GladiatorlosSA – Providing Situational Awareness

GladiatorlosSA is powerful PvP addon. Used properly it will significantly increase situational awareness in both battlegrounds and arena. However, used incorrectly this addon will completely overwhelm the senses, making pvp an extremely unpleasant activity. You’ll need two things to continue: twenty minutes of free time, and an open-minded attitude. This may pinch a bit.

GladiatorlosSA is a Sound Alert addon that provides Situational Awareness. Most addons function on visual cues for conveying information, and a common mistake in PvE and PvP is to crowd too much information onto the screen, such that the important information fails to make it through. While a significant issue in PvE, this is compounded in PvP as opponents don’t move in predictable patterns.

My first introduction to sound alerts was the raiding addon GTFO (I highly recommend it for that setting) that plays a warning whenever you are standing in Bad, a warning that can be customized based on the severity of said Bad. Sound alerts are a very interesting method of conveying information, especially when most other inputs are visual. Sight and sound are processed in different parts of the brain, so moving a predetermined set of information to a second “channel” (sound); you can process more information in real time with less stress.

With GladiatorlosSA we’ve chosen to shift the “What spells are the enemy casting” channel from visual to auditory. The addon uses text-to-speech software to “say” when enemies are using certain spells. And right there is the rub. It comes out of the box with a HUGE number of spells set to announce. Take this thing unmodified into an Alterac Valley or Isle of Conquest and you’ll wish you hadn’t.

Fortunately, the author has a very well set-up menu for selecting what spells to hear when cast. I’m not going to go down the list. Instead I’ll go over general concepts.  The first thing to do set the trinket announce to “PvP Trinketed Class” on the Special Abilities tab. The stock setting is just to announce “trinket”, forcing you to go back to a visual indicator to see who used it. The “Class” setting will announce “Warrior” or “Druid” (for example) when one of those classes uses a trinket. In PvP trinket use is a very important indicator, as its often the best time for a target switch. If you play with a regular partner that also uses the addon you can almost stop announcing target switches, just look up when you hear a trinket call out to watch if your partner makes a move.

For the remaining settings you are going to have to get into the mindset of my wife on grocery day. You’re going down every isle whether you think you’ll need something there or not. Each tab lists, by class, the Hover over the tooltip provided for each and decide to keep it checked or not. You criteria here is: will this change my plan when I hear it? The answer will be different for every class and role. For example, Feral Druids have two damage reducing cooldowns, Barkskin and Survival instincts. The first reduces damage by 20%, the second 50%. As a Death Knight Barkskin doesn’t change my plans. But at 50% damage reduction, I’m probably going to switch off, leaving him rooted while I go mess with his healer. Tailor your setup to provide the information you desperately need to know, and leave nothing on that is merely interesting. You want every alert to provide actionable information.

After that, you’re now read for the test run. If you’re on a pvp server I recommend heading to Tol Barad or some other open world venue and ride around listening for an announce. Side note: for pvp servers this is THE world pvp addon. The range for this addon is roughly 60 yards, so when you hear a alert you know you have an enemy danger-close, and that she’s probably otherwise engaged;)

Alterac Valley is next in the plan. As the largest battleground in the game, it’s easy to go off to your own corner and get used to hearing random spell alerts. If the volume of information isn’t overwhelming you can skip directly to the stress test by moving towards a big enemy push. An AV turtle is where you will be most stressed with this addon, but after some practice you’ll grow accustomed to its craziness.

The final step should wait until you are very comfortable with the addon and plan to keep it, and even then it’s optional. Remove this type of information from your visual channel; enemy casting bars like Quartz and unit frames like Pitbull do not need to display this information if its covered with SA. Myself I haven’t fully completed this step, I still show my target’s casting bar on Tidyplates. One day I hope to get past this, but maybe not.

One final note, there is the option to turn this addon off for battlegrounds, something many people do to reduce the chaos. I’ve personally found that it pairs nicely with another addon, BattlegroundTargets, for processing SA in BGs. But that’s for another time.

Timeline for the End of Season 10/Beginning of Season 11

November 11th
Announcement

  • Blizzard CMs announce the schedule for ending season 10 and beginning season 11.
  • Many PvPers will use this time to grind Honor for next season, including “banking” Honor in Justice
  • Head and shoulder enchants for next season’s can be purchased now
  • Expect high prices on red gems, orange resilience gems, leg enchants and possible enchants after Season 11 begins, stock up now!

November 29th
Season 10 Ends

  • Current PvP Season 10 ends – arena and rated battlegrounds are suspended; regular battlegrounds and Tol Barad continue as usual
  • Conquest points become temporarily unobtainable and are removed from the Valor vendor
  • Existing Conquest points are downgraded to Honor points
  • Blizzard has not announced definite plans for the inter-season Honor cap (next three bullets). We know there was an implementation issue last patch with this.
  • POSSIBLE: Honor points in excess of a temporary 7,000 Honor cap are converted to gold at 35s/point
  • IF SO: If the player’s new Honor balance is between 4,000 and 7,000, they will not be able to earn additional Honor until it is brought below 4,000
  • ELSE: The existing cap remains and Honor points in excess of 4,000 honor cap are converted to gold at 35s/point
  • Blizzard begins process to calculate S10 PvP reward cut-offs, including auditing season results and nullify ratings of those found cheating
  • For the next week all previous Season Tier 1 items are available for purchase with honor. However, only weapons (including shields/offhands/relics) are worth purchasing.

December 6th
Patch 4.3 drops
Season 11 Begins

  • Existing Valor points are converted to Justice, and Justice Points over 4,000 are converted to gold (rated undisclosed)
  • Honor points in excess of the 4,000 Honor cap are converted to gold at 35s/point
  • All Team and Personal battleground ratings are wiped, hidden matchmaking ratings persist
  • Arena and Rated Battlegrounds are reopened; Season 11 gear becomes available at vendors
  • Season 10 titles and mounts are distributed

But Why Melee?

Hello fine folk on the internet, how’s your day going?

Though it may not look the part quite yet (my webdesigner is a bit busy with irl stuff right now) I’ve created Ruthless Pursuit as outlet on/tribute to all things Melee PvP in the World of Warcraft. My intended audience is melee PvEers with an interest in PvP, as well as more experienced PvPers that like to gobble up any and all information on the subject (this is me).

Some paperwork first:

Definitions

PvP – Player vs Player, in general video game terms, any action where the primary opponent is a real person.

PvE – Player vs Environment, action where the primary opponent is computer-controlled.

DPS – Damage per Second, also a common label for Damage Dealers in WoW, in which case can be either a melee or ranged variety.

Melee -
(1) Refers to the part of a battle where coordinated attacks cease and the participants come together in a confused tangle of unordered combat.
(2) In table-top and video gaming, refers to any combat done in close quarters.
(3) In WoW, a style of play ensuring, under current game mechanics, you will always be at a disadvantage in both PvE and PvP compared to your ranged counterparts.  It is, quite literally in some cases, bringing a knife to a gun fight.   (But it’s so fun!)

Ranged – in all things, the opposite of melee; also, when paired with *expletive deleted*, something melee grumble under their breath roughly 4-5 times per hour, even when not playing.

The (WoW) Gods Must be Crazy

Most current tier raiders will agree that, thus far, the cataclysm expansion has been unkind to melee dps. The unfortunate truth is that, barring some unique needed utility, a raid group comprised entire of ranged dps has all the tools needed to succeed where an all-melee raid is severely handicapping their potential. Though the complexity of Cataclysm raiding exposes the disparity particularly well, it’s not a new phenomenon. When avoiding Bad, melee classes have a narrow arc behind the boss in which to move to out of in-coming Bad, but they are rarely in charge of where that safe zone goes. Thus, Melee must constantly choose between dealing damage and taking damage.

Ranged, in contrast, have the luxury of moving independently of the boss. So, while a subpar ranged will often stand in, or paint themselves into a corner of Bad due to poor planning, a good ranged can choreograph their movement, with some practice with the encounter, so they can Always Be Casting. The best ranged players will even focus their assigned healer to ensure they are always in healing range. Control of one’s own position means a good ranged will less often have to choose between dealing and taking damage, and healers love them for it (much like in a marriage, at the end of the day only the healer’s opinion really matters).

Why Melee PvEers should PvP

Reading the above, a newcomer would logically ask themselves, “Why would anyone play melee?” It’s a fair question, and one every melee will answer differently. (For myself, I’ve played ranged classes, many in fact, and my reason is pretty simple. I just don’t enjoy it. I love pounding virtual things to a pulp.)

So we’ve outlined the generally known issues for melee in modern raiding. There is one non-obvious game mechanic at play that makes it a bit easier for melee; they don’t have to Always Be Casting. Melee resource mechanics, for the most part, are such that regular, brief times off target are not devastating to overall encounter damage. Melee have built-in burst to counteract time off target. That said, the number one way to improve melee dps in PvE is to increase your time on target. And the best way to, responsibly, increase your time on target is to improve your situational awareness.

Guess what? Improved situational awareness and increase time on target is what Melee PvP is all about. Yes, PvPing will make you a better melee PvEer (this also goes for most other roles in the game, but that’s for someone else to tackle).

And right there is the “mission statement” of Ruthless Pursuit. We’ll be covering (eventually!) every melee-capable class in the game (notice: class, not spec, more to come on this). We’ll be discussing spec advice (actually talking about the talents, no cookie cutters), how to transition into PvP from PvE, melee-specific PvP strategies and best practices, and other PvP and general WoW topics as they pique our interest.

Hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading!

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