Learn what World of Warcraft addons are, why they are helpful, and which ones are the best for beginners.
Welcome to the 10th and final part of this ultimate guide for new World of Warcraft players. We have covered a wide range of topics so far. In this article, we are going to build off the basic UI and talk about how beginners can get started with World of Warcraft addons. Before we get too far, let’s first understand what a WoW addon is.
In short, an AddOn (or mod) is a piece of code that builds upon the functionality of World of Warcraft (WoW). AddOns are most commonly used to enhance interface layout or add useful information on the screen. They are easy to install and many are easy to set up and use. Additionally, AddOns are free and can be removed easily if you do not like the change in functionality.
If fact, while in game, you can actually press ‘ESC’ and click on ‘AddOns’ to see a list of all you have installed. From here, you can enable or disable the AddOns in use.
It is also important to note that AddOns do not alter underlying game code, play your character for you or help you cheat in any way. Use of programs that do this is a violation of the Blizzard Terms of Service and will get you banned (usually .exe or .app and not placed in the proper folder).
Why would I want a WoW addon?
Great question! As mentioned above, AddOns literally add additional features or functionality to your game. While some of the features are cosmetic, like changing the appearance of your UI or bags, others provide you with information and other tools which can make you a better player. In short, AddOns generally serve one of two purposes:
- Improve experience while playing (quality of life enhancements)
- Provide you with information and tools to improve your gameplay
We will talk in a moment about some specific recommended AddOns and the features they offer, but first, let’s talk about how to get an AddOn.
How do I get/add/install WoW addons?
There are two major approaches you can use to install addons. First, you can install the addon by placing it in the folder where your game is installed. This approach is a little clunky and makes updating addons more difficult. As a beginner, I do not recommend this. However, If you would like to install addons manually, you can check out this article on How to Install WoW Addons in 2021.
The second way you can install addons is by using downloadable addon manager software. I will walk you through that in a moment.
If you are a visual person, you can also check out the YouTube video I made which walks you through 3 different approaches you can use to get addons:
Getting addons through an addon manager
Right now, the primary client used for downloading addons is a company called Overwolf. However, several competing open-source managers have popped up. In this article, we will only talk about Overwolf. If you want to learn more about open-source managers, I looked at a few popular ones in the article I mentioned above.
How does Overwolf work?
Bascially, Overwolf contains links to CurseForge, a popular addon library that makes downloading/installing AddOns easy. To use it, you will need to download the Overwolf/CurseForge apps. Once installed, you will see a list of games that have addons available. Once you select WoW, you see two options: “My Addons” and “Get More Addons”. Popular and new addons appear in the window for getting more addons… or you can search for one in particular.
Once you find the one you want, you click on it and select the “Install” option. It will automatically place the addon in the correct folder.
Is downloading WoW addons safe?
Yes! If you are downloading an AddOn using one of the approaches above there is a good chance the file is safe. However, you should still take caution when downloading AddOns that have few downloads or are brand new. If you are still concerned, you can check out my longer article that dives into the question: Are World of Warcraft (WoW) Addons Safe?
Will I get banned for using WoW addons?
No, you will not get banned for using AddOns. As mentioned above, an AddOn builds upon the World of Warcraft game files but does not alter them. This approach is encouraged and supported by Blizzard. However, if you download a program (especially one for “botting”), as opposed to an AddOn, then you are likely to get banned. If you are downloading AddOns from the sources mentioned and loading them through your designated AddOns folder you will be fine. I also did a deep dive article on whether World of Warcraft (WoW) are Addons Allowed if you are interested.
Best WoW Addons For Beginners
If you are just starting out with AddOns, the idea of AddOns may be a little daunting. To get you started, we have a few recommended AddOns which will provide immediate value and will require little to no setup once installed. In future posts, we will look at other popular AddOns which are helpful but require a little more set up.
As you start, we would recommend getting at least one AddOn from each of the following categories:
- Navigation AddOns
- Boss Encounter AddOns
- Combat meter AddOns
There are two helpful navigation AddOns:
TomTom adds coordinates to your screen and map which help you navigate around the world. These coordinates can be shared with other players and many online guides use these coordinates to guide players. If you want to learn more about TomTom, check out my TomTom Guide for Classic/Retail article!
HandyNotes (including HandyNotes: Shadowlands)
HandyNotes allows you to add markers on your map to indicate important locations. Additionally, there are many sub addons that you can download for HandyNotes which come prepackaged with points and notes on your map. These points make tasks like finding certain treasures or enemies much easier. Here is an example of HandyNotes: Shadowlands which shows the location of rare mobs in The Maw.
Boss Encounter AddOns
If you plan on giving dungeons or raiding a shot, you will definitely want a boss encounter AddOn. Effectively, these AddOns place timers and warnings on your screen to help you manage difficult mechanics of boss encounters.
There are two primary AddOns in this category:
Deadly Boss Mods OR BigWigs (and LittleWigs)
You will only need one of these types of AddOns since their functionality is nearly identical. They are both easy to set up but also allow for a good amount of customization as you get more comfortable with their functionality. Check out our guide on Deadly Boss Mods for a walkthrough on AddOn setup and features.
Combat Meter AddOns
The last major category of AddOn we recommend is downloading a combat meter. In short, these AddOns keep track of a wide range of combat-related information. They can be used to see how much damage or healing was done over the course of a specific fight. Additionally, they can be helpful to see the source and amount of damage your character took in a fight. This can be especially useful if you are fighting a tough foe and don’t know why you are dying. As with the boss encounters AddOn, you only need one of these.
The three largest options in this category are:
And there we have it, an overview of AddOns and some basic recommendations. In the future, we will look at specific AddOns and their functionality. Feel free to comment below if you have found other AddOns which helped you get started with World of Warcraft.
This marks the official end of this multi-part guide for new players but we will continue to produce articles to help you in your journeys through Azeroth.
Thanks for reading!