The system for macros in Rift is one of the most robust I've ever encountered, however if you're unfamiliar with it's design than you could be seriously missing out on a lot of fun and utility in your gameplay.
Now I'll be discussing detailed combat related macros not simple chat or emote type macros but here's a simple example of a very basic chat macro:
/g Hello guild!
This would tell the "macro" to say "Hello guild!" in guild chat (/g).
Now that's one easy example but Rift's system is designed to work very well with combat skills as well. And with a little effort you can get the most out of your class skills!
In order to access the macro menu in Rift you'll want to go into your main menu and select the "Macros" button from the list. Then in the macro window select a macro spot from the left side and then NAME your macro whatever you'd like. Finally in the "Commands" area is where you'll put the actually list of commands contained within your macro.
OK, before I go any further let me make a simple list some commonly used terms that people may not be familiar with.
COOLDOWN or "CD" - refers the amount of time a skill needs to reset and be available for use again. (2sec CD, 5sec CD, 10sec CD...)
GLOBAL COOLDOWN or "GCD" - refers to the time a player must wait in between using skills. It's the 1 to 1.5 seconds that you have to wait after pressing most skills. (NOTE: Some skills say "This ability is not affected by the GCD". That's important information for macro building.)
"Reactive skills" or simply "REACTIVES" - refers to a skill that only becomes available when another action has occurred. For example, you block or parry an attack, or you critically hit an opponent.
Now there is one VERY important thing to remember about how skills within macros function together.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE ORDER IN WHICH YOU LIST THE SKILLS!!!
For instance if you put an "instant cast" skill first in the macro, then everytime you press the macro it will simply use the first available skill that's NOT ON COOLDOWN, which would of course be that "instant cast" skill essentially skipping all the other skills underneath that one in the macro.
So the first rule is that ONLY ONE "instant cast" skill can be in a macro and it HAS TO BE the last one listed in the macro for everything to work correctly.
Now let's take an example of a simple macro for a lower level Warrior. This particular Warrior we'll assume has a Paladin based soul build. Using only Paladin skills in this example. However you can use ANY skills you want in your macros, as long as you have learned them.
So our Paladin is using these skills currently at level 7
Retaliation (RET) - Your first Paladin "REACTIVE" skill that only becomes available following a successful block. Your first skill that is "not affected by the GCD" which means that when you use it, the 1.5sec GCD isn't triggered. 6sec CD.
Aggressive Block (AB) - something you always want "UP" so you can benefit from the block buff it gives you. With a good macro it will always be kept "UP" very easily! 15sec CD.
Face Slam (FS) - Another skill that is "not affected by the GCD". You can use it whenever it's CD is ready. 8sec CD.
Pacifying Strike (PS) - Your "INSTANT CAST" skill. This is your default skill to use when all other skills are on CD (Cooldown). NO CD, instant skill.
Now instead of having to press a different key for your AGGRESSIVE BLOCK, then your FACE SLAM, then PACIFYING STRIKE, then when available clicking your RETALIATION...you can simply have all these skills contained within one great macro button!
Here is the structure for this wonderful little Paladin macro (and I'll break it down afterwards):
#show Pacifying Strike
/cast Aggressive Block
/cast Face Slam
/cast Pacifying Strike
That's it! As you press this macro it will automatically use RETALIATION if and when it's "UP" or available after a block. Otherwise it will use your AGGRESSIVE BLOCK on the first press, then FACE SLAM the next time you press it, followed by PACIFYING STRIKE every time after that until your RETALIATION or AGGRESSIVE BLOCK or FACE SLAM are ready to be used again.
#show Pacifying Strike ---- This line simply tells the macro what icon to use as the default
/cast Retaliation ---- This tells the macro to use RET when it's "UP"
/cast Aggressive Block ---- This tells the macro to use AB first if/when it's not on CD
/cast Face Slam ---- This tells the macro to use FS if/when it's not on CD
/cast Pacifying Strike ---- If all other skills are on CD, your "instant" skill is used as "filler"
/suppressmacrofailures ---- This line tells the macro to not display red "error text" spam if you press the macro too rapidly
That's it! You simply press this macro in a nice, rhythmic way whenever your GCD is UP keeping in mind that you can also press it when your "REACTIVE" skill (RETALIATION) or any other non-GCD skills like FACE SLAM are ready. You'll find the right rhythm as you watch your skills closely for when they're CD is "UP".
Now one last thing I'd recommend is to put your "MAIN" macro on something like the 1 or 2 key on the action bar, because you will be using it A LOT!
Also you will NEVER need to manually click on the skills themselves used in the macro, BUT I'd still put them on a secondary action bar (action bar 2 right above the main action bar is a good place). That way you can see the skills you're using in the macro and how much longer their CD will be. I put them on the 2nd action bar above my main action bar and I also put them roughly in the same order they are in the macro so I can see the sequence very clearly.
"REACTIVES" however don't have to be anywhere on your screen because they have their own animation that will "POP UP" on-screen to let you know when they're ready to be used.
I'd also recommend making a single-target based macro and perhaps an AoE based macro and any others you see fit.
OK, so that's basically it and to use this for your own class all you need to do is simply remember that the ORDER of the skills in the macro is what's important. The basic structure will ALWAYS remain the same:
LINE 1 should always be:
LINES 2 through ???? should always be your "REACTIVE" skills you currently know for your class and soul build:
/cast Paladin's Reprisal
THE NEXT LINES ??? to ??? should always be your "COOLDOWN" skills in the order you prefer that they be cast. Most important ones first, followed by the lesser important ones.
/cast Aggressive Block
/cast Face Slam
SECOND TO LAST LINE should include your one and only "INSTANT" skill your using in the macro:
/cast Pacifying Strike
FINAL LINE should always be your suppress macro failure line to remove error message spam:
Follow this basic (Reactives first... Cooldown skills next... Instant skill last) structure for your Cleric, Rogue or Mage build and you'll have great results.
If you have any questions look for Ysela in-game and have fun out there.