Focus macros are extremely important on the Burning Crusade because there is no arena123 option on the 2.4.3 client. Working on the assumption that Classic TBC will not support this option, here is a quick introduction to focus macros such as Blind, Sap, Kick, etc.

Focus macros are widely used by all classes in both PvE and PvP. This important feature of the game came with the release of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade and changed the way of playing 1vsX in terms of control management a lot. The point of using focus macros is to track two targets and use your abilities on both without swapping your /target frame. Introducing them to the game not only marked the end of the combo points waste when targeting another opponent for Blind (Classic) but also allowed mages/warlocks to handle their sheeped/feared opponents when killing their target in 1v2/3 situations a lot more efficiently. This feature is also extremely useful to mages who are often asked to Polymorph mobs in a raid or rogues with Kicks.

Why using focus macros in PvP?

On The Burning Crusade, there are no arena123 macros, a feature that came with the release of Wrath of the Lich King. Nonetheless, this feature is now part of the 3v3 gameplay on retail and is one of the small changes that a Classic version of TBC could bring.
For the moment, the only way to get such functionality is to use an addon named Gladdy (Gladius equivalent for TBC) that “emulates” this feature, but it has multiple downsides (e.g stealthed enemies not correctly displayed on your Gladdy’s frame which results in macros not working correctly). This is why playing with focus macros is extremely important and way safer nowadays.

Secondly, the focus frame isn’t naturally displayed on TBC. In other words, it is kind of hidden by your client and for this reason, you’ll likely be forced to use an addon that displays it on your screen. Many unit frame addons offer this function, but we highly recommend you the simplest one named Focus Frame.

Focus macro syntax

On the Burning Crusade, the syntax of a focus macro is simple (but different from WotLK+ content). You need to use this element: [target=focus]

For example, a kick focus macro usually looks like that:

/cast [target=focus] Kick

So you can use this way of writing for all the focus macros you need.

/cast [target=focus] Shadowstep
/cast [target=focus] Kick

This also works with items, but instead of /cast you must write /use [target=focus] item_name

Listing of must-have focus macros for rogues

Focus macros are often used for control abilities such as Blind, Sap, and Kick.
Here’s the list of abilities that are used by rogues on their focus ranked by order of significance.

Debutant players are recommended to use at least three focus macros:

          • Blind
          • Kick
          • Sap

Regular players with a bit more experience and mindset can also add shadowstep macros and throw macros (very useful for keeping opposing rogues in combat and getting rid of a druid’s Intervene buff after the end of a Fear for example when playing Shadow Priest / Rogue):

          • Step Kick
          • Step Sap
          • Throw

Advanced players with complete knowledge of their class and roles in the arena also use macros to increase their focus management such as:

          • Shiv (crippling/mind-numbing)
          • Gouge
          • Deadly Throw
          • Vanish-Cheap Shot
          • Kidney Shot

One button focus+target macros

With experience, you may look for optimizing your macro slots by combining some of them in 2-in-1 macros. This requires you to have a proper bind set where your combination of a bind for a focus macro uses the same key as your target ability.

For example:

          • Pressing A for Kick, and Pressing shift+A for Kick Focus
          • Pressing E for Sap and Pressing ctrl+E for Sap Focus.

This kind of macro uses a condition named [mod:shift] and [nomod:shift].

/cast [mod:shift, target=focus] Blind
/cast [nomod:shift] Blind

With this macro bound on E, you will use your Blind on your target when pressing E, but if you use shift+E it will be cast on the focus (if you have one).

It goes without saying that should you choose to integrate a modifier in a macro like that, you have one choice of bind less for another ability – so in the examples above, you can’t bind anything else to shift+A and ctrl+E.