Thursday, March 6, 2008

Hotkeys or Clickity?

If you've been following along up until now you may have noticed references in my posts to key bindings and what not. Basically I am a hot key fiend. I like to have as much as possible bound to my keyboard. It is for this reason that I have the lovely G15 gaming keyboard.

It's interesting to me that Emelin who has been playing FPS style games since forever has a completely different playstyle from me. He ascribes to the 'clicker' school.

Move around using the the WASD keys - plus strafing using Q & E. Points and clicks to activate spells etc.

Move around using the mouse and bind keys to use different abilities and macros.

Since I'm firmly in the butan stabbing camp I'll give you my reasoning for why I prefer this style

  1. Quick reaction times.
    I don't have to move my cursor to the point I want to click except for some out of combat things that I haven't bothered to hot key - like activating profession windows and the like. I can pretty much touchtype so I don't need to look at my keyboard while playing and keep 'like' items grouped so that I don't need to move my hand around too much while in combat.

  2. Cleaner UI
    Because I can bind so many things to hot keys (especially with the G15 swoon) I don't need to have all those buttons appear on my screen. I use the bongos2 mod and set up some actions bars with abilities and etc which I bind keys to and then set the bar to invisible. This is great when you are using several macros as well.

  3. Better movement
    When using the mouse to move you also have the ability to use the camera independent of the direction you are facing/moving. For instance I do this in BGs a lot when I'm on defence and scanning my surroundings for possible 'incs'. I also have the button 'v' bound to reverse camera so I can quickly see if X mob/horde toon is still chasing me.

Since I happen to have 3 toons that have reached a reasonable level this works well with the 3 different 'slots' for the 18 extra keys you have per slot with the G15. My slot for Jezrael is completely full with each key bound to an ability or macro. I have more macros key binds I want to set up too! Recently I've decided I want a hotkeyyed macro to turn growl on or off as I have been finding I am doing this quite a bit lately via clicking.

/play Intermission Music

I started this post about a week ago and since then I've been playing my mage a fair bit which has got me thinking.

I'm wondering whether the efficacy of clicking vs hotkeying is also impacted by the class you play. What I have noticed with my mage is that I will move around a lot more - in particular running in and out of melee range to drop arcane explosions and frost novas before returning to range. I've found it more effective to use the WASD keys to move around in this fashion - which therefore means I am using my other hand to trigger the keybound effects. This means I don't have that hand free for utilising the camera via my mouse.

On my druid I have found hotkeying to be fine - and especially good when I am tanking and need to use the camera to keep an eye on other mobs around my big bear butt (yes that is a purposeful reference to BBB one of my favourite feral druid bloggers).

I wonder what thoughts other people have? What's your experience? Do you think I'm smoking crack or just playing it? Teehee. Get it? Warcrack?


Kestrel said...

I have the G15 also, and have templates set up for my Hunter and Priest, but not the Rogue...yet.

However, for some reason I don't use them much. :( Thing is, they're very intuitive, and I'm such a klutz, I really NEED those extra keys...I even made label templates out of card stock!

I use the numeric keypad or the mouse for movement, so I can also reprogram the WASD keys.

But I also find with my priest, I'm more of a clicker than a pusher, which really is counter-productive. Maybe I need to play him more? ;)

Morn said...

Everything that I'll hit during a typical fight is done with hotkeys. The mouse is for turning and sometimes for targeting, and clicking on non-combat hotkeys like food, buffs, and crafting. But if I have to hit it during combat, it's an easy keystroke.

In addition to the numbers, I've also got Q A Z V and ~ bound to hotkeys. I don't think I hit G or W much so maybe they should become hotkeys too. (I move with ESDF instead of WASD)