I've noticed a trend with alts: the more I have, the more I learn about macros. In general I just get better at setting up my UI. Each new alt is a fresh start, a chance to not repeat mistakes, an "I'll get it right this time."
UI: The Learning Process
On my paladin I realized my layout made no sense. Reorganizing it accomplished two goals: (1) Not wasting hotkeys on heals when tanking and (2) moving common/immediate spells towards the left end. This resulted in a much easier layout to use, for example, cleanse is now 1, making it very easy to alt self-cast.
It was on my rogue that I learned to shift my action bars towards the middle, near my character. Why? It makes it easier to see cooldowns and to see when I have enough energy for an ability. Before this shift I'd have to glance all the way down to the left, meaning I wasn't watching the action closely.
My death knight made me start using macros in a useful fashion. I created a few useful ones, particularly for death coil. I eventually figured out how to add a mouseover function in order to use it as a pull even while targeting another mob. This was in addition to shift-casting which would automatically hit my ghoul, though that one needs work since it breaks if my ghoul gets a new name. Mouseover targeting for my ghoul's attack helped with solo pulling.
Now my druid has taken it further. I've created a set of macros which allow me to easily heal from forms, without taking up any bar space for separate healing buttons. They took a while to write and ended up teaching me a lot about how macros work. I'll show one since might help. Yes, a rare helpful post. :P
Macro: It's like programming, but not
This one follows the same pattern as two others. There's another that I use for faerie fire which uses a slightly different form, but the rules are the same.
/cast [modifier:alt, target=Elmu] Healing Touch(); [form:1, harm] Maul; [form:3, harm] Claw(); [noform][form:1/2/3, help] Healing Touch()
/cast is the standard way of saying "cast whatever is after this." In a simple macro the spell would come right after.
Brackets [ ] are where you add modifiers such as conditions for casting. In the case of the first one, it checks if I am using the modifier alt (pressing the alt key). If I am, it will then cast with the target being Elmu (my druid).
After the brackets is the spell, healing touch. The parentheses are where you can put a spell rank, this was very useful back in the days of downranking. You can instead put nothing and it will automatically cast the highest rank.
Finally there is the semi-colon which means "stop checking the condition in the previous brackets." If I just put a spell after the semi-colon then it would cast without checking any conditions, except if the previous spell did cast. To cast both spells I'd need to press the macro multiple times and meet both conditions, or more accurately meet the condition and fail to meet it.
After the semi-colon there is a new set of conditions. Form:1 means "are you in form 1?" For druids this means bear form." Harm means "is this something you can attack?" Note that this includes neutral mobs.
Blah blah maul claw blah...
Here's a useful one again: [noform]. This checks if you are in caster form, or for other classes with would mean not in ghost wolf or shadow form.
Then there's a second condition, but in separate brackets. This basically acts as an OR condition. If the brackets are met, it casts. If the second brackets are met, it casts.
Finally there's the form: 1/2/3. This checks "are you in 1 (bear) 2 (seal) 3 (cat)" and could continue on if I had more forms, with 4 being moonkin or tree, or maybe flight. You could get it by trial and error or by looking on WoWWiki. Help means "is this something you can heal?"
Finally note that conditions are checked one at a time. This is why the alt is first. I hold alt and it casts on me. I originally had it at the end and needed a bunch of added conditions to say "if I am NOT holding alt..."
The general function of the macro works out as this: If I hold down alt it will cast a heal on myself. If I am targeting an ally it shows a heal and pressing the hotkey will cast a heal. If I am targeting an enemy it will show a cat attack in cat form, a bear attack in bear form, and heals in caster form. I might change that to instead do offensive spells (this would bring it to four different abilities per macro).
The only complaint I have is that if I target no one the icon is a question mark. I'd like to figure out a way to make it the ability I'd be using, so claw in cat form and healing touch if I target an ally or press alt.
It's not as bad as I remember. Early on it always seemed like wrath, wrath, OOM, hit mob ineffectually with staff, drink. Maybe Blizzard buffed them. The heirloom shoulders probably helped, along with the four 18 slot bags from my priest leveling tailoring.
Roots is unbalanced for solo PvE. I was soloing rare elites constantly with little difficulty, except for one which had a ranged incapacitate and stealthed harpies kept flying on top of me, but she still died.
In groups I've had a lot of fun tanking. It's probably easier than intended since I have the maul glyph (hits a second target, it's my high-aggro move at this level). Though recently I got yelled at for tanking, apparently they preferred the prot paladin without any tanking talents and no shield that didn't use consecrate.
I've been leveling inscription and herbalism as well. They're pretty fun. I've been handing them out to lowbies that I run into. One gave me 5g so I gave her a stack of armor vellum as well since she was an enchanter.
The price of verbosity
13 hours ago