I ignored macros for a long time. They were too complicated; they were too inconvenient to set up; they were for pros, and I was a noob.
Of course, one day I realised I wasn’t a noob anymore. But hey: I’m a healer. What do I need to “/target Demon Chains” (or just “/tar demo”) for anyway? It’s not like I have to quickly switch targets urgently. So I wasn’t a noob, but I don’t think I was really pro either. It was still too much trouble; still too hard.
One day I decided to have a play and learn. I was probably bored. I had a browse of wowwiki; I liked some macros, and some seemed pretty useless. And then I stumbled across a gem: NS+HT. This would give me an INSTANT Healing Touch. No waiting for the GCD after I cast Nature’s Swiftness. Unfortunately, it didn’t work in tree form: people were telling me you can’t get the insta-HT if you’re in tree form, and you should macro it with regrowth instead for when you’re in tree.
Never a fan of the word can’t, I did some more research, and fiddled with the macro, and eventually I managed to get an insta-HT from either tree or caster form. Of course, post-3.0.2 my secret is fairly pointless, as you can cast HT in tree form anyway, but it went like this:
/cast Nature’s Swiftness
/cast [mod:alt,target=focus,help] [mod:alt,target=focustarget,help] [help] [target=targettarget,help]  Healing Touch
Well, that’s the final form anyway, after some more playing around. But that’s all still to come. It would work just fine if the last line simply read “/cast Healing Touch”.
My next encounter with macros came when I was looking for an easier way to deal with the last boss in Shattered Halls, Kargath Bladefist. He has this nasty little whirlwindy-thingy where he spins around the room doing big melee hits on random people. I had a tendency to die, and so did any clothy or leathery dpsers. Basically everyone is taking enough damage to die within a few seconds, and you need some big group heals. Tranquility is the obvious choice, but if I hit Tranquility and then he hits me, I’m interrupted and the spell is wasted. Thorns then Tranquility was the answer, but I had to re-shuffle my bar so thorns was nearby, because I just wasn’t getting to it and back to Tranquility quickly enough. Eventually I decided to try a macro, and this was a pretty simple one:
/castsequence [nochanneling:Tranquility] reset=60 Barkskin, Tranquility
Actually, I started out with something a bit simpler, but realised that if I mashed the button I was in danger of cancelling my own channelling. This form turned out much safer, although it may be overkill.
But how do I create a macro?
Ok, now for a quick how-to. I found macroing intimidating for about 30 seconds; it’s really pretty straight-forward. Bring up the in-game menu (hit escape) and select macros, or type /macro, and you get an interface up to make your macros. You can choose to make a particular macro for either just the current character, or for all characters on your account. To create a new macro, hit the “New” button. Give the macro a name, and choose an icon. The “?” icon at the start is the most useful: it takes on the icon of the spell the macro casts, meaning your buttons will look the same without having to hunt for the right icon.
Ok, having named and iconned your macro, hit ok, and you can now enter text into the box at the bottom. Type your macro in. There’s no save button: when you’re done, just drag your new macro’s icon down onto your bar somewhere, and you’re ready to go.
All-purpose healing macros
By now I was starting to work out that macros could be pretty useful, and as I got into later raiding I found them virtually indispensable. There’s hardly a button on my bar any more that isn’t a macro. In fact, every healing spell on my bar is bounced through a macro. They go something like this:
/cast [mod:alt,target=focus,help] [mod:alt,target=focustarget,help] [help] [target=targettarget,help]  Lifebloom
The #showtooltip ensures that I get the tooltip from the Lifebloom spell, instead of one which just shows the name of the macro. Then we get the meat of the macro: the /cast line. Obviously, /cast casts a spell, and the simplest form is “/cast spellname”. So, what are all those things in the brackets? Target selectors. They’re evaluated in order and choose the spell target.
The “[mod:alt,target=focus,help]” says that if I’m holding down alt when I activate the macro, use my current focus as the target, but only if it’s a “helpful” (friendly) target. If those conditions aren’t satisfied, it’ll try the next option: If I’m holding down alt, try my current focus’s target, but only if it’s friendly. This means if my focus is an enemy, it’ll heal the enemy’s current target. The next one uses the default target (my current target), but only if it’s friendly. The fourth option, “[target=targettarget,help” tries my current target’s target, if it’s friendly (in other words, if I’m targetting an enemy, and the enemy is targeting a friend, it’ll heal that friend.) Finally, “” says that if nothing else has worked, use the default target for the spell. This might seem unnecessary, because I already have “[help]” in there, which seems like the default anyway for a heal, but I have auto-selfcast switched on, which breaks if I don’t have “” as a last resort.
Every heal on my bar is macroed this way, and I love it. I don’t use the focus stuff much, but the rest of it is SO convenient. If I’m targeting an ally, it behaves as expected. If I’m targeting nothing, it heals me. The real kicker is that if I’m targeting an enemy, it heals whoever the enemy is targeting, and that’s SO handy when the boss changes target a bunch. This macro really comes into its own on bloodboil: the tanks are rotating regularly, and occasionally he picks a random raid member to attack, and you need to REALLY spam-heal that guy. I just keep the boss targeted the whole time, and I’m automatically healing the right person.
I wrote the focus stuff in before I got into click-casting, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have it there. I might even use it one day.
What else are they good for?
Healing macros are far from all I use the things for. Macros can be handy for all sorts of other things, and sometimes they can be fun too. My favourite macro goes like this:
/me rustles her leaves fiercely at %t.
Just a quick one-liner that doesn’t really do anything except an emote. The %t is replaced with the name of my current target. Be creative: you can have some fun with macros like this. In addition to emoting, you can /yell, /say, /p, /rw, and all sorts of other things. One I find handy in bigger raids is:
/y %t, stop slacking around and get up!
This announces to everyone in earshot who I’m rezzing, so other rezzers know to get someone else up instead. I use a similar macro for my battle rez. Another handy one, which I call “Escape”, drops into cat form and pops dash. Unfortunately it needs hitting twice: I haven’t worked out a way to do it in a single click yet, although if you’re already in cat form it works to pop dash immediately. I use this when I need to get away from something fast (like on the Mother fight in BT), and often when we’re wiping, and I want to go somewhere quiet and pop shadowmeld.
/cast [nostance] Cat Form; [stance:1/2/4/5/6] Cat Form; [stance:3] Dash
I use my leatherworking drums quite a bit, and I can use a macro to announce to my party when I pop them:
/use Drums of Battle
/p Using Drums of Battle…
You might wonder why I bother, but if there’s another leatherworker in the party who’s about to pop hers, she may see my message in time to stop and wait until mine are over.
Focus and Crowd Control Macros
Druids don’t do a WHOLE lot of CCing, but between Hibernate, Roots (which now works indoors!), and cyclone, it’s going to occasionally come up. And, whether we’re healing or dpsing, chances are we don’t want to keep our CC target selected the whole time. Unfortunately, CC breaks early frequently, particularly in higher-end instances and raids, and so it’s good practice to re-CC EARLY AND OFTEN. Don’t wait for your CC to break. Luckily, blizzard gives us this “focus” thingy, which is much more useful for CC than it turned out to be for healing. I use:
/cast [target=focus,harm]  Hibernate
If I have a focus set, and it’s unfriendly, I’ll cast Hibernate (feel free to replace with Entangling Roots/Cyclone/whatever). Otherwise, I’ll cast hibernate using normal casting rules, which basically means on my current target. This gives me one button which I can use for CCing my focus, if I have one set, or just for general CC when I’m happy to target the mob I want to cast on. Oh, there are two ways to set your focus: target a mob and type “/focus” (or make a macro!), or target a mob, right-click on your target window, and choose the “Set Focus” option. You can clear your focus with the command “/clearfocus”.
Boss Fight Macros
Some of the boss fights out there are complicated. You have to do stuff. You have to alert your group to stuff. How DARE they make us do anything but button-mash! Ok, so this is the fun of boss fights. Luckily, as I said in my intro WAY back up the top, there are macros which can help. They’re not about taking the fun out of boss fights, and doing stuff automatically so you can go back to button-mashing: in fact, they can make the fight more fun (and hopefully easier too).
One of my hobbies is helping friends’ guilds progress through raiding, and this usually means Kara. Most of the boss fights are actually fairly straight-forward: once you’ve explained the strategy, people can just go about their assignments without having to pay TOO much attention. One real killer though is Shade of Aran.
I HATE Shade. For a start, it’s one of the longest runs back in the WHOLE FREAKIN’ GAME. And secondly, OMG DON’T MOVE ON FLAME WREATH! WHY DID YOU MOVE? OMG.
The number of times I’ve had to run back because of a someone-moved-on-flame-wreath wipe is ridiculous, and so I generally ask to be made a raid assistant for this fight, so I can use this macro:
/rw FLAME WREATH!
/rw DON’T MOVE!
Those raid warnings are kinda hard to miss. Just for good measure, I use this one too:
/rw ARCANE EXPLOSION!
/rw RUN OUT!
I know some people just don’t pay quite enough attention to spot these abilities, and it’s made harder when people don’t use something like Deadly Boss Mods or Bigwigs. Now, I can be their boss mod: I just have to pay attention, and hit those macros whenever the abilities come up. There are absolutely SWAGS of fights you can make announcement macros like this for, and some where more complicated macros are handy too. For Najentus, I use this gem to announce to people nearby that I’m spined:
/s Spined! Get this thing out!
A /s is best here, because it comes up as a speech bubble and helps people find you to click on you. For Kalecgos, I use:
/p PORTED! LET’S GO!
to tell my party when it’s time to use a portal. On Vashj, I use something a touch more complicated:
/use Tainted Core
/y <——- TAINTED CORE TO: %t ! ! !
/s <——- TAINTED CORE TO: %t ! ! !
/script SendChatMessage(“!!! YOU HAVE THE CORE !!!”, “WHISPER”, nil, UnitName(“target”));
This throws the core to my target, announces who I threw it to in say AND yell, and whispers the person I threw it to as well.
As a non-feral-dps druid in the Archimonde fight, I’m probably not going to be in cat form when I get air-bursted, BUT being in cat form can reduce my fall damage if I mess up using my Tears. I don’t want to waste time changing to cat though, because I want to be focusing on using my tears at the right moment (and maybe squeezing out an instant heal first). This macro to the rescue:
/use Tears of the Goddess
/cast Cat Form
Slow-fall and fall damage reduction all in one! Oh, and another one for Archi:
/console CameraDistanceMaxFactor 6
This lets you zoom your camera out a bunch further than you can just by using the slider in interface setup, and you can see those nasty fires coming from a LOT further away.
There are all sorts of other macros out there. I’ve looked through heaps of lists, and seen plenty that sounded handy, but these are the ones I find I use. Feel free to share your favourites in the comments, or give me some tips on any I’m doing wrong. In the meantime…