Things being the way they are in Geekdom, if you’re regularly playing a massively multiplayer online role-playing game – or MMORPG as it is known by the sunlight-deprived – chances are it’s Blizzard’s monumentally successful World of Warcraft. Based on the lore of the Warcraft universe, the seeds of which were planted years ago in 1994 by the original real time strategy, WoW provides perhaps the most engrossing, polished and downright addictive online gaming experience known to man, short of being sucked into your PC to play laser Frisbee with a sentient program that dispenses Mars Bar every time you defeat it.
But your playing experience can always be improved and we’re going to do just that with this guide, by taking a look at the wonderful world of interface modding. First though, we’re going to explain a few concepts. Trust us they’re interesting, just like pie.
You should already be familiar with game modding. If you’re not, modding refers to the act of altering a game, be it making minor changes to enhance play, or creating full-blown new elements that can stand alone from the original title. Customisation has always been the life-extending ambrosia for games – just look at the Half-Life mod Counter-Strike. It is the sole reason anyone plays the Valve’s original FPS.
World of Warcraft is no different.
Well maybe a little. Its nature as a completely online game means that modification is limited to client-side only – that is, changes only you can see. This essentially means all we can play around with is the UI – user interface – to add more information, graphics and to a small extent, automation to our game experience.
Modding in World of Warcraft is based on a plug-in system, much like Photoshop. To add something to your UI, you need to download a mod package and install it into a directory under the main game. This directory can be found under Interface\Addons. Blizzard unfortunately does not supply a tool to install add-ons easily, so without a third party utility – more on this later – you’ll have to create a folder and extract the mod package yourself.
Fortunately, WoW UI mods are based on the Lua programming language and have a fixed structure outlined by Blizzard, so other than extracting, no extra effort is required on your part to make them work.
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This Feature appeared in the March, 2007 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine