Topic UI Addons advice
I'm new to addons, and I don't want to know what the "best" UI addons are, but I would like to know which ones are useful, or that you think are beneficial for providing info on cooldowns and streamlining play, or whatever you happen to like about them. I'm looking for opinions, rather than someone to say "Bartender is the best and the only thing you should have", I want to experiment and play around with differant ones, just looking for some direction as to which ones are worth playing with :)
85 Night Elf Druid
I think the most useful type of addon is a buff / debuff tracker. There is a variety of trackers out there to choose from.
No reason to use a bunch of addons you do not find useful. I only use a few small addons that I wrote for myself. Figure out what you want to change or add to the game.
Here's a few that I simply couldn't live without, and some alternatives for them, and what I think are the up/down sides for each:
Bartender. I know you said you didn't want a "this one is the best" but really it is. Dominoes is ok, but I tend to find it a little more buggy. Also, Masque (another skinning addon) works with it to change the look of the buttons themselves. AFAIK, there's no such option for Dominoes. Also the way keybinding works in Bartender is great.
Power Auras Classic. A must for any class that has to pay attention to cooldowns, buff/debuff timers, procs, etc. Which is every class and spec these days. Not the most user friendly, but very powerful and lots of configuration options. Alternative: TellMeWhen. It's much more user friendly, but not quite as powerful or configurable.
ClassTimers. Allows you to create timer bars for just about anything related to your class abilities. Very easy to configure and user friendly. Alternatives. There's a bunch, but Raven and ForteExorcist are two of the other really good ones. They're much more powerful but much less user friendly.
Skada. Basically does the same thing as Omen & Recount in one addon instead of 2. Very simple to configure and use. The damage meter portion doesn't give as much detail as recount can, but do you really need that much detail? I really doubt most players do.
As for my overall UI, I actually use a complete reskin called RealUI. You can find it here:
It's extremely minimalistic, and that can be a major drawback to some, but I love it. It does show me all the information I need when I need it, and does a good job of keeping the window free of clutter as well. One thing that isn't immediately obvious is that it does hide your ALL of your action bars by default when not targetting something you can attack or out of combat, or when not in a group. The action bars are all made pretty small as well, so I don't really recommend this addon for clickers.
Look over each category, pick one from each category that looks cool.
As for me, these are ones I use on every character and consider essential...
Ackis Recipe List - shows all missing recipes for every crafting profession
Altoholic - an absolute must if you play more than one character
Auctioneer - because Blizz's UI for the AH is a POS.
Bagnon - all bags in one window
Bartender4 - self-explanatory.
BugSack - Captures and stores errors generated by addons. Especially essential right after big patches.
Deadly Boss Mods - alerts for boss fights. If you plan on raiding or even doing heroic dungeons, you're 100% expected to have this.
GoGoMount - one-button random mount, always uses a mount appropriate to where you are.
GTFO - Plays a loud alarm whenever you're standing in something bad, even stuff that DBM doesn't pick up on.
Minimap Button Frame - puts all those minimap buttons (especially ones for addons) in their own window
OmniCC - puts a text counter on every cooldown display, everywhere.
Outfitter - Blizz's Equipment Manager doesn't even come close to being this good.
Postal - Removes all the tedium of mailing and receiving mail
QuestPointer - puts the POI icons for quests on the minimap
RatingBuster - shows very detailed comparison of how any item affects your stats compared to what's equipped
Recount - Self-explanatory
SmartBuff - just click one button or roll your mouse wheel to apply whatever buffs you or anyone in your group are missing.
Titan Panel - An information bar. You can add plugins to it to show anything from gold to your ping and FPS.
TomTom - navigation and waypoints
WIM - puts whispers in instant messenger style windows
X-Perl Unit Frames - Admittedly not the best out there, but I love how it looks.