If you have downloaded the program that was just recently posted, please don’t run it! It has a flaw that can potentially delete all your installed addons! We’re looking in to it.
Archive for the “Addons” Category
If you have downloaded the program that was just recently posted, please don’t run it! It has a flaw that can potentially delete all your installed addons! We’re looking in to it.
Since ElvUI has decided to go off the grid, as it were, I’m putting together a replacement UI that will follow the same general layout – which I liked – but consist of components I can replace more easily should someone else take his toys and go home.
The first step is to identify the work to be done. Here’s a summary.
So after a couple of weeks’ work, here’s what I’ve got so far:
After updating ElvUI tonight, the following greets us upon login.
As Flora would say, what the HELLS is going on? And, a few seconds later, she’d start taking bets on the inevitable pissing contest that either immediately preceded, or will immediately follow this move by the ElvUI folks.
On the record: if you tie your UI to one of these “amalgamation” UIs (i.e. UIs consisting mostly of someone else’s work but with enough secret sauce to make it worthless without constant support), you lose. Plain and simple.
I don’t give three shits for any issues that the ElvUI folks have with Curs1. Likewise, I don’t care if Curse has applied their usual FUD filter to anything that ElvUI did. What I am saying is that where ElvUI and Curse are concerned, right now, you lose.
More to the point: where you become dependent on one huge UI addon (e.g. ElvUI, TukUI, Carbonite), you are vulnerable to mayhem. As so clearly documented right here and right now.
I had thought we’d make an attempt at elegance and elected ElvUI as our weapon of choice to make our UI consistent and less ugly than usual.
I was wrong to do so.
Seriously, if you want to optimize your UI, avoid things like this.
In the near future, I’ll document one example2 of how to do this sort of thing.
Lemons. Lemonade. Rum. Why’s the rum gone?
While I haven’t really been inclined to get my wookie on and swing a lightsaber, I do follow some aspects of STWOR if for no other reason to have some inkling about what people are getting uptight about. Usually I end up nodding and saying something like "Some things never change."
One recent controversy did raise my eyebrows, though. There was rumblings about enrage timers, but then a more interesting twist emerged: no damage meters, no combat log. As so many experience DPSers will tell you, this is pretty stupid. Here’s one now:
If you think I’m shallow enough to link to this to say I-told-you-so, you’d be completely accurate.
Smug mode: engage.
I’m sure Bioware or whoever will address this to everyone’s satisfaction at some point. I’m not sure if WoW came with a working addon API out of the box, but given how late it was announced for STROW I’d venture that it was an afterthought and still has some work to go. I’d advise patience, but that’s not particularly the hallmark of your average STWOR player1. So, good luck with that, I guess.
That’s not actually what this article is about. Well, peripherally, it is, but only in that damage meters and combat logs are involved and it deals with DPS. Namely, mine.
A couple of patches ago, we got changes to the Beast Master Hunter spec that promised near-parity with other specs. Then the guild got gutted of over half its overall raiding roster and it became more difficult to judge my performance against those of my fellows. Then there were more adjustments in the last patch, including some buffs to both SV and BM. Then we started inviting some people from another guild to raid with us regularly, which included a SV spec hunter.
I saw that BM wasn’t doing that great at all. He was topping the meters, I was bringing up the rear. My best choice at that point was to focus on utility. I’ve had to do this before, many times, as far back as Kara. Hoping that being useful (rather than deadly) would keep me in the rotation.
Or, I could change specs. Give it a go.
Looking at gear and gems and reforges and enchants, I realized I only had to change one enchant – agi to mastery – to optimize my armor for SV. Stat-wise, there was virtually no difference. So, I left myself geared for BM and greased into SV mode.
After looking at the meters, after looking at the combat logs, in all respects, my performance improved. On average, a 3K difference in output, and I’m not really used to the rotation yet.
So here we are at the end of the expansion and I’m having deja vu all over again. Because this is exactly where I ended up as I started crawling the passageways of Icecrown in the final patch of WotLK. Survival. BM was the red-headed stepchild of the team; people like me ran it if we had to, but otherwise we used one of the other specs because they delivered what our class is expected to: ranged damage, and lots of it.
So that’s the upshot of my weekend: I guess I’m shifting to SV and swapping my BM pets for a stock of SV. Alas. BM is, by far, my favorite hunter spec, because it’s so darned fun. But sometimes you gotta give up some funsies to get that boss down. And that’s a sad thing. Of all the issues about talents and specs, that is the greatest one of all – that one cannot just play the spec that one enjoys the most and still expect to perform the same as others. Maybe you get lucky and it works out. Maybe you don’t.
In my case, not so much.
Jan 05 2012
It is all the rage these days to disavow any regard whatsoever for damage meters. One is expected to denounce their use, purge them from one’s system, deny them access to your chat window, and make fun of those using them.
Well, I say, nuts to that!
Neil Armstrong did not land on the moon by looking out the window1, he used instruments – and Buzz Aldrin calling out other instrument readings. Lindbergh didn’t even have a front window, he flew across the Atlantic on instruments. There are automobile races where the participants don’t even depart at the same time – they completely use instruments to determine who won.
In short, a reliable instrument is worth any number of other observations.
And a damage meter is the DPS role’s instrument of measurement.
You need to know if you are performing properly
The DPS role is dependent on its numbers, whether you take them subjectively or absolutely is irrelevant. But of the two, an absolute reference is much better than a relative one. Numbers are absolute. You can feed them into spreadsheets, save them off, compare them to each other. You can make multiple passes and chart your progress or lack thereof. Your damage meter is your friend. If you were doing 20K last week on a particular boss, and only 18K this week, you have something to look in to before you’re the cause of an enrage-timer wipe in the future.
"Well, fine", you say, "turn it on for your target dummies, I got no problem with that, but using them in a live encounter is bad!" To which I say, pfah! Target dummies give you a baseline, but they don’t take anything into account that you get from a live boss. You won’t see all the group buffs, or group procs, or even be able to use your execute abilities such as Kill Shot or Decimate. You might as well just sit there with autoshot, the approximation will have the same level of accuracy (and much less variability!).
No, a live boss (or live trash, if that is your interest) is the only way to truly gauge your performance in a raid setting. And since things vary depending on raid make-up, procs, and the like, you will need multiple samples.
Well, you don’t need to run it for everyone
Yes, you do.
You are not a single unit. You are part of a team. And how you perform relative to the rest of the team is important, if for no other reason than that of self-preservation. For if you’re performing in line with the guys at Elitist Jerks, but behind that of your guild (what, you think that EJ is infallible? Lol.). You may be in danger of being sat without realizing it. Because if you’re part of a serious raiding guild, I guarantee that your Raid Leader is watching your performance.
The more you know …
It is indeed, and in my opinion it is a far more accurate instrument than Omen or Skada, provided all members contribute logs (if it’s just you, then it’s on par with the other two, not better). But you probably won’t have WoL for all of your Heroics, trash runs, and so forth. You need all the things. Else your dataset is incomplete.
A damage meter is always there.
People use them badly!
They do indeed. Jerks spam chat with them all the time. But not you, right?
And the damage meters don’t do that automatically, so if yours does, it’s totally your fault. You are misusing the instrument. Stop it.
What idiots do with damage meters is not my concern, and it is not the fault of the damage meter. Get over it.
Yes you do. You will always do better with solid statistics than you will with a "gut feeling".
But if you just want to use the Force, have I got a game for you.
It might also be that you’re a PvPer and see no need. I contend that you don’t even belong in this conversation. Fire up All Healers Must Die and go do that honorable thing you do.
There are valid performance issues.
Yes, there are. But not for me, and not for most people that I know of. If, however, you are one of those people, and cannot afford a computer made after 2001, then by all means don’t run with one, because for certain it does suck CPU cycles.
You already have problems and damage meters are the least of them, but, whatever.2
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot.
In general, however, a damage meter is a valuable and useful tool for DPS self-improvement. Feel free to sneer at the idiots spamming party chat, and feel free to kick people that get hung up over somebody else’s DPS in a PUG3. But don’t blame the instrument for these things.
After all, both Tommy Dorsey and myself play the same musical instrument. But nobody has ever proposed that the Trombone be banned because of me.4
Your damage meter is your friend
If you’re serious about self-improvement in a raiding environment, you need to use your damage meter to its fullest to provide nice, juicy data from which you can draw useful conclusions, and then apply those conclusions in such a way as to improve your performance (or detect bad decisions of that sort).
GOOD NEWS, EVERONE!
The creator of the much beloved (by us, anyway) GUPPet addon has updated it to be current with 4.3 and even corrected a but or two. My past ramblings are therefore rendered moot. I haven’t tested to see if the sea mount bug is still there, yet, but my workaround still probably works.
At any rate, no need to hack, just download! And if you’re super-cautious, like I am, back it up to a USB thumb drive first.1.
A quick technical note
If you’re unable to log in to a character, or know someone that is having this problem (i.e. you get to the loading screen and the bar stops around 1/4 the way across), there is a solution. Apparently any addon using the lib-Tourist library will cause this. Just disable the addon. Currently this includes:
I’ve also had problems with a couple of other programs throwing LUA errors on use or login, but that’s minor.
I’m really amazed that the WoW LUA interpreter lets an addon blow up the whole program like that. I have two words: error checking. It’s hawt.
A new look
Thanks to the addon follies, and a side trip to the queue to watch The Big Lebowski, the crew really didn’t get moving until ten-ish; since they were right there, Jas, Illume, and Flora got right down to clearing the bank of old yet sentimental wardrobe items, and mogging current gear to their favorite ‘in town’ outfits.
The biggest disappointment is that at some point I managed to lose Illume’s Abjurer’s Regalia (except the head piece, ick). So we’ll be looking to pick that back up. There is no outfit anywhere that screams "ice mage" quite as much as this set.
Myself, I’m still mulling over things. If mail it is, it’ll probably be bits of the DS3, a sentimental favorite1. There really is no other hunter gear that doesn’t look plain hideous to me, and I can’t really mog my current armor into my favorite in-town duds. I want something that actually says "woodsman" when you see it. Like plain leathers and a viridian cloak. Research is required. I’d love to find this in-game.
A somber mood
This patch day is somewhat more somber than past ones, though not as much as the 4.0.3 patch day when I was contemplating a server transfer.
Now, after a fantastic year (or as close to a year as makes no difference) of raiding a camaraderie with Eff the Ineffable, it appears that is coming to an end. So many of our fundamental supports are leaving to go beat on Boba that we’re already marginal. With our GM stepping down (she outed it on twitter), the future of the guild looks murky. I was already sad over the departures; this doesn’t help matters.
So while the new instances and the new raid look magnificent – truly, they do! – I find myself suddenly without any motivation to participate. I’ll probably get out of my funk before too long, at least enough to party with the posse a few more times, but it will be bittersweet, I think.
If you have been using the addon GupPet, you’ve no doubt noticed that (a) it has problems with swimming mounts in Vash’jir, and (b) it has problems with any of the new mounts from 4.0.6 onward. This is a shame since GupPet is otherwise one of the most sophisticated and well-featured random mount addons you are likely to encounter. Fortunately, all is not lost. I have some tips on how to fix both issues.
Easy one first – the swimming mount issue
In the most recent version, 2.018, the following appears in the release note.
This got me thinking: what if that broke something else? So, I downgraded to 2.017. That fixed the problem!
This is a little harder to sort out, but isn’t that difficult if you’re familiar with using text editors to edit configuration files.
GupPet puts all of its mount data in a single file called
And that is it! You should now have the Subdued Seahorse as a usable mount in GupPet if you should ever catch Poseidus out on a stroll.
Finally, at the top of the file is a guide to the flag logic that you can use when adding mounts of various types.
When upgrading, don’t forget to copy this file off as a safeguard against being overwritten by one with incomplete information. You will need to manually inspect the upgrade file to ensure that all your mount data is preserved in the new one. Now, I suspect that any upgrade that comes down the pike will be up to date with the latest mount data. But I also find it unlikely that we will see an upgrade since this one is close to eight months out of date (nine, if you don’t count the broken 2.018). Otherwise I’d not be writing this guide.
Hey, if you know of a maintained addon that has all the bells and whistles that this one has, please do drop a line in the comments. And, if not, then at least we can extend the life of this lovely piece of software a bit more. Who knows, we might keep it running into 5.0!
So, I’ve covered the players and the various features, what I liked and what problems might have existed.
I’ve mentioned in passing some memory footprint concerns, but now I’ll share the whole chart. Click on the image for the actual spreadsheet.
Anyway, the overall biggest memory hog is Pitbull, by a long shot. And yet, there i a lot that can be mitigated by turning off components that you do not use. The core – and that includes the config code – is actually fairly compact, and even with most of the standard features turned on, it comes in under 2500 KiB, not too shabby. It’s only when Dog Tags is figured in to this that the addon takes on the gargantuan proportions that the chart reports – and let us not forget, the Pitbull team is flirting with LuaText now, and it’s smaller and more actively supported. So, plusses.
Vuhdo Comes in next, and what can we say, even without its config util, it’s huge. Don’t forget, however, that it’s packing a lot of features that most people will never use. It would be about perfect if the healy and non-healy features were split into a couple of LoD1 modules.
ag_ and Stuf really shine out as small-footprint champs, but remember that there have been a few difficulties, so weigh that against the footprint. If what you do gets around where the bugs or issues are, you may have a winner on your hands.
Grid’s medium footprint can be deceptive, since you have to add things to duplicate a lot of the features other unit frames have. On the other hand, that 1100ish KiB footprint has everything that isn’t a plugin.
Healium was a big surprise. It does just about everything a unit frame replacement should do, but does it in a minimalist fashion, and thus saves gobs of memory on things like portraits (or lack thereof). As a healing addon, I’d hesitate, but as a unit frame replacement, it has promise.
As I said in part 4, Deep’s tiny little footprint is most likely due to all the pieces not loading because of Lua errors. But, boy howdy, it would be amazing if it managed to pull off actually working in that amount of space!
Recommendations, Et Cetera
OK, down to brass tacks.
Despite all the trash I’ve talked about this addon, Pitbull is by far the most stable and feature-rich of the crowd. It is also one of the most obtuse and difficult addons to set up right out of the box. I know of other works from the same developers, and I have faith that they will at some point get around to looking at usability issues. Me, personally – I don’t have the patience, but if you do, and don’t care about the memory, this one is a winner.
I have been very happy with Shadowed Unit Frames up until 4.0 hit, and then it started giving me problems. The future of this addon is, to me, in doubt, so I no longer am as enthusiastic about recommending it. However, if you can avoid the bugs I’ve hit, it’s well worth a look.
X-Perl is still Old Reliable, and as far as I’m concerned, you can’t really go wrong with this one within certain parameters. One of those parameters is “modern feature set”; there are a few new tricks it could learn that would make it even better. Until then, provided your needs are not overly sophisticated, this one will get you through a raid without any problems at all.
My most radical suggestion, though, is to give the new Blizzard frames a serious, unbiased, look. For most non-healy needs, they deliver on par with most other addons in this article. Healy types, of course, are going to have far more sophisticated needs. And in fact, as DPS, I’m not at all certain I can’t do without some missing features, either – but your raiding environment may be far different than mine.
A compromise that I am currently test-driving is using Vuhdo as my raid frames, showing each unit’s target next to the unit. This is extremely helpful when we are in focus-fire scenarios. So far I have been very happy with Vuhdo driving my raids, and the Blizzard frames for my non-group frames.
I really want to love ag_UnitFrames and Stuf, but both have a lot of rough edges that may make them difficult to live with. By all means, if you’re looking to slim down, have a look, but don’t bet the farm on them.
Grid and Healbot do the job for groups, but nothing for the other unit frames, and really are so specialized that I would only recommend Grid if desperate and Healbot if out of all other options. For healies, they’re great, but that’s not what we’re doing here.
Healium is really worth a look if you’re in a minimalist mood. You’ll have to do all the heavy lifting of setup yourself, including hiding the default frames, but the result is an extremely spare yet useable interface.
If in your travels you hear that Deep Unit Frames was revived, do two things. First, have a look! And second, make sure I know!
While there were many fine specimens, there was also a higher incidence of just plain broken stuff, when compared to the HUD addons I looked at back in March. I think there are two factors to this. First, unit frame addons are somewhat more complex than HUD addons – you can really make up your own rules in the latter case, and get away with it. Second, Unit Frames are already part of the system, so you have to not only create better ones, but work within the framework that the original ones do. That isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Bit Rot aside, those that worked, worked well, and provide a wide gamut between austere and indulgent. I truly think that the more elaborate addons offer maybe just a little bit too much information for one to digest, but they also have ways of mitigating – or eliminating – the clutter.
I find it extremely interesting that the default unit frames have become as viable as they have. The old clunkers of the past are gone. Blizzard learns, but it learns slowly, and sometimes it learns the wrong lessons, but in this case, I think they did a good job.
My takeaway is this: if you don’t need to replace them, unit frame addons are very, very optional. Two – maybe even one – years ago, that would not have been a valid statement. Now, if I didn’t raid, I’d probably have none at all.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little production. as always, if I’ve blown it in any significant way, please let me know.
Stuf Unit Frames
Touted as a more configurable replacement for Stellar Unit Frames1, this unit frame replacement is a complete rework from the ground up, according to the label on the tin.
Let’s start with look and feel. It’s a rather modern-looking package, in many ways resembling Pit Bull or SUF, at least on the surface. But when you look more deeply, the seams start to show. In many ways it looks and feels like it’s still a work in progress – well, I suppose most addons are, but this one more so.
As an example, the act of setting up a unit frame. Many addons allow you to control what bars and other elements are part of a unit frame, and Stuf is no different. Most of those, however, tidy up behind you. Stuf does not, so, for example, when you turn off the character portrait, there’s a big gap left behind and you need to shuffle things around to cover it. True, you could leave the big gap there, I suppose. Not that I’ve seen that as a favored idiom.
Let’s look at the positives.
First of all, it offers any number of unique and useful features in a very small memory footprint (second-smallest overall!). There’s a config mode, which is always useful. Then there’s the ability to link frames, so that dragging one also moves the other (ala the default interface’s pet frame), which is pretty much unique.
Another unique feature is “premade elements“. For those which were not initially available, you can select from a constellation of presets that speed you towards completion. To further improve matters, you can copy settings from any unit to another, or, from any one element to its counterpart in another unit. This is a very nice feature and promotes a consistent UI design on the part of the player.
Finally, the countdown timers are very nice, clear, easy to read, yet, unfortunately, expensive in terms of real estate. But, if you got it, use it.
Raid frames were another matter altogether. Maybe the reason raid frames are in another module (as are the config settings for it) is that somebody else designed and implemented them. The two halves of the addon just don’t seem to take much in the way of design cues from the other.
And the raid frames are where I have the most issues. I attempted to use these in an active raiding environment and found it to be nearly impossible. We’ll start with the config mode, in which it took me a few days to sort out that I had to drag the raid frames around by a little tab, unlike the normal frames. Pet frames and raider frames are separate and are not linked. There are no raid target frames, either, but that’s a common omission for this sort of addon, so I won’t give it too much grief for that. I was also not agreeable with how the raid frames were laid out, or that it seemed impossible to alter that layout.
I will not go so far as to say that this addon is unusable. It is not. But I will say that it needs a lot of work before it comes in to its own. Given the small footprint and the large number of useful features it offers, I can only hope that that will in fact happen. I’ll be watching, with hope.
If Grid’s weakness is that its plug-ins cannot be relied upon from patch to patch, does this make Vuhdo the perfect counterpoint? Vuhdo is another addon that is widely considered a healing addon, but has the capacity to replace your raid and party frames completely. Best thing is, it does not rely in any way on external plug-ins for its feature-set.
This means, of course, that it’s huge. Short of Pit Bull, this addon is the biggest one I evaluated, and if you remove Pit Bull’s reliance on Dog Tags, it is the biggest!
On the other hand, just look at that config panel. First of all, very unique look and feel. While I have no objections, is it really worth the time, effort, and (likely) memory footprint?
I would be far less concerned if it were for a good cause, such as implementing a more straight-forward way of doing things. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The config interface is often confusing and non-intuitive. I am embarrassed to say how long it took me to find out how to change the health bar color to that of the owner’s class – and I almost wrote up that it was impossible to do so, before I stumbled across the right thing in one last desperate bid to find something to do so.
Another example of the config panel’s inscrutability is how some flags work. Instead of “show this” and “show that”, for example, you get “don’t show this” and “don’t show that”. That’s just bad design. It probably makes perfect sense to an engineer, which is why you don’t let engineers design UIs.
Something it has in common with Pit Bull is that at first invocation, all frames and panels are piled up on top of each other in the middle. Again, I have to wonder how hard it is to deduce useful defaults from the saved preferences of the existing UI. Maybe it’s a real pain. I do note that quite a few others, DO come up with suitable defaults.
But enough complaining. Let’s look at the bright spots. Besides being an outstanding healer UI – I mean, it supports everything and then some! – it is also an excellent UI for raiding and partying. It even provides raid target and target of raid target information, something sorely lacking in others and extremely welcome here. In fact, it does such a good job that I am considering it as a total replacement for my raid frames, full time, memory footprint be damned.
X-Perl Unit Frames
This is one of the oldest unit frame addons, or, more properly, one of the most mature. But you may find that some of the more modern idioms are nowhere to be found here. Things like a unified profile manager, for example, were unheard of at the time, and now it would be a major effort to implement the same profile manager that other addons use. On the other hand, I do like how the unit frames look. Not as out of place as more modern addons, but not too retro, either.
The addon IS modular, and a number of features may not be of use to you, either if you do not raid (Raid Monitor, Raid Helper), or if you do not raid lead (Raid Admin). These are, however, not load-on-demand.
Configuration is a mixed bag. The various config pages are very cluttered, and show their maturity, to put it kindly. A lot of stuff gets crammed into corners, and then spills over because it overgrows the corner. Still, there are a lot of nice touches, such as how each frame and element highlights when you are configuring it.
Frame scaling is unusual, in that you have a scale setting, and a width setting, but no height.
Raid frame configuration has a few issues. First, you cannot turn off the groups you’re not interested in, and the extra groups get in the way sometimes, since they seem to be top strata. Each group is individually controlled – there’s no snap-together feature here. Main Tank and Main Assist frames are not natively supported in the addon, but it will tie in to other addons such as ORA or the native Blizzard MT frames.
At one time this addon sported a functional HUD, but it was dropped in the past few months. It’s hard to tell why, whether it was because there were so many good ones already out there, or because they were having problems getting it to work right.
Among the issues we have the following.
One of the first unit frame addons I ever used, this addon has gone from a full unit frame replacement to a unit frame extension. As such, it falls outside the scope of this overview. I’m mentioning it here since, if you’ve been around a while, you’ll eventually ask “Hey, what about …”.
Deep Unit Frames
I had high hopes for this one. In much the same way that CircleHUD altered the paradigm of the HUD, this addon does similar things with the Unit Frame. Just look at the screenshot (given that my own UI clashes with it). It’s just gorgeous! Imagine if my button bars and stuff weren’t there.
Alas, it hasn’t been updated since Patch 3.3.3, and it appears that that is something it really needs, as it threw Lua error after error. As such, it is unusable, and doesn’t really belong in the running against the others.
It’s a shame. If that memory footprint is to be believed, this would be the all-time lightweight of them all. I personally think that the LUA errors kept everything from loading properly, thus giving a smaller than accurate measurement.
I dearly hope somebody sees this and picks up development.