Fake That Focus

If you’re like me, you use the Focus target part of Blizzard’s interface a lot – you make a relevant player or mob your focus, display the focus frame on screen, and it allows easy retargeting (and watching for buffs, debuffs, CC breaking and so on). And, of course, you can use the [target=focus] option in macros to apply something to your focus without having to change targets, and some actionbar mods (eg Trinity Bars) even allow you to set an entire action bar of spells to apply to your focus. (Which makes one-click shielding, healing or CCing very easy, without having to retarget anything at all.)

However, I’ve often wished for two focus frames on screen, when I need to keep an eye on two heal targets at once, or a mob and a friendly, or whatever.

Presto! With a combination of macros, you can fake up a similar effect.

Firstly, I use F1 to F5 as the default – targeting myself and my party members. I’ve set F6 to target my focus.

So, time for a new macro:

/target playername

(eg mine currently says “/target Everlight”, as Everlight was one of the two people I needed to throw healing at in the last boss fight I did)

Then either put that on an action bar and give it a hotkey, or use a mod that allows you to assign keybindings directly to macros (such as Trinity Bars, or SpellBinder). I gave it F7, to work nicely with F6 for the focus.

Unit Frames

I haven’t found a solution that allows you to put a new frame for a specific player or mob on your screen. If anyone finds one, let me know.

In the meantime, I’m just using the Blizzard Raid UI for this (crazy, I know) – I pull the frame for the specific target onto my playfield, and position it next to my existing focus frame.

Spell Targeting

Obviously, you can’t use a bar mod that points your spells at your focus target for this, and you can’t use [target=focus] in your macros – because this person isn’t your focus. However, you can use [target=playername] in a few key macros if you know you’re going to need to cast a spell on this person quickly without retargeting them first. “/cast [target=tankname] Lay On Hands”, perhaps, or “/cast [target=mobname] Polymorph” if you’re handling sheeping.

Edit, with thanks to Button of Button Mashing: in 2.3, Blizzard added a ‘targetexact’ macro option, which is case specific and handles targets with spaces in their name. So if you wanted to target, say, Shade of Aran using a macro like this, you could use either [target=shade] (but that would also risk targeting someone in your raid called ‘Shadeface’, for instance) or [targetexact=Shade of Aran]. In other words, targetexact is a good option when you have multiple mobs or people around with similar names.

The Upshot

As you can tell, it’s all a bit of a kludge – the Blizzard UI isn’t intended to let you have more than one focus target, so you have to mimic the elegant functionality of focus behaviour with a few specific macros. However, I’m still finding that it’s more helpful than not using it at all. It doesn’t work well on the fly, but if you know what you’re facing ahead of time, it can make a big difference.

If anyone comes up with any extensions of the concept, or better ways of executing it, I’m all ears!

2 thoughts on “Fake That Focus”

  1. Is it possible to have the focus frame on screen with the default UI? I’ve tried X-Perl unit frames and haven’t really been able to get used to it.

  2. I don’t believe it is.

    I don’t much like X-Perl, either. PitBull and BunchOfBars are both fairly popular, too. I use BoB for my raid frames, and AG_UnitFrames for everything else.

    You may find an addon that modifies Blizzard’s unit frames rather than replacing them completely to be more your style, but I’m not sure of one that allows you to display the focus frame onscreen.

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