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[Column] General: You Can’t Argue With Add-ons

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,643MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Add-ons are those groovy little things we stick into our game files to make our lives in game just that much easier. In today's Devil's Advocate, we talk add-ons and much more. Check out our thoughts and then join the conversation in the comments.

For example, I used to do my note-taking and article writing on OpenOffice Writer or Microsoft Word. These days, I now write on either Evernote or Google Drive due to the ability to see my work show up on my home or work computer. Much like those little applications that are developed to help us, add-ons in MMORPGs are generally seen as good things that are made to help users do certain things better. Today’s Devil’s Advocate is weird. I’m fighting an unarguable point, which is that add-ons are great. I’ll tell you now: I can’t argue against this point, but I can still share some unsettling thoughts on the matter.

Read more of Victor Barreiro Jr.'s The Devil's Advocate: You Can’t Argue With Add-ons.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,784Member Uncommon

    "addons are extra programs or modifications that you add on to your game to give you additional information or functionality without unbalancing or otherwise hacking the game."

    The problem is that your definition starts by assuming that add-ons are good thing, by simply defining anything bad as not being an add-on.  It's the No True Scotsman fallacy.

    How does a game make it so that it's possible to create add-ons that give additional information or functionality, without also making it possible to create add-ons that unbalance or otherwise hack the game?  WoW's add-on system sure led to an awful lot of the latter.

    And let's not forget that the reason add-ons even in the good sense became necessary in WoW is that the game shipped with a UI that was essentially non-functional.  You needed quick access to dozens of skills, but without add-ons, could only have quick access to 12 at a time.  Games that ship with a working UI that gives you easy access to everything you need and plenty of customization options to set things the way you want don't need add-ons.  And not enabling such add-ons is really the only practical way to prevent people from creating add-ons that unbalance things.

  • pmilespmiles Federal Way, WAPosts: 383Member

    The presumption here is that everyone has the same add-ons, thus there is no advantage... that is not always the case.

     

    Add-ons that time boss encounters give a distinct advantage to the player... get out of the fire... bite this person... shows danger zones... yadda yadda.

     

    Add-ons are like someone hacking the original code... intended or not... allowed or not... you are adjusting the game from the state under which it orginally shipped. 

     

    Instead of peppering the players with a plethora of add-ons, how about fixing the damn game instead?

     

    I like games that block add-ons and macros... you all have same damn buttons, part of the skill comes in mastering them.  Add-ons simplify things to the point that they are the ones mastering the game, not the player.

  • CursedseiCursedsei Clarkston, MIPosts: 1,012Member

    One of the biggest reasons I stopped raiding at all in WoW, besides being bored as all hell by it, was my guild's increasing insistence on me using Deadly Boss Mods and the Paladin Buff-setup.

     

    The only thing they knew I didn't have, at first, was that buff set up, though they never mentioned it above a joke simply because they knew me to be the guy always rebuffing and fixing it all up just as they were about to fade. About the time the last raid for Wrath of the Lich King came out, and I did a few raids within it, I made a joke about how bloody easy it was to deal with these bosses even without the Boss Mod.

     

    What followed was essentially "Download Deadly Boss Mods or GTFO". Again, they had absolutely no idea I didn't have it in place, why? Because I was attentive, because I actually paid attention to the game itself instead of fifteen different alarms going off telling me "DONT STAND IN FIRE BRO!" or "HIT 2 NOW MAN!". That's the biggest issue here, the addons actually detract from the amount of attention you are paying to the game proper. I won't say every addon is horrible though. I quite like the more cosmetic and fluff ones myself, or ones that help deal with an issue the devs are refusing to at the moment with their UI. But they should never be so intrusive that a player needs them.

     

    Another fun story. End of Burning Crusade, doing Magister's Terrace on the first or second day. Our Raid-geared uber tank steps up for the first mob, throws out his attack, then stands there. The equally geared Priest Healer casts fortitude as usual for a priest, then as mobs run to trample us all down while the Tank stares on blankly, also does nothing.

    The excuse? The patch screwed up their addons. They lacked even the most basic capability to handle the aggro of two-three enemies, as well as healing us, simply because their addons stopped working.

  • FARGIN_WARFARGIN_WAR New York, NYPosts: 166Member

    An excellent article with some very salient points.

     

    I'd like to join in the conversation but find myself unable to participate since I cannot find a relevent quote on Wiki, or a animated gif on Tumbler that truly represents my viewpoint. My apologies.

    image

    If you don’t do stupid things while you’re young, you’ll have nothing to smile about when you’re old.

  • JyiigaJyiiga Seneca, SCPosts: 1,042Member Uncommon
    The addon annoyance is one of the many reasons I will not resub to WoW. There are many games since WoW that have taken a add-ons allowed stance. I'm good with it. 
  • Rider071Rider071 Utica, NYPosts: 318Member

    Add-ons are the reason many of us will leave a game. If the game dev allows them, they are allowing hacks into the game by literally opening the front door instead of them sneaking in the back.

    They also open their player base to the same hacks, which some are not actually looking out for the best interest of that base (shock!). Honestly, do you think all the viruses, trojans, and keylogging programs come from people buying 'gold' on bad sites? No sir, they are coming from add-on creators and those that distribute them.

    It's in the game's best interest (especially pvp) to stay away from add-ons being allowed, and I will support those that do, and steer clear from those that allow them.

     
  • zekeofevzekeofev Mesa, AZPosts: 233Member

    You did not talk about competitive advantages and reliance on these addons as huge downsides.

     

    For example, cutting edge raid guilds had members program custom addons to time things in boss fights and came up with addons such as decurser to progress. By having exclusive guild access to these programs they get a competitive advantage.

     

    Not to mention 3rd party sites are great ways for the average computer user to get hacked.

     

    Not to mention addon conflicts with each other.

     

    There are benefits of addons, sure, but they can come with many downsides.

  • steamtanksteamtank Rochester, NYPosts: 385Member

    add-ons that do not reduce the difficulty of content = acceptable

    add-ons that reduce the difficulty of content = not a game for me

     

    pvp without targeting... a soft target add-on, or proximity check that told you when to cast... game breaker

     

    pve: DBM.... why even raid if you just have to move left as the computer flashes "move left" in front of you.. there is no challenge

     

    Things that let you organize your bags, move your interface, record where you saw stuff on the map... that enhances the game, but doesnt give you an in game advantage

  • tordurbartordurbar Alexandria, VAPosts: 429Member Uncommon
    Looks like the OP is outvoted :) I too am against add-ons. Yes they can make an mmo easier to play but if you are competitive, he who has the best add-on will usually win. This applies to both pve and pvp. The situation with the poster who was told to use add-ons or gtfo was all too common in WOW and one of the reasons that I left.
  • FreezzoFreezzo EnschedePosts: 235Member
    Pffff... don't start about add-ons. I used them once in WoW. Basically I went with the whole package, to see how it'd feel. The customisable interface, extra bars and the roleplay addon were great. What I didn't like was the constant rebuffing messages, boss tactics not for me to find out, storing of gathering places, telling me how to up my crafting, ordering and advising on my AH offers... It made me want to go back to playing the game.

    "We need men who can dream of things that never were." - John F. Kennedy
    And for MMORPGs ever so true...

  • CypeqCypeq TychyPosts: 66Member

    PvP addons even in wow are very much imba you have clear advantage over player not using them.... they don't clearly see all effects buffs/debuffs they may miss some skill proc or delay skill activation when it's on cd. And data gathering addons can help you improve your gameplay eliminate mistakes you don't even know about.
     


    On the other note I can't imagine tanking in wow without threat monitoring addons and yah DBM makes it easier but otherwise you'd have to memorize all boss specials and their timing in every instance ? that's kinda mad... You will know it anyway after like 30 raids in same palce but it just make start little easier.

     

    Imagine questing your 3rd character in WoW without quest helper end efficient pathing... just a waste of time that can accumulate to day or two wasted on running around but It may break immersion for some if you still need it at N-th playthru.

     

     

    Backpack / guild / communication / trading / bank management all this and more are just awesome feautres that bring your in game life to next level by just reducing annoying work you'd have to make because there is stuff in game that need improvment but developer is too lazy to do it. I can check my bank without stupid 5 minute trip to town... i can store in game chat history amazing. I can review my gathering paths and improve them.

     

    Thanks to addon scripting WoW is miles ahead of any mmo game because devs get free help in improving meta-game features.

     
     
     
  • NanfoodleNanfoodle Posts: 5,474Member Uncommon
    Anyone that is freaking and hating on add ons was not around before they were not around or have forgotten what player made add on have done for us. UI is always low on dev list of things to do. But player adds on gave us fixes to things faster then devs can do themselves. Also millions of players making add ons have come up with things we now take for granted. All player firsts, auto dismount when casting, mini maps, quest trackers, team quest trackers, auto loot, bag space orgnizor, junk button to sell all junk, target of target, dual targetting, all player add on first. All MMOs should have player add ons but should be policed to stop add ons that break game play.


    =-D Only on a forum can optimism be called bad and pessimism the good thing =-D Welcome to the internet and forums. 


  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILPosts: 1,777Member

    If it wasnt for addons in the past, your MMORPG today would not have more than HALF the features it has...its the PLAYERS that came up with them.

    You see that mini map? Orginally an add on.

    You see that node you want to gather on your mini map? Add on first.

    You have the ability to move UI windows? Add on.

    You have more than one skill frame? Add on.

    Add/remove name plates? Add on.

    Ability to chose between numbers, percentage or nothing  for HP/MP when selecting a mob? Add on

    Changing chat text size, color? Add on...changing the chat window size? Add on. HAVING MORE THAN ONE CHAT CHANNEL? Yes, an add on was made to actually create a new channel in game...

    Ability to sort your bags, combine all your bags into one window, auto sell junk loot...add ons.

    Add ons do nothing but vastly enhance a game, because no company will EVER create a UI that is perfect, nor think of every option that gamers can think of.

    “I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • CursedseiCursedsei Clarkston, MIPosts: 1,012Member
    Originally posted by cypeq86

     

    Imagine questing your 3rd character in WoW without quest helper end efficient pathing... just a waste of time that can accumulate to day or two wasted on running around but It may break immersion for some if you still need it at N-th playthru.

     
     

    Not everyone is anal about being the most "Quest Efficient". I have at least 10-11 characters in WoW, my main and various alts of various levels (all in their 30s at least), even before leveling became p%$$-poor easy. Hell, for the very fact that leveling is so pathetically easy now (even without heirlooms), quest efficiency means about jack squat. You outlevel the zones quests before you are even halfway done with that areas quests for the most part now.

     

    Like you said though, all these addons (superfluous as they are to me) improve the meta-game so to speak. But you need to remember, not everyone gives a damn about the meta, and care more about the actual game itself. Not everyone is going to worry about if their "Gather paths" are about a yard longer than it could be, or having to take an extra minute to sort bags or banks.

     

     

    And towards the last two posters, just because a player can think of it, doesn't mean its needed or even necessary. I do believe WoW had resource tracking from the start, as well as mini-maps. It did when I had played it during the "Vanilla" release at least. Its dependant on the style of game the devs had in mind, and for all you know those kinds of mods may of been close to ban-worthy for some games, specially for ones that would purport themselves to be ultra-hardcore and the like.

    Again though, I have no issue with addons to fix oversights like scalable UIS or more easily readable text. I have no issues with something that spruces up the frames, and honestly seeing exactly what percentage an enemy's health is at isn't exactly all that important, specially when you can already see his health bar.

    My issue is with add-ons are with the ones that have become invasive, not conducive, to gameplay. Ones that actually detract from player attention and skill, and put it more towards just how many side programs you are willing to have running at the exact same time.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,722Member Uncommon

    I thought I'd be in the minor group "of seemingly outmoded thinking", it's a pleasant surprise that others playing without add-ons as well :)

    I just like to play the game as the creators planned, and not in some over-simplified, comfy chair version of it... and that goes to offline games as well, I use texture packs to update the graphics, quest packs to increase the game length, but never use plugins to messing with the gameplay.

    Even when the game is bugged and it'd be somewhat justified to snap an add-on to fix the problem, I rather just report it :) perfect example to that is TSW's deck manager, which is bugged for months now, and there are flawlessly working deck managers, but I just keep spamming FC with bugreports :) I mean, there are guys who can write a working version in their free time, as an UI mod, in 100kb, and FC couldn't fix it for months? C'mon...

    But I think in those bug cases the same, using an add-on is just covering the problem and not solving anything, if everyone is just installing the plugins, those bugs will stay ingame forever...

  • sadWindssadWinds nocityPosts: 115Member

    lol in wow, there are some addons i couldn't live with, for example, tidyplates, xperl, gladius, icehud, didn't raid much so won't comment much bout pve, its  that tidyplates(nameplates looks much more nicer and it displays cc timer on mobs/player), xperl allows me to reposition target and focus bar,, icehud displays my health/mana bar on teh center of the screen so i wouldn't need to occasionally glance at player bar located on teh top left hand(its kinda annoying to do that in pvp wheres so much things are happening at the same time).

    As for gladius, lol, i need it to knew whether enemy player trinket is on cd or not. Addons are nice, i mean why should i made life harder with the default interface given to me lol. In fact it helps me to concentrate on stuff that really matter.

    Lets say ur in 3v3 and ur going for the kill, you need to know if the enemy healer trinket is on cd, ur too busy healin ur teamate to even consider whether the 2 min trinket cd's up unless ofc ur a gladiator, thats where addon helps(gladius). You need to know hw many seconds till cyclone ends so u can call out to your teamate so you can chain cc, thats where addon helps

    Lastly, some addons like damagemeter or w/e it is called in pve is really needed, hw do i know if that rogue/mage/war is contributing the pt? Without addon he can just stand tehre maybe pressin 1 or 2 skills and he can win a roll just because he's lucky nt because he contributes.

    image

  • FreezzoFreezzo EnschedePosts: 235Member
    Originally posted by sadWinds

    lol in wow, there are some addons i couldn't live with, for example, tidyplates, xperl, gladius, icehud, didn't raid much so won't comment much bout pve, its  that tidyplates(nameplates looks much more nicer and it displays cc timer on mobs/player), xperl allows me to reposition target and focus bar,, icehud displays my health/mana bar on teh center of the screen so i wouldn't need to occasionally glance at player bar located on teh top left hand(its kinda annoying to do that in pvp wheres so much things are happening at the same time).

    As for gladius, lol, i need it to knew whether enemy player trinket is on cd or not. Addons are nice, i mean why should i made life harder with the default interface given to me lol. In fact it helps me to concentrate on stuff that really matter.

    Lets say ur in 3v3 and ur going for the kill, you need to know if the enemy healer trinket is on cd, ur too busy healin ur teamate to even consider whether the 2 min trinket cd's up unless ofc ur a gladiator, thats where addon helps(gladius). You need to know hw many seconds till cyclone ends so u can call out to your teamate so you can chain cc, thats where addon helps

    Lastly, some addons like damagemeter or w/e it is called in pve is really needed, hw do i know if that rogue/mage/war is contributing the pt? Without addon he can just stand tehre maybe pressin 1 or 2 skills and he can win a roll just because he's lucky nt because he contributes.

    So you make PvP easy by: Decreasing your multitasking and having to prioritise stuff (looking around the screen) and stopping teamwork and again the less multitasking (remembering if trinket is on cd). I don't say you could faceroll on your keyboard to win, but aside from targetting it'd be a pretty good strategy. No problem with the UI changes, aside from the (once again ezmode) cc-checking, etc.

    Now what if you went up against mister X who doesn't use addons? He would lose because you have clear advantages and there isn't a level playing field. That's what add-ons did and that's the point the OP tried to make. They make life easier, but some are a MUST to be/stay competitive.

    "We need men who can dream of things that never were." - John F. Kennedy
    And for MMORPGs ever so true...

  • TheocritusTheocritus Gary, INPosts: 3,758Member Uncommon
    In msot games add ons have no place...Play the game the way it was intended, with skill......
  • ibn_Cartwellibn_Cartwell Northwest, MTPosts: 47Member
    Add ons are fixes to the game, no matter what some of you addon naysays are saying, they only fill the gap where the developer made a bad decision.

  • bcbullybcbully Westland, MIPosts: 8,281Member Uncommon

    Nice read as usual. Imagine if blizz said "We are breaking DBM." Wow that would be the popcorn thread of the decade.

     

    I'm not anti addon, but If a game is designed well, you will never even think about a add-on.

    Remember that.

  • YaevinduskYaevindusk Ul''dah, CAPosts: 1,541Member Uncommon

     

    My only "beef" with addons has to do with the people who use them and not the utility itself.  Many people just use them to make others feel bad and to boost their epeen, and I've had quite a few friends quite over it.  This is more specifically targeted to DPS counting addons and people just spamming them in random groups and saying things.

    I guess overall it just boils down to the bad attitude some have, with me only blaming a medium as I can't rightly control the people.

    So... I blame the medium!

    SO BLAMED!

    x3

    When faced with strife or discontent, the true nature of a man is brought forth. It is then when we see the character of the individual. It is then we are able to tell if he is mature enough to grin and bare it, or subject his fellow man to his complaints and woes.

  • sadWindssadWinds nocityPosts: 115Member
    Originally posted by Freezzo
    Originally posted by sadWinds

    lol in wow, there are some addons i couldn't live with, for example, tidyplates, xperl, gladius, icehud, didn't raid much so won't comment much bout pve, its  that tidyplates(nameplates looks much more nicer and it displays cc timer on mobs/player), xperl allows me to reposition target and focus bar,, icehud displays my health/mana bar on teh center of the screen so i wouldn't need to occasionally glance at player bar located on teh top left hand(its kinda annoying to do that in pvp wheres so much things are happening at the same time).

    As for gladius, lol, i need it to knew whether enemy player trinket is on cd or not. Addons are nice, i mean why should i made life harder with the default interface given to me lol. In fact it helps me to concentrate on stuff that really matter.

    Lets say ur in 3v3 and ur going for the kill, you need to know if the enemy healer trinket is on cd, ur too busy healin ur teamate to even consider whether the 2 min trinket cd's up unless ofc ur a gladiator, thats where addon helps(gladius). You need to know hw many seconds till cyclone ends so u can call out to your teamate so you can chain cc, thats where addon helps

    Lastly, some addons like damagemeter or w/e it is called in pve is really needed, hw do i know if that rogue/mage/war is contributing the pt? Without addon he can just stand tehre maybe pressin 1 or 2 skills and he can win a roll just because he's lucky nt because he contributes.

    So you make PvP easy by: Decreasing your multitasking and having to prioritise stuff (looking around the screen) and stopping teamwork and again the less multitasking (remembering if trinket is on cd). I don't say you could faceroll on your keyboard to win, but aside from targetting it'd be a pretty good strategy. No problem with the UI changes, aside from the (once again ezmode) cc-checking, etc.

    Now what if you went up against mister X who doesn't use addons? He would lose because you have clear advantages and there isn't a level playing field. That's what add-ons did and that's the point the OP tried to make. They make life easier, but some are a MUST to be/stay competitive.

    to be honest, in wow you could check cc on the target bar or jst put the healer or whoever is concerned on the focus bar. I've duelled so many times outside ogrimmar, addons to make it easier but not to the extent that its gonna give me a decisive advantage. The stuff that really imbalance the playing field is gear/class but thats another story though.

    I've had used addons(arena unit frames) for example when i played in arena that tells the healer is drinking/resurectting/low on mana/etc, used it for a while and quit it cause it doesnt make my playing any better cause it decreased my situational awareness.

    There are way worse addons out there that could tell me hw many seconds had gone since a paladin bubbled, whther a rogue cloak of shadows is on cd, etc lol bt i ain't usin it

    Maybe if you're were to duel a noob or to stumble upon a 1.5k rated team, it would matter, try repeating that with a seasoned pvper.. You aint gonna get away with it lol.

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  • tharkthark FalunPosts: 1,148Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Theocritus
    In msot games add ons have no place...Play the game the way it was intended, with skill......

     This is how it's suppose to be ...I can't understand or see the reason for Blizzard or any other company to actually support cheat programs like many of those programs are.

    I see some answers in this thread saying that addons in needed because it fills the holes/bugs that developers has missed. Sure In some cases valid, but in most cases NOT valid since altering the games pre-made difficulty is cheating.

    The other negative side to this is ,  as evident from this thread ..

    It kind of forces players to use "add ons" even thou they may be against them, forced by rude behaviour from your raid group or guild etc - If you don't use these add on's you are NOT welcome here.

     

  • ScotScot UKPosts: 5,769Member Uncommon

    Peoples brains are becoming increasingly reliant on tools, machines and software. But that gives us more room for celebrity trivia and keeping our lives updated on social media. So thank you apps I can spend more time watching the Kardashians and talking about them!

  • TwoThreeFourTwoThreeFour Virginia, VAPosts: 2,131Member
    Originally posted by thark
    Originally posted by Theocritus
    In msot games add ons have no place...Play the game the way it was intended, with skill......

     This is how it's suppose to be ...I can't understand or see the reason for Blizzard or any other company to actually support cheat programs like many of those programs are.

    I see some answers in this thread saying that addons in needed because it fills the holes/bugs that developers has missed. Sure In some cases valid, but in most cases NOT valid since altering the games pre-made difficulty is cheating.

    The other negative side to this is ,  as evident from this thread ..

    It kind of forces players to use "add ons" even thou they may be against them, forced by rude behaviour from your raid group or guild etc - If you don't use these add on's you are NOT welcome here.

     

    Then you must be against wikis, because add-ons are nothing more than interactive efficient wikis. 

     

    As for the whole "you are not welcome here" aspect: then perhaps those are not the correct guilds/raid groups for you? Why do you so desperately want to join groups you don't belong to?

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