The usage of add-ons is as old a debate as another kind of ‘bating. The presence of these “tools” in WoW has been a polarizing feature since the game took off in 2004. Some see them as crutches, others as tools, and many more as eradicating oversights by Blizzard’s UI designers. Blizzard itself has possessed a love, hate relationship. On numerous occasions, Blizzard has enjoyed the community’s creations so much that the company integrated (often lightweight versions of) the ideas in to the standard UI, or helped optimize the code. On the flip side, Blizzard has disabled, purposely broken or rewrote the add-on credo to disrupt development of add-ons it saw as damaging.
The last two expansions, and the subsequent content patches, have done more for the raiding UI than four previous years of development. Playing the game never required any add-ons. However, if there was ever a time when Blizzard was saved by add-on creators, it was the numerous raid party frames released during vanilla WoW. At this point in history, the only viable option given by the standard UI was cumbersome, time consuming and risking wipes. It was so poor that most guilds did, in fact, require some sort of add-on to participate in a raid.
Healers and tanks still thank the heavens for those that slaved away on add-ons like the CTMod package(s) (DPS just died less thanks to Deadly Boss Mods’s predecessors). Now healers can easily target and view health pools from the default UI, and tanks can view aggro. All players have enough information given by the standard interface, through visual, audio and warning queues, to play the game without extraneous materials, if they, like I, so chose.
Quality of life has been a mixed bag. Players have been granted default access to former add-on-only perks such as gear organizers, but much of the day-to-day activities are hamstrung by the clumsy UI. Occasionally, the same UI that was launched in 2004. The auction house, bag, bank, map and mailbox are just a few of the UI elements with severe limitations. Leading many players, myself included, to seek out outside support.
Personally, I see no reason for DBM anymore. It’s another add-on that’s been slowly integrated in to game as time progressed. Seriously, give a raid night a shot without it and let me know how it goes. I will however take Auctioneer, AutoBar, BankItems and CTMod’s MailMod to the grave with me.
What are your most prized add-ons? Do you still use add-ons for raids? If so, which ones?