Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Keybinds

Edit 5/6/10: I have a fresh (and graphical) layout of my keybinds posted here, but this post still serves well with recommendations on things you need to consider when setting up your own keybinds.

My keybinds and macros are built for cross-spec support. With both a feral druid and a resto druid as well as relatively frequent respecs to turkey, I need my keybinds to be as flexible as they can without hindering me in any of the specs, while maintaining a minimal number of buttons showing on my screen.

The mods:

For my bindings, I use a manual keybinds on my action bars (Bartender and LunarSphere) combined with Bindpad.
  • Bindpad assigns the keybind to the actual macro or action, though it cannot bind mouse buttons. No stance support.
  • LunarSphere assigns the keybind to a specific macro or action as well, and CAN bind mouse buttons. Stance support.
  • Bartender assigns the keybind to the specific action button, can bind mouse buttons, and can completely hide a bar of keybound macros from being seen or clicked on your screen. Stance support.
I like to use bindpad because I can then move my actions around on my bars without having to redo the keybindings, and they're all easily visible in one panel together, rather than having to show a bartender bar I had hidden, or individually mouse-over LunarSphere submenu buttons that have 3 keybinds per button per stance. LS and Bartender just take over where Bindpad leaves off.

The binds:

I keep my left hand resting over the WASD keys, pinky on the shift key, and thumb on the spacebar. Pinky can reach shift, ctrl, and 3 extra buttons my G15 keyboard has to the side, and my thumb can reach the alt key. My A and D keys have been bound to strafe when I hold the Shift key. My right hand is on my 5-button mouse (Logitech), and mouse-look is frequently used, as with using my scroll wheel to zoom my camera. This setup thus has 15 easily reachable keys plus all 3 modifier keys, and 5 total mouse-buttons. I have trouble with my long fingers hitting the x, c, and v keys so I don't count them :)

Generic/caster, Bear, Cat, Tree, Moonkin

  • ~ is Hurricane, Survival Instincts, Survival Instincts
  • 1 is Bearform, Feral Charge - Bear
  • 2 is NS + HT macro
  • 3 is Catform, Prowl
  • 4 is Travel Form
  • 5 is Innervate (self), Berserk, Rip
  • q is Regrowth/Swiftmend, Swipe/Bash, Swipe/Rake, Starfire/Moonfire
  • e is Lifebloom/Rejuv, Maul/Mangle/Lacerate, FB/Maim/Rip, Wrath/Insect Swarm
  • t is variable on spec
  • y is Faerie Fire macro
  • f is Focus Target macro
  • g is Trinket + Lifebloom, + Mangle Bear, + Mangle Cat, + Starfire
  • M3 is Cyclone/Moonfire rank 1, Growl/Challenging/Demo Roar, Shred/Mangle/Ravage/FerociousBite
  • M4 auto-run
  • M5 is Raid Icon/Regrowth/dismount macro

My "t" key is a matter of contention among my various specs, mostly because moonkin and treeform both share the stance # of 5, and my feral druid's stance:5 is actually Swift Flight Form. So,
  • Resto "t" is Treeform, Nourish
  • Moonkin "t" is Moonkin form, Typhoon
  • Feral "t" is Enrage/FrenziedRegen/Challenging Roar, Dash/Savage Roar

I also have a G15 keyboard. I love this thing. The thing about these keys is that, when resting your hand over the WASD keys, the vast majority of the extra keys this keyboard provides are out of your reach (at least for my fingers, and my fingers are pretty long!). The only ones I can easily reach without stretching too far are the G12, G15, and G18 keys: the three keys closest to the capslock, shift, and ctrl buttons. I use these for:
  • G12 is Wild Growth, Feral Charge - Bear, Feral Charge - Cat, Starfall
  • G15 is Abolish Poison
  • G18 is Remove Curse
WoW, by default, does not recognize these extra keys as actual bindable keys. In order to bind these in-game, I had to tell the keyboard through its own macroing software that the keys were actually ctrl-shift-4, ctrl-shift-:, and ctrl-shift-" respectively, keystrokes I was unlikely to type out accidentally. The game itself was then able to recognize the keystroke combinations as bindable combinations, allowing these extra keys to be bound.

In addition, I have bound my Itemrack sets to my NumPad. These keys are recognized separately from the number keys along the top of the keyboard, so you can use them for less important keybinds. For example, NumPad1 is my healing kit, and NumPad6 is my tanking kit.

I have tried the Ideazon FANG gamepad, but it was really uncomfortable. The key spacing did not fit my hand, and I felt awkward with it, not knowing which of the tiny buttons I was pressing and my fingers kept slipping off the big bulky arrow keys. I gave it an honest try with both WoW and AoC, but gave up on it and went back to my G15 keyboard. My experience with the FANG has turned me off from trying the Belkin Nostromo, since the Belkin looks like it relies too much on the user reaching DOWN from the WASD keys rather than UP to the number keys. I really recommend that before you buy any peripheral game hardware, that you check first to see if your hand can comfortably fit it.

The other stuff:

For the unlisted abilities, I still click for them, but I keep them clustered in a square next to the middle of my screen, along with some of the major cooldowns that are keybound. Some few others are kept down at the bottom of my screen on Lunarsphere's buttons.

Bartender click-uses:
  • Barkskin, Tranquility, Nature's Grasp, Survival Instincts, Survival Instincts
  • Potion Macro
  • Starfire/Wrath/Moonfire/Insect Swarm when not in turkey form, or I don't feel like rearranging my macros (again, the stance:5 confusion)
  • Entangling Roots, Hibernate, Soothe Animal
  • Misc quest items

LunarSphere click-uses:
  • Revive/Rebirth
  • MotW, GotW, Thorns
  • Innervate that is not self-cast
  • Bandages
  • Warstomp
  • Mounts, professions, misc potions and items, minipets

The alts:

Memorization of keybinds is not something to be tampered with lightly. If I've gotta tank something and I'm feeling squishy, that "1" key for bear form better be something tank-useful on my alts, too!

You'd be surprised how easily you can adapt a cross-spec druid keybind system to any other class... you just may end up feeling a bit limited when the alt's class doesn't include as many different options. The most important part of keybinding an alt is that you get the reactionary things bound in places you can easily find them.

The categories you want to consider are:
  • "Shields up, Captain!" aggro response (bubbles, evasion, defensive stance, ice block)
  • Stealth (including fade and vanish)
  • Emergency heals/potions
  • Racial abilities
  • Interrupts, stuns, and knockbacks
  • Cleanses
  • Buffs
  • Sprint/speed increases (Aspect of the Run-Fast, Ghost Wolf)
  • Crowd Control
  • Charges/Death Grips
  • AoE vs Single-Target vs DoTs
  • Ranged vs Melee
Just as with keeping these actions similar across your shapeshifts, you'll want to keep them similar across your alts. Sometimes it might not always work out, but try to stick as close to the categorical ability layout of your main character as possible.

Even if you keybind a lot of abilities, you probably shouldn't hide them all until you feel fully comfortable with your alt. Even at 80, I kept all bars showing on my rogue's screen until I settled on her spec and got used to where things were (and what I had available)... though now, it's as clean as my druid's screen, something that fills me with a warm fuzzy feeling of accomplishment whenever I think about it :)


Niniel said...

G15 rocks, I'm using it as well! =)

Kae said...

My husband has the newer version of the G15 keyboard, which has orange lighting and only a single column of buttons down one side. It doesn't seem to make much difference, as so many of the older model's extra keys are hard to reach!

I love the Ventrilo panel on the LCD display, and the iTunes controls since I run on a PC rather than a Mac :)

Niniel said...

I require and use all 18 G-buttons! =)

G8 - Regrowth, G9 - Rejuv, G10 - Lifebloom, G11 - Wild Growth, G12 - Nourish. It's where my hand rests. For movement I use a combination of both mouse buttons and hopping to WASD :b I have a lot of heals keybound to my different mouse buttons as well for my focus target.

Kae said...

Wild, I'm too addicted to my movement keys for that :) /bouncy tree!