Thursday, January 31, 2008

To macro or not to macro: that is the question.

The question of using a shot rotation macro is one that all hunters face and I've read up on all sides of the argument. I first learned about the macro from reading BRK and the discussion that was carried out there. Sometimes the pro-macro squad would put me off with their "L2Macro nub lolz" comments but after some discussions with intelligent hunters on my guild forums and reading some more measured commentary within the hunter community (both at BRK and Elitist Jerks) I decided to give it a go. I mean it couldn't hurt, right?

About this time we first started raiding Gruul's and since it had been touted as useful when learning a new fight (apart from allegedly making your DPS godly) I figured now was the time to try it.

This also meant trying to get a clearer understanding of the impacts of weapon speed, the global cool down, latency, clipped shots and etc. I kind of grasped the principles. As much as my inability to decipher all the formulas allowed me to - no math fu here.

I dutifully got hold of 'the' macro:

/script UIErrorsFrame:Hide() /castsequence reset=3 Steady Shot, !Auto Shot /castrandom [target=pettarget,exists] Kill Command /script UIErrorsFrame:Clkear(); UIErrorsFrame:Show()

added it in game and then set up a hotkey for it. Note: since the latest patch means that ! needs to be added to cast sequence macros where you want a cast to keep firing (casting, whatever I'm a hunter!) without needing to press a button the above macro is corrected to show this.

I also downloaded the recommended mod Quartz and voila I was all set to become the most awesome DPSer EVAR.

So I've used the macro for I suppose 2 or 3 months roughly. I actually used a variation of the macro which had stop-casting built in to assist with high latency. However since the changes to how client and server communicate re client actions as of the last patch it's not really relevant anymore.

So did the macro help with learning the Gruul's fight? Yes it did. Less time concentrating on getting shots off meant more time learning how to avoid cave-ins and shatters and etc. All said and done though I've reached the conclusion that ithe macro really doesn't do that much for me.

/semi tangent alert
I didn't see a massive increase in my DPS at any rate. In fact my DPS or lack thereof is often to do more with deciding not to blow all my cooldowns all the time. I figure if we're not dying because we are taking too long to kill mob X then there is no need to. When I put in a concerted effort I can top the damage meters in an instance. But I'm not there to outdamage people I'm there to do my job as part of the team.
/end semi tangent alert

When I was first reading up shot rotations and the macros and so on I didn't really know or understand much about it. I felt like I had a pretty good rotation going but was confused by what was meant by clipped shots and weapon speed and etc so assumed I must be doing some thing wrong.

Now after using the macro and getting more edumacated I'm more confident that I in fact wasn't doing something inherently wrong and now that I'm using Quartz it's easy for me to time my shots manually, something I was doing in a more instinctual and zen way pre-macro.

So last night I removed the macro from my hotkey and instead linked it to steadyshot. I set up a hotkey for Kill Command on the key next to it and farmed some ethereals to see how I did. What I found and liked was that as Kill Command is not included in the global cool down I can stab the hotkey everytime it procs and still continue casting my steadyshot without having to wait on the cast sequence.

Now maybe I'm getting this all wrong, but that's how it seemed to me. Maybe I was using the macro wrong all along :P Enlighten me!

Now this post has been brewing in my mind for the last week and in another case of happy blogging serendipity I came across a fantastic explanation of shot rotation by Drotara over at Less QQ More PewPew. It is far and away the best explanation I have come across to date - and with diagrams! I'll also note that I discovered the blog via the new Blog Azeroth site which is a great forum for people blogging about WoW.

Another reason I think I have turned off of the shot rotation macro is running more bgs and arenas. There is simply no place for this macro in a PVP situation in my opinion - you need to be able to change up gears at any moment and the macro doesn't require you to do anything but stand still and 'push butan'. That will get you killed dead before kill command can even proc in a bg and even more so in arena. So now I understand more fully what Shifttusk was talking about in his comments on BRK's blog.


Pike said...

This is perhaps a bit off-topic, but I absolutely love your blog title.

Pike said...

And now a bit ON-topic, I've tried the macro and decided I don't like it. Primarily because, for me, there is an almost zen-like, rhythmic feel to manually timing my shots. The macro kills that and with it goes a lot of my reasons for loving my hunter.

So, no macro for me.

Eszti said...

I think that I like Pike!

Jez, I'm hugely against shot rotation macros. I'll be honest in saying, however, that the main reason is because I play the game to play the game and really dislike the idea of having the game play itself for me. In my opinion a macro exists in order to bolster my performance, but shouldn't replace a full task for me. This is also the reason why I rarely download similar add ons (such as Decursive, which I have never used and still somehow manage to out Dispel/Cleanse nearly every person every time in every raid). I love being able to say that I am usually top three in the DPS meters every week in somewhat subpar gear (though this isn't the case any more!) and I use no macros!

My other concern is exactly the reason Pike explained: there really is a rhythm that I get into with my shots. I noticed this especially when I switched from my Steelhawk Crossbow to the Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix. You wouldn't think that 0.10s would make a huge difference (especially as a fast attack Beast Mastery hunter that has a number of haste trinkets and uses Drums of Battle), but I noticed that I was clipping shots due to the difference in shot times. That highlighted the difference for me and helped me appreciate the flexibility I have in knowing that I can change my shot rotations on the fly as needed without relying on a macro.

PvP is no place for a shot rotation. It really isn't - especially if you're planning on hitting the Arenas. I had to laugh two nights ago when in 2v2 I went up against two hunters (one BM with Spirit Bond and the other was Marksman) and both relied heavily on the Auto-Steady shot rotation for all of their damage. Despite having to fend off two pets, my partner and I downed one with little problems (until Shadow LoS'd me and died from lacks of heals) and then killed the last hunter's pet and kited - yes, kited - him until he dropped from Shadow Word: Pain and frequent Mana Burns. Whee!

Drotara said...

Thanks for the shout out about the shot rotation. I am glad people are finding it useful. :)

Oh, and I agree with Pike. The blog title is great. :)

Jezrael said...

Thanks for stopping by people!

I definitely agree that shot rotation is a very rhythmic and zen thing.

And thanks for the props on the blog title. It's not the most original but it certainly is what we do :)

Anonymous said...

I think I've already given you props on the blog title, but just in case..."Mad Props!" :)

I have a shot macro. But right next to that button is my Kill Command button--because as you say, no cooldown. Using ClassTimer, I can SEE when KC is up, and I can stab the KC button faster than my macro will finish and allow me to hit it again.

Every so often (maybe 2, 3% of the time), the macro fires off KC. But for the most part, and especially when I'm "in the zone", I'm manually using Kill Command.

Kotaro said...

Hi Jez. Having live in battlegrounds for the last 3 weeks, and playing as a Marksman/Survival build, I have tossed away the macro forever.

To me, shot weaving is a zen and skillfull way to play as a hunter - and because battlegrounds are so fluent and changing, you need to get different shots off on a more situational basis. You can't stand there and mash a macro.

My macros have turned toward melee if I love range, targeting, focus and pet management. These, I can't live without - but when you just beat on something without threat of dying, hell, I still prefer manual shot rotations. There are millions of people who will tell you that isn't a good idea. These are the same people that think Survivalists aren't god hunters :P

Great site, and I enjoy reading