The subject is a useful one, especially with many hunters now playing a much more reactive spec with Survival.
Therefore I will create this thread as a starting point with some "FAQ" type info and people can post specific questions/advice on the subject here.
What is an Add-On/Mod?
Most people posting here will be more than aware of this, but in case of copy and paste for beginners; a WOW add-on or modification (mod) is a program by a third party developer using Blizzard's open API to add to or change the functionality of the standard wow interface.
Many, many add-ons are available and available to download for free at sites such as these:
GamerDNA | Xbox Playstation Wii MMORPG PC Game Tracker, Clans, Free Guild Hosting
Why Use Add-Ons/Mods as a Hunter?
Add-ons can be used for many purposes in game, but this thread will concentrate on add-ons which aid the hunter in their role of raid DPS.
For this role add-ons can be useful in assisting the hunter with such tasks as:
- Being aware of procs (such as Lock and Load or trinket effects)
- Checking Range (specifically for Sniper Training)
- Managing DOTS (specifically Serpent Sting)
- Viewing Shot Cooldown's, and
- Managing Viper Sting.
Knowing when certain effects Proc can be very valuable in upping your damage. This is especially true for Survival Hunters whom are looking to trigger as many lock and load procs during a fight as possible, but it is also true for other hunters looking to time or refresh effects to take advantage of things like trinket procs.
Example: Hunter may look to refresh their Serpent Sting early when under the effect of a Mirror of Truth, or Darkmoon Card: Greatness proc.
Different people will like different ways of notifying this, so several options are listed below:
Visual Notifiers - Bars
Elks Buff Bars: Elkano's BuffBars - WotLK : WoWInterface Downloads : WotLK Beta
Class Timers: ClassTimer - Addons - Curse
Are both add-ons that can be used to put up a timer bar somewhere on your screen when a specific event occurs.
In addition Need to Know and Tell Me When are a pair of addons people use to put up bars/icons to inform them of procs:
NeedToKnow : WoWInterface Downloads : Buff/Debuff/Spell Mods
TellMeWhen : WoWInterface Downloads : Combat Mods
Visual Notifiers - Character
Power Auras (POWA): Power Auras Classic - Addons - Curse
Is an add-on that will put a customisable visual effect around your character when a specified event occurs.
Some good notes and screen shots on configuring this add-on can be found here: World of Warcraft - English (NA) Forums -> How To Spec Survival for PvE Guide - 3.08
Thayerâ€™s excellent video on using it can be found here:
YouTube - Power Auras w/ LNL Procs
Some people may prefer a sound to inform them when a proc such as lock and load occurs.
ShotProc is an add-on that will do this.
ShotProc - Addons - Curse
Combat Text Notifiers
Some people use Combat Text to inform them of these procs.
Miks SBT will do this: MikScrollingBattleText : WoWInterface Downloads : Combat Mods
This is mainly a Survival Hunter concern resulting from the new talent "Sniper Training" which requires the hunter to be it's a range of greater than 30 yards to get a damage buff.
Range Display will put up a number in your screen showing how far away your target is:
RangeDisplay : WoWInterface Downloads : Ace: Combat
All specs of hunter will now be looking to ensure that Serpent Sting (Or Viper in PvP I guess) never falls off our target.
To see DOTS and other timed event you can use both the 'bar' timers mentioned above:
Elks Buff Bars: ClassTimer - Addons - Curse
Class Timers: ClassTimer - Addons - Curse
In addition there is a hunter specific add-on which does this:
Kharthuss's Hunter Timers: Kharthus's Hunter Timers - Addons - Curse
An alternative, or supplemental, choice to bars is Power Auras which can be configured to show an aura around your character both when the sting is up, and a different one when the sting is absent and you are in combat.
Power Auras Classic - Addons - Curse
Some time ago playing a hunter to get high DPS consisted primarily of setting your pets to attack then leaning your face against the steady shot key till the boss died.
These days all specs have different abilities they want to fire off when they are available, Survival for example uses a priority system rather than a â€œrotationâ€, where we (simply put) cast ExS in preference to Multi or AimS in preference to Steady Shot, while keeping up Serp Sting at all times.
Therefore knowing EXACTLY when ExP or another shot comes available is now vital information.
OmniCC: OmniCC : WoWInterface Downloads : Casting Bars and Cooldowns
Will put a large number on your toolbar which counts down so you can see exactly how long each ability has left before it can be fired again.
[Edit: A link can be found here as to how to configure OmniCC to show 1/10ths of seconds when below 2 seconds on the cooldown]
Managing Aspect of the Viper
In some situations, especially when running short on replenishment characters, it may be necessary to switch into viper sting, this of course lowers DPS so we donâ€™t want to stay in there longer than necessary.
Viper Notify: ViperNotify - Addons - Curse
Will play a sound and put up a line in your Combat text when you reach a specific % of Mana.
Auto Aspect: AutoAspect : WoWInterface Downloads : Hunter does the same thing with the addition of a big transparent click button to switch over at defined thresholds.
Example Set Up.
Every hunter will find a combination of things that works for them, but as an example here is how I use some of these addons.
Used to notify of Trinket effect (Greatness/Reflection of Torment)
Used to show whether or not I have Serp sting up, one aura when it is up, a separate aura when Iâ€™m in combat and it has fallen off or not been cast.
Elks Buff Bars
Used to put a great big timer bar at the bottom of my screen when LnL procs.
Also used to track hunters mark, and how long Serpent Sting has to go (to time renewals).
I also use this to follow the ExpS dot, rather than POWA but thatâ€™s just my preference.
Used to put up distance to target just right of the centre of the screen.
Used in conjuction with Dominos to put a cooldown on my toolbar buttons.
In addition I use Dominos to put up three buttons just left of centre in my screen at eye-level to show the cooldowns of ExpS, MS and KS without having to look at my toolbars; for fights where you need to be aware of the surroundings.
Used to notify me both visually and with an audio queue when Iâ€™m in Viper and at 80% mana.