Tag Archives: life hacks

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!

How to be a Happy Farmer

There’s a lot of stuff in the game that requires farming, and farming is pretty tedious by itself. You can skip it if you want, but you miss out on quite a lot like that.

I know farming. Since TBC’s been released, I’ve solo farmed my way to:

  • 375 fishing skill
  • Exalted with Consortium
  • Exalted with Kurenai
  • Revered with Aldor
  • …and then Exalted with Scryers (starting from Hated) because I wanted all the Jewelcrafting patterns

So, here are a few tips and tricks.

1. Break the job into chunks.
Don’t try and fish yourself from 300 skill to 375 in a day. It’ll seem like a dishearteningly mammoth task, you’ll burn yourself out, and never pick up your fishing rod again – not much point in having 375 skill at that point, is there?

Instead, just say to yourself “I’m going to get 5 skill points on this fishing trip before I log off and play that alt instead.” Do that, and do another 5 points later in the evening. You’ll get your 75 fishing skill within a couple of weeks, and you’ll still be fairly sane to boot. Apply the same principle to anything you’re farming – “just another 10 drops and I’ll go”.

2. Maximise your returns.
Take a look at what your goal is, and work out how you can get incidental benefits.

  • Farming Consortium rep? Why not kill the Ogres in Nagrand for their warbeads – they drop Crystal Powder Samples for Halaa token rewards (like an 18-slot bag), and they give Kurenai/Maghar rep with every kill to boot. I hit exalted with Kurenai solely through Consortium rep grinding.
  • Trying to level your fishing skill? Why not fish up, say, Deviate Fish in the Barrens? They still sell very well on most servers (especially if you have the recipe to cook them yourself), they’re easy to fish, and you still get skill points for them.
  • Trying to get Dampscale Basilisk Eyes to go from Aldor to Scryer alignment? Cut a deal with a friendly caster who might like to buy all the Chunks o’ Basilisk you’ll wind up with – those things make great spell damage buff food.

Be creative and opportunistic to see what else you can get out of it when you’re farming for a specific goal. Also, be openminded about ways to reach your goal. For instance, I was having troubles with Scryer rep – I was trying to farm for Sunfury Signets, but as a holy pally I found it hard to kill the blood elves fast enough to get a decent rate of return. So I switched back to farming for Aldor rep items off the various demons in Netherstorm – the increased DPS I could get from my demon-specific damage spells turned frustration into ease (not to mention the fact that unlike blood elves, demons don’t run away at 10% health to fetch five buddies). On my server, you can trade Aldor and Scryer items at a 1:1 ratio in the trade channel, so I just farmed for Aldor items, traded them for Scryer items, and handed them in. Presto, exalted.

3. Distract yourself.
No matter how efficient you are, farming is boring because it takes very little mental effort.

So, distract yourself. I find podcasts work really well for this purpose – a farming session is about the only time I listen to podcasts, but they certainly do the job nicely. Other people I know recommend audio books. If you have friends you don’t see very often, hop on Skype or an IM service that allows voice chats, and natter away with them.

A friend of mine on the other side of the world talked me through the killing of about 789235238 ogres for my Consortium rep – he works from home and keeps funny hours, so we’d power up iChat and voicechat for hours at a time… I barely even noticed the ogres falling under my mighty hammer.

Healadin Macros

So! There are a few handy macros that will make life as a holy paladin a little easier. Here are a few of my favourites:

Heal-through Flash of Light Combo
#showtooltip Flash of Light
/use Lower City Prayerbook
/use Pendant of the Violet Eye
/cast [button:2,target=player] Flash of Light; [target=target,help] Flash of Light; [target=targettarget,help] Flash of Light; [target=none] Flash of Light

Heal-through Holy Light Combo
#showtooltip Holy Light
/cast Divine Illumination
/cast [button:2,target=player] Holy Light; [target=target,help] Holy Light; [target=targettarget,help] Holy Light; [target=none] Holy Light

Edit: Please see the comments for some revised syntax tips since patch 2.3. The above will still work, but the revised syntax is cleaner.

These two macros work in much the same way.

  • The “#showtooltip” line means that when you mouse over it you see the tooltip for the max rank of the named spell, not just an unhelpful tooltip with the macro’s name.
  • /stopcasting is no longer strictly necessary now that “client spell cast requests are now sent to the server even if your player is already casting another spell”, but it helps with timing anyway
  • The /use and /cast effects trigger my clicky trinkets (for Flash of Light) or use my mana-saver spell (for Holy Light) if their cooldowns are up. If they’re on cooldown, this will actually cause an error message saying the spell/item is not ready; if you prefer not to see that, you can insert “/script UIErrorsFrame:Clear()” (without the “s) after these lines
  • The final line is the meat and drink of the macro. It resolves like thus: if I rightclick the macro, I heal myself. Otherwise: if my target is friendly, it heals them. If my target is hostile and has a friendly target, it heals that friendly. If my target is hostile and its target is also hostile, the spell won’t fire at all. If I have no-one targeted, it will trigger the spell and give me the glowy-outline-hand selection cursor.

The really important line of these macros is the part where it heals my hostile target’s target if friendly. This is what’s commonly known as a “heal-through” macro; it’s great for tank healing on a boss who requires multiple tanks – like Gruul or Void Reaver (or, say, BWL’s Broodlord Lashlayer, back in the old days). You just target the boss, and heal away; the spell will land on whoever was the mob’s current target at the time you started casting the heal. (That’s something that can catch you out, so be careful of it, if the mob changes targets a lot.)

Personally, I think that every single healer should have a heal-through macro for this kind of situation.

Note that you can apply this kind of principle to any spellcasting macro. I’ve got similar ones for Blessing of Protection and Lay on Hands.

Rez Macro
#showtooltip Redemption
/cast Redemption
/stopmacro [nohelp,nodead]
/say Resurrecting %t.

This one’s helpful because it means other rezzers don’t waste time rezzing your target instead of moving on to the next deadie. Breaking it down: the /stopmacro line means that it doesn’t announce itself if your target is hostile or dead. The %t is a placeholder that is replaced by the name of your target. And of course you can edit the /say text to say whatever you like – mine says “Upsadaisy, %t!”

Mouseover/Castthrough Cleanse
/cast [button:2,target=player] Cleanse; [target=mouseover,help] Cleanse; [target=target,help] Cleanse; [target=targettarget,help] Cleanse; [target=none] Cleanse

I bet you can guess what this one does already. The trick with this one is that its first check is to see if I have my mouse over a friendly target (either their actual body in front of me, or their unitframe in my raid or party display), and if so it cleanses them (or tries to). Very handy for raids with mass decursing, or PvP situations; lets you cleanse without having to change targets.

Those are some of my favorite healadin-specific macros. You can find some useful tanking and DPS macros at the WoWwiki page for pally macros – and don’t forget to mine macros designed for other classes for good ideas about what can do with your own! If you’ve got any good healadin macros, please let me know in the comments – I’m always keen to see more.

Handy Habits: Note-Taking

Here’s a habit I’ve got myself into, and I find it saves me a fair amount of time in alt-tabbing-for-wowhead-searches.

I keep a spiral-bound notebook by my computer.

  • The front has information that I need often enough to want it written down, but things I don’t remember off the top of my head: mats for enchants I get over and over again (eg +81 heal to weapon, which I need every time I get a weapon upgrade), or potion mats (so I don’t have to look up WoWhead when I’m on my non-alchemist herb banker, sending mats through for the week’s elixirs).
  • The middle has information that I’ll need soon, but not permanently – the shopping list for mats for a storage bag, perhaps, or a list of questgivers who had silver !s when I passed them, to remind me to recheck them for quests next time my alt levels up.
  • The back just gets used as scratch paper for adhoc notes that can be torn out and thrown away as soon as they’re done.

It’s a lot better than having a random stack of scraps of paper, and I find I reuse information more effectively – if one of the pages still has the heal assignments from last week’s boss kill scribbled down, I can reuse those assignments this week instead of trying to work them out again from scratch.

If you’ve got any useful little life hacks that apply to your WoW life, feel free to share them. I’m always interested in being more efficient. :)