A while back in January, I wrote a guide to PvP addons and UI settings. This week's column will talk about a bunch of addons that aren't necessarily ones I'd recommend, so please, please head on over to the old column rather than just downloading everything on this page!
Don't want to read a whole other column? Well, all right, then. I'll sum it up really fast for you here, and then we'll get into the fun bit! What's the fun bit? Well, a bunch of people last week suggested new addons for me to try or for others to use, and a few have suggested others to me more recently -- so here's where I try them! How is that fun? Oh, shush. Trying new things is great! As long as they're legal.
At the time of writing the first piece, before starting my research for this one, my default addon set for Battlegrounds was:
- REFlex gets top billing, since it's always on, all the time, for every character. It's a data gathering addon that tells you all your Battleground and Arena wins and losses ever. It's exportable as a CSV file for you data geeks out there, simply the best way to keep up with your stats.
- LoseControl is another great one that's always on for every character. Whenever you lose control of your character or their abilities via a silence, stun, or otherwise, it puts the icon for that ability in the centre of your screen with a pie-chart timer for the duration.
- SaySapped does exactly what it says on the tin. Always on, though not really needed in Arena when you're Skyping. If you get sapped, you say "sapped." Alerts people in the area of your sappy state.
- Healers Have to Die is mean, right? But if the healers aren't from your faction and you're in a BG, they do. Puts a mark on a healer's head that's extremely obvious. Default settings need to be told to chill, or they'll spam you to insanity and beyond!
- SmartTargeting makes your tab target your nearest enemy rather than your nearest enemy unit in PvP scenarios. What does that mean? Well, in a BG, you don't have to tab through a gang of venemous snakes to get to the hunter. Just click? Sure, but I like tab targeting, OK?
And that's pretty much my Battleground set! There is an additional bundle I keep on for Arena that I would absolutely use for Battlegrounds and often forget to switch off, but these addons give a bit too much information for ordinary Battlegrounds, especially for ones with big groups.
So let's get started on the new addons! The first one I'm going to talk about is BG Defender. Various people contacted me to tell me about this one, so I downloaded it, and I will freely admit that I absolutely love it. I was wrong, utterly, flatly wrong not to have had this little beauty before. What does it look like? Well, see to the right.
I also downloaded the ElvUI skin for it. I use TukUI, and I like pretty things, but apparently I got an Elv one. That's fine! The default one won't look exactly like this, though.
What does it do? Well, it senses your location, so if you're in Arathi Basin at the Lumber Mill, it knows. Big Brother is watching you. It's all very 1984. So there you are, like I am in the header image, sad and alone defending the Lumber Mill. All of a sudden, you see three big, scary tauren galumphing up the hill. You click that little three on BG Defender -- and lo and behold, it puts a message in Battleground chat! You don't have to take more than a second out from your bovicidal task to let your team know what's going on. What's more, it is in nicely worded sentences rather than some incomprehensible nonsense that makes it look like you're typing with your nose.
Once your location is safe, assuming your team come and help you, click the Safe button, and it reports that you're safe. You can also click the Help button, and it will report that you need help. Pretty great, right? Grab this addon now!
Spying on the other side
Groups, alas, are not always made equal -- often quite the opposite, in fact. And while so far we can't really do anything about it, there are addons which can make life a little bit easier -- forewarned is forearmed, after all!
There are a couple of addons recommended by fellow PvPers, and the first one I want to tell you lovely people about is BG Spy. Sounds pretty James Bond, doesn't it? Well, it is! This funky little machine can tell you the composition of the other team in terms of melee DPS, ranged DPS and healers, or a class-by-class breakdown, or list tanks, healers, DPS -- even classes with knockbacks! Amazing!
As we can see here, it also reports compositions to the BG group if you ask it to, or you can just skip the reporting and hear about your opponents for yourself.
Another addon that's been recommended is FocusHeals, a simple addon that, like Healers Have to Die, isolates the names of opponent healers for you. So if you have a shaman healer called Bob on the opposite side, FocusHeals will tell you about it! Then you can find Bob and take him out.
Also on the spying side, here's an addon I'm undecided about. Roguedar was one of many stealth alerting addons that was recommended, and I like it. Roguedar tells you in chat when anyone, friend or foe, uses a stealth ability in range of you. Pretty sly!
You can see an example to the left. My one complaint is that it's a little bit spammy, and I don't like the little pane that pops up. I can, however, see that it would be seriously handy in many circumstances, such as defending in smaller BGs. Of course, if the person uses stealth outside your range, it's not going to tell you. Vigilance, my friends!
I also have Simple Item Level in testing, which adds the item level to tooltips and allegedly reports on PvP gear for groups. I haven't worked out how it works for PvP gear just yet -- I get LUA errors rather than information -- so that'll be one for a future column.
Amazing Arena addons assault Azerothian amateurs!
I got a bit carried away with the A words. It happens. I've been pretty Battleground-focused so far, so let's talk about some Arena addons. My default pack for Arena is a bit different to the above list, mostly because some of the Arena ones would be way too spammy in a Battleground.
My default Arena list is as follows:
- Gladius shows Arena enemy nameplates, including CC timers and trinket timers, and can be modified to show CC diminishing returns and other info.
- Lose Control works as previously mentioned
- InterruptBar is a bar that tracks your enemy's use of interrupts. Vital for fake-casting. Not really useful in Battlegrounds unless you're in specific situations, but I still leave it on.
- SpellAlerter is a customizable visual alert for your choice of spells and events. It's far too spammy for Battlegrounds.
- SaySapped is handy for PuG Arenas or ones without Skype.
Now, the Arena addon review section centers around one particular addon that many people contacted me to recommend. That addon is GladiatorlosSA. What does it do? It's an audio alerter that, rather like SpellAlerter, tells you when certain abilities are used -- by talking to you. It has a choice of voice options, I stuck with Default American Lady. She seemed nice.
One major downside for the new GladiatorlosSA user is that it comes preloaded with pretty much every spell in the game active. If, as I did, you head into an Arena with that number of spells loaded, you basically get an audio barrage of information that is almost completely useless.
Another problem I encountered is that the lady speaks rather quietly. It took me a while to figure out that her volume is independent of WoW's various volume sliders, so the solution to making her audible was to turn everything down within WoW, then turn the general WoW volume up in my Windows sound settings.
But despite these early setbacks, I persevered. I edited the spells so it reported only what Spell Alerter reported to me, fixed up the sound so I could hear the lady, and carried on doing Arena. I did several evenings of matches with it on characters I'm very comfortable with, as well as ones that are newer to me, in 2v2, 3v3 and 5v5. I messed around with various settings, including who it reports on.
While the configurability is admirable, the intention is great, and others may well like it, this addon is not for me. I find the audio reports distracting rather than helpful, and I find it detracts from my communication with my teammates. I almost always use Skype, and like Cottage discusses on his recent video, I consider good communication to be key to great Arena. With the addons I list above, I already know what's happening to me and to my team, to an extent, and my teammates know what's happening to them. If there's something important happening, they'll tell me. I remain unconvinced of the value of GladiatorlosSA, but this is very personal to me. Give it a try -- you might love it, but I'm afraid I don't!
If you have any addon recommendations, drop me a line on Twitter or email or leave a comment!
Do you want to capture flags, invade cities, attack towers, and dominate the enemy for your faction? Do you dream of riding your War Bear with pride? We'll steer you to victory with secrets of Battlegrounds and Arena, prepping you with proven addons and keybindings that win! Send questions or comments to email@example.com.