Archive for the ‘Add-Ons’ Category

A Matter of Style

Everyone has a different approach to questing.  Some people track quests, others use auto tracking, and some like simply killing and clicking everything in sight until their log fills up with completes.  A paladin friend of mine never reads quest text, ever.  I read quest text obsessively.  Most people probably go it alone, while others use one or more of a variety of quest-related add-ons.


I really enjoy reading the quests.  This is the “story” portion of the game, and it’s the primary way I learned about the Warcraft universe.  So, I read every quest I come across thoroughly at least once.  It has the power to transform a quest that would be hideous without the story into something that’s enjoyable and memorable. (Druid epic flight form, I’m looking right at you.)  I say “at least once” because I also like playing my alts, and sure, I’ll pass on reading a quest I’ve already done a half million times.  There’s not really any point when I already know what it says.


What I do not enjoy, however, is wasting an hour looking for the right spot to do the quest, or the object I need to find for it.  With my sense of direction these mundane tasks can eat up a disproportionate amount of time.  Wrath has been better than BC and vanilla in this respect- many of the quests give detailed directions in their text, though it’s worth noting that these directions are very occasionally misleading or wrong.  I also don’t like wasting my time struggling with a bug or subtle gimmick, which has actually become more common in Wrath due to the much greater variety of quest models.  (That’s not a complaint- I love the variety- but it is a consequence.)  Therefore, I use a questing add-on.


When selecting add-ons, I look for several things.  First, the add-on has to do what I want it to do.  If I want help finding quest objects, an add-on that stores quest text or tells me the level of each quest doesn’t do a lot for me.  Secondly, I prefer add-ons that do what I want and not a whole lot more.  This makes them simpler to set up and interface with, and reduces their memory footprint (usually- ironically, the opposite is true of the quest mod I use!)  Thirdly, the add-on should be kept up-to-date by its author.  Anyone who uses a variety of add-ons can tell you that it really sucks when a mod you like and are used to is destroyed by neglect as the game progresses. 


My choice for questing is Lightheaded + TomTom.  TomTom is a small coordinate mod that enables the best feature of Lightheaded, which is the ability to add waypoints to your map and minimap at the location of your quest objectives.  (Note that you have to be in the same zone as the quest, because it places the waypoint in your current zone.)  It can also provide a floating arrow over your character’s head, showing the direction to a waypoint, but I prefer to keep this feature off. 


Lightheaded itself adds a second, sliding pane to the side of your quest log.  In this pane displays a kind of “mini-wowhead”.  It contains all the quest comments imported from wowhead, linked together, and coordinates are clickable to generate the aforementioned waypoints.  You can also click the quest giver and recipient names to get their coordinates.  The latest version allows you to search for quests in addition to displaying comments for quests in your log, and of course it shows if a quest is part of a chain and the other steps in the chain.


The reason why I like this mod so much is not only do I get the coordinates, I get context without having to tab out.  If I can’t get a vehicle to work, I can page through the comments right there and see if there is a solution.  I can read other people’s experiences and use them to my advantage. 


When I enter a new zone, I pick up as many quests as I can find, and then I put all their waypoints on my map.  From there it’s easy to plan out an efficient quest circuit.  Whenever I get a new quest I add it to my map.  I complete 8-10 quests at a time on average before I head back to base.  (I also keep my bags pretty empty when I set out so I don’t run out of room!)  I prefer to do the planning on my own, but other mods, like QuestHelper, do this for you as a feature, if that’s the kind of thing you like.


I quested for a long time without a mod, years in fact, so it’s not that I absolutely need this to succeed- I’m just not an opponent to making life easier.



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