Addon Spotlight: Scrolling combat text addons

Mathew McCurley
M. McCurley|02.17.12

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Addon Spotlight: Scrolling combat text addons
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.

The Addon Spotlight Team and I have been hard at work combing through emails in the Addon Mailbag, doing our best to get answers to as many questions that come in. Sometimes those questions are so good that they get featured right here on the column. Today is one of those magnanimous days.

A reader named Jeff sent me an email that stated he is in the market for a new scrolling combat text addon. His email didn't give an exact reason for the sudden swap from SCT staple Mik's Scrolling Battle Text, so the exact reason why he needs a different scrolling combat text display isn't known. I also don't want to assume that everyone just defaults to Mik's, but it has been the predominant force in scrolling combat text engineering and design in the last few years.

Here's the whole email:
Hey Mat,

What's another scrolling combat text addon other than MSBT? Thanks!

For a while, Mik's just didn't work. I think this was back a few patch ago, either in the patch 4.1 days or back near the end of Wrath of the Lich King. I had turned on the default floating combat text that came in the box, and lo and behold, the thing wasn't half bad. I needed more options and information, however, so a search was on for alternative scrolling combat text displays. It is good fortune, then, that I may pass on this timeless knowledge to all who wish to learn.

You've got options

One of the best aspects of the scrolling combat text addon category is that you have some pretty good options out there for addon choice. If you're not happy with the feature set of one addon, there might be another out there that tweaks things the way you want it. However, be warned, most scrolling combat text addons have their genesis in the same function, so most of what you get in one addon will be similar to others. It's all a matter of style and choice, with the occasional added feature here or there.

Blizzard's default floating combat text

True be told, the Blizzard scroll combat text (or "floating combat text," as Blizzard calls it) is pretty damn good. It's solid, people. Really solid. You've got your basic layout of incoming damage and healing as well as outgoing.

Blizzard also included a personal floating combat text that allows you to turn on or off notifications for things like combo points, auras, entering or leaving combat, low mana and health, etc. These notifications can also be fine tuned with scroll up, down, or fancy arc flavors.

While you don't get to move where the text appears or play with the fine details of the addon, Blizzard's floating combat text is already in the box and gives you a good idea about what you're getting into with scrolling combat text addons. Go to the main menu, hit the interface button, and under the Game tab, you'll see Floating Combat Text. Click this and enable it, making sure to hit the settings you want to display. You're done!

Check out Blizzard's default floating combat text in your interface menu today.

MSBT is king

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but Mik's Scrolling Battle Text (MSBT) has been the big daddy scrolling combat text for some time. I remember a day when Mik's had competition, but by whom escapes me completely. Mik's texts won out and was the guidepost for a long while of what the scrolling combat text addon should be all about.

And I didn't mind -- I loved Mik's. Everything that I wanted, I received from this gorgeous little addon. Easy configuration, quick text zone placement -- it was all here. There was a period of time as I discussed before where Mik's just died on me for some reason, which could be explained by a patch that changed the way scrolling combat text addons interacted with the game, but that's not here nor there now. Mik's is back and is doing things right.

The main difference between Blizzard's own floating combat text and an addon like Mik's or Parrot is that you gain an added layer of customization. All of the data is there, but now it gets to be viewed where you want to view it. You can select and move zones of text and change how they react and move, as well as have full control over the text size, font, speed, and other movement factors.

Mik's is the standard all scrolling battle text addons long to live up to. It's good stuff.

Download Mik's Scrolling Battle Text at [Curse].


Alternatives are good because market competition is good. Mik's does not occupy the scrolling battle text space alone -- there are some good alternatives out there. Parrot is a fantastic scrolling combat text addon that will perform admirably. I used Parrot back when Mik's was giving me the runaround and was very impressed.

Adding new media and sounds is easy with Parrot, which utilizes SharedMedia to pull sounds and such. Parrot is simple, works out of the box, and never gave me any trouble. While Parrot didn't feel as feature-rich as Mik's, it was either buried deeper than I needed to go or the out-of-the-box experience was put together well enough that it didn't occur to me to change certain aspects of the addon.

Give Parrot a shot. You might find out that you like the simple stuff better than the overly complex. You might just shake the very foundation on which all of your scrolling combat text knowledge is based on.

Download Parrot at [Curse].

What ya got?

I recommend Parrot when Mik's isn't the addon for you, but there are more alternatives out there. What is your favorite scrolling combat text addon, and is there any scrolling combat text addon that has the right feature set for you? Sound off in the comments below.

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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