Macros are among the most useful in-game tools to be found in World of Warcraft Cataclysm, and you owe it to yourself – and your enjoyment of the game – to learn how to use them and which ones are most appropriate for each situation your character finds themselves in. There are many different ways that macros and carefully arranged keybindings can improve your gameplay, as well as making your play experience less frustrating when dealing with challenging content.
Player versus player (PvP) situations are one of the most obvious places where macros are indispensable. Everything happens very fast in PvP, with sudden rushes of enemies, spikes of damage to deal with, targets moving in and out of range unpredictably, and a host of other factors. If you try to cope with these rapidly changing fights by clicking on spell or ability buttons, or even rely purely on keybindings, you will find yourself dithering helplessly at many moments that need a powerful, instantaneous response.
Macros help vastly in PvP by increasing your reaction time and letting your character execute short but complex sequences of casting or other actions smoothly and effectively every time. For example, a elemental shaman can benefit greatly from a macro which casts Flame Shock on the target, then immediately begins casting Lava Burst, without you needing to search for and click on two separate keys.
Macros can also be immensely helpful in player versus environment (PvE) circumstances. In heroic dungeons and raid dungeons, split second reactions are often needed by both tanks and healers in order to keep their group alive when fighting some perilous foe. A macro to Power Word: Shield then immediately begin casting a large heal can save your tank's life, for just one of many examples.
Damage is also boosted by the use of well-designed macros, because they let your character fire off spells or attacks at a much higher rate, and smoothly carry out potent combinations or rotations that would need steely concentration and fingers as quick and sure as lightning to carry out successfully even part of the time without the use of a macro.
Of course, the most difficult part of using macros is figuring out how to write them and what to have them do. The player is no longer left to sift through oceans of dubious or poorly thought out macro advice on the Internet, however – with the advent of IWinButtons, a highly innovative guide which explores both macros and keybindings in great detail for all classes and specs of WoW characters, there is a superb resource for choosing and using the macros that will make your character far more powerful and effective in the game.