MaxDps, Hekili, HeroRotation, ConRo, and Ovale faceoff in this World of Warcraft Addon Showdown!
Have you ever looked at how many addons you can install in World of Warcraft? If you haven’t, I will save you the trouble because I looked the other day and there were nearly 10,000! With so many addons, it is not surprising that many have overlapping features. It is also not surprising that some players get overwhelmed when trying to pick which ones to use. To help you, I decided to review and compare addons with similar features. This time around, we will look at DPS rotation addons in WoW.
If you aren’t familiar with these bad boys, they are mods that recommend what spell you should cast next to maximize your DPS. If you are a visual person, you can check out the video I made for this guide (you can watch it embedded here or on YouTube)
If you like this type of article, you can also check out my comparison guide for nameplate addons!
Alright, let’s jump right into it!
Most Popular Rotation Helper Addons
To start my test, I installed the 5 most popular rotation helper addons based on the number of CurseForge downloads for each. All of the addons I selected had over one million downloads in their lifetime. Here are the 5 that made the cut:
It is important to note that the number of downloads does not represent the number of players using it. Instead, it is the number of times that an addon or update for the addon has been downloaded. As a result, addons that release updates more frequently and have been around longer will have higher download numbers.
Also, you will notice that I left WeakAuras (WA) off the list. While WA does have many rotation helper auras that players have made, these are not standardized and would be difficult to test.
With my top 5 selected, it is time to start testing and crown a winner.
Instead of telling you which one seemed to be the best to me, I decided to compare several aspects of each addon. In other words, I decided to look at the FACTS.
Addon FACTS Scores
I figure that a good review requires a way to score comparisons and a cheesy acronym. That is why I came up with the FACTS score. In short, the FACTS score measures the most important things that make for a good addon. These include:
- Features – What functionality and value does the addon provide?
- Author Support – Is the addon updated frequently? Are developers sensitive to bugs?
- Customization – Can the addon be customized?
- Testing – Does the addon do what it is supposed to? Does it impact game performance?
- Setup – Is the addon easy to set up? Are setup instructions clear?
An addon can receive a total of 50 points (10 in each category). If you want to read more, you can check out my WoW Addon Facts Score Article.
The Purpose of this Review
Before we jump in and assign scores to the addons, I want to make something clear. The purpose of this review is to help you compare similar addons across several categories. Hopefully, it can help you choose the addon which suits your needs best.
Addons are created as a labor of love by community members. FACTS scores are not intended to discount the excellent work that addon authors do to provide value for players. It takes a lot of work to develop and maintain addons, and we should be grateful for that work.
I also want to clarify that I understand that there is a love-hate relationship with DPS rotation addons. If you choose not to use these addons, that is fine. I don’t usually use a DPS addon in dungeons or raids, but it is nice to have when I am playing an alt and have no clue what their spells do.
Also, some players are just looking to get their DPS to a level where they feel comfortable joining raids and dungeons, and I think these addons can help them get there. They don’t care to be the world’s first; they just want to contribute to a team.
Okay, with that off my chest, let’s move on and start comparing features!
When talking about the features of a rotation addon, there are a few things to consider.
The first is how the addon conveys its spell-casting recommendations. Some addons will suggest spells by flashing on the action bar (overlays), while others show an icon near your character. Others will allow you to do both.
Another consideration is how the addon handles switching between single-target scenarios and those with more enemies. In other words, we want to see if the addon provides good AoE recommendations.
We can also examine whether the addon has support for utility spells like interrupting, defense spells, purging, or dispelling. Doing damage as a DPS player is job number one. But, the best DPS players also leverage their utility spells to help their group.
The final feature that is helpful for a rotation helper to have is the ability to customize spell recommendations. By default, the cast recommendations are computer-generated. However, these suggestions are based on a generic item level, not on your character and gear. By allowing you to customize rotations, you can run simulations for your character and load them into the addon!
Let’s take a look at the features in each of the rotation addons:
As you can see, each of the addons supports showing an icon for spell suggestions. In the case of MaxDps, you need to use a WeakAura from wago.io to do this.
Every addon, except HeroRotation, supports action bar overlays. If you want to use overlays in Hekili, you need to also download the SpellFlash addon. Once you install it, you can turn on the overlays in Hekili’s “Displays” options menu.
In theory, every rotation addon supports AoE. However, while testing the addons on my Balance Druid, I noticed that MaxDps was not recommending AoE abilities at all. If you look at the settings in MaxDps, there is an option to “Force Single Target Mode,” which makes me think it has AoE capabilities…. I just wasn’t able to get it to work for my spec.
Hekili, HeroRotation, and ConRo all have some way to show recommendations for the use of utility spells.
Hekili can be set up to show defensives, interrupts, and potion use.
HeroRotation can show interrupts.
ConRo can be configured to highlight many utility spells, including raid buffs (like Arcane Intellect), movement abilities, purging, interrupts, and defensives.
Three of the addons — Hekili, MaxDps, and Ovale — support custom rotations.
Hekili and Ovale allow you to make these changes by writing your own code or loading character-specific simulations from SimulationCraft.
In contrast, MaxDps only allows rotation changes through a coding interface in its options menu.
So, how does each addon stack up on features? Based on the factors I discussed above, I gave the following scores to each addon:
- Hekili — 9/10
- MaxDps — 7/10
- Ovale — 9/10
- HeroRotation — 7/10
- ConRo — 8/10
Jumping into the second category, author support, I want to highlight 3 scoring factors. These 3 scoring factors include:
- Whether the addon is up-to-date currently
- How many updates it has received in the last 12 months
- If the author is active in forums/discussions.
Let’s see how each addon stacks up in this category:
Overall, each of these addons receives fantastic support from their authors. In addition to all being up-to-date with the current patch (at the time of writing), their authors are active through forums on CurseForge, GitHub, or their own website. Most addons have also received dozens of updates in the last 12 months — except for MaxDps.
Based on these factors, I gave the addons the following author support scores:
- Hekili — 10/10
- MaxDps — 9/10
- Ovale — 10/10
- HeroRotation — 10/10
- ConRo — 10/10
In the third category, customization, I wanted to compare how each addon could be tailored by the player. I narrowed down all the possible customizations to a few broad factors — size/scale, position, spells shown, and profiles.
So, how did each addon fare in terms of customization?
Each addon allows for customization of the size and scale of overlays or icons. They also give you the ability to choose where the suggested spell icon is placed.
In Hekili, you can exclude individual spells or abilities from showing up in your rotation. For MaxDps and HeroRotation, you are more limited and can only exclude large cooldowns. In contrast, ConRo allows you to exclude groups of spells (like defensives, cooldowns, etc.…) but not individual abilities. Ovale doesn’t have many options to filter out abilities without changing the coded rotation.
The last customization factor is the ability to set up profiles. If you have used any major addon, you know that profiles allow you to share your settings and customizations across characters. When it comes to rotation helpers, only Hekili and Ovale have built-in profile sharing options.
Given these customization factors, I scored each addon as follows:
- Hekili — 10/10
- MaxDps — 8/10
- Ovale — 8/10
- HeroRotation — 8/10
- ConRo — 8/10
I have to admit, the testing category is the one I am the most excited about. In my mind, this is where the rubber meets the road, and we start getting a better idea of where each addon stands. In testing the addons, I wanted to answer 2 major questions:
- Are the addons lightweight? Do they impact game performance?
- Can the addon actually increase my DPS?
To test how lightweight the addons are and whether they could negatively impact performance, I decided to look at memory and CPU usage. On most systems, addons will make little impact. However, if you are playing on an older or memory-limited computer, this can be crucial.
To get these numbers, I used the AddonUsage mod. Here are the results:
When it comes to memory, the HeroRotation addon was the largest. In fact, it consumed 58% more memory than the rest combined. This memory use is the result of the HeroDBC addon dependency. Without diving into the details of how HeroDBC works, it is basically an addon that pulls a lot of data and requires a good amount of memory to run as a result.
The next biggest consumers of memory were Hekili and Ovale. This is not surprising because they have rotations for every spec built in, which requires more data. In contrast, MaxDps and ConRo need separate addons for each class, so they will only load the applicable rotations.
In terms of CPU usage, the largest addons were Hekili and Ovale. The remaining 3 addons all used a similar amount of power. These numbers are not perfect, and you should pay attention more to the differences between addons, not the actual number. For most computers, the CPU usage won’t be an issue, but if you notice drops in FPS, this could be why.
Overall, ConRo and MaxDps were lightweight in the memory and CPU usage categories. HeroRotation used more memory but had a lower impact than others on CPU usage.
DPS Testing: Average Player
For DPS testing, I decided to run a series of damage output comparisons without the addon and then when following the recommendations. To do that, I went to my local covenant sanctum’s training dummy. I did 1.5 minutes of combat (as timed by a nifty WeakAura) without any addons. I then enabled each addon and reran the test. Each test was done with my item level 209 Boomkin — a Night Fae (can’t pass up that convoke).
Overall, I would say that I am an average DPS player. My findings should apply to players who understand the basics of a rotation but feel like they have room to improve. In the following chart, you can see my DPS before, after, and the percent difference.
These tests proved to be pretty interesting. If you look at the graphic above, you will notice that Hekili and ConRo both produced a 1k increase in my DPS — or 27.8% improvement!
HeroRotation followed behind and increased my DPS by 22.2%. The last 2 addons, MaxDps and Conro, improved my DPS by 16.7% and 5.6%, respectively.
Outside of sheer DPS increase, I also wanted to see how each addon felt to use. Personally, I felt like Hekili, MaxDps, and HeroRotation were pretty smooth. ConRo felt like it had a slight delay but was pretty smooth as well.
Ovale, on the other hand, felt choppy and did not make recommendations on the timing of cooldown use (even though it is supposed to). I still used my cooldowns but found that the visual delay with Ovale had a significant impact on my DPS regardless. To be fair, there have been similar issues mentioned on the CurseForge page for Ovale — particularly for Balance Druid.
DPS Testing: New Player
I also wanted to do some testing to see how helpful rotation helpers are for new players. To do this, I enlisted the help of my wife since she has never played World of Warcraft beyond level 20. I figure that having her run the same test would illustrate how the addons help a new player with a boosted character.
We used the same approach of training dummy tests with the same Balance Druid. Here are the results of the testing:
Wow! There were some pretty dramatic DPS increases in these tests. Overall, using Hekili produced the best increase in damage at 77.3%. ConRo and MaxDps followed behind with 59% and 36% boosts, respectively. HeroRotation led to the smallest positive gain at 4.5%. At the same time, my wife’s DPS dropped with Ovale because it never recommended using cooldowns like Convoke, and she didn’t use them.
After the tests, I also asked my wife which one she liked using the most. She said that she liked Hekili and HeroRotation best. In contrast, she felt like ConRo and Ovale had a “stutter” and slowed her down.
It is interesting to note that the DPS gains were much better for my wife than for me. This illustrates an important takeaway. DPS rotation addons can be helpful for newer players but lead to smaller and smaller gains as you become more comfortable with your class.
Based on the DPS and performance tests, I assigned the following scores to each addon:
- Hekili — 9/10
- MaxDps — 8/10
- Ovale — 5/10
- HeroRotation — 7/10
- ConRo — 9/10
We have arrived at the last category in this addon showdown — setup.
To compare the setup of each addon, I looked at whether the addon was easy to install through an addon manager, how many supporting addons it needs, and whether it works “out of the box.”
Each of the addons was easy to install and worked well without more setup; however, the number of addon needed varied across the addons.
As mentioned in the performance testing section, Hekili and Ovale both come packaged with everything you need to start using the addon on any class. On the other hand, MaxDps and ConRo require you to install at least one additional addon to work for your class.
HeroRotation requires the most supporting addons to get it running at a total of 4. When you first install HeroRotation and its dependencies, it will also enable an addon for each class. This means that you will have 15 addons and dependencies for HeroRotation running at the same time!
Overall, each of the addons was easy to set up and start using, which led to the following scores:
- Hekili — 9/10
- MaxDps — 9/10
- Ovale — 8/10
- HeroRotation — 7/10
- ConRo — 8/10
The Best DPS Rotation Addon in WoW is…
Before we total up each of the FACTS category scores, let’s recap the points:
Once we add it all up, we see that the winner, with 47 points, is…
Second place was occupied by ConRo with a total of 43 points. MaxDps came in third with 41 points. Ovale and HeroRotation followed closely with 40 and 39 points, respectively.
Overall, Hekili had the highest FACTS score due to its features, impressive impact on DPS in testing, and an endless array of customization options. Each of the other addons also proved to have strengths and may be better suited to your class or playstyle.
It is interesting that Hekili, the addon with the most downloads, also ended up with the highest FACTS score. On the other hand, ConRo has the lowest number of downloads but ended up with the second-highest FACTS score.
Any way you slice it, each of these addons represents a great contribution by devoted community members.
In this showdown, I only tested the addons for Balance Druid and on a training dummy. From my basic testing, I found that Hekili had the most significant impact on my DPS. However, if I were to change specs or try using the addons in a raid or dungeon, I may find that a different addon works better.
I hope that these FACTS scores can serve as a valuable comparison to help you decide which addon might be the best for you. If you found one of these addons to be tempting, feel free to read the guide I wrote to learn how to set it up and use it:
I would love to hear which addon you choose and how it impacts your DPS in the comments!
If you have a moment to stick around, feel free to check out my list of the Best Addons in World of Warcraft!