Sunday, 13 November 2011

Review: RecastBox

RecastBox is an ability tracker with simple filtering and pinning capabilities. 

Once installed, this addon requires some fussing to set up correctly. You will need to configure it per role as it only applies to active abilities, but once configured you won't have to touch it again.

I tested this out of the box with my NecroLock spec. Here's what it looks like with no configuration:

To bring up the configuration panel, type /rbconfig

As you can see, it does not filter automatically based on whether or not a spell has a cooldown, so you'll need to go through and manually set everything up. You can ignore the non-GCD spells, but I filtered them all for thoroughness. I decided to pin a few longer CDs like Lich Form and Empty the Crypts, while leaving shorter CDs like Neddra's Grasp unpinned. Pinned abilties are sorted to the top, and  change to a blue background when on CD, green when ready.

Up til this point, everything's going nicely, until I began casting again to see what the full effect was like. This is where the addon falls down.

Here you can see that Empty the Crypts shows as being on cooldown, with 2 seconds remaining, even though this spell is ready to use. The addon seems to be registering the GCD and applying it to any spell that is affected. Spells that are not on the GCD (e.g.: Lich Form) are not affected by this issue. 

For unpinned spells, this problem got even worse: Grave Rot was being placed back on the list because of the GCD issue, even after its cooldown had expired. I tried removing all pinned spells to try it that way, and it was even more frustrating as spells that should have fallen off remained on the list.

Installation: 10/10 Easy.  No errors reported.

Plug and Play: 5/10. You can use this right out of the box, but you'll definitely benefit a lot more by going through each role and setting up the abilities properly. It will take some time.

Configuration: 6/10. The GUI is intuitive and easy to use, but loses points for not filtering based on spells that have no cooldowns associated with them. It also takes a while to set up for each role.

Usefulness: 1/10. Tracking your cooldowns is vital, but for anyone who watches their CDs like I do, this addon will prove more frustrating than useful. 

Overall: 4/10. This might be ok for certain classes, or to track specific abilities, but as an overall ability tracker it falls down due to the GCD glitch. The addon writer obviously put some thought into this addon, and the direction is good, but I can't recommend this for anyone who wishes to min-max their CDs unless/until the GCD issue is resolved.

Review: BuffBar - Modification of Zorba's buff bars

BuffBar is a simple tracker for buffs and debuffs. If you ever used Elkano's Buff Bars in WoW, this addon will be very familiar.

BuffBar is useful as soon as it's installed; it automatically tracks all buffs and debuffs on you, and is easy to understand.

The drag and drop positioning makes moving this addon very easy, and you can quickly customize the size of almost all features including your buffs, other buffs, debuffs, and the width of the buff box itself. The author has included several small tweaks which make this buff bar extremely nice - the ability to filter out permanent buffs like track plants, whitelists and blacklists, and much more.

This is what my Buff Bar UI looked like after a minute or two of tweaking:

Note the order of the buff timers, and the larger debuff at the bottom. The only customization I did was the positioning, disabling permanent buffs, and some fiddling with the width. 

A full list of customizations is available on the addon site linked above.

Installation: 10/10 Easy.  No errors reported.

Plug and Play: 8/10. You can use this right out of the box, though it's definitely improved with some tweaking. Debuffs are automatically larger and at the bottom, buffs are sorted logically by time.

Configuration: 7/10. The drag and drop wins extra points here, but the lack of a GUI means this will take some getting used to for newer players. The command list is short and sweet though, and it shouldn't take much work to get this addon exactly how you want it.

Usefulness: 10/10. Tracking buffs/debuffs is definitely something we all need to do! It retains the ability to right-click to remove buffs, which adds to the usability. It also orders buffs by time remaining, so your shortest abilities (procs, cooldowns, pots) appear at the bottom.

Overall: 8.5/10. I will definitely be leaving this one installed, and will recommend it to other raiders as a good, simple buff tracking option.

How to enable/disable addons in Rift

Enabling an Addon
Rift has made enabling and disabling addons quite simple. 

Step 1
Download the addon you're interested in. For this example, I'll use BuffBar.

Step 2
Locate the downloaded file. It's probably in your Downloads folder. 

Step 3
Right click the zipped file and select "Extract All". This will extract the addon files into its own folder. In this case, the folder is called "BuffBarsv120". Open this folder, and you'll find the actual addon folder.

Step 4
Copy the folder into your Rift Addons directory. This will normally be located at: C:\Program Files\RIFT Game\Interface\Addons. If you're having trouble locating this folder, see the Useful Hints section below.

Step 5
Log in to Rift. At the Character Selection screen, click the "Addons" button. This opens an Addon selection window. Your addon should be enabled automatically. If not, check the box next to your addon and click "Apply".

At that point, your addon is enabled and ready to use!

Disabling an Addon
To disable an addon, simply go back to the Addon selection screen, uncheck the addon, and click "Apply". You can also delete the addon from your addons folder.

Useful Hints:
  • You can go directly to your addon directory by clicking the "Open Addon Directory" button.
  • Unlike WoW, you don't need to log out fully to refresh your addons. Simply click the "Refresh" button, and any new addons you've dropped into the addon folder will display.