My Chars

Monday, July 27, 2009

WoW Not Conductive For Multiple Play Styles

This post I'd like to rant a bit about WoW's addon system and multiple play styles/chars.

Let's say that you have a player who likes to do both PvP and PvE. Furthermore, she also likes to play multiple characters, some are low level and need to level and some are high and raid. No problem, I hear you say. With duel-specs and a built-in equipment manager she can respec to a PvP spec when she wants, use PvP gear, and switch to another character via log-out and log-in. All dandy, right?


Thing is, WoW is really not the same without addons. Sure I realize they are not a must and some people even play without them, but they are really helpful once you get used to them. The problem is:

  1. There is poor support in the general addon screen for multiple characters. The character selection drop-down list feels clunky and annoying to use, you can only modify addons for a single character at a time. Worse, I've had it bug-out on me and change addon selections for all characters, even though I had a name selected in the pull-down list.
    As an example of where this is annoying, if I install a new addon it starts enabled by default for all characters. What if I don't want a, for example, BG addon on my priest who doesn't do BGs? Arrgg.

  2. You have to manually click on every addon line, but sometimes addons have multiple entries per addon, for example think DBM or X-Perl. In other words, the manager doesn't have the option of addon collections. This is especially bad when taken together with item (1). Want to disable DBM for all your low-level chars (who aren't going to need a raid addon soon)? Multiple-clicks FTL :(

  3. The manager runs outside the world - if you login and find a problem, or just want to make a dynamic change - e.g. go PvP with PvP addons but have them turned off rest of the time - you need to logout, make the change, and log back in to your char.

  4. There is no clear support (IMO, looking as a user) for separate settings of addons per character. Yes some addons do this themselves and do it well (X-Perl is a good one) but most don't. Sure you could claim this is the province of the addon author, but it just makes so much sense to have built-in the ability to change addon settings per character.
The upshot of all of the above is that if you have a single max-level character who only does one area of WoW (say PvE), you mostly won't feel this pain. But if you have multiple play styles and/or multiple characters, handling addons will soon become a chore and a pain, especially when switching roles/play-style in-game.

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