Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Addons: wowmatrix

Let's face it -- WoW is great, but it's missing quite a few features. Blizzard made an interface UI for a reason. I'm going to start doing posts about addons. I've recently started the massive undertaking of cleaning out some of the 200+ addons I had been running. I figured it probably would benefit a few people to see some of the more helpful and obscure addons. Sure, everyone knows Auctioneer and Questhelper. But there are so many more.

Before you can start seriously playing around with addons, you need to get a good addon manager. You can't just install an addon and forget about it. When Blizzard has their patch Tuesdays they almost invariably change something that some addons will depend on. Those addons then need to be updated to account for those changes. Most addon creators are pretty good about updating regularly, but some take a few days. You don't want to have to go out to or or whatever your favorite addon webiste is and check to see if anything new has come out.

If you are running even a single addon, you need to be running an addon manager.

I've messed around with a few of them. Don't bother with the Curse manager, it's bloated and buggy and overkill. I used WAU2 (WowAceUpdater2) for a long time, as it is very good at what it does, and very fast. But it doesn't catch all of the non-Ace addons that I use. So, nowadays I use wowmatrix from
One of wowmatrix's main selling points is that, like WAU2, it is a stand-alone application. There's no installer -- you just run the app and go. You will have to point it at your WoW installation folder, but after that it just does its thing.

Get in the habit of running wowmatrix before you login for the first time each day. I find that it will catch a few out of date addons each day, and dozens after a patch Tuesday. It will automatically check for updates when you run it, so you just need to give it a minute or two to do its thing, then click the "Update All" button. Easy.

The other nice feature of wowmatrix is that you can install more addons without having to fire up a web browser. Click on the "Get More Addons" tab and do a search. Sure, it's not going to be aware of every addon ever developed, but you'll find that it will handle the vast majority of them. And, even better, if you manually install an addon that it doesn't already know about, it will do its best to try and keep that addon up to date.

My only complaint is that wowmatrix is on the slow side. Post-patch Tuesday updates where several dozen addons are being updated can take up to 5 minutes. Maybe I was just spoiled by WAU2 which was lightning fast.

Oh, and wowmatrix works for all you Mac users. Yay!

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