The Mog Log: Making the most of Final Fantasy XIV macros

I know, you had a little rush of panic on Saturday.  It's all right.  I'm still here.
Final Fantasy XIV is not World of Warcraft. We are not in urgent need of an ability squish after years of play; you hit level 50 with a pretty reasonable number of abilities. The fact that everything needs to be workable on a PlayStation 3 controller helps discourage button bloat, to boot. But you still wind up with a lot of abilities to use in rapid conjunction and marks to place on various targets as a tank. You can run out of convenient space, in other words.

That's one of the things that macros can help address, but it's not even close to the only thing. You can use your macros to make your rotation tighter, you can combine necessary abilities, you can mark targets, and you can even toss in a text line on every ability use. (But that does get kind of spam-heavy.) So let's look at some simple macros that will make your Final Fantasy XIV experience that much cleaner.

Yes, it's more lightning than thunder, I know.Just give me Thunder

One of the irritating parts of playing a Black Mage is that you have three skills that are straight upgrades of one another. Once you have Thunder III, you never need the previous ranks... until you get synced down into a lower-level dungeon. It'd be a lot easier if you could just just automatically cast the highest rank of Thunder available to you and not bother keeping all three levels on your bars.

And you totally can!
/ac "Thunder III" <t> 
/ac "Thunder II" <t> 
/ac "Thunder" <t> 
This macro basically tricks the way that the game parses actions. If you're synced down to a point when you don't have Thunder III, the command will try to cast III and return an error, then immediately move on to Thunder II. It then tries to cast Thunder, but you're already casting something, so you wind up just casting the spell you wanted.

Two-step Monk

Monks are widely accepted to be a fairly complex class to play successfully. After all, you've got stances that you're constantly dancing between, buffs and debuffs to manage, and a neverending string of combos to work through. It's not as if you can reduce the rotation down to two alternating buttons.

And you can't... completely. But you can come darn close.

Macro 1:
/ac "Demolish" <t> 
/ac "Twin Snakes" <t> 
/ac "Dragon Kick" <t> 
Macro 2:
/ac "Snap Punch" <t> 
/ac "True Strike" <t> 
/ac "Bootshine" <t> 
Much like the prior macro, this takes advantage of how the game parses actions. By putting the actions in reverse order, the game performs the first possible action, then immediately fails at performing any subsequent actions because you're busy doing something. So you hit the first macro to apply all your buffs and debuffs, then hit the second macro until those buffs and debuffs are about to wear out.

The astute among you might point out that the damage-over-time from Demolish lasts slightly longer than the effects from Dragon Kick and Twin Snakes. You can deal with this in one of two ways: manually weave in Demolish after the first setup or just not worry too much about a three-second difference.

You're probably thinking that your life would be a lot easier if people followed marks.  But I can't really help you with that.Better threat grabs

Provoke is a great skill, but just using it and forgetting isn't going to pull threat off of someone. It'll place you high on the threat list, but you need something else to actually get the target back under control. It'd be nice if you could just make a single macro for both flavors of tank that'll provoke and pull at once. Something like this, maybe.
/ac "Provoke" <t> 
/ac "Shield Lob" <t> 
/ac "Tomahawk" <t> 
No, you don't need both of those skills on there, honestly. But if you play both Warrior and Paladin, that single macro will serve for both as a pulling tool. It'll allow you to provoke targets out of lob/tomahawk range, provoke and hit targets that twitch off of you, and in the event that provoke is still on cooldown, just use a ranged attack.

Auto-marking your opening pull

Unlike a lot of endgame Paladins, I actually take the time to mark out a full pull before I hit Shield Lob. It's habit more than anything, though; you can generally get away with just marking the priority target in any given situation. So why not do that and manage your initial pull in one fell swoop?
/mk attack1 <t> 
/ac "Fight or Flight" <me> 
/ac "Shield Lob" <t> 
This will automatically start the fight by marking your target, boosting your attack power, and throwing your shield. Yanking FoF and replacing Shield Lob with Tomahawk will make it work with Warrior, obviously; using Berserk as a substitute isn't ideal, since you really don't want to be locked out of your weapon skills during the opening pull.

I can't tell you how many times this stupid thing failed to heal what really needed to be healed.Heal that, stupid fairy!

Scholar is my preferred healing class, but both Eos and Selene have a charming tendency to not heal whom you want healed unless you place them pretty carefully. This is even more problematic in some fights; a stationary fairy can wind up quickly turning into a dead fairy. Or you slap them on Obey and micromanage constantly. If only you could just makes a quick macro that ensures your fairies target what you want and do what you want at the same time.
/pac "Fey Covenant" 
/pac "Fey Illumination" 
/pac "Whispering Dawn" 
/pac "Fey Glow" 
/pac "Fey Light" 
/pac "Embrace" <t> 
/ac "Adloquium" <t> 
No, you don't need to set it up with Adlo; it's not a bad idea to set up all of your healing skills like this, blowing through all of your fairy cooldowns in quick succession every time they're up. This also does play nicely with placing your fairy, as she'll move from her spot to use Embrace as necessary, then she'll flutter on back to her designated spot.

There are a lot of other useful macros out there, obviously. But understanding why the macros work the way they do and at least the basics of how to put them together should put you well on your way to making your own and making the game that much easier to play.

Feedback, as always, is welcome in the comments below or via mail to eliot@massively.com. Next time, let's talk about why there aren't more tanks in Final Fantasy XIV.

From Eorzea to Vana'diel, there is a constant: the moogles. And for analysis and opinions about the online portions of the Final Fantasy series, there is also a constant: The Mog Log. Longtime series fan Eliot Lefebvre serves up a new installment of the log every other Monday, covering almost anything related to Square-Enix's vibrant online worlds.
This article was originally published on Massively.