A comprehensive guide on how, and why you should prepare your WoW classic addons folder before the big day.
For me, addons have always been central to the Vanilla World of Warcraft experience. I use them to as a way to increase my efficiency in all aspects of the game, from exploration, combat (and subsequent loot), to gaining insight into mechanics that the game keeps hidden away from its default UI. Vanilla WoW strips away a lot of the creature comforts players have come to expect from the retail experience, mostly, but not always for the better (In my humble opinion)
I’m playing a Paladin in Classic, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a Paladin to read on! (N.B, you must be a Paladin because it’s the right thing to do)
Let’s take a look at how we can re-import some of that lost simplicity, firstly by looking at how the addon landscape has changed, how to obtain legitimate, functioning (hopefully) addons and install them before launch-day, and why you might not want to go overboard before completely settling in to your new home. Finally, I’ll list the addons I’ll be kicking off with, and some to avoid.
Classic WoW, and Vanilla WoW, are not one and the same. Classic WoW is, at a very basic level, the old world, databases and logic, matched with new-age (post-Legion) server technology, back-end systems, and most importantly for the benefit of us today, developer API. This means that anything third-party related from way back when (Or even recently, from private servers and addon development, which have continued right up to the present), is going to be pretty much defunct. Without changes being made by the developer, addons may not function as it should once Classic arrives (this work has already begun on the Wow Classic beta, allowing us to know ahead of time which addons are going to be compatible, and which aren’t.) Overall however, this means a lot of addons have regressed in terms of functionality and polish and will continue to be made more compatible as days and weeks into WoW classic pass.
With new code, comes new problems (This goes for both addons and Classic WoW itself.) Be careful how many addons you load up on launch, any problems serious enough to cause a disconnect could land you at the back of the server queue. Normally, there is an amount of time between being disconnected, and being allowed to jump straight back into the action, but expect this to be conservative given that Blizzard want as many people in the game as possible, not sat taking up a slot while not actually being logged in. Also, more addons, means more setup, don’t get left behind while you’re trying to find your way through the ElvUI tutorial, or moving 7 action-bars out of the way of the action!
So, let’s start downloading. As with downloading anything from the internet… Be careful, don’t download anything from anywhere that doesn’t appear to be a legitimate source. This is the unfortunate side of third-party support, and you are going to have to decide for yourself whether or not a site’s content is to be trusted, but as a general rule of thumb:
- If you are prevented from downloading without signing up to a site, ask yourself why this is, a lot of sites may have a forum or offer secondary services, but all the reputable sites I’ve used let you come, download and leave, without having an account
- Some addons cost money. Generally, this is aimed at levelling guides, that offer the best and fastest route from 1 to 60. This was a popular practice back in Vanilla, but that information just is no longer as lucrative. There are perfectly reasonable levelling guides that don’t cost a penny. If an addon asks for money that isn’t a guide, I strongly recommend you reconsider, almost all addons for the World of Warcraft are offered for free.
- …If you want to support the creators however, great! I recommend you find them on social media, many of them have discord’s, or GitHub pages, that offer links to Patreon or Paypal, and this can be a fantastic way to show your appreciation and support in a way that isn’t upfront dollar-for-service.
- Make sure the addon you are downloading is actually for Classic, there are thousands of addons for Vanilla WoW, as are they for Retail, these won’t work unless otherwise specifically stated. I am currently using https://willitclassic.com/ which, apart from doing what it says on the tin, also offer legitimate sources to download from (I use Curseforge, which is owned by Twitch, Github, owned now by Microsoft, or WoW Interface, which is a long-established source of third-party addons.)
- Update your addons regularly, I suspect there won’t be too many changes within the first few days (with the exception of fixes to another completely broken.) Larger addons, such as ElvUI, will broadcast when it’s time to update, but for the most part, this is something that it’s better to be pro-active about, so that your addons are always giving you the most up-to-date experience possible.
A word on levelling guides
I have got no problem with anybody using a guide to level in Classic WoW. The quest progression is simply chaotic, it’s generally logical where you need to be at any given point, If the monsters are the same level as you (or slightly lower) then good job, you’re halfway there. The quests for your area of choice however, sometimes as many as half of them, are spread throughout the world, sometimes they require multiple areas to have been completed, or a dungeon, or an area you haven’t yet ventured…
While I appreciate that it can be fun finding the above out for yourself, it is VERY time consuming if you make a mistake, I, literally yesterday, took a flight path from Menethil Harbor, to Feralas, forgetting that I was required to visit both Gadgetzan AND Rut’theran village beforehand (and, unfortunate for where I was at the time, not in that order). Tuto’s time wasted? 22 minutes, where was my hearthstone set? Ironforge. If you don’t have that kind of spare time, I suggest at the very least reading a brief of each area as you approach it, you’ll just, miss less content, at the very least.
Final point, if you do miss quests, and you miss them often, you are going to hit a dry spell. This can mean being forced to grind, multiple levels in the worst-case scenario, because you didn’t know that you had to pick up quests from places you might not have been (And they won’t give XP if you are a few levels beyond them). The game does not hold your hand in this regard… you are warned.
What I’m not using
ClassicLFG – You think you do, but you don’t
Not all addons are good for the overall health of the game. Blizzard didn’t know this back in the day, and that boys and girls, is the story of how Blizzard ruined Wrath of the Lich King with Looking for Group.
Simple premise, you want to do a dungeon, you list your group on the addon, and can browse for players looking to do the same, or choose from a pool of willing candidates with the same addon. Unfortunately, it takes a HUGE social aspect of the game, and dilutes it to finding useful group members on the basis of a 10-word conversation and a cursory gear check. Get to know the people on your server, the ones who don’t just have the shiny gear, but are going to put the effort in when it counts, find a few of those gems, and they’ll be worth thousands of whatever slosh wants to get carried in an LFG addon.
Blizzard are taking corrective action to make sure that this isn’t a part of the classic experience, take this as a warning that if an addon is deemed unhealthy for the flow of the game, it will be removed (or at least, made non-viable, forcibly)
What I’m using
AbarClassic – A melee swing timer
As a melee class, knowing when your next attack is going to begin is crucial to maximising damage, there are many spells and abilities that reset the ‘cooldown’ on your next swing, and it can be difficult to avoid this by looking at your character model alone.
ElvUI – A full User Interface overhaul
For many people, the default user interface is perfectly serviceable. Personally, I find it doesn’t offer enough flexibility to look and feel how I need. The list of changes and improvements a UI mod like ElvUI brings to the table is endless, and it’s far better to check them out for yourselves. https://www.tukui.org/download.php?ui=elvui
FasterLooting – Removes loot delay
A lot of mods are simple in that they remove lengthy interface actions that either detract from gameplay, slow down levelling pace, or can be made redundant, FasterLooting is all three.
Gatherer – ‘Nodes’ appear on the minimap
Gatherer hasn’t quite been confirmed as working, but what can i say, I’m a rebel. What it does is monitor the mini-map for ‘Nodes’ from fishing, or mining, or herbalism, and then records that data, so that it can be shown on your mini-map when you revisit the area. I’m taking this because, for private servers at least, every node location was already known, for classic however, these may not be entirely correct, and I’d rather build my own collection of known spots for when the time comes to grind Shadow Oil for 8 hours straight!
Guidelime, and Judgement’s 1-60 – A levelling guide suite, and a levelling guide
This is a new one for me, I’ve used many levelling guides in the past, my original levelling experience was really terrible and I don’t wish to repeat the process. I won’t labour the point, I’ve levelled enough levels 60’s now that I would like the process to take as little of my own thought as possible… BUT, this may not be true for you, the world offers a butt-load of content pre-60, and if a guide tells you to trek to Teldassil, but your friends want to do Deadmines, I urge you to consider letting loose and enjoying the bloody game (This may include you ignoring your friends and running up north as fast as you can because you really want to punch Furbolgs, it’s your game).
Questie – Sent by the gods
A guide is just that, a bunch of text, neatly packed into something you can read from within the game client. Questie goes way beyond that, highlighting quest givers on the minimap, adds icons to the minimap so that you know where the quests are, and even interacts with addons like TomTom and acts as a questing sat-nav. Your questing experience will be changed forever, unless you’ve come from retail, in which most of the benefits of Questie have been rolled right into the game client already!
Rebuff – less buttons, more progress
Rebuffing is a pain, you may not realise quite how much until you actually have to do it in a 40-man raid, as a Paladin, with buffs that last 15 minutes… and are applied by class, even worse, on your trip to 60, your looking at rebuffing a party, individually, every 5 minutes. Rebuff tells you who needs what, and when, and then you click, click, boom. Simple.
Skada – DPS charts
Pure bragging rights, let people know that you’re the best! Seriously though, if you’re looking to perform near optimally, you need to know how much damage you’re doing. Most people don’t need this for levelling, but I like to see exactly how long each enemy takes to kill, and how I can better optimise my DPS as I level.
TitanPanel – A blast from the past (information toolbars)
TitanPanel may be beginning to look dated, it adds an entire extra bar to the top of your screen, full of helpful information regarding your current whereabouts, gear durability, basically anything you could possibly want to know. I use it for the XP/hr, which I find to be the easiest and most accurate way I can monitor my levelling speed, and also for the Regen module, which tell me exactly how much health and mana I gained over the past 5 seconds, vital for letting me know how long I can keep fighting before drinking and when I’m out of the 5-second rule.
TradeSkillMaster – Every little helps (full Auction house revamp)
Not, for, beginners. Seriously this takes real effort to get up and running. Was rudimentary back in vanilla, but now sports an entire suite dedicated to making that sweet, sweet green. Used properly, you will undercut the competition with a higher degree of accuracy, know exactly how much money each of your hauls is actually providing, and, once the initial time investment has been made, it’s basically fire and forget. You go to the auction house, all of the items you want to sell are priced for you based on your rules, and you click go. And you make a lot of money.
VendorPrice – The price of items if sold to a vendor
Yeah, this ain’t standard, you will not know how much the rubbish in your bags is worth, until you install an addon such as this. The sale price will the helpfully appear on the tooltip of anything that can be sold. Nice rule of thumb for receiving quest items you plan to sell, Plate is worth more than cloth, weapons are worth more than armour, and two-handed weapons and ranged weapons are worth more than one-handed weapons, you’re welcome internet.
Getting to level 60 is going to take most people weeks, if not months to complete. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, once the initial furore has calmed, you’ll be able to change addons pretty much whenever you want, and you can always enable/ disable these from within the game client (once you install your first addon, a new button, helpfully named ‘Addons’ will appear on your character select screen)
As you do progress into the endgame, and start your raiding journey, your going to want to download a raiding addon, such as Deadly Boss Mods, or BigWigs. These will give you vital information regarding the current boss, and also give your raid leader a host of tools to ready-check, mark, and generally speed up the process of getting 40 people coordinated as efficiently as possible. These are important, and often mandatory (with good reason), so check with your guildies before you sign up!
Thanks for reading, I hope that this shines a light on something that a lot of seasoned veterans take for granted. You can follow my levelling journey at https://www.twitch.tv/roozleth