Arena 101: Preparing your UI for arena, addon focus

If you are new to arena, check out the first post in this series called PVP 101 getting started here and then PVP  201 about gear here.  For the sake of this new  article and follow-up articles in the series, I’m going to assume that you already have taken care to arrange the following:

  1. Arena specific spec (for example this is my disc 2v2 build)
  2. Pvp gear (+resilience please). Run Vault of Archavon 25-man and 10-man each week. Grind heroics for badges to buy PvP main pieces. Farm battlegrounds and Wintergrasp until you have approx 1,000 resilience as a healer.
  3. Clicky trinket for “getting out of stuff” is required
  4. 2v2 arena team or friend who will practice with you on a “practice” 2v2 team
  5. Stack of in your bags
  6. 2 maxed out professions that don’t suck for arena i.e. gathering professions suck

Now, assuming the above is already taken care of this article will give you tips to get started and prepare your UI.  I’ll expand on what to do next in a following installment.

Purge your Addons.

This means your pve stuff, get rid of it. Your UI should be clean so you can see the items you really need to see in an arena match. This is your arena frames, your cooldowns, and most importantly your environment. More than raiding or other PVE content, you need serious situational awareness.

Many arena players have very simply UIs, without scrolling battle text that crowd your vision and can distract you from that mage who’s sheeping you. How do you setup a new UI, check out this guide on ArenaJunkies.

First, get yourself an arena unit frame addon:

  • Gladius - Enemy unit frames to arenas for easier targeting and focusing. It is highly configurable and you can disable most features of this addon. This is my recommended, it has lots more features.

Second, get a crowd control tracker addon so you can monitor you and your teammates:

  • CC Tracker – In the config menu select show anchor to see where the bars are. Move them by holding alt and dragging.  I have my friendly bar to the left , where my teammates are. You might want to set up fade time to 0 for more responsiveness. And increase the size so that you can see the effects quickest.
  • DR Tracker – to track the crowd control you have on enemies and diminishing returns, highly useful.

It’s key to track your enemy casts and cooldowns, a mod like this will do it:

  • Natur EnemyCastBar – this one even tracks diminishing returns, and cooldowns so you could use it instead of 2-3 other addons. It’s all about what your preference is.
  • InterruptBar – this is great if you are a healer, you can help line up your fake casts when you know something has come off of cooldown.

A very important addon is OmniCC, this adds timers  to your actual spells in your bars.

If spells coming off of cooldown is super important to you, it’s nice to use an additional addon just for showing cooldown timers:

Setup a Spell/Aura Alerter:

  • Power Auras – This addon was created to provide visual cues (auras) when you gain buffs, debuffs and many more. Very useful for shorts buffs or debuffs, it allows you to draw in the center of the screen, or around your character, very customizable visual effects, rather than having to look at or mouseover buff/debuff icons/actionbars. I have this setup for some spells like “fear ready” only via verbal cues.

Next, I use a buff frame mod:

It’s very important to replace (if you are a caster especially) your cast bar with one that shows latency. This is especially useful for monitoring the casts of your focus target:

Optional install, scrolling combat text. I use Mik’s but with a special trigger pack for arena:

Next up, setting up Key Bindings/Macros specifically for your new arena UI. This is another key step in getting ready to dive in.

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