So I started out by mentioning focus, a little-known game mechanic I only recently discovered in the last six months or so. This little beauty has made my life as a caster immeasurably simpler, and has saved many a raid from wiping. Essentially you have to think of focus as your mage's attention. It's a concept we as the human race are actually quite accustomed to. As I drive home I am not always 100% focused on the road in front of me. Sometimes I am singing along to the music, sometimes I am planning my shopping list, or thinking of what happened over the course of the day. The activity you are performing still goes on, but your mind is on something else.
Focus works just like this, allowing you to fight one monster while at the same time keeping an eye on another. Focus is the type of thing that is useful in many situations, particularly for casters or for those who control crowds. For the mage it is one of those concepts that at first is tough to wrap your head around, but once you do, you will rarely be without it. Focus macros actually come in pairs, the first being the one you use to set and clear the focus, and then the second in which you assign a task to that focus. The first in the pair is a simple macro that looks like this:
See how easy that is? This macro will allow you to tie your mage's attention to a specified target, almost always your sheeping target. This macro also allows you to clear your focus by holding control when you click the macro button. This is particularly great for someone like me, who gets eternally annoyed that my focus target stays up even though the monster itself has been blown to little bits.
Once you have your focus set on that target, the next step is to build a sheeping macro that includes focus. Here is mine:
/script SetRaidTarget("focus", 1)
/cast [target=focus] Polymorph
/p --== Casting Sheepy Judgement ==--
Most of the macro you'll notice consists of commands to set and/or clear your focus depending on whether you have already set your focus on the target you want to sheep. The last line is my own addition to the macro, which I found after researching so many sites I couldn't tell you where I got it. But this is my baby, my numero uno, the macro I absolutely cannot do without.
The next lovely game element that has truly made playing my mage a joy is stopcasting. Stopcasting is just as simple as it sounds, but when added to a spell casting macro allows you to quickly switch between spells at a moments notice. Did the necromancer you are fighting begin to summon skellies from the very air? You can easily stop him in his tracks:
Nice and simple, and again a game mechanic that is easily overlooked. Stopcasting is also great for when you realize you hit the wrong spell. Rather than having to hop out of casting or dance around like a fool you can instead just hit the next spell, as long as you have macro'd it to include stopcasting. The casting macros I have in my collection invariably connect spells I use very often. The two I use most often are my trinket macro and my cannon macro. The trinket one allows me to cycle through the on-use trinkets I wear to maximize my spell damage boosts:
#show Xi'ri's Gift
The "#show" element in the macro allows the macro to give you a countdown timer for when your trinket will next be available. In this case I chose the trinket that is in my number 13 slot so that I know when it is up first. Some players like making sure their spells have the correct level attached to them, but I find that if you leave that blank then the macro will select whichever spell has the greatest level. The cannon macro is actually a collection of spells piled on top of one another. Notice how stopcasting here allows you to stack multiple spells into the same macro as long as they don't trigger the global cooldown. This allows me to put all my three-minute mageness to good use:
#show Presence of Mind
/cast Presence of Mind
/cast Arcane Power
I suppose the last section of macros on my bar would fall under the conjuring umbrella. Months back I found I was running out of buttons on my bars, even with all of the additional ones turned on, so I set out to find a solution to this problem. What I found was a conjuring macro that I then applied to just about all my water, food, and gem (heck even my portals and teleports) spells:
#show Conjured Glacier Water
/cast [button:2] Conjure Water
/use [button:1] Conjured Glacier Water
Now two spaces on my bar are consolidated into one, and you can see how easily customizable this macro is. When you left-click on the macro you drink water, if you right-click the macro you summon it. I even created one for my mounts so I could have my ground transport and my air transport on one easy macro.
There is so much available using the macroing system in WoW. I guarantee if you take the time to build some macros of your own, or even borrow those here or elsewhere on the net, your magey quality of life will improve exponentially. A lot of these macros tie beautifully in with mods you can download. In fact, check back next time when we look at the top five mage-specific mods.