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I've heard two rumors regarding action bar skills:

  1. Using action bars addons capable of creating more bars than the default UI provides causes skills to lag since the action bars aren't "real" action bars (i.e. they don't use the "Action Bar Functions" keybinds).

  2. Using macros to denote modifier behavior causes abilities to be used slower than creating separate bindings (i.e. /use [nomod]Fireball;Pyroblast on A instead of binding Fireball to A and Pyroblast to Shift + A ).

I am a user of the Macaroon addon. It is an action bar addon that allows an unlimited amount of bars, each of unlimited size. Every button in the action bar is a macro (if you drag a skill into a button, it will change the button to say /cast skillName). As such, all of my bindings are on bars that are not part of the default interface, and all of the buttons are using macros (and they aren't even part of the default macro interface, either).

Is their truth to the rumors? Is my setup harming my gameplay?

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Addons can most definitely lag the UI, that is fact. If its making calls in a weird way when using the additional bars that then call the macro/spell... then essentially its making double trips to call the spell and I suppose there is some truth to the rumors you hear. I have no evidence to support this assumption as I've never used Macaroon. –  Jared Jun 20 '12 at 2:47
    
What about macros? And I know that addons will take a small toll on CPU usage, but does that include input lag? –  Koviko Jun 20 '12 at 4:33

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Addons in general can cause the feeling of latency - this is well documented and most visible generally after the game has been patched but your addons have not been updated. This can lead to the effect of UI lag even if your in game latency has stayed the same.

Blizzard themselves recommend that in instances where you're experiencing any form of latency in game that the first thing you try it disabling all of your addons. Each addon is additional code that the game must process when you perform particular actions, and the more addons you have the more the problem becomes noticeable.

I have never used Macaroon personally but from my observations with using alternative Action Bar addons (Bartender4, etc) the way that these work in general is the newly instanced bars created by these addons map to the original/standard World of Warcraft action bars. In the case of Bartender4 this goes all the way down to key binding, so key binding in Bartender will reflect in the 'Key Binds' menu within WoW itself, and disabling the addons will leave you with the original action bars with the spells you were using on them.

In the case of generating additional action bars outside of the range of the standard bars, these will be handled directly by the addon and will not have a place in the standard user interface. With the fact that using addons to manage the standard action bars can cause additional input lag, using addons to manage virtual action bars will certainly be slower.

Here are instances of articles mentioning addons in general can cause latency issues;

One thing you will notice if you ever watch streams of high end raiders, many of them no longer use any addons, while most of them will go for a minimal set. There are of course those who will still use addons but these people are generally also running a machine with a high specification.

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