Keybindings and Controllers For WoW

TGAPGeorge – Warrior Tank

I came across a Logitech G13 post on the great blog, Tank like a girl, that inspired me to write about my own Ass-Kicking controller. For I too have a G13 and it’s made things so much better!

For a long time I used the WASD keys to move around, only using the mouse to click on stuff. Around level 40 — the first time I hit 40 — I realized this wouldn’t be good enough. I changed my controlling outlook to one more… well, controlling.

I needed two things:

  1. I should never HAVE to look down to see what keys I’m hitting.
  2. Most spells I use need to be readily at hand.

So I changed up my keybindings, used more mouse for movement, and for my Priest it worked fine.  Then I leveled my Warrior and found it was vastly inadequate.

cyborg-unit1Right before Circuit City went under, I found the Saitek Cyborg Command Unit for $13 in the bargain bin.  Less keys than a keyboard didn’t seem like the answer, but I was intrigued by how they were placed.  Theoretically I would have all those keys right under my fingers instead of reaching across the top row.  I gave it a shot and it worked so much better.  Better, but it wasn’t quite good enough.


The G13 from Logitech came out and I ordered one immediately.  It’s about as perfect as you can get.

g13The main difference between the G13 and the Cyborg was that I had to stretch my fingers a little more and be a bit more precise.  So for the first week, my hand cramped a bit and I was constantly hitting the wrong keys.  (Casting “Charge” instead of “Heroic Throw”… tragically HILARIOUS!)   I continued undaunted because I knew that when my muscle memory caught up, it would be awesome.

Another difference was that I had to not only drastically change my keybindings, but also my keybinding thinking.  You see, I could change the keybindings in-game and on the G13 map, which basically meant I could have a button do almost anything.  The best configuration so far — the one I’m using — puts 1-7 in the middle row with 8-=, period, and comma.  Then I used [ ] ; ‘ for 4 of the 5 buttons of the next row.  The last row of three I did — from left to right — jump, shoot, and a semi-“oh shit” button.  This left me free to use the two toggle buttons as shift and alt, giving me shift+1-7 and alt+1-7 for less reactive spells.  Not to mention I still had shift and alt plus [ ] ; ‘ for less reactive but important spells as well.  I also use the far left and right buttons on the 5-button row for tab/startattack  and taunt respectively.

I just reread the previous paragraph and I see how confusing and retarded it seems, so let me break it down for you this way.

  • I use the toggle to go forward, back, and strafe left and right.
  • I use the mouse — holding down right button — to turn left and right.
  • When I have to alt or shift something — taking my thumb off the toggle — and I need to move at the same time, I hold down the right and left mouse buttons to move and turn.
  • I use the middle row as my main 1-7 spells because it’s more comfortable, giving me two rows or 14 spells as one-button actions.
  • I have the two buttons on the 5-button row that are easiest to quickly hit for targeting and taunting.
  • I have three “oh shit” buttons right there too.
  • And there’s another 28 spells quickly accessed using shift and alt.
  • I use my keyboard for map, bags, etc.

The end result is that I have just enough keys for all of my Warrior’s abilities that I will need quickly and plenty of room for the others.  (I even have some blanks on my action bars!)

keybindings22It takes a week or so to really get comfortable and to always hit the right keys, but the G13 is an awesome piece of equipment that will change your playstyle drastically for the better.

If you have any questions about the G13 or the Saitek Cyborg, keybindings, or whatever, let me know and I’ll help you as best I can.

One more thing. This is for Kadomi, a new owner of this fine piece of ass-kickery. I forgot to mention that I took two snippets of a paper clip and taped them horizontally on my “Tab Target” and “Taunt” buttons with some black electrical tape. This way, I’m absolutely sure I’ve got the right button when I absolutely need it!

g13-with-tape

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10 Responses to Keybindings and Controllers For WoW

  1. kadomi says:

    You know, using the thumb buttons as shift and alt modifiers is pretty much win. I just tested around a bit and I think that’ll work awesomely.

    I am not sold on the top row yet what to bind there, but I will definitely go with a similar layout for testing purposes. Thank you. 🙂

  2. TGAPGeorge says:

    You’re welcome! Just don’t get discouraged. While my controller was in the mail, I read some reviews. The most complete review was from a guy who wanted the controller to be awesome and really tried to make it work. He complained of cramping and hitting the wrong buttons — also bad toggle positioning.

    With these haunting words in my mind, I plugged in the G13 and discovered the same things. However, I had used the Saitek beforehand and remembered an adjustment period with that too. Not quite as difficult an adjustment period, but I knew all would be well.

    The top row and the 5-button row seem to be the longest to get used to. I can do the top row confidently now — without looking down — but other than the far right “taunt” button on the 5-button row, I’ve still got some muscle memory to build.

    Keep at it and good luck!

  3. Kyngston says:

    I was getting carpal tunnel due to pinky-on-left-shift key, so I started looking into footpedal solutions for all my [modifier] macros. It was surprisingly hard to find. I finally found the guys who make the stealthswitch. Unfortunately the original stealthswitch only works as a “boss” key to hide the current application. However I spoke to the folks, and they had a stealthswitch 2 that was coming out which was programmable to any key. I was able to order a pre-production stealthswitch2, and now I have 2 footpedals, one to toggle my vent, and one as RCtrl

  4. Grendalsh says:

    If you ever get a chance, try the Nostromo N52te. Sadly, Razor booched the software for this, but the hardware is top notch and addresses several of the issues you mentioned. The only real negatives are diagonals on the dpad are in beta and there’s fewer keys. However, the key and dpad placement are spot on. I’ve been using my n52te for over a year, and the original n52 (same form factor, less whistles) since WoW launch. Used it with every class so far, and it’s just a trooper.
    While the G13 fixes the problems on the n52te, it has its own shortcomings – side grade at best. However, if you’re currently using just keyboard, do yourself a favor and take a serious look at either of these awesome devices!

  5. Daniel says:

    Im beta testing Aion. I just went from a belkin n52te to the G13 and Like the G13 vastly more. The N52te lagged bad on my FPS games adn the G13 does not, at all. I dont like the flat joystick but it aint that bad really.

    Here’s my layout for my Chanter.

    I have 3 Key maps set up:

    For M1 Kep maps I hit the G8 key and then I have 1 thru = set up under this key map for basic attack moves and spells.

    Then if I need to switch to a quick heal, I hit the G15 key which switches me to the M2 kep maps where I have Ctrl+1 thru Ctrl+= set up for all my healing spells and hots.

    Then if I need to cast buffs and auras, I hit the G20 Key, they are set up for Alt+1 thru Alt+=.

    Believe it or not, its fast. It doesnt take any time to switch between them. Usually Im in Key map M1…so it just attack and damage spells…then if I need a quick heal…BAM! M2 key map, hit the G2 key for a quick heal (binded to Ctrl+1 in M2) then BAM! Back to M1, hit G2 (binded to key 1 under M1) and cast another damage spell.

    I use the thumb keys for jump and auto run and use the joystick for straffing and backwards movement while I use the mouse for moving and turning.

    Works good so far.

  6. oldschool1968 says:

    I am wanting to set my g13 up to duplicate my bartender style ui,.. how do i assign say bar 2 spell 1 “g8″ to the button ,.. prolly an easy question but i just dont see how to do it,.. ” limping along with just the number assigned 1 through = atm

  7. maniascity says:

    you’ve convinced me… am ordering a g13 🙂

  8. doman18 says:

    Well i admire you that you found g13 comfortable. When i was looking device for WoW i noticed that for me G13 failed in most importand thing – ergonomics. There are too many buttons placed in very messy way and i assumed that it would be very hard to remember all of them. I mean not just remember what skill is on which button, but using skills have to be an instant reaction without thinking. Situations like for example “now we using fear, which is on … ah yes on G21 button” cant happen.
    Thats why i chose Saitek. Because i dont have to look for buttons – all 4-button sections i have under my 4 fingers. 12-14 buttons are perfect for Shift, Alt, ctrl buttons and i think it would be hard to distinguish them from other buttons on G13.

    But nevertheless G13 is on the best way to be the most comfortable gaming device. If Saitek would keep shape of command unit but also add features from G13 (memory, low concave keys, soft grip, without this stupid LCD panel offcourse) then i would buy such thing instantly

  9. Pytte says:

    One thing that might help in the beginning is to actually put your bartender bars or whatever you use the same way as the G13 is layout .. its 5 rows so it takes up quite some screen real estate, but after 1 or 2 weeks you will be able to remember where the buttons are, and you can move them back to long bars again.

    One thing you should defiently NOT do is plug in the G13, bind all keys at once, and start a raid 5 mins later… you will say EXCUSE ME really quickly and go back to your keyboard again…

    Sit down and really think of how you click on your keyboard now, and how it would be possible to move it over to the g13 without to much moving around of the buttons.

    I really miss the CTRL and SHIFT keys.. but found the thumb buttons to be able to do that.

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