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WoW Rookie: Keep your key targets in focus


New around here? We've got your back! See all our collected tips, tricks and how-to's for new players in the WoW Rookie Guide.

Better keep an eye on that guy: the furbolg you're escorting through the crowd, the off tank you're in charge of healing, the add you're supposed to keep locked down ... The problem is, you also need to click over here to -- argh, lost him in the crush! Now you'll have to tab ba -- whoops, passed him again! OK, start stabbing with the mouse ...

If this sounds anything like the chaotic chatter in your brain during a typical encounter, you need more than mere help; you need a focus target. A focus target is a secondary target that helps you keep track of an additional unit other than your current target. Essentially, it's a second target that you can set and unset at will. Focus targets are a great way of keeping track of an escort mob you need to locate in a crowd, an NPC you need to crowd control, a key healing assignment ...

Once you set a focus target, it's right there on your screen. You can freely change your main target and turn your attention elsewhere while still being able to monitor your focus target's health, mana and casting bars. You can also create macros that let you apply spells and abilities to your focus target with a single press of a button.

Setting and clearing focus targets

  • /focus To set a player or NPC as your focus target, target the desired unit and type /focus. Voila! You should see a focus target frame pop up on your UI. If you're using the game's default UI, the target's unit frame will also be highlighted in white if it's set as your focus target.
  • /clearfocus To clear an existing focus target, type /clearfocus.
  • /target focus To quickly make your focus target your current main target, type (or create a macro with the command) /target focus.
  • /target focustarget To quickly target whatever your focus target is currently targeting, type /target focustarget.

Make it simple with macros

Because "focus" works as a generic unit name in macros (similar to "player", "target" or "pet"), you can create macros to handle common tasks like crowd control. Say that Mr. Archmage Pants has been assigned to keep a particular mob sheeped during a pull. Using a focus target and macro makes the process simple:

  1. Set the mob to needs to be sheeped as a focus target.
  2. Create a macro: /cast [target=focus] Polymorph; hit the macro once to cast Polymorph and again as needed to re-sheep. There's no need to manually target the mob again, so Archmage Pants can keep blasting away on the main target.
More details? We've got a more advanced version of the Polymorph macro, too.

Sexy layout with addons

Unit frame addons (addons that change the way your health/mana/target bars for players and NPCs look) allow you to move your focus frame around wherever you please. Look on a major addon site such as or under the Unit Frames category.

If you're simply smitten with the standard Blizzard unit frames or if you don't want to deal with the hassle of setting up new ones, look for specific focus frame options instead.

More on focus targets

Browse through past articles offering some neat tricks on using focus for your class. (There may be some outdated details in these older posts; please share more current notes and observations with readers in the comments.)

Recent articles of interest to rookies and fresh level 80s

Visit the WoW Rookie Guide for links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's. WoW Rookie walks you through all sort of new-player concerns -- from game lingo for the beginner, to joining your first guild as a mid-level player, all the way up through what to do when you finally hit level 80.

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