It isn’t a project if it’s permanent07/09/2010
I just realized today how very long it has been since I’ve used any sort of fancy UI or add-ons. It was back in March that my UI finally utterly broke with a patch and I decided to return to my Zero Add-on Project. Believe it or not, I’ve been running the base UI ever since. 9/12 ICC hardmodes and I’m still pulling those little raid frames out to heal. After so long, the default UI is really -my- default, so I can’t really consider this any sort of experiment any longer. I’ve had time to collect my thoughts, analyze my impressions and I think I can say it now.
Healing add-ons do more damage than good. I’ve heard healing with base UI is like “eating soup with a fork,” but I’ve come to see using Vuhdo or the like as “eating rice with a fork,” instead. (A fork and soy sauce! GASP!) By making healing a simple matter of point and click, it removes the finesse of doing things like making macros or learning each of the unique debuffs so that you can spot them. Instead, Clique sets up your macros for you and the raid UI turns the affected person’s bar a funky color to tell you to Cleanse/decurse.
I don’t think I have ever had a conversation with a raiding healer where they said “oh sure, I could totally heal without my add-ons.” These UIs make healing easier, but they do so in a way that causes players to become dependent on them. It is like back in elementary school when we learned our basic arithmetic. When faced with having to learn multiplication, I asked my teachers why we should bother when we could just use a calculator instead. The answer to that is very apparent to see immediately after WoW patches. Healers scramble to update their add-ons so that they can get back to raiding, since they’ve convinced themselves that it would be impossible otherwise. We forget how to do longhand division because we depend on programs to pick up the slack for us.
Most likely, I’ll never become a crusader for the viewpoint that everyone should give up their fancy UIs, simply because I don’t see it being possible. Humans are by nature creatures who want to do as little work as we can get away with. Because of this, healing add-ons are rampant and the overwhelming majority of raiders are committed to their use. So I think I’m going to keep myself to being an example that it -is- viable to raid without all the shortcuts, without overly taxing ourselves. When people say that it isn’t possible, I’ll be able to counter that without having to get on a soapbox every time. Maybe by just existing, I’ll be able to help break some of the dependence out there.
Edit: I didn’t edit the text itself, but I wanted to point people to the follow-up post here. There are a lot of words being put into my mouth. Thanks!