Updated Fri, Jan 22, 2010 by Messiah
Over the years I have played around with hundreds of different World of Warcraft UI add-ons. One thing that I have always been looking for but have never found one that I liked is a map mod. I have seen a few, but none really fit what I wanted. Recently I stumbled across another mod to try while collecting updates to the mods I use. So lets all take a word of advice from Stewie Griffin and have a Sexy Party as we take a closer look at Sexy Map and find out if it worthy of an invite to your UI party.
What you expect out of a map mod is probably going to have a big influence on whether you like any map mod to begin with, so let's discuss what I was looking for and expect. My requirements are actually pretty simple, I wanted something that allowed me to change the shape, location, and size of the map. I also wanted something that would let me have a little more control over all the little icons that surround the map. I wanted something fairly simple looking as well to fit in where I wanted it between button bars on my tanking UI so it did not intrude on my very simple UI setup. Lastly I wanted something that would allow me to display what I wanted for each character and keep the setting separate. As you can see, it wasn't all that big a list. It has been hard to find though.
Type: Map Mod
Patch Reviewed At: 3.3
Version Reviewed At: 1.2.3
Homepage: Click here.
Sexymap is an easy install and not that big either, simply download it from your favorite WoW mod site and dump it into the appropriate directory and away you go. While is looks very impressive freshly installed with some of the map effects running it does not seem to use many system resources. This is a good thing, since I was initially worried looking at some of the effects it can place around the maps as borders.
When freshly installed it loads up with its default "Blue Rune Circles" setting which does a few things. Firstly it makes a blue rune effect show up around the map and secondly it hides the map buttons unless you hover over the map. While this looks cool, it isn't exactly what I was looking for.
It was therefore time to get playing with the settings and see what this thing could do. The settings screen is very well laid out and has several sub-screens to help make it easy to navigate. Some thought went into the setup and it works very well. The first thing to play with is the preset profiles to see if there are any that fit your needs. There are over a dozen at this time and they seem to cover some of the basics that players may want. I personally liked the very simple square setup, but wanted a few more things changed.
If you do not find a pre-made profile, you can start looking at the Borders section and setup what you would like there. In addition to the pre-made profiles there are over a dozen different shapes that you can select as starting points to base your map off of. Everything that you could want is there and a few that you probably don't. I'm referring to the snowflake shape with that comment; sure it's kind of cool, but you can't see much map, so therefore it’s not very useful other than perhaps for a fancy looking UI for a frost mage. Once you get done playing with the shapes and borders you can use it's time to look at some of the more serious settings.
Almost everything you could want on your map is configurable through the settings sheets. You can control the size and shape of the map through the main settings page. On the buttons page you can control the location of the buttons around the map, and which ones you see when. I really like this feature as I like seeing the mail and calendar icons but don't like seeing all of the other buttons most of the time, so have them set to hide. Lastly, I find that the buttons overlap the edge of the map a bit too much for my taste, and there is even a setting that allows you to move them out of the way a bit.
A feature that many players will find useful while leveling is the coordinate feature that allows you to turn on coordinates on the map. This is fairly common though and not something that should make or break your choice of a map addon.
One feature that I was not looking for but found extremely useful is the ping options in the mod. The mod will show who pinged the map next to the ping spot and if you turn it on, also show that someone pinged in chat. This is great for raids when people are pinging to show location, but you are not sure who is doing it. This has quickly become a must have item for me.
Sexymap also has a HUD version that can be turned on that interacts with gatherer and pathing mods. This allows you a bit more control over how they interact on screen. I liked it as it limited the amount of space they used on the screen, your experience may vary. One thing that I did not like was that while the HUD is active, the mini-map is disabled. This may or may not matter to you, but I found it annoying having to enable and disable the HUD whenever I went gathering resources.
The last big feature I looked at was the fader options. These allow you to control how bright the map is on your screen when you are doing other things and when you are hovering over it. If you are using some of the fancier, brighter borders this is a nice feature to use to tone them down just a bit. I like it as I have my map in the center bottom of my screen, and don't really need it that bright. I toned it down while not hovering over it, this should work 90% of the time. The only time I can see fade being an issue is when you are gathering or in an unfamiliar raid fight and have to watch positioning. It's a nice option to have though.
After using the mod for a little while I simply can't imagine going back to the normal map tools. While you can use this tool to make your map look hot and sexy, you can also use it to make the map very useable. I very much like turning it into a simple square and tucking it away in a corner, or between button bars. I have already gotten used to the features and especially like the displayed ping names in raids.
Overall, while I didn’t exactly find the map any sexier, after all there was no female shaped map frame, I think everyone should give this mod a try. It is very easy to use, very easy to configure, and seems to be very stable even when used with various other add-ons. Therefore it gets a strong recommendation from the Messiah!