Macros are all about saving clicks and key presses. Next to addons, they are probably the largest quality of life enhancement you can add to your gameplay. For the uninitiated, macros are simple scripts that allow you to combine multiple abilities and conditional parameters into a single button. You don't need them to play, but the benefits are tangible and will improve your overall performance.
If you're an engineer, take Synapse Springs for instance. It's off the global cooldown, which means you can stack it on top of other abilities to maximize its uptime and not worry about remembering to use it. Sometimes certain abilities will line up closely with other cooldowns which makes it beneficial to macro it in instead of using autocast. Have you ever noticed how slowly your pet will switch targets sometimes? Or when you tell it to Kill Command on a new target, but it attacks its previous target instead? There's a way to fix it with macros. As a keyboard abuser, one of my favorite macro perks is being able to remove the error messages and "spell not ready yet" sounds my character makes as I spam my buttons.
Cooldown stacking with Bestial Wrath
You can combine multiple abilities and commands into one macro as long as only one of the abilities is on the global cooldown. In the case of the one below, that would be Kill Command -- the rest of the stuff does not affect the global cooldown.
Bestial Wrath macro
#showtooltip Bestial Wrath
/cast Bestial Wrath
/cast Rapid Fire
/cast Kill Command
If you're not an engineer you can remove the "/use 10" line which activates the glove slot enchant. If you are a troll or orc, you can also add your racial abilities in this macro. The rest of it will ensure you start firing Auto Shots immediately and that your pet will Kill Command your currently selected target. Prior to this tier, I didn't stack Rapid Fire with Bestial Wrath, but nowadays with its insane uptime from the 2-piece T16 and Assurance of Consequence I'm far less picky with it. If you are using the LFR version of Assurance of Consequence, you can turn the auto cast off for Rabid completely and just activate it from here. The cooldown will line up perfectly with every second Bestial Wrath. Higher ilevel versions will not align and you will have to manually manage it or just leave it on auto cast.
Important Note: If you have a high or erratic latency, you won't want to put Kill Command in this macro as you will sometimes not get the 20% damage buff applied to it.
Let's start out with my Cobra Shot macro so I can explain what each line does. This macro can apply to any shot by replacing both instances of Cobra Shot with the new shot. I use the same thing on my Explosive, Chimera, Arcane, and Multi-Shots.
Cobra Shot macro
#showtooltip Cobra Shot
/console Sound_EnableSFX 0
/cast Cobra Shot
/console Sound_EnableSFX 1
Whoa, what is all this stuff? That is a lot of junk just to cast a Cobra Shot. The Sound_EnableSFX lines turn sound effects off momentarily every time you hit the button. This prevents your character from saying "that ability isn't ready yet" or playing the casting error sound. It does not affect other sounds. If you like those sounds as an audio queue, you may want to remove those two lines. The "/startattack" line will ensure your Auto Shot fires before you start casting Cobra Shot. If you don't add this line, Auto Shot won't begin until the Cobra Shot cast is complete. In addition, it will automatically select the next nearest target if your current one dies as you're spamming the button. That functionality is especially helpful for Multi-Shot. As explained in the cooldown section, the "/use 10" uses the engineer glove tinker which can be removed if you aren't an engineer. The final line removes any red text error messages from the middle of your screen to help reduce screen clutter.
If you play beast mastery, you may want to add some extra lines to your shots to make sure your pet is always attacking your current target. At the very least, you may want these extra lines for Kill Command because if your pet is within 25 yards of the new target they are able to switch immediately.
Kill Command macro
#showtooltip Kill Command
/console Sound_EnableSFX 0
/cast Kill Command
/console Sound_EnableSFX 1
Without those two pet lines, your pet will perform Kill Command on its current target rather than the one you have selected. I only use this on Kill Command because there are some encounters where I like to leave my pet on a specific target while I DPS others (in survival spec).
Feign Death macro
#showtooltip Feign Death
/cast Feign Death
If you don't have the stop cast commands with your Feign Death, then it will not work when you are casting something such as Cobra Shot. Why have it twice? Well, just one "/stopcasting" doesn't seem to work reliably.
Cancel Deterrence macro
This is a simple one. Usually when you use Deterrence in a raid encounter, it is just to avoid a single attack. You want to be able to cancel it immediately afterward so you don't lose any DPS time. Some hunters like to macro the cancelaura right into their Deterrence ability so that one click pops Deterrence, and the second click removes it. As a button spammer, I found that far too dangerous, but it can be accomplished by adding "/cast Deterrence" on the next line.
Misdirection macro #1
/cast [@focus, help] [@pet, nodead, exists] Misdirection
This will cast Misdirection on your current focus target, and if you don't have a friendly focus target, then it will cast it on your pet. This requires you to set a focus target (your tank usually) before using it with the /focus command.
Misdirection macro #2
/cast [target=YourTanksName] Misdirection
This one is much more foolproof, but will require you to edit in your tank's name if it ever changes. I usually run with the same two tanks in my raid and I find it simpler to just have a Misdirection macro for each of them.
Revive Pet macro
/cast [mod:shift] Heart of the Phoenix; [@pet,dead] Revive Pet; [nopet] Call Pet 1; Mend Pet
This macro will do three things. If you use it when your pet is dead, it will cast Revive Pet. If you hold down the shift key (you can change the mod to ctrl or alt if you want) it will cast Heart of the Phoenix instead. And if your pet is alive and not summoned, it will call pet 1 (can change from 1-5) and cast Mend Pet on it.
#showtooltip Scatter Shot
/cast [@mouseover,harm][harm] Scatter Shot
#showtooltip Counter Shot
/cast [@mouseover,harm][harm] Counter Shot
#showtooltip Serpent Sting
/cast [@mouseover,harm][harm] Serpent Sting
These macros will fire their respective shots to whatever target you are currently holding your mouse over (either in the world, or on unit frames). If you aren't mousing over a hostile target, it will just fire at your current target. The first two are good for crowd controlling without deselecting your DPS target, and the last one is helpful for multidotting.
If you want to get into writing your own macros, a good resource is the macro commands and macro conditionals pages on Wowpedia. For instance, check out all of the pet commands available for macros. Have any hunter macros you'd like to share? Post them in the comments!
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