Druid Macros that also change form!


I sat down the other night to finally spec and talent my druid for the first time since Cataclysm's release. I had been keeping mostly current with the resto changes, but my other spec - Boomkin - was anarchy. I had no idea what the new talents were and what they did, or how the new Eclipse system worked, so I spent a good 15-20 minutes just reading the tooltips and messing around at the dummies before finally getting a handle on them.

One of the things I also spent a lot of time on was remaking my druid macros. I'm obsessed with utility. I hate letting something go to waste, ever. Which is why the druid class is both a blessing and a curse.

Even though I spend all my time in Tree (well, caster form now) or Boomkin form, I should know how my feral abilities work. And more importantly, I should be able to use them if I need to!

A simple example: Professor Putricide. I was healing it and was targeted by the red slime, the one that you need to kite. Instantly I hit my Cat form/Dash macro and sped away, and the slime didn't even get close.

Another example: Valithria Dreamwalker. One of the most dangerous elements in that fight is to burn down the Blazing Skeletons before they use their brutal Lay Waste ability. But they only use this move when they reach their current target. As a hunter, I would Distracting Shot (taunt) them so they chase me all the way across the room, letting us DPS them down while they were fixated on me. Well, the next time I did the fight I was druid healing and we didn't have a hunter with us. So whenever one would appear I'd hit Bear form, Growl it and go back to Tree form while keeping my distance. Dead Blazing Skeleton, no fuss, no mess.

In both of these cases, they were immediate, no-thought reactions. I didn't have time to hunt down Dash or Growl on my bars, let alone open my spellbook and search for them. Just because I almost never use them doesn't mean I shouldn't be PREPARED to use them. In the Valithria example, I hadn't cast Growl in months, maybe even a year, but it was still keybound and ready for me when I needed it.

(Of course, Feral Cat druids especially should have their Bear spells ready for use. I think most of us have seen a tank go down, only to see the Cat shift into Bear form and successfully tank the boss to a successful kill.)

The problem with keybinding all your Caster, Bear, Cat, Tree and/or Boomkin spells, is space. There are only so many key combinations available! There is an easy solution though, and that's to make macros that do different things depending on what form or spec you are in.


Spec Macros

This type of macro casts different spells depending on what spec you are in. These aren't great for the emergency utility I spoke of, but are nice for spec-specific spells and efficiency.

/cast [spec:1] Tree of Life
/cast [spec:2] Force of Nature


This will cast Tree of Life form in my primary spec (Restoration) or Force of Nature (Treants) in my secondary spec, Balance. In this case, these are my "big cooldown" moves.


Form Macros

First of all, here are your various forms and their identifying numbers, which are needed for these macros.

0: Caster
1: Bear
2: Aquatic
3: Cat
4: Travel
5: Tree AND Boomkin

Of these, I don't bother with Aquatic and Travel form, since you usually won't be able to use those forms in a fight. Additionally, since I use Vuhdo (a healing bars addon, like Healbot, Grid, etc.) I don't really have to worry about macroing my healing spells.

Here is my "stun/interrupt" macro.

/cast [form:0] Cyclone
/cast [form:1] Skull Bash(Bear Form)
/cast [form:3] Skull Bash(Cat Form)
/cast [form:5] Cyclone

What does it mean? Well in Caster, Tree or Boomkin form, I'll cast Cyclone. In Bear form, I'll cast the bear version of Skull Bash, or the kitty version in Cat form. All in a single button push.

Do I use these stuns often? No. In fact, hardly ever. But if there's a mob that absolutely has to be stunned, and the person who was assigned to do it just ate a Cleave or DC'd...well, might as well shift into Bear form and try! It's better than just resigning yourself to failure and wiping.

You also don't NEED to put a spell for each form. If you removed the last line of the above macro, then pressing that keybind while in Tree or Boomkin form simply wouldn't do anything. For example, my "Growl" macro doesn't do anything in caster form:

/cast [form:1] Growl
/cast [form:3] Maim
/cast [form:5] Starfall


This level of fine-tuning may not be for everyone, but I believe it's a huge waste to not utilize all the tools at one's disposal! Don't get silly with it, of course - just because you have your Feral abilities keybound doesn't mean you should start meleeing in Cat form instead of blasting away as a Boomkin. But there's zero harm in being well-prepared, and much to gain!

Note: Ithato has left a very useful comment about macro efficiency that I highly recommend reading. My example macros are NOT written very efficiently, but I am going to leave them as-is because I think they clearly show the different forms and their separate abilities.

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  1. gravatar
    Ithato

    These are all very helpful, but many could be condensed by using some of the more advanced forms of macro syntax, i.e. matching multiple stances/forms or combining several spells on one /cast line.

    ('form' is a synonym for 'stance' in macro conditionals, and feels like a better fit for us druids to me.)

    /cast [form:0/5] Cyclone; [form:1] Skull Bash(Bear Form); [form:3] Skull Bash(Cat Form)

    On lines like the above, the spell paired with the first conditional that matches completely will be cast. Only one spell will ever be cast as a result of a single /cast line, even if you've included any options that are completely off the GCD. If you want those to cast simultaneously, such as NS+Healing Touch, use two /cast lines.

    /cast [spec:1] Tree of Life; [spec:2] Force of Nature

    Condensing macros in this way doesn't change their function, obviously. Just saves typing and perhaps leaves more room within the 255 character limit if you're getting cramped.

    Some other macro features you may find helpful:

    Prefixing a toggleable spell name with an exclamation point will prevent that ability from getting turned right back off if you are mashing the key the macro is on.

    i.e. /cast !Cat Form

    Will always put you into Cat Form, but never back out. In fact, it will put you into Cat Form even if you already are. This so-called power-shifting macro can be used to break snares in PvE/PvP. The exclamation point also works nicely with Prowl, etc.

    There are conditionals for combat, flying, flyable, and swimming, so you could have a "GTFO" macro that will put you into your fastest form of available travel, like so:

    /cast [flyable,noflying,nocombat] Swift Flight Form; [nostance:2, swimming] Aquatic Form; [outdoors,noflyable,nomounted,nocombat] Travel Form; [indoors,noform:3] Cat Form; [indoors,form:3] Dash

    You might also like Macro Explain-o-matic. Besides explaining existing macros in a very nice fashion, it provides links to a lot of great references. Here's an example of its output for the macro above.

    January 4, 2011 at 12:21 PM

  2. gravatar
    Rades

    Ooh, thanks for the very useful comment! I didn't know form and stance were interchangeable. I'm bad with macros in that I usually don't condense them if they are visually organized, lol. All neat and lined up and easy to read! ;) But seriously, your shortening tips are very helpful, I always forget to even try!

    I do also use powershifting and combat/nocombat modifiers, though I left them out as I was just trying to explain the basic "in this form, do A, but in this form, do B" formula. I think I'll add a footnote to the post to your comment here. Thanks again!

    January 4, 2011 at 1:20 PM

  3. gravatar
    Nofuneral

    Great post, got me really thinking about how making the most out of all my druid nonsense.

    January 4, 2011 at 1:49 PM

  4. gravatar
    Anonymous

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    May 18, 2011 at 8:29 AM