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WoWAug 30, 2019 10:00 am CT

Must-have WoW addons that will improve your gaming life

At the core of playing World of Warcraft are addons to customize your experience. Addons have been around since the days of Classic and they have only gotten more intricate. There are so many out there that no person could reasonably use all of them. But that’s the beauty of it. Addons are as personal as your experience, and you can customize nearly every bit of gameplay with them.

Here we list some of the best and most useful addons for anyone. Whether you’re a competitive raider or a casual player, all of these addons will improve your quality of life when playing WoW.

Boss Mods

Boss mods have been around since vanilla WoW and fights these days are built around having them installed — even LFR. The fights are so complex that you flat out need a way to track everything that’s going on, so that you know which abilities are coming up and what mechanics you have to do. Boss mods offer all sorts of advantages from alerts to ability timers to audio cues. For players who rely on audio a lot, like healers focusing on health bars, there are voice packs that will turn the visual warnings into voice warnings.

Your choice of boss mod doesn’t particularly matter, since they all work with each other, and generally get the same message across. However, using something different than the rest of your raid can cause issues with more advanced fights. On Mythic Archimonde, we had issues where the two main boss mods were trying to deal with the soaking mechanic in different ways, disrupting the careful dividing of the groups and pointing players in opposite directions.

Boss mods work right out of the box, but I always recommend going into the settings and customizing the individual boss encounter alerts to what you personally need in order to prevent information overload. Sometimes the mechanic warnings will use the same alert sound which can make them blend together. If you need to pay attention to one in particular, such as when to move, it helps if you go in to change the alert to something you’ll notice.

Unit Frames

These are integral for any healer, and useful for other roles as well. Unit frames allow you to completely customize how you see your raid members’ statuses — what health they’re at, who is dead or alive, who has a resurrection or summon pending, buffs and debuffs, what can be dispelled, raid markers, threat indicators, incoming heals, and so on. For healers, unit frames cut down on the response time for healing, both by applying heals directly to the target via click-to-heal or mouseover mechanics, and by showing you what heals are already in effect. Unit frame addons can seem daunting to set up, but once they are, I promise it’s worth it.

The standard unit frames have come a long way, but they still pale in comparison to the functionalities of unit frame addons. I’ve included the most popular unit frame addons for healing that are routinely updated.


WeakAuras is undoubtedly one of the most useful addons in the game, and as such deserves its own category. Even if you have nothing else, WeakAuras is worth it. The name comes from another addon during Wrath of the Lich King, PowerAuras, which was used to create custom visual alerts. When Power Auras stopped being updated, WeakAuras popped up to take its place. Officially it’s “WeakAuras 2” since the author of the first version stopped supporting it and other authors stepped up to keep the addon going.

The great thing about WeakAuras is that you can create anything. Some people make entire UIs out of it, some people add just a couple auras to track some of their important procs. And then there are works of awe that people create to solve specific boss mechanics.

With WeakAuras the possibilities are endless. They can be triggered to only appear under certain conditions, like a particular talent, your health pool, or an encounter ID. You can make you own, which I did for many years before there was a central repository, or download auras created by others on Wago. There is also a client application that will keep your WeakAuras from Wago updated automatically — very important when they are raid encounter auras or you use a set maintained by an author.

WeakAuras can aid in just about every element of the game. Many players use auras to better show their spell cooldowns or procs. With every raid tier, someone will make a set of auras to show the most important mechanics of each fight. And if you ever get a new trinket or try out a new Azerite trait that you want to track more efficiently, simply type in the name on Wago. I guarantee you’ll find several options immediately.

Damage Meters

Damage meters can be controversial due to toxicity that happens when players perceive “underperformers,” but they are very useful when you know how to use them correctly — much like any tool. Proper evaluation will always come from using Warcraft Logs, but damage meters allow you to analyze you and your team’s gameplay while in the raid.

Details! is one of the most popular damage meter addons and it has really stepped up its game with offering good analysis on the fly. Its sheer amount of options sets it alone. Besides recounting damage for each fight, and other things like healing, dispels, or interrupts, the addon has a fight breakdown button after every boss wipe. It includes a summary of damage taken, enemy damage taken, death log, phases, and the encounter timeline. You can also click on the damage meters to see a spell breakdown for every player, as well as compare players.

One neat feature is the ability to set your own nickname to show up to other Details users, as seen above. We’ve had everything from a former member passive-aggressively setting their nickname as “Last chance” right before they gquit, to raiders setting their names as each other to confuse everyone.

Skada has long been another popular and viable damage meter addon. I used for a long time until just recently when I dropped it for Details! (because the “hide meters when solo” option never actually worked properly).

Auctionator add-on for WoW

Quality of life addons

Let’s face it, the Auction House is a mess. And it will likely stay that way until Blizzard completely revamps it. In the meantime, there are addons that will make it easier to traverse the Auction House. My personal favorite is Auctionator. It’s lightweight but also allows for easy listing when I’m selling. It records auction history and listing history so you can see what you have posted items at before. And when you’re buying something, it neatly consolidates all auctions so you can see lowest prices and how many stacks.

No more logging in and out trying to find certain items on your alts. Altoholic will tell you in the tooltips how much you have of that item, what characters they’re located on, and if there are any in guild banks you have access to. You can also check and compare the status of your alts like what gear they’re wearing, their reputations, and everything in their bags and bank from the interface. But the most convenient feature is the mail warning. It warns you if any mail in your characters’ mailboxes is ticking down and about to expire so you don’t have to worry about losing anything important.

System Options

A while back, Blizzard got rid of interface options, in an effort to “simplify” the game for newer players. They didn’t remove them completely, just from the visible UI, and they’re still available through the CVar options. These addons bring them back and make swapping addons easier.

  • AdvancedInterfaceOptions: This addon gives you access to all the options that were removed from the UI. Personally, I use it for extending the camera distance and turning off the map fading when you’re moving.
  • DejaCharacterStats: It’s like AdvancedInterfaceOptions, but it adds back all the missing character information like mount speed.
  • Addon Control Panel: Not only does this make it so that you don’t have to log out to turn addons on or off, but it also allows you to save profiles for addon sets.

Hopefully this list of addons helps you out. There are so many more out there, which you can find at Curseforge to fit just about any need. What are some of your favorite addons?

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