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?