Addons Part 1
September 9, 2009 § 2 Comments
In this episode: Questhelper
Just be warned, this post is very wall-o-text. (also, I’ll edit later, I’m a little rushed.)
The first one I want to talk about is Questhelper, a magical addon that I just wouldn’t want to live without. Questhelper is a way to track and monitor quests. When you first install questhelper you’ll notice two things right away. The first is a large arrow with text underneath it, and the second is a list of quests from your log. If you open your world map you’ll see dotted lines leading from your characters position to other points around Azeroth and Dreanor. There’s also a button in the upper right hand corner that says, “Questhelper” that you push to configure things.
The large arrow with the text underneath it is called the Questhelper Arrow (I’ll just call it the arrow). The text underneath it tells you what zone you need to go to ultimately get where you need to be; what you need to acquire, kill, see, etc to complete the quest, and how far away you are from the next step in your journey. This arrow has gotten a lot smarter over the years. It will factor in flight points (it keeps track of the ones you know), boats/zepplins, and even city portals. You will also notice that the arrow will change color depending on the direction you are facing. If you are facing towards where you need to be (0 degrees) the arrow will be green. If you are facing away (180 degrees) it will turn red. As you turn from 0-180 degrees the arrow will change from green to yellow to orange to red. You can configure the settings for it by right clicking on the arrow. You can hide it, lock its position, change the text and arrow scale, reset it’s position, and adjust the objective settings. In the objectives you can either ignore the current quest you are on, ignore the location (if there are multiple places where that quest can be accomplished, you can ignore the other locations), or change the quests priority.
When you open your map, you’ll see all sorts of shiny new icons–assuming of course you have quests in your log. Each of those icons means something different. The most obvious one should be the question mark–this shows you where to turn a quest you have in your log. If the circle the ? is in is gray the quest isn’t completed. If it’s filled in green, it is completed. If an icon looks like a face (kind of like a jack-o-lantern), that means you need to go there and kill someone or something. If it looks like a little box that means you have to kill something and then collect a drop from them. If it looks like a little compass that is the catch-all for everything else (collect something off the ground, click a switch or a box or a portal, escort someone to that point, etc). You will also notice little dotted lines running between every point (these are called ‘ant trails’). The ant trails connect all the points you need to visit in a fairly logical manner; if you follow the route it theoretically should take the least amount of time.
If you hover your mouse over any of the icons a tool-tip will open up. The ? mark icons will display what quest can be turned in there. The other types of icons will open up a tooltip that will display the quest name, and information about what you need to do to accomplish that quest. It will also track your progress. For example if you need to collect 10 Mag’har Ancestral Beads for Makuru’s Vengeance it will show you how many you have collected (0/10). Additionally, when you hover over an icon you will notice a shaded area appear on your map (it should be an orange color). This shows you the area in which this quest can be accomplished. That means, if you have to kill a mob, anywhere that the area is shaded is where that mob will appear. If you have to turn in a quest to someone that wanders, it will show you there walking path. There may be more than one shaded area for a quest if there are other areas where a mob or an item might be. Oh, also the quest that you are currently working on–it will always appear on your map and it will be shaded blue (unless you hover over the icon, then it will turn orange). If you right click on any of the icons you will get an entirely new tooltip. At the top of the tooltip will be information about the quest. Then you will also notice similar options as when you right clicked on the arrow. You can change the quests priority, ignore it, or ignore its location.
On the minimap, you will see the same icons as on your world map. You’ll see two other icons as well. One is a small silver arrow. These point in the direction of quests. The other is a green arrow inside a gray circle. This indicates transportation points that you need to visit.
The list of quests that appears on your screen (it should default to the right side just under your mini-map) is the quest tracker. It can track all the quests you have in your log. The order of the quests are based on the same priority list as the world map order. The quest tracker will list the name of the quest and anything you have left to finish on the quest. The coloring of the lists is something to be aware of. The colors of the quest names mean different things than the color for the things you have left to do for the quests.
For the Quest names:
- Red: Quests beyond your level.
- Orange: Quests just beyond your range.
- Yellow: Quests appropriate for you level.
- Green: Quests easy for your level.
- Gray: Quests bellow the skill of your level.
For the items left to do:
- Red: You have made no progress.
- Orange: You have made a small amount of progress.
- Yellow: You are almost finished.
- Green: You are done! (after it turns green it will disappear from the list. If there are no more things in the list, the quest name will disappear as well.
If you right click on the list it will open your quest log. You will also notice that there is a small white square above and to the right of the quest tracker. If you click on that it will collapse/open the list. You can move the list all around.
And finally there is the configuration button. If you left click it, it will hide all of questhelpers features. If you right click it a drop down menu will open. From this menu you can do quite a bit.
Questhelper Arrow: you can turn it on/off (this is the objective arrow on your main screen)
Flight timer: You can turn it on/off (when you take a flight path somewhere a timer will appear to tell you how much time you have left)
Ant trails: You can turn them on/off (those are the little connection points between your map icons)
Objective tooltips: You can turn them on/off (This changes the default tooltip in the lower right hand portion of the screen. Questhelper will add more info if you have this turned on.)
Party Options: When you group with someone else who has quest helper you can track each others progress on a quest, if you both have objective sharing on. You can turn sharing on/off. You can also ignore party objectives. The difference is if you have objective sharing on, other people can still track your progress. If you enable ignore party, they can still see your progress but you don’t see theirs.
Icon Scale: you can change the size of the icons on the world map.
Hidden objectives: From time to time, questhelper may filter out, or ‘hide’, certain objectives. This might include quests way over your level, quests way under your level, group quests (which will show up if you are in a party), dungeons quests (which will show up in that dungeon), or quests you have ignored.
Quest Tracker: You can turn it on/off, change the size of it, and reset its position. (This is the list of quests)
Filters: You can filter out (hide) quests by zones, completed quests (done), blocked (this turns off the quest turn in locations), watched (this turns off all the icons on the world map), and by level (+ or – 5 levels)
Route Workload Schedule: I’m not totally sure what this does, but I think it just effects the performance of quest helper.
Locale: This is the language it displays in.
Help: This will display the /commands, show you version info (change log), and you can submit data to help improve questhelper.
And that’s it! Once you learn the terms it’s actually one of the easiest addons to configure. Typically it’s the most stable. Just make sure to keep it updated often! Good luck!
“[Insert clever sign off phrase here]”
I was scared off from QH with my former computer. It eats a huge chunk of memory and didn’t exactly help when I lagged so badly. So when I level an alt I use Lightheaded+Tomtom, which is a smooth way to see where to go to get quests done. It seems a bit lighter on your memory, as far as I understand.
Now on a new PC I guess I could try Questhelper, but since I’m fine with what I have I guess I’m too lazy to check it out.
I have used lighthead in the past, and prefer questhelper for 3 reasons. First, the map interface is more inclusive. I’m a very visual person so points and shaded areas are more intuitive for me than text and coordinates. Second, I’ve never managed to get lighthead to interact with Cartographer (my map addon of choice) very well. And third, lighthead’s quest tracking is non-existent.
However, lighthead is not without its good qualities either. For one thing, it’s a super lightweight addon. Secondly, any addon that connects me directly to the wowhead database is awesome in my book.
 There are many people that actually use both Questhelper and Lighthead together, with certain settings that might stomp on the other turned off.