Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Focus Macro

There's a game mechanic called focus that is very useful in a lot of different situations. I don't know when I first found out about it but through reading various blogs and learning about helpful things to macro, focus came up more than a few times. I didn't actually implement it for anything until Lal had to Shackle Undead for the first time. I went back and found a macro for her to use, and it works like a charm. A good source for useful macros is WoW Wiki, which consists of contributions from a lot of people. I also had some help from guild members who use it, and doing Google searches for blogs and web pages that list lots of helpful information on creating and using macros. All of that to say that most of this information is not original. It's out there for all to research and find. But for me and the few people that might read this, here is what I know about Focus.

Essentially, Focus is a secondary target. When you click on someone or something, it becomes your main target. All of your spells and abilities when used will (if possible) affect that target. Using Focus and some simple macros, we'll be able to cast spells on a different target without switching from our main target. I find that it's especially useful for classes that use Crowd Control, so that they can continue to target the mob that is being killed, and keep the CC up on another mob without having to switch targets back and forth.

The Simple Version

So how does it work? I'll be using the Shackle Undead ability as an example, but it can be adapted for any other kind of spell. First, let's look at a simple version.

Hit Escape or click on the computer icon to access the game options. Then go to Keybindings and scroll down to the targeting options. You''ll see two options with Focus. One is Focus Target, and the other is Target Focus. That's not confusing at all, is it? Right. Set Focus Target to something easy, such as Shift-F. Set Target Focus to Ctrl-F. If those interfere with other keybindings you have, try and find something similar that's easy to remember. Focus Target (Shift-F) will now SET your focus. Target Focus (Ctrl-F) will make your focus your main target. We really only need to worry about Focus Target for now.

Now that we can set our focus easily, we need a macro to cast our ability on our focus target, and not the main target. Open up the Macros from the game menu (or type /macro) and click New. Select the "?" icon and type in a name, in this example we'll call it Shackle Focus. Hit okay.
In the macro text type the following:

#showtooltip Shackle Undead
/cast [target=focus] Shackle Undead

That's it. Drag that Macro out and put it on an easy to access spot of your action bars. You can probably even replace normal Shackle Undead with it.

So now imagine we're in Karazhan, and the tank has marked an undead patron for you to shackle. Before the pull, target your mark and hit SHIFT-F to set that mob as your focus. Assuming you're the main healer, you'll want to move your target back to the main tank and keep him alive. As soon as the tank pulls, hit your Shackle Macro and it should shackle the undead that is your focus target, while you have the tank targeted. Max rank shackle can potentially last up to 50 seconds, but lots of factors could contribute to it lasting less time. So while you're healing, just remember to hit your shackle every 20 to 30 seconds and keep that mob controlled until the group is ready to kill it.

Not a priest? Just change the macro to whatever spell you want. For mages who want to keep sheep up while maintaining DPS on the main target, just rewrite the macro as such:

#showtooltip Polymorph
/cast [target=focus] Polymorph

By the way, that first line of the macro is just there to make sure the icon for your macro looks like the normal icon for that spell. It might not even be necessary, but I like to put it in there.

Hunter's can use it to to cast a Distracting Shot on their trap target and keep it's attention on them, so it's always running to the trap and not the healers or anyone else.

#showtooltip Distracting Shot
/cast [target=focus] Distracting Shot

Warlocks can use it to keep up a Seduce, although it looks slightly different since it's a pet ability.

/cast [pet:succubus,target=focus] Seduction; Seduction

All of these rely on you setting the focus with Shift-F before the pull. And for subsequent pulls, you will have to reset the focus again. It's a small annoyance, but it's also possible to take it out altogether by using slightly more complex macros to both SET your focus, and CAST the spell.

The Not So Simple Version

#showtooltip Shackle Undead
/clearfocus [button:2]
/clearfocus [target=focus,dead]
/focus [target=focus,noexists]
/cast [target=focus,exists] Shackle Undead

With this as your macro, put it on your action bar, and then all you have to do is press once to set the focus and shackle, then press it again to re-shackle. Basically it takes out the SHIFT-F step. It also allows for you to clear your focus by right clicking the macro.
Here it is line by line.

#showtooltip Shackle Undead
Uses the Shackle Undead icon for the macro picture.

/clearfocus [button:2]
Right clicking the macro will clear your focus.

/clearfocus [target=focus,dead]
If your focus target is dead, it will clear your focus.

/focus [target=focus,noexists]
If your focus target does not exist (your focus is cleared) then it will focus your current target.

/cast [target=focus,exists] Shackle Undead
The actual casting of the spell. This is modified to only cast of you have a focus (exists), which will always be the case thanks to the preceding lines of text.

So with this new macro, target your mark to Shackle, hit the macro once to focus that target and shackle it. Then switch to the main tank to start healing. Continue to hit the macro periodically until the tank moves to your mob to kill it. When the target is dead and you move to a new group, simply repeat the process. It will automatically clear the dead mob from your focus target, and focus your new target.

Again, just replace the /cast line with whatever spell or ability you want to use. Here is a Warlock seduction macro, since it's a bit different with the pet again:

#showtooltip Seduction
/clearfocus [button:2]
/clearfocus [target=focus,dead]
/focus [target=focus,noexists]
/cast [pet:succubus, target=focus,exists] Seduction; Seduction

That's the basics of focus for crowd control. Hopefully you'll be able to take some of this and apply it in other places. As always, I'm willing to hear others thoughts on useful focus macros. And if you think anything I've put up here is complete rubbish, then feel free to say so too. I don't consider myself an authority on it, but I have had success messing around with it and using it as I play.

Thank you for reading, and have a good morning.

1 comment:

krizzlybear said...

a wonderful post. i've been meaning to make focus macros, and i ended up copying and pasting focus macros from wowwiki, not knowing how each line of the macro actually worked.

a nice addon to use in conjunction with focus macros is xperl unitframes, or any frame UI that displays focus targets in a seperate frame than your current one. using these mods will help you keep an eye on the status of your focus while still targetting something else (tank or skull).