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Totem Talk: How to use macros to maximize your enhancement utility

Josh Myers

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. On Saturdays, Josh Myers tackles the hard questions about enhancement. Can we tank? Can we DPS with a two-hander? How does one shoot web? The answer to the first two is "no," and I have no idea about the third.

When I first started playing during The Burning Crusade, I had no idea what a macro was. I'd love to pretend that this was because World of Warcraft was simpler back then and that a good player could get away with never using a macro. Unfortunately, that isn't the case; I just wasn't a very good player in my shaman's youth.

The truth is that macros are something that any serious raider or PvPer should never be without. They fulfill a variety of roles, from cast sequence shock macros saving you some bar space to using your Feral Spirits' Bash ability on a focused healer to interrupt their Tranquility cast. In a raiding game where the ability to interrupt a target you're not DPSing is a huge asset, learning to manage your abilities through macros is a huge benefit for you and for your raid group (as well as for your arena team).

Focus macros

The first macros we're going to take a look at are our macros for casting on a focus target. Typing /focus (or better, making a /focus macro and clicking it!) sets up an opponent as your focus target. This focus target then has a unit frame pop out that is separate from your main target main frame, allowing you to effectively monitor two targets at the same time.

The most useful application for focus targeting is seen in arena, where your focus should generally be on the enemy caster you are not damaging at the time. If you're playing a priest/mage team and you're focusing the priest down, you want to have your focus on his mage buddy to try and interrupt/Grounding Totem the Polymorphs she's casting to try and peel you. If you're instead focusing on killing the mage, you'll want to focus the priest so that you can Wind Shear the Flash Heal he's trying to cast or Hex him when the mage is low to land the kill while the priest is silenced.

/cast [target=focus,harm]Wind Shear

Focus Purge is huge, too, allowing you to dispel important buffs like Innervate without losing your kill target. While most good restoration druids will roll HoTs on themselves to shield from dispels when preparing to Innervate anyway, focus Purge is a great way for dealing with the bad ones who don't. Finally, focus Bash (your Feral Spirits' ability) is a great way for interrupting important casts while you're CCed. If you're caught in a Cyclone while the resto druid is running behind a pillar to cast Tranquility, hitting him with a bash and interrupting the Tranquility channel just cost him an 8-minute cooldown while making you feel like a total pro.

/cast [target=focus,harm]Purge

/cast [target=focus,harm]Bash

Focus casting isn't something that is only applicable to PvP. Interrupting casts is huge in the Cataclysm endgame, with Arcanotron, Maloriak, heroic Atramedes, Nefarian, Halfus Wyrmbreaker, Ascendant Council, and Cho'gall all requiring you to be well-acquainted with your Wind Shear button. Of those, at least four of these fights can benefit from having a focus Wind Shear macro set up so that you can interrupt casts without losing your DPS target. Beyond that, Maloriak's Remedy and Arcanotron's Power Conversion are both abilities that can be applied and dispelled while you're damaging another target, making focus Purge awesome.

/cast [target=focus,harm]Hex

Healing macros

Whether you like it or not, healing with Maelstrom Weapon is an important aspect of the enhancement shaman's arsenal. Whether you're clutch healing your arena partner with a Greater Healing Wave or throwing a Healing Rain on the melee clump, you will at some point in your career spend your MW procs on healing.

The first macro we'll look at for healing is a mouseover macro. What this macro does is make your heal castable on the target your mouse is currently hovering over. You can mouseover their character, their nameplate, or their raid frame to allow this to work. For full-time healers, these macros are amazing since they remove the extra few milliseconds of clicking on the raid frames of every person who needs casting on. Over the course of a boss fight, this adds up to more spells cast, more spells cast with the target at lower health, and overall more HPS.

For us, mouseover macros are for emergency healing. If your tank just accidentally scooted out of range of your healers and is going down like a Jay Sean song, you don't want to waste any precious time clicking his raid frame to start your healing. The same is true in PvP; if you were feared behind a pillar and your partner is being focused, you want to be able to heal the second you're within line of sight.

The macro we're going to look at has three functions. First, it heals your mouseover target. Second, if you have no mouseover but have a friendly target, it heals that target. Third, if you have neither a friendly mouseover or friendly target, it heals you.

/cast [target=mouseover,help][target=target,help][Harm,target=player]Greater Healing Wave

You can switch in Greater Healing Wave for any single-target cast in your arsenal, which is everything that isn't Healing Rain.

The next macro is a lot simpler, with its primary function being to preserve bar space.

/cast [nomodifier] Healing Rain; [modifier:alt] Chain Heal

You can also use this macro for general bar space-saving. If you want, switch Healing Rain for Lightning Bolt and Chain Heal for Chain Lightning, or HR for Earth Shock and CH for Flame Shock. Using all three as macros just consolidated six buttons down into three, making finding space on your bar infinitely easier.

For next week, I'd really love to do a grab bag of emailed questions à la Joe Perez's latest Restoration Totem Talk or Brian Wood's Scattered Shots. If any of you have a question you're just dying to ask about enhancement, please shoot me an email at!

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk: Enhancement every week. We've got enhancement-specific advice on rep gear, heroic gear, and raiding gear, plus tips on maximizing your utility skills and tactics for raiding Blackwing Descent.

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