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Encrypted Text: Macros and you

To be honest with you all, there are precisely two macros that I use with any regularlity. Now this isn't to say that there aren't some really creative macros out there. There are no less than three monstrous threads on the US Rogue forums full of all manner of macro you could ever want. (While we're on the topic, Blue, could you sticky the most recent one please? Thanks!) But to be honest, a lot of it is, from personal experience -- really superfluous. Sure. I could set up a macro that would throw five Sinister Strikes and then an Eviscerate:

/startattack
/castsequence Sinister Strike, Sinister Strike, Sinister Strike, Sinister Strike, Sinister Strike, Eviscerate

but to be blunt, looking at the above makes me a sad panda. It takes all of the challenge and fun out of playing a Rogue to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there's a place for macros that are pages long. But I'm not certain that automating everything via an enormous compendium of macros will honestly ever take the place of a smart Rogue who pays attention and can tell "useful" macros from "overkill."

Now, before everyone sends me tons of hatemail about how I'm 'teh worst Rogue evar' bear with me. I'll try to explain why I'm pointing fingers at some of the Rogue macros out there, and why I feel they are more of a hinderance than a help. And just to prove I'm not totally anti-macro -- I'll share the two that are staples in my bar and I admit I'd hate to play without.

One of the ones that I remember fondly was the Auto-Riposte macro. What this macro used to do was to throw Riposte any time that it was available, and Sinister Strike when it wasn't. Sadly, due to the changes in the scripting system, the calls that used to work so beautifully for this macro have been reduced to the following -- that people are still suggesting the use of:

/startattack
/castrandom Sinister Strike, Riposte

The problem with this is that the system isn't actually checking to see if Riposte is available; it's simply "guessing" at which to pick next. The problem that I've seen from personal experience is that, more often than not, it guesses wrong and you wind up missing out on an opportunity to use Riposte. This is a shame because Riposte is really a fantastic ability if you're soloing your way up through the levels. Frankly, I'd keep Riposte on the bar, or on a handy hotkey before I'd even consider taking a chance on the above macro mis-firing and losing it for me.

Now, if you're zipping around the world and you run across a nasty that is beating on you, many Rogues will tell you to Gouge and bandage. The only problem is that without Improved Gouge, having hotkeys for bandages (which I have, admittedly) or being one of the fastest clickers I've ever seen, you're going to barely going to get in time for much of a bandage. But never fear! There's a macro for that too -- and this one is at least somewhat useful:

/castsequence Gouge, Heavy Netherweave Bandage

(note: add appropriate bandage name in as needed) Now there's a couple of problems with this macro, honestly. First of all, you have to have Auto Self Cast checked in your options. Without that, you'll mash your macro button wildly, Gouge... And then be staring at the blue-haloed Mickey Mouse Glove pointing at your Rogue, as if singling you out, saying "guess who forgot to check Auto Self Cast!" Also, if you haven't cleared that "sequence" after you screwed up the first Gouge/Bandage sequence, the next time it will not Gouge. It will instead skip straight to the bandage part, thereby completely screwing up your cooldown, and probably getting you killed in the process. The second problem is that if the Gouge fails for whatever reason, you will blow your bandage cooldown and pretty well blow your chances of getting that save off. Eventually, with the Auto Self Cast on, and all things being well with the world, you will get your Gouge and Bandage macro running correctly. But I seriously wonder if it deserves a spot on the main bar, versus good old fashioned everyday Gouge on the bar and instead having a potion/bandage within hotkey/clicking distance. Only personal playstyle will decide the ultimate utility here.

Now, this is not to say that all castsequence macros for Rogues are evil. There are actually some really great ones out there. But there are probably more problematic ones than there are good ones, and only careful testing, with attention to your personal playstyle and your meters will give you a good idea if they are good for you.

With that said, I honestly feel that many Rogues could use the following two macros. I will admit that the second one is much more situationally useful than the first, depending on what your Rogue has in the way of trinkets. But for many Rogues in the later stages of the game, both would be fairly useful.

The first is simply named "OMG" on my bar, actually. It is most commonly referred to as a "Rogue-Tanking" or "DPS burn" macro, and is largely simple in its execution:

/castsequence Evasion, Blade Flurry, Adrenaline Rush

In my case, I add Berserking on the end of that because of the Troll racial, so there may be additional racial goodies for you to add on the end of your own personal versions. I know some people at endgame who also like to throw Cloak of Shadows into the mix. The point of the above macro is for one of two situations: the last few percent of a Boss, when you're either dealing with a situation where your healers are OOM, your Tank has just died, and the Boss is now coming to snack on your face -- or when your Tank has established aggro so well that you turning into Taz on the backside of the boss during the last few percent won't pull aggro, no matter what. Alternately, it's also great for when you're soloing and you've bit off more than you can chew. If it's the choice of cooldowns, or repair bill -- you can bet which one I'm picking.

Now, the other macro that is a recent addition to my staple, but an elegant one that I've welcomed as a nice way to crank just a bit more damage than I was before:

/use 13
/use 14
/startattack
/cast Sinister Strike

I have replaced my normal Sinister Strike button with that one, I admit. What it does, in essence, is to activate the trinket in my top slot, then attempt to activate the bottom trinket, then begin an attack, and if all those are already going or on cooldowns, it will throw a Sinister Strike. When used in conjunction with trinkets like Bladefist's Breadth, Terokkar Tablet of Precision, the Ogre Mauler's Badge -- or indeed any trinkets with good "use" abilities that you find yourself forgetting to use, it can be extremely handy. The only major down-side of the above macro is if you are running in-game sound, you will get the error noise from when you're trying to use a trinket while it's on cooldown. A lot. But I find that liberal application of good music over top of your turned-down WoW sounds deals with that nicely.

There are some great macros out there. There are some really wretched ones that will lose more opportunities for you than they will create -- as well as turning us into the one-button-mashing wonders that people accuse most of us of being. How much (or little) you want to automate your game is entirely up you, and should always be based on your own personal playstyle.

So before you jump into a battleground or an instance with the Macro of Supreme Pwnage that you took off [Joe's Uber Rogue Blog o'News] thinking that you're going to destroy everything, get out there and test it first to make absolutely certain that it does what it's supposed to. Doing your own research and getting first-hand experience with macros (as with everything) will not only always beat the best-intentioned advice, it will also teach you how to beat anything you come up against in the game.

More resources for those wanting to do their own research:

Filed under: Rogue, Analysis / Opinion, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

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