Addon Spotlight Alternatives: Boss mods

Mathew McCurley
M. McCurley|04.19.12

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Addon Spotlight Alternatives: Boss mods
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.

Did you know that there are multiple addons out there that can competently handle boss timers, cooldowns, and announcements? Did you know that not every one of those is named Deadly Boss Mods? By far the most popular, DBM has set the standard in terms of features and relative ease of use for a category of addons that has a high potential to overcomplicate things.

Instead, the addon community has created niches and fanbases around its labors of love, creating the juggernaut boss mods that we have today. Deadly Boss Mods sits proudly in the Addon Kingdom with BigWigs and Deus Vox Encounters (DXE) as champions of letting you know that you're about to wipe the raid because you're standing in the wrong stuff.

First, a word about the alternatives articles. These are not critiques about addons, but rather showcases of how things might be a little bit different. Between expansions is the best time to try out new things, be a little daring, and prepare yourself for a lot of changes coming up. We invest a lot of ourselves in these games sometimes, and change is weird, so get started now.

People have been asking for a long time about a series of articles that attempt to update, fix, or otherwise point people in the direction of new addons to take the place of outdated, old ones. While boss mods are definitely not a category of addon that is going away any time soon, nor are the big contenders showing any signs of slowing down for the foreseeable future, they are one of the most visible addons for many players.

CT_RaidAssist sets the Boss Mod stage

The boss mods of the olden days weren't really boss mods, per se. We had makeshift threat meters based on damage parses and addons that trivialized dispel content. CT_RaidAssist was a god among men during its triumph, teaching a generation of players how to watch bars and run from sound cues. You can still get CT_mod today, believe it or not, and it's still a pretty competent addon. While it might not be the pinnacle powerhouse it once was with so much competition in the marketplace, the CT team shows that an addon can live on almost as long as the game it was made for has or even beyond its life.

oRA2 emerged as a contender to CT_RaidAssist when the Ace addon community became a substantial thing. BigWigs, which we'll talk about soon, also came about from this transition and community swap.


For those of you just getting into World of Warcraft (or raiding, for that matter), a boss mod addon is a pretty cool addition to your user interface. Boss mods function as helpers and reminders for key abilities, phases, and challenges for boss fights in 5-man or raid content. Blizzard has, over time, built in a lot of the boss mod functionality into the game itself, but an addon working its magic offers one very important feature over the official stock option -- customization.

Customization is key when choosing an addon over the built-in counterpart. Because of the openness of the WoW UI, Blizzard has given addon authors the reins when dealing with most options, while Blizzard itself provides the basic, essential experience. If you want to customize the look of your raid warnings and boss alerts, you'll need to get a boss mods addon.

Deadly Boss Mods is the king of the jungle, but only in downloads. As people will be quick to tell you, more isn't always better, especially in Addon Kingdom. Deadly Boss Mods is a fantastic addon that works right out of the box -- a huge bonus for me. I still use DBM because of my familiarity with the options and user interface. You can't go wrong with the big daddy of the hour.

Download Deadly Boss Mods at [Curse].

BigWigs and DXE are the two big contenders these days when it comes to boss mod addons. During Wrath of the Lich King, I was a DXE guy because of the greater customization and lighter footprint than what DBM was offering at the time. DXE also has one of the better customization UIs in the business (and still does, even though I just said I don't use it). It's a snap to customize -- I just haven't spent the requisite 12 billion hours tinkering with it that I have with DBM.

BigWigs is the oft-forgotten but incredibly capable and well-meaning son who got just a tad overshadowed growing up. That hasn't stopped that still-ignored boy from growing up into an oft-forgotten but incredibly capable and well-meaning man. I'll let that sink in.

Again, the biggest difference between these raid addons is their customization UI and their footprint. Many people have had issues with DBM in the past clogging up their system resources, much like Recount has been guilty of on occasion. While I've never experienced the issue, it's out there, and one of the common solutions was to swap to a lighter boss mod like BigWigs or DXE. Suffice to say, whatever you choose, the options are all there.

Download Deus Vox Encounters at [Curse].

Download BigWigs at [Curse].

Now's the time

Now's the time to try out and configure your new raid and boss mods. The Raid Finder provides an ample proving ground for your new setup and allows on-the-fly changes to be made as you steamroll through the Assault on Wyrmrest Temple. I'm not advocating doing this mid-fight, mind you, but I'm also not going to say I am not a potential offender. While tanking. Hard ... modes ...

Seriously, try out a new boss mod. Turn off the old one, plop in the new one, and if you don't like it, swap them back. It's as easy as logging out, clicking some check boxes, and moving on with your life. Peruse a world unknown to you, a land of new ways to customize and different audio cues. You'll never know what you're missing if you never check it out!

For next week, I'm taking suggestions for which addon category, type, or specific addon we should revisit and check out. Sound off in the comments or send me an email to

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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