EQ2 Icon Using Macros in Combat

A critical function of macros is to save time and so it’s no surprise that they are used to great effect in combat and group play. There are two different types of macros which you will find useful in a combat situation: command macros (automating a commonly used line command) and ability macros, using spells or combat abilities in combination or for situational awareness. Equipment macros are less useful as you are limited as to what you can do with equipment during combat.

The main example of a command macro is critical for groups and raids: the assist macro. The assist command changes your target to your target’s target, so if I am fighting A Pointless Ghoul and you type /assist with me as your target, you will end up with A Pointless Ghoul as your target. You can bypass a step of this by adding in a name, for example /assist Taymar. Now, regardless of who you are targetted on, you will get my target. This is great as a macro where you insert the name of the tank or “main assist” in a raid situation. Then a press of a hotkey can put you on the correct target immediately. In addition, because you are targetted on the NPC rather than assisting through the tank, you are aware of aggro and you will see it immediately when the mob switches target.

You can greatly reduce the number of hotkeys you need by combining similar spells or abilities together.

My conjuror has her two encounter-based damage spells, Shattered Lands and Flash Flood, tied to the same key. if she’s trying to do AE damage, she might as well go all out and there’s no benefit to pausing between these two casts.

It takes a bit of getting used to because as the first spell casts, the second one is invisibly queued – so I have had to break the habit of hitting hotkeys too quickly. However, I’ve saved a hotkey space and I am also casting more efficiently as the two encounter based spells are both cast as quickly as possible.

In the same way, she has a macro for each of her pet spells, casting one buff along with the pet. This saves her a cast and a hotkey. The two remaining pet buffs can be tied to each other on a second hotkey. Again, the important thing is timing: you have to wait for the first set of casts to be completely finished before continuing with the buffing by hitting the second key.

Adapting to the Situation

It is important to bear the queuing system in mind: if you have more than two spells or abilities in a macro, only a maximum of two will be used. You can use this to make macros that adapt to the situation.

On my necromancer, I have a nuke button that includes three fast damage spells, even though only two will be used.

I have Master’s Strike in the initial position as it is the least likely to be available and is the most useful when it is available. Second is Soulrot, a fast damage short-term dot. Third is Bloodcoil, which does unresistable damage over 26 seconds.

So what happens when I press that hotkey?

  1. If my target is one that I have completed the Lore and Legend quest for, then the Master Strike will fire and Soulrot will queue. Then Bloodcoil will queue overwriting Soulrot.

    In this scenario, Master Strike and Bloodcoil will cast, that is, the first and last spells in the macro. These are generally always your most commonly cast spells.

  2. If I don’t have the L&L or I have already used the Master’s Strike then soulrot will cast as the first available spell in the macro and Bloodcoil will queue.

    Only when the first spell is not available will the second spell ever cast in a macro with three or more spells.

  3. If I don’t have the L&L and Soulrot is not available yet, Bloodcoil will cast as the first available spell

    The macro tries to cast each spell in order and the queuing doesn’t kick in until an available spell has been cast.

Notice that the macro hotkey refreshes at the rate that the primary spell refreshes – be sure not to leave your hotkey greyed out when you have other spells you could be casting. In this case, I’ve set Master’s Strike to primary so that I will see that it was used but that means remembering to continue to use the hotkey as the other spells remain available, even though the hotkey is greyed out.

Remember that the middle spell will only see regular usage if the top spell is a slow recast or not generally available. Otherwise the macro will always do the first and last spells.

Choose the Best Spell Available

You can make a hotkey that is completely situational, like this hotkey for pulling on a ranger. This is similar to the nuking option given above but it gives the player the chance to determine which initial ability will be used.

As a general rule, I always put the most frequently unavailable cast at the top of the stack, giving it the highest chance of being used.

In this more detailed example of a situational macro, my ranger will pull the mob with an arrow and then immediately snare it – but she has different options for pulling. She has this macro set up with her three favorite combat abilities for pulling lined up. Now her position will determine which one is used.

Possible scenarios:

  1. The ranger is stealthed. In this case, Stealth Fire kicks off, the middle two abilities are bypassed and Roped Shot is queued and cast.
  2. The ranger is not stealthed but she is behind the mob. Stealth Fire fails, Rear Shot casts, Vulnerable Arrow is bypassed and Roped Shot is queued and cast.
  3. The ranger is neither stealthed nor behind the mob. Stealth Fire fails, Rear Shot fails, thus Vulnerable Arrow is cast and Roped Shot is queued and cast.

If you look at the forums for your class, you will probably find there are already lists of macros posted that you can use to make your life easier. By investing a single evening, I have completely revitalised my hotkey bars so that everything I want to do is now fast and easy to access directly from the keyboard.

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Posted by Taymar on http://mmorpg-info.org.

 

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