Having an hard time deciding which items to equip? Selecting the correct gear is never easy, but after countless loot drops and quest rewards, it can become a tedious nightmare of a task. If that's how you feel, then give Pawn a try!
Pawn is a gear-scoring add-on: it compares any gear you find with what have equipped, detecting potential upgrades. It seamlessly integrates with the whole interface, providing information for quest rewards, loot popups, reforging windows,… It can help you in practically any situation!
Pawn comes packed with a wide range of scales - formulas for comparing gear - for all classes and specs. Yet, it also allows you to create your own scales, to better suit your preferences. You can find many user-made scales at Pawn forums.
We also had the opportunity to have a chat with the add-on's author, VgerAN:
Why did you decide to create Pawn?
A little while before the Burning Crusade beta, I had a gigantic Excel spreadsheet that I used to track my shaman's gear, and I started updating it to add in all of the new quest items that I'd be able to pick up in Outland. I wanted to optimize my quest rewards and make sure that I picked up the most useful rewards, and also focus on the dungeons with the most valuable upgrades. I had developed a custom stat weighting system for shamans that I liked, and while Excel worked okay, it was an enormous pain to type in all of those item stats. I thought that it would be pretty awesome if I could built an addon to just make it work in-game.
In which situation do you find it to be most useful?
I use Pawn for all of my characters and in all situations, whether it's leveling a lowbie with a friend, raid finder, or working my way through expansion content. It's useful anytime you'll come across potential item upgrades. If that doesn't happen to you, congratulations, you won World of Warcraft!
What distinguishes it from other gear scoring addons?
Pawn's big distinguishing factor is that it's extremely customizable. The big "competition" at the time was GearScore and TankPoints. Those used secret formulas that you couldn't customize to fit your role. They had no way to say that a mace with MP5 on it was better for a resto shaman than a mace with agility on it, so I didn't find them useful. But Pawn can tell you that your new sword is 5% better than your current sword, and if you've customized the stat values, it's telling you that you think the sword is 5% better, not Pawn or Wowhead, and it's just doing the bookkeeping for you.
Which was the hardest problem yet you came across during development?
The biggest problem for Pawn is that Pawn has to "read" the text off of item tooltips. So the official version of Pawn only works with the English version of World of Warcraft because it only "reads" English. It was a lot of work to get that working in the first place for English and it's a huge pain to translate into other languages; way more work than other addons.
Could you tell us about any other mods you are working on, or have planned for the future?
Check out Hear Kitty! I'll admit that plenty of people check out Pawn and decide that it's too geeky, but most people who try out Hear Kitty fall in love with it. It plays musical tones to make it super easy to keep track of combo points, maelstrom weapon charges, death coil stacks on your ghoul, and similar sorts of things.
Do you have any advice for others who would like to start modding?
The community has gotten way better at addon development in the past eight years. There are lots of interesting things worth reading up on even if you're an experienced professional developer, like efficient memory management and Lua garbage collection and stuff like that.
Thank you to VgerAN for answering our questions and developing this add-on.