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BigRedKitty: A little deeper with hunter macros

Daniel Howell

Each week, Daniel Howell contributes BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the hunter class sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.

After the overwhelmingly positive critical reviews of last week's introduction to hunter macroism, and Mathew Porter's outstanding coverage of all things macro, we feel that one more week of instruction in the art of macroistics is in order.

It is certainly not our goal to steal the thunder from our resident macro maven, but we have had a lesson plan in mind from the beginning of this short series of columns, as we usually do. We wanted to start with the basic one and two-line macros we showed you and follow that by expanding on those ideas to make macros that respond to specific key-clicks, macro sequences, and if-then structures.

Many folks will find these simplistic but that's OK. The BRK Email Coffers have overflowed with thanks from those people for whom macros are a new idea and that's where our bread is usually buttered. The comment section from last week, and hopefully today, will continue be a great place for you macroheads to show us your particular masterpieces.

The ShowToolTip Feature

When we create a macro, we obviously have to select an icon. And there are a lot of them. And they're organized by color... or shape... or something. What if we know we want a specific spell's icon but don't want to search for it for thirty minutes? We can use the showtooltip feature.

For our low-rank pull shot, we have decided to use Distracting Shot:

/cast Distracting Shot(Rank 1)

But finding the Distracting Shot icon is a pain in the tuckus. To avoid that nightmare, let's use the showtooltip command:

#showtooltip Distracting Shot
/cast Distracting Shot(Rank 1)

That's pretty nice. Now we can use a specific icon for our macro when we knows its name.

The Show Feature

When we create a macro and give it a name, the icon that is created has the first couple of letters of the macro's name showing and that's it. Wouldn't it be great if we could show other information in the macro icon?

Let's think about this by feeding out pet. The Feed Pet spell requires you to select the specific food you wish to feed your pet. Thus, you have two actions you must perform to accomplish this simple task. With a macro, we can make it simple.

/cast Feed Pet
/use Clefthoof Ribs

Very nice. Whereas we used to keep the Feed Pet spell and a stack of ribs on our action bar next to each other so we didn't have to open our bags to click on the ribs, with this macro we don't have to see the ribs at all anymore. This frees a valuable space for another spell. Nifty, but without the ribs on our action bar, how do we know when we're running low on food?

With a show command:

#show Clefthoof Ribs
/cast Feed Pet
/use Clefthoof Ribs

What our show command does is put the actual number of Clefthoof Ribs we have in our bags in the macro icon in place of the macro name. That's very handy, indeed. With this macro we can keep track of our pet food and feed our pet with one button-click.

And let's not forget our showtooltip command:

#showtooltip Feed Pet
#show Clefthoof Ribs
/cast Feed Pet
/use Clefthoof Ribs

Do you think we can make this macro even more efficient? Sure we can.

If-Then Macros

The purpose behind an if-then macro is to get a specific action accomplished based upon variables in your environment. Thanks to the rich language that Blizzard has provided, these environment-variables are extremely numerous and flexible. Of course we're not going to cover every iteration of the possibilities, but we want to show you the basic structure of an if-then macro so that you can adapt it to other situations.

If you are leveling two pets, you might need to feed them different foods. For example, a cat won't eat fruit and a warp stalker won't eat meat. So for our Feed Pet macro we can have it feed our pet a different food based upon which pet we are using.

/cast Feed Pet
/use [pet:cat] Clefthoof Ribs
/use [pet:warp stalker] Telaari Grapes

We can interpret this macro to say, "If the pet is a cat, feed him Clefthoof Ribs. If the pet is a warp stalker, feed him Telaari Grapes." Notice how the brackets enclose the if-then part of the macro. There are many ways to use the bracket-system to make efficient if-then macros.

If you are pulling in an instance and want to use a very small threat-shot you have, you might want to use a Pull Shot macro like this:

/cast Distracting Shot(Rank 1)

However, if you see a mob heading towards your priest and you want to grab and trap it, you might have to use a very high threat-shot and use a Pull Shot macro like this:

/cast Distracting Shot(Rank 7)

To have both of these macros available is going to require two action bar slots unless we make an if-then macro that will fire the specific shot we want based upon a changing variable. But what kind of variable? Well, how about a key.

/cast [nomodifier] Distracting Shot(Rank 1)
/cast [modifier:alt] Distracting Shot(Rank 7)

How terrific is that! Based upon a key we do or do not hold down while running the macro, a specific level of Distracting Shot will be fired.

Where else could we find this type of macro useful? BRK uses a macro of this type when we duel paladins. We try to find out just how cleanse-happy they are and use a macro to drive them nuts.

Paladins are the turtles of the Warcraft universe. They don't hurt us a lot but are a real pain in the bohunkus to kill. Their mana pool is their weakness but their ability to regenerate it is far superior to our own. What we'd really like to do is cause them to lower their mana reserves while we maintain ours.

Hunters have a Viper Sting which will siphon mana, but not only can a paladin Cleanse himself of the debuff, it costs us a goodly amount of mana to fire the shot. But what if we could reduce the amount it costs us to cast Viper Sting while the paladin kept spending mana to Cleanse?

The duel begins and we hit him with Viper Sting, full force. He cleanses. We hit him with it again, he cleanses. Hmm, we think, perhaps this guy is a Cleanse Machine. We have a macro just for him.

/cast [nomodifier] Viper Sting(Rank 4)
/cast [modifier:alt] Viper Sting(Rank 1)

We start hitting the paladin with the lowest level Viper Sting we have instead of the highest, saving our precious mana. Will the paladin notice that he's expending 6% of his base mana to cleanse a sting that, if allowed to run its full course, would only siphon 616 mana? Probably not. In time, this will work to our advantage because it only costs us 135 mana to fire the rank one version of Viper Sting whereas the paladin is dumping several hundred mana to cleanse himself repeatedly.

Fire, cleanse, fire, cleanse... and soon his mana will diminish and his ability to infinitely heal with it. When his mana is low enough, bring the DPS and rip some big holes in that stinking plate armor.

The CastSequence Feature

Macro rules prevent us from casting two spells with the same press of a single button. For example, this macro will not work:

/cast Auto Shot
/cast Steady Shot

However, we can create a macro that will execute several commands in sequence by repeatedly pressing the same macro button. This is accomplished using the castsequence command. If we wished to make a macro that we could press twice and fire two different shots, it would look like this:

/castsequence Auto Shot, Steady Shot

The first time you pressed the macro button you would fire Auto Shot. When you pressed the macro button again you would fire Steady Shot. Interesting, but what else can we do with castsequence?

Hunter have approximately 1027 different tracking modes. To put each one on an action bar takes up a lot of real estate. We can use castsequence to reduce the number of action bar spaces needed to use all of our tracking modes.

/castsequence Track Humanoids, Track Beasts, Track Undead

With this macro, every time you press it a different mode of tracking will be enabled.

Here's an interesting twist on the castsequence command. What if you wanted the previous macro to always make you track humanoids the first time you pressed it. Basically, you asking the macro to reset and castsequence allows us to do that.

/castsequence reset=3 Track Humanoids, Track Beasts, Track Undead

Be sure to note the lack of brackets around the "reset". So you mash your Tracking Macro button two times and you're tracking beasts. After three seconds, if you mash it again, you'll be tracking humanoids. Mash it two more times, and you'll be tracking undead.

Again, all this is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are other many web sites and people who dedicate their WoW-lives to rip into the nuances of macros than us. However, we hope you find this particular tutorial a good welcome to the world of hunter macros and we look forward to seeing what cool stuff you build.

Daniel Howell continues his quest to teach paladins that cleansing ain't no big thang as the hunter-pet duo extraordinaire known to lore as BigRedKitty. More of his theorycrafting and slanderous belittling of the lesser classes can be found at

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