Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Bailed!

I bailed on a my first 5-man PUG of 3.3 last night. I had just finished tanking a guild Ulduar run and was itching for a little DPS before bed. I queued with another healer from the Ulduar run, she brought her hunter.

Two DPS takes a while to find a group. I queued for the first two new 5 mans since I am hoping for the hilt as well as some drops there. In the meantime I went to grab my underspore frond quick, I had never done that quest on my death knight. Probably with good reason as it is completely useless for a DK, but I wasn't thinking that hard at the time.

Just as I got to the tree for the quest the group was ready so I grabbed my quest item and zoned in. So deleting that item next time I see it.

Anywho we come in, say hi and the tank says it is his first time. Was also sporting a few regular instance blues, but no big he was sporting over 24k health (27k, 30k buffed to be exact). Seemed quite competent with the trash pulls if a little random in choice of direction.

Oh and we lost a healer right away before we even started. Another one joined in right away though and was crazy enough to stick it out. Tank and healer die on the first single trash mob.

It goes down though, I taunted it and tanked it in my DPS spec and gear. Then the other DK (I was on my DK as well) runs over and starts attacking the 2nd single trash mob we hadn't pulled yet. Dies pretty much immediately, what a tool.

So it is Semper Vi to the rescue; we don't run out, that would be cowardly or at the very least could be misconstrued as intelligent. I jump on that mob and tank it like DPS was mean to tank! With my natural blood healing abilities, a healing potion injector and Gift of the Naaru I live long enough for the two of us to get it down. Hmm we should go back and farm for that hilt, obviously healers and tanks are optional.

We continue around the left wall clearing trash to ick and eck or whatever their names are, which has always been the second boss for me, but we did it first. I died standing in things twice... the second time I called foul, but I probably wasn't paying attention close enough. Boss went down though.

We went on to the boulder hurling giant, find out our tank doesn't do adds and wiped. The overzealous death knight left at this point and we got a druid who stealthed in the usual way. They were a bit surprised when we didn't stop at ick and eck as we had already done it. Guess no one reads that 1 of 3 bosses down message when accepting a group.

We wiped twice more on that boss and then on the way in I asked if the tank had a DPS spec. He said, "No, but I have this other sword." That was it, he didn't even link a sword. I flipped to my tank spec and gear, no more add trouble. It had been over an hour and I wanted to get done more than I wanted to DPS.

We wiped... well the group did. I died to getting too much of the debuff and took the boss down another 20% before succumbing to the cold. The boss actually doesn't hit very hard at all and I could heal myself through it no problem. Which makes me wonder how bad a healer has to suck to not be able to keep themselves up, even if they let everyone else die.

I've had a pally healer there before though and I gave the same advice I'd given in the past, ignore the debuff and just heal. Worry about the debuff when the boss runs off to a forge. Must be good advice, we got it no problem.

The next few packs of trash up to the ice cave went relatively smooth, a little hiccup and two deaths on the first 5 pull, but after than no casualties. Was using a hunter freezing trap on one of the fire AOE guys and tanking the rest, killing the other fire guy first followed by the tall blue chick.

On to the undead, we froze on caster and killed the other first. I popped my antimagic shield and icebound fort at the start of each to eat that large burst on those pulls. That totally rapes my bear. Those pulls were almost as easy as that time I had two priest to shackle stuff.

On to the cave! The druid (who would rather die that heal themselves) asked if we were running straight to the middle. I said no we'd take it in steps since we had a pally healer. So I did, grabbed the first couple and waited for the pally to catch up. Went in a little more and let the pally catch up. Once more and stopped just shy of the middle, waited for the pally to finish a cast and move up and grabbed the big guy in the middle. I was just a little slow on blowing a cooldown and dropped.

In retrospect I should of dodged ice a while and waited for more stuff to die to reduce the amount of incoming damage, but geesh that was so healable. It was an hour and a half in and I let everyone know I was headed to bed. That last boss was not worth my time and I was one death away from actually loosing money that day. I take comfort in knowing I made money even if it is only a couple gold.

That would happen the day after I have a really great PUG. Hoping for better luck tonight; no plans, just PUGs!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Counter-intuitive: Queue What You Want To Do

I finished heroic Halls of Reflection for the first time yesterday night and it all started with a couple guildies an myself looking to run the Forge of Souls and Pit of Sauron.

I was on my druid and expecting to tank, but it turned out our healer was saved and forgot so he flipped to his tank and I was going to heal. We usually try to keep the healing and tanking roles withing the guild so we are guaranteed some base level of competency.

Of course our tank who usually prefers to queue as DPS didn't have tank checked when I queued and lucky us we had a group like two seconds later with a pally tank and a rogue that LFG picked out for us.

We plowed through the Forge of Souls my only complaint being that the one time I hung back to loot the tank ran off ahead to pull. I was having some bag issues and deciding what to pitch. Anywho a little cat dash and I was there to heal none the wiser.

Things went so well that we all agreed to go right on to the Pit of Sauron and again we charged through the place. Another loot related cat dash was my only concern, but it turned out fine. So obviously we unanimously decided to proceed to Halls of Reflection.

This is where I thought to myself, if we had gone with our original plan of keeping the tanking in the guild rather than PUG a tank by chance we probably would never of attempted Halls of Reflection.

Notably because our tank would of been saved and potentially flipped to heals instead of flipping from DPS to DPS. Keeping our tank tanking and me healing preserved that momentum we had from the previous two instances. We knew what to expect from each other and it all clicked.

It was a good thing I was healing two instances prior because I needed that warm up. I am a feral druid first and foremost and do pretty much all my healing on my shaman. Had I started cold turkey I doubt I would of done as well. Plus I had practice before that even healing Arathi Basin as a gnome for the holiday achievement (Blizzard hates feral druids by forcing them to heal for that particular achievement). Nothing gets you smacking healing buttons like a good bout of PVP.

So the end of Phase 5 and the first "mini" boss I get feared twice in a row, my hots fall off and boom the rogue and I die, but the boss goes down as he was at like 2%. Couple rezzes and we get through the first half of the instance without further incident.

We wiped once running away from Arthas due to melee placement, cleaves and abomination juices. Second time through was much smoother aside from the last group at the very end of the run. It was hairy (mostly due to casters in the back pelting me as I had healing aggro), but no one died. It was better I have a little healing aggro to heal through than for melee to get two shotted getting stuck in the wrong position. I can respect being a tank most the time that keeping aggro on casters who hang back while keeping ahead of Arthas is not an easy task.

We won and it was time for bed. Ironic that I had to heal though, I was looking forward to trying out my recently acquired four piece tier 9 bonus on my tanking set. The irony being that I unchecked tank earlier to run the heroic random. That PUGed tank turned out to be quite alright as well.

So the moral of the story is that it might be better to queue for the role you want to play rather than queue for the role that you think would be best for the group.

Jousting 3.3

It would appear the same mob AI change that has tanks running around like chickens with their heads cut off also affects tournament dailies. It is so annoying that I've sworn off jousting and just do the other dailies now.

For anyone who has not heard of the new behavior plaguing tanks, mobs will now run behind tanks if they move a teeny bit where as before they would stay in front of the tank (for the most part). I can think of a few mobs that would randomly move around side to side and occasionally make thier way behind the tank if the tank didn't compensate. The golems in HoL and HoS come to mind.

I have a theory on why that is after jousting a few times. You know how if you have a non-combat pet out it can sometimes seem to be running ahead of you and actually turn with you while still ahead. Seems like they are psychic or something.

Well I think the same thing is happening with mobs. Whatever coefficient that was making them just a bit slower than us has been decreased so that mob AI is just a little faster when it comes to keeping on our heels. Not to non-combat ESP levels yet, but certainly closer than before.

So how does this affect jousting? My old strategy was to circle my target staying just about shield breaker range so I could sneak out and toss a shield breaker and get back in before the enemy could do the same. Then when the mob backed off to charge I'd charge first and with any luck I'd have all the enemy's shields down already and take them down in a couple charges.

Now the enemy jouster follows so closely that getting off a shield breaker is more or less impossible. This leaves my primary attack to be melee attacks which don't remove shields and my charges do much less damage. To make matters worse I have to be charging as soon as I can where as before I'd have time to toss an extra shield breaker when needed. This faster enemy will charge faster and drop my shields before I even see them coming.

At first I thought I was just a little laggier than usual, but this is all happening at my usual ~150ms latency. It is just too similar to the tanking issue to be a coincidence anyway.

So what was once a mechanic based on a bit of skill and using abilities wisely has turned into a war of attrition of basic melee attacks with neither NPC or player often having fewer than three shields up.

The time needed to crank out the jousting dailies has gone up ten fold to the point where it just isn't worth my time. I've only really gotten into the tournament recently to make a little gold on the side. Jousting dailies are repetitive enough without the added frustration of not being able to use shield break.

So that leaves a few kill something dailies that I just take out in bear form in large groups. Repetitive, but quick. Kind of stupid that I can solo threat from above easier than the "easy" jousting daily, but that is the way it is. I am betting that jousting will become a group quest if this change remains in place while the group quest becomes more a solo quest with better gear.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rise of the PUG

The new dungeon system is pretty awesome. You queue up get ported right in, no more waiting a few minutes for the first two to fly from Dalaran to some dungeon in the middle of nowhere to summon. Should things go south or you forgot something you can port in and out of the instance to repair/resupply all by yourself on a whim.

I really wish I had figured that out before I ran out of Pit of Sauron, found myself back in Dalaran and then flew back. I knew I read about the easy in/out feature, but I didn't know how it worked and no one else did either. Didn't help that I had an add-on covering the button on the minimap.

As expected it is hard to find a tank and to a lesser extent a healer if you queue up with 3-4 people without one of those. My guess is like me tanks and healers queue with a friend or two and are just looking for one or two more. There are stag tanks and healers out there, you just might have to wait a while.

I know there are more tanks and healers in the queue, but like me I bet a lot of them uncheck those options to just go in and DPS. It's fun to have a change of pace after a tanking or healing for a while.

The quality of PUGs seems to be OK from what I have seen so far. For the most part the largest problem I see is knucklehead DPS that can't watch threat worth a damn. I keep telling healers to let them die if they make a habit of tanking. The second issue is people without a clue, especially in Oculus. Three of us got it as the random heroic and basically 3 manned it despite making an effort to explain the dragon mechanics.

Although the new system is faster, you can't "interview" your fill-ins ahead of time. In the old system I judged characters by their names as well as their responses when I asked if they would like to run any particular instance. You can weed out a lot of stupid that way.

I was never one to look at gear, but the new system does that for me supposedly. Seems to work in that I seem to get grouped with similarly geared people. That offsets the stupid filter a little, but still there are those decently geared folks that just don't have a clue.

The worst part of the new system is that it takes away from guild runs. People will run in groups of two and three with PUGs rather than take the time to organize 5 guildies, myself included. It isn't all bad since we run more and get to meet new people. Even if we don't like the new people it gives us something to talk about in the guild vent.

I had originally foreseen that the random heroic being repeatable would mean that when you asked in guild chat if anyone would want to run it that no one would be saved. The reality though is that they say they are in one right now and could do it after. So you end up PUGing and thus completes the vicious cycle.

Looking forward to trying the system out on some lower level alts in the next few days. Those groups have been historically really hard to get together.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Improvised Awesome

It has been a long time since I actually got to try new content with absolutely no background information or previous experience. It is by far what I enjoy most in the game. Testing my mettle against the unknown and coming up with tactics on the fly.

I was once told after someone had the opportunity of helping me out on a low level alt on their low level alt that they understood why I react so well when things go to hell, because that is how I usually play. I actually tone it down in groups for the benefit of others (not enough for some/most).

So right on patch day I grab my sister and her girlfriend and start looking for a couple more for the first of the three new 5-mans. We find a couple more guildies without much trouble and after ten minutes or so of bouncing off the instance entrance we get in.

We grab the quest, spread the buffs and start pulling. Immediately we notice that the big boney things spell reflect on occasion. Speaking of which there are few things more amusing than a mage two shotting themselves with lucky crits. Perhaps not to the mage, but everyone else gets a good chuckle.

Exploding skulls, healing adepts, shadows that hop around like etheral rabbits, oh a boss. I made the unusual suggestion to clear the extra bit of trash before the boss just in case since we had no clue what would happen or where we might have to move.

We start in on the boss and things are going well, a little spike damage to heal, but pretty intermittent. Then souls start getting ripped out of people and head for the boss. What does a tank do when there is something new floating around in the group, I tanked it! Boss heals to full after absorbing the soul. Hmm, that didn't work, another soul comes out, kill it! It didn't seem to be a threat so I didn't feel the need to tank it, but I did run over to help DPS it down faster thinking there was a time aspect. Nope, boss heals to full. Another soul, I run around in circles keeping the boss ahead of the trailing soul while everyone kills the soul, success! Few more repetitions and things change, we're in phase 2.

Seems DBM was already updated from the pointer and announced to run in (I hadn't updated any add-ons for 3.3). Made sense considering everyone in the swirling cloud away from the boss takes damage. There DBM goes ruining my fun, that is why I didn't even use it until WotLK. We burned down the boss and moved along.

Last boss was just a tank and spank, don't stand in stuff piece of cake. Turns out after trying that same boss the next day with a different group it isn't as always as easy as we were led to believe.

By this time we were into prime-time and after bouncing off the next instance for quite a while we called it for the evening and went off to do other things.

20 inches of snow overnight and the next day was declared a snow day! Got a time to do the other couple new 5-mans and try the new random heroic feature. Great stuff, the only drawback is the death of guild 5 mans as they were and the rebirth of the pug.

Edit: Oh and when we go for something new, we go all out. This was all on heroic, normal is for sissies. Turns out I am a sissy when it came to the last heroic, Halls of Reflection. Few tries with the waves on heroic we got to the 4th wave and then decided to flip to regular just to see it before our Wednesday raid.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Action Bar Unification

If I had 5 copper for every time I tried to use a class specific ability while playing another class I'd have epic flying on all five of my flight capable toons instead of just the one (and I only got that one through a guild fundraiser).

It was quite obvious to me that I'd never stop trying to blink on other toons after playing my mage for a while. I'd still fall back to a feral DPS rotation when I wasn't paying attention on my rogue. It is just how I am and there isn't any fighting it.

So the next best thing is to make it so it won't matter! Put similar abilities in the same places and suddenly an altaholics weakness becomes an advantage. Easier said than done, but over the past few weeks I have gotten pretty close.

This unification process also played a beneficial role in getting away from clicking and moving toward more key bindings. What better time to remap some muscle memory than when it will apply to all toons.

I started the move to key bindings in small steps weeks before I thought of unifying across toons. I can't reach 7-9,0,-,= so I remapped those action bar slots to Q, E, 7-9,0. I do all my turning and strafing with the mouse anyway so it was two more free buttons that are really easy to reach from WASD. I rearranged my bars on a couple toons to compensate for the new hot keys. Next I took a liking to F1-F5 and bound those to my lower left additional bar.

I was a notorious clicker so of course I had all four additional toolbars up all the time. :)

Some time later I still couldn't reach 7-9,0 so I bound those to some more nearby letters: R, F, T and G. I hadn't used any of these keys for their original functions for over a year so I wouldn't miss them. I've used /r to reply since forever because I just associate / with the chat frames. I've always done all my focus setting through macros and assisting someone blindly just doesn't work for me. I use pitbull for my unit frames which also display target frames which I grab targets off of when I need too. In any case it didn't impact my play style, but it might be more of an issue for some.

I had a vague sense of similarity between toons at this point which just kind of happened. The only key that really had a defined purpose was E which I used for AOE type abilities. Other than that it was whatever worked best.

In comes the unification movement! I started up a spreadsheet with a template outlining all my 6 standard action bars and started defining slots to certain generic abilities. I didn't get very many filled in so I just made a few copies and started plugging in actual abilities for a few characters I played most.

Through an interactive back and forth process the template started to take shape and today it is in a pretty good place. Still a work in progress though and probably will be until I play a max level toon of every class/spec and even then I'll end up tweaking something.

What keys do I have bound?

So right now I have F1 through F12 bound to my lower left additional action bar right above the default action bar. I can't reach F6-F12, but I wasn't using them for anything else and I figured I might take my hand off the mouse once in a blue moon and learn to use them.

On my default action bar I have 1-6, Q, E, R, F, T and G. I use ~ for push to talk over vent and the rest of the keys are still bound to their default actions with the exception of V and B. I have those two keys bound to action bars on the far right. They were the first two keys bound as a direct result of my template, I am thinking of using C as well if I find a reason.

What do I have bound where?

I use F1 through F3 somewhat flexibly as short term buffs and debuffs. Per encounter type abilities in DND terms. For my druid this is feral faerie fire, berserk, entangling roots/nature's grasp (with alt modifier). For my hunter: rapid fire, readiness and misdirection. DK: plague strike (I have a macro to put up diseases and use this as a backup in case the castsequence fails for some reason), horn of winter and hysteria. Resto shaman: water shield, earth shield and earthbind totem. Enh shaman: lightning shield, feral spirit and earthbind totem.

A bit verbose, but I think that gives a pretty good idea of the types of differences between classes when the template is somewhat vague. The next couple keys are more static in their function.

F4 is used to break snares, crowd control and/or movement impairing effects. A power shift macro for my druid to flip back into whatever form I am in, every man for himself for my humans, tremor totem for my shaman, escape artist on my gnome, etc. A common key to hit when I want to get out of something.

F5 is my emergency damage mitigation type ability. Barkskin for my druid, evasion for my rogue, deterrence on my hunter, stoneclaw totem on my shaman, etc. Yes stoneclaw totem isn't exactly the same like the others are, but the idea is that if I pull something I shouldn't it will buy me some time.

1-4 and Q make up my primary abilities for whatever class/spec I am using. These are the abilities you use multiple times every single fight. If you have a rotation (priority based or not), this is it. 3 and 4 are easiest for me to hit while moving around simultaneously so that is where I stick highly used abilities and/or abilities with an orientation requirement like having to be behind your target. Still I can only strafe left at the same time leading to lots of dizzying clockwise maneuvers when called for. 1 and Q come in second for ease of access and 2 takes my finger off the forward button so I usually stick something I don't use often or requires me to stand still there. I don't like standing still. :)

5 is another ability used pretty much every fight, but not as often. This would be a finishing move or something with a longer cooldown. For my druid this is rip, my hunter uses kill shot and my rogue uses rupture. For some healer love I use this for swiftmend on my druid and earth shock on my shaman (yes I do DPS when I can as a healer).

For tanks I use 4 and/or 5 as taunts.

One of my favorite keys is E! It's my spamming AOE key of doom. Arcane explosion on my mage, swipe on my druid, fan of knives one day on my rogue. Some classes have boring AOE (read not spammable), multi-shot for my hunter and chain lightning for my shaman.

Speaking of AOE you might be asking what about blizzard, volley, hurricane, etc. These abilities require you to target an area on the ground, generally near the middle of your screen. I stick these abilities on the right side of my lower left additional action bar (bound to F12, F11, etc). Since I have to move my mouse over there to target the ground anyway I just keep these abilities close and click twice to use them.

6 is also hard to reach, harder than any of my other keys I use on my keyboard. I use this for start of fight type abilities: stealth, hunter's mark, death grip, frostbolt (mage is leveling), etc. Pretty much a reflex when I am going to start trouble to hit 6.

R bring goes back to a more single purposed key mapping scheme. I use R to charge, blink, shadowstep and to blow the crap out of corpses on my DK. Some classes don't have a charge or blink like ability so R becomes just another relatively easy key to bind a frequently used ability to. In this case since R is very close to E I use it as a secondary AOE ability on my death knight.

Keeping similar abilities together on a class to class basis is just as important if not more so than keeping things the same between classes.

F is a stun, slow, snare ability. Bash for bears, maim for cats, kidney shot for rogues, frost shock for shamans, concussive shot for hunters, hammer of justice for pallies etc.

T is a spell interrupt. Kick, mind freeze, counterspell, silencing shot, etc. This and F are pretty important and beneficial to keep constant across all classes and specs. Having a reflexive stun and interrupt speeds reaction times for abilities where time matters.

The last slot on the default action bar I use for an aggro drop. Feign, feint, cower, etc. Classes that don't have such an ability like my death knight I have a second spell interrupt here. My shaman's spell interrupt is also an agrro reduction ability so I stuck a dispel ability here.

My last two key binds are V and B. I use V for a mana regen ability: aspect of the viper for my hunter, mana tide totem for my shaman, innervate for my druid, shamanistic rage for my shaman's DPS spec. For classes that don't use mana I wing it. For my dk this summons my ghoul and then sacrifices it for health (blood dks use ghouls for health pots). I was planning on using this for an energy drink on my rogue.

B I use for my most often cast long term buff. Mark/Gift of the wild on my druid, aspect of the dragonhawk on my hunter, weapon enchants and poisons for my shaman and rogue.

Just as an added note of awesomeness, I just started using B and V on my hunter last night and boy was that slick for flipping between dragonhawk and viper when getting mana. I hardly had to click anything at all and that was proof to myself right there that keybindings were improving my game play.

The rest of my unification is all clicking and rarely/intermittently used abilities. I stick things I use more towards the ends of bars where they are easier to find. I stick all my buffs at the top of my two additional action bars on the right side. This includes the new drums my leatherworker can make. In the middle I have engineering stuff on my engineers, quest items, and more or less random stuff. I keep most the class unique/specific utility abilities on the lower right additional action bar nice and spread out if I can. That leaves a big hole in the middle of the right side action bars on most toons.

At the bottom right side I have a nice big block of stuff that stays pretty constant between all toons: mount, hearth, rez, health regen/bandage, drink, eat, mana regen, healthstone, mana potion, health potions and my two trinkets.

For professions and some abilities that are rarely if ever used I use the second action bar accessible by hitting the up/down buttons on the right side of the defaults action bar. The only class I am using this for abilities is my hunter. Tame beast and beast lore are used like never, but I don't want to look through my spell book when I want them.

Thoughts action bar complexity by class?

From the worst (hardest to set up) action bar experience to the best (easiest to set up).

Hunters suck! Especially if you are an engineer. You will fill every single action bar slot and still want more. That is with a very high comfort level with macros. If you don't use macros you cannot play a hunter correctly, sad but true. That must be the root cause of the huntard phenomenon.

Warlocks are the caster versions of hunters. Well maybe not that bad, but they certainly have a lot of abilities. A moderate use of macros goes a long way in keeping thing clean. I've only recently hit 20 and and am little overwhelmed, hopefully it doesn't get worse.

Rogues are pretty clean, but a lot of utility stuff that you almost want to bind, but just don't have the room. They are worse than hunters in that respect, but overall there is lots of room to go around to click stuff.

I don't play a priest, but I am guessing they fall somewhere around here.

Shamans suffer from the same problems as hunters with just too much if you stick it all on you bars, but not quite as bad. Using a totem managing add-on like totem timers or even the default totem manager blizzard stuck in cleaned things up considerably. You don't need to keep all your buff totems on your bars, just a few situational ones.

Druids with all their abilities and complexities are very surprisingly simple when it comes to action bars. Hiding a lot of abilities inside different forms really cleans things up for what you see at any given time. Going to have to use some macros if you plan on going feral DPS since the cat form has more abilities than can fit on a bar. Other specs are fine without, but better with macros.

Death knights with proper macros clean up real nice. Without macros they still aren't terrible. Abilities like rune strike which when not macroed must be constantly monitored and are just annoying.

I don't play a warrior, but I am guessing they fall around here.

Mages have a lot of stuff, but a lot of it isn't useful depending on spec, once you figure out what is what things get a lot simpler. Not much need for macros here. All those teleports/portals to different cities will tank their toll with time.

Paladins have so few abilities and so many keys to bind them too. Well actually they have about as many as other classes (most of which are buffs), but a very small subset is used at any given time.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hunter Macros (Marksman Engineer)


They share a cooldown so why not a button, why not indeed. Hit this button to fire an aimed shot or right click it to fire a Multi-Shot. Since I am already clicking when there is AOE involved for Volley it makes sense for me to click for Multi-Shot as well. There is also a bunch of other stuff here, we'll talk about that next.

/cast [button:2] Multi-Shot; Aimed Shot
/cast [target=pettarget, exists] !Kill Command
/use 10
/cast [nomodifier] Silencing Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Kill Command/Rocket Launcher/Silencing Shot

All nice abilities off the global cooldown which do more damage. Kill command is another one of those abilities that requires babysitting when not used in conjunction with a macro. There isn't any thought behind it other than, "Oh it is active, I should use that." So I added it to all my core abilities with macros.

Engineers such as myself have the option of a hand mounted pyro rocket launcher on their gloves. It is on a forty-five second cooldown and not too much fun to watch so I added that to my core abilities as well.

Finally I have Silencing Shot added in there. Most of the time you never need it and it goes wasted, but for a little more mana it does do damage and is off the global cooldown. More damage! Hold down alt/shift/ctrl to save it for fights where you actually want it, then just let go of the modifier key and it will fire off with your next shot.

/cast Serpent Sting
/cast [target=pettarget, exists] !Kill Command
/use 10
/cast [nomodifier] Silencing Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

/cast Arcane Shot
/cast [target=pettarget, exists] !Kill Command
/use 10
/cast [nomodifier] Silencing Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

/cast Chimera Shot
/cast [target=pettarget, exists] !Kill Command
/use 10
/cast Silencing Shot
/script [nomodifier] UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

/cast Steady Shot
/cast [target=pettarget, exists] !Kill Command
/use 10
/cast [nomodifier] Silencing Shot
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Melee Hunter!

Hunter's have three melee abilities, only two of which require a spot on your action bars: Wing Clip and Mongoose Bite. At the same time these will both queue a Raptor Strike for your next melee swing as well as issue your pet a kill command if available.

/cast Wing Clip
/cast [target=pettarget, exists] !Kill Command
/cast Raptor Strike
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

/cast Mongoose Bite
/cast [target=pettarget, exists] !Kill Command
/cast Raptor Strike
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

All In One Pet Button

Revives your pet if it is dead, calls your pet if isn't with you and mends your pet when your pet is with you. Sometimes your pet is both dead and not with you (corpse disappeared) in which case right click to revive your pet. Right clicking when your pet is with you will dismiss it.

/cast [btn:2,nopet] Revive Pet; [btn:2] Dismiss Pet; [target=pet,dead] Revive Pet; [nopet] Call Pet; Mend Pet

Aspect of the Cheetah/Pack

Combines the two aspects into a single button. When in a group pack is used and when alone cheetah is used. Right clicking will use cheetah in a group (catch up without getting anyone stunned) or pack outside a group (not sure why, but why not).

/cast [group, btn:2] Aspect of the Cheetah; [group, btn:1] Aspect of the Pack; [btn:1] Aspect of the Cheetah; Aspect of the Pack

Aspect of the Beast/Dragonhawk

Combines Aspect of the Beast used to have your pet produce more threat while soloing with Aspect of the Dragonhawk used to increase damage done while grouping. Right clicking will activate the other aspect in case you want to use Aspect of the Pack in a battleground to avoid track humanoids or something.

/cast [group, btn:2] Aspect of the Beast; [group, btn:1] Aspect of the Dragonhawk; [btn:1] Aspect of the Beast; Aspect of the Dragonhawk

Fire Traps

Left click for a single target immolation trap, right click for an area of effect explosive trap.

/cast [button:2] Explosive Trap; Immolation Trap

Ice Traps

Left click for a single target freezing trap, right click for an area of effect frost trap. Will also stop any casts in progress to get the trap down right away.

/cast [button:2] Frost Trap; Freezing Trap

Hunter's Mark

Put your Hunter's Mark on your target and send your pet to attack it at the same time. If you are in a group then your pet won't attack unless you hold a modifier key (alt, shift or ctrl). When not in a group you can keep your pet from attacking by holding down a modifier key.

/cast Hunter's Mark
/petattack [group, modifier][nogroup, nomodifier]


Will misdirect onto your focus target if they are in your party/raid, friendly and alive, if not then whoever you have targeted if they meet those same requirements, and finally your pet if it is with you and alive. If none of those three targets are available then you will just get a hand icon to click on someone to misdirect to. Right clicking will set your focus target.

#showtooltip Misdirection
/focus [button:2]
/stopmacro [button:2]
/cast [target=focus,nodead,help,raid][nodead,help,raid][target=pet,exists,nodead][] Misdirection


Left click activates hearthstone, left click will teleport to Gadgetzan and alt/shift/ctrl right click will teleport to Toshley's Station in Blade's Edge. Eventually when I can make the wormhole generator I will integrate that into the macro as alt/shift/ctrl and a left click.

/cast [modifier,btn:2] Ultrasafe Transporter: Toshley's Station; [btn:2] Ultrasafe Transporter: Gadgetzan; Hearthstone

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Choosing Professions

I've put some thought into this lately figuring out what professions to pick for my alts and then leveling up those professions.

Since WotLK there is much less pressure to get the "right" professions on your toons. Most crafted items are bind on equip so you can send them to whichever alt needs them. Give or take the rewards from each crafting profession are pretty balanced as well. So when you get to 80 it won't really matter.

There is a little more pressure if you are leveling up without the support of a bunch of alts. Blacksmithing on a cloth wearer for example would be perfectly acceptable when it came to the end game to craft gear for your plate wearer, but leveling alone with it would be pretty lame.

So lets take a look at each of the professions and see what it can do for us, who can most benefit from it and how much work is involved in skilling up.

Herbalism - Lifeblood is pretty awesome for leveling once you get your skill high enough to use it. Particularly true for classes that can't heal themselves. That's you mages, rogues, hunters, warriors and warlocks, this could save your life. End game this is less useful than other profession perks, but if you need herbs this is not an option.

The downside is you have to go out of your way to pick up herbs, adding a bit of time to your leveling. With the accelerated leveling through lower level content you spend even more time skilling up instead of leveling since it is easy to move to a new questing area where you find you aren't skilled enough to pick the herbs. Then you have to go back to a lower level area and farm herbs to catch up. This is true of most gathering professions, but herbalism is a little worse due to the fact that skill levels required are much more graduated than say mining. There are many situations where you need to pass up an herb until you get 10 or 15 more skill levels.

Alchemy - You'll have lots of health and mana potions leveling up as well as other utility and buff potions which are fun. Things like water breathing, water walking, invisibility, etc. come in handy in certain situations if your class isn't already capable of such things. There is something for everyone here regardless of class or spec. End game introduces a number of potions with infinite uses (health, mana and a SP/AP flask) which save money and potentially bag space. Other than that you find more herbs (hopefully you or an alt have herbalism trained to a comparable level) and make consumables, endless farming, ew.

Inscription - I've not really got into this yet, but it seems more or less useless for leveling. Basically you make glyphs which you can buy in the auction house for less than the cost of the mats since many of the popular glyphs are made just to train up the skill. You can also make vellum which enchanters love, but again auction house is usually easier. There is a hearth scroll you can make which puts you on par with shamans in how many times you can hearth an hour, but they are consumables. End game there are a number of shoulder inscriptions comparable to the Sons of Hodir reputation rewards, but just a wee bit better to justify the profession. Again you need herbalism to support it, lots of herbing. I'm doing this last basically since I didn't have it on any toon.

Enchanting - Magically disintegrate items into base components and use them to enhance other items. This is another one of those auction house is easier and sometimes better professions, but it has perks. You get the end game bonuses of any other crafting profession in the form of ring enchants. You can disenchant quest rewards and magic items you find to save bag space and level up your profession; no need to go out of your way to farm mats. While leveling you'll probably be enchanting your own gear which you normally wouldn't be if you had to buy those enchants. That is a lot of stats you have leveling you wouldn't normally. Good for any class/spec, you don't have to be a magic savy class to be an enchanter strange as it might be. Downside would be having the extra job of handling shard distribution in groups and any profit from selling disenchantable items goes to your profession instead of your purse while leveling.

I have disenchanting on my rogue and basically leveled her high enough to be able to disenchant any greens I got to make mats to have other enchanters enchant my gear for me. I since took a fancy to my rogue and leveled her high enough to have access to end game enchants herself and can enchant my other toons by using vellum. I paired it up with tailoring (more on that next) which also doesn't require a gathering profession to support it and produced many green items skilling up which I then disenchanted. Any crafting profession is handy for this reason, but all the others need a gathering profession to generate mats.

Tailoring - Useful for cloth wearers leveling up, or to supply cloth wearing alts, or in my case just to make bags (I like to be self sufficient). The main benefit is that you don't need to gather mats aside from just killing stuff normally and looting cloth. That also comes with a disadvantage if you wanted to level up your first aid at the same time as they compete for materials. If I had to do it all over I probably would not of chosen this for a rogue, but end game tailoring has perks that benefit rogues as well so no harm done.

Skinning - Another gathering profession good for anyone interested in taking up leatherworking or making a little money. It would most benefit a melee class or hunter, but only because those are the classes that will need leatherworking mats (arctic furs) for leg enchants later. All classes can benefit from the critical hit chance bonus provided, but casters leg enhancements are made by tailors. Of all the gathering skills skinning doesn't require you to go out of your way, you just skin stuff you kill. Similarly to other gathering professions, due to accelerated leveling you might need to grind your skill up a little from time to time to keep up.

Leatherworking - Useful for leather and mail wearers, or to supply leather or mail wearing alts. That would be hunters, druids, rogues and shamen. Again there is no wrong profession as there are end game perks useful to all classes and specs. End game also has drums to emulate blessing of kings and gift of the wild so non-paladins/druids can share those buffs with their party.

Mining - My least favorite gathering profession, least favorite profession even. I love engineering though so it is a necessarily evil. I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone aside from supporting engineering or blacksmithing. The perk is a stamina buff, which while nice isn't compelling except for perhaps tanks and even then a minor buff (pun very much intended).

Blacksmithing - Useful for mail/plate wearers, or to supply mail/plate wearing alts. That's death knights, paladins and warriors. The main end game perk is additional sockets to put on your gear. Those require gems to be useful though and that costs more money than other profession perks do.

Engineering - My favorite profession because it is fun! There are a lot of toys to play with, some of which are even useful at times. Anyone can benefit from it, hunters especially right now due to ammo alone. The best ammo right now can only be made by engineers, but that could change tomorrow and hunters go back to buying from NPCs. The only downside is the amount to mining you will do to level it up. Another lesser downside is that the engineering enchants aren't perfect for every class/spec. For example the parachute cloak enchant is agility or spellpower and there are classes like death knights that don't really like agility, but it's better than spellpower. Still a small price to pay for a little fun, you can always forgo an engineering enchancement in favor of a more acceptable enchant. Lots of awsome utility type things like portable mailboxes, auction house in dalaran, repair bots, remote bank access, teleporters. No profession comes close to the variety of engineering.

Jewelcrafting - This ranks down there with inscription for me since the auction house is a competitive alternative to this profession. You can make some nicer gems for yourself to gain benefits similar to other professions, but at what cost? There are items to benefit any class/spec though which are handy while leveling if you keep your skill up as you level. End game patterns are bought via jewelcrafting dailies rather than from mats or vendors like other professions.

That's nice, but what professions should I choose?

For new players or new toons without other toons supporting it I'd suggest picking something specific to your armor type. For any cloth wearers that'd be enchanting/tailoring, for leather/mail wearers skinning/leatherworking and for plate wearers mining/blacksmithing.

In general I'd suggest herbalism/alchemy or mining/engineering for everyone and anyone. Those are my two favorites and enchanting/tailoring comes in close behind those two even if you can't make use of cloth items.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Death Knight Macros (Blood)

Icy Touch/Plague Strike

Your two openers combined into a single button. I also suggest keeping Plague Strike somewhere handy on your bar in case it misses for whatever reason or you need to refresh one but not the other. I keep this macro on my 1 key and Plaque Strike alone on my F1 key. I don't have to hit it often, but I find it convenient. Right clicking or holding a modifier will always cast Icy Touch for situations where you need to stay ranged, but still want to hit something. My death knight is also an engineer so I use my glove enchant every chance I get in macros rather than actually remembering to use it, but only in my DPS spec; I use my mitigation glove enchant when tanking more carefully.

/use [btn:2][mod] Icy Touch
/castsequence [btn:1,nomod] reset=5 Icy Touch, Plague Strike
/use [spec:2] 10
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()


Death knights have a ton of abilities, many of which are pretty situational, like outbreak. It's not something that you use all the time, but is really handy in a pinch. I ended up hiding it behind pestilence because it made the most sense to me. I often hit my pestilence key with a modifier to apply diseases and then let go of the modifier and hit it again to spread them. It's great for getting aggro quickly on an AOE group.

/use [btn:2][mod] Outbreak; Pestilence

Chains of Ice/Festering Strike

Festering strike is another ability which is highly situational. In fact I doubt anyone not PVPing would even miss it if it disappeared tomorrow. It is accessible by using a modifier with or right clicking chains of ice by using this macro. Makes sense considering that it extends chains of ice among other things.

/use [btn:2][mod] Festering Strike; Chains of Ice

Resurrection Announcement

Communication is important when it comes to resurrecting, especially during battle. Also helps to announce when mass resurrection is being used so people don't try to run back. The following macro uses raise ally in combat and out of combat it uses the gnomish army knife or mass resurrection with a right click. In addition a customize message for each thanks to some LUA magic.

/use [combat] Raise Ally;[btn:2] Mass Resurrection; Gnomish Army Knife
/run p=SecureCmdOptionParse SendChatMessage('I am '..p("[btn:1,nocombat]defibrillating;raising")..' '..p("[btn:2,nocombat]everyone!;[noexists][nodead]someone nearby.;%t!"))

For non-engineers this would be:

/use [combat] Raise Ally; Mass Resurrection
/run SendChatMessage('I am raising '..SecureCmdOptionParse("[nocombat]everyone!;[noexists][nodead]someone nearby.;%t!"))

Darkflight/Path of Frost

This is sort of worgen specific and sort of not, you can replace darkflight with the utility ability of your choosing. When mounted or swimming path of frost is use otherwise darkflight. Using a modifier will cause the opposite ability to be used.

/use [mounted,nomod][swimming,nomod][nomounted,noswimming,mod] Path of Frost; Darkflight

Frost Strike/Death Coil

For frost death coil isn't ever use except on the off chance you need to hit something from ranged. This macro does just that by casting death coil when using frost strike while holding a modifier key down.

/use [mod] Death Coil; Frost Strike
/use 10
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Obliterate/Death Strike

Similarly for frost death strike isn't really used aside from self healing as needed. So this macro allows you to death strike using your obliterate key with a modifier.

/cast [mod] Death Strike; Obliterate
/use 10
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Bone Shield/Icebound Fortitude

Now for a tanking one. This macro only allows icebound fortitude to be use in combat so it isn't possible to accidentally burn a mitigation cooldown when it won't be used. This is also where I use my engineering mitigation glove enchant, but again only in combat.

/use [nocombat][btn:2][mod] Bone Shield; Icebound Fortitude
/use [combat] 10
/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()


When under the effects of the lichborne buff you become undead and can therefore heal yourself with your own Death Coils should you choose. This macro allows you to spam death coils onto yourself after hitting lichborne all with the same button. That's a lot of death coils! I added one for each second of the lichborne buff in case by some freak of nature you manage to get that many off and besides it's not like it hurts to have them there.

/castsequence [@player] reset=12 Lichborne, Death Coil, Death Coil, Death Coil, Death Coil, Death Coil, Death Coil, Death Coil, Death Coil, Death Coil, Death Coil

Ghoul Health Pot

Some death knights keep ghouls around for pets, I don't much care for ghouls and prefer to use them as two minute health potions. Hit it once to summon a ghoul and a second time to sacrifice your ghoul for a health boost. There is a two minute timer on your ghoul without talents so if you don't sacrifice it in that time then the button resets to summon a ghoul again.

/castsequence reset=120 Raise Dead, Death Pact

Hearth/Death Gate/Have Group, Will Travel/Dimensional Ripper/Wormhole Generator

Click to use hearthstone or right click to open a death gate. When in a group right clicking will summon your group/raid unless you hold a modifier key to open a death gate as if you weren't in a group. As added bonus holding down one of the three modifier keys will use a different engineering teleportation device.

/use [btn:2,group,nomod] Have Group, Will Travel; [btn:2] Death Gate; [mod:alt] Wormhole Generator: Northrend; [mod:ctrl] Dimensional Ripper - Everlook; [mod:shift] Dimensional Ripper - Area 52; Hearthstone

For you non-engineers this would be:

/use [btn:2,group,nomod] Have Group, Will Travel; [btn:2] Death Gate; Hearthstone

Mounts/Running Wild

I'll include my mount macro here since my worgen death knight varies from all my other toons in that I have two ground mount possibilities I like to use. Using a modifier while swimming with use the seahorse, otherwise the deathcharger. Aside from that clicking will summon a flying mount when possible and revert to a ground mount. Right clicking will use a ground mount no matter what.

/cast [mod,swimming] Abyssal Seahorse; [mod] Acherus Deathcharger; [flyable,btn:1] Winged Steed of the Ebon Blade; Running Wild

Shaman Macros (Restoration/Enhancement)

Healing Wave/Lightning Bolt

Cast lightning on unfriendly targets or heals on friendly ones.

/cast [mod:alt,@player][noharm] Healing Wave; Lightning Bolt

Chain Lightning/Heal

Cast lightning on unfriendly targets or heals on friendly ones.

/cast [mod:alt,@player][noharm] Chain Heal; Chain Lightning

Resurrection with Announcement

Let everyone know you are resurrecting someone at the start of your cast.

/run R=R or CreateFrame("Frame")R:RegisterEvent("UNIT_SPELLCAST_SENT")R:SetScript("OnEvent",function(R,E,T,T,T,T)SendChatMessage("I am resurrecting "..(T or UnitName("mouseover")),"SAY")R:UnregisterEvent(E)end)
/cast Ancestral Spirit

Fire Totems

Left click for a single target Searing Totem and right click for an area of effect Magma Totem.

/cast [btn:2] Magma Totem; Searing Totem

Windfury/Flametongue Weapon

(Re)Buff enhancement shaman weapons. Places windfury on your main hand and flametongue on your offhand weapon.

/castsequence reset=5 Windfury Weapon, Flametongue Weapon
/click StaticPopup1Button1

Hearth/Astral Recall

Use Astral Recall to return to hearthstone location or use hearthstone with a right click.

#showtooltip Astral Recall
/cast [button:2] Hearthstone; Astral Recall

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Macros

A compilation of all the macros I currently use, I split out the class specific macros to the following posts:

Druid Specific Macros
Shaman Specific Macros
Death Knight Specific Macros
Hunter Specific Macros
Rogue Specific Macros

Here is a listing of all my generic macros that aren't specific to any class in particular.

Mage Food/Healthstone

I get a chuckle out of combining the items supplied to me by two adversarial classes into a single macro. That and it makes sense, mage food is only useful out of combat and healthstones are only really useful in combat. I included the pre-85 mage food as well for leveling alts with mages that don't quite have the best food yet. You could also add some vendor food/drink to fall back on the same way. I have a separate action bar slots for my vendor food and drink currently, but I may make macros for them eventually.

/use [combat] Healthstone, Conjured Mana Cake
/use [nocombat] Conjured Mana Strudel
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

Show/Hide Helmet or Cloak

I like to play around with my helmet or cloak sometimes and occasionally pull one of these macros up onto my action bars. Just toggles your helmet/cloak from showing to not showing or vice versa.

/run ShowHelm(not ShowingHelm())

/run ShowCloak(not ShowingCloak())


Sometimes I just can't help myself and mark even when I'm not tanking. I have a small macro to stick a skull on my current target when I left click and a cross when I right click or use a modifier.

/run SetRaidTargetIcon("target",SecureCmdOptionParse([btn:1,nomod]8;7))

Alternatively you could use modifiers to make every raid mark available in a single button, but I'm still trying to decide if such a thing is useful.

/run SetRaidTargetIcon("target",SecureCmdOptionParse([btn:1,nomod]8;[btn:1,mod:alt]5;[btn:1,mod:ctrl]4;[btn:1,mod:shift]1;[nomod]7;[mod:alt]6;[mod:ctrl]3;[mod:shift]2))


Few toons, duals specs on some, and multiple sets of gear on all leads to a lot of different trinkets. I have a couple macros to use my trinkets and show their cooldowns right on my action bars. Also serves as a nice sanity check to make sure you have the right gear equipped.

/use 13

/use 14


The most recent incarnation of my mount macro includes combining it with another ability that is only used in combat. This serves three purposes: it cleans up my action bars, I can't accidentally hit my combat only ability out of combat, and I get a speedy hotkey to mount.

The ability I've chosen for all of my toons is a crowd control and/or snare removal ability. For druids this would be "power shifting" or shifting out of and back into your current form, expending a global cooldown in the process. Obviously shifting forms isn't something that burns a cooldown out of combat, but I'm just being consistent between toons. I've also got my mount combined with Cloak of Shadows (Rogue), Tremor Totem (Shaman), Lichborne (Death Knight), Fear Ward (Priest), Master's Call (Hunter), Escape Artist (Gnome), and Hand of Freedom (Paladin).

Right now everyone has 3-4 mounts they use on a regular basis: an Abyssal Seahorse, a flying mount, a ground mount, and perhaps an additional RP type mount. I know my Worgen have use an additional ground mount just for fun when they don't want to use Running Wild. So keeping all of these things in mind my mount macros look something like the following:

Worgen Rogue

/use [combat] Cloak of Shadows; [btn:2] Black Stallion; [swimming,mod] Abyssal Seahorse; [flyable,nomod] Magnificent Flying Carpet; Running Wild


/use [nocombat,swimming,mod] Abyssal Seahorse; [nocombat,flyable,nomod] Swift Flight Form; [nocombat] Swift Zulian Panther; [form:1] !Bear Form; [form:2] !Aquatic Form; [form:3] !Cat Form; [form:5] !Moonkin Form; !Travel Form

As you can see out of combat the Abyssal Seahorse will only be used if you are swimming and using a modifier key, otherwise if you can fly it will use your flying mount and otherwise your ground mount. In the case of my Worgen I use a right click to use an alternative ground mount. Using a modifier will also use your ground mount over your flying mount, sometimes it comes in handy. In combat these macros behave just like the ability or abilities you combined it with.

Druid Macros

Hearth/Teleport to Moonglade/Have Group, Will Travel

Combines your hearthstone, Moonglade teleport and group summon guild perk into a single button. Left click will always hearth. When not in a group and right clicking will teleport to Moonglade. When in a group right clicking will summon your group and hold down a modifier and right clicking will teleport to Moonglade.

/cast [btn:2,group,nomod] Have Group, Will Travel; [btn:2] Teleport: Moonglade; Hearthstone

Barkskin/Mark of the Wild

I wanted to make my druid buff more accessible, but not take up another precious hot key so I combined it with barkskin which I never use out of combat (and this macro ensure that I never will on accident either). So in combat barkskin will be used, unless a modifier is pressed for buffing in the middle of combat. Out of combat mark of the wild will be used.

/use [nomod,combat] Barkskin; Mark of the Wild

Resurrect with Announcement

With multiple people able to resurrect it is helpful to let everyone around you know that you are doing it. This macro also combines Rebirth and Revive so you never accidentally use your battle rez out of combat in addition to putting them both on a single button. Now with mass resurrection!

/use [combat] Rebirth; [btn:2] Mass Resurrection; Revive
/run SendChatMessage("I am reviving "..SecureCmdOptionParse("[btn:2,nocombat]everybody!;[noexists][nodead]somebody nearby.;%t!"))

Power Shift

Kind of a misnomer at this point seeing as this won't give you more energy in cat form anymore, but it still provides a way to generate a little rage in a pinch when talented for it. Mostly it is a means to shift out of your current form and back into the same form with one button and remove any movement impairing effects. Since cataclysm removed the ambiguity for form:5 this macro now works for all druid specs without modification.

/cast [form:1] !Bear Form; [form:2] !Aquatic Form; [form:3] !Cat Form; [form:4] !Travel Form; [form:5] !Moonkin Form; [nocombat,flyable] !Swift Flight Form; !Travel Form

Healing Spell/Damage Spell

There are a lot of healing spells and a lot of damage spells, neither of which are particularly useful to a feral druid, and only half of them are useful for a balance or restoration druid. So I combined the majority of healing/damage spells into single buttons which change depending on target to save a bit of space. When a hostile target is selected the button will use a damage spell and when a friendly target or no target is selected a heal will be cast. Using the alt modifier will do a self heal.

/cast [mod,@player][noharm] Regrowth; Starfire

/cast [mod,@player][noharm] Nourish; Wrath

/cast [mod,@player][noharm] Rejuvenation; Moonfire

/cast [mod,@player][noharm] Lifebloom; Insect Swarm


Cleanses a friendly target of a poison, curse or possibly a magic effect if resto or if a hostile target is selected it will cast soothe to remove an enrage effect. Using the alt modifier will self cleanse.

/use [mod,@player][noharm] Remove Corruption; Soothe

Cat "Stealth Bar" and Feral Consolidation

There are a few more cat abilities that can actually fit on your cat bar (ditto for bears). The cat overcrowding stems from the fact that cats don't benefit from a separate stealth bar like rogues do, but you can use macros to emulate one.

Bears on the other hand just have too many abilities to fit on your bear form bar, period. One option would be to put some abilities up onto other bars which are accessible all the time, but then you have to look at unusable abilities when you aren't in bear form. My solution was to combine a few related abilities to make it all fit.

Once you start making macros for all these different druid abilities you actually start to run out of slots to create macros. In fact using all of the macros on this page will fill every slot (assuming one macro spot reserved for mounts). To keep my number of macros down I've combined each of my cat macros with a bear macro and just added the additional check to see what form I am in. The following few macros employ all three of these ideas.

Cat: Ravage/Shred, Bear: Challenging Roar/Growl

When in cat form use ravage while stealthed, otherwise use shred. When in bear form use growl and if a modifier is pressed use challenging roar.

/use [stealth] Ravage; [form:1,mod] Challenging Roar; [form:1] Growl; Shred

Cat: Pounce/Shred, Caster: Nature's Swiftness/Healing Touch

This one is a little different, instead of sneaking in a bear ability I included a caster ability. Since caster form and moonkin form are both mutually exclusive as are cat and bear form it is possible to combine a macro that does something different in up to all four cases. Something to keep in mind should you choose to customize some of this.

When in cat form use pounce while stealthed, otherwise use rake. When not in cat form (i.e. caster/tree form) use nature's swiftness and healing touch. I have an extra check to make sure I am in my secondary spec before casting nature's swiftness since my other spec is feral. You can replace [spec:2] with [spec:1] if your primary spec is restoration or remove it completely since you don't have to have it on your bar in specs that don't make sense.

/use [noform:3,spec:2] Nature's Swiftness
/use [noform:3] Healing Touch
/stopmacro [noform:3]
/use [stealth] Pounce; Rake

Cat: Prowl/Ferocious Bite, Bear: Swipe/Thrash

When in cat form use ferocious bite while in combat or not stealthed, otherwise use prowl. Since you can't stealth in combat, and also will never use a finisher while stealthed over an opener, it is convenient to combine prowl and a finishing move.

When in bear form use a castsequence that alternates swipe and thrash. Since swipe is cheaper I stuck it first in the sequence since at the start of a pull it is more likely to be available. Added another swipe at the end since swipe's cooldown was lowered to 3 seconds from 6.

/castsequence [form:1] reset=6 Swipe(Bear), Thrash, Swipe(Bear)
/use [combat,nostealth] Ferocious Bite; Prowl

Universal Faerie Fire plus Marking

When in cat or bear forms Feral Faerie Fire will be used and regular Faerie Fire otherwise. Since I use this ability to pull while tanking I also incorporated a way to quickly mark a target with a skull and let people know to attack it.

/cast [form:1/3] Faerie Fire (Feral)(); Faerie Fire
/stopmacro [btn:1]
/run SetRaidTarget("target",8)
/s Please assist me in killing %t {Skull}!

Crowd Control a Focus Target

Druids have quite a few crowd control options available and there are times when you'd like to focus on keeping a particular target locked down. The following macros will crowd control your focus target if your focus target is alive and hostile, otherwise the ability will behave as usual and cast on your current target or switch to a hand cursor to select a target if you didn't have anything targeted.

If you don't currently have a focus target or your focus target is dead using one of these macros will set your focus to be your current target. Right clicking won't cast anything, but will force your focus to your current target no matter what. I often use these macros to set a focus target for whatever reason.

Finally sometimes druids will crowd control more than one target, but we only have one focus to work with. Holding down a modifier will crowd control you current target and ignore your focus if you have one and set it if you didn't.

/focus [btn:2][@focus,noexists][@focus,dead]
/stopmacro [btn:2]
/use [mod][@focus,exists,nodead,harm][] Entangling Roots

/focus [btn:2][@focus,noexists][@focus,dead]
/stopmacro [btn:2]
/use [mod][@focus,exists,nodead,harm][] Hibernate

/focus [btn:2][@focus,noexists][@focus,dead]
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/use [mod][@focus,exists,nodead,harm][] Cyclone

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I've been sitting on this for a while, but I finally cleaned up the simple utility I was using to split apart my combat log files after a week or so of raiding to the point where I feel comfortable sharing it.

Once upon a time I used to wait a few seconds loading log files into wordpad (the only text editor handy that can handle it) and search by date for where the break the file. Then since the log from a raid is still too large for the clipboard I had to delete the parts I didn't want and save to a different file (careful not to overwrite the original combat log file). Then repeat over and over for as many logs as I needed to split out.

I did that for a few weeks before deciding it would be easier to write a program to do that and some of the other repetitive tasks I was doing like naming the files by raid name and date. So I wrote a quick program to parse the file, find the breaks and write out smaller logs. A little speed tweaking later and there is sat for a few more weeks. Usable, but not quite there.

So now I've got the finishing touches on it where you can set up how long to wait before splitting to a new log file (minimum time between raids), name output files automatically by raid name if one was configured, directory to look for combat logs, directory to save into, etc.

Without further ado, download it here and try it out for yourself. I repurposed a website I had made a couple years ago and just ripped out the old content so it's pretty sparse, but it works. If you have any feedback feel free to comment. I draw the line at automatically uploading stats to various website (there are too many and they change too often), but anything short of that is fair game.


Pretty isn't it? I never much cared for screen shots as they leave nothing up to the imagination. With an "artistic rendition" from paintbrush you can imagine your own favorite add-ons and whatnot instead of wondering why I was targeting some guy named Napkins who was recently defeated in a duel by Coolguy (true story, kind of an inside joke now for stupid names).

Anyway I use a lot of the default UI and placement, since it is easier to transition as old mods die and new ones are born from release to release and sometimes playing on a computer without mods (gasp).

I also use the same UI for all my toons which is why I prefer mods that are more generic and customizable to something out of the box that only works for one class and/or spec. I've recently begun trying to standardize my action bars across toons as well so that similar abilities are in more or less the same places to have muscle memory work with me instead of against me when I switch to an alt. It was a little hairy for a while, but well worth it.

If you're at all interested in what mods I am using specifically I have a link to the right listing them all with links to go and download them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Disturbing Trend

10$ for a pet. Sure that's way cheaper than those noisy murlocs "sold" in the past, but it somehow doesn't sit right with me. Sure there was some cost in paying the artist who made the pet, but surely not anywhere near the potential profit. It's like stealing, but with permission.

I was a little unsettled by realm transfers, then character recustomizations, then faction changes, now race changes. I did actually transfer my death knight from horde to alliance to get more play time out of it. I justified that by taking into account the amount of time it would take to delete the character and level it up again.

I'll might even take advantage of the race change option as well for a similar reason, but the difference will be my race doesn't affect how much I can play my character. That makes it less of a split second, this is the right thing for me to do, type decision. I'll mull it over for a good long while. Last time I thought about it I was all for it, today not so much.

I pay a monthly fee to play the game and I feel I get my money's worth in entertainment value. I don't however relish the idea of Blizzard deciding which new features are worth even more money on top of that and which are included. I can say without a doubt in my mind that WoW could run forever on subscription fees alone and turn a profit. The fact that I have to shell out another 40 bucks for an expansion seems greedy on Blizzard's part. Hell I wont even get a discount for having paid my subscription for the entire previous expansion.

Oh and the spectral tiger mount scam they fixed by making the item boe, they totally reintroduced it with these new pets. The pets will have to be bind on account to avoid people from making new level 1's just to get a new copy of the pet and auction it. So there will be people selling codes and tricking people as before. Told ya so?

It is nice that they give away half of their pure profit on the one pet to charity though. I'm sure it was done for tax reasons more so than as an act of good will.

When does it come to a point where you pay for certain instances to be available outside of an expansion purchase? Or pay for the ability to learn new dances? Oh crap, I planted the seed.

I am blissfully unaware of my monthly subscription fee since I don't have to be reminded of it constantly. Start flashing more and more price tags at me and I am quite likely to say enough is enough even if I don't buy anything. It certainly detracts from the game experience.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Looking Forward to the Patch

Doing a random heroic dungeon instead of a daily heroic quest sounds awesome. Plus an extra 5-man to run. Given the fact that it is possible to run a 5-man a second time with the random instance feature even if you already ran the instance that day; no more, "Sorry, I am saved.", in guild chat. Better yet no more quests to forget picking up or turning in, aside from the new raid weeklies.

Just yesterday I went to run culling of stratholme which was both the daily regular and heroic and noticed I was missing the quests just before we started killing the regular daily quest mobs. After we downed the timed boss I took the log run of shame back out to get the quest shared and then back in again to the last boss. What a patient PUG. :)

More accessibility to triumph badges will be nice as well since there are only a couple things I want with conquest badges and quite a few I want to get with triumph badges. Will make me feel better about buying heirlooms with conquest badges. Not that I felt too bad about it anyway, an heirloom item for an alt is a huge upgrade in comparison to a handful of stats on an 80 and I do enjoy my alts.

One thing I was looking forward too, but turned out to get implemented differently was the disenchant roll option. For guild runs I was hoping that disenchant rolls would be trumped by greed rolls, so people who can use the item would roll need/greed and the disenchanter and/or people who couldn't use the item could roll the disenchant option. A third level of roll was not to be though; disenchant rolls and greed rolls are competing against each other. This means that disenchanters in the guild are still going to have to pass and hang back and wait for everyone to roll or roll greed with the rest and make sure no one else rolled before disenchanting. I'm not even an enchanter in any of my raids and I was a little bummed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tanking Low Level Content

Poor death knights are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to speed clearing low level content. There are only so many runes to go around. Logic dictates how hard can it be if you can solo the instance, but the reality is a little different.

First off by low level I mean like 60-70 content; easy, but you can still get hurt. Once you get to the DPS can one shot mobs level of easy tanking is irrelevant.

Death knights have a rhythm to them, patterns of abilities which anticipate which runes will become available. Speeding up pulls breaks that rhythm. Light bulb; I'll pull more at a time. Kills two birds with one stone, it's less boring and I get to keep my rotation more consistent with level appropriate content.

Oh, bad. Everyone pulled off me, guess I should of let people know what I was doing. I forgot when a mob moves that means a tank has it. Things worked out better once I shared what I was doing.

All in all I think I will stick with the bear for tanking low level content. A full rage bar is easy to maintain with all those dodges and there are no cooldowns limiting the spamming of swipe, a much more organic do what you want when you want style of tanking.

As for soloing old content, feral druids rule. I've been going back to old instances in Azeroth for the achievements lately. Kind of fun with the exception of Wailing Caverns so far. Two more to go then I will do the same in Outlands. I'm interested to find out if I can handle a heroic instance on my own, but am optimistic.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Best Kind of Writer's Block

Programmers don't have any concept of writer's block, when we can't think of anything else to write that is called a release. Ship it! (For personal projects anyway, commercial products ship way before that.) Programmers don't usually sit around and think, "What should I write for my next program?". There is a perceived need and if there isn't already a program to do it (reinventing the wheel is a no no) then a new project is born.

I take a similar approach with my blog. I feel the need to write something somewhere and poof there is a post. It is as much for me as for anyone else, probably more for me. For example I keep a list of add-ons I use in game here which I use to update my own add-ons. I also keep a list of the blogs I like to read, I bet there are tools or something to track blogs, but I just link them and use my own blog as a starting page of sorts.

So anyway, the best kind of writer's block I can think of is when you can't think of anything to write because the Big Bear Butt himself complimented you. That has to be like the druid blog Nobel prize. I'll be telling everyone I know for like the next month (at least the people who wouldn't look at me like I am crazy). The first person I told said, "holy cow, that's awesome!"

Haven't been nearly this excited since I saw the new druid forms and this is way better. It is probably druid heresy to say such things, but it's true.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What to Expect from a , 1-20

Having leveled one of each class up to or very near to level 20 I think it would be helpful to others to learn from my experiences. When I first picked a class to play I just picked and went with it, I never went back to try others until I was fully vested in the classes I had chosen originally. Skip to the end if you want some quick advice.


I'll start where I started, my druid. Looking over a description of of each of the classes on the official website I went with a druid simply because they could theoretically do everything. Plus changing forms sounded really cool. Well druids are kind of a let down when you first start one with shifting forms in mind. You are a caster basically until level 20. You do get bear form at level 10, but it isn't really all that efficient compared to sticking with the caster mentality till 20. Complexity wise druids are pretty simplistic as to the number of abilities you get over time so no fear of being overwhelmed, but there is enough to keep you busy. Lots of downtime getting mana back until 20 where cat form with talent points in the feral tree has nearly no downtime from that point on. As a caster though you nuke things, root them in place if they get too close, back off and repeat till things die.


I left my druid at level twenty-something when I got BC and started a Draenei hunter. Compared to the Night Elf starting areas the Draenei starting areas had a much nicer flow and made for easier leveling. Draenei come out to Darkshore eventually like Night Elves, but they come out 10 or more levels higher and basically skip right to Ashenvale. A huge help in leveling in what is probably the hardest set of starting area of all the races. Hunters have a little downtime for mana as they get closer to level 10, but not nearly as bad as a caster. You get a pet at level 10 and it is smooth sailing from there on out. Enough abilities to keep it interesting, but nothing overly complicated. It stays that way through to the end game. Pet tanks, you shoot, things die.


So I had leveled my druid for a while by this point and decided that my druid's cat form and stealth was really cool. So of course I decided to try out a rogue. Pretty straightforward, easy to pick up. Level up that first aid and bring some munchies because there is going to be a lt of downtime getting health back. Every one or two mobs there is a healing break depending on what you are killing. Being a rogue is all about killing them before they can kill you (or escaping if you don't like the odds). It gets a better at higher levels when you have more tricks up your sleeve. A lot of sneaking around and picking fights where you have the advantage.


By this point I had forgotten how much I disliked being a caster on my druid and since I didn't have a caster I made a mage. Similar to a rogue in the kill them before they kill you, but with a ranged advantage. There is a severe downtime waiting for mana, even worse than a rogue since all mana is regained by eating, no bandages to make it go faster. On the bright side mages make their own food and drink so no worries about running out. A lot of slow, nuke, freeze, back off and repeat till things die. One of the more exciting classes ability wise since you get so much so soon. Nothing is more fun than freezing a whole group in place and blowing them all up with an AOE.


Bore to the ing ability wise. The most complex part of being a paladin is buffing yourself, and that isn't all that complicated. Killing stuff rotates around one or two abilities on relatively long cooldowns leaving you watching your toon auto attack most the time. There is a little downtime to regain mana from time to time, more if you need to heal often. Probably a good class to start with considering the simplicity and the ability to eventually DPS, tank or heal. I am up to level 30 now and not much has changed, from what I hear from other paladins that is also the case in the end game. If you like simple though a paladin might be the class for you.


Before dual specs I was in the market to try out a healer. I had my hunter as DPS and my druid as a tank for end game content, but no healer. I am into the nature type classes so I started up a shaman and decided to level her as a healer. Very little downtime since shamans are mainly melee oriented at lower levels and even at higher levels talented in the healing tree. Lots of neat abilities to play with. I'd recommend leveling enhancement if I did it all over again. I was resto until level 75 when dual specs came out. Not perceived to be a very popular class, but it would make a great first toon.


I've only gotten my priest to level 10 since I am planning on remaking it as a Worgen with the next expansion. From priests I know and my own limited experience there is a lot of downtime for getting mana. Plenty of abilities to keep you occupied though. I wouldn't recommend a priest for a first time player.

Death Knight

Muhahahaha... death knights are just fun. You start at level 55 and need to have a character with that level or higher to even make one. So not a contender for a first toon even though it would make a great one. They are unique and have a bit of a learning curve no matter previous experience. Absolutely no downtime at all and after the starting area they easily overpower everything all the way to the end game. Everyone should make one at some point just for fun, even if you only complete the starting zone.


Warlocks get very complicated very fast. I've only gotten to level 17 so far and I already have more abilities than I know what to do with. Unlike other classes knowing which spells to use at what time isn't as cut and dry. There is some downtime for mana, but not as much as other casters since having a pet allows for more flexibility in saving mana while letting your pet tank. Not my first choice for a class to start out with, but it is entertaining.


Not quite as boring as a paladin, but a close second. Also has a downtime similar to rogues for healing. Of all my toons I have spent the least time on my warrior, but I am planning on starting anew with a goblin when the next expansion comes out.

Long Story Short

So if your going to make your first character or convince someone to start playing with you I would recommend an armored hybrid class that can self heal: druid, paladin, shaman. My second picks would be: hunter, rogue, mage. Leave the rest for alts unless you really think you will like it.

For races/starting areas alliance side I would recommend Draenei, Humans, Dwarves/Gnomes, then Night Elves. Horde side I've only really done the Blood Elf and Tauren starting areas and found the Blood Elf area to be very nice much like the Draenei area, but the Tauren starting area was more along the lines of the dwarves and gnomes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Worst/Best Part of Tanking

No one watches threat.

It is expected that DPS can go all out the instant something is pulled.

Why? Tanks got buffed out the wazoo (and no you best not look at my wazoo since swipe is now 360 degrees). Content in the end of BC and WotLK was an easy AOE fest; it wasn't until recently that DPS was capable of pulling of a tank exhibiting a base level of competence.

It's fun as hell though! DPS can be proud of their damage and tanks can be proud that they stayed in control.

I'm sure some tanks still prefer/expect the old ways of doing things where the onus was on the DPS to not pull anything, but not me. That was boring. Not as boring as early WotLK where threat was not an issue, but still pretty boring.

So that is the best part of tanking for me, "naughty" DPS.

What is the worst? Well the same thing. Sometimes boring is good.

While DPS can decide for themselves to take it easy when the mood strikes them, tanks and also healers cannot. Tanks and healers are at the mercy of the rest of the group.

So that is the current responsibility of DPS; not to watch threat on the mobs they are attacking, but to watch their threat level with the tank. Knowing just how much you can get away with on any given day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Somewhere Between Casual and Hardcore

There exists a pretty large group of people who aren't bleeding edge raiders, top of the ladder pvpers or diehard theorycrafters, but who still take a keen interest in what happens to their class and what other players have to say. Much more so than a casual player who learns on their own or from/with a small circle of friends at their own pace.

That group can be further classified on how that information is used. At one extreme you have the flavor of the month folks who change their entire play style around the newest bit of intel available and on the other people more like myself who are not going to change something that they enjoy to benefit from a buff or escape a nerf.

A prime example is my hunter, I rolled marksman when it wasn't the ideal spec; beastmastery reigned supreme throughout BC. As I was leveling I picked talents that complimented my play style and as it turns out they were mostly in the marksman tree. I remember back when WotLK had recently come out and survival was the "best" spec I was in the inn over in one of the Northrend starting areas and a mage came up and whispered to me something like, "you know survival is better right?". I don't recall what I said to that if anything, but if I did I am sure it wasn't nice. :)

I was also a feral druid/dps hybrid since I made my druid and still am to this day. Even with dual specs I took Resto as a secondary rather than min/max two specs for feral DPS and tanking. I've always leaned on the tanking side when speccing, but I do forgo some of the less vital tanking talents to be more proficient in my kitty gear. I am sure I could do more dps if I specced exclusively for it, but as is I know my class well enough that I can put out competative damage plus have the added utility to tank or heal at a moments notice. That is what being a druid has always been for me.

None of that has anything to do with any research into what others have discovered about my class though. That information does play a part though, just a pretty small one. The most valuable source of information in that regard is Blizzard themselves. When I change something it is because of a fundamental change in the class, like the talent trees were redone or a new ability was added. I don't ever have to worry about a small nerf here or a buff there. The little stuff handles itself if you follow the developers vision of the class/spec.

Fighting your class/spec does have short term benefits, but those come at a cost. The trick is to figure out what blizzards plans are for your character and use that as a guideline. There are things out there like diseaseless dps for death knights, add-ons that automatically cancel eclipse procs to benefit boomkins, stacking of armor penetration above all else for a competative edge. None of these things will last long since they were never intended. Short term you've got yourself something great, long term you will get hit down with the nerf bat something fierce.

I think a large part of anticipating class changes is enjoying the class you play and finding the class you enjoy most is a very time consuming process. Different classes have different feels to them in different level brackets and even then you can't really be sure until you've played it a while. I tend to favor melee DPS and tanking, healing feels like whack-a-mole and ranged DPS just seems to go at a slower pace than melee. I still enjoy healing and ranged DPS, they are kind of relaxing and require a lot less concentration on my part. On the downside they get really boring after a while. Took me the better part of a year to figure that out.

Even within my preferred roles of tanking and melee DPS I still can't get into paladins or warriors, they are too simplistic for my liking at least at the levels I've played at. My warrior is only level 6 and my paladin 23. I know warriors get more cool stuff, but paladins I am not so sure. I plan on leveling a goblin warrior next expansion along with a worgen priest, so we'll see if that changes my opinion any when the time comes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thoughts from an Undead Bear

After a most enjoyable if not a little long guild Naxx run Monday I was able to collect enough gear to hit and defense cap my death knight after dropping a chunk of change yesterday.

Speaking of the Naxx run, it was your run of the mill to the point where we cleared all 4 wings within raid time. Our interim leadership was ready to call it a night, but by popular demand we figured we'd give the last two bosses a shot. After all we had one shotted everything so far. So we got the boney dragon down in one try and moved on to KT, wiped once at a ridiculous 5% or something. I'm sure I was not the only one that had zero expectations and was amazed that we got that far. Two brand new to naxx players, 6 melee and only one ranged DPS. Second attempt we got him down nice and clean. 3 people get the Naxx clear achievement, yay!

So back to the death knight tanking. From a bear's perspective there is a whole lot more to watch and think about as a death knight. The worst thing that can happen to a bear is to find yourself without rage and have to fight for threat without it. The death knight equivalent is to be without runes or runic power when you need it which can happen at any time in a fight where as a bear will generally only have a rage issue early on.

So as a death knight you have to think ahead, "Some adds will come out soon, I need to have my death and decay ready." and/or "Let me make sure I have a blood rune available to refresh my diseases on everything." This is in stark contrast to what goes through the mind of a bear, "Hey... adds! Swipe."

While bears just go about spamming buttons, death knights have a more structured approach that isn't as flexible with a mistake or two. For example you pull a group, burn all your runes building initial threat and woops where that other group come from. Death and decay will take too long, blood boil won't help much without diseases with everyone AOEing them. You have to spread diseases and then blood boil them preferably before they eat anyone. For a bear there is no change of tactics, swipe, swipe.

Another thing about death knights, specifically the blood spec I play is that you have to balance resources between threat and mitigation. I have a lot of oh shit buttons that require a blood rune and the cooldown associated with them. In a pinch I might have to stop generating aggro to keep myself alive. I'm sure this will be less and less of a problem as I gear up, but it is another thing you never have to think about as a bear.

I don't have and experience with warriors or paladins, but from what I know of their abilities death knights are a step above them in complexity as well. Warriors do have a comparable number of tricks up their sleeves, but again near infinite resources to work with most of the time. That whole can't do something exactly when you want to is something unique to the death knight play style.

Death knights have the ability to really shine when used to their full potential though. I tanked heroic Halls of Lightning yesterday and after forgetting frost presence, then tanking gear for the first couple pulls things went pretty smoothly. That frost presence thing is easy to miss at times, I need a big furry reminder in the center of my screen. And tanking in dps gear isn't so terrible for a feral druid. Just a couple more things that death knights need to be more aware of.

So about death knight awesomeness, we crashed and burned the first Loken attempt; healer went down in a nova and I was left to fend for myself. I completely forgot to use two of my abilities, one of which was my anti magic shell the other was another healing ability. Least I remembered to pop lichborne and heal myself with a few death coils. In any case the second attempt I am pretty sure I kept healed all by myself although with druid hots flying around one can never be entirely sure.