NPCScan Overlay, or the close relative SilverDragon. Having done a sizable chunk of the Outland and Northrend rare spawn achievements Bloody Rare and Frostbitten both with and without a rare spawn addon, there's just no comparison. They will make your life so much easier and you will wonder how you played the game without it.
In short, NPCScan will play a loud warning whenever a rare spawn is within range in addition to displaying a 3D model of the rare on your screen. NPCScan Overlay will show colored areas on your world map where rare mobs are known to spawn.
- Good for Bloody Rare, Frostbitten, Scourer of the Eternal Sands (NPCScan will alert you when a Mysterious Camel Figurine spawns within range), and Glorious!
- Special notes In order for NPCScan to work properly, you'll have to clear your Cache folder after seeing any rare spawn that you still need to kill. (It's not uncommon to come across an already-dead mob that you still need for an achievement, and NPCScan will not alert you unless the Cache is cleared, as it has already "seen" the mob.) There's also a new member of the NPCScan family, NPCScanEx, on the scene that will add all of the game's rares to the notification system, and not just the ones associated with achievements. Glorious Drops is also helpful if you want to see what a particular rare is going to drop.
I haven't gotten into pet battles extensively yet, as most of my early Mists of Pandaria time has been spent dungeon-running with the guildies, but Thnan's Mod has still managed to be a huge help. Thnan's will add information to pet tooltips about the pets and pet quality you've collected from a species previously, so you don't have to waste time trying to catch another rare if you've already got one.
- Good for Anyone who wants to restrict their collections to high-quality pets.
- Special notes I'm on the lookout for good pet battle addons aprt from Thnan's, so if anyone has any recommendations, please leave them in the comments!
- Commenter additions Piekid and Fettpett in the comments recommend PetJournal Enhanced, PetBattle Teams, and Battle Pet -- Quality Notifier. The latter in particular strikes me as instantaneously useful to any hardcore pet collector who only wants the best of each breed. And I really like the functionality of PetBattle Teams, which allows you to switch teams quickly without having to replace pets individually.
If you're working on cooking -- and who isn't these days? -- it can be maddening to figure out which recipes you have and which ones you're missing. Ackis Recipe List is invaluable for seeing at a glance which recipes you have left to train, and just as importantly, where you can obtain them.
Ackis is good for all trade skills and not just cooking -- you can see whatever you're missing and where you could get it simply by clicking the little "Scan" button that will appear in the top right of your professions bar -- but it's really cooking you've got to worry about for achievements. Still, it's a lot of fun to see what you're missing, your exact percentage of completion, and where you've got to look in order to round out your repetoire.
- Good for Ironpaw Chef and all of its prerequisite achievements (of which there are many).
- Special notes The one problem with Ackis is that it won't tell you about the requirements for obtaining vendor recipes, like needing a certain reputation to purchase faction recipes, or having to shell out 10 Dream Shards for Scourgebane or 5 Illustrious Jewelcrafter's Tokens for the Deft Lava Coral recipe. This can make some recipes look deceptively easy to get.
We'll focus on something a bit more specific right now. I was going crazy trying to keep track of which Tiller wanted which dish and which gifts until finding Vlud's Tiller Gifts. Not only will Vlud's tell you who wants what, it'll also let you know how far along you are reputation-wise without having to click around multiple windows. Not included: The nigh-endless supply of meat, fish, vegetables, and trinkets needed to convince these greedy jackasses to like you.
- Good for Anyone trying to keep themselves from shooting up Halfhill Market with an AK-47.
- Special notes You may also find Dark Soil (a TomTom dependency) helpful.
A confession: I have not personally used a quest addon, as I did most of Loremaster not long after the achievement system went live, and Blizzard's later improvements to the quest UI seemed to render addon use unnecessary for more routine play. But after asking around, a lot of players have said that Loremaster was a huge help to them while doing the achievement of the same name. It will show you on a zone-by-zone basis how many quests you've got left and where you can find them, so you're not left running around like the proverbial chicken trying to find far-flung quest NPCs that you abandoned or skipped months ago.
- Good for Loremaster and all of its prerequisite achievements
- Special notes Deepac, the Loremaster programmer, also has Loremaster Collector available for any players willing to help with data collection for Mists of Pandaria zones. If Loremaster's been a real help to you while questing, this would be a nice way to give back.
RaidAchievement will instantly tell you whenever you've satisfied the requirements for a dungeon or raid achievement you're trying for and just have to kill the boss, or alternatively, whenever something's gone wrong and you need to trash the attempt. Stuff like Attention to Detail and Keep Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' can be tough to track while you're fighting the boss (much less Show Me Your Moves! on 25-man) and it's here that RaidAchievement particularly shines.
- Good for Pretty much any dungeon or raid achievement you still need. Just make sure you're not spamming a 5-man PUG's party chat with achievement "failures" that you're no longer worried about.
- Special notes RaidAchievementFilter (an unrelated addon, not a dependency) is also extremely useful when you just want to look at a specific instance's achievements. The burgeoning list of dungeon and raid achievements is starting to make it difficult to find specific ones quickly without outside assistance.
Getting back to smaller achievements again, the Lorewalkers are famously the "easy" faction of Pandaria, as you can reach exalted with them after an hour or two of traveling around the continent visiting shrines. Now, you can simply tab out of the game over and over to check for shrine locations, but HandyNotes and HandyNotes Lorewalkers make the process sinfully easy.
However, people who already have TomTom may find it easier to just download Lorewalkers (its author, Lockslap, also did the Dark Soil addon referenced above) or Lorewalkers Helper.
- Good for Well, this particularly combination is really only good for The Lorewalkers, but HandyNotes can be used for a host of different purposes (see below).
- Special notes HandyNotes is one of those endlessly customizable addons that have attracted a lot of additions. HandyNotes Pet Tamers and HandyNotes Lost and Found are both likely to be helpful as well, although I haven't yet worked on the associated achievements yet and can't tell you exactly how helpful.
Enjoy working on achievements? The Overachiever is here to help! Count on us for advice on patch 4.3 achievements, our guide to Mountain O' Mounts, and a good, hard look at what's wrong with archaeology and how Blizzard could fix it.