Aspect dancing is the practice of switching aspects in between shots to gain access to different benefits, much like druids shift forms and warriors switch stances. (Frostheim has an excellent guide on the merits of aspect dancing here.) Once the announced changes to Aspect of the Hawk take effect, aspect dancing will become all the more crucial to pay attention to because any extended period of time spent in Aspect of the Fox will be a very substantial dps loss. At the same time, skipping Steady or Cobra Shots due to movement remains a huge loss as well. We’ll be left in a position, then, where we will want to spend as little time as possible in AotF but will still want to have it up before any Steady or Cobra cast during which we will have to move. How can we go about making these snap transitions as smooth and fast as possible? One general approach is to use macros, and that will be the focus of this post, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other good ways to change aspects.
Edit: Some commenters, as you can read below, are reporting issues with macros that combine aspect switching with shots. If you’re having such issues yourself, remember that a separate macro for switching aspects does work just fine.
Let’s establish some goals for our macro of choice.
- It should allow for or create concurrent actions. Because aspect activations are off the global cooldown, activating one and then finding a shot to fire is a dps loss. We want to be able to switch aspects and fire a shot at the same time.
- The macro should be smart. We want it to switch to the aspect we want rather than, say, cycle through aspects until we find the right one as in a bad
- It should be efficient. Fewer hardware events = less to keep track of (and hopefully less to screw up).
- It should be fast. We don’t want to have to search on an actionbar for the right aspect. We don’t want to have to scroll through a bunch of aspects to find the right one.
There are also some boundaries to what we can do with aspect-swtiching macros.
- Unlike warriors and druids, we don’t have macro conditionals for our ‘forms’ (such as
[stance:3]for Berserker Stance). Because of this, we can’t make smart macros that switch aspects based on the aspect we’re in.
- Even though aspect activations are off the global, they can’t be performed in the middle of a cast.
One option for aspect switching is to create a distinct macro that is activated sepparately but at the same time as a shot. An advantage to this approach is that it does not, say, hardcode our aspects to our shots, and so it consequently leaves us with more freedom when it comes to switching aspects.
Importantly, we want this macro to be keybound or bound to some other piece of hardware (like a scroll wheel) so that it can be hit at the same time a shot is activated. It’s also worth noting that you can queue aspect switches, just like you queue shots, and so you don’t have to wait to use this macro until a cast is full done or a global fully cycled through.
The first macro is a modified version of Frostheim’s macro. It works the same but has the unrecognized conditionals removed.
/cast Aspect of the Hawk
/cast Aspect of the Fox
The way it functions is that it will always put you in Aspect of the Hawk if you have no aspect or a different aspect running. However, if you’re already in AotH, it will toggle off AotH and cast Aspect of the Fox. Unfortunately, this toggling occurs even if you can’t cast AotF. So, for example, if you’re in the middle of a cast with AotH on and you hit it, you’ll actually turn off AotH without turning on AotF. We can’t disable the toggling because then AotF would never get cast.
/castsequence !Aspect of the Hawk, !Aspect of the Fox
This second macro works much the same. It casts AotF if AotH was most recently cast using the macro, and vice-versa. The exclamation points disable toggling, and so you won’t be left aspect-less if you hit it a millisecond too early during a Cobra Shot. However, it has the severe restriction of holding you into a sequence. If you pop into Aspect of the Cheetah for a while, it will pick up where you left off in the sequence and not necessarily where you want to be. It also won’t recognize that you’re already in AotH the first time you use it; it will cast Aspect of the Hawk first and Aspect of the Fox second, regardless of what aspect you’re in.
Macro’d With Shots
It is also possible to macro aspect changes to your shots. For all instants (for which you want to have AotH running), you could have something like:
/cast !Aspect of the Hawk
And for the cast shot (Steady or Cobra), the macro would be something like:
/cast [mod] !Aspect of the Fox
These shot macros ensure that you’re always in AotH for your instant shots and that, providing you hit a modifier key (shift, alt, ctrl), you can switch to AotF at the start of your cast shot. What you don’t want to do, as Euripides pointed out in a recent Hunting Party Podcast, is leave your cast shot macro without the modifier conditional. Without it, you’re putting yourself in AotF every time you fire the focus regen shot, and that’s a dps loss in the situations where you’re standing still. The main disadvantage of these macros that I find is that hearing the AotH cast noise with every instant shot gets a bit annoying.