Blizzard announced today that they plan on breaking the functionality of AVR in 3.3.5. Players everywhere weep at the thought of having to find a new way to paint Zoidberg on the floor of the North Bank. Also affected are folks who lack Situational Awareness and require large pictures on the floor to assist them with movement.
Throwing rocks in glass houses
Now don't get me wrong, my whole guild uses AVR - since it's a tool that works within the existing API and provides a benefit to the raid as a whole. Just like any other add-on, AVR helped to provide useful information in a clear and compact way. It certainly helped to be able to visualize the effects of an AoE before they happened.
It was also fun to do boss strat layouts without having to round up 3 of Elune's light beams, 4 different colored flares, a stealthed pet, and hunter's trap. Especially when you had to explain it a couple of times because someone stepped away for an unannounced bong hit. There's nothing quite like hearing "LOL, sorry my dog stepped on the hamster so my cousin's homework got wet when the fish jumped out of my bong water".
Add-ons have a place
Now add-ons wouldn't be possible if Blizzard didn't open up the API and allow them to exist in the first place. Blizzard has done a lot of changes over the years, incorporating portions of the most popular add-ons into their existing UI. I think this is a great thing for Blizzard to do, as it allows for some amazing customization of the UI. Much like there is a giant blogging community and Machinima community - the Add-on development community is also quite large. By allowing players to develop add-ons Blizzard gains the programming and ingenuity of thousands of players - without paying for base R&D on their own.
All add-ons do is provide in game functionality in a slightly easier package. Boss mods, mount selectors, and wardrobe selectors - all functions in the game, just packaged for your ease of use. It's entirely within Blizzard's right to break an add-on if they so choose, and I think they made the right choice with AVR.
In the end, breaking AVR isn't a big deal. Players with poor SA will continue to die to avoidable environmental damage, average players will cope, and good players will probably not even notice the loss (if they used the mod). I'm sure I'll ponder where all the blue circles are the first time I do Putricide without it - and I will miss the Spore AoE marker on Fester. It just means I'll have to pay attention for an extra second.
Or just put the game into your own hard mode - and disable every add-on.