Beware, all ye who enter World of Warcraft
. For here you will find an insanely obstructive mosaic of menus, Health bars, widgets, and chat windows. Well, if you play it right, like we do.
This is what you'd see without the UI overload.
As Blizzard Entertainment
's designers created it, WoW is set in a pretty, almost placid Tolkienesque universe. But for the hardcore gamer, that pristine landscape is begging for augmentation. There's just too much to track: At any given moment, a player might be expected to coordinate an upcoming event with scores of guildmates across four continents, juggle a massive inventory of items, and track online auctions, all while fighting wave after wave of evil trolls. Here's a look at a typical WoW desktop, with explanations for n00bs.
1 Ventrilo //
When dozens of players need to coordinate, text chat just won't do—voicechat app Ventrilo helps prevent anarchy. It's a party line for orcs and gnomes.
2 Cartographer //
The standard map in WoW is woefully inadequate. This add-on highlights important locations, like resource-rich mining nodes.
3 Character Status //
This little display tracks your avatar's well-being. When the green Health bar gets low, it's time to break out some healing potion.
4 Bartender //
These buttons represent your character's available actions, from sorcery to swordplay. High-level players who've amassed scores of abilities need Bartender to keep them all straight.
5 Auctioneer Suite //
Shopping for some new Leggings of Beast Mastery? This bot scans auction houses and ranks goods by price and availability.
6 ItemRack //
It never fails—dress in a cotton tunic and leather trousers and suddenly a wave of murlocs attacks. Changing into armor takes forever, but ItemRack lets you switch into battle gear with a single click.
7 Combuctor //
This search function helps sift through the hundreds of outfits, keys, potions, and weapons in your inventory.
8 Group Calendar //
Just because you live in your mom's basement doesn't mean you can't network like a big shot CEO. This calendar helps guilds coordinate 40- player, eight-hour raids.
9 Bejeweled //
Worried that 30 hours a week of WoW isn't enough gaming? Fire up this game-within-a-game version of the addictive puzzler Bejeweled to fill in the inevitable downtime.
10 Twobox Toolkit //
The pink chat text is being generated by TwoBox, an app that helps players control two or more characters at once. "Dual boxers" log in their extra avatar on a second computer and keep tabs on it through text chat.
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