Aaah, back in my younger WoW days, when I was first getting to grips with the possibility of enhancing the game with various third-party add-ons, a friend warned me of the dangers inherent with becoming over-reliant on them because, as is always inevitable, when new patches come out and certain add-ons that have fallen by the wayside don’t get updated you are, in a word, scuppered. “Psh!” I retorted, for I was young and naive and the world, it seemed, was one where nothing could go wrong. Ah, those halcyon days when the words “Patch 2.4” were the stuff of a madman’s dreams. Lo, tis only in retrospect do we realise that time marcheth too fast. Ahem.

With echoes of Cleese and Palin, Parrot, my erstwhile scrolling combat text has ceased to be, bereft of life, rests in peace, choir invisible, etc. This has been replaced with MikScrollingBattleText which is working very well, thank you. On the plus side it records damage taken by my pet and scrolls it neatly down the left of my character, which I never managed to get Parrot to do and I’m pretty sure I at least had a little dip into the options to see if it was possible. It also has an extra scroll area for messages such as finished cooldowns and mob warnings (f’r ex’mple, “The Aether Ray appears to be ready to be wrangled!” is a handy reminder to pull my cat back so she doesn’t accidentally kill the thing while I’m trying to sling a rope around it’s neck).

Points are lost to Parrot for the lack of detailed loot information, like picking a herb would tell me how many I’d just looted and then, in brackets, how many I have in total, handy for filling quotas. Also the default font settings had to go, replaced by something a little cleaner and crisper and, I’m going to say it, less “fun” looking. Hey! I’m having fun already, I don’t need a wacky font to keep my interest!

DamageMeters was getting a bad reputation anyway for the constant difference between my results and those of other party members. The very suggestion that I was 3rd in the damage charts when the data I had claimed my position to be more like 1st! I mean, the nerve! Out with the old, in with the new, please welcome Recount. I have yet to run adequate tests in a party situation, but gets brownie points straight away for the nice graphs and pie-charts it can produce. Piecharts! I’m not sure if these can be exported to PowerPoint for slides to use at the next bi-monthly Avenging Angels board meeting, but it’s a nice addition. “And, as you can see, DPS is up on last month, good work on earning your annual bonus, people!”.

The major downside, however, is I can’t seem to see any way of being able to resize the window. When measuring regular cumulative damage over several fights, it tries to squeeze rank number, name, overall damage, dps and a percentage of total into it’s blood elf-thin sliver of space. What this means is, basically, little room for anything least of all the party member’s name. Boo! I shall keep dabbling while enjoying the on-the-fly DPS graph for no reason other than your above-average whistle ‘n’ bell fanciness.

Omen. Ooh. Well, to be honest, I’ve grown to like it. With the classic skin mode to get rid of the huge icons, it’s more compact and lovely. Also I can’t remember if this used to be an option but the “Grow Up” mode means I can keep the window aligned to the right of my bottom action bar and it’s only ever as big as it needs to be. Yay! Omen, you may resume access to the cookie jar.

Interface, work in progress

Because living on the edge is what I do (all the time) I didn’t stop there! Heavens, no! The time had come to expand my macro-box in an attempt to clear up my action bars. Using almost exclusively macros with [modifier:x] conditions, I grouped various abilities together (like Volley with Flare, various oft-used tracking skills in one button and a pet-lovin’ button called simply “TLC”). This left room to finally get my mounts bound to keys which I’ve been meaning to do for ages but, well, I was just so busy killing things, and space left over for maybe the possibly of target buttons for raid icons. I want to be able to press F10 to target the blue square (my favourite “trap this!” icon) and with a simple jab of F7 switch to the skull, leaving the erratic tab-selecting far behind me. I do not know how to do this yet though.

And to finish the triumvirate of tweaks to my game, I decided to drop the 3% extra damage bonus and Hawk Eye from the Survival talent tree and instead use them to fill up Go For The Throat as well as introducing a maxed-out Mortal Shots to the active elements of my Marksmanship spec, giving me a giddy 30% extra damage bonus to critical strikes. Lawks-a-lordy, have a banana, was it worth the 35g charge to move six points about though? I can only hope so.

Final bit of news in this busiest of days, the fishing daily quest came up trumps with a Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat. Yay! My days of farming with my rogue engineer or plain, outright shopping for Aquadynamic Fish Attractors are over! One click of my fishing garb button on Outfitter and I’m all dressed up and ready to go!

(Oh, and the April Fools gags? I was ready for them all, for once I woke up knowing the date. Bard hero class was very funny, as was the console Molten Core, but a little obviously April Fool, no? Maybe. How about a news post saying that instead of raising the monthly fees, the difficult decision to make WoW ad-supported has been taken. Grab popcorn and watch the uproar! And as for the BBC, they reported that America was heading for a major depression. HA! America, there’s no such place! Try again, peoples!)
(photo montage by apesara and is shared under a Creative Commons license)
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