Want versus Need

So I started recording my game play with Fraps (great software but it uses a LOT of disk space) and really looking at how I play and what I use.  And it was kind of a shocker.

I have a TON of addons.  Almost all parts of my UI are customized.  But this comes with a couple down sides.  First, when patch day rolls around, I tend to have at least a few broken addons.  It also puts a bit of extra load on my system though that’s not too big of a deal with the hardware I have.  Lastly, there is the issue of “what is this weird addon and why is it doing something odd?”  Sometimes, things don’t break, they just change.  An addon author adds something, removes something, changes something.  And you sit there and wonder “why does my screen look different?”

So what did I find?  I found that I had a lot of addons just creating clutter.  I had to decide which addons I “want” and which ones I “need”.  And it’s tough!

I had added a Scrolling Combat Text addon just before raid so I had not tweaked it at all.  And it created a lot of “spam” on my screen.  But I also found that some of my addons seemed either unnecessary or duplicated with other things.  Like my SUF raid frames shows buffs and debuffs on a target.  But I also had Raven to track that sort of thing also.  Did I need both?  Nope.  Should I keep both?  I’m still undecided on that.  And here’s my reason why.  Review.  When I watch the video after the fact, I can’t “mouseover” a debuff to see what it is.  So having it up in a text format is nice.  But do I need it when I play?  Nope.  And, depending on what it is and where it is, I might not even look at it during play.

Organization is key.  Making sure the important things that I do look at are in the middle of the screen.  My WeakAuras, Vuhdo, DBM warnings, things like that.  They need to be where I am focused.  Things like buff/debuffs, scrolling combat text, raid frames, they can all be off to the side somewhere.  Smaller.  Invisible while I am playing but visible to look at when I review the video.

Thinking about how I play, I could minimize to just a few addons.  Things I NEED are DBM and GTFO.  Other “almost need” stuff is like Bartender, Vuhdo and some sort of unit frames.  I could use mouseover macros (look up Episode 4 of the Training Dummies if you need help with them) to heal with over the built-in raid frames.  And I may try that at some point.  But I wonder to myself “why?”  Why not use addons if they do a specific job and do it well?  Like Vuhdo.  Vuhdo (or Healbot if you prefer) is an excellent healing addon.  Single clicking to cast different types of heals, it shows debuffs and other peoples heals.  It can even show estimated incoming healing.  Most of that is duplicated by mouseover macros and raid frames.  I think it’s the “ease of setup” and maybe a few minor “better” things here and there that really make the addons shine.

Blizzard has done a great job at making things work well without addons.  But honestly, a few are really nice and they can enhance your gameplay.

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