Focus Casting: Macros And You

Focus Casting: Macros And You

I had a revelation last week. It’s one I’m not afraid to share because I suspect there are a lot of players in the same position as me.

That position is peering out from round a corner with a bemused grin and crimson cheeks, watching the macro users of our raid do ten things at once while showering the raid in light and laughing at the boss. We’re cautious because they’re clearly performing some kind of common folklore which all players should know, right? And we shouldn’t even consider asking about macros?

Wrong.

If you’re in that position of knowing nothing about healing macros then we have something in common, you and I. Maybe you’ve just started a new healing class and know nothing about it. Maybe you’re looking to improve your WoW playing generally. Maybe you’re a raid leader, like me, and have been getting into macros via raid leading and now want to see if this macro malarky can do anything for your healing. Whatever the case, read on.

If you do know something about macros then have a read anyway – some of these might be basic to you, but you might pick up something that saves your skin, bark or cow-printed hide.

Paladins

1. Buffs up quicksmart

/castsequence [target=focus] Beacon of Light, Sacred Shield

  • This macro will put both of your essential healing buffs up on your focus, which is likely to be the tank.
  • TIP: you can use the addon Need To Know in conjunction with this setup. It’ll give you permanent timer bars for those buffs regardless of whom you’re targetting.

 

2. Easy judging

/cast [target=focustarget] Judgement of Light

  • Casts your judgement of light which both does healing and gives you a powerful haste buff
  • It won’t cause you to overaggro when casting your judgement as you’re using it on the tank’s target
  • Means you don’t have to mess around with tab or mouse targetting a mob to cast it on. You may need to re-target your tank but that’s less trouble than having to target everything manually.
  • TIP: you could use the addon Clique, which will allow you to set up mouse and key bindings for anything you could wish. Want to heal the tank? Sure, click the <insert mouse button here> and you needn’t retarget them after using your JoL macro.

 

3. Catch-all Holy Shock

/cast [mod,target=player] [nogroup,target=player] [target=mouseover,help,nodead] [target=targettarget,help,nodead] [] Holy Shock

  • If you have an enemy targetted it will automatically holy shock you
  • If you have *anything* else as target and a friendly unit as mouseover (or target) then it will holy shock that friendly unit

 

Priests – holy and discpline

1. “oh noes” button

/console Sound_EnableSFX 0
/cast [combat,@player] Power Infusion
/cast [combat] Inner Focus
/cast [spec:1,@mouseover] Penance; [spec:2,@mouseover] Greater Heal
/console Sound_EnableSFX 1

  • It works for priesties of both healing flavours. Yep, you read right, It’ll work by casting one of the spells, based on whichever spec you’re in. This saves you having two separate macros for holy and discipline
  • You could also add commands to pop your trinkets (/use 13 and /use 14) but be careful of the macro character limit.

 

2. Holy single target “oh noes” button

/cast [target=focus] Guardian Spirit

  • For you holy priesties. This is an “oh noes” button if you’ve been focussing on the raid and see that your focus, probably a tank, is wilting a bit and needs help now.

 

3. Discy Pain Suppression management

/cast [target=mouseover] Pain Suppression
/sw 8
/script Stopwatch_Play();
/say Pain Suppression Up!
/in 8 /s ***Pain Suppression depleted***

  • This is most useful for keeping track of PS cooldown and alerting you when it’s ready again – useful in fights where you need to time cooldowns and don’t have time to keep an eye out for them ticking down
  • TIP: this one may not work off the bat for you. The ‘in’ command is said to be provided through an addon, possibly the Ace3 library, though various people with various addon setups have got the macro working.

 

4. Discy raid-healing insta-bomb

#showtooltip Divine Hymn
/cast [target=player] Power Infusion
/cast Inner Focus
/cast Divine Hymn

You’re a discy priest so you’re probably healing tanks most of the time, right? That might be so, but sometimes you’ll be on raid anyway, and sometimes you’ll be on tanks watching the raid take heavy damage – and we all know how comfortable that isn’t. This macro will help you help the raid recover and soak up damage.

  • Try to have Borrowed Time proc’ed too for the (extra) haste
  • You’ve just given yourself power infusion which both reduces your cast time and mana costs
  • Bubbles! Bubbles everywhere! Your increased critical effect chance from inner Focus should mean more chance of divine aegis’ popping up.

 

Druids

1. Rolling Lifebloom
/target TankName/cast [modifier:shift] Rejuvenation ; [modifier:alt] Regrowth ; Lifebloom
  • Make a macro for each tank in the raid and you’ll be able to keep them all rolling on 3 stacks of Lifebloom, lag and catastrophe notwithstanding
  • This particular macro also has modifiers which give you flexibility in HoTs. Got a bit of extra time? Throw Tank1 a Rejuv. by pressing shift. Everything refreshed and got a couple of seconds? Stick Regrowth up by holding down alt

 

2. Quick response to tank death

#showtooltip Rebirth

/castsequence reset=600 Nature’s Swiftness, Rebirth

/run c=”Don’t release! I got ya.”if UnitInRaid(“player”)then SendChatMessage(c, “RAID”)elseif GetNumPartyMembers()>0 then SendChatMessage(c, “PARTY”)end

  • This is your “oh noes tank’s dead!” macro
  • It’ll immediately get him back on his feet and announce what you’re doing.

2a. Intuitive-res macro

#show Rebirth

/cast [@mouseover, combat, dead] [@target, combat, dead] Rebirth; [@mouseover, dead] [@target, dead] Revive

  • This is a similar one for other “oh noes” times – specifically when key people have dropped like lightbulbed flies. If you’re in combat it’ll try to use combat res, if you’re not it’ll use revive
  • Just be sure you’re out of combat after a fight’s ended before you use this, for fear of wasting your combat res.

3. Easy poison cleanse

#showtooltip

/cast [target=mouseover, help] [] Abolish Poison

  • This is a time saver anywhere there is a lot of poison kicking around. Its utility is simple: it allows you to cleanse your mouseover target without having to target them then retarget your healing target
  • TIP: I reckon this one works for all healing classes for their various cleansing duties.

Shaman

1. Earth Shield ease

/cast [target=focus] Earth Shield

  • Very, very simple way of refreshing earth shield on the tank, providing that your tank is your focus.
  • TIP: you can also get the addon Shaman Friend to support this macro by playing a sound when ES runs down. Alternatively you could have it in place of the macro: it can be setup to provide a focus button for earth shield refreshing, and a box which visually tracks ES stacks so you don’t miss it falling off.

 

2a. “Oh noes” button version 1

#showtooltip Healing Wave

/cast Nature’s Swiftness

/cast Tidal Force

/cast Healing Wave

  • Any resto shaman worth his salt has some form of this macro. Some shamans prefer not to attach a healing spell to it so they can choose whether to fire off a single target spell or a chain heal after nature’s swiftness. You could make both of those options achievable by altering the macro slightly, to this:

2b. “Oh noes” button version 2

#showtooltip Nature’s Swiftness

/stopcasting

/use 13
/use 14

/cast Nature’s Swiftness

/Cast Tidal Force
/cast [mod, help] [mod:shift, target=mouseover, help] Chain Heal; [help] [target=mouseover] Healing Wave

  • This version will cast healing wave after blowing your cooldowns or, if you hold down shift, it will cast chain heal. It also uses your trinkets (/use 13 and /use 14) for extra “oh noes” aversion value.

In both of these you could also add a command to tell party chat or a specific target that you’re averting catastrophe this time by blowing all your cooldowns, and so won’t necessarily be able to save the day again. At least for a few minutes.

 

External links:

There look to be quite a few sites out there with musings and help on macros, ranging from forums to class-specific blogs to macro specific-all class sites. Some of them are better than others. Here are the ones I found to be either most useful for digging these macros up or, in the case of the third link, just a Very Good Idea:

  • Arena Junkies – Arena Junkies macro forum – for your PvP macro needs
  • Elitist Jerks’ various guides, forums and threads have some useful macros squirreled away.
  • Macro Explain – does what it says on the tin. You paste in a macro, it explains each line of the macro. The website also has links to other macro resources and addons.
  • PlusHeal – plusheal’s macro forum – you’ll find good discussions and very helpful folks here.
  • WoWWiki – WoWwiki’s section on macros has links to class specific macro pages.

 

Most of these macros have been tested but let me know if any of them make things go boom. Or worse still, make nothing happen at all. I hope these do work and help you have more fun healing. Perhaps it’ll even bring about that myth us healers have heard whispered about – less stress while healing.

What do you think? Are you a macro-newbie and had been afraid to admit it? Feel free to do so! Share your tales of macro learning experiences. Also let me know if any of these prove really useful or otherwise. Likewise, if you’ve been hit by inspiration and have just spent thirty minutes writing some new healing macros or perfecting existing ones, do share them!

This is a post by Mimetir, an oversized owl of a raid leader on The Venture Co (EU). You can find my twitter feed here.

(Macro image created by Emrank @Flickr, used under CC)

A Guide to Mouseover Macros

A Guide to Mouseover Macros

mouseover

One of my buddies from Conquest, the resto-shamantastic Catrii, asked me a question this week about setting up mouseover macros. I thought the explanation might benefit the community as a whole, especially as many of us are cleaning up our UIs in an attempt to be faster and more accurate once Ulduar hits. Here’s a short guide to my preferred UI-altering technique: the mouseover macro.

Mouseover what?

A mouseover macro is a series of commands that lets you press a single button (on either your keyboard or your mouse) to heal the target that your mouse pointer is currently hovering over. It replaces tab or click targeting as a quick way to pick up heal targets. With the standard, unmodified interface, healing is a 3-step process: 1) decide who to heal, 2) left click to target her, and 3) click the spell on your action bar or press the keystroke bound to it. This is a very slow process that requires you to move your hand not once but twice. Mouseover macros let you target a player and cast a spell in just one movement. As a note, I’m using druid spells as examples in this post, but mouseover macros will work for any healer. Just substitute in your spells of choice!

Examples

To make a basic mouseover macro, go in your character-specific macros window and click “New.” You’ll be prompted to choose a name and an icon for your macro. I usually assign a two-letter code for the spell. For example, I use LB for Lifebloom and RJ for Rejuvenation. But you can call it pizza, and believe me, it won’t matter. After a while, your fingers will learn the key binding and you won’t need to look. I prefer to choose highly individual (and funny) icons for mine, but you can also duplicate the original spell icon, as I will explain below.
macros-interface

Once you have your name and icon, go into the dialog box and type your commands one per line. Each command line starts with a / just like when you type commands manually. I don’t personally mess with cast sequences, and I actually think it’s best if healers make each macro cast only one spell.

Here are a couple of simple examples for what you might put into a mouseover macro. As you can see, the name “mouseover macro” comes from the first line, the one that lets you target by hovering over a player’s health/information bar in your unit frames or the Blizzard default UI.

/target mouseover
/cast Lifebloom

/target mouseover
/cast Rejuvenation

If you want the Blizzard standard spell icon to display instead of using a new one of your choice, write your macro as shown below and choose the red question mark as your icon. The #showtooltip command will update that question mark to the default icon for that spell.

#showtooltip
/target mouseover
/cast Lifebloom

As per reader Llanion’s suggestion, if you would like to cast a spell on mouseover without switching your target (keeping your target set to the MT or the boss), write your macro as below:

/cast [target=mouseover] Lifebloom

Fellow blogger Keeva contributed another version, which you’ll see below. And if you haven’t been to Keeva’s blog, go now! Well, as soon as you finish reading my post, that is.

#showtooltip
/cast [target=mouseover,help] Lifebloom; [help] Lifebloom; Lifebloom

As per Keeva’s explanation, this macro means:

“If I have a mouseover target, cast Lifebloom on them
If I don’t have a mouseover target but I have a normal target, cast Lifebloom on them
if I don’t have a mouseover target or normal target, cast Lifebloom on me.”

These examples represent the very simplest incarnations of the macro, no frills. You can add lines to your macro if you’d like to, say, use a trinket with your spell.

Here’s a macro you might use to link up your Swiftmend spell with the effect from the Living Ice Crystals. Doing this is called “slaving” a trinket to a spell.

/target mouseover
/cast Swiftmend
/use Living Ice Crystals
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Don’t forget to put in the line to clear the error message! Otherwise you’ll get annoyed by red text and alarm sounds if you hit the macro when the trinket isn’t off cooldown. There is some debate about whether to slave a trinket with an on-use effect to another spell, but personally I’m all for it. Your trinket has a greater impact overall if you use it any time it’s up.

Ok, I wrote my macro–now what?

Here’s the tricky part — keybinding the macros to a particular position on your action bars. I keybind my macros to a position on the standard action bars as I don’t use mods like Bongos or Bartender. Follow these steps to bind a keystroke to a particular location on an action bar using the Blizzard default UI.

1. Press the escape key
2. Click on Keybindings

key-bindings

3. Scroll through the long list until you see the name of whichever action bar you are planning to populate with your mouseover macros. I favor Right Action Bar, as you can see below.

4. In the Key 1 column, click one of the red boxes. Once you’ve selected it, just press the key you want to bind to that place. You’ll see the results displayed on your interface, illustrated below.

key1-column

5. Once you’ve selected your new key codes, hit Okay. If you don’t, kiss your changes goodbye! Go ahead and laugh, but I’ve made this mistake many times.

hit-okay

6. Next, hit /macro to bring up your macros interface. Click and drag the icon for the desired macro onto your action bar. Match it to the space now labeled with the keystroke you want to assign to the spell.

drag-icon

Special Cases

Action bar mods like Bongos or Bartender generally have different names for action bars and you have to configure the keybindings from within their configuration menu. Chances are if you’re savvy enough to set them up in the first place, you’ll know how to configure the keybindings.

A gaming mouse also takes an extra level of configuration, and you’ll need to consult your mouse manual to figure out how to bind the extra mouse buttons to keystrokes. The software always comes standard with the mouse. On my Razer Death Adder mouse, I assign the special buttons to F9, F10 and F11. They now function just like keys.

Charting your key bindings

The point of this exercise is to set yourself up for comfort and speed. Here’s what I do. In addition to the mouse buttons, I always bind some keys I can easily reach on my left hand: 1,2,3,4, F, G, R, C, V. Sometimes I overwrite a function I actually use, like the command to toggle the character panel, and I make sure to bind it somewhere else on my keyboard. If you really never turn with the keyboard, A and D are available real estate as well. I recommend that you never, ever, ever bind Q or E: you will need to strafe some time or other. If you want to use Q or E, make sure you have strafe available somewhere else. The same applies to the space bar–don’t be caught on the ledge without a way to jump! I have smallish hands and a short reach, so 1,2,3, and T are a little far out for comfort. Somehow I can reach 4 really well…it’s a mystery. I have offensive spells on 1-3 and push-to-talk on T. I keep my mount on V on all characters for those quick getaways. Below is a chart of where I put the mouseover macros for my major heals.

Click wheel: Lifebloom
Additional mouse button 1 (thumb): Rejuvenation
Additional mouse button 2 (thumb): Swiftmend
F: Nature’s Swiftness/Healing Touch
G: Wild Growth
R: Regrowth
C: Nourish
4: Innervate

My key bindings are based on personal preference, and yours should be too. I have an approximately equal number of casts on the left hand and the right hand, and that helps reduce repetitive stress injuries. I made sure that I could easily reach my “best” spells and that they fit comfortably in my hand.

You can use your macros to modify your behavior and correct bad habits. Rejuvenation is the very easiest spell for me to reach–do you think I would have put Healing Touch there? I also use the letters to remind me if possible. I tried Wild Growth on F, but I kept wanting to hit G for Growth, so I just went with it. Muscle memory ensures that you will grow accustomed to your keybindings–wherever they are–with practice. The only trouble I ever have involves the click wheel. My best click wheel advice is to either stay away from binding the scroll up/scroll down function or to bind them to the same thing. If you can differentiate those two movements well, more power to you! As for me, I only bind the button press function. Even so, it can be awkward to Lifebloom while mouse turning, but I’ve gotten used to it (and I don’t spam LB as much as I did back in BC. In Hyjal, I had the click wheel AND F bound to Lifebloom). If you want a clean-looking interface, you can set up all your macros on one action bar (for example, RightActionBar) and then un-display it once you know the keybindings and clicks by heart. Your macros will work whether or not an icon actually displays on your screen.

What unit frames do I use mouseover macros with?

Mouseover macros pair really well with most unit frames. I’ve used them with both Grid and X-Perl. Pitbull works just as well from what I hear, but I’ve never tried it.

Are there mods that can set up mouseover macros for me?

Healbot supports them to the point that they’re pretty much built-in, and Clique is essentially a mouseover mod. I prefer my homegrown solution because it’s extremely customizable, and now that macros sync between computers, keeping them in shape is a cinch.

But what if you like the mouseover idea and want less set up? Try Healbot or unit frames + Clique. The one drawback to Clique is that it encourages you to do double key combos, as in Shift+right click for Rejuvenation. Any time you have to press two keys to hit a heal, you lose precious time. I know this quite well–I used to use Shift+F for Rejuvenation, with the result that I almost never cast it. Lifebloom (F) was a lot faster. Since then, I’ve gotten a 5-button mouse and I have all my heals bound to a single key or click.

Common Macro Mischief

Here’s a list of the mistakes I’ve seen some players make. Try to avoid them as you learn to play with mouseover macros!

1. Binding the left and right click of the mouse to a spell. Don’t do it. You still need to be able to target, inspect, invite, etc. Some unit frames (I think Healbot) let you use left and right click to heal when you’re hovering on the frames and return those clicks to their normal functions when you’re not mousing over health bars, but I wouldn’t try it without the mod. That’s a macro that’s too complicated for my taste.
2. Letting your macros do too much for you. As I’ve said, I don’t like cast sequence macros for healing. Healing will always be at least partly reactive, and you need to be fully in control of spell choice at all moments.
3. Combining two abilities that invoke the GCD in a single macro. You’ll have to hit it twice. I believe this is the case with castsequence macros as well–you have to click for every cast in the sequence.
4. Misunderstanding trinket cooldowns. If you slave two trinkets to a spell, it’s very likely that only one of them will go off at a time. They might share a cooldown, or there might be a hidden cooldown of 45s or so preventing you from blowing both at once.
5. Changing targets without meaning to. Make sure you’re in control of where your pointer is at all times. Mouseover macros work not only on unit frames but on the avatars themselves. You can use mouseover macros for what Matticus calls “heads-up healing,” but beware that you could also switch targets unintentionally. This is why mouseovers are dangerous for dps–they were more so in the age of crowd control.

Disclaimer

I’m no expert on mods or UIs. I try to play with the standard interface when I can because I like as little clutter as possible, and macros are part of that. If you want to learn more about UI building, I’ll refer you to Keeva’s Healbot v. Grid series. I’ve learned so much from her. There’s also a topic going at PlusHeal forums with more macros for other classes, including some that are more complex than the ones I’ve talked about here. Some of that information is outdated, so be sure you read the parts of the discussion pertinent to WoTLK. I’m also interested in hearing what the community has to add to my thoughts on mouseovers. If you have an idea or clarification, please post it in the comments and I’ll try to keep this little guide updated and corrected.

Healing Tips for 25-Man Raiding: WoW Insidered, Matt Reviewed

I woke up this morning and decided to check my grades to see how I did this semester. Turns out I got an F in Cognitive Science. Now I’m really depressed about it, but I’m working on a plan to address it next year.

Anyway, aside from that I was catching up on a little bit of light reading on WoW Insider. One of the columns featured is that on 25-man raid healing by Marcie Knox. The article essentially summarizes the tips and tricks that healers can pull off in order to succeed in end game content. Let’s see if WoW Insider experts and I agree:

You need at least one of each healing class. Yes, even a holy priest and the rare resto druid. No matter what you’ve heard, running with all paladins really won’t get you very far, nor make the journey pleasant.

Disagreed. Ideally it would be nice to have all four healing classes, but sometimes it simply isn’t possible. Can you do some 25-man content with all Paladins? Yes. Is it recommended? No. But you do not NEED a Resto Druid, Shaman, Holy Priest and Paladin. If you set it as your goal to recruit one of each healer before trying your hand at raiding, you’ll be stuck for a long time. Carnage is incredibly stacked on Paladins and Priests. We have one Resto Shaman and no Druids (WE COULD USE ONE THOUGH SERIOUSLY). We went from Karazhan to Kael since we started back in June.

You have 6-8 raid slots for healers to work with. Start with 7 and make adjustments as you go.

Agreed. Typically, I would start with 7 and work my way up or down depending on the following:

  • The encounter
  • The gear of healers
  • The skill of healers

You’ll only need to do this the first few times when you’re working on a boss. After a while, when bosses can be done with no effort, you can remove healers as necessary to speed up the fight.

All healers must have the following information instantly available at all times:
a) Raid Health Monitor
b) Range Indicator

Kinda. I do keep the raid health monitor window open but I never make use of it. I’m not sure if Knox refers to the health of the entire raid as a percentage or the health of each individual raid member. Regardless,everyone’s health bar should be on the screen. Don’t just have your party window open in a raid.

As for the Range Indicator, it’s a good idea to have one. I’ve grown accustomed to my Priest that I can visually tell whether or not I’m in range of my tank. If I’m able to, I do a quick range check before a boss by lighting up a Prayer of Mending to ensure line of sight is not an issue. It’s a good tip for Alar when you’re not sure if the ledge the tank is standing on is going to interfere with your LOS heals. If your tank isn’t, a quick bark over vent should move them an inch or so over.

Have at least 2 people willing and able to handle the healing assignments.

Agreed. When I run my pickup Magtheridon, I make a deal with my partner. He runs the strats and I take care of the healing. He tells me whose tanking what, and then I pick out the healers who’re going to cover each tank.

In Carnage, our healers take it one step further. The raid leader puts up icons and calls out which tank is on which trash mob. Our healers take a more active approach and type in our healer channel which tank we’ll cover. Here’s an example for Hydross:

  • Resto Shaman: Raid
  • Holy Paladin 1: Water Tombs
  • Holy Paladin 2: Active Tank
  • Me: Active Tank
  • Holy Priest 2: Melee DPS
  • Holy Paladin 3: Elemental Tanks
  • Holy Paladin 4: Elemental Tanks

Active tanks refers to the one who is currently tanking the boss. Remember Hydross needs to be alternated between two tanks. This way, our healers are much more alert and everyone is accounted for. We have clearly defined our roles to ourselves and to each other.

You’ll need a way to do healing assignments. Here’s some common methods:
Macros – Easy, in-game, and nothing to download; this is what I use
Text File – WoW crash-proof, alt+tab then copy/paste into chat; Notepad, etc. (Watch for the multi-line limit)
Text Addons – Like a text file but in-game, good if you have 1k macros already; Notes (Is it still around? Can’t find it.), etc.
Assignment Addons – Fill out a form

Agreed. Typing it by hand sucks. Typing it again because someone was AFK sucks more. Personally, I use macros. Example:

/rw HEALING ASSIGNMENTS:
/rw —
/rw Tank 1: Healer A, Healer B
/rw Tank 2: Healer C
/rw Tank 3: Healer D
/rw Tank 4: Healer E
/rw Raid: Healer F and G

I mainly use this one for my own pickup raids on Mag and it spits out nice lines and alerts everyone.

Set up a healing channel to broadcast the assignments or use the Guild Info window if you’re an officer

Agreed. A typical channel name is GuildHeal or something. Just type /join GuildHeal and type / followed by the channel number. Usually it’s something like /5.

I like to change the color of all the text in the healer channel to something bright so that it stands out. To do this, right click on the tab above your chat window (General). Mouse over to Channels, then there should be a red square next to the name GuildHeal. Click the square and a color wheel should pop up. Drag the circle to any color you like.

Get set up to record your combat log and parse it via WWS.

Agreed. Post raid analysis is always important when you can’t seem to do a boss properly. You need to troubleshoot and diagnose the problems in order to fix it. For in game, I suggest an addon called Recount. I’m going to post an indepth guide to it later on in the week when I start accumulating some screenshots.

Well for the most part, it looks like we do agree and emphasize the same things (except for the first point). Knox’s healer is in Mount Hyjal. My Guild’s working on Kael. Who knows? Maybe I’ll radically change my views once I get into Hyjal.