A lot of hunters are starting to get into PvP, if only to fill in some gaps in their raiding gear. A lot of hunters don’t have access to epic PvE head and shoulders, and using Vicious Gladiator pieces in those slots can be a DPS increase, especially when you consider the 70 agility from the two piece bonus. Also, the PvP ranged weapons have the same ranged DPS as their PvE counterparts, and as we all know, especially for marksmanship hunters, weapon DPS has far more of an impact on your DPS than even agility, let alone the secondary stats like crit and mastery. The PvP weapons have the same agility and weapon DPS, and generally trade one of the secondary stats for resilience.
The 359 PvP weapon is purchasable for 3400 Conquest points, and is probably a significant upgrade over any blue, and possibly even over the new ZA 353 PvE weapons. As always, femaledwarf.com should be used to ensure that this is the case.
The next step of PvP weapon is the 372 Vicious Gladiator, and this is more DPS than anything in the game short of a heroic raiding weapon. It’s not the easiest weapon to obtain, though, since you need to have a 2200 rating in 3v3 or 5v5. 2v2 doesn’t count because Blizzard doesn’t balance around duels or 2v2, instead focusing on groups of 3 or 5.
If you want to get this weapon, you’re going to need to do more than get your feet wet in PvP. You’re going to have to win a lot of arena, and that involves a somewhat different skill set than raiding. It takes a different UI, more macros, better knowledge of other classes, and better communication tools. I’m not by any means a gladiator, but I’ve recently made the leap into arena, so I will talk a little bit today about what that took.
A better UI
First off, you need to set yourself up for success. You should never click anything that’s likely to get used in an arena match, so keybind everything. A good bar mod is a good first start: I use bartender because it allows me to create invisible bars with abilities keybound. On the topic of keybinding, it’s never ever a good idea to key-turn or back-peddle. Most people use the “wasd” keys for movement, so bind A and D to strafing, and unbind Q and E. Those spots are too valuable to be wasted on key-turning. Also, unbind S and forget that your character has the ability to crawl backwards while being chewed on by a feral druid. I’ve bound it to disengage, and I’ll tell you what- there’s nothing like accidentally disengaging to your death for the first time in years to remind you how much you have to learn about PvP!
Next, you need an addon to calculate CC diminishing returns, cooldown use, and trinket use. Gladius is your first stop. Out of the box, it will allow you to see all that info, and it’s very customizable. Next, you want an addon that will show you the buffs you can purge with Tranquilizing shot. I use Dispelborder, but apparently X-Perl has an equivalent feature built in. Don’t rely too much on this information, though- you want to save your focus for times when it’ll do the most good.
Lastly, you need to have a set of “idiot lights” (to steal one of Frostheim’s expressions) set up with Power Auras or TellMeWhen. You want to have no chance of forgetting that your rapid fire, readiness, scatter trap, or silence are off cooldown. I also have auras for disengage and deterrence, as well as some procs. Basically anything that will cause you to change your next decision can be set up in an aura so you don’t have to search your buff bar or action bar.
These are simply the basics of a good PvP UI, and to be honest, I know I’m missing a lot of functionality that I’d need to get to the next level. I’ve elected to make this list out of the really obviously good addons. If you have feedback, comment and I’ll do a proper UI/addon post at some point in the future.
Your raiding macros will not be enough. To properly PvP, you need to be able to do things to people you’re not selecting. Focus, mouseover, and team macros are all important. I’m going to assume you already know how to create a macro for an ability, but depending on your preferred setup, you’ll want to incorporate the “[@focus]” and “[@mouseover]” commands. Here, for example, is a macro that will silencing shot your mouseover:
#showtooltip Silencing Shot
/cast [@mouseover]Silencing Shot
The “/stopcasting” is to allow you to silence even if you’re casting something like a steady shot. You will want to have mouseover or focus macros for all your CC, including silencing shot and scatter shot.
Focus macros mean you’ll have to change your focus every time you change your CC target, but it makes it easier to land your abilities. Ever tried mouseover silencing a shammie healer sitting in the middle of his totems with an opposing hunter standing next to him to eat your traps? Yeah, focus is a good thing.
The other thing you absolutely need macros for is using your survival cooldowns. Detterence and disengage don’t absolutely need macros (although there are some people who swear by using a wing clip macro on their disengage), but roar of sacrifice, intervene, and master’s call all do. You’ll want to be able to use any of these abilities on a team-mate when it’s called for. I’ve cheated and created 3 keybinds, each pointing to a macro that uses a different name (like [@Euripides], or [@MyWarriorFriend]) for master’s call. I’m sure there’s a more elegant solution, but that’s what I’ve gotten used to and it works as long as you remember to keep the macros up to date!
This is the one I have the most trouble with. I’ve PvPed a lot, I land most of my scatter traps, I put out a lot of pressure, and I know how to use my cooldowns, yet still, I’m probably not going to get much higher than 2200 this season, and that’s only when I’m playing with other really good people. The reason for this is that all the really excellent PvPers know every other spec and class in the game as well as they do their own, and I’m not there yet.
One of the problems is that people play class/specs differently in high end arena than you see in casual PvP (duels and BGs), so it’s hard to learn from casual PvP. Being able to build a good UI that tells you when certain key abilities are being used will really help, but you need to know what abilities to have your UI watch for. Also, the truly skilled PvPers can tell by the spell effects what’s happening, instead of relying on a UI to sort the useful information out.
The only way to develop this skill is to get a lot of experience. Play a lot of games, and try to arrange to play with people who are better than you. Your learning speed will go up drastically when you play with (and against) people who are better than you. Also, read up on each spec that you can on the arenajunkies class forums, ideally retaining as much information as you can about the specs you see the most. Talking to people who play these specs well will also help. Lastly, focus particularly on the specs of the people you play with. Knowing what your team can do is easy, because while you’ll see any number of random combinations of specs coming out of the opposing sewer pipe, you’ll always have the same people on your side.
Vent is for raiding or BGs, not arena. Arena requires a communications tool that doesn’t need a push-to-talk setup, and while vent can be configured for this, it still sounds awkward, clunky, and annoyingly loud sometimes. For this reason, almost every single serious PvPer uses Skype. If you don’t have it, get it. A lot of people use their real names on it, but I’ve elected to use my character name. Also, every time I add someone, I rename them in my contacts list to whatever their in-game name is, so I don’t get mixed up.
Obviously, there are many ways to communicate verbally while in arena, but since all the good PvPers already use Skype, it’s not worth the argument.
When you’re in a game, you should use your voice to communicate things like when you trinket, when you deterrence, and when you’re going to CC or have been CCed. Also communicate things like rapid fire or your agility trinket, as it’s a lot better to use that stuff when your other damage partner is free to use theirs too, or at least free to attack.