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AddOn Spotlight: Battle of the Bags


AddOn Spotlight focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience - the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond - your AddOns folder will never be the same! This week, Bag mods are serious business.

Stuff. We sure do have a lot of it. Sometimes it's important stuff. Other times it's fairly stupid stuff that somehow accumulates over years. Somethings we just cannot throw away. This week on AddOn Spotlight, we dive into what makes our stuff manageable, from tabards and weapons to gems and ores. This week's Spotlight features addons, sure, but we will be grouping these addons by philosophy, not necessarily function. Let's roll.

Inventory management is a topic that will never die as long as we have stuff in World of Warcraft. Few addon categories contain individual addons that serve very similar functions but have wildly different philosophies surrounding their implementation. Inventory and bag management addons are some of the most useful, complicated and customizable addons in all of World of Warcraft. Having that type of freedom means you can lose yourself in the configuration. Bag addons range from the simple and plug-and-play to the robust and deep. Your mileage definitely may vary, so choose appropriately!

Before we jump in to taking a look at bag addons, I wanted to make a statement about a certain feature that I feel is essential. The ability to search your bags through text is invaluable. I give higher praise to a bag addon that allows you to search. There is nothing more convenient than being able to do a simple word search for the item you need in case it is not readily apparent where it is.

We will discuss three different types of bag addon philosophies in this article: one bag, one bag plus and inventory management.

One Bag

One Bag inventory addons are fairly descriptive in their function -- these addons turn your multiple bags into a window of all of your items, usually highlighted by color of item quality. Single bag inventories are simple creatures for the most part. Installing a one bag inventory does just what it advertises and leaves you with a large panel showing your items.

OneBag3 and Bagnon are the prominent one bag inventory addons. OneBag3 gives you a simple interface and simple options when dealing with your one bag. You can set the number of columns to make your inventory the size and shape that you want as well as the UI scale. Bagnon has a great feature that can highlight quest items, making them very easy to spot. OneBag3 or Bagnon are both good choices for your first one bag addon, especially if you like fire and forget addons -- the basic set up that you get when you install either package works well. OneBag3 has some excellent coloring options as well. In addition, the extra addons part of the OneBag3 and Bagnon provide good solutions for your bank and keyring as one bags themselves.

Bagnon is also searchable, which I like. There is a very nice search syntax available to the user and summarized on the Curse page, so if you're interested in anything but simple search strings, take a look.

OneBag3 - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInterface]
Bagnon - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInterface]

One Bag Plus

The second category I am calling One Bag Plus because of the single pane nature of the addon combined with a secondary sorting system like tabs. The "Plus" nature of these bag addons add a new layer of complexity and customization that makes navigating a single pane inventory a little easier.

Combuctor is my addon on choice in this category. talked about Combuctor a long time ago, but I think it deserves a second go. Combuctor is the refined and advanced version of Bagnon. So why, then, would I recommend Bagnon as well? Simple -- if you do not want the options and the customization available in Combuctor, I would stay with Bagnon or OneBag3.

I like Combuctor a lot -- the single pane plus side tabs allows for easy navigation with larger inventory icons. Enter the options for Combuctor and you can set the tabs on the side that you want shown. It is as simple as that. In addition, Combuctor has search functionality and the ability to choose which tabs you have visible. The item quality circles on the bottom left of the addon allow you to choose what quality item you want to be viewing, and the entire addon is couched in Blizzard bordering and art, making it a nice addition to many basic user interface components. The search functionality can also be used to look for item slot, item type or just the item's name.

Combuctor also searches through your inventory based on the bag type. If you are an enchanter, for example, you can select the "Trade" bags at the bottom of the addon to only show what is in your enchanting bag. For crafters in general, I think Combuctor has many good options and little tweaks that can make finding materials easy. Finally, using the Bagnon modules like Bagnon Forever allow you to view your alts' inventories as well, making sure you never lose track of your items across characters.

Combuctor is by no means the only bag addon to fall into this category -- it is just a personal favorite recommendation.

Combuctor - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInterface]

Inventory Management

Inventory management systems are the cream of the crop. These addons offer increased customization while being harder to configure. Combuctor, discussed above, does the job and does it right for most people. If you are like me and you like having everything your very own way, then it might be time to sit down, take some time reading over simple rule syntax, and get yourself a robust inventory management system. We will be discussing virtual bag mod ArkInventory. Baggins is another choice for a virtual bag inventory, but I am personally a fan of ArkInventory more so, as I enjoy the greater flexibility.

ArkInventory is a virtual bag mod. Virtual bags are just areas of the screen that have rules applied to them, like "All gray items go here" or "Quest items go here." ArkInventory allows you to customize and create these rules, and then add rules to bags so that everything sorts for you as you want it to. For instance, creating a category in ArkInventory for "Potions" would require you to select the category that ArkInventory categorizes a potion as and have that sorted to one of the virtual bags, or create a rule for potions (i.e. search for all items with the name potion in them) and sort that query appropriately. Let me show you my ArkInventory so you get an idea of what I mean.

My inventory is set up to have my miscellaneous items in the far right bag, gear set items, grays, tabards and tradeskill items on the bottom row and class items, food, potions and quest items on the top, arranged into virtual bags. It's a system that works for me and was not too difficult to set up.

Here are some quick ArkInventory tips.
  • You can set the category ArkInventory sees an item as by going into edit mode (the gear on the upper right part of the addon) and left clicking any item. This will bring up the classification menu, where you can set what ArkInventory sees an item as. For instance, my tabards are under a unique self-created heading called Tabards which I assigned to them and then sorted into bag 2 (not all tabards have tabard in the name, wanted to exclude other 'shirt' type items, etc.).
  • You can create a rule for a bag to add items in a set as denoted by Blizzard's equipment manager. My bag 4 is any gear in Set-Tank or Set-DPS, and it accordingly moves that gear into bag 4 when I swap sets. The syntax for the rule looks something like: The rule: outfit( outfitname1, outfitname2 ) and then add that rule to a bag.
  • ArkInventory is very robust, and reading the wiki can help greatly.
ArkInventory has an extensive FAQ available here and a beginners walkthrough here. Take a look and see if that is the type of addon you wish to bend to your every will. The options are almost limitless, and your inventory can look and feel any way you want it to with a little bit of tweaking and some dedication to learning the way it works. Again, this is an addon that is more advanced. If you are looking for a set it and forget it mod, I would recommend Combuctor over ArkInventory.

ArkInventory - Download at [Curse] or [WoWInventory]

So there you have it. Three distinct types of inventory addons ranging from the simplest to the more complex. ArkInventory is still my preferred inventory addon, despite running a little heavier than the other addons, because I have been using my setup for so long and spent the time putting it together. Again, play around. See what you like. I did not talk about a wealth of other bag addons here today, and I am sure the comments will light up with people's suggestions, which is awesome. Share the wealth and spread the word about your favorite bags. OneBag3, Combuctor and Bagnon however had the best 'out of box' experience for me, and I think a good amount of people value that immensely. The inventory is a crucial part of your gameplay experience, so why not invest a little time and effort into making your stuff have a nice home to live in?

Addons are what we do on Addon Spotlight. Have you ever really thought about how many things Automaton could do for you? You'd save a million, billion hours. Maybe. And remember, Addon Spotlight is fueled by viewers like you, so if you have a mod you think we should take a look at, send Mat an e-mail!

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