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PvP Interface and Macros Guide 5.4

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PvP is a fast paced game mode, especially when you play Arena games, and you need to find and process a lot of information at the same time as quickly reacting to it. You can adjust your interface in such a way that you can find the information you need more quickly and more reliably, and you can use certain macros to be able to quickly react to other players actions. While there are class-specific interface adjustments and macros, this guide will concentrate on the general aspects, so we will present addons and macro tips that are useful to all classes.


The guide covers two topics:




The standard WoW interface is just good enough to play with, but there are certain problems attached to it. One problem is that instead of being centered the information is scattered across the screen. Your and your target's frame are in the top left, the group frames are on the left, while your skill bars are on the right and bottom side of the screen. But your character is in the middle. You need to focus on combat while keeping track of several stats these frames provide; The bigger the distance between these frames, the harder it is to effectively keep up to date in such a fast paced combat.

The second problem comes apparent when we look at a normal Arena match. You have to keep track of your enemies' PvP Trinket status, of the current diminishing returns they are affected by, of their health and mana. You need to know when they have used a major cooldown and when they are immune to interrupts or crowd control. But you also need to keep track of your own buffs, you need to know when some effect procs and in order to effectively use crowd control, you need to know when the debuff fades from the crowd control target without staring at its frame for 8 seconds. It is possible to do that without Addons, but placing the information in a more accessible way you can focus on other things and get better at the game.

These problems can be solved by using the right Addons and by customisation of the default WoW user interface. The following list will provide an extensive view on Addons and other means that will solve the problems mentioned above.





While the optimal key layout varies from class to class and more importantly from player to player, we want to suggest a general layout. 

You should try to side-strafe instead of turning, which should be done with the mouse. You can either strafe by pressing the right mouse button while pressing A or D, or by directly binding strafing to A and D; what you do is generally preference. You should never walk back - also called backpaddling - because it is 50% slower, so just unbind the S key. You should try to bind frequently used skills to Q, E, R, F, V, C, 1, 2, 3, 4. These keys are usually in a nice range for the fingers. T, G, B and 5 are reachable as well.

If you need more keys, which is a fair bet, because you generally have about 40 to 60 different actions to bind, use SHIFT and CTRL to gain two completely new action sets. We will later explain how to use modifiers with macros.

You can, of course, just use more keys than the few suggested, but the rule of thumb is to use more frequently used skills on better reachable buttons. Defensive cooldowns should also be reachable. very quickly. Other actions like buffs, mounts and food can be bound to hard to reach buttons. You may also choose to click them, in most cases these actions are not crucial to proper timing.

If you bind TAB as usual, rebind it to "next enemy player" instead of "next enemy", which is extremely useful at least for me, since you only target players and increase your chance of targeting the right one. You might also choose to target enemies and allies in the Arena with special macros, but this is an advanced mechanic not even working in Battlegrounds or World PvP (as there are simply too many opponents or unknown ones).


Personally, I use an n52te keypad, which has 14 quickly reachable keys, one scroll wheel, a DPAD, a space like key under the DPAD and a badly placed key above the DPAD. I use the DPAD to walk, two keys are bound to SHIFT and CTRL, which gives me (not counting the 'click' function of the scroll wheel and the two buttons around the DPAD) 52 buttons to bind actions to. I also have a Logitech mouse with 12 buttons on the left side of the mouse, which adds another 36 buttons (I bought this after owning a Razer Naga, which was cool too, but broke after only a year). I have more than enough buttons, but I still use about 50 or 60 of them with my Windwalker Monk.



Adjustment of Unit Frames

The first thing you can do is to get an Addon like Shadowed Unit Frames to adjust the unit frames in your interface to your needs. You can also move these frames in the default WoW user interface anywhere you like. This allows you to center the important information, so you do not need to jump around with your eyes' focus to check your health or your target's health. With an Addon you can also remove the unneccessary screen bloat like portraits and huge borders you might not like, although that is up to your personal preference. Generally speaking you should change your interface in a way that allows you to process the information you need in an optimal way.

Action Bars and Cooldowns

The default World of Warcraft action bars are scattered across the screen. While you do not need to click the spells of course, you have to be able to watch your cooldowns. Addons like Bartender allow you to move your bars to a more centered position as well as removing screen bloat. In order to watch your cooldowns effectively you need an Addon like OmniCC, which displays the amount of seconds or minutes that are left of the cooldown.


Gladius is an excellent Addon to monitor the opposing team in Arena matches. It shows each opponent's health and energy resource in a prominent frame, along with a class icon that changes to a crowd control counter when the enemy is crowd controlled right now. It shows the diminishing returns each opponent is currently on and the cooldown of their PvP Trinket. This Addon solves a few problems mentioned above. Seeing the diminishing returns your targets are on is very helpful to set up an effective crowd control chain and it actually prevents you from wasting a crowd control cooldown on a target that would be immune or only controlled for 25% of the usual length. Knowing when their current crowd control debuff fades is also useful to set up an effective crowd control chain, as well as the knowledge whether your enemy can break out of this crowd control chain.

You see Gladius is very much focused on assisting you with crowd control and it does it so well that having this Addon is almost mandatory.


GladiatorlosSA announces via audio channels when your enemies use important cooldowns and when their buffs fade away. Using the audio channel is incredibly smart and keeps a lot of work from your eyes. You can focus on the game without the need to check the buffs of your target all the time and without the need to interpret visual effects all the time. While GladiatorlosSA is not a mandatory addon, it is extremely helpful and I recommend using it.

You can limit the spell alert to your current target and might want to do that in battlegrounds, otherwise your ears will be flooded with spell alerts.


WeakAuras is an addon that shows additional information on the screen based on certain triggers. It practically works like the built-in procc alerts, but with customisation. From highlighting how long a certain buff lasts to showing that a particular cooldown is ready to alerting you if your enemy has low health and you should use your execute ability, once you get the hang of it you can do almost anything the UI has access to. You will find more class specific information on the configuration of WeakAuras in the class guides.

Interrupt Bar

Interrupt Bar shows you the cooldown on your enemies' interrupt abilities. This addon might seem very simple, but it is invaluable for healers so they know that they can cast freely, which is especially useful in Arena games.

An alternative to Interrupt Bar is Juked, which does not only track interrupt spells but also other major cooldowns. It may be a bit confusing in terms of its layout, so you may struggle to find the right cooldown quickly.


BattlegroundTargets creates an additional frame that lists all enemy targets in the Battleground conveniently. It allows for a quicker view over the enemy team, so it aids making strategic decisions, which is absolutely mandatory when playing in a group.


Some spells have to be cast on an enemy or friendly target that is not your main target in combat. For example, a damage dealer might have to put the healer in an Arena match into crowd control while still doing damage to the target. Now instead of changing the targets quickly, but still losing time while doing so, macros can be used to cast certain spells on special targets, which means that you do not have to change your main target. We will go into the details of writing these macros.

Macros 101

A macro is a command that can be executed on a key press. A macro can be anything from a simple command to a more or less complicated lua script. While scripting with lua surely goes beyond the scope of this guide, we can cover some basic commands. You can find the macro editor when pressing ESC.

Let's start with a simple macro.

/say Hello World!

Activating the macro does the same as if you would write it in the chat, which is true for all macros. So this particular example simply let's your character say "Hello World!".

We can also cast spells with a macro.

#showtooltip Fireball
/cast Fireball

This macro let's your player cast the spell Fireball. The "#showtooltip Fireball" line makes the spell button show the icon and tooltip of Fireball. You can also write siimply "#showtooltip". In that case the button shows the tooltip of the spell that would be casted on button press. The "#showtooltip" line is omitted in further examples.

Other useful macro commands can be found here.


WoW requires the player to have a lot of keys. Especially when it comes to multiple macros for the same spell. It is not a bad estimate to say that a PvP player needs at least 40 to 50 different buttons. This makes it extremely hard to bind everything to the keyboard. Fortunately, we have SHIFT and CTRL key modifiers. These can not only be used to bind another set of action bar buttons, but they can also be used in macros. Make sure though, that the specific combination is not already used by an action button. So do not write a macro that uses SHIFT and bind it to A, while SHIFT+A is already bound to another button on an action bar.

/cast [mod: shift] A
/cast [mod: ctrl] B
/cast C

The macro above casts spell A if shift is pressed, spell B if CTRL is pressed and spell C as a fallback cast. Generally, each line of the macro is executed and the first spell that can be casted is then casted. The macro does not stop after that, but the global cooldown may prevent further spell casting.

If we put a simple "#showtooltip" in that macro, it would show the icon and tooltip of the spell that would be casted when you press the button. Thus, it will show the icon and tooltip of A if SHIFT is pressed and so on.


A focus target is really the second target. You can set it like the main target with a key if you use a focus macro.

/focus target

This macro sets the focus to your current main target. You can also use other identifiers than target.

/focus mouseover
/focus arena1
/focus PlayerName

The first one is setting it to your current mouseover target, the second one to the first target in arena and the last one to any player name specified. It is worth noting that the focus mouseover macro is especially useful in battleground situations. In arena you can also focus your opponents with Gladius by right clicking on their respective Gladius frames.

There are two other useful target categories. The first one being party targets, going from party1 to party4, which of course target the members in your party except you. The second one are the arena targets, going from arena1 to arena5, which target the opponents in the arena.

Your character can be addressed with player or its name. You can address specific players with their names.

Putting It All Together

To actually put the different target types to use we can attach them to spell casts.

/cast [@party1] Ring of Peace

The macro above casts spell_monk_ringofpeace.jpgRing of Peace on the first party member. In this specific context it would be used to assist a team mate in an Arena match with Ring of Peace without changing the main target and thus not losing valuable time.

You will notice that @party1 or more general @<target> casts the spell on the specified target, which may be anything of the target types presented above or any other valid target. This does not change your main target, which is very useful and the point of these macros.

/cast [@focus] Blind

The focus spell_shadow_mindsteal.jpgBlind macro is a good example for a single target crowd control spell that is applied to a focus target. This type of macro is also useful for interrupt or snare abilities.

As a combination of all presented concepts, consider this uber Ring of Peace support macro.

/cast [mod: ctrl, @party2] Ring of Peace
/cast [mod: shift, @party1] Ring of Peace
/cast [@player] Ring of Peace

This will cast Ring of Peace on your second party member if CTRL is pressed, on your first party member if SHIFT is pressed and otherwise it will be casted on yourself.



If you have any questions, suggestions or mistakes to point out, feel free to reply here or send me a personal message.

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