Warning: This is an outdated Wrath guide. For current information, see the level 85 Cataclysm version of the guide Here.
The goal of this guide is to provide the essential and the best hunter macros that every hunter should use. Each macro described here is designed and tested to allow you to play the game with fewer button presses, and allow you to concentrate on your raid rather than as many miniscule details of cooldowns. Macros are about efficiency, and a skilled hunter will make use of these basic and essential hunter macros to optmize his or her raid and group dps.
In the Intro to Macros guide I shared the basic version of a “spam for DPS” macro and promised I’d fill in the details of how the [modifier] conditional and the ‘!’ operator worked. In addition I will go over the core macros that I consider to be essential for the raid hunter.
Rule #1 — Everyone Kills the Same Thing Macro (it’s called focused fire)
The most important macro is IMHO the macro that helps to achieve this rule. The basics of operations in raids is that a “Main Assist” is the target selector and everyone else attacks the MA’s target. In 5-mans the MA is usually the tank. In raids it often a rogue (due to combo point needs) but really can be anyone who knows enough about kill orders to be able to prioritise what needs to die next. In our raids a hunter often fills this role.
Regardless – if you’re not the MA you need a way of picking up thier target quickly – assisting is built into the game and if I always had the same person to assist then I could just write the simple macro ‘/assist Frostheim’
But, we can do better.
/focus [modifier:alt] target
/tar [target=focus,harm] focus
/assist [target=focus,help] focus; [target=pet, exists] playerpet
So, this is the macro I have bound to the ‘F’ key, overwriting the built in assist behaviour. It essentially operates in 2 ways “Mode 1” is when I press ‘Alt-F’, “Mode 2” when I just hit ‘F’.
The underlying idea is that I want a marco to set my ‘focus’ or to assist my focus, my pet, or a specific focused enemy mob.
The operation is that in raids I set my focus to be the MA, by targeting the MA and hitting ‘Alt-F’ then from there on I hit ‘F’ to assist them. Thus once I have my focus set to the MA — all I have to do is hit “F” and I’ll automatically be targeting the same target as the MA!
Lines 1 & 2 are the ones that look after the setting focus bit. Basically the first line sets the current target as my focus, but the conditional in [ ] says only do it is a modifier key is pressed, and specifically the ‘Alt’ modifier key. Then second line says to stop doing anything else if we just set the focus — it’s the “early exit” clause.
Line 3 deals with the idea that I sometimes need to focus on an enemy and target them, rather than assist someone. The ‘/tar focus’ say to target the focus mob, but this time the conditional (the bit in the ) is a little more complicated. Basically the conditional ‘[target=focus, harm]’ asks the question “Is my current focus an enemy (harmful unit)?” The ‘target=focus’ tells the line what is the subject of the question & the ‘harm’ specifies what question is being asked.
Line 4 is really two commands, or the same command, ‘/assist’, with 2 possible endings. Ending #1, ‘[target=focus,help] focus’, asks the question “Is my current focus unit a friend?” in which case we assist that unit. This is essentially the opposite question from the previous line. Ending #2, ‘[target=pet,exist] playerpet’, asks the questions “Does my pet exist?” in which case assist my pet.
What is important to realize is that the three questions asked on the last two lines are asked in order, and when one of them answers “yes” the associated action will be taken and the macro will stop automatically, so the others will not.
Basically then Priority 1 is to target a focused enemy, next is to assist a focused friend, only if the focus hasn’t been set will you attempt to assist your pet (useful when soloing).
Being the MA Macro…
Sometimes you might be the main assist… or you might just be leading the raid and need to help call attention to what needs to be done. Try this macro:
MA Target Announce Macro
/cast Hunter’s Mark
/rw >> Assist me on %t <<
Line 1 puts the skull mark over your current target (if you are not a raid leader or assistant it can’t do this and you’ll see an error).
Line 2 is straight forward, add a big red arrow of the target as well (I hear there is a DPS boost for doing this too).
Line 3 is the early exit clause which says “don’t do anything more if I wasn’t holding down any of the modifier keys (Shift, Ctrl, Alt)”.
Line 4 Tell everyone in the raid to wake up and pay attention to the assist target. %t will be filled in with the name of the current target and /rw sends this message to the raid warning channel.
So if everyone is paying attention during combat you can just hit this once each time you change targets. If they aren’t, you hold down ‘Shift’, ‘Ctrl’ or ‘Alt’ and spam it to wake everyone up.
Stop Stuffing About – I Want a Hunter Damage Macro!
Okay, okay … I’ll talk about “spam” macros then…
But first, we need to clarify what “spamming.” Pretty much all the important damage abilities are on the global cooldown (GCD) — for a hunter that is 1.5s. If you’re BM raid specc’d you are already at the “soft haste cap,” and if you’re MM or SV, with any significant amount of haste rating you are too. So what? I hear you ask. It means most hunters can use one damage ability every 1.5s no more, and preferably no less. Once thing every 1.5s translates in 40 beats per minute (bpm) for all you musicians in the room — and if you’re a musician you realise that is quite a sedate pace. If we can only do something once every 1.5s then we only need to execute the macro once every 1.5s, so in a perfect world (with no lag) “spamming” the macro would mean hitting at 40 bpm.
What’s the macro look like? The current “40bpm spam Macro” is as follows.
Hunter “Spam” Macro:
/cast [target=pettarget,combat] Kill Command
/cast [modifier:alt] !Aspect of the Dragonhawk
/cast [modifier:ctrl] !Aspect of the Viper
/cast !Auto Shot
/cast Steady Shot
Note: If you are a MM hunter, you want to add /cast Silencing Shot just before the Steady Shot line.
You can duplicate this macro for Arcane Shot, Multi Shot, Explosive Shot, etc.
Most of this macro should make sense by now…
Line 1: Cast Kill Command (not on the GCD) if the you pet’s current target is in combat (which by the way implies your pet is in combat to, since it doesn’t have a target otherwise).
Line 2: Cast Kill Shot — currently not on the GCD, but will be in 3.1
Line 3: If Kill Shot is not available for line 2, it will write an annoying error message on the screen. Line 3 gets rid of it.
Line 4&5: /cast “Aspect of the X” if either ‘Alt’ or ‘Ctrl’ is being held down *BUT* … there is an extra trick here.
If you cast Aspect of the Viper when Aspect of the Viper is already on, you will turn it off – this is called “toggling.” We don’t want this toggle behaviour, so we introduce the ‘!’ operator. By using ‘/cast !Aspect of the Viper’ we change the toggle behaviour and the cast “always turns it on” – if it is on already it won’t be turned off, but it will still cost you mana.
Line 6: Auto Shot is another “toggle” ability – ‘/cast !Auto Shot’ makes sure our Auto Shot ability is turned on.
Line 7: Cast the Steady Shot ability… this is the only line that changes to create my Arcane Shot and Multi-Shot macros.
The Devil’s Macro: Castsequence
On various sites you see people putting forward macros using “/castsequence ………” to try and wrap the arcane shot and Steady shot macros into one (or the explosive shot / chimera shot… etc)
Why don’t I do this, or recommend it? Because the /castsequence line is inflexible and locks you into certain sequences. Some people mis-understand the reset options of cast sequence and think they can use this to fix the inflexibility – but it’s not generally born out.
/castsequence reset=6 Arcane Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot, Steady Shot — the great fallacy
Many people who do a quick read of the macro syntax guides think the above line does what they want. They mistakenly interpret it mean “Cast the sequence of spells in order, but reset to the start of the list every 6 seconds” and based on that interpretation propose some amazingly complex macros to manage shot cycles.
The important thing to realise is that the ‘reset=6’ clause means something subtly, yet importantly, different. It means “If you haven’t hit the button for 6 seconds, then reset” .. the 6s countdown resets every time the button is pressed.
*If* the castsequence could be reset based on me moving, I might use it – but currently that is not possible.