Thursday, January 28, 2010

Simple Target and Attack Macros for Bears

You creep just into range of your quarry. The Moonfire icon lights up, signaling that you are ready. You steel your nerves and begin casting Wrath. The green bolt flies through the air even as you cast Entangling Roots. As the bolt hits the target it lunges at you, but becomes ensnared in the roots. The white bolt of Moonfire bursts out of the sky. Knowing you have only moments, you let loose a second bolt of Wrath as your quarry tears free of the entangling roots and races toward you. With only a split second to spare, you slide into Bear Form and then . . .

Nothing happens. The mob sits there hitting you, but for some reason you're not hitting it back. What the hell? Frustrated, you scramble with your mouse to right click the target and start the melee attack. There it goes! You see that rage bar slowly inching upward, but by now you're no longer in the zone, and the rest of the fight is just waiting for that Maul to proc and hoping you can sneak in Bash when the mob tries to self-heal.

This has been my experience for the last several nights. Whether I'm pulling with a complicated opening sequence of Wrath-Root-Moonfire-Wrath or with Growl, I pull and then grit my teeth when the mob comes in and I realize I'm still not attacking them. I finally broke down last night and cobbled together a very basic targeting macro, which I'll share now.

/cleartarget [help][dead]
/targetenemy [noexists, nodead, nohelp]
/startattack [harm]

This does the following:
  1. If I am currently targeting something that is dead, or friendly, drop the target.
  2. If there is a nearby enemy that is not dead and not friendly, and if I do not presently have a target, target that enemy.
  3. If the current target is an enemy, start attacking it.
Now comes the fun part. A targeting macro is something I will be using over and over again, as long as I play. I'll need functionality similar to that above throughout the game and eventually will want to augment it for special scenarios such as party assist, healer innervation, emergency threat snaps to pull mobs off of DPS and Healers. Moreover, I'll want to have the functionality above in most of my other combat macros.

In the Escape > Interface > Action Bars panel, there is an option to show the "Right Bar" and "Right Bar 2". These are caolled the "MultiBars" and we want them both visible. I place my new targeting macro icon in the bottom slot of the left MultiBar. Once the macro icon is in place in slot 12 of the left MultiBar, I can now create a second macro:

/showtooltip Growl
/click MultiBarLeftButton12;
/use [stance:1]Growl

As you can see, my new Growl Macro references my targeting macro.

Now, I pull Growl off of my action bar and replace it with my new Growl macro. Whenever I use the Growl Macro, it goes out and looks for a nearby target, with preference to ones that are directly in front of me. Once it has the target, it sets my state to "in combat" with the target, and then uses Growl. The instant the mob gets within range of my autoattack, I start swinging. No right clicking in panic involved.

I use a similar simple macro for Maul:

/showtooltip Maul
/click MultiBarLeftButton12;
/use [stance:1]Maul

The nice thing about this is that if I'm fighting two or three mobs at once and every millisecond matters, the instant the mob I'm fighting dies, if I jam the maul macro button I immediately get a new hostile target and start swinging. If I have sufficient rage, I start out with a Maul.

Most importantly, however, if I want to upgrade my targeting macro later on, I only have to do it in one place.

These are intentionally very simple, very basic macros and should be usable by any Bear Druid level 10 and up. Once we get Faerie Fire, Growl will take on a completely different role. There are very complex limits to what we can do with macros, which I will not enumerate here. For now, this is a simple macro that I use regularly, and it's a good introduction to macros for baby bear tanks.

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