A while ago I was asked to explain my keybinds, and how my RL interface works.
I had simple requirements when constructing the RL interface:
- Absolutely no keyboard turning
- All movement control (even mounting) on the mouse, if possible
- As few keybinds as possible, as “alt” is the only easy-to-reach modifier on the laptop
- All needed keybinds as close together as possible. The 5 or 6 key should be the farthest right I ever have to go in a combat situation
So, the first point.
I’m sure there are plenty of people who use their keyboard to turn. I fight them all the time in PvP.
I’m not going to say that anyone is a bad player if they keyboard turn. However, back pedaling via “S” or “D” is just plain stupid. If you backpedal… do yourself and everyone you play with a favour. Stop. Just stop.
Tanks are the exception. Tanks are allowed to back pedal. Healers and DPS? No. Cut that crap out.
I can guarantee that if you currently keyboard turn, you will become a faster, more efficient, and overall better player than you are now. It does take some getting used to, but persevere. It took me about ten hours to fully adapt to mouse rather than keyboard control.
Abandon wasd. Discard esdf. The only thing you have to lose is a bad habit.
My current setup not only doesn’t use the keyboard for any movement control (with the exception of Blink, I suppose), it’s impossible for me to keyboard turn, even if I was drugged and wanted to. I have active keybinds through qwertasdfg, and all of them are bound to necessary combat abilities.
Quite simply, I don’t have any room for movement keys. The arrow keys on the right of the keyboard are just flat out disabled, except on toons that might conceivably at some point be required to tank something (i.e. the Paladin).
My mouse is a Logitech G9, and it’s those two little buttons on the side that allow for full movement mouse control.
The larger button (nearer the rear of the mouse) is bound to autorun. The smaller button (nearer the front of the mouse) is bound to my mount macro. All camera control and movement control in five buttons, all in the same place.
In order to get as few keybinds as possible, a great deal of things that aren’t used frequently just aren’t bound anywhere. All portals and teleports, for instance, just weren’t bound anywhere. In a battleground, I didn’t have a need of teleporting myself to Thunder Bluff. I didn’t need to summon a Portal to Stonard whilst raiding.
All spells I don’t use, of course, don’t have keybindings. As a frost mage, Flamestrike isn’t bound anywhere. As a fire mage, you won’t find frostbolt bound to anything, or Arcane Missiles, or Arcane Blast. Those spells just aren’t needed or used, so they don’t appear anywhere.
As to the positioning of my keybinds, the theory is twofold. First, they need to all be in very close proximity to each other, so as to avoid moving my hand around a lot.
The theory being that having stuff bound to 1234qwer is more efficient than the same abilities bound to 12345678. So, my current keybinds occupy a sort of rhombus shape.
The second consideration dealt with finger positioning. As I’m using my left hand to push buttons, this means my more adept fingers will be closer to the center of the keyboard, while my more retarded fingers are closer to the edge.
Thus, things that require faster, more immediate reactions find themselves bound more to the center of the keyboard, where my pointer finger can quickly stab them. Counterspell bound to “F”, Frost Nova to “4” (or “5”), Blink to “R”, etc.
The only exception to this is the PvP trinket, which is bound to “~”. The key is, comparitively, out of the way compared to the rest of them, and somehow because of it is extremely easy to rapidly mash. It’s one of only two keys my pinky ever gets to press (the other being “esc”, to cancel spellcasts).
I think it’s because the pinky is the spastic psycho of the family.
Less OMFG RESPONSE TIME spells are bound further to the left, where the slower fingers (ring finger, middle finger) can press them. For instance, as a raiding FFB mage, FFB is bound to “1”. It doesn’t need to be pressed lightning fast in reaction to something, it just needs to be pressed rhythmically every 2.6 seconds. Combustion is bound to “Q”, Living Bomb to “W”, Scorch to “2”.
Keybinds also change depending on the situation. Frost Nova is bound to “4” when soloing or PvPing, but is changed to “5” when raiding.
During solo/PvP play, Frost Nova can be both a premeditated spell or an emergency spell. Thus it is positioned to be easily accessible to both the middle and index finger, depending on how fast it needs to be pressed.
During a raid, Frost Nova is rarely needed, but when it is, it’s needed RIGHT NOW, hence it’s in a place where the index finger can very quickly press it.
Alt keybinds are handled slightly differently. My thumb is the digit that is on alt duty, and it usually rest on the space bar. Moving it to the alt button shifts my hand slightly to the left, and so more emergency style keybinds are shifted slightly to compensate.
For instance, something that would normally be bound to “R” (if alt was taken out of the question) would be moved over to “E” for a faster response time.
Again, there is an exception. Spellsteal is bound to Alt + “~”, for more hyperventilating pinky action. (I can’t wait for someone to get to my blog by googling that.)
Essentially, I bound everything according to how I can rely on my fingers. My thumb and index finger are lethally fast and precise, and so they get saddled with rapid response abilities.
My middle and ring finger are significantly slower, though the middle finger is just as precise. As such, the middle finger has more active buttons than the ring finger does, as I can trust it with more.
The pinky finger is just as fast as the index, with precision abandoned entirely for spastic jerks. Hence, it is trusted with buttons that need a very fast response time, but only two of those buttons.