Addon Spotlight focuses on the backbone of the WoW game play 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, HudMap replaces the hole AVR will eventually leave in your heart when it is destroyed in patch 3.3.5.
With the imminent demise of AVR and AVR Encounters, the World of Warcraft community was torn in two. The prominent issue that resulted in the destruction of AVR and its ilk was the simple fact that the game world could be "drawn" on, modified without Blizzard's consent. This simple fact lead to some of the most hilarious comedy and the saddest, depressing tragedies. We even did a podcast about it!
In swoops addon guru Antiarc, famous for Omen, Sexymap and Sexycooldown, to deliver us the functionality of AVR and AVR-e without the game breaking, world drawing and inexplicable phalluses. Praise to HudMap, an addon marvel.
If you haven't noticed already from the stellar introduction, I love HudMap. On my shaman, it is invaluable as a totem range-finder at the very least, allowing me to see who is in range of my totems at a glance. On my paladin (my main raiding character), I can see everything that AVR provided me and more: encounter gimmick radius detection, character placement and situational awareness.
So what does HudMap do? HudMap creates a heads-up display of player location and, during encounters, range data on debuff ranges, area of effect ability ranges and role indicators. I think it is a lot easier to show than tell -- Antiarc has provided potential users with lots of videos of the addon in action to show just what the addon can do.
My world, transparent
Think of the addon as adding a transparent layer to the top of your screen, like a top-down view of the battlefield or boss encounter. Your marker in in the center and your fellow raid members are shown on your screen relating to their position and distance from you. When a debuff occurs that has a specific range that you need to be in or out of range for, a circle indicating the range of that debuff is placed on raid member's markers. In order to be safely out of range, you move your marker out of the radius of the debuff. An example would be during the Blood Princes encounter, during an Empowered Shock Vortex. HudMap will place radius circles around raid members, indicating where it is safe to stand so as to not knock raid members all around the room and cause some nasty damage.
Put away the crayons
HudMap does not let you "draw" on the world like AVR did. Instead, HudMap uses positional context and an "overlay" type setup to give you the information you need. The biggest question, therefore, is whether HudMap's functionality is the type of functionality that caused AVR's breakage. Antiarc asserts that he has gotten no indication from Blizzard that HudMap's functionality is problematic, and it doesn't appear that it will be. So for now, users should feel safe using the addon.
Since HudMap is in beta, it is always a huge help to addon developers to get user feedback and such. Do your part if you find anything wrong with the addon, features you would like to see implemented or any other topics concerning the addon. I know the developers would thank you for it.
The computer I play on most of the time is a dinosaur. (I don't have the specs in front of me, but even with all graphics at minimum I tend to lag out of 25 mans and have thus exiled myself from them.) What addons meg for meg pay for themselves with the performance they bring? Currently I use Grid (on all my toons, got addicted when I first started it on my healed), and Bad Kitty on my Druid.
What are your recommended light weight essentials for tanking, DPS, and Heals? I know I need some sort of boss mod, but not even sure what else I'm missing.
(I have a shaman and druid, but I'm sure there are people out there with this predicament in all classes.)
Thanks for the email, Craig. Omen and Skada are fairly lightweight for damage and threat purposes, and you are already using Grid. In my experience, Grid offers the lightest "weight" raid frames for any of my purposes. With the proper set-up and modules loaded onto Grid, you shouldn't have to use a heavy raid frame replacement like Vuhdo for healing. Clique, from what I can recall, also runs fairly light. Clique plus Grid plus some of Grid's targeting supplementals should be perfectly fine for a robust healing interface. As for tanking and DPS, all you need is a light threat meter and you should be good to go. Dominos and Bartender are both fairly light, as well, as action bar replacements.
Having an older computer should not be too big of a deal with addons, unless your CPU is as old as time or you are using an addon with many modules enabled. And always remember that you do not necessarily need a ton of addons for the job you want to do. Think about the core issues you need to deal with and plan around that. Healing requires simple healing addons. DPS and tanking require a minimal amount of threat meters and potentially some awareness addons like Power Auras, TellMeWhen, etc.
Can you do an article about a replacement for Fubar? I love it and, even though it's unsupported, It still works fine, but I get the feeling I won't be able to use it when Cata comes out :(
Thanks, Ian (Orkchop)
P.S. Thanks for the awesome columns and the great podcasts! =D
Thank you for the email and aka'magosh, Ian. I am glad you enjoy me on the podcasts! Sacco and Rossi are two of the funniest people I know and I love when they invite me on. If you like hearing me, flood Sacco's email with requests at email@example.com. In fact, do that now and I'll bake you all cake. (I will not bake you all cake.)
Fubar was one of those ubiquitous addons back in the day that really stood out as not only helpful but a huge space-saver. I remember when I used to use bar mods like Fubar to help me organize modules like my gold, repair percentages, system utilities and meters and latency.
Nowadays, you will want to use data-broker-compatible addons to lock into the new generation of bar addon. My personal favorite is Chocolatebar, but there are others. Curse even has a list of addons that feature data broker, so check out the list and install your favorites. Chocolatebar is the best in my eyes because of its simplicity, but I am sure that the commenters will clue everyone in on many other equally good replacements. There are a few out there.
Play for me
Before we go, I wanted to give one paragraph to a topic I see frequently in comments, in the game and on the forums. Some people believe that many addons have the potential to play the game for people in certain situations. I was contemplating not doing a spotlight on HudMap because it does give you a lot of information in a way that could trivialize aspects of a boss encounter. However, it occurred to me that there is a difference between giving people the information that is already available to the player in a more manageable form than actually, physically playing the game for the user. Decursive, back in 2004-'05, actually played the game for you. Healbot, as well. These addons had the ability to choose targets for the player and do something like cast a dispel or choose an appropriate heal. AVR, HudMap and even something like Elitist Group do not play the game for the player, just make the information the player already has available to them in a more palatable and usable way.
I enjoy arguing, so I will contradict myself. AVR and HudMap show a physical location and give tangible boundaries to something that is not visible -- 10 yards is not something the game shows you but tells you. AVR literally drew those 10 yards on the ground for you to see. HudMap can potentially show you those 10 yards in a top-down, relational display. Is this playing the game for you, or just giving you a version of the information you already have that is easier to understand?
Sound off in the comments, because I think this is a very important topic. Addons like Decursive and Healbot were actual problems. Encounters were designed around Decursive until its functionality was removed. What do people think about addons packaging information in many different ways and giving visual representations of that information?
All I know is that even with any notification and auto game playing out there, that terrible rogue/hunter/Fox Van Allen is still going to stand in all kinds of fire. Addons are what we do on Addon Spotlight. I am sorry I keep lying about Power Auras. Didn't you enjoy gathering and trade skill addons? 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.