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Ready Check: Using macros for raid calls

Ready Check helps you prepare yourself and your raid for the bosses that simply require killing. Check back with Ready Check each week for the latest pointers on killing adds, not standing in fire, and hoping for loot that won't drop.

We talked last week about raid calling. Even if every raid member has read up on the fights, watched videos, and has all of their addons installed, some well-timed raid calls can do a lot to help your raid work together.

A problem presents itself if some raiders can't be in voice chat. While I'm sure there are dozens of folks eager to say "can't chat, shouldn't be in raid," the fact is that voice chat isn't always possible. There are medical reasons, lifestyle reasons, and even practicality issues. It happens. Maybe in a perfect world with blue skies, everyone is always in voice chat; but the reality is that you should have a method on hand to deal with voice chat failures. Some people simply can't hear the audio clearly, no matter how carefully and loyally they turn on the program.

Typing in raids isn't universally feasible. Addons like Deadly Boss Mods handle a lot of the typing and calling work, so it's not all bad. But what you need is a quick and easy way to spam raid chat with your unique instruction. The answer to that need is to use macros during your raid.

What are macros?

The use of macros seems a little less prevalent in Cataclysm than in previous expansions, so it's possible not everyone knows what a macro is. Essentially, a macro is a slash command, or many slash commands, pre-written so that you can automatically "retype" it all with a single button push. Slash commands you're probably accustomed to include /say and /yell.

Creating macros isn't difficult. Type /macro and the interface will pop up. Select New to create your macro, select the button icon and set its name. Then type out the slash command you want to recreate in the free text field.

How does this help raid calling?

The essential pieces of raid calling are commands like "Stand here," and "Get away from there!" It's tough to translate that kind of dynamic raid calling into macros. After all, if you completely knew every instruction before the fight, then you probably wouldn't need to raid call at all.

The new Cataclysm raid interface allows raid leaders to mark a location. We can call these zones. This provides a handy location marker than allows you use these locations in a kind of "toggle" manner -- "Go there!" versus "Get away from there!"

Marking a raid member

The next thing you need to know is that many boss mods will mark raid members with the skull and cross as a visual alert. For example, if Cletus the shaman is hit with an ability that makes him explode, the skull over his head is a good notification that everyone should get away from Cletus.

That's great, generally. However, when you need to mark a player for some reason, having the symbol overwritten by a mod can be a pain in the neck. Get around that problem by having the player summon a non-combat pet. For example, in the picture to the right: Grunty.

When an addon attempts to place a mark over Cletus's head, the mark on his noncombat pet won't be disturbed.

General macro "raid calls"

Most raid movements -- the things you nee to call -- can be distilled into four things:
  • Kill that.
  • DON'T kill that.
  • Get there.
  • Get away from there.
Each can have slight variation, in terms of whether you're talking about getting to or away from a player versus an area. (Admittedly, I don't think you can "kill that area." But you get the idea.)

To make your life easiest, turn all of these things into macros. Mark areas in a boss fight with the appropriate area markers, and set yourself up to have macros that speak to that.

Example macros include:
  • /ra Kill {Skull}!
  • /ra Get to the {Square}/Blue marker, nao!
  • /ra Get away from the {Triangle} !
  • /ra Get away from %n ; he's gonna blow!
The places where the raid marker is surrounded by squiggly paranthesis tells the interface to use the symbol instead of just the word. %n is a variable; whatever you have targetted will be repeated in chat. You can see how these four commands look in the picture to the right.


Specific fights

Some specific fights have more complicated calls that you might have to make on the fly. These are simply going to be a challenge. Hopefully, most of your raid can handle voice chat, and you'll only have a few folks who can't hear audio calls. Use Boss Blueprints to help out if you're in this situation.

It can be tough to balance the need to support all your members versus downing the content. However, with some macro work, you should be able to err on the side of the angels.

Ready Check shares all the strategies and inside information you need to take your raiding to the next level. Be sure to look up our strategy guides to Cataclysm's 5-man instances, and for more healer-centric advice, visit Raid Rx.

Filed under: Ready Check (Raiding)

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