Macros and Add-ons and Bots, Oh My

Blizzard is very clever. Instead of attempting to design a complete and perfect game, they designed a game that accommodates player creation of doo-dads and thingamajiggies. They release certain types of information about game play publicly and provide information about the interface so that enterprising folks can create add-ons. That way, they get needed components without paying to have them created. Very clever.

Add-ons, for those who do not know, are very helpful interface overlays. They do things like put a dot on the map showing the location of the box you have to find for a quest . They label the bad guys to kill for this quest, and count the ears you’ve collected for that one. They add funky sounds and helpful information to boss fights . They tell you the market rate for goods on the auction house, and help you organize your bags.

Without add-ons, WoW is damn tough to play. Without the quest add-on, you spend 90 minutes looking around for some quest item. You lose track of who and what and how many creatures you have to kill. You’re surprised by a funky boss power every time he uses it. You have no idea what the going rate for silver ore is on the WoW auction house.

But some add-ons are simply maddening. One in particular that is driving me crazy this week is the “fail” add-on, where some raid member automatically announces every single time someone does something stupid, and ends up spamming the screen with things like, “Lantanayew fails at Fire Wall”.

Why, I ask you?! WHY?

Now, in that particular case, if you are hit with the fire wall in Obsidian Sanctum, you know it. Largely because you probably die. In other cases, yes, knowing what you did wrong is helpful, but… dunno. Seems rare, that.

Another add-on driving me batty is the “Congratulations!” add-on. Every time someone in the guild gets an achievement an automatic message from the offending player announces, “Congratulations Lantanayew!”

Now, if that were actually typed by someone, it might be nice. But a robot congratulating me? Please. That is just irritating. And pointless. Besides, then you feel pressured to say thank you, but you’re actually thanking an automated message, which is ridiculous, and then you feel foolish…. it’s a terrible cycle of awkwardness and stammering.

Again I ask, why?!

Macros, combinations of character commands you can create from within WoW (rather than something closer to a programming task as are add-ons), can be fun and helpful. I  have one that lets me click just one button for all four of my needed totems, and one that announces who I’m rezzing in a raid so people know. They can also be used to spam things like, “I am the king of the world!” over and over. Which is annoying, but meant to be, so…. well, that’s acutally okay with me. If you know you’re annoying, are doing it to be annoying, so be it.

Finally, bots. Okay, actually, I don’t have anything to say about bots, I just needed something to fill out the trio so the title of the entry would be cool. Bots are not allowed by Blizzard, because they are basically turning all your game play over to the automated bot to do things like fish or farm PvP honor (as opposed to simply providing more information, which is what add-ons do). I’ve never used one.

But there oughtta be a law, I tell you, a law. Why don’t raid leaders ask these annoying fail spammers to cut it out? Why don’t guild masters gently suggest that the automated grats are just juvenille? We’re not even getting into people obsessively posting DPS charts. Yes, at times that’s helpful. But really. Forget about the max DPS spot and just STAY AWAY FROM THE DAMN FIREWALL!


2 responses to “Macros and Add-ons and Bots, Oh My

  1. Addons are really a user driven thing. Games in the past have always had players asking for ways to modify their interface, or create tools of their own to use. Some other games had let players have limited access (Anarchy Online was one I played), but WoW really opened it up for all sorts of addon goodness. I think it’s a win-win. Users get the functionality they want, and Blizzard gets free market testing.

    We’ve had some people using the congrats addon. Liberal use of “Thanks Soandso’s addon!” And other people pointing out, “Look! Soandso knows how to use Addons!” put a stop to it pretty quickly.

    The fail addon, however, I have mixed feelings about. As a raid leader, I want to know who is standing in the fire, but more importantly, I want them to stop standing in the fire. Being the passive aggressive person that I am, I prefer having an addon poke people for being slow, rather than having to do it myself.

    On the other hand, it’s obnoxious. Most of the time, I already know who got hit by what. It’s only in rare cases that I might need a set of non-human eyes telling me what happened. As well, we get the not so nice people that tease, or worse, are outright malicious, to those that get called out. It creates managerial headaches that can be avoided by simply not using the addon.

    I appreciate what the addon is trying to do, but it’s too hardcore for my casual raids.

  2. I think that’s the problem – that it’s being used with new players in rather casual raids. These are people who are trying to learn what to do, some information is important. But playing alongside more experienced folk as they are, the fail announcements just make them feel crappy, I think….

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