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AddOn Spotlight: TellMeWhen


Addon Spotlight focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. We'll look at everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your interface folder will never be the same! This week, TellMeWhen tells you when to do something, because you were too busy reading illicit tells or drawing male anatomy with AVR all over Dalaran.

Welcome, friends! Since the Cataclysm friends and family hoo-hah was announced, all anyone wants to talk about is the future. "Future this" and "Deathwing that." Enough! Live your lives in the moment. What better way to live in the moment than have an addon help you know when things will be ready? TellMeWhen might be able to help you.

Continuing my theme of Power Auras-like addons until next week's audience participation Power Auras bonanza, I wanted to give you fine readers a heads up on the sister addon to last week's NeedToKnow. NTK is excellent for those of us who enjoy the bar form buff/debuff/ability tracker. For the more icon-inclined, we have TellMeWhen.

TellMeWhen is an excellent addon because of its simplicity and straightforwardness. I love using TellMeWhen on my rogue, which I will get to in a little bit with a simple demonstration of the addon. Personally, I recommend this addon for people who are more visual with their buffs and debuffs. My rogue, for instance, tracks Slice and Dice as an icon directly under my character. If the big Slice and Dice icon is not visible, it means I am failing as a rogue and need to reapply the buff.

TellMeWhen is easy to configure and is just robust enough to be very useful while still being non-threatening. Setting up a TellMeWhen icon is easy. Here's an example using my rogue's simple Slice and Dice icon. First, use the slash command /tellmewhen or /tmw to unlock the button bars and enter configuration mode. Remember, the bars and settings you enter will not activate until you lock the addon by typing /tellmewhen or /tmw again.

Next, right-click on one of the empty buttons and select "Choose spell/item/buff/etc." From here, you will enter the buff, debuff, etc., that you wish to track. It is crucial that you input the name of the spell as it is presented in game, capitalization and spacing intact. If you are unsure of how to type the ability, or the ability is a different effect than the name of the spell or trinket, use Wowhead to search for the spell and find the Spell ID. The Spell ID can be inserted in place of the name.

Finally, select your options. Enabling the icon shows the spell's icon, and selecting Show Timer animates the graphic much like how cooldowns are animated on action bars. Other options allow you to set where the buff or debuff looks to find out if a spell is active. This is particularly useful for abilities that go out to the group, but might not necessarily be showing up as cast by you or on your target.

The addon doesn't just track buffs or debuffs, as I have stated above. Users can track the cooldown on trinkets as well, making TellMeWhen a one-stop shop for visual indicators for any class. On my shaman, a TellMeWhen icon for Earth Shield is visible whenever Earth Shield is not on the tank. TellMeWhen supports my favorite addon ever, ButtonFacade -- so do not be alarmed, visual purists. Preset presence and stance support is also included.

TellMeWhen is another excellent addon in the same family as Power Auras and NeedToKnow. These addons are extremely helpful in keeping tabs on your abilities and helping maximize DPS and item management. The addon is much deeper in scope and scale than my simple example above, and with a little playing around, it's a powerful tool.

Download TellMeWhen at [Curse] or [WoWInterface].

We got some more mailbag, ya'll.


I have been looking for a certain addon for a few months now and have no idea what the name of it is! It's a health bar addon which shows health/mana (rage, etc) as well as a 3D animation graphic of your toon's head. Do you know which addon this is?



You are most likely thinking about Pitbull. These unit frames are extremely customizable and include an element called "portrait." Portraits can be static 2D images or a 3D model rendering of the targeted character. I am usually not a fan of the 3D model portrait, but some user interfaces make incredible use of them. The trick is to be creative with portraits to add something to your UI other than just flair.


I was interested in an article on why users might want to install addons. I have some friends who I recently introduced to WoW. They are really enjoying it but neither have any addons installed. They've asked why someone would want to use addons over the default interface and my biggest reason was that the default interface does not provide people with certain information that can be made available through addons.

I thought this might be a good read for new users who maybe aren't interested in a new look and feel, but don't know that some addons might provide them with vital information that could improve their playstyle or make them more effective at DPSing, tanking, or healing.


You and me both, Aaron, which is why I'm working on a top secret little project that should be up soon answering just those questions for someone new to World of Warcraft. One of my biggest pet peeves is when a new player is inundated with addon suggestions from veterans. Well-meaning veterans, of course -- they just want to impart knowledge and give these new people all the tools that they believe are necessary. However, people need to understand the basic language of addons first, like what they do and why they are needed. Once that foundation is set, you can begin to discuss the best addons for the job. Stay tuned for that one.

And, again, finally ...

Tomorrow is the final day to get in your Power Auras contest submission!

Power Auras needs you (to win this contest!)

Power Auras is a big deal for many people. It's one of those addons that fundamentally changed the way I played World of Warcraft. This addon has an amazing following, so let's do something awesome utilizing that fan fervor.

Two weeks from today, I want to do a big spotlight on Power Auras. We have done a Power Auras spotlight in the past, but this time around we are going to get not only my insight into my favorite uses for Power Auras, but the community's as well. And here's the best part -- when you submit an entry for our little Power Auras expose, it's your entry into winning a WoW TCG loot card! The powers that be have given me both a Tiny and Party G.R.E.N.A.D.E. cards, so two random contributors will get a card.

Here's the deal. Submit your favorite uses for Power Auras, including the actual code if you would like (it helps), by Friday, May 7, 2010. Sending in multiples doesn't get you a better chance -- just one entry per person. Let's see if we can pool lots of community resources together and make a really awesome repository of Power Auras for all the people our there who don't know how incredibly awesome this addon is.

Send your Power Auras ideas/submissions/code to, with Power Auras in the subject. See you all next week!

Addons are what we do on Addon Spotlight. Last week, we took a look at sister-to-TellMeWhen, NeedToKnow. Both work really well together, or apart, or side by side! Like good sisters. Maybe? I never had a sister. And remember, Addon Spotlight is fueled by viewers like you, so if you have a mod you think we should take a look at, email Mat at

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