11
Sep
09

Macros versus Individual Key Binds

As I was saying in my previous posts, I have been having some trouble lately with my guild’s DPS and their incessant complaints about our warriors threat and the fact that he does not use revenge. This got me to thinking, and I went into the handy dandy world of logs and took a look at his ability usage. There were some glaring issues from the combat log that shed some light on his lack of ability to hold threat over our top DPS. I would like to take a little time to discuss the issues, the break down of his skill usage, and my suggestions going forward on how to fix it. Enter a long digression on warrior tanking, turn back if you must…

Of Warriors and Threat…

His break down of abilities shows that he highly undervalues three of the most essential threat generating moves available to a warrior and in turn only truly uses 3 to 4 moves. His main rotation consists of Heroic strike and devastate spam with intermingled shield slams. The fact that our dps are bringing up lack of revenge as the culprit show that they are only looking for an excuse to bitch about his threat, and don’t truly understand a warriors priorities when it comes to threat. Part of their argument is that our warrior only used 12 revenges the entire night. Now while this is grossly over the top when it comes to the issue (as he only tanked 7 encounters and not the entire night), it is still abysmally low.

Looking at his parses, where none of them were less than three minutes long, the most he used the revenge ability was 4 times, equating to roughly 45 seconds in between revenges. There were two attempts around 3 minutes long where he did not use it ONCE. That is unacceptable. Now while he was only tanking a third of the time in Phase 1 and half the time in Phase 2, this still does not add up. During phase one he has 80 seconds of tank time, and during phase two he should have roughly half the time as the focused tank during the encounter (average 40 seconds). at 120 seconds, he should have theoretically used the ability 24 times. But this is only half the story of his poor threat.

When you look into the parses a bit more, you start to see why his threat is extremely poor. He undervalues concussion blow and shockwave as much as revenge. These three abilities combined make up the second, third and fourth priority in a warriors rotation. He uses all of them about once ever 50 seconds at the most, where as they should be used on cool down (20 and 30 seconds respectively) in place of devastate (which he spams constantly). His parses indicate that he uses three buttons, and usually nothing more during the course of a fight – Devastate, Heroic Strike, and Shield Slam. Even his Thunder Claps are sparse (although they are not needed for anything but threat, as I take care of that debuff, as does our dk).

My suggestions to him going forward are as such. Macro revenge into his heroic strike, devastate, and Shield slam abilities and use it on cool down (meaning if he is tanking he should use it every 5 seconds). Prioritize Concussion Blow and Shockwave WAY HIGHER than he currently is, and if he is rage starved (which he shouldn’t be due to the massive amounts of damage he is taking in hard modes) he should drop devastate for the former suggestions.

Macros and Pallys

While macros are a very easy way to ensure that your on use abilities are taken advantage of and kept on cool down, I highly disagree with using macros for our main paladin abilities. There are a lot of posts on different forums out there that tell young protadins that the 969 rotation is as easy as macroing your HoTR and SoR to one button, your HS, Judgement, and Consecrate to another and play chopsticks on your keyboard. The lack of flexibility that this provides for our class truly hinders your ability to tank effectively in a dynamic situation. What happens if you want to SoR something that is running away, or if you want to open up with a different rotation, starting with HoTR, then Consecrate as you are tanking an AoE pack?

The sad truth is that macroing most of our abilities is a crutch that any paladin should get away from. We have far fewer talents to worry about when tanking than do warriors or dks, and our tanking rotation really consists of five buttons that can, at times be substituted out. How can you work that into a macro? Now with that being said, there are some very useful macros that you should have on your action bars to assist you in your ability to react quickly.

The Cancel Aura Macro: the divine shield /cancelaura macro is a powerful one that has many applications. Since we have been discussing trial of the crusader so much in the past few weeks, the best examples of this are during the Northernd Beasts encounter when you have a too many stacks from Gormok, or when you are poisoned from Acidmaw, you cant move, and your guildy with the fire is an idiot. This macro also works wonders if you are an off tank on Anub’rakan and you have a dot ticking for 30k.

Focus Macros: Any macro that uses the /cast [target=focus] Hand of Protection (enter what ever spell you want there) is also a great macro that you should have somewhere on your bars. This macro allows you to continue to tank your mob, not drop target and instantly BoP your focus target. I use this during the last 10% of the Gormok stage of Northrend Beasts, to clear the stacks off my fellow off tanks. You can also use it on a ranged or healer that pulls aggro off you, you just have to modify your macro to assist your current target, being the boss.

Mouseover Macros: I healed all thorugh Sunwell, and I did a pretty good job. One of the things that made me and imensely better healer was mouseover macros. I carried this into my tanking days to help with Hands, Taunts, and Cleanses. The cleanse macro is especially helpful for the Faction Champions encounter, remember you are the most powerful “dispeller” in your raid because you can take off magic, disease, and poison with one click of a button. Here it is:

#showtooltip Cleanse
/cast [target=mouseover] Cleanse

There are many more ways that you can use macros to your benefit, but I am personally against string macros that limit your ability to select the skill that you mean for the instant it is needed. Having the freedom to chose will make you a better tank in the end. So macro till your heart’s content when it comes to your utility, but keep your bread and butter on your action bar, right out of the spell book.

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1 Response to “Macros versus Individual Key Binds”


  1. September 15, 2009 at 9:46 am

    One of my favorite macros is:

    /cast Shield of Righteousness
    /cancelaura Vigilance

    Just in case the Warrior thinks he’s smart.

    I agree with your assessment of 969 macros. They’ve always struck me as a crutch.


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