Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Are We Too Dependent on Addons?

A few months ago there was an update to deadly boss mods and I had not downloaded it before raid time.  Being I had done all the fights already many times I figured I can live without that particular addon for one night.  I know what to do and when to do it.  I was tanking that day.  It was actually the most fun I had since I first learned the fights.

I needed to watch for abilities, I needed to pay attention on went to taunt, I need to basically "play" the game instead of just listening for announcements telling me when something important that I should react to was about to happen.  Admittedly being I had done the fights so many times by that point I really did not have any issues but it was still fun to actually have to pay attention to what I was doing again.

That did not change the fact that as soon as I logged out that night I updated my deadly boss mods so the next time I was in there I would have it up to date and ready for use.  Sure I might not have needed it and had done just fine without it but I'd gotten so used to having it it felt weird not to.

Setting up the game completely again as I lost all my addon settings as well as the list of addons I used made me realize that the game as presented by blizzard is severely lacking.  At least when looking at it from the point of things I can not live without.  Or at least feel I can not live without.

Some of the addons I believe should be something already in game, others I believe just add little extras that should not be added into the game.  For the things I believe need to be in the game, by default, the list would include an encounter addon like DBM, a UI addon like bartender, and a display addon like move anything along with adding raid frame functionality to make the in game raid frames work like a healing addon such as vuhdo or healbot.  I use mouse overs so I can actually use the in game raid frames to heal, but some click functionality, size modification and display options would be a huge addition to the game and like the other things I mentioned, should all be baseline in the game and should not require an addon at all.

I am still fishing up addons as I remember them, usually when I need them, but there were the few addons that stood out that I down loaded right away.  Addons like weak auras, while amazingly useful, require a massive amount of work to make them work exactly how you like them, and while just trying to get my characters functional again even if not as good as they can be, I waited on downloading them until I have time to set them up correctly.

Here is a list of some of the addons I installed as soon as I downloaded the game, and the ones I believe are absolutely required for me to play, or at least play at minimal comfort.

Deadly Boss Mods:

This is an addon I can not believe has not been made standard in game yet.  At least some of it.  I have seen more than a few blue posts they explain why it was not added.  They believe it is better to let others design it because they should not give everything away about an encounter and would rather people experience it.  Or something along those lines.

Now, let me play the voice of reason, or at least reason as I see it.  Any player that cares about their raiding will have deadly boss mods.  Also, any player that cares about their raiding could probably do the fights without the addon because they care about their raiding and they would at least attempt to know what to do and how to react addon or not.

The people that do not download the addon are the people that need it the most.  So while blizzard believes it would take away from the game if they added these in game hints, they are wrong.  It would add to the game.  It would help people learn and if you have ever done the LFR you know taht there are a lot of people that have a lot of learning to do.

The people that do not need the hints have a add on that gives them, sure it makes them a bit lazy sometimes, but they have it.  The people that do need the hints however will not have the addon.  So it should be base line in game.  Something that yells at the person, you are standing in fire, move.  Or you have a debuff on you, move out of the group until it is dispelled or falls off.  You need to stack up at this point, you need to spread out at this point.  The people that really actually need to see those tips are not seeing them because they do not have deadly boss mods or a similar addon.

So, without any hesitation, I say this is one of those must need addons and even more so, it is one of those must be added baseline to the game addons.  Just like they added quest helper because it was such a huge success and it made questing easier and better for everyone, deadly boss mods does that for raiding.

Along with DBMs I downloaded the BC & Vanilla mod, the wrath mod, the cata mob and the PvP mod.  Might as well have them all, even more so if you ever do any throwback stuff.  I had never had the PvP mod before and even after doing some PvP I still do not know exactly what it does, I surely did not notice anything.


This is the second thing I added and I really do not understand why there is not a functionality like this already in game.  I mean really, the bar system is horrible in game.  I had, over the years, used others like dominos and while I liked that dominos gives me more options in some places than bartender does, mostly the ability to move the loot roll area and the boss boxes, bartender just seems so much more user friendly.  And now more than ever before I just wanted to get my characters set back up again.

I used to have a different bar set up for all my characters as it was built for them over the years and it was what I was comfortable looking at.  Healers had one type, hunters another, tanks a third, etc.  For now however, just to get things rolling, I built a standard set up and excluded bars 7, 9 and 10 because those bars are used on some classes like a rogue for stealth, a druid for bear or cat form as well as stealth, a monk switching stances, and things like that.  Then I just copied that set up from one character to the next and moved my abilities around a little to work with that set up.  For the time being at least.  I was not setting characters up for optional, just setting them up for capable.

How anyone can play with the default bars amazes me.  I know some very good players that do, seen some videos of top players that do.  I just can't.  I need to have my bars looking more, uniform.  Hey, I am weird that way, what can I say.  Either way, I can not live without this addon or at the very least, I would not want to play without it.


Oh my god how does anyone that has as many alts as I do live without an addon like this.  When it comes to addons that should already be in game this one has to be at or near the top of the list just for its functionality.

I love that if I need something like ghost iron bars I can just hover over a ghost iron bar and see my warrior has 32 in his bags, my hunter has 2 and my druid had 14.  If I had no bars I could hover over ore and see who has it so I can make some bars.  When making stuff, or when leveling, it is invaluable.  Sometimes someone in guild will say, anyone have some star rubies, I would say link one, then I click on it and say, I have 19 in my guild back, how many do you need.

Why is a function like that not already in game.  And even if you do not have the item as long as you know how to spell it you can search for it.  Great for finding where you sent those plate heirlooms.  Ah, my DK on the proudmoore server has them.  I can find them no matter what server I am on because the game tells me who has what in their bags.

One issue with installing this is that you need to populate it which meant when I logged into each character to fix them up I needed to open all their bags, their bank bags, their void storage, the guild tabs, and their mail, so I could populate my list and have all that stuff at my finger tips.  Another beautiful thing is it telling you when you have mail about to expire.  Sometimes it does not work perfectly, but if you are like me and have lost over 1000 frostweave cloth back in wrath when bouncing them around, you use whatever you can to try and keep that from happening ever again.

Altoholic should be part of the basic game, no doubt about that.  But seeing how long it took them to add something to search our own bags I don't foresee them adding anything that lets us see all our characters bags any time soon.  Maybe in 50 years at the rate they are going.


There are other addons that do cast bars and some might say there are other addons that do cast bars better but for me quartz is a winner hands down.  Again, like with my bars on bartender I used to have different set ups for each character, I also had different set ups for quartz for each character.  However in an effort to just get going I made one master quartz set up and copied it to all my characters as I logged into them.

I like that I can put so many bars in the places I want and change their appearance.  For DoT tracking each class has class based addons but if you are like me you can do just fine with quartz.  Right over your cast bar will be what debuffs you have on the mob you are attacking.  So as long as I can see that I can make sure to recast my rupture with less than 1 second left, or see if my serpent sting fell off, or see how much time is left on my shadow word pain.

Again, there might be better addons for each case, but this one addon is so friendly and easy to use once you understand it (which could take a little playing with) that I only need this one for now to get going and it really should not hurt me to be missing a few others because it really can fill a lot of holes by giving me the data I need.

As much as I like this addon it is not one that I would say should be base line in game.  This really is a mod, doing something differently.  Everything is does is already in game, I just like the way this does it so much better.  A friend said, I do not play any casters, what do I need a cast bar addon for.  I said, trust me, you do, and he downloaded it and never regrets he did.


This is one of those addons that you download and forget you have, but when you log in and it is not there you notice instantly.  It places a timer on all your abilities to let you know how much time you have left on them.  For the longest time I used other things to track this (as will be noted later) but once I downloaded this I can't see how I ever lived without it and even more so I can't believe this is not an actual function in game already.  How hard would it be to show a countdown on your ability?

Healbot Continued:

Honestly I have not been happy with healbot this entire expansion.  From hiding your in game raid frames, to not remembering your settings on a per character basis the addon has become as much of an annoyance as it has been a godsend.

I despise that when setting it up again I made a profile for "priest" so I only had to do it once for my multiple priests but low and behold it doesn't work that way.  It saved the layout I designed for priest, sure, but I still needed to set my abilities for each one.  If right click is power word shield for me, I want it to be power word shield for me on all my priests and if I choose the priest set up it should copy that completely.

Then general annoyance two is that when I log into my shaman with my new shaman profile it loads as priest, because a priest was the last character I was on.   So I switch it to shaman, play on my shaman, then later go back to my priest, and it is on my shaman profile, I have to switch back to priest.  If heal bot really wanted to fix themselves and get back in, at least my, good graces they would fix it so that a profile that is saved like "priest" saved not just the layout, but the abilities, and each character would remember what its own design is so when I logged into my priest I got priest and when I logged into my shaman I got shaman.

All that aside, and it might seem like a lot of complaining, the reason I downloaded heal bot over vuhdo or any other healing addon is because heal bot is still the absolute easiest to use, to set up, and to understand for a beginner.  As such, to get going, which is my number one priority now, it was the best one to use.  Maybe if I used one of the other addons more often I would know how to fix them up nice and quick too, but while some might offer more power, or some better functions (like the range and arrow on vuhdo) that I like, heal bot gets the job done and gets it done very well and very quickly.

Remember, as I said I use all mouse overs.  I don't even need a healing addon to get the job done, but it does make things easier, much easier, and as such I like the light weight heal bot over many others.

Not to mention the number one best reason to use heal bot as opposed to other addons.  Because it is so simple and so customizable, you can use it on any character for any reason your heart desires.  I use it on my paladin for my hands, from hand of protection to lay on hands.  I could use it on my hunter for misdirection and masters call.  I can use it on my tanking druid for a the battle res.  I can use it on my warrior for intervene.  I can use it on my DK for his res.  Anything that would require me to select a target and then hit a key is done much much faster if you can just right click on a name on heal bot to get it done.  A DK battle res in the middle of battle when you do not need to find the person to target and can just click and revive can be the difference between life and death.  Removing the step of targeting is always going to up your game and heal bot helps me for that.

Might there be better addons, sure, but I am comfortable with this one and even with my many complaints about it this expansion it is still my healing addon of choice. 

It is also something that should already be in game.  I can, and have, pulled the in game raid frames out and healed directly from them, thanks to mouse overs.  If blizzard added some ability to modify them such as size, shape, click ability and display, they could effectively replace many healing addons or even make healing a much more attractive endeavor for the player that doesn't know about addons but would really like to heal.  Sure, there would still be addons that will do it better, but some of the basics of healing addons should already be capable of being incorporated into the in game raid frames.

Need To Know:

Being I am using my quartz to track my debuffs on targets I need something to track the buffs on me.  Again, there are many others that do this but I like the ease of use of need to know.  It is simple and even a beginner can figure out how to use it really fast.  You can place it anywhere you like and add as much as you want to it, buffs on you, debuffs on your target, tracking cooldown, etc.  You can change it size wise, position wise, color wise, display wise, and make it just exactly what you want it to be. 

Being I have omnicc taking care of cooldown and quartz taking care of debuffs I tend to use need to know for buffs on myself like stacks of backdraft on my lock or slice and dice on my rogue or tigers paw on my monk.  Either way, having this in a good and easy to see place can mean a lot when it comes to doing your job to the best of your ability.

Tidy Plates:

Tidy plates and its associated packs change the way the name plates appear and how they act.  I love this addon and it is really useful and was even more so back in the day when aggro management was actually really important.  You can adjust how the plates react so you know when you are starting to come close to pulling aggro and then when it gets nice and huge and red and spiky you know that you are about to be facing the floor boss if the tank does not taunt.

The treat plates are also great as a tank on keeping an eye on aggro and even in today's game you can lose some mobs on AoE and this will let you know which ones you might be on the verge of losing or even more so which ones you have lost by making the name plate huge.

It also can be used, if you wish, to track the debuffs you have on a target visually with images and timers but I tend not to pay attention to them myself as I monitor them elsewhere but it is a good feature.

The only thing that could make tidy plates better is something I do not believe can be done in game and that would be to move where the plates appear.  I would love, mostly on bosses, if they could move the plate to appear at the mobs feet instead of its head.  Even playing as I do with my camera all the way out there are many times I can not even see the name plate so the theory of even having one means nothing.  It would be nice if blizzard would add a way to change where the plates appear in reference to the mob.   Top, middle, bottom, what have you.  Either way, it is a good addon and I have gotten so used to having better name plates playing with the basic ones is just, well, boring.


Not really required, but I do enjoy seeing how I am doing as it helps me get better.  As a damage dealer it is always nice to see yourself at the top of damage done and at the bottom of damage received.  It is even more fun to tank ordos and be top in damage done.  I am going to miss vengeance.

Pet Battle Teams:

I do not know why this addon is not already base in the game.  Having the ability to make multiple teams so you can switch out on the fly is invaluable.  Name the teams so you know what they are for.  Sadly I lost all my teams and have not been battling for a long time so I do not remember them off the top of my head and it will take forever to make them all up again.

I had a leveling team to power level pets, a few different ones, depending on where I decide to do the power leveling.  I had multiple PvP teams.  I had teams for every daily boss, for every end boss, for every spirit boss.  I had an all beast team, I had an all flying team, I had an all critter team, etc.  I had my teams for all celestial bosses and teams for all the battles I might run into leading up to them.  I named them all so I knew which one was for which and could switch on the fly.

Why oh why is this not in game as is?  If it were I would not have lost all those teams.  Now I need to make them all over again and I am not looking forward to that at all.  A long time ago I was going to make a post and list all the teams I used for all the bosses and now I am regretting that I never got around to it because I could have used that to rebuild my entire collection of teams.

At the moment, this part of the game is the game that lost the most from me losing everything. Sure I still have 100s of max level pets, many rares and many perfect ones for battling, but I need to redesign the best team for all challenges and I am not looking forward to that.  So I do not see myself doing any pet battles any time in the near future.  Maybe I will look online, maybe someone else made a list of all the best teams for all the battles and I can just copy them.  But it will not feel the same.  When I made all those teams it was before there were "best" teams.  I figured them out on my own because there were no guides.  Oh well, at least I know I did it on my own before, now I would just be happy to get it going again.

Silver Dragon:

It might be the oldest, it might not, but I call this addon the grand daddy of rare finders.  I call it that because any other one just wishes it could be as good as this one.  I use NPC Scan and of course NPC scan overlay as well and I would suggest you do also, but silver dragon is the best.

I love it even more for leveling because it shows all the rares out in the world, not just the new ones or one needed for achievements.  Any rare it takes note of and any rare is worth killing.  When leveling, depending on your level, a rare could be anywhere from the value of turning in 1 quest to turning in 3 quests, and that is a boat load of experience.  When you only need 35K to reach the next level and killing a rare of a higher level might net you as much as 12K when in heirlooms and rested, it is worth having an addon to make sure you notice that rare is there.

I always liked rare hunting even before all the cool kids where doing it and this has been my resource to do so since, well, as long as I can remember.  It might not really be something I could call a required addon, but I can't see me playing without it after so many years playing with it.

Handy Notes:

This is a newer addon for my addon collection but something I remembered so it was something I downloaded right away.  Although the site says it has been around since 2008 I only started using it when mists came out and even at that I started using it a little too late.  Already had the achievements for finding stuff but this addon made it so much easier on alts so I did not need to remember where things were.

Out in the rest of the world there really is not a great deal of use for this addon, at least not that I have found, but on pandaria I have found this addon priceless.  With additions like timeless chests, lost and found, lore walkers, and so much more it takes a lot of the hunt and peak out of tracking things down.  Love having it for when leveling so I stop and pick up all the treasures, can spin by all the rares, and when I get to max and get to the timeless island I know exactly where every chest on the island is.  All that and it ties into silver dragon to make rare hunting even better.

Handy notes are indeed handy.  And if you never got around to doing some of the holiday stuff like the lunar festival or the summer festival it even has additions for that as well.  If there were one addition I would say not to add it is the timeless island rares one.  Reason being, it puts skulls on the mini map where the rares might spawn.  It annoys the crap out of me and makes me think there is something there but it is not.  Let silver dragon keep track of the rares and let handy notes handle the other stuff.

Quick Mark:

A super simple raid marker addon I have been using forever.  There is not much to it but it is a decent marker addon I think it worth having and have been using for many years.

Move Anything:

I never had this addon.  Kept saying I would download it and never got around to it.  I figured being I was restarting from scratch, now might be the time to grab this bad boy and start moving the things that bartender could not move and there are no other addons that can move.

I had my first chance to test it out last night when trying to get some battleground wins to move one of my characters along on the legendary quest line (lost 5 in a row and gave up if you are interested).  I keep other things near the top of my screen, so the alliance and horde scores were obscured so I popped open move anything and moved them nice and quick and easily.  Awesome, how did I ever live without this addon.  It is now part of my must have list.

And Many More:

I still have a lot of addons I have not gotten the chance to get to.  I downloaded the things I felt I need just to get going again but in time more will join the list.  Weak Auras (even if I hate having to set it up again) will make a return for monitoring procs and perhaps even a few of the class specific ones like jshunter bar, slice admiral, shock and awe, and the like.

End Note:

So yes, I believe I am too dependent on addons.  I can play just fine without them but I don't think I would enjoy it half as much if I did not have them and some, like pet battle teams, make the mini game so much more fun because I do not need to keep a list on paper beside my computer so I can get the right teams together for each match up, doing that just seems so 1998.  Can I live without addons and play without addons?  Sure.  Would I want to?  Absolutely not.  I am spoiled by addons and freely admit that and I have become dependent on having them.


  1. wow you do have a lot of addon's :) I just looked at my curse thingy and I'm really only running 6 that I use and two are for loot management. DBM, recount, weakaura's and tidy plates the last two are the EPGP addons I guess I'm a minimalist and a bit lazy :P

    1. That is maybe half of what I normally use. Oddly enough I like a clear screen and hate having clutter and believe it or not, my screen is pretty clear. I have things scaled so small that most people would ask "how the hell can you read anything".

      Sadly in recent months my eyes have started to catch up to my age and I've needed to start scaling things a little larger than I am used to so I can read them. Timers mostly.

    2. Ha! that's actually why I have Weak aura's. I've found in my "old age" I was missing my debuffs falling off so now it flash's a big picture of my bomb or buff tat I need to cast at me to basically say "hey grandpa put up your bomb already shesh"

    3. Getting older sucks doesn't. lol

  2. Curse says I have 106 addons installed...

    1. You probably do not delete older ones you are not losing. I think if I kept everything I had tried I would be close to that number. I think I had roughtly 44-45 addons going on the old computer and use nearly all of them.

    2. I could maybe get rid of half a dozen or so that I'm actually not using, but the rest are enabled.

      I use TSM which has quite a few modules.
      MogIt and DBM have several modules.
      UI is all custom with: Bartender4, X-Perl, SexyMap, Mapster, TidyPlates.
      I also use a lot of brokers with ChocolateBar to put info at the top and bottom of my UI.
      Use a few addons for professions.
      A couple Pet Battles addons.
      Plus a lot of other miscellaneous stuff.

      It adds up quickly. I could probably use with a spring cleaning though to get rid of some addons that I use but don't really "need".

    3. And here I was thinking I used a lot. lol

      This worked a little as my spring cleaning, but I usually keep a tight ship anyway so did not have a lot of addons I did not really feel I needed.

      No map ones for me, no mog ones for me, no atlas loot or quest helper stuff, nothing that I feel really adds nothing to the game for me.

      But each person has different needs. A friend who is into the pet battles has to have over 20 pet addons alone. I am happy with 1 or 2.

  3. Wow. :-)

    That's what I like about PVP - arenas teached me to play without addons. The big boys in the tournaments can't use them so they popularize the idea and, well, I like it.

    The only addons I use since end of LK are OmniCC and Recount. Plus a couple of macros for arenas to reposition / resize arena frames, etc. It's liberating.

    That said, I am not a raider (my progress is 1/14 hc with PUGs), so my needs are different from yours.

    1. Thought I'd add something else...

      The biggest thing I hate in Blizzard's stock UI is that bug in raid frames which sometimes makes them unclickable after someone drops out or joins while you are in combat. I spent a lot of time writing logging hooks trying to find the cause of this (I am a dev, I take pleasure doing things like that) and the issue is absolutely inside Blizzard's code (and yes, it reproduces without addons just great). The problem is, I can't fix it, because I can't replace Blizzard's code even though I can see most of it in the files - the client just overwrites the changes. The issue is such that it can't be solved by creating an addon that would filter what's fed into Blizzard's code either, which is a pity. Sadly, the raid frames had this bug for years. It would have been great if they fixed it in WoD, although I am not optimistic.

      That's one of the places where sometimes I wish I had an addon for raid frames.

    2. I really do not use much for PvP, same ones I use for PvE, but they are not as important. It is not like I am ever going to be able to just stand there and do a rotation in PvP so refreshing dots at the last second is not exactly important.

      That is annoying as hell. Or even if you chick on someone, you get someone else.

      It is hell on healing addons if you are a healer. Just imagine how difficult it becomes to heal when you target a heal and it won't go off, because that person is not there, or you target a heal on one person that needed it and another person that doesn't gets it.

      Blizzard really needs to fix that. I am not sure why something like that is not near the top of their priority list.

  4. Actually the game has some DBM-like functionality built in these days... most people writing about the subject just wouldn't know because they never play without add-ons! :P

    During my brief stint of revisiting the game and trying out LFR at the start of the year, with no add-ons, I still kept getting giant raid warnings that the boss was about to do some special attack and warning sounds when I had a debuff. It's obviously not the same level of detail as offered by an add-on, but it's definitely there.

    1. Indeed. You have to monitor your - or someone else's - debuffs or buffs manually, but, first, you'd likely do it anyway if you really want to do well - on Nazgrim's fight, I am always watching his buffs to know just how much time I have until he switches to / from defensive stance - and, second, that's not every fight. Maybe every other fight, or even less frequent.

      I think the default UI is enough for anything up to heroic. Definitely good enough for flex yet alone LFR.

    2. Oh I noticed, when I tanked without DBM that day I saw some announcements. It is there but it is not very helpful. As far as the in game one goes it is best described as "a day late and a dollar short" when it comes to helping raiders.

      What you describe and why I say it is not good is best described by an ability of the third boss in ToT.

      The frost king throws a debuff on people, when he is not empowered it is no biggie, the person stands alone and gets healed through it. When he is empowered and does it it throws the debuff on people and the in game thing turns the borders of your screen blue, like ice, and your screen gets a blue screen.

      Now for someone that raids this is perfect. We most likely read about the fight and understand that effect means we need to share that debuff and need to stack with a couple of people and all of us need to be healed through it. To someone that did not read the fight, does not raid normally, or never saw anything like that before, it means nothing, or as someone in the raid once said "holy shit my whole screen just went blue, if I crash don't kick me". It was good for a laugh, but the in game notifications are just not enough. They are most definitely not DBMs which is what the in game notifications need to be.

    3. @PvP Anon

      I believe the default in game announcements are decent for anyone that is already a raider. They will know what those announcements mean so they can use them. Like you said, in heroic you might want more, but for normal they are fine. But only fine for raiders. They still do not help the people that need them most, the non raiders.

      Trust me, I can tell you the in game ones are completely useless because of the number of people I have dragged into normal and needed to yell on vent over and over 100 times STOP DPSING THE BOSS and they still do not stop. Maybe the game sounds were too loud and that is why they did not hear me, but 100% for sure the game did not tell them to stop, because they never do.

      When all is said and done they say, I did not know we had to stop attacking him and I could not hear vent over the game sounds.

      That means, without a shadow of a doubt, the in game system DOES NOT do the job.

  5. FYI - I read that the OmniCC functionality will be included in WoD so I can retire one add-on at that point, at least.

    I run DBM, of course, but I generally don't actively use the timers... when learning a fight I'll use them a bit more but after a while I just do the fight. I'm sure I respond to the sounds, though, even if just subconsciously.

    I used to run well over 100 add-ons but when MoP hit I cleaned a bunch out so I'm currently at 80 in Curse... probably 55 or so actual add-ons (DBM has multiple entries, Altaholic has a bunch, etc... dependencies).

    I run a smaller set of add-ons on my second account just to keep it light, here are the ones I use there:

    Ion (bars & macros)
    Friend Groups
    FriendsShare Resurrection
    (yes, I might have a thing about organized friend lists)
    Recount & Skada
    Titan Panel

    ... not exactly a small list but a fraction of my full list.

    Most of the other add-ons I use are either cosmetic (things like Quartz or Tipsy), make decisions simpler for me (VendorBait), give me additional info (Prospect Me) or are only really useful for higher-end raiding (RaidChecklist, SEF). There are a couple of dozen others I run but probably not worth mentioning.

    1. I was always surprised that something like OMNICC was not already in game. It is not like it would be something that would have been hard to add.

      I don't use any chat, friend, auction or mail addons, that probably is what is keeping my list smaller than yours.

    2. Ah, no AH add-ons is probably why you mentioned the negative around larger stack sizes, they're trivial for me. Do yourself a favour and grab Auctionator, it's lightweight but completely blows away the default AH interface.

  6. the other people that you're getting the info from also need to run ORA3. So even if you don't want to see all this yourself, run it in the background while you raid. Never know when it will come in handy. Especially if you're a druid. more info