To install a mod or add-on from Curse, save the zip file to your harddrive. The desktop is a fine place to put it. Unzip the file using your unzip utility. (Most computers these days come with one installed.) The result should be a folder with a bunch of files within it. There should not be any kind of .exe file within this folder! Copy the *folder* (with all the files) and paste into your World of Warcraft>Interface>AddOns folder. (For Windows, you can use your My Documents program to go to C:\Program Files\World of Warcraft\Interface\AddOns.)
There should be nothing you really need to "install."
Load WoW. Get to your character select screen. At the bottom left hand corner, you should see a button called "Add Ons." Click this and open the menu. You should be able to click the checkboxes to turn on the add-ons. At the top, you can use the drop-down menu to enable those add-ons for all your characters, or just for one. Also, there is a button in the upper right that says "Enable out of date Add-Ons." You may check this so if a new patch doesn't affect an add-on, the add-on will still run.
The Portent Alliance is not a raid guild per-se, but we do have certain requirements to join us on raids. Namely, there are some add-ons that are not only useful to have for playing, but are required to join in on raids. (You can join the guild and never raid, but you won't be raiding without these add-ons.)
Voice chat is very important for quickly informing others of what is going on. You don't need to be able to chat (although it is preferred) but you do need to be able to listen. Getting a headset is recommended, and you can find decent ones with microphones for a reasonable price at any place that sells electronics.
Ask Ailinea/Tayllia for the Ventrilo server information so you can connect. She has a macro that will spam it to guild chat, group chat, and raid chat all at the same time.
Diamond Threat Meter:
Any threat meter will do, but most members of Portent Alliance use Diamond Threat Meter since it is fairly unintrusive and works with other threat meters, such as Omen. Don't rely on the built-in threat meter to tell you everything you need. By then it may be too late. Diamond shows a threat list so you can watch it to know when you can lay on the pew-pew, or back off for a moment. Remember, if the tank dies, it's usually the healer's fault. If the healer dies, it's usually the tanks fault. If the DPS dies, it's usually their own damn fault, and they had better thank their healers profusely for the rez.
Deadly Boss Mods:
This mod has many great features that are useful for raids and even Battlegrounds. The beauty of this mod that I've found is that for some raids, you need to know your proximity to another player or the boss. If you are fighting a mob that does a chain-lightning effect (such as the Arcane Flares during the Curator fight in Karazhan) you obviously don't want to be standing too close to another player if you can help it. DBM also can act as an answering machine. If someone sends you a /tell while you are fighting a boss, it will send an automatic reply that says you are busy fighting a boss, how long you have been fighting it, the boss' health, and even how many in your raid are still alive. The person who is trying to contact you can also request the status of the fight as you go along. This is more than just a fancy timer: it's quite useful in SO many ways for a raid.
This isn't actually a required mod for PA raids, but it should be for certain classes. If you play a class that can serve different functions (such as a Druid) you probably keep several sets of armor with you. Outfitter lets you automatically switch out entire outfits so you don't have to keep searching your bags for those fire-resist bracers you know you have in there somewhere....
Outfitter also serves a VERY useful purpose for all members of the raid: When you dismount, it will automatically swap your riding crop for the trinket that normally goes in that slot. This may become an obsolete function in the future, but it does eliminate the question, "We're about to go in...is your riding crop off?"
Sentinels is an RP server, and let's face it: a lot of the long-time Portents members came from an EQ/EQ2 background where the game had a surname function so you could set a last name for your character upon hitting a certain level. An RP mod allows you to not only set your last name, but also a prefix (Lord, Lady, Skullsplitter, Village Idiot) and title (Horde Defender, Captain of the Guard, Aggro Magnet, Lord of the Dance). We started using ImmersionRP because when we were Googling RP mods, this was the only one where the comments specifically said, "Works with patch 2.3." Yes, there is also MyRoleplay and FlagRSP, but ImmersionRP also states openly that it works with those two mods as well.
One of the things I like about ImmersionRP is that if someone tells you, "Oh wow, I just found the WORST RP description out there!" you don't have to wait for a screenshot or run out to see the person that's being pointed out so you can target them and read their description. Instead you can use the function /irp find CHARACTERNAME and read their description even if they're completely in a different zone.
Get whatever you want. This just happens to be the one we tend to use.
Mik's Scrolling Battle Text:
This is a neat little mod that tells you the basics that you're used to seeing: how much you're hitting/healing for and how much you're being hit/healed. It has a nice default font and allows you to customize exactly where the battlespam goes on your screen. But what I REALLY like is that it pops up a little notice when your spell timers are ready. Because in the heat of battle, you might not know that your Arcane Shot is ready, or your Hammer of Wrath...Mik's SBT pops up a notice, complete with the spell icon, saying, "ARCANE SHOT IS READY." Move this to a portion of your screen to make it obvious, and voila! No more needing to look down at your hotbars and wonder if your spells are ready or not.
OMG MAPS! This add-on takes the maps that come supplied with WoW a step further. And there are maps that WoW doesn't come with, such as maps to instances. PLUS there are a bunch of add-ons to the add-on to do things like tell you where all the ore node spawn locations are in a zone, and maps out the best path to hit them all. Seriously check this one out.
This is a lot like Cartographer, only as it states, it acts a lot like Google Maps. You can zoom in and out on the map REALLY easily. I (Ailinea) got this one in lieu of the above Cartographer, and while I liked it, it made my initial loading into the game go really slow. But once it was loaded, the game ran just fine.
More to come....