Plain and simple.
Healbot (and similar addons) make healing easier. <- this is a drawn conclusion from your argument for it, and from first hand accounts, quotes, and posts from numerous healers from WoW that use it.
Healing is an essential part of the difficulties in a game.
Healbot makes an essential part of the difficulties in a game easier.
Granted, Healbot and similar addons make healing easier.
Will you concede that the "difficulty" you're talking about here is purely a limitation of the user interface and has little if anything to do with gameplay and encounter design?
The UI is not supposed to be an obstacle to playing the game, it's supposed to be a tool.
If you want all your heals on your right hand... so that you have no keyboard interaction other than moving... their are gaming pads for that, that won't affect how easy it is... but may make it more convenient for people who aren't as nimble.
I use an n52te to handle all my actionbar buttons, it gives me some 72 keybinds on my left hand, and my left thumb operates movement keys (forward, backward, strafing). I believe this has far more impact on my ability to access abilities on the fly than any addon ever could, why is this ok and addons not? ****, if anything THIS should be illegal under your argument, this thing cost actual money and would change the division of skill to be about people willing to spend money on peripherals versus those not willing or able to do so which is a far worse divide imo.
Could I use it for mouseover macros? Yes, absolutely, with keybinds to spare. I don't do that because I don't like mouseover macros, I don't like that style of healing and I'm not comfortable doing it. I prefer the clickcasting interface that an addon like Healbot or VuhDo gives me. That is not a greater advantage than having the n52 to begin with.
The problem that ensues with addons like DBM, Healbot, Decruse, and other things that make essential combat parts of the game easier is that dev's run into a major question.
Do they create content on the assumption that the entire group plays without addons?
Thus creating content that will be somewhat easier for major raiding groups.
Or do they create content based on the actuality that most hardcore raiders are gonna be using addons?
Thus making content thats a little more difficult for individuals that chose not to run addons.
I'd like you to watch a video How Addons Alter Game Design
Lore does a good job of explaining this and because I'd just be plagiarizing him in this section anyway, I choose to just have him do it.
Suffice to say that addons like the ones you're talking about can and will cause devs to increase the complexity of encounters, and that this is not a bad thing since it makes encounters more interesting and less repetitive.
You keep claiming that "Addon"-loving jerks are the few... but i know for a fact this is not true... I raided with several different guilds in BC and WoTLK and if the raid started wiping they would look to me for being the cause since I refused to run healbot on my druid. (Thankfully the raid typically only wiped when some dps was an idiot and pulled aggro)
Look at the Trion forums... pages of pages of arguments over addons... and pages of pages of people trying to claim that addons dont affect the game too much.
They yelled at you for your healing interface choices when the problem was some dps doing something stupid? I don't think an addon is to blame for that, and I don't think an addon needed to be the target of their rage, I'm sure they'd have found SOMETHING to lay the blame on.
Yes I'll agree that UI changes will make some stuff slightly easier... but thats because many of complainers are either blind... or havent realized that if in raid frames u cant see the debuffs pop up, you can scale the raid frame up in the edit layout (i do this alot), not to mention they are color coded, so unless your color blind, all it has to be is a small group a pixels for a well trained gamer's eye to see.
I'm not blind.
I realize I can make my raid frames as big as the all outdoors. It doesn't address my issues with the interface for the following reasons:
A: It's not a clickcasting interface, which is what I prefer
B: The debuff BORDERS are color coded, this is ridiculously difficult to see in a hurry while also watching health bars and making sure I myself am not about to do something stupid
C: There's no way to filter cleansable debuffs
D: There's no way to filter my own buffs
E: Having huge raid frames takes up WAY too much screen space and is way to much of a kludge answer to this problem.
F: What ABOUT people who are color blind? There are a lot of them, and there are plenty more with other visual difficulties the normal interface isn't designed to handle. Why should they not have an option to fix this or why should Trion be asked to roll out a feature in the stock game that will be used by only a handful of people?
There are other things ... like HUDs, DPS meters, and others that represent data in a much easier fashion for people, but these styles of things aren't making any game mechanic in particular easier. Data representation tools, when used properly, can help gamers make better decisions on loot, gear, and skill rotations.
Having a better representation of vital data isn't altering anything?
The reason healbot doesnt fall under this, is its interface with a "macro system." Which allows healers to make the pretty complex process of making in game macros obsolete, since healbot can make macros that pretty much cant be made in game. This coupled with the slight decrease reaction time and increased efficiency in healing as well as the decrease in debuff up time that are commonly seen when comparing mass amounts of healbot users to mass amount of non healbot users (ya ya no more isolated cases and blah blah) seems to confirm that healbot does affect gameplay in a fairly noticeable way.
In-game macros are not complex. Verbose perhaps, but not complex.
And why does it matter anyway? You've as much as said here that anything HealBot does can also be done with macros, so what's the difference if I sit here and write 25 lengthy macros or just plug some data into an addon and let it do that for me?
HealBot (and other raid frame addons, don't get hung up on that one) only alter gameplay in the sense that they make the UI a tool again instead of an obstacle. The hard part of the game should be the encounters (whether PvE or PvP) and the game world, not the interface.
There is a legitimate reason that many players have cursed the coming addons to Rift. And there still exists in the wow community today a pretty strong argument why certain addons should never have been allowed.
I feel that it is in Trions best interest to limit addons to data presentation/reduction/calculation, cosmetic additions(that dont affect game speed), and filters that go above and beyond the current search features in bags (especially if guild banks are going to be introduced).
The only legitimate reason I have heard is that some addons go too far in trivializing certain aspects of some encounters (Vanilla WoW's Decursive and HealBot, WotLK's AVRe) and that's totally valid. However, Blizzard had a policy of breaking those addons that went too far (usually pretty quickly). Trion is not staffed by stupid people. There's no reason you shouldn't assume they know what they're doing, especially since they have way more experience doing this than you do.