Macro tip #14: Go fish.

July 10, 2009

This post is to share a macro that I find particularly convenient to use. It’s a one-button macro for all your fishing needs! You’ll need to create this macro using the ? icon, then put it on a button (I use button 1, as it replaces the default “attack” command). You’ll also need to create two sets of gear using equipment manager. For the purposes of this example, I’ve called these “fish” and “quest”, but you’ll need to change those to reflect your sets. (Remember that these names are case sensitive.)

#showtooltip attack
/equipset [modifier, nocombat, noequipped: fishing pole] fish
/equipset [combat, equipped: fishing pole] [modifier, equipped: fishing pole] quest
/cast [nocombat, equipped: fishing pole] fishing
/startattack [noequipped: fishing pole]

So, line by line…

The first line sets the tooltip so that it shows your attack option; it’ll display your weapon or your fishing pole, depending on what you have equipped.

The second line will allow you to put on your “fish” gear, whatever that might be. To equip it, just hold down the modifier button. The conditionals mean that this won’t work in combat – so you can’t swap to your fishing rod by accident – and also will only happen when you’re not already holding a fishing pole.

The third line allows you to put your “quest” gear back on. There are two conditionals, allowing it to happen in two sets of circumstances. The first is your “panic” button – if you’re in combat and you still have your fishing pole equipped, this’ll re-equip your weapons. Note: it won’t change your hat and so on, because if you’re in combat, you can’t change these pieces of gear. The second conditional is for when you finish fishing – if you’ve got your pole equipped, and you press this again with the modifier button, you’ll swap back to the “quest” gear.

The fourth line checks to see if you’re in combat, and if you have your pole equipped. If you’re not in combat and you have a pole, you start fishing.

The fifth line runs similar checks, and so won’t start fighting if you have your fishing pole equipped. (This is main to avoid error messages and so on.) It doesn’t check to see if you’re in combat, because you might want to use this to start fighting!

There you have it – button press for smart attacking or fishing, depending on your situation, and modifier presses to swap gear as you need it.


There’s a few very simple but handy things you can do in macros. One of them is add slash commands. For example, you can put this:


at the end of any macro, and whenever you press it you’ll begin to attack your current target. This is useful for two reasons. The first is that I’ve seen several new players press the “attack” action button more than once, and turn off their attack – with this command, any additional presses just keep you attacking. The second is that you can add this when you have special abilities that you might want to use to open up combat on an opponent, such as a Warrior’s charge or a Death Knight’s death grip. Even if the ability doesn’t work – say, the target it too close for a charge – then you’ve turned on your attack, at least.

You can also use this command in Macros:


However, generally, I find that it’s better just to hit the “esc” key if I want to turn off an attack, so that I’m using a different button and don’t stop attacking by mistake.

A related command is:


Again, this means you can automatically send your pet off to attack without having to press an additional button to do this. This can be handy when playing solo, but there are times when you might want to be a little more careful – for example, if you’re a Hunter in a raid and you don’t want to set your pet on something by accident. In this case, you could do this:

/petattack [modifier]

This will only send the pet in when you hold down a modifier key (ctrl, alt, shift). However, it’s a bit annoying to have to do that each time, so you could try this:

/petattack [noraid] [modifier]

This chains two conditionals together, and should activate whenever either condition is met. So, when you press the button, your pet will attack either if you’re solo or in a party, but not if you’re in a raid, or if you hold down the modifier button, whether or not you’re raiding. If you wanted to have this control whenever you’re in a party, you could use:

/petattack [noparty] [modifier]

This is from the Instance 146, at time index 1:18:18.

With the new equipment manager introduced in patch 3.1.2, yet more macro functionality has been added. The basic command to use is:

/equipset NAME

…where NAME should be replaced by whatever you’ve called a particular equipment set. (Remember, these names are case sensitive.)

Obviously, as with earlier macros, you can manage multiple sets with one macro using modifiers and so on. For example:

#showtooltip [modifier] Medallion of the Horde; Sheild Slam
/equipset [modifier] PvP
/equipset [nomodifier] Tank

…a warrior could use this to swap between PvP gear and their tanking set, and the macro icon should show something vaguely relevant for each.

However, interest right now seems to be on automatically swapping your gear when you change sets. You can achieve this with a macro like the following:

#showtooltip [spec:1] Medallion of the Horde; Shield Slam
/equipset [spec:1] PvP; [spec:2] Tank
/usetalents [spec:1] 2; [spec:2] 1

Like the previous macro, this will swap your gear when you click the button; in addition, though, it uses the macro from the last tip to swap your spec. Do note, however, that if you have gear you can only equip because of talents (e.g. dual-weilding two-handed weapons thanks to Titan’s Grip), you might run into problems and could be better off using two separate macros.

This is from the Instance 145, at time index 1:29:38.

Now that Blizzard has introduced the option of a second talent spec for characters, macro commands have been updated to help manage this. Probably the most useful of these new commands are the ones that allow you to swap between specs. An example of this would be the following:

/usetalents 1
/usetalents 2

/usetalents 1
/usetalents 2

Clicking on this swaps the character to their other spec, whatever they’re currently using.

The updates also included a new conditional for macros: spec. This can be used to detect what spec a character is in and display appropriate abilities. For example, a Paladin specced for Retribution and Protection as a second spec could have:

/cast [spec:1] Crusader Strike; [spec:2] Avenger’s Shield

However, there’s no real point in using this conditional in a macro this simple, since your action bars swap when you change specs anyway. Consequently, the main value of this conditional would be if you have a large number of short macros – something that might happen if you have two very different specs. If that’s the case, you can combine macros by adding the [spec:] conditional in, and placing the same macro on both sets of action bars. Using it would then have a different effect for each spec, but you’d only be using up one macro slot.

As an example of this, a Warrior could combine these two macros:

/cast [modifier] Rend
/cast [nomodifier] Mortal Strike

/cast [modifier] Devastate
/cast [nomodifier] Sunder Armor

…into this:

/cast [modifier, spec:1] Rend
/cast [nomodifier, spec:1] Mortal Strike
/cast [modifier, spec:2] Devastate
/cast [nomodifier, spec:2] Sunder Armornomodifier] Sunder Armor

Whether you think it’s useful to have fewer, denser macros like this is a matter of personal preference, of course.

This is from the Instance 142, at time index 1:59:58.

In show 139, a listener asked how a tank was placing skulls over the mobs he had targeted. You can do this in various ways, but one option is to use macros. This has the advantage that you can use the same click to send instructions to your party to tell them what to do about the sign.

The example given in the segment was this:

/script SetRaidTarget(“target”, 6);
/p Sap the {star} (%t)

Note: this will only work if you are a party or raid leader; otherwise, you’re not entitled to set raid targets. Also, the #ShowToolTips command won’t work with this so you’ll have to pick your own icon to use.

The first thing this will do is to place a star symbol over the head of the mob you have targeted. The second thing is a bit more complicated. It will put text into party chat that says, “Sap the “, then shows the star icon (the same one you just placed over the mob), and then in brackets also names that mob. (That’s what the %t bit does.)

You can find more examples of raid target icons at WoWWiki; just customise the example above by changing the number, word in { }, and the party instructions. For example:

/script SetRaidTarget(“target”, 8);
/p Kill the {skull} (%t) first

You can also speed up target placement by combining keypresses with mouseovers. To do this, change the word “target” to “mouseover” – your macro should then mark whatever target your mouse is hovering over at the time you press the button. Note, you’ll have to have the macro bound to a key so you don’t need to activate it with a mouse click if you want to do this.


I was dissatisfied with these particular versions of the macro, so worked on it a bit. Here’s some examples of the versions I’m currently using:

/script SetRaidTarget(“target”, 8);
/p Kill the %t ({skull}) first

/script SetRaidTarget(“target”, 7);
/p Kill the %t ({X}) second

/script SetRaidTarget(“target”, 5);
/p Sleep/crowd control the (%t) {moon}

/script SetRaidTarget(“target”, 1);
/p Stun the %t ({star})

Macro tip #9: Stances

March 16, 2009

This is from the Instance 138, at time index 1:31:33.

This segment was prompted by an email to the show from Shooter, a hunter who wanted to know how to fit all of their aspects and abilities onto their action bar. Of course, many of the previous tips have focused on doing just that, so it may pay off just to review some of the topics covered so far.

However, the problem hunters face is that aspects aren’t stances. Stances are a feature of several classes; they represent different “modes” for the character class. The obvious examples are Fury, Battle and Protection Stances for Warriors, but Stealth also counts as a stance, as do the different Druid forms and Death Knight presences. Apparently, Shadowform for priests, Ghostwolf for a Shaman and Demon Form for warlocks also count as stances. When certain characters swap to a stance, their action bar changes: this means that they can manage the abilities that show up in each stance quite easily, giving lots of room to fit stuff in.

As an added bonus macros can also detect stances and manage abilities accordingly. This may be useful for macros you place on other bars on your screen (e.g. side action bars rather than the default one), or for characters with stances that don’t swap your action bar.

Putting the following text into a macro will allow you to set up conditionals in this way:

/cast [stance:number] ability

…where ‘number’ should be replaced by the number that stands for your stance (see for an overview) and ‘ability’ is the name of the ability you want to use. So a rogue might have:

/use [stance:0] frostweave bandage
/cast [stance:1] Sap

This would allow them to bandage if unstealthed, but would swap to sap if they went into stealth. You can also use ‘nostance’ to detect if you are not in a particular stance. For example, for a warrior:

/cast [nostance:2] Defensive Stance
/cast [stance:2] Spell Reflection

This will cast Spell Reflection if in Defensive Stance. If the warrior is not in the right stance to cast this, however, the first button press will swap them to that and the second will activate it.

Since many stances give you a fresh action bar, it can be simpler just to have a button that will let you swap quickly between these. For example:

/cast [nomodifier] Blood Presence
/cast [modifier:alt] Frost Presence
/cast [modifier:shift] Unholy Presence

If you wanted to be particularly clever, you could even build in variations so that the macro never showed the stance you’re currently in – but the easiest way to do this would be with combined conditionals, which haven’t been covered here yet.

This tip is from the Instance 137, at time index 1:31:34.

This builds on tip #7, which introduced the idea of ‘win’ buttons. The idea with win buttons is to get the most out of your abilities and trinkets by using them together – but there’s no reason why you can’t tie in a trinket or special attack to pretty much every ability you activate. Except that it generates a lot of annoying error messages

Let’s assume you want to use your abilities and so on as often as possible, and have put them into every macro you create. You’ll probably get error messages almost every time you press a button. However, you can get rid of the on-screen error messages by putting this at the end of your macros:

/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

However you’ll still hear the error messages. There is a script that will stop that, but for the moment, the easiest way to avoid hearing these messages is simply to open up the Interface menu, go to the “Sound and Voice” option, and turn off spoken error messages. However, this does turn off all your error messages, not just the ones from combat.

This tip is from the Instance 137, at time index 1:53:39.

There’s an item you can loot in Alterac Valley – a Broken I.W.I.N. Button. It’s a gentle swipe at all those players who think that a bit of macro code will help them dominate PvP. It can’t, of course, but knowing how “win” buttons work can help a little, both in PvP and PvE.

The idea is simple: you press one button, and activate as many of your special abilities or enhancing items as you can at the same time, to get the most combined power into your next attack. Normally, macros can only do one thing at a time. This is thanks to the global cooldown, which prevents macros becoming over-powered and limits ‘botting’ (automated playing). This delay is usually 1.5 seconds, although there are exceptions, and your haste rating can affect this.

For this reason, previous macro segments have focused on letting you choose what ability to use next, but that’s it. However, there are some items and abilities that don’t activate the global cooldown. You can find a list of these at You can use one macro to activate several of these at once.

The example given in this segment was for rogues. Note that the ShowToolTip command is qualified – again, this might be something to look into more in future segments – so that it always shows the core ability, not the first power up you want to use to enhance it.

#ShowToolTip Eviscerate
/use 13
/use 14
/cast cold blood
/cast eviscerate

This will try to activate both trinkets – although field testing a version of this I usually only get one to fire, but that may be a quirk of the trinkets I’m using – and then provide a 100% chance for eviscerate to hit as a critical.

Versions for other classes and specs will obviously vary depending on the special abilities you want to activate, but the general format will be the same: first a command to show the tooltip of the main ability you want to use, then a list of instant-use items to activate, a list of cooldown-free ability-based power-ups and then the core ability at the end. Followed, of course, by glorious victory.*

*Note definitions of “glorious victory” may vary, and your experience may also include “ignoble defeat”.

Macro tip #6: Gold begging

February 27, 2009

This tip is from the Instance 135, at time index 1:26:08

Yes, this was a joke. I’d heard so many tips in recent shows about making money – particularly from the Auction House – that I just felt like satirising the topic a bit. After all, if I can’t have a bit of fun with this segment, what’s the point?

The macro I described is simple:

/say plx g10d n ep1x

So, why “an old school classic macro”? Because this is the kind of thing that gold sellers (and beggars) have used to spam trade and general channels for years. All it does is pop up a badly-spelt begging message (“please gold and epics”). It’s vaguely leet-speak, and vaguely based on the kinds of abbreviations I keep seeing in the game.

There are actually some useful applications of /say commands in macros, which may crop up in future segments, but let’s not get distracted by usefulness for the moment.

So why did I say this was an exploit? Well, I figured that the worst that could happen was that someone didn’t get the joke, tried this out and got put on a /ignore list or even reported. I said that this was an exploit so that only people willing to use exploits would actually try it. The idea was that no-one who actually took such things seriously would inadvertently get into trouble.

As another big clue that this was just for fun, the final part of the segment mentioned googling a macro that lets characters with the mining skill tap fishing nodes. This is a nod to another long-standing newbie joke (“d00d, how u mine 4 fish?”), which should be pretty obvious if you do try the google search.

This tip is from the Instance 133, at time index 1:44:42

This is probably one of the most useful elements of macros. Again, its main function is to manage the sheer volume of abilities and items most high-level characters will have, by hiding things that aren’t currently usable. It also allows simple chains of abilities to be put together, to simplify routine patterns of button mashing.

The example given – once again – focuses on healing items, because these are things that most characters will have.

/castsequence reset=60 Frostweave bandages, resurgent healing potion

Again, obviously, people should swap in the particular items they happen to have. You can list as many things as you want; you just need to separate them with commas.

Using a bandage gives a 60-second debuff for being recently bandaged. During that time, you can’t use another bandage – and there’s not much point having bandages up on your toolbar during that time. So, this macro will keep track of time, and hide the bandages until the debuff expires. During that time it will put up something more useful instead (in this case, a potion).

Note that this isn’t necessarily the most useful macro – you might want potions up by default, for example to get you out of a tight fix in combat. It is, however, a clear example of the format of these macros, which is why I chose it for this segment. There are ways to solve this problem (having potions in combat and the castsequence at other times) using multiple conditionals, but again, that’s a more complicated kind of macro, for a later segment.

Castsequence can also be used to manage abilities – the other example from the segment illustrates this.

/castsequence reset=10 multi-shot, steady shot, steady shot, steady shot

This uses multi-shot whenever possible, and steady shot between cooldowns. (It might be necessary to put in another steady shot or two depending on how quickly a character can get through the list.)

In fact, you can chain together abilities and items using this one command. For example, a Resto Shaman could use this line in a macro:

/castsequence reset=6 Riptide, Super Healing Potion

This would mainly be of use in keeping the Shaman alive; it would cast their instant heal spell if it was available (i.e. outside the 6 second cooldown), but if it wasn’t it would activate a potion instead.

There are other ways to reset a castsequence, making it even more useful – again, that’s something for a future segment.