Addon Spotlight: A very mailbag episode

Mathew McCurley
M. McCurley|08.11.11

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Each week, WoW Insider's Mathew McCurley brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which 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.

Oh, hi. There have been so many mailbag questions lately that it might be a good idea to just, you know, get them all out of the way in one shot. You guys love sending me in questions! If you've got a question for Addon Spotlight, send it on over to and hopefully I can get to your question. There will be addon recommendations. There will be heartbreak and sadness. There will be reunions and jubilation. So many emotions are running through me right now.

A mighty burden
Hey Mat,

I know you dislike Carbonite, and it took me a long time to understand why, but I get it now. It's huge and slows down my computer, and they don't make their code easy for other addon authors to use. I've decided to not use it anymore, but there are a few things I really, really miss about it! Top on the list is the infinite scroll and sizing of the map and its google earth type layer. I also really liked being able to right click the map to place a "go to" waypoint. Finally, I miss the "Punks" feature that alerts me when an enemy player is nearby and also puts a dot on the minimap with the player's approximate location and time last seen. Everything else it does that I like I've found replacement addons to use, and I like that I'm using less memory than with Carbonite. I'm also having a lot fewer conflicts with my other mods. Are there any addons out there that can give me back the three features outlined above? Thanks for any help you can give me!

Thanks for the email, Ann. Carbonite is one of those addons that has its heart in the right place but overstays its welcome very quickly, like relatives in your living room or that raider who holds down his push-to-talk button constantly. The bloat you feel with Carbonite is heavy, it's true. All of the features that you describe, like the map scaling and that Google Earth layer, are the ones causing you the bloat and slowness. That's the problem.

As far as I know, Carbonite is one of the only addons that actually does that with the map. Now, if you're looking for a good quest tracker and helper, that is an easy recommendation to make. You're going to want to grab WoW-Pro and TomTom. These addons will work in tandem to give you the best questing experience out there. I am still of the mindset that a questing addon isn't all that necessary these days, but people do like them and I can't say they are bad in any way. Carbonite's is just bloated and awful, but WoW-Pro is nice and happy and won't bring your system to a grinding halt.

The punks list is another Carbonite-only deal, I believe. I looked around for an addon just like it and only found forum threads that are looking for the same thing you are, a non-Carbonite replacement for the punks list. Mayhaps one of our diligent readers has the answer for that one.

Check out WoW-Pro's website.
Download TomTom at [Curse].

Return of the addons

Danny asked:

Have any addons that you used to use come back into favor after extended times away? Does this ever really happen anyway? For me, if an addon goes extinct for a long time I just move on. I don't think I could ever go back to an addon that left and came back.

Thanks for the great columns!

This email came in a long while ago, and my answer at the time would have been a mirror of the actual email. However, over the last few weeks, my baby, my love, my utterly favorite buff/debuff addon of all time, Elkanos, came back into my life. For a long time, Elkanos was causing all sorts of problems and making life miserable. I swapped to Raven for a long time, and while I still think Raven is a spectacular addon, going back to Elkanos was like coming home. Sentimentality and all that.

That's not to say you shouldn't use Raven if you already are and are comfortable with it. This is totally a preference deal. While Elkanos' interface isn't as spiffy as Raven's, I have this innate understanding of it so it just feels easier, even though it is demonstrably more difficult to deal with. I don't know, I'm weird. But yes, Elkanos' is back, and I am excited.

Download Elkanos Buff Bars at [Curse].


Ryan asked:

What is a good site to help you set up add ons and changing your UI? I play a lot of different toons, Druid, pally and lock. Just assume I'm a beginner here.
Well, Ryan, if you're a true beginner, you can start at my very own four-part series, Addons 101, which will help you understand the pieces of your user interface and what is available to tinker with. You're going to want to remember to only download and install addons from trusted sites like Curse and WoWInterface, which are also good resources for learning about and tinkering with your user interface.

As for the actual helping you set up addons, I'd like to see what the community thinks. Do you guys have any favorite tutorial websites that you use for addon customization and configuration? Personally, I try to find a tutorial on the addon page by the author, which are usually great if they are available. As for blogs or other websites, what say you, readers?



Diatenium of US-Bladefist here, I generally type very long, very elaborate blocks of text in chat (Not for RP, I like to ramble, a lot), and I find it extremely difficult to proofread what I'm going to say with the default chat UI.

My question is thus: Is there an add-on that allows your chat bar to display text in paragraph format instead of line format?

I just popped into game and tried to make the edit box bigger with my two favorite chat addons, Chatter and Prat, and they did not let me insert text in anything but a line. Now, that doesn't rule out an addon that can do this, but it might just be a limitation of the Lua and the type of input available for the chat box. If someone has a recommendation, by all means suggest it, but I think this might be one of those interface issues that doesn't let the edit box work in such a way. We will hopefully have an answer, though, I am sure.

Readers, this is where you come in. Can I count on my fellow addon junkies to rise up and make the best damn recommendations possible? Here are some people in (potentially dire) need. Do you think we can help these poor souls find what they are looking for? To the comments, friends! Man the barricades! Ready the rifles! Again, it is very odd having Elkanos' back -- I feel like something is complete again. Everything snapped back into place.

See you guys next week.

Addons are what we do on Addon Spotlight. If you're new to mods, Addons 101 will walk you through the basics; see what other players are doing at Reader UI of the Week. If there's a mod you think Addon Spotlight should take a look at, email
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