Updated Wed, Dec 19, 2012 by Xerin
It's difficult to give a singular addon the Best Addon award because there are just so many contenders. It's difficult to say that one addon is better than the other, simply because there is so many to choose from that are phenomenal. We have to give the WoW community credit for pulling together so much talent and making this choice so difficult.
Since the choice is so difficult, we're going to pick the addon that we feel is the most influential in the previous year that also provides a valuable feature to WoW players. There are so many addons out there that are just good and almost to the point of being necessary for WoW players to install. That's why this choice will highlight an addon that is popular, but isn't necessarily the most downloaded or most visited.
This year the award for Best Addon goes to WeakAuras. This choice comes down to a few main factors, while WeakAuras has been around for a long time, it hasn't gained much traction until this year when recent updates have really made WeakAuras the addon of choice for many WoW players. In addon thread after addon thread, I am constantly reading the recommendation for WeakAuras and rightfully so – it's an all-around solid addon and major improvement on PowerAuras.
That isn't to necessarily discredit PowerAuras. PowerAuras is one of the most downloaded addons of all time and rightfully so, but competition is good. It makes addons better and makes addon authors think about features differently. It's a friendly way to improve the experience for everyone and a great learning experience for addon authors themselves.
WeakAuras is also a very rock solid addon. Auras are little alerts whenever a skill or trinket procs, a debuff or buff is applied to you, or when something else happens (usually in the combat log). A good example is that you can set an aura to blink a giant image whenever your trinket procs so that you know it's time to use as much DPS as possible during its duration (when the image will fade out).
WeakAuras differs from PowerAuras by providing a more streamlined interface, providing an easier to use experience. That's not all, of course, it includes many features like bars (showing the progress of an aura), and most importantly its lightweight – something that's critical for high levels of play on older machines.
If you use auras a lot then be sure to give this addon a try and continue on to some of our best addons in different categories.