I've personally never been much of a fan of cosmetic UI addons, but I'm a big proponent of utility addons and feel like they can improve your performance dramatically. Therefore, I won't really be talking about unit frames or action bar replacements because frankly I'm not very current with them. If you're interested in giving your whole UI a facelift, you may want to look into an all-in-one solution such as ElvUI, or check out WoW Insider's addon spotlight. Let's start with the addons I can't imagine playing my hunter without.
- Skada Damage Meter (Curse | WoWInterface): This one is my personal preference over Recount. I like being able to save individual parses for later viewing, and I like some of the plugins you can use with it. One of the best ones is SkadaExplosive. This one is entirely made for tracking the T16 4-piece survival bonus. It lets you know what your longest Explosive Shot streak was (every time I get a 10 streak I feel like it's Christmas morning), the highest damaging tick, and other Lock and Load stats.
- MiksScrollingBattleText (Curse | WoWInterface): This is a floating combat text replacement (though can be used in conjunction with Blizzard's as well) and lets you place your outgoing damage, incoming damage, heals, and buffs gained/lost anywhere on your screen and with any animation you want. It really helps with screen clutter in AoE situations, and there's something very satisfying about making your crits sticky somewhere prominently so you can always have a view of the big numbers.
- OmniCC (Curse | WoWInterface): Simple, but powerful, this addon adds numerical coooldowns to your ability buttons. It will work with the stock UI and pretty much any action bar addon out there. It's one of those thing you didn't know you needed until you had it.
- Quartz (Curse | WoWInterface): This is a modular casting bar which lets you customize size and position of player, target, and focus cast bars. It also can display both a global cooldown and Auto Shot cast bar if you're so inclined (though the Auto Shot one is kind of useless without the old stutter step mechanic). It can also display countdown bars for buffs like Bestial Wrath.
- ExtraCD (Curse): This addon tracks internal cooldowns and RealPPM rates on trinkets and abilities such as Lock and Load. This is very helpful for seeing when your big procs are about to happen, e.g. if your Assurance of Consequence only has a few seconds left on its internal cooldown, you will know to delay your Bestial Wrath for it.
These are more convenience or flavor-oriented addons. I haven't bothered mentioning Deadly Boss Mods or BigWigs up until now because I assume if you're raiding you're already using one of these.
- infMopTalentMacros (WoWInterface): This lets you create a single macro for each talent tier so you don't always have to replace your button every time you swap talents. This could be helpful if you swap between Barrage and Glaive Toss often. You might also be interested in Quick Talents which lets you swap talents without even going into the talent interface.
- Genie (Curse): Do you collect transmog gear or toys? This addon is going to be a life saver. It automatically organizes your bags and bank with a simple click.
- GTFO (Curse): Do you have an unnatural attraction to fire? If DBM's warnings aren't enough for you, you might have to install this little addon to know when you should be getting the hell out of whatever you're currently standing in.
- Tidy Plates (Curse | WoWInterface): Gives you better looking and highly configurable enemy name plates. One of the few cosmetic enhancements I can't live without.
- TipTac (Curse | WoWInterface): Another one of those addons that you won't be able to live without once you've used it. Highly configurable tooltips.
- PvPSound (Curse | WoWInterface): I don't PvP very much, but when I do this addon makes the whole experience about twice as fun. It plays Unreal Tournament announcer sounds when you make killing blows, get killing streaks, etc. If anyone else in your group is running the addon it will share your killing blows and streaks with them as well. Very, very fun addon.
- PetEmote (Curse): This is a role-playing focused addon meant for fun. It will allow you to make your pet do emotes, and also has the option of letting your pet randomly do emotes by itself. There is a huge list of custom written emotes for every pet family, and you can even specify your pet's gender. Also works with warlock, mage, and death knight pets.
This addon gets its own special section. I'm not even sure how to define what category it falls under because it has so many different uses, but I will discuss some of the ways I utilize it. Keep in mind there is another addon you may have heard of called TellMeWhen which can do the same sort of thing. It's mostly a personal preference, and my history with the old PowerAuras, that makes me continue to use WeakAuras. You can download WeakAuras 2.0 here. Below is a list of some of the WeakAuras I use. You can import these by copy and pasting the gibberish into the addon's import feature, and then you can modify their appearance and position to suit your UI.
- Focus Bar: Gives you a standalone focus bar which you can position anywhere you like. I find it useful near my cooldowns, but it may not be needed if you already keep your player unit frame at the bottom of your screen. It will vanish when you're focus capped.
- Serpent Sting: A big flashing icon that appears when your current target doesn't have Serpent Sting applied. It's intended to be annoying.
- Thrill of the Hunt: This displays your current number of stacks of the Thrill of the Hunt buff. No timer on this one since the uptime is so high, but you can add one if you wish.
- Pet Attacking: This will display a warning icon if you are in combat but your pet is not attacking something. This includes your pet being in passive mode and not attacking, despawning due to distance, or just dying. (Credit: mediic)
- Pet Growl Warning: Alerts you if you have your pet's growl autocast turned on inside 5-man dungeons or raids (you'll want to disable for soloing).
- Beast Mastery: This includes a timer bar for Beast Cleave so you know when to fire your next Multi-Shot, as well as a time remaining on Bestial Wrath.
- Marksmanship: This includes an icon showing the time remaining for Steady Focus, as well as a large flashing graphic to warn you when you lose the Steady Focus buff.
- Survival: This includes a Lock and Load buff timer (not necessarily needed if you don't have the T16 4-piece bonus) as well as a Black Arrow timer that only pops up when there is 5 seconds remaining on your target. The only reason I made this one was because of the Assurance of Consequence trinket which reduces Black Arrow's cooldown to less than its duration. By firing Black Arrow when there is 2 seconds remaining on the target, I can be sure I haven't wasted any DoT ticks.
I'm also planning a hunter transmogrification feature sometime in the future, and am looking for some unique hunter transmogs to display in it. If you have a cool one, feel free to post it in the comments here (along with an item list) or show it to me on twitter and I may feature it in a future column.
Scattered Shots is dedicated to helping you learn everything it takes to be a hunter. From raiding tips and taming rare pets to learning the DPS value of skill, we've got you covered. If you're stuck in one of the ten support classes, why not move up to the big league and play a hunter?