Thursday, November 4, 2010

Keybinds on Movement Keys

I had a warlock-induced epiphany this week.


4 keys I use to move around.
4 keys that could, potentially, be keybound.
4 keys I can bind using modifiers and tack on abilities I cast only when I am *not* moving.

If I'm moving around using WASD, I can't be using any spell with a cast-time, anyway. If I'm casting a spell that is cancelled by movement, I can't be moving anyway while I press the button to trigger it. So, cast-time spells can be bound to movement keys using modifiers to toggle them (ctrl, alt, shift).

Suddenly, my keyboard doesn't feel so cramped for space anymore.

Druid Spells that require you to stand still:
  • Wrath
  • Starfire
  • Hurricane (though you can target it while moving)
  • Cyclone
  • Entangling Roots
  • Soothe
  • Healing Touch
  • Nourish
  • Regrowth
  • Tranquility
  • Revive
  • Rebirth
  • Warstomp (racial)
Number of these that I did not previously have keybound: 7.

So how do you keybind your movement keys without loosing your movement? By having the actions be bound by the key + ctrl, alt, or shift. For the actual binding, I used Bindpad, though you could use an actionbar mod like Bartender and bind individual action buttons.
  • Ctrl W
  • Alt W
  • Shift W
  • Ctrl A
  • Alt A
  • Shift A
  • Ctrl S
  • Alt S
  • Shift S
  • Ctrl D
  • Alt D
  • Shift D
That's 12 additional keybind spots. If you use one of your modifiers as a push-to-talk button (ie ctrl for ventrilo) that's still 9 button combinations you can bind! Be careful with this, though. If you're running around while pressing modifier keys for other abilities (like shift to swiftmend) it can interrupt your directional movement. Personally, I use quite a few shift-modifier macros, so I'm keeping those as just movement so they don't trip me up while I'm using a shift-cast spell from another key, but alt is one I never use while I'm moving just because it's uncomfortable to hold down... that makes the alt-WASD binds perfect places for me to stick some cast-time spells. I've put Wrath, Soothe, Entangling Roots, and Starfire on them.

Note 1: I don't suggest putting HT on one of these as it's usually macroed to NS anyway, thus making it sometimes insta-cast :)

Note 2: If you unbound your strafe from q and e like I did, I do suggest keeping strafe left and strafe right bound somewhere in these keys, like as Shift A and Shift D, (Edit: or just as A and D) or even on mousebuttons. Strafe does come in handy from time to time.

Note 3: If you are a feral who uses ctrl/shift/alt macros for lots of abilities, like I do, and want to use them while moving, then I really *really* suggest making sure these movement-key binds are form-dependent. Otherwise you'll find yourself suddenly casting wrath in cow form when you should be tanking or clawing. /stopmacro [form:1/3] is your friend. So is [nostance].

Thank you, Naz :) Please don't incinerate me.


Aggrazel said...

Er... why are you mapping your turn keys anyway? I moved strafe to "a" and "d" and have "q" and "e" for spells. I also unmapped "s" for back because its useless, much better to strafe while mouse turning to move backwards. It takes a while to get used to, but once you do you move much quicker. But your other ideas are very cool, thanks!

Kae said...

I have to heal on the move fairly often, and that means my mouse is hovering over grid frames rather than giving my character direction. Alas...

Geros (VeCo) said...

Fun idea. I definitely need to work on my keybinds. As a shaman this expansion, there were few enough buttons it wasn't that big a deal, but taking my druid to 85 first I'm gonna have to figure something out to have everything in reach. There have been a couple times recently reaching for swiftness at '8' that I only made it as far as HT at '7', and that's bad news. Same for tanking, a couple intended 'faerie fires' directed at ads have turned into 'charges' ><

Anonymous said...

Interesting way at looking at it. Although, I definitely think it would take some getting used to.

You should think about an n52. :) Then you use your thumb to move with the "stick pad" and all your other fingers to cast. I couldn't imagine healing without it now.

Kae said...

I tested out a nostromo and a couple other peripherals, but they just didn't fit my hand. I have long, skinny fingers, and the keys just didn't fit to them comfortably. I use an old-school G15 and that gives me 4 pinky-access keybinds, though, and I don't go past 5, t, and g to the right.

I do have to give props to the Warcraft MMO mouse, though. The buttons on it are wonderful.

Theladas said...

What is this WASD nonsense?

SZXC is where it's at. Without the X - backpedaling leads to pain. strafing with AD is also pro, (but I love having turn keys handy for those moments when my mouse is obligated elsewhere). Then I get all 12 keybinds I need on 1-6 + q-y. It took me a week to learn it, but it's excellent fun now - plus, super-adaptable to other people's computers & (lack of) peripherals.

That said, I'd be terrified about mod-keying any of my movement buttons directly. If I was holding down the mod key for any other trick in my book (I shift+[number] to bar swap for i.e. stances, auras), And I decided I needed to move, I'd hate to see me start casting a heal or Slam instead of sidestepping.

I do generally follow Naz's approach, though; my cast-time and movement-oriented (charge, shadowstep) abilities are localized with the movement keys, while my instants are handy to my movement-independent index finger.

Zy said...

I use ESDF for movement, Shift-S and Shift-F are strafing. I tried binding other things to my movement keys and failed miserably, I may give it a go again someday but thanks to my Razor Naga I'm not having any keybinding crunches at the moment. (The movement binding attempt was pre-Naga.)

Beranabus said...


Bolink said...

That's an interesting take on key-binding options. Might be tough to get down but, once you've got it, it could be pretty slick!

Theladas said...

PS: Naz needs a bigger rack.

TheGrumpyElf said...

I like this idea. I have thought of it before but could never figure out how to do it. I will look into that addon, thanks for mentioning it.

Having keys just for moving seems like such a waste. Adding something to them sounds like a fantastic idea.

Alyae said...

Naz looks like he wants to burn down some trees.

He's shifty like that!

/agree on the bigger rack

Kae said...

Great discussion here, it's fun seeing all the ways people bind their movement keys :) I'd probably do the ESDF option myself if I didn't have a g15... not so sure about SZXC: I can't as comfortably reach the number keys on my board, and feels really cramped with my thumb crunched up to reach alt and space.

Theladas said...

Ah, I just slide my thumb out more on the space bar; alt key is under pinky's control. But then, you have lots of other keys for your pinky, so that might overwork it moar.

If I were to take a truly wise second-pass at it, I'd probably shift to something like TFGH. Centering my hand there gives me immediate access to a whole lot more keys - I'd need to rebind just about everything, but from an ergonomic/accessibility approach it'd probably be awesome. I'd probably have to move the modifier keys, though; the only one I can happily reach there is the right-side alt key.

Tam said...

Like all completely simple things ... this blew my tiny mind. I can't believe I never thought of this. I'm eying my keyboard, currently, as if it has transformed into some kind of alien lifeform.

Dirtface said...

Yo. What a coincidence that when I was talking to Vidyala's husband about keybinds, I discovered this post from her blog.

This binding scheme comes from my time as a rogue, where your only cast-time abilities are your mount and hearthstone - so rebinding movement keys isn't really an option. I've stuck with it ever since.

I use yghj to move, and my 12 basic action buttons are:

rtui dfkl cvnm

Alt-binds (alt sits right under your thumb) add another 12 combat abilities. 45678 are within easy reach too. Less combat-ey stuff is bound with a shift modifier.