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How would you improve addons?

I hate addons.

But saying it like that isn’t quite fair. I like a great deal of what addons do to modify and improve the game’s UI, but I hate the upkeep required to keep those addons running. How much time have I lost over the years to tracking down addon updates, tweaking configurations, and then having to repeat said configurations for each alt? So it’s not really the addons I hate, it’s the continual maintenance that’s frustrating.

But for all that I find them annoying — and typically start off each big patch saying I just won’t bother with addons this time — I always wind up back with addons. For all I dislike them, apparently I dislike the built-in UI more. Many parts of the default UI seem to take up a lot of screen real estate when I’d really rather be focusing on the game around me. So unit frames are usually the first to go.

Right now I have Grid, which transforms my entire party into small squares at the bottom of the screen: I see their name, their class, their current health, and whether they have any buffs I can cast or debuffs I can cure. It tells me what I need to know and nothing else, and it takes a quarter of the screen space as built-in unit frames.

Next on my to-kill list is usually button bars, swapping the defaults out for something I can resize and rearrange: right now that’s Dominos. IceHUD is always a go-to, too, because I’m terrible at paying attention to my own health (especially when I’m healing). A HUD makes it easy to see when I’m letting myself die. Whenever I start running new dungeons or raids, I remember I need to update DBM.

After that, the little conveniences start stacking up. GatherMate. Auctionator. GarrisonMissionManager. Postal. HandyNotes. SellJunk. Eventually, I have dozens of addons, all broken when the next patch comes around.

But enough about how much addons annoy me. Let’s talk improvements. How would you make the addon system better? Obviously Blizzard does have a tendency to integrate popular addons into the stock UI, but it’s never going to include everything. There will always be addons. So what do you do to make patch day less of an addon headache?

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