Wednesday, November 29, 2006
World of Warcraft addon turmoil
While talking about the PvP changes in the WoW 2.0 patch, I totally forgot to talk about the most immediate impact that this patch will have on every player: All your addons will stop working. Or as the official forums say in techspeak: "WoW 2.0 represents a major change in the UI code, and as such ALL AddOns will need to be updated before they will work, if for no other reason than the Lua 5.0 to Lua 5.1 changes. Some AddOns will be more seriously affected, and a few will have to be redesigned." I already experienced that in the beta, if you copy your current addons in the directory of the beta client, they will all show up as "incompatible" on the addon window (you know, the one you get to from the character select screen).
This affect every existing addon, even if it's very simple and doesn't use any of the disabled old functions. I don't know much about the WoW scripting language, but I'd guess that updating the simpler addons will be relatively easy, I've seen discussion about writing a small piece of software that does it. But most people will just download the new 2.0 versions of their favorite addons from places like Curse Gaming or WoWInterface. Of course these sites will be break down under the load next week, so you might have to wait a while before you can download the 2.0 addons.
Some addons won't be immediately available, because they aren't that easy to update to 2.0 and their authors might have abandoned them. You'd either need to switch to another addon doing something similar, or wait until somebody else updates the abandoned addon.
Other addons simply won't exist any more, because their functionality is not supported any more. Basically any addon that made an intelligent decision based on some condition won't work any more. Prime example is Decursive, which was able to look up who is cursed and automatically dispelled the curse on the push of a single button. I don't know if it will be called that, but "Decursive 2.0" won't be able to do that this way. The best thing that it can do in 2.0 is show you a list of everybody who has a curse on him, and you will need to click on their name in that list to dispell the curse.
Bigger addons with lots of functionality will probably have to be rewritten completely. They will have to remove those parts that did any sort of decision, and maybe add some new functions based on the new script commands. For example I use CTRaidAssist, which has a decursing function, which will have to be rewritten.
Generally we can expect a lot of addon chaos next week, but it will calm down after a couple of days, and people will quickly get used to a new set of addons. But if you are an addon junkie, with dozens of them installed, prepare for some major turmoil.