AVR – Game Changing or Game Breaking?

I’ve seen this addon advertised a few times in the past and thought it was cool looking.  Two days ago it was suggested by someone in my guild.  Today Boubouille at MMO Champion did a feature spotlight for it.  As you can guess, that means it is now 100% out there in the world of WoW.  If Boubouille writes about it, it hit the big time.

What is it exactly?  Let’s split this up into two components, the essential addon AVR (Augmented Virtual Reality) and modules for it like AVR-E (encounters). 

AVR itself is an addon that lets you draw things on your screen.  It doesn’t change anything in your game, it doesn’t affect the models or bars or anything like that.  It’s simply like having MS PAINT loaded on top of your game window.  So you can scribble stuff and then erase it and whatever you want to do, but it doesn’t actually do anything to the game.  Think of it as an overlay to the game.  Actually, that’s exactly what it is!  The “omg cool!” part is that you can share these scribbles with anyone in your raid who is also running AVR.  You know how you click the mini map for hours trying to explain to someone where to stand on a boss fight?  Or how you shoot flares or set up spot lights in some areas?  Well, not anymore with this addon.  You just draw a circle here, an arrow here, whatever you want, and send it to your raid.  They will see the stuff you drew and it will be that much clearer to explain a fight. Cool.



AVR-E is an addon that incorporates automation for boss fights.  Instead of you drawing anything, it draws for you when spells are cast that have to be avoided or reacted to in a special way.  So there you are on Saurfang and you know you have to be 12 yards apart from anyone and for some reason you suck at gauging distance or even reading your /range window from DBM.  Worry not, AVR-E will draw an overlay to make it clear where your 12 yard range is!  Here in this picture is a setup for 25 man Saurfang.  Everyone gets a circle around them of 6 yards, which means that if two circles overlap at all, you’re within 12 yards of each other (you know, because 6+6 = 12).

saurfang[1] I’m really not arguing the “Wow, that’s awesome” part of this addon.  I mean, look at that screenshot.  It’s ridiculously easy to position!

How about harder things like Rotface’s big ooze exploding and throwing small slimes at where people stood at the time of the explosion?  Here’s a screenshot (actually all screenshots are from the addon’s official faq page, I haven’t tried this addon directly yet) from that specific moment in the Rotface fight.  Ignore the messy UI and lots of stuff happening everywhere, just look at the ground.  There is a red circle automatically drawn on the ground where anyone had stood at the time of the explosion.  You don’t have to run around like a headless chicken anymore dodging the flying small slimes, you just have to make sure that you move AT the explosion and position yourself somewhere without a red circle on the ground.


Again, that’s pretty damn awesome.


Want a few more examples just to really get an idea of what happens with the addon?  Well, Festergut 25 man releases 3 spores.  How about a giant circle around the spores to really make it clear where they are and where to go, who is /isn’t in range?


That shadow priest there isn’t very good in the top right corner.  But there you go again. 

The Inevitable “Is It Cheating / Too Much” Discussion

To this day, DBM, Bigwigs and most raid addons that help trivialize aspects of boss fights see debate rage around them as to whether they are cheating or not.  The complaint is that it trivializes the only challenging part of a boss fight and alerts you to things before they happen (timers, spell warnings, debuff tracking).  The people who think it is cheating will go on thinking so, the people who don’t will go on raiding happily.  I’m happy with DBM.  I don’t think it’s cheating.  I think it’s a HUGE help and I can’t imagine how horribly tough it would all be without DBM, but I think it’s just as much part of the game as anything else.

How about AVR and AVR-E?  It is NOT cheating as per the Terms of Service, let me put that out there.  This is an addon that is allowed.  Of course, Blizzard could change its mind and decide that it does trivialize things too much and disable it (they have ways).  However, for the time being, it is a legal addon.

I have this gut feeling that it’s taking things too far.  It’s like DBM is a level 60 boss encounter addon and AVR E is a level 85 one.  Boss fights become covered in giant patches of color that cover up your screen and you have to learn to follow the markings instead of react to the fight.  In a way, it’s almost as if it was changing the nature of the fights.  It isn’t “avoid the ooze”, it’s now “avoid the red circles on the ground”.  I can guarantee that some raids using this addon don’t even explain WHY there are red circles on the ground suddenly or what is happening, simply “don’t stand in the red”.

Am I Simply An Old Fart?

Is this a natural reaction to anything that simplifies my game but does so in dramatic fashion?  I’m not against DBM, but deep down I am against AVR-E.  Is it because AVR-E is new and I don’t like change?  Possibly.  I use every other tool at my disposal including a range finder to help make fights easier, why not this one?  Because it’s new, dagnabit!  And shiny!  And you don’t know how hard I had it when I was your age!

But seriously, it’s new.  And I don’t like it.

Add On Dependence

The main argument I brought up on my guild forums about using this addon is that it creates an utter dependence on the authors updating it.  DBM is required for our raids, but if a new patch breaks it and it can’t be updated in time for our Tuesday raid, we can still raid without it.  DBM hasn’t changed the nature of the fight for us.  We use it but still have to manually position ourselves, gauge distances, patterns, aoe areas, etc… 

If AVR-E were to be broken for a few days after a patch, could we even raid?  Like I said, we’d have adapted to “move away from red areas” instead of “don’t stand in the spot where small ooze is flying towards”.  We wouldn’t know instinctively where to stand in some fights like Sindragosa’s air phase because an addon wouldn’t be telling us “GO HERE, FURTHER, FURTHER, GO, RIGHT HERE, THAT’S GOOD!”  So without this addon, we’d be looking at learning an encounter almost from scratch.  That’s a pretty big crutch to be standing on when raiding.

If it seems too good to be true, as is the case of this addon’s usefulness, it probably is.

I foresee Blizzard disabling this addon in the near future, thus I won’t even bother using it.  I don’t like it, it’s ridiculously close to cheating encounters, and it shows you things you have no business knowing to this detail.  No, I have NO way of knowing that someone who wasn’t in my field of vision before I turned stood in that particular spot.  No, I don’t know that someone behind the boss that I couldn’t see was in a particular spot.  If an addon tells me he was… c’mon, that’s not fair.


I’m hung over and I don’t like this addon.


1 Response to “AVR – Game Changing or Game Breaking?”

  1. 1 Anthony April 26, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    WoW is pretty good at advertising the big events with boss emotes and yells these days, so addons like DBM and BigWigs are really just serving to make them larger and more colourful. There are also plenty of big, bright markings to tell you where to stand and where not to, so you could argue that this addon is just doing the same thing and making information that is already available to you easier to see.

    It does seem like it’s a little too much, though. Reducing boss encounters down to, for example, ‘stand in the red areas and not in the blue areas’ seems like it would be a very uninteresting way to raid.

    My guild aren’t always the most attentive raiders though, so being able to draw circles on the screen while explaining where I want them to stand before we start the fight would be nice. Especially if it’s somewhere where I’ll pull the boss, and can’t go and physically stand there to demonstrate.

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