by Joe Perez
Macros have been in the game for a long time, and over the course of years, they have changed to allow or deny certain functions. The same can be said for the various addons that have existed over the life of the game. There are some addons and macros that can be particularly useful to you as a restoration shaman.
First, let us take a look at macros. The art of making a macro can sometimes be a bit confusing.
So let’s begin, shall we? Here are some macros that I have found useful in my healing travels.
Earth Shield Focus
#showtooltip Earth Shield
/focus [modifier, help] [target=focus,noexists]
/cast [target=focus] Earth Shield; Earth Shield
This macro allows you to set your focus and cast Earth Shield on the target at the same time. It also allows you to clear whatever your focus is set to by holding down the alt key and pressing the macro again. This can be particularly useful when raid healing and attempting to maintain Earth Shield on a target such as a tank or a particularly squishy DPS. The same principle can be adapted for any of the shaman spells just like this.
/focus [modifier, help] [target=focus,noexists]
/cast [target=focus] Riptide; Riptide
I use it for Earth Shield and Riptide as well as Chain Heal. Focus macros such as these are fantastic ways to divide your attention effectively and allow you to maintain heals on important targets.
/cast [@focus,harm,nodead][@target,harm,nodead][@focustarget,harm,nodead][@targettarget,harm,nodead] Purge
This macro will stop casting whatever you are casting and will begin to purge whatever the target of your focus is or if your target is an enemy, whatever your target is. While a lot of people claim this is primarily a PvP macro, a lot of shaman found this particularly useful during the Lord Jaraxxus and Faction Champions fights. I think this is something a restoration shaman should keep handy; after all, you never know when it will be useful. The macro itself can also be adapted for another useful spell we have in our arsenal, Wind Shear.
#showtooltip Wind Shear
/cast [@focus,harm,nodead][@target,harm,nodead][@focustarget,harm,nodead][@targettarget,harm,nodead] Wind Shear
These can also be useful in heroics, especially when trying for achievements like Less-Rabi.
I am not too proud to say I’ve found this macro useful. What this macro does is keeps you from casting Heroism when not in combat. While it may not happen to everyone, there have been times where I have accidentally brushed the Heroism macro, giving the entire raid exhaustion while waiting for a pull. This macro has helped make sure there have been no more accidents.
Emergency Nuke Heal
#showtooltop Nature’s Swiftness
/cast Tidal Force
/cast Nature’s Swiftness
/cast [target=Focus] Healing Wave
(If you are an engineer with the glove enchant you can also add /use 10 to activate that slot. )
This has quickly become one of my favorite macros. In a lot of the fights in Icecrown you will have to move, sometimes out of range of important targets such as tanks. This can result in the target’s dropping very low in health and needing to be topped off fast. Fights like the Blood Princes and Sindragosa are good examples of this. This macro will use any trinkets you have equipped in either slot if they have an on use effect, cast Tidal Force to increase your crit rating and Nature’s Swiftness for to make the next spell instant cast. This is also useful for fights like Blood Queen where you have a lot of people to top off after (or during) air phase by simply changing Healing Wave to Chain Heal. Effectively making it an group nuke heal.
You can set the target to anything from mouseover to target of target, but I tend to leave it on my focus target as during those fights I tend to have a tank targeted as my focus. You can also change it to [target=target] to cast it on whoever you have targeted at the time. This is a very useful macro.
Here are some utility macros for you to use that can allow you to clean up some bar space.
Water walk / breathing
/cast [nomodifier:alt] Water Walking; Water Breathing
Will cast either water walking or water breathing based on whether you hold the alt key. This can be useful when doing daily quests and will likely have more relevance once Cataclysm comes out. This also applies to Water Shield and Lightning Shield.
/cast [nomodifier:alt] Water Shield; Lightning Shield
Again very useful for soloing and daily quests.
/cast [nomodifier:alt] Earthliving Weapon(Rank 6); Flametongue Weapon(Rank 10)
Every so often, you will find yourself throwing up a Flame Shock or throwing a Lava Burst at a boss. So when you are trying to eke out that little extra DPS for the raid on that boss’ last 1%, this will let you hot swap Earthliving Weapon out for Flametongue. Sometimes every little extra bit counts.
/say I think %t is feeling a bit … froggy … Get it? hahah
Even as restoration shaman, we have full access to the Hex spell. No matter what we are doing, we can drop a hex. This can be useful in fights where every bit of crowd control needs to be used, like faction champs, but the spell can also be used to save your own bacon. While this macro is very simplistic, you cannot fathom how important it can be to announce something is CCed in the middle of a group. You can obviously change the text to suit whatever you want, but you get the idea.
/cast Ancestral Spirit
/say Hey %t, This better not just be an attempt at getting mouth-to-mouth.
This is more a matter of convenience. During wipe recovery, sometimes multiple healers will attempt to resurrect the same target. While not necessary, a simple notification to those around you to who you intend to res helps get the raid up just a little bit quicker so you can give the boss another go. Choose different text as you see fit.
There are a ton of macro combinations you can make. These are just some of the ones that I have found most useful in a raid environment. Do you have any you’d like to share with us? Feel free to leave them in comments or email them directly to me. I will make sure they get posted and that credit is given.
Now that we’ve talked about macros, let us take a look at some addons you may find useful.
Like macros, addons have evolved over time. The scope of what they can and cannot do has changed many times over. There are several addons that you may find useful, while it will largely depend on preference. I will highlight some of the more popular ones, as well as macros I have found useful.
One of the most important features of our class is our totems. Finding a way to manage them effectively has always been a task. Recently, Blizzard has upgraded the in game user interface for better totem management, allowing us to group them into three pre-determined sets and also allowing us to drop all four schools of totems at once, eliminating the need for bulky macros. Some people still have trouble with the default UI for totems and look to addons to make it more to their liking.
Totem Timers has been long at the forefront of shaman totem management. It provides movable bars for all four schools of totems as well as timers for each. It also allows you to quickly swap between all three pre-made totem sets, as well as swapping individual totems from each school with as much ease as mousing over the current totem.
In addition to giving fast access to all of your totems and providing timers, the addon also tracks who is within range of each totem, so you know if you need to reposition your totems. You can see this in the image to the left, indicated by the red number inside of the totem icon. Not only does it track people in range of your totems but it also tracks people in range of fellow shamans in the group. So if you are running with multiple shamans, you can tell who needs what buff.
In addition to tracking totems, it tracks your self-resurrection timer as well as how many Ankhs you have available, your water and lightning shield charges as well as the charges, target and duration of Earth Shield. It can also manage your weapon imbues. When your totems or shields are about to expire, it will also give you a warning through various outputs of your choosing. You can also set it to alert you before a timer has run its course. The addon also tracks cooldowns on your abilities such as Fire Elemental Totem and Fire Nova. The addon has a lot of customizable features and is my totem manager of choice.
Other popular totem managers include:
Whether you’re using the default totem UI or an addon, the key is finding one that works for you.
In the same vein is another up-and-coming addon that is in a beta phase right now. TotemRadius adds rings to the mini-map to show you who is in the affected range of totems. Like Totem Timers, it does track other shamans in the raid as well, but this one gives you a visual cue for placing your totems.
Knowing when Water Shield has worn off or when Earth Shield is about to expire is very important. Many shaman-specific mods will inform you of this. Almost any totem management addon you find will indicate to you when your shields are about to expire. If you want to use the default UI for your totems or are just looking for something simplistic to give you a heads up when your shields drop, ShieldsUp might be for you. To quote the site description:
It features an easy-to-read text display that shows the number of charges remaining on each active shield, as well as the name of the last person you cast Earth Shield on. Other features include a visual indication when another shaman overwrites your Earth Shield, text and audio alerts when one of your shields expires or is removed, and a condensed display while solo (or for shamans without Earth Shield).
It does just what it promises and does it very well in a compact package.
Another important set of mods is bar modification. While the default UI has provided us with ample space for our buttons, sometimes being able to modify when they are viewable or move them to better suit your playstyle can be very important. There are quite a few out there that will do this, so I will just highlight a couple.
Bartender is one of those mods that has been around for a long time. It is highly customizable and can be tailored to fit almost any playstyle. You can set conditionals to have only certain bars show in combat and out of combat, and you can adjust the look, grouping, size and reaction of any of the buttons and bars.
Dominos is another big name in the action bar addon game, and it allows a similar set of customizable options to Bartender. It is also the addon that comes packaged with the Razer Naga mouse.
When using action bar mods, you should also consider investing a little time in a cooldown tracking mod. OmniCC places the cooldowns of each ability in their action bar and is compatible with most action bar addons. Another mod I’ve found useful for cooldowns is OmniCC pulse, which flares the action bar button when a cooldown for a spell is over. It helps with a subtle visual cue to let you know your spell is off cooldown.
Unit and raid frames
Moving your unit and raid frames can be a healer’s greatest asset. One of the largest problems a healer has is healer tunnel vision. Often we get so consumed in our healing that we lose sight of our own health — and as the saying goes, you can’t heal when you’re dead. One of the things that a lot of healers find useful is addons that bring the healer’s health to a point of high visibility. Some prefer heads-up displays or HuDs such as Icehud or Archud, while others perfer to use unit frame addons like Pitbull or the various skins of oUF like Diablo Orbs to draw attention to their health.
Keeping an eye on your health is as important as keeping an eye on the raid’s health. When tracking the raid’s health, you can certainly use the default game UI, but some find the lack of information or options limiting. Most unit frame addons like Pitbull will supply you with raid frames. Again, there are many out there, so I’ll only talk about a couple of them.
Grid has been around for a very, very long time. This addon allows you a large amount of control over the information that is displayed, as well as the visual presentation. The addon allows you to see players’ health (or health deficit), incoming healing amounts from other healers (as well as yourself), mana and energy and various debuffs. On top of this, you can add various debuffs and buffs to the display. This can be extremely helpful when trying to keep track of debuffs and debuffs such as Valithria Dreamwalker’s Emerald Vigor. You can even program it to track stacks of Earth Shield and to show how much time is left on Riptide on targets. A full guide to the addon and its various components can be found here. Grid is my pick for raid unit frames.
Another contender for superiority is VuhDo. This is another extremely powerful raid frame addon that not only allows you to track the raid as well as buffs, debuffs, health and energy, but also has the added functionality to program healing spells to various mouse clicks and modifiers to accompany those mouse clicks. This functions similar to the way Clique works. This added functionality has made this addon a favorite among healers from every class. Like Grid, this is highly customizable; a full guide to setup and options can be found here.
While these do take some time to set up, the payoff is well worth it. Whether you choose to use the default UI raid frames or one of the various mods such as Pitbull, Grid or VuhDo, take some time to find one you feel comfortable with. The amount of information they give you as a healer is insanely valuable, and it helps to keep those you need to heal in easy-to-reach groupings.
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