Major project time! *rubs hands together*
This is going to require a fairly hefty investment of my time, but I'm really keen to do it.
There are Grid lovers and Grid bashers. Healbot devotees and Healbot haters. Healbot, Pitbull, XPerl... how do they all measure up against Grid, the once standout leader in the raid frame race?
Let's settle this like gentlemen, shall we?
Healbot, Grid, XPerl, Pitbull. If you like your mod, you'll likely advertise that fact, and defend it when other people announce that theirs is better. I've seen some pretty nasty Grid vs Healbot fights, and I know that I have been very strongly opposed to Healbot in the past. I'm not the kind of person to shove Grid in people's faces and force them to use it, but I was always very vocal in my belief that it was the best option for raid frames (and I still believe that until fairly recently, there was no real competition).
But.. is that opinion justified now - or have the other mods been improved to the point where they can do everything Grid can do?
It's difficult to really know which mod is better on one hand you have people who are vehemently opposed to one or the other, or so passionate about their own mod being the best that they're simply not willing to listen to reason about the other addon options out there. On the other hand there are players who have used their mod for so long that they simply don't know the improvements that have been made to the other addons over time. They'll say something like, "I've used Grid for 3 years and it's the best because it can do X, Y, Z" but then a Healbot user will say, "Healbot can do X, Y, Z, too!". Similarly, you have some players who tried Grid or Healbot years ago, hated it, and stuck with something else ever since - and aren't willing to budge (not realising that the mods have come a long way since then).
Nobody seems to be comparing today's Grid with today's Healbot, XPerl and Pitbull. At least not in a meaningful way that helps us directly compare the mods and help people to understand their different features and any limitations. They just say why they love the mod they have - with no actual, meaningful comparisons.
I've decided it's time to inject some objectivity into this age-old debate.
So here's the plan:
I run an extremely minimalist UI with lots of free space - so I was inspired to do just that - compare them. Directly. I intend to download each raid frame mod, set it up, and see how well I can have it match what I want out of Grid in terms of aesthetics, HoT display, buffs and debuffs, etc. Side by side, Grid vs the others. I want to see if I can make them look the way I want, display what I want, and perform how I want in raids.
Now is the time to do it, while we are farming Naxx and things are easy enough that I can afford to take some focus away from healing trash to look at two sets of raid frames and decide which of them is working the best. Come Ulduar I probably won't have the luxury of messing around with experiments in raids ;)
Also, importantly, I intend to show people how they look "out of the box", because this is something that new users or players new to addons always want to know. One mod may be fantastic and packed full of features, but if it takes hours to set up, someone may prefer something a little simpler and less dynamic but that comes pre-configured with common settings.
Anything you can do, I can do better.
I intend to rate the mods on various points such as ease of use, HoT display, buffs & debuffs, general aesthetics and readability, as well as point out any advantages or limitations compared to the others. I'd like to be able to present it in a tabular format so people can directly compare each of the features. At the end of the series of tests, I'll make a summary post comparing all four mods.
The questions I'll be asking will be:
1. Can the other mods show me what Grid can show me?
2. Can they show me in the way I prefer, or at the very least, in a pleasing and easy to interpret way?
3. What really makes this mod shine - what's the major drawcard?
4. What are the major limitations?
If you guys have any particular questions you would like me to address, or things you'd like to see tested and compared, please let me know :)
The 64,000g question -
Finally, the big question: After all these years of loving Grid, could I happily disable it and raid effectively with one of the other mods in its stead?
So - standby for Part 1: Grid vs Healbot, sometime in the next week or so.
Objective mode on - watch this space!