Some of the texts will direct you to "post followups" and the like; this is referring to those two forums.
No, really. What the heck are UIs, Mods, and AddOns?
A "UI", "AddOn" or "Mod" (the terms tend to be used interchangeably) is anything that provides "Modifications" or "Adds On to" the original base User Interface as supplied by Blizzard. The changes may be purely cosmetic (change the colour of the bars from the standard grey to florescent pink), may make it so you can change where or how things are displayed on the screen, may provide additional information or functionality, etc.
Information on Macros and Scripts can be found further along in this FAQ.
What's the best UI?
Person A prefers Mod/Compilation X. Person B doesn't like Mod/Compilation X, they prefer Mod/Compilation Y. Person C uses stand-alones only, and mixes and matches to get their desired result, etc and so on ...
Examples of AddOns:
- CTMod, GyspyMod, BloodEagle’s Recompilation, FlexBar, Insomniax Recompilation, Cosmos, SvartenUI, UltimateUI (UUI), BibMod, Telo’s Mods, MonkeyMods, MiniGroup, Woofiest’s Compilation, etc, etc, etc.
Please note, this is definitely not anywhere near a "complete" list, there are many many many others. A large number of the ones I've got listed there are suites/compilations, an example listing of stand-alones would be absolutely freaking huge. The ones I listed aren't in any particular order. This is just a very small sample listing to give you an idea of the fact that there are tons out there.
You have to figure out which one gives you the options you want, or mix and match to get what you want.
Check out different AddOns, find what works for you.
Where? (Where do I get AddOns?)
Where can I download some AddOns?
There are a number of Mod Hosting sites:
- WoWInterface.com: http://www.wowinterface.com/
- WorldofWar UI section: http://ui.worldofwar.net/
- WoWGuru: http://www.wowguru.com/
Plus all of the AddOns that are self-hosted, most of which can be found by browsing through the Blizzard UI forum.
You can also see an overview of updates to addons covering multiple sites:
- wowmods: http://fin.instinct.org/wowmods/
X AddOns hosting site is down, where can I get Y AddOn?
Try one of the other mod sites listed above, or do a web search for the name of the AddOn you are looking for.
Where's that cool Addon?
Extremely popular AddOns (main sites for AddOns that are asked about all the time)
Many of these are available at the major hosting sites listed above, but not all, and those that are also have their own support forums, etc, listed here. (Listed alphabetically):
- Automatic updater: http://wow.curse.com/client/
- Auctioneer: http://auctioneeraddon.com/
- Auctioneer enhances the WoW interface by adding additional information to the tooltips in the game that allow you to see additional information on the value of items in the game.(taken from the auctioneer website)
- Carbonite: http://www.carboniteaddon.com/
- Cosmos: http://www.cosmosui.org/
- is a collection of interface modifications (a collection of "AddOns") to the standard World of Warcraft user interface (UI).
- CTMod: http://www.ctmod.net/news.ct (Main forums at WoWInterface.com)
- Enchantrix: http://enchantrix.org/
- Enchantrix displays on the item tooltip an estimate on the results of an item disenchant
- FlexBar: http://www.savagevines.com/flexbar/
- Gatherer: http://gatherer.sf.net/
- Allows you to easily track non-instance herbs, ore veins, and treasure chests by marking each spot where you've found one. Very handy for farming herbs or metal.
- GypsyMod: http://gypsymod.the-mad.net/ (Update: Dec 2006: GypsyMod is no longer being updated)
- Insomniax Recompilation: http://www.insomniax.net/
- MiniGroup: http://wow.jaslaughter.com/ (sometimes requires a re-load of the page to get it to come up)
- MobMap: http://www.mobmap.de
- Automatic updater: http://www.mobmap.de/dodownload.php?dl=files/MobMapInstaller.exe&mirror=0
- QuestHelper: http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/details/quest-helper.aspx or http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/info9896-QuestHelper.html
- Scrolling Combat Text: http://grayhoof.wowinterface.com/
- SCT is one of the most popular add-ons. It's the infamous "World of RogueCraft" AddOn :P It will display the damage you take in above your char, and display whenever a special action occurs (ie a weapon proc). Note that WoW now has a built in scrolling combat text, that has most of the functionality of SCT. Access it through Interface Options -> Advanced
- UUI: http://wowbattle.net/board/viewtopic.php?t=993 (Update: Sep 2006: UUI is no longer being updated.)
How do I install AddOns?
Um. This zip file I downloaded doesn't have any folders... just a bunch of files. What should I do?
- One of the files in the zip should have the .toc extension (i.e., there should be a file with a name similar to NameOfTheMod.toc). Simply create a new folder under your Interface/AddOns/ directory with the same name (NameOfTheMod), and place all the zipped files into that new folder.
- For WinZIP, make sure you use Classic mode and that "View->Files by Folder (Explorer Style)" is ticked and don't use Wizard mode, it will unzip the files into "Interface\AddOns\<ZIP file name>\<addon name>" instead of just "Interface\AddOns\<addon name>".
What to do and not do
Many AddOns will still work after a patch, even though they are technically "out of date". You only *have* to update AddOns that are actually broken because of functionality changes made by Blizzard in a patch. If you aren't getting error messages and everything is still working okay, you can just run using the "Load Outdated AddOns" check box. It is a good idea, however, to update your AddOns as you get the opportunity to do so, because not only do the authors fix anything broken, but most authors are also constantly tweaking their mod to make them better.
Well, there's no guarantee that your AddOns will work error-free after a patch, since it is Blizzard's prerogative to change any and all of the API used by various AddOns. When that happens, AddOns which call upon those API functions tend to either not work, work strangely, or throw up lots of nasty-looking error messages.
The absolute best advice I can give for patch-day AddOn maintenance is to follow these guidelines
- Remove ANYTHING in Interface/FrameXML and disable any AddOns which provided files that went in there. Way back in the day, the only way for AddOns to actually do something, was hook themselves into FrameXML. This is no longer possible; such AddOns will not work.
- Download the new patch on a patch day.
- Log in to the game and get to the character selection screen. (If prompted about some of your AddOns being out-of-date, choose "Disable".)
- Go into the AddOns screen by clicking the AddOns button in the lower left corner of the screen. (At this point, you should observe that all AddOns are auto-disabled due to version mismatch. If not, then the patch didn't change the UI, and you don't have to do anything. If they are disabled, proceed with these steps.)
- UNCHECK the check box for every AddOn.
- Turn off version checking. (Enable out-of-date AddOns)
- Re-check the check box for any AddOns that you KNOW will work without changes.
- Log in and test that everything works.
- Log Out to the character selection screen and go back into AddOns
- Re-check one AddOn. Log in and test that everything still works.
- Repeat steps 8 and 9 for each AddOn you have. I recommend standing in an Inn to do this - it's faster. (If something kills your system, Kill the wow process via task manager, or coldboot your system if you have to)
- Watch for updates to your favorite AddOns.
- When you see an update, download the update and replace the mod with the new version.
- Repeat step 12 until all of your AddOns are updated.
There is no harm in leaving version checking turned off permanently.
These steps will ensure a clean and aggravation free mod using experience. They will ensure that you don't spend hours trying to figure out exactly what killed your system. When 1300 patch initially came out, the Standalone version of QuestMinion totally locked up everyone's machine, requiring a coldboot. It was a pain to figure out which mod did it.
What's the new toc number?
Unless you are a mod author, it does not matter.
- Don’t go in and manually edit your toc numbers
- Don’t use a toc auto-updater program!
There is simply no need. Use the "Load Outdated AddOns" check box, located under the AddOns button on your Character Select screen instead. Check in at the location where you got your mod(s) from originally over a few days after a patch, to get the properly updated version from the actual mod author.
By going in and changing all the toc numbers yourself, you are completely defeating the entire purpose of them in the first place.
If you use "Load Outdated AddOns", without making any changes to the toc numbers (i.e., the proper way to deal with patch days), then when something stops working, you've got some hope of figuring out which mod(s) aren't working right, since you can go back to the AddOn button on the Character Select screen and see which AddOns aren't updated yet.
If, however, you go in and manually change all the toc numbers, so far as WoW is concerned, they are all "current". Now what do you do when they stop working? When all of a sudden you've got error messages popping up all over the place? How do you know which ones are actually current and which ones are outdated and probably the problem? You've no way to tell any more. Leave your toc numbers alone.
UI AddOns fall into two categories:
Macros - these aren't really AddOns at all, but they can use LUA code to do neat things in game. These are found ENTIRELY inside the game, and the code is run by Blizzard's interpreter, so they make the rules on what macros can and cannot do. Therefore, Blizzard won't ban someone from using any macros.
AddOns - These are extra files, put into the WoW Interface directory on your hard drive which supplement the existing LUA and XML code that Blizzard created that makes up the user interface that everyone uses.
AddOns are made up of LUA files, and XML files, both of which are also run by Blizzard's interpreter. Therefore, Blizzard won't ban someone from using any AddOns.
3rd party programs are actual programs that get loaded into memory and executed using their own code. They run separate from the game similar to how ICQ or MSN Messenger runs in the background. The difference is that 3rd party hacks try to read, or change data coming into or out of the WOW game client(to the network card), or they try to read or write to memory space used by the Wow Game client.
Speed hacks, for example, often interfere with data flowing from the game client to the network card by intercepting the "i am here" signal that he game client sends to the server and making it seem that the player is moving faster than they should be. The server accepts this as truth because Blizzard left it up to the game client to limit how fast you can go. (Oops Blizzard?) This strange design is caused by a need to let the game client do some of the work because the server is too busy to be expected to do everything.'
Anyway, the distinction in 3rd party hacks is usually the fact that hacks run as their own programs and interfere with the game client.
AddOns aren't anything more than REALLY extravagant macros.
(Note: Cosmos is known to have an external EXE file that gets run as its own code - however, it doesn't interfere with the game client - in fact, all it does is download LUA and XML files, puts them in the right places, then QUITS long before the WoW game client even starts.)
This is a very good explanation of things as I understand them. However, I am not involved in policy and I'm not a lawyer.
If you haven't been explicitly warned by a GM, or seen an official Blizzard response about an AddOn or UI modification, then don't worry about it.
Also this post, translated by Shouryuu from: http://forums-fr.wow-europe.com/thread.aspx?fn=wow-interface-fr&t=21783&p=1&tmp=1#post21783 (posted by Daghorn, a Blizzard Rep for the EU community)
(Not the best of translations, but I do believe I have not changed the meaning of the post. Please inform me if you believe so. )
Upon review of your comments, I deem it important to come back on the notion of interface modification (Addon, personalized interface) and the notion of third party applications.
Since the early days of Beta, our developers have chosen to offer fans of interface modifications some freedom to create. However, this "creative space" is supervised by what is called the API (Application Programming Interface): some doors are left open, while others are shut closed.
What must be known is that these interface modifications are entirely integrated within the games repertory and are a part of the World of Warcraft application, as you may note while looking at your task manager, AddOns do not require other applications to function and do not modify the client's files.
All in all, developers supervise the situation and can, if need be, lock certain functionalities that may alter the game play.
As long as your AddOns meet the above conditions, there is no need for concern. The only thing you need to know is that if the developers deem that some proposed functionalities alter game play, they will render their use impossible.
A third party application includes any file or application that is not part of the World Of Warcraft application, used to gain an in-game advantage, such as increasing your movement speed or the ability to teleport yourself from one place to another in a manner not permitted by the game's conception. This includes any program that allows players to obtain information on the game which is normally not obtainable, or to transmit or modify certain game files. Normally, this does not include interface modifications, except interfaces whose functioning depends on an outside program.
Also see Blizzard's What are "Hacks" and "Third Party Programs"? page.
What to do and not do when posting a "please help" thread
- Did you check the FAQ to verify the proper way to install your UI? http://www.wowinterface.com/forums/faq.php?faq=new_faq_item#faq_install
- Did you make sure that the files aren't in a sub-folder within your custom folder? See this graphical interpretation: http://www.wowinterface.com/forums/faq.php?faq=install#faq_install_doesntwork
- Is there any chance that you have 2 WoW directories?
- ie C:\Program Files\World of Warcraft\ and C:\World of Warcraft\, or anything like that?
- If so, that may be the problem. Try putting your AddOns in the other one.
As well, make use of the search button, as it is entirely possible that your problem has already been encountered and solved.
If after all of that, you are still having problems, please remember these things when posting your help request:
- Be polite. Show respect for other people's time, when you ask them to help you. Don't beg or grovel or SHOUT IN CAPS or be similarly lame
- Give a good subject to your thread. It’s easier for some one to help you if you have a good subject instead of something like “helperz me nowz!!!?!1.”;
- What is the name of the mod? Provide a link for it;
- What steps did you take to install the mod? Post your install path;
- Be as descriptive as you can. Just posting you cant get xyz mod to work will result in no response to your help request. The more information you can provide the faster some one will be able to respond with a helpful answer. Describe what AddOns you have installed, what you did that caused the problem, exactly what happens;
- List the things you've tried and what happened for each of them.
Also, when having problems with your UI, it tends to help if you also post the contents of your log file. This is located at <WoWFolder>\Logs\FrameXML.log.
Things to try
I got my UI set up the way I want, log out and back in, and nothing is saved, I have to do it all over again. Why?
- Make sure that you don't have copies of any of the configuration files (see Backups and copying settings below) anywhere else in your WoW folders, since WoW will try to read some of them from several places for backward compatibility reasons, but it will only save it to a single place. Also, make sure that none of the configuration files are set to "read-only".
I have a broken mod, how do I get it fixed?
- First make sure you have the latest version, if you do then try to get feedback to the author. This can usually be done in a comment thread on the mod site where it's posted. Some authors have their own forums; if that's the case post it there. When you give this feedback there's a few key pieces of info needed:
- what you were doing when the error occurred
- most errors pop up a box with some wacky jibbajabba text, if you read it you should find a filename followed by a line number (ex: VisorBasics.lua:61) this is followed by a description (ex: attempt to call 'GetScale' a nil value) POST THIS INFO! If in doubt type out the whole message and post it.
I have a broken mod but can't find the author, or I found where it was published but it seems the slacker's been MIA for 5 months, what do I do now?
- Post it up here! Link to the mod and provide the info that the author would need to fix the error. There's a good chance one of the authors here will pick it up, repair it, and republish it. Keep an eye out for AddOns with the words "continued" "resurrected" or "(Rank 2)" as these are often abandoned-then-readopted AddOns.
Finding the faulty AddOn
Make a list of all AddOns that you have loaded.
Disable them all. Yep. All of them.
Enter the game and see if the problem still exists. If it does, you probably have an "old style" AddOn that put something in the path/to/WoW/Interface/FrameXML/ folder. Rename that folder to something like FrameXML.broken and try it again. If you still have a problem change the name of the path/to/WoW/Interface/AddOns/ folder to something like AddOns.broken and try again.
If you still have a problem, something about your WoW installation is really broken and you may have to do the dreaded "WTF, WDB, Interface" dance. (i.e., follow the steps for completely resetting your UI in the Q/A below.)
Assuming that it ran fine with at most moving your FrameXML folder aside, you now need to start re-enabling AddOns until you see the problem. If you don't want to do a lot of paperwork, and have a little time, re-enable them one at a time and see what happens. (This is the way I do it. It doesn't take too long even with a moderately-long list of AddOns.)
If you have a ton of AddOns, you may want to do a "binary search" which works like this:
- Split your list of AddOns in half, make note of the halves
- Enable one half, disable the other half, and see what happens.
- Does it work?
- Broken: It is obviously related to the half of the AddOns you just enabled. Go to step 1 again, but this time split the half in half. Keep halving until you get down to one candidate.
- Not Broken: The problem is obviously in the half that you disabled. Go to step 1 again: enable half of the disabled addons, and leave the other half disabled.
Once you get down to one candidate somehow, disable all AddOns except that one. If you still have the problem, that is your culprit. If you don't see the problem, then it is a likely conflict with some other AddOn(s) and you would need to use a similar search to find which pair (and hopefully not three or four involved) cause the problem.
Why does Blizzard break my AddOns each patch?
There are two ways of viewing this lack of versatility. The first one, the most popular one, believes that Blizzard left a job undone—that like a lot of things in World of Warcraft, the default UI is "lacking in content". However, the other view, held by most of the modding communities (those who code the add-ons), sees the reasons for this "ineffective" UI as Blizzard's will to let the modding community grow, and offer plethora of AddOns to users which will allow them to have their very own unique UI, entirely fitted to their tastes and to the way they play the game.
This belief has been strongly reinforced with the possibility, since in patch 1.8, to disable some parts of the default UI. The modding community views this as an encouragement from Blizzard, to change, replace, reuse, rework, hash, cut, and destroy their UI. We strongly believe that Blizzard's UI, intentionally, lays down the foundations of a UI (a foundation which does offer more than basic functions and does not prevent you from playing the game properly) to offer us infinite possibilities to tinker and customize our UI. There is no way Blizzard can satisfy every player's tastes with only one UI, and we believe they have done so by not imposing one type of UI.
This being said, why does every patch break my add-ons?
One very common reason for this is that if you downloaded an addon in version 2.0.1 and later game patch 2.0.2 comes out the addon is still believing that you have 2.0.1 and will not function. You should always first try checking the box on your character selection screen; "Load out of date addons" whereas this svolves the problem most of the times. However, the most popular addons usually receives an update itself, but might take some time to be fixed and uploaded on the Internet.- Well technically speaking, not every patch breaks your add-ons, only the patches that apply changes to the API (in other words, the functions used by your add-ons) or the way add-ons work. The UI was very well compared to (by Cairenn or Iriel I believe) a black box, with plenty of little buttons and lights of different colors and in different places. Inside the box, is WoW, the lights tell you something about WoW, and the buttons allow you to do something in WoW.
For example, if the red light were to light up, it would mean that you would have been hit for X damage, and WoW let's you know that (via the combat log). If you were to push the cute little pink button, you would do the /hug emote. So there you are, in front of your black box, playing WoW. Everything is great but you only have 10 fingers and there are thousands of buttons to press, and you only have two eyes and there are thousands of lights to watch out for, so what to do?
Well you'd hire Santa’s little helpers, in other words add-ons. Add-ons just watch the lights, decode what they mean and yell it to you. They even help you press those hard to reach buttons. But what happens when Blizzard moves a button to another place because they've added one nearby, and don't want you mistaking one for the other? Well your great add-on is going to try press the designated button and hit the black box, oh noz! So it's going to hit it, and then it's going to tell you "ZOMG there's no button, ERROR ERROR!” Same goes for the lights. What if the light an add-on is piously gazing at changes color, or doesn't flash at the same frequency it used to so that players without add-ons (those who use the default UI) can see it more clearly? Well the add-on is going to tell you "Uh, what’s up with this light? I'm supposed to be seeing a thousand flashes a second, and I only see three flashes a second! ERROR ERROR!” So this is how patches break AddOns. They swap the lights around, move a button so that someone using the default UI can reach it easier, add lights that add-ons stare at saying "WTF is that?", even sometimes remove buttons (remember the Auto Travel soap opera...). Most (by most I mean 99.99%) changes in the lights and buttons are either a good thing for the default user, or a good thing for the add-on user.
An example of the good changes for add-ons that break them: (it's called Creative Destruction, it's actually an economic theory By Schumpeter and the very base of Capitalism, you Americans should understand that ) Let us imagine there is a series of four lights at the faaaar back of that black box, those lights flash a different frequencies, are of different colors and say different things. The only problem, is that all look realllllly alike, and what they are trying to say isn't always clear (for eample, they flash differently but are trying to say the same things...). Sooo Blizzard sees this, hears a few suggestions left and right and decides to change them. So they rip those four lights out, and put 8 lights all very different and easily differentiable from one another. So add-ons that were looking at those lights are going "WTF?" and are broken =(. But after authors change the add-ons code, well all is better! The add-ons clearly understand what the lights are saying, it's easier for the coders, it's easier for the add-on, it uses less memory and most importantly it's easier for the user.
So Blizzard does care about AddOns. They seem to want customized UI to be as effective as possible, as versatile as possible, as stable as possible (test realms help a lot in pre-updating of AddOns) and they want AddOns to be out there in numbers. They don't support AddOns, but they all they can to make them possible, they deserve a big thank you from all of us.
How do I...
Fix my UI when something breaks?
- NOTE: It is generally an excellent idea to maintain regular backups of the Interface folder (which contains the code for all your AddOns) and the WTF folder (which contains all your custom configurations and keybindings).
I lost all my addon data! Is it possible to retrieve it somehow?
- Unless you've made a backup of all of your SavedVariables/AddOnName.lua files, no, sorry, it's not.
If you *have* made a backup, you should be able to simply overwrite your current SavedVariables/AddOnName.lua files with the old (backup) version.
However, there's a tool that exists to make this process easier, AND it will allow you to MERGE (rather than overwrite) your new data with your old. That tool is called SVEdit, and it can be found here: http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/fileinfo.php?id=4047
There's also software (not free), such as R-Studio, that advanced users can use to recover deleted files. This will only recover deleted files, it will not undo changes in files and, no matter how much you pay for the software, it is not guaranteed to work.
My UI is all messed up. My bag slots don't line up properly with the bag themselves, how do I fix it?
I dragged X thing off the screen, how do I get it back?
I dragged X and dropped it on Y. Now Y is on top of X and I can't move either. What do I do?
- Go to your
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Account Name>/<Character Name>folder and delete your
That will reset all visible UI elements to the default Blizzard locations. A bit of a pain, as you'll have to set your layout back up the way you want, but at least your immediate problem will be fixed.
I messed up my chat settings, I can't see X messages any more, my channels are all messed up. How do I fix it?
Go to your
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Account Name>/<Character Name> folder. Delete the
That will reset all chat windows, channels & chat options to the default Blizzard setup. You'll have to re-do any changes you made to layout and channels that you want to keep.
Backups and copying settings
Macros for all characters:
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Account Name>/macros-cache.txtand
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Account Name>/macros-local.txt
Macros for specific characters:
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Account Name>/<Realm>/<Character Name>/macros-cache.txt
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Account Name>/<Realm>/<Character Name>/macros-local.txt
Various standard UI parameters:
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Config.wtf
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Account Name>/SavedVariables.lua
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Account Name>/SavedVariables/AddOnName.luaand
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Account Name>/<Realm>/<Charname>/SavedVariables/AddOnName.lua
The on-screen layout of visible UI elements:
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Account Name>/<Realm>/<Character Name>/layout-cache.txt
Your chat settings:
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Account Name>/<Realm>/<Character Name>/chat-cache.txt
Your key bindings:
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Account Name>/bindings-cache.wtf
Your character specific keybindings:
../World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Account Name>/<Realm>/<Character Name>/bindings-cache.wtf
How do I make a new chat window?
- Go to the main in-game menu (hit [Esc] or the little computer icon). Go to Interface Options. Make sure "Lock Chat Settings" is turned off. Make sure "Simple Chat" is turned off. Go back to the main game window. Hover your mouse over your chat window. A tab will appear at the top of your window. Right click on it and select "Create New Window".
For more Chat Information and Troubleshooting, see Chat.
How do I connect to our guild's website in an addon (to get DKP info/access guild rosters/Thottbot/etc)?
- The user interface Lua environment is "sandboxed" and it is not possible to get data in or out of the game in realtime while the game is playing. The only method of getting data in or out is through the SavedVariables/AddOnName.lua files, which are only updated/read on logout/login or when the interface is reloaded. There is no way to directly access web site information from within the game. The best you can do is have a separate .exe file monitoring your SavedVariables files and watch for changes and act on them.
How do I extract information from WoW to an outside source?
- This can't be done directly. For example, let us say you want to make an AddOn that updates your guild roster, and posts the name/lvl/class of each member on your web site. The only way to do this is to write an AddOn that will save the name/lvl/class of each guild member in a SavedVariables/AddOnName.lua file, close WoW and extract the info to your guild web site either manually, or with a program which would do it for you.
You may not extract information about anything in the WoW environment by "leeching" the information that passes between you and the server. Or, rather, with a lot of work, it's possible to write a program that monitors network traffic, but that is against Blizzard's Terms of Service. We strongly suggest you do not do it.