Hole in the sky?

My name is Major, and my heart is black and full of hate...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

3rd Party WOW Macro Creation - What to avoid

I've learned quite a bit in my month or so creating macros with the Nostromo and other gaming devices at my disposal, and what i learned might save you a whole lot of Ban-Hammering in the future. Of course, I'm referring to World of Warcraft, and their stance on Automated Macros.

Let's go over Blizzard's policy on macro creation first.

1) So long as your using your mouse/keyboard as it was designed (as a mouse or a keyboard) your fine.
2) Macros created with the WOW software are fine no matter what.
3) Macros designed by a 3rd party program that press more than one keystroke at a time are considered off limits.
4) Key-bindings are limited to being mapped one button, per key, per button press.
5) No combination of button presses can be mapped to a single key, timed or untimed.

If you are being watched for suspicious activity, ie., Gliding or Boting, you will feel the sweet justice of the banhammer within seconds, with no way of getting your account back. The way you are flagged in the game (from what I've noticed) is the timed button presses.

What draws a red flag in WOW:

1) Patterns of button presses in sequence.
2) Timed button presses faster than 10 milliseconds. (in the past i wrote under 9ms was safe, but i was wrong, i think) Anything faster than 10ms is not normal by human standards.
3) Exact cool down spell manipulation. (Example: It takes 1.23 seconds for your next spell to become available, and at exactly 1.23 seconds, the spell was cast)
4) Any combination of the above.

I have taken the following steps to combat the above:
1) Created four identical macros for my rotation with different pauses at different lengths between button presses, for a basic faux-randomness. I cycle through the four macro cycles with the software provided with the Nostromo.
2) I change the faux-random cycle about every third enemy.
3) I added ultra slight button presses from the arrow keys to mix it up, sometimes not even noticeable at all and in the wrong places. I call these button presses miss-mistakes.
4) After the four macro cycles or there-abouts, i switch cycles by using the same macros over again, mixed around on another key. Often times i get lazy in raids and use the same two keys without bothering to switch the cycle. Enough randomness is going on that i don't think it would be a problem in that case.
5) I saved the all the macros in numbers (1-8) and letters (A-B) then swap them with alternates, (9-16, and C-D) once a week.
6) Looking for and adding randomness where i can to break patterns. Consecration and Exorcism help. (I use a paladin)

What have gained from this? Nothing really. I've asked myself several times, "Why am i doing all this work?" I programmed macros to maximize DPS to it's fullest, but assume a random nature, all just to become automated so i can just press one key and watch the buttons cycle through. It's time consuming and most likely not worth the amount of energy I've put into it. You may be thinking right now.. what's the payoff?

Automated Exact Timing Macro Pros and Cons

- 20% gain in  DPS. Yes, I'm serious. By saving time between button presses you can actually save several seconds on average in a full rotation, which adds up big on your DPS numbers. Even the best players who are professional spammers typically hit the spell they want within milliseconds after it has become available, but nothing can match 100% accuracy. You may be able to hit the same key several times in a second, but the macro can hit it once, at the precise moment, and 100 keys at the same time, several times a second.
- Speed, plain and simple.
- The macro never makes a mistake, and the outcome is always the same.
- Super consistent high DPS in dungeons.
- The macro is optimized to use all available mana for dungeons and be conservative during bosses. (single target and bosses on one side and multi-target and raid on the other side)
- You can organize your bags and read or something while your fighting things.

- Boring sometimes when all you have to do is hit one key and watch your spells go off before it looks like the cool down is even over yet.
-The last spell in the group-macro, if the enemy is dead, will fire anyways, and if it is an AOE spell, that might hit something you may not want it to, or use needless mana. I don't know how to fix this, but it does happen about once per dungeon at least.
-Random occurrence spells (paladin - Exorcism) then are triggered as a free action must be hit manually for optimum dps. The macro has no idea if its ready or not, so its your job to hit it when it lights up. Not a big deal, but not totally automated either. This could be listed as a pro as it also adds randomness.

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