Interface, Strategy, WoW

Binding Raid Marks and World Markers

Raid markers are great.  I’ve been a total mark junkie ever since they were first added to the game.  Patch 4.0 took markers a step further, allowing raid leaders to place persistent, bobbing colourful misty marker things on the environment itself, which is all sorts of awesome.

This post deals with key binding both the raid and world markers without the use of addons.  There are many cool things you can do with marks and I’m sure many words could be written on strategies for doing so, but this post is just about the first step – getting them accessible enough that you can set them or remove them quickly and, hopefully, without having to think about it.  I’ll also briefly run through some of the ins and outs of how they work.

Raid markers

Raid marks are the little colourful icons that can be set on creatures like mobs or friendly players:

  • You can’t set them on enemy players.
  • Solo or in a party, anyone can set a mark on anything at any time.
  • In a raid, only members with promotes or leader privileges can set marks.
  • Only players in your party/raid can see marks.
  • Marks are only cleared if the mob/NPC despawns or if someone clears it.
  • Leaving or disbanding a group will reset any marks that were set.

Courtesey of Wowpedia.

There are 8 marks, which are listed when you right click a portrait and go to the mark menu.  Note you can print raid marks in chat by putting the name of the mark in curley brackets like this:

/p Sheep {moon} please!

/ra I’ll bind the {star}.

Because anyone in a party can set marks, if you’re pugging you can mark the mob you intend to CC or interrupt or whatever even if you’re not the “Dungeon Guide”, and similarly if you’re trying to heal and there’s a mob eating your face you can try to draw attention to it by putting a mark on it.

Of course it won’t work, but at least you tried.

If you’re super ultra awesome you can also turn on a notification in your chat box for when anyone sets a raid marker.  Right click on your chat tab, select the “Other” menu and then check the box that says “Target icons“.

Subscribing to Target Icon notifications under Chat Settings, "Other" menu.

Icon spam!

(This is especially helpful if you have multiple people in a raid with assist privileges and somebody’s boss mod is randomly wiping all your carefully set icons.  Just sayin’.)

Binding these target marks could not be easier.  Bring up the main menu by pressing Escape, go to Key Bindings, and scroll down until you see Raid Targeting:

The default keybinding menu for raid targets.

You’ll notice that I have my target icons bound sequentially to the number pad keys.  This works well for me because, once I got used to which marks were which key, I can just flick my hand over from the mouse and mark several targets in quick succession – because the NumPad is designed for ultra efficient touch typing of numbers.

My number pad keybinds for raid target marks.

No matter where you bind your target icons, once you get used to where important marks are – say, Skull if you’re tanking – you can very quickly and mindlessly mark a new kill target if something happens.

You can also assign raid target marks in a macro.  For example, my Death Knight’s DPS spec includes the following Death Grip macro (for which I may or may not have got the idea from Rahana):

/cast Death Grip
/stopmacro [nomod:alt]
/script SetRaidTarget("target", 1);
/s Pulling %t {star} into melee range, please taunt off me!

If I hold the alt key, it places mark “1” (the star) on the target I’m gripping and prints a message to /say telling the group what I’ve done and including the marker I’ve set ({star}) and the name of the mob (%t).  I find this is extremely effective in getting a tank to quickly identify and control the mob I’ve pulled over.

The mark part is just the following:

/script SetRaidTarget("target", 1);

…where you’d substitute different numbers for the different marks.

World Markers

World markers are the new hotness that replace the need for raid leaders to carry around several stacks of multicoloured flares.  They’re normally accessed in a raid using the new pull-out menu, but you can keybind them and use them in any group situation.

  • You can use them in a party regardless of who is leader.
  • In raids, only leaders and assistants can place or clear markers.
  • Placing markers makes your character stand up and triggers the global cooldown. (I have wasted so many severed sagefish heads forgetting this.)
  • Markers last until cleared.
  • Clicking a mark once places it, clicking it again clears it.
  • When you select a mark, you get a small targeting reticule which you place where you want the mark to appear.

This is the normal way to set a world marker, using the raid drawer:

The raid pull out menu thing (I like to think of it as a drawer) with the marker menu displayed. The flag icon opens the mark menu.

However, while there’s not yet a convenient way to keybind them in a menu, you can use a combination of macros and slash command keybinding to get the job done.  If that sounds complex, it really isn’t.

Basically, the interface only presents you with the raid drawer if you’re in a raid, but the menu is accessible if you’re in a party using the following macro command:

/click CompactRaidFrameManagerDisplayFrameLeaderOptionsRaidWorldMarkerButton

You can select items from the resulting menu (as shown above) using the next command:

/click DropDownList1Button1

These commands can be combined in a macro to instantly place a mark where you want.  I’ve got six macros set up, creatively named:

  1. MarkSquare (“blue“)
  2. MarkTriangle (“green)
  3. MarkDiamond (“purple“)
  4. MarkCross (“red“)
  5. MarkStar (“yellow“)
  6. MarkClear

Guess what each one does?  The number corresponds to the mark, so the first one is /click DropDownList1Button1 and the last one is /click DropDownList1Button6.  The final macro for each is just:

/click CompactRaidFrameManagerDisplayFrameLeaderOptionsRaidWorldMarkerButton
/click DropDownList1Button1

(Confusingly, the marks are not in the same order as the raid target marks, despite sharing the same icons.)

Now, to keybind a macro, you just use the following command:

/script SetBindingMacro("KEY","MACRO")

Type it or copy-paste it into the chat just as if you were typing an emote like /ruffle or whatever.

I’ve got each world marker bound to the same NUMPAD buttons as the raid target marks, using an alt modifier.  So the command to bind each would be:

/script SetBindingMacro("ALT-NUMPAD1","MarkStar")
/script SetBindingMacro("ALT-NUMPAD3","MarkDiamond")
/script SetBindingMacro("ALT-NUMPAD4","MarkTriangle")
/script SetBindingMacro("ALT-NUMPAD6","MarkSquare")
/script SetBindingMacro("ALT-NUMPAD7","MarkCross")
/script SetBindingMacro("ALT-NUMPAD9","MarkClear")

(Minor note: if you want to use multiple modifiers, you have to arrange them alphabetically in the SetBinding command.  For example “ALT-CTRL-Y” or “CTRL-SHIFT-B” would work fine but “CTRL-ALT-Y” wouldn’t.)

After you’ve bound each macro, you then need to save the binding configuration or the changes will be lost when you log out.  You do this using the following simple command:

/script SaveBindings(GetCurrentBindingSet())

This automatically saves to your character specific or global keybinds depending on what you’ve got selected.

If, like me, you have different key bindings for each character, you’ll have to go through and set the marker bindings up on each and every single one.  This is a bit tedious, but you can at least macro the binding /scripts together and simply click the macro after logging in to each character.

(I’m not 100% sure but it’s possible you now have to bind independently for each dual-spec talent spec, too.)

So this is what the final binding set looks like, with red squares around the keys which use alt modifiers to place world mark versions:

How my Number Pad would look if I was more confident with a felt tip pen.

One cool thing you can do with world markers, since they share the same icon as 5 of the raid markers, is to place a world marker on the ground and then assign the same raid target icon to a mob or player.  I find this really helpful when trying to explain mob positioning in groups and raids – just mark the target, mark the place you want it, and nobody ever seems to have any trouble understanding!

Note you can also use the SetBinding script for spells.  You just type:

/script SetBindingSpell("KEY","SPELL")

…and then save it afterwards using the above SaveBindings command.  Of course “spell” just means any ability in your “spell book”, even if you’re a big beefy warrior who couldn’t utter an incantation if your life depended on it.

There are also various addons which provide wee clicky buttons and whatnot to accomplish the same thing, but honestly I prefer the simple and robust route of keybindings.  I’ve been using them so long now they’re second nature.  Not only can it really make a difference in a tight spot being able to mark so swiftly and accurately, but if you’re trying to speed up your dungeon runs while assigning CC targets, having your marks easily accessible and keybound should be a big help.  Give it a try and let me know how it works out!

Unless you’re one of those super awesome people who already had their marks and markers keybound, in which case – word up, aight.  Or something.  And I’d be interested in any tips you might be able to share!

Before I go, totally totally unrelated but I don’t want to make a separate embarrassing post about it.  Righteous Orbs, one of my all time favourite WoW blogs and something of a focal point for the blogging community, is closing down.  I can’t express how much this saddens me because it was such a brilliant read, full of insight and pathos and empathy and wit.  Many people have already written more incisively about precisely how great it was, but I just wanted to add, in addition to my comment on the “good-bye” post itself, a wee note over here.  Thank you so much for investing so much of your time and energy in your readers, Tamarind and Chastity, and all the best in whatever takes the place of your blogwriting.

/script SaveBindings(GetCurrentBindingSet())


11 thoughts on “Binding Raid Marks and World Markers

  1. /speechless Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Posted by Lument | February 14, 2011, 4:37 pm
  2. I’ve had raid markers keybinded to G (alt/shift/ctrl) since I started playing (after the raid markers had come out, thankfully). I use them all the time, and I like having them on the G key because it’s instant easy access, so if someone failed to CC a healer mob (or broke the CC), BAM it’s skull now, so switch targets!

    Of course that’s the ideal outcome. Since all the pug dps is on different targets, well, the outcome can be interesting.

    Great guide overall, and I’ll look into binding the world markers to my “h” key, which currently is my focus button. Thanks!

    Posted by cripplemronion | February 14, 2011, 11:05 pm
  3. I’d been meaning to ask you about this, but was afraid of inevitable mocking. “What do you mean, you’ve been leading raids all this time WITHOUT KEYBINDING SYMBOLS?! GET OUT.”

    Thanks for the post, then :]

    Posted by Razz | February 16, 2011, 1:05 pm
  4. I was totally with you until the world markers keybindgings! As someone who is not a huge user of key-bindings (although I am slowly but surely working my way into having more and more, what with my PVP lust ever growing) I’ve found that I don’t really need the speedy marking option, as 80% of the groups I’m in generally tend to take their time with pulls and such, leaving me unhindered to place markers, stress-free. Then again, 50% of those groups I’m in, you are also in…so my marking duties are void 🙂

    That being said, I think I may just copy you for the raid markers bindings, it just seems to useful not to have. Thanks for the macros!

    Posted by Markus | February 16, 2011, 5:05 pm
  5. Erm, I cant get this to work after the daily restart today, I’ve had the world markers bound since i started playing Cata but now all of a sudden the scripts don’t work no more.
    Is this just me or did Activision really go through the trouble of disabling them?.

    Posted by Saunen | March 16, 2011, 3:02 pm
    • Very strange. I just tested them on the EU live servers and the macros for world markers are still working in a party, in a raid and as a non-leader in a party. I have noticed, however, that sometimes after I’ve been halfway through a non-raid instance without using any markers yet that I will get a taint-type prohibited action message when trying to place a marker – which is fixed if I reload my UI. If I place a mark shortly after joining a party, however, I never have any trouble.

      Maybe your keybindings have been reset or overwritten by something?

      Posted by Charles | March 17, 2011, 6:22 pm
  6. Wow, great blog post! I’ve been using the add-on, TargetCharms, to place raid markers for a while. I’m going to try to macro them to my numberpad, however, as you suggest. Seems like it will make it even more easy to place them, especially in combat. As for the world markers, I had no idea! Very cool tool and also soon to be implemented.

    I don’t know if you will read these comments or not, but if you do, perhaps you could answer a question for me that I’ve yet to find a solution to. I live in fear of losing my keybindings, which I’ve altered extensively from the defaults. Is there a way to export the current keybindings? If so, is there also a way ti import them back in after some unfortunate keybinding reset event?

    Thanks again!

    Posted by Ahabh | March 24, 2011, 4:10 pm
    • I’m 99% sure keybindings are now stored server-side, which means that no matter what happens to your computer they’ll be safe. Of course they can, however, still be accidentally overwritten if you’re creative enough.

      You used to be able to backup keybindings by making copies of the various “” files, which you’ll find under “WTF\Account\YOURNAME\Server\Character” (assuming you have character specific keybinds). If you copy those files after logging out of the game and keep them somewhere safe, you should be able to restore your key bindings by copying them back. Those folders actually hold most of the settings stuff worth backing up, so it’s not a bad idea to make a backup of the entire WTF folder now and again!

      (And yes, I do indeed read all comments – though sometimes I don’t reply to them immediately. I’m glad you found this post helpful!)

      Posted by Charles | March 24, 2011, 4:25 pm
      • Thanks much for the quick reply! I regularly save my WTF folder to a folder on my HD as well as a thumb drive, along with my addons folder. I figured there was some file in its depths that could help. Good to know about the keybindings being saved on the servers. Makes me feel better. Thanks again!

        Posted by Ahabh | March 24, 2011, 4:42 pm
  7. FYI you were third in my google search of “how to use raid icons”. Thank you so much. Hell, I’m just psyched that I discovered that “numpad 1” was a different keybind than just “1”. Can’t wait to get to my computer!

    Posted by Bristal | February 26, 2012, 9:47 pm
  8. thanks for nice sharing

    Posted by Single Wheel Hover Wheel | July 11, 2015, 8:29 am

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