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Making the RIFT 1.11 Macro Transition

By on Oct 15, 2012 at 9:00 am, in Article, Buzz, RIFT  |  Comments: 5 comments

With RIFT 1.11 close around the corner, one very interesting change is coming to us as a result of the major class changes– some souls will find it difficult to keep the same abilities macroed together. Across the board, Trion has attempted to remove some of the macro automation, and has basically done away with a large number of cooldowns on Warrior, Rogue, and Cleric abilities specifically, which in turn makes it difficult for players to plug these abilities into macros. Warrior players will probably notice this the most, since many Warrior builders and finishers currently have convenient cooldowns.

Trion has previously stated that they would like to change the way macros work for certain souls, and it seems they’ve followed through with that goal. The problem? RIFT 1.11 still has a ton of abilities. Plenty of players are on each side of the macro debate coin. Many enjoy using macros and see them as necessary, yet just as many dislike them. However, the fact of the matter remains– most players started using macros in the first place because of how many active abilities certain souls have to juggle.

It’s not easy for everyone to become accustomed to a custom keybinding layout, and for players with disabilities, that may not even be an option. Many players are finding themselves frustrated over the RIFT 1.11 ability changes for this reason, but many players are also strongly supporting the changes. Macros have turned quite a few people away from RIFT in the past, since some souls can currently be simplified into a series of macros. It can be rewarding to play a DPS class and pull off just the right rotation, but with RIFT’s macro system, that reward can seem unappealing.

So who’s in the right? It’s difficult to say, but let’s look at some opinions from the community. First, some opinions on the ability changes being too extreme:

“Making a game less accessible is a step backwards. People with disabilities make up 20% of video game players. Many I know in Rift with mobility impairments, including myself, are unhappy and frustrated with the gutting of the macro system, which players without disabilities have been able to benefit from as well.”

“What I am saying is typically MMOs have required a significantly lower number of rotational buttons than 1.11 is rolling out with for 100% performance. The people attracted to the kind of skill being catered to tend to be attracted to games like first person shooters.

I think a reasonable argument can be made that this relatively easier play has expanded the player base. Maybe it hasn’t, we seem on track to find out though, and in my opinion the new system is less fun and detracts from an MMO.”

Are macros fun and easy? They can be, especially for farming sessions and quick expert dungeon runs. But regular keybinding can be made simple as well with a little reconfiguring (or fancy keyboards/mice). There are multiple sources online for keybinding suggestions. I personally recommend rebinding the keys near WASD such as Z, X, C, F, G, R, and T (Q, E, and even S are options as well), mouse buttons, and looking into utilizing ALT, CTRL, and SHIFT modifiers. And if all that fails, rotations can be further simplified:

“If the particular soul I want to try requires more keypresses than I’m comfortable with, I’ll either choose something less complex or I’ll omit skills that do the least for my DPS, and I’ll deal with that. Having a limited set of abilities is boring to me.”

And there’s the opposing opinion. With as many souls as RIFT has, it’s fairly easy for everyone to find a spec they’re comfortable with and enjoy. There’s also the fact that it’s still possible to macro some abilities together in RIFT 1.11. Not all macros will need to be thrown out– some will just need to be heavily adjusted. If you’re unsure of your own calling’s macros, be sure to check out the new abilities on the Public Test Shard.

“I am excited about this change and look forward to actually having to think about abilities on my Warrior in Rift. As a tank, 95% of the job could get done with nothing but a single AE macro, and nothing else mattered. This is in expert/MM dungeons, mind you.

I look forward to it. The game was too mindless before.”

And finally, some advice for players having issues getting used to the changes:

“If you’re finding a particular spec too difficult to play without the ability to macro, try omitting lesser priority moves until you get better at it. Start with a few abilities and gradually add them as you get more used to them. I see no reason why you should overload yourself with buttons if you can’t handle it. It’s much better to simply drop your lowest priority abilities until you’re comfortable enough to add them in.”

I agree with this fully, as it’s pretty much what I do every time I try out a new spec. I’m personally not a huge macro user, and although I do use macros, I like to figure out rotations in their original form before combining abilities into macros. The macros I do have tend to be a little simpler than most posted in guides simply because I use what I’m comfortable with. Instead of tacking ranged abilities on the end of a melee rotation macro, for instance, I use a separate macro and keybind for ranged-specific abilities. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

That said, I’m quite pleased with the new direction for most of the abilities and souls I’ve tested (Warrior and Cleric, for those curious). The changes require a little planning out and testing, but with Storm Legion almost upon our doorstep, RIFT 1.11 seems like a decent opportunity to take new macros and keybinds out for a spin and prepare for the levels ahead. There’s also the fact that Trion is still heavily tweaking everything we see on the PTS and on the beta server, so we may find some abilities simplified further in the weeks ahead.

If you’ve had a chance to test out the new RIFT 1.11 ability changes, what do you make of them so far?

  • wildknives

    I am a TOTAL noob to MMOs. Rift is my very first story based game that I have found that I can play without too much trouble. Thank you Trion. That being said, I’m not real sure how I feel about the lessening of macros. I didnt use them in the begining (I didnt know what they were). Now I use them to help in my rotations, especialy with AoEs and temp buffs. I have played the Beta and LOVE the new content. I play mostly warriors, DPS, two hander beastmaster. Let me tell you though! playing the new soul and added abilities was r.o.u.g.h! Fun but rough. Oh yeah btw I am NO typist! I’m lucky if I can use more than 3 fingers at a time to type. Just my take on things… Looking forward to figuring out the new stuff, skills, rotations and abilities.


    I play a cleric. and i am on the fence on this issue.
    When i play a healing spec, i dont use macros.
    When i play dps, i like have macros.

    the main issue i have with change, is that its a bit overwhelming. I just feel like i dont want to send hours in front of a a test dummy so i can figure out what rotations work and what doesnt.

    I wish they would have killed macros in 1.10 so when 1.11 hit, it wouldnt have been as much as of a shock

  • Rodalpho

    The problem isn’t really the macros, it’s the truly vast and mind-boggling number of primary rotational abilities for each soul. People turned to macros because that was the only way to play a character with 15+ primary rotational abilities. Trion allowed players to do that by not putting them on a global cooldown.

    The correct answer is to give closely-equivalent abilities in multiple souls (swift shot and head shot, for example) shared cooldowns, and additionally to reduce the number of abilities overall. The right number of primary rotational abilities is certainly under 10, probably closer to 5-7.

    Then you put the vast majority of abilities on the global cooldown so they can’t be macroed.

  • bothsider

    my personal opinion is more to the point of why even bother getting rid of them? they were there to use as an option. i enjoy using macro because i prefer to watch the content given and lead my raid as a tank through the content given. not have to make sure i am following a rotation on my war-who is energy starved atm- to ensure i can barely hold threat while trying to watch for mechanics and make sure people don’t get cleaved by a raid boss. Leave the macro’s in. taking them away only caters to the elitist groups that seek that kind of challenge. instead apply an option to disable/enable CD’s on the abilities so people can choose if they want to macro or not. it’s only fair that all players should be given that option.

  • Elen

    I run a cleric and was macro heavy before the change. 1 macro for standing still, 1 for moving and 1 for reactive abilities. I am happy to move away from this and am glad to see macros still play an important part of my playtime. Macroing instant use abilities to get the next cast instant, and super powered helps reduce action bar space. Stopcasting macros will always feature as well as the combat res macros. I think Cleric’s currently have 4 combat res options and if like me, you have a macro that yells out who you are ressing, you need to fit all the possible combat res’s into that macro and use it in every build. I expect this might be streamlined in the future though just as the out of combat res has been. At least there’s one macro I willingly removed!