WOW Macros for Spells and Abilities

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As we saw in the previous introduction to macros, the command for using a spell or ability in a macro is /cast. Simply type "/cast" followed by the spell name in the text field, such as "/cast Entangling Roots(Rank 1)." However, the /cast command is subject to the following guidelines:
  • The spell name must be entered exactly as it appears in-game - spelling, punctuation, and all - such as "Power Word: Shield"
  • If you want to use a particular rank, you must include it in parentheses, such as "Shadow Bolt(Rank 3)"
  • If no rank is specified, the macro will automatically cast the highest rank known to your character.
  • You can Shift-click a spell in your spellbook while in the Create Macros window for a quick and guaranteed error-free shortcut.
The /cast command covers all player-usable abilities, including effects that are considered abilities instead of spells, such as Mortal Strike, Backstab, and Battle Shout. It also covers racial abilities, such as Shadowmeld, Will of the Forsaken, and Escape Artist. Furthermore, the /cast command can be used to control pets. Simply enter the name of the pet ability after "/cast," and the macro will recognize it as a pet ability. As with player abilities, any non-passive abilities in your pet's spellbook can be cast via a macro, including basic abilities like Attack.

The /cast command in macros can combine multiple ability and spell casts into a single macro, subject to a few restrictions. Because of the underlying game mechanics that govern the use of these spells and abilities, a straightforward listing of /cast commands will often not work. Spells with casting times can't simply be chained one after the other with /cast, and many instant-cast spells are affected by the global cooldown. The way these instant spells can be chained in macros will change in patch 2.3 (see example below), but this issue's importance warrants covering how consecutive spellcasts function before that change. The process involves the use of the /stopcasting command.
  • The /stopcasting command only works in conjunction with instant spells and abilities that do not trigger the global cooldown. These include trinkets and other items that have an "on use" ability. Experiment with your own arsenal of instant spells and abilities to see which ones do not trigger the global cooldown.
  • Using /stopcasting after a /cast command of an applicable instant ability acts as a buffer between multiple /casts, and allows a macro like the following example to function correctly:
    • /use Abacus of Violent Odds
    • /stopcasting
    • /use Bloodlust Brooch
    • /stopcasting
    • /cast Bestial Wrath
    • /stopcasting
    • /cast Intimidation
    • /petattack
    This macro combines two trinket abilities, two instant Beast Mastery abilities, and the pet attack command into a potent "I win" combo. Note that as of patch 2.3, macros of this type no longer require the /stopcasting buffer between casts. The only remaining requirement is that the spells activated by the /cast commands do not trigger the global cooldown.
  • Beginning a macro with the /stopcasting command acts as an "emergency stop" to allow you to use an ability or spell immediately. For example, this paladin macro will interrupt a spellcast, such as a Holy Light, and activate Divine Shield:
    • /stopcasting
    • /cast Divine Shield
    Without the /stopcasting command, spamming the Divine Shield button during another spell's cast time would result in the error message "Another action is in progress."

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