A list of the best World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic addons based on my gameplay and testing!
It is time! The scourge is here, and it is time to head to Northrend to take down the Lich King (again). It is dangerous to go alone, so in this guide, I want to share a list of addons you might want to take with you on your journey. This list comes from my unspeakable number of hours of personal testing and gameplay over the last 15 years.
To help you out, I want to explain what each addon does and give a few tips on setup where it makes sense. We’ll go over all 21 addons in a moment, but here is the complete list to give you an idea of where we are headed.
- Leatrix Plus
- Shadowed Unit Frames
- Threat Plates
- Deadly Boss Mods (DBM)
- Details! Damage Meter
- ALL THE THINGS
- Minimap Button Bag
At the end of the article, I’ve also included a few honorable mentions that narrowly missed the list — so make sure to check that out.
How to install addons
If you’re new to using addons, you’ll need to learn to install them. Fortunately, it is pretty easy if you use an addon manager like CurseForge.
All you need to do is download the addon manager from the CurseForge website (I recommend the standalone that doesn’t have Overwolf with it). From there, all you need to do is click “Get Addons” and go to town on installing your addons.
If you need a more detailed guide, you can check out my guide to installing addons, updated for 2022.
Best Addons for Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK) Classic
Now that you know how to install addons, let’s jump into the list with one of the most popular addons in World of Warcraft Classic… Questie!
Questie offers a great quality of life improvement for managing your quests. It adds a retail-style quest log on the right side of your screen and places quest pickup/turn-in markers on your map.
If you believe in immersive gameplay and reading quest text, you may not want to use Questie. Otherwise, I feel like Questie is a must-have for Classic players.
Okay, I’m cheating by bundling two addons into one section, but there is a good reason for it.
Both addons are leveling route addons, and I get it, some players think these types of addons take the fun out of the game and don’t want to use them.
I can respect that.
If that is you and you don’t want a leveling route addon, feel free to skip to my next recommendation. Not everyone plays the game the same way, and that is fine. If using these types of addons encourages players to support WotLK, a game we love, I think that is great!
These leveling route addons are great for casual players or hardcore players who are leveling their stable of alts. The Classic leveling experience can be a blast but also daunting if you are new to the MMO genre.
Guidelime and RestedXP work by giving you a step-by-step leveling guide and an arrow pointing toward your next objective.
While both addons are free, RestedXP charges a one-time fee for their guides that feed into the addon. In contrast, there are several free Guidelime guides. One of the most popular is Guidelime TUGs, and can be downloaded from Curseforge like any other addon.
Having tried both, I feel like RestedXP’s features make for a better overall leveling experience, but either is a massive improvement over questing without a strategy. If you want to give RestedXP a shot, you can check out all of RestedXP’s guides here (purchases on their site support this blog). You can also use promo code ‘arcaneintellect‘ to get 5% off your order!
For alternatives, you can also check out the free addon Wow-Pro Guides or other paid options like Zygor. Zygor has some great features, including tools to help you choose the best gear and guides for unlocking achievements, but it will set you back $9.99 per month.
One of the more challenging parts of Classic is navigating the world. That is where Atlas comes in.
As the name suggests, Atlas is an addon all about maps. Many players use the addon to pull up maps of dungeons, but you can also download supporting addons like Atlas Transportation which shows where every portal, boat, and zeppelin can be found.
For Wrath of the Lich King Classic, you should pick up the base Atlas addon and a few supporting plugins. I personally use these bad boys:
- Atlas Wrath of the Lich King
- Atlas Dungeon Locations
- Atlas Transportation
- Atlas Burning Crusade
- Atlas Classic WoW
Building off my last recommendation is the AtlasLootClassic addon. As you might guess from the name, this addon operates much like Atlas but focuses on loot instead of maps.
Instead of spending time Googling a list of items dropped in each dungeon, you can open up AtlasLootClassic and see a complete list. It is also nice because you can filter the gear by what is useable by your class by clicking on your class icon in the bottom left.
If you are planning on diving into many dungeons and raids, pick up AtlasLoot for sure.
Leatrix Plus is a neat quality-of-life addon for WotLK Classic. It adds many options to automate basic behaviors like selling junk and accepting income resurrections. I like that it is easy to install and has a straightforward settings menu, so you know exactly what you are getting.
Check it out!
ElvUI is a total replacement of the default UI and works well in Wrath Classic. It replaces the UI artwork and icons with a modern-looking interface, as shown in the image above.
The install process is different for ElvUI compared to other addons. You won’t find it on CurseForge because it is developed and maintained externally.
Some addon managers like WowUp support ElvUI. However, be warned that WowUp recently got cut off from the Curseforge library, so they don’t have all the addons you might be looking for anymore.
As an alternative to WowUp, you can install ElvUI with the Tukui Client or zip file available on Tukui.org.
You can revamp your UI with other addons if you don’t want to use ElvUI. This approach is excellent because it gives you control of each UI aspect and is more lightweight than ElvUI.
Here are my 5 major UI elements replacement addon recommendations:
- Dominos (Action bars)
- SexyMap (MiniMap)
- Shadowed Unit Frames (Unit Frames)
- Bagnon (Bags)
- Threat Plates (Nameplates)
Let’s go over each of these real quick now.
Dominos is a solid action bar replacement addon for WotLK Classic. In my opinion, it has many of the same features as ElvUI but is a lot easier to set up.
It is also a lot more lightweight than ElvUI. In some testing I did, I found that Dominos used 100 times less CPU power than ElvUI (5.54 ms/s against 0.05 ms/s)!
Since CPU use drives frame rates, this can be a big deal for lower-end laptop/PC setups. The full comparison can be found in my Best Action Bar Addon Guide.
If you choose to get Dominos, you can customize your layout by left-clicking the icon on your minimap. You can drag and click to move your bars to where you want. If you right-click on a bar, it will give you more options for sizing and the number of icons as well.
For a more detailed guide, check out the link below.
Alternatives: ElvUI, Bartender 4
My Full Guide: How to use the Dominos addon
One of the best minimap replacement addons is SexyMap. This is a neat addon that lets you adjust the shape and location of your map. It also comes packaged with nifty animations that swirl around your map for extra pizzazz.
Some players have had some issues with SexyMap recently. I haven’t personally, but if you run into that, you can also look at using Chinchilla Minimap instead.
Alternatives: Chinchilla Minimap, ElvUI
The next piece of your UI we should discuss is your unit frames. These are the healthbars for yourself and your target that appear on the top left side of your screen (unless you unlocked and moved them, obviously).
If we are honest with ourselves, these default frames are rough. They don’t give you much information, and few customizations are available.
Luckily, this is where the shadowed unit frames addon comes in. With it, you can easily change the sizing, text, and information shown in your bars.
To get started with shadowed unit frames (lovingly called SUF for short), you’ll want to install it and then type /suf in chat. Once the options window pops up, click on the “General” tab on the left side, uncheck the “lock frames,” and begin moving things around.
If you are overwhelmed by the number of frames, you can turn units off under the “Enabled Units” menu. You can set the size and appearance under the “Unit Configuration” menu.
Alternatives: Z-Perl, ElvUI
My favorite bag addon is Bagnon.
It is a great little addon that allows you to adjust the number of rows and columns in your bag, change the colors, and apply other little customizations. You can click on the cogwheel in the top right to see a full list of settings.
Alternatives: AdiBags, ArkInventory, ElvUI, Inventorian
Full Guide: How to setup Bagnon
I am a huge believer in good nameplates. Sadly, the default nameplates are not the best. They are missing much of the information needed to make split-second decisions during combat.
With the Threat Plates addon, you can customize your plates to show the remaining percent health and clear debuff icons. I also really like that Threat Plates adds icons like swords next to the plate for the “kill X number of these things” quests.
Plater is another good choice for WotLK Classic, but it is much more challenging to set up from scratch. That is why I personally recommend Threat Plates for most players.
Alternatives: Plater, ElvUI, KuiNameplates
Full Guide: How to set up Threat Plates
TomTom is a must-have addon for navigation. As the name implies, the addon is an in-game GPS that makes life much easier.
To use TomTom, all you need to do is hold down ALT and then right-click on your world map to add a marker. This will add a waypoint and an arrow that shows you an estimated distance and time to get to your destination.
You can also set waypoints by typing in a chat command like /tway 45 50. This is helpful because you can pull coordinates from other players or sites like WowHead to make navigation much easier!
Alternatives: Coordinates Tracking
Full Guide: How to use TomTom coordinates
If you plan on doing dungeons or raids in WotLK Classic, you will absolutely want a boss mod. Boss mods are addons that give you warnings and timers for dangerous boss and mob abilities.
There are two major boss mod addons for Classic WoW — Deadly Boss Mods (DBM) and Bigwigs. I have used both and prefer DBM, but Bigwigs is also great.
I like DBM more because it is in your face about what you should do (run away, hide, etc.). Bigwigs doesn’t treat me like the idiot I am, so it doesn’t work as well for me.
Alternatives: BigWigs Bossmods/Littlewigs
Full Guide: Deadly Boss Mods (DBM) Guide
Any best addon list is incomplete without talking about WeakAuras. I think this addon is the granddaddy of them all because it effectively lets the community create an unlimited number of other addons attached to it.
With this bad boy, you’ll become like Neo in the Matrix, able to see the code behind everything. All the hidden information in the game can now be displayed through custom graphics.
This can be used to do anything from reminding you to use certain cooldowns to yelling at you when you are missing certain buffs. Pretty much anything you can imagine.
What is even better is that you don’t need to write auras yourself to tap into the power of the Matrix… um, WeakAuras. All you need to do is go to wago.io and browse the endless number of auras created by the community.
Once you find an aura you want, click the button to copy the import string, launch the game, and type /wa in chat. Then click “Import” at the top left and paste your text. Boom, you’re ready to take on Agent Smith and Kel’Thuzad!
Another amazing addon is Details! Damage Meter. This combat meter addon shows how much damage or healing you and your group are pumping out.
You can track other combat events like the number of interrupts used, deaths, and damage taken. There are combat meter options available, but Details is my favorite.
Alternatives: Skada, Recount
GTFO stands for “get the f$@! out.” While the addon’s name isn’t all that inviting, it is guaranteed to help you play better if you like to stand in the fire. If you want to stand in the fire, I guess no addon can help. Some players just like to watch the world burn I guess.
Using GTFO is easy; install it and then listen to the loud sirens when you stand in stuff you aren’t supposed to. It might be annoying, but it could make the difference in surviving the pull.
Pawn is a fantastic addon with a name that doesn’t match what it does well. At first glance, you might think it is an item selling/auction house addon… but it’s not.
Instead, Pawn is a tool that helps you select the gear with the best stats for your class and spec. It does this by setting weights for your stats. For example, if I’m playing combat rogue, I want to give a higher priority to gear with agility and crit.
To help you, Pawn does a calculation for every gear piece you are wearing or have in your inventory and tells you which is best. This is amazing because Classic doesn’t have an item level to guide you (and even then, item level is not always the best guide of what gear is good).
All you need to do is install Pawn and then hover over gear to compare it to what you have equipped. I don’t play without it!
Speaking of addons I can’t play without, OmniCC is a long-time favorite of mine. I swear I have been using this thing since I first started playing the game in OG TBC (maybe it came out after that, but it has been a long time).
Why do I love OmniCC so much?
In short, it is because OmniCC adds a countdown timer to your abilities so you know how long they have left to cooldown. This is a massive improvement from the default action bar animation and makes a world of difference in how your rotation feels.
All you need to do now is install it and stop wasting your time hitting abilities that aren’t ready.
One of the most glaring UI shortcomings in WotLK Classic is the auction house. Posting and shopping can feel pretty brutal without an addon. For most players, I would recommend you start with Auctionator.
Auctionator revamps the AH UI with additional tabs for buying, selling, canceling, and managing auctions. You can even create shopping lists for items you regularly buy (Pizza Rolls, Hot Pockets, & Mountain Dew).
This should work for most players who use the AH to sell and buy occasionally. However, if you plan on playing the market, you’ll want to grab TradeSkillMaster (TSM) instead. In my opinion, TSM is the best auction house addon overall, but it has an incredibly steep learning curve and is overkill for most players
Alternatives: Auctioneer, TradeSkillMaster
In addition to raising up death knights, Wrath of the Lich King Classic gave birth to in-game achievements. This is an amazing feature for an avid completionist and collector like myself.
ALL THE THINGS (ATT) is a great addon if you are planning on collecting mounts and achievements or just have a desire to finish all the questlines. To use it, just install the addon, and a list with show up upon reloading or relogging with every possible collectible in your current zone.
As a warning, the addon isn’t the most lightweight, particularly when entering new zones and the list updates. If your rig has a low amount of RAM, that is something to be aware of.
If you’ve been following along and downloading addons, things are probably getting nasty on your minimap with all those addon icons. Obviously, the answer is to download another addon!
The one I use for this is called MinimapButtonBag. It hasn’t been updated in a while, but it still works for me. If you can’t find it in your addon manager, you can download it manually from the CurseForge website.
Alternatively, you can also look into MinimapButtonButton (which is available in addon managers).
These addons are great because they replace the cluttered ring of addon icons with a single button. This is much better than manually dragging dozens of icons to keep things clean. I can’t recommend this addon enough.
Full Guide: How to use MinimapButtonBag
The biggest challenge of compiling this list was narrowing it down to a somewhat manageable number. If you aren’t scared by checking out a few more addons, here is a short list of the addons I love but barely missed the cut (in no particular order):
- Addon Usage — Great addon if you are struggling with FPS and lag. Helps you find high CPU-consuming addons.
- Attune — Awesome addon that tracks attunements and steps required to unlock several WotLK quest hubs
- OmniCD — Tracks party member cooldowns. Really helpful in group content
- DejaClassicStats — Shows an estimated item level for your gear and enhanced stat window
- HandyNotes + HandyNotes: TravelGuide — Allows you to add notes and information to your map for future reference
- Nova World Buffs — Tracks world buffs and shows which layer you are on across all zones
- Quartz — Beautiful casting bar replacement with some great customizations
- Method Raid Tools — Helpful raiding addon
- Gathermate 2 & Gathermate 2 Data — Great addon for gathering professions
- Postal — Addon that makes your mailbox UI much nicer
- RareScanner — Shows the location of rares on your map and whether they are required for an achievement
I am excited to head to Northrend again and take down the Lich King! Hopefully, this list of addons will help you on your journeys in Northrend and beyond!
Thanks for reading!