Keybinds – Guest Post from Vuuk
Greetings everyone. I am Vuuk from <Immortalis> on EU-The Sha’tar, author of Mana Cake Musings, a mage-oriented site (although I post about my other 85s as well). I’ve commented on Tiny WoW Guild before, and my latest comment sort of sparked this guestpost.
I wanted to help out Shoryl with some tips on how to get started with keybindings. She suggested a guestpost instead, so .. here we go!
Step one: stop keyboard turning
In the classic WoW setup, A and D are used to turn left and right, respectively. Your character slowly turns to face said particular direction.
I would like you to re-bind these keys to strafe left and right. Strafing is the concept of moving in a direction, while still facing forward.
Strafing is what allows me, as a tank, to completely turn a boss away from the raid without moving him an inch from where he’s standing.
Strafing is what everyone in PvP uses to run circles around you.
Strafing is what allows frost mages to spam Ice Lance on you while running away from you.
Once you have re-bound your spells, go find some mob to dance around a bit and melee them. Ideally a big mob.
When you select a mob, you see their selection circle on the ground. Try to strafe along this line and turning the mob in place.
You will need to use your mouse to keep facing the mob, and either W or D depending on whether you are running clockwise or counter-clockwise.
Step two: getting used to finger-twitching
Now that you’ve got running down, you notice you’ll be able to use your mouse less to click abilities. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that.
We’ll start off really easy. Pick two of your most often used abilities, preferably instant-cast ones, and bind them to Q and E.
In my mages setup, I picked Blink and Fire Blast.
As you’ll notice, these two keys are right next to your movement keys. It only requires a short twitch of your index or ring finger to access them.
They’re easy to find without looking at them. This makes them a good choice to start off practicing with keybinding, and they’re useful for binding abilities you want to use on the run.
This allows me to do a flip in the air and blink “through” someone chasing me on my mage, or to Death Strike a mob while strafing away to pick up another one somewhere.
Step three: core abilities
So you’ve gotten the hang of using those two abilities on Q and E, but you’re still clicking the others. Why, exactly? There’s so much more you can reach!
In my case, my ringfinger can reach ` and 1, my middle finger can reach 2 and 3, and my index can hit 3 and 4 reliably, without moving the others too much.
5 is a bit further, so don’t bother with that just yet.
You should bind important abilities in your rotation here. In my Arcane spec, I have Arcane Blast on 1, Arcane Missiles on 2, Arcane Barrage on 3, and Arcane Explosion on 4.
Take your time to get used to these before you move on.
Step four: branching out
As you get more comfortable with hitting keybinds without looking at them, you’ll be able to “find” more and more keys on your keyboard like that. For me, I slowly moved away from
the movement keys and now have these keybinds, basicly (although I use an Azerty keyboard layout so some keys are switched around a bit compared to this picture):
Don’t bind all these keys at once, just take it easy and do one ability at a time, until you feel you’re comfortably and reliably hitting that keybind. It’s not as easy as you might think.
Don’t feel bad if you don’t get the hang of it right away. I can’t tell you how much I’ve died trying to hit F to Ice Block and hitting G or so instead, but now that my finger ‘knows’ where it
needs to look for that F, I can tell you I Iceblock a lot quicker than when I used to click.
You’ll notice I have one key with an alt modifier too: if I hit W, which is just above my left alt button, I get an Ice Barrier. Alt-W is Mana shield.
On my rogue, I went another step further and used alt modifiers for most of my abilities on 1 through 5 as well (mostly grouping up some finishers like Rupture and Expose Armor, Kidney Shot and Slice ‘n Dice).
One last note …
I must admit I occassionally click some things, still. A lot of the abilities on my number bar past the number 6 I cannot reach without letting go of my movement keys.
I’ve made some pretty dumb (or epic, depending on the point of view … shifting out of bearform while tanking Azgalor on my druid instead of using LW drums comes to mind) keybinding mistakes before, and so for raiding I often click crucial abilities like Time Warp.
It’s not a PvP ability that has to go off THIS INSTANT, and I’m standing still a lot more in PvE anyway so I might as well hit the keybind with my toe and it still wouldn’t make a difference.
Shoryl’s take so far…
Simply put, it’s actually hard to get used to. I’ve been playing the game for 6 years, and habits die hard. I initially started trying to do step one while working on getting elders. I thought: Lots of travel, lots of movement, this will be good. I ran places, staying on the roads, trying to follow various terrain details to practice my strafing and turning abilities. (The idea of running around in circles around a big target is a good one… except that I get motion sick with lots of that type of movement, so it doesn’t work for me) That was cool, but the minute I got into real combat, I was trying to use the old methods. I went back to my old methods for the couple of dungeons I did, but I’m planning my night tonight as another practice night, while questing, where if I die, it’s only on me, not on a group. Hopefully I can get used to it enough to be confident taking it into dungeons tomorrow.