An auto-attack or autoattack is any kind of player or pet attack that will repeat automatically unless interrupted by the player or some other event. Auto-attacks function separately to the use of specific abilities, and do not interrupt or affect their use. Auto-attack automatically uses the player's current target, and lasts until cancelled.
Auto-attacks have an internal swing or cast timer which, while not displayed to the player, determines how regularly attacks are made. This is generally affected by haste. If the target moves out of range of auto-attack, auto-attacks will cease. Once the target is once more in range, or a new target is selected, auto-attacks will automatically resume. Auto-attack will be suspended by crowd control effects such as stuns and fears, but will resume once the effect has ended.
Auto-attacks are a substantial source of damage generation for melee classes, and serve to generate rage for warriors and mana Enhancement shamans (). They can also proc certain passive abilities, and interact with all abilities that affect melee attacks.
Melee auto-attacks serve to deal a steady, reliable flow of damage while the player focuses on more specific ability usage. Auto-attacks generate white damage.
Using a hostile melee ability or specifically melee attacking a target will initiate auto-attack by the player.