The keys that bind

Warning: This is NOT a clicker versus keybinder post. This post is all about ME and I happen to keybind most of my abilities. Any comments the devolve into name-calling around a preference for clicking or binding will be removed. There are places for that kind of discussion, like the official WoW forums.

So… many a moon ago, back in high school… I fucked up my left hand. It involved a very sharp knife, a sink, some soapy water, and a trip to the ER at 10 on a Sunday night.

Therapy and surgery later, I still don’t have full use of it. My ring finger does not straighten and the pinky tends to have a mind of its own. Motor control on the whole with that hand isn’t what it once was. It’s easier for me to reach “down” on the keyboard (lower keys) than it is to reach “up” (the number keys).

What that means is that I can kinda press number 1 on the keyboard. Number 2 is pretty well impossible. Number 3 is hit or miss. Number 4 is OK. 5 and beyond just don’t exist for me.

Gee, where do your abilities start out being bound in the standard UI?

And where do your abilities end up when your action bar gets possessed?

(Yes, I could change this but there is no fit-all bind pattern for me to use for vehicle/possess situations).

I think a lot of my initial issues with playing the game on my first poor, abused warrior can be derived from the simple fact that I just could not effectively push the buttons that I wanted to push when I wanted to push them.

When we rerolled onto the Horde side, my husband came across a post for a keybinding set for rogues that is heavily dependent on the mouse wheel and modifier keys. I believe it was called the “Mouse of Doom” or something like that. He gave it a go early on in the development of his character.

I, on the other hand, doggedly stood by standard keybinds with my mage. By the time we reached Stranglethorn, I had run out of places to put abilities and was rapidly turning into a frustrated clicker because my damn hand would not do what I wanted it to do.

So I decided to try this Mouse of Doom approach.


PvP server. Complete overhaul of keybinds. High population server. Playing in prime time.

I died A LOT in STV.

But I did finally get the hang of it and now can’t imagine playing any other way.

When I rolled my new warrior, I immediately went with the MoD.

On my priest… offensive capabilities were on the mouse wheel while we were questing, but recently I realized that I had virtually no mobility and was still hitting 1-4 wrong while healing.

I’m now a full-blown healbot. Heals are on the wheel and I have no idea what I did with my damage spells. Please don’t ask me to DPS.

So what does the set up look like for the Mouse Wheel of Doom for my casters? (The priest pieces aren’t fully in place yet and are subject to much change, especially since I know I have more goodies to train later on. I know I forgot a few of them already since I don’t know the names of my spells very well yet.)


My home keys are QWE with my pinky floating in the space where my CAPS LOCK key was, ready to hit TAB. (CAPS and the Windows key got pulled off).

I have no keyboard turning capability unless I want to find the arrow keys.

My mouse has an additional 2 buttons on the thumb side.

One serves as my push-to-talk button for vent. It’s located in such a way that I can keep it depressed indefinitely and it does not interfere with my play (or my venomous diatribes in vent regarding the intelligence and breeding of paladins that don’t train Blessing of Wisdom).

The other side-mouse button is my mount button. If I hold SHIFT while clicking it, it turns on auto-run.

The tilt of my mouse wheel also allows me to strafe.

The keyboard:

~ = Set Focus. I have to reach a little to hit it, but I don’t hit it by accident.

1 = Trinkets. Currently my Talisman of Resurgence and Arcane Power. (Icy Veins is on its own button so I can keep it separate for Evocations in some fights.)

4 = Current important button. This could be a quest item that I need to click repeatedly or a macro needed for an encounter (Frost Spheres on Anub). Or even a poor-man’s version of hunter tracking (a /target macro to find the jerk that ganked your guildmate).

The rest of the number spaces have abilities, but I click them all.

5 = Equip lance.

6 = Equip main hand weapon instead of lance.

7 = Oh shit, I’m falling. Slow Fall or Levitate.

8 = Wand.

9 = Bandage.

0 = Health potion.

– = Mana potion.

= = Healthstone.

R = Main nuke. Arcane Blast on my mage, Greater Heal on the priest. Generally, something with a long cast time.

T = Interrupts. Counterspell for the mage.

Y = Achievements. Default.

U = Reputation. Default.

I = LFG. Default. Or is it now LFD? Whatever the Looking for More People to spend a miserable time with thing is called now.

O = Social. Default.

P = Spellbook. Default.

A = Purges/Removals. On the mage this is Remove Curse, priest it’s Remove Disease. I think my pally has Cleanse here.

S = Moving backwards. Horrible habit, I know, but I refuse to remove this bind. I need it when I’m trying to get into a building and keep hitting the door frame.

D = More purges or CC. Mage has Polymorph here (hold SHIFT+D and it’s a Presence of Mind + Polymorph). Priest has Dispel Magic.

F = Spellsteal. I think I had assist here at one point, it’s the default. But after I got X-Perl it was much easier to just click the damn frame the tank was targeting.

G = AoE cast sequence macro. I’m still toying with this one, it feels clunky. The idea is that the first press gets me Flamestrike (SHIFT + G makes it a PoM Flamestrike) and the second press gets me Blizzard.

H = Honor. Default.

K = Skills. Default.

L = Quest log. Default.

‘ = Fishing. Yeah, I know, a little weird. SHIFT + ‘ (so really “) is Disenchanting or Prospecting depending on the character.

B = Bags. Default. I think it only opens 1 and SHIFT + B opens all. Not sure.

N = Talents. Default.

ALT + C = Character pane.

ALT + F = Set to follow.

ALT + R = Respond to last whisper.

SHIFT + Z = Frostbolt.

CTRL + Z = Fireball.

CTRL + SHIFT + Z = Frostfire Bolt.

(I’m fairly well fucked if I’m reaching deep enough into the spell book to be pulling out those last three spells.)

That’s a lot of crap on the keyboard, what’s left for the mouse?


Mouse wheel click (MWC) = Blink. On my priest it’s wand.

MW Up (MWU) = Ice Lance. Renew.

MW Down (MWD) = Fire Blast. Flash Heal.

SHIFT + MWU = Frost Nova. Power Word: Shield.

SHIFT + MWD = Arcane Explosion. Holy Nova.

(For the mage, both are AoE abilities centered around me. On the priest, it just felt like a good place to have PW:S and HN matches AE well.)

CTRL + MWU = Arcane Barrage.

CTRL + MWD = Arcane Missiles.

ALT + MWU = Cone of Cold.

ALT + MWD = Scorch.

SHIFT + ALT + MWU = Flame Strike. Binding Heal.

SHIFT + ALT + MWD = Blizzard.

(For the mage, both are AoE abilities that require use of a targeting circle. On the priest, I can’t quite get Binding Heal to work on a mouseover so I’ve put it with a keybind that I *know* takes targeting on my part.)

SHIFT + CTRL + MWU = Zoom in camera.

SHIFT + CTRL + MWD = Zoom out camera.

CTRL + ALT + MWU = Currently empty, but I’m thinking Mirror Image and Shadowfiend can go here. Especially since I’ll actually have to start using the damn Images this patch.

CTRL + ALT + MWD = Mana Shield.

CTRL + ALT + MWC = Evocate

So on my mage, my fingers rest comfortably on QWE while waiting.

As soon as I get the go-ahead to open it up, my pointer finger moves to R and I start chain casting Arcane Blast. As soon as it’s time to clear the stack, my pinky drops to CTRL and I go up or down on the mouse wheel depending on wanting Arcane Barrage (rarely) or Arcane Missile (99% of the time).

I can move using the keyboard while casting any of my damage instants. Utility instants (Spellsteal, Counterspell), I can move with the mouse. Between the mouse and keyboard I can even move while aiming Blizzard and Flame Strikes.

All buffs are clicks.

Fire and Frost Wards are clicks. As are Mana Gems and Arcane Torrent.

Ice Block and Invisibility are clicks, but I have it set for right-click to remove the aura.

So that’s everything I can remember about my keybinds. It’s a little different for my melee characters and they’re still young enough to not have much to push anyway.

Anyone else do something crazy like this?

If I put out a challenge for someone to redo their binds like this for a raid would anyone take me up on it? I dare you…


25 comments on “The keys that bind

  1. Jaedia says:

    Oh man I’d love to get some proper keybinding down but I’ve played for 4 or 5 years (I’ve lost track :x) with standard keybindings (1,2,3…etc. F1, F2. F3… etc.) with \ for fishing, B for mend pet and G for disengage. My mouse is too basic, and I’d get lost, confused and fuck up way too much, would take me weeks to get used to because I happen to be stupid xD

    Ah well, I at least keybind, that’s what’s important for a high end raider right?


  2. Chillyhollow says:

    What brand mouse do you use? The Solo MMO Player uses the G13 keyboard to compensate for similar hand damage.


  3. Tyræl says:

    Hehe..I used the MoD setup for warrior tanking back when I first started out. I also used it in combination with a devastate mouseover macro for aoe tanking. It was beast as hell but I just got tired of it. Now I am a clicker. This may change once my priest hits 70, since healing isn’t very effective as a clicker. Mouseover macros = FTW for healing.


  4. Fricassee says:

    I’ve been starting to do some serious PvP, and I feel like I need to completely overhaul my binds. Maybe I’ll use some of your binds.

    Question, do you ever run into problems with casting MWU or MWD when you MWC? I’ve been having issues with that, but it might be my terrible mouse (he’s hoping Christmas changes that!)

    As a corollary, you’ll be happy you haven’t unbound backpedal if/when you start tanking on your warrior. Being able to backpedal is a necessity for warriors (even though some warriors backpedal when they should strafe).


  5. Kessli says:

    This made me laugh because I was consistently missing heals due to having to use a precious finger to hit vent.

    Then I found the foot pedal of awesome!

    I can do vent push-to-talk on my foot pedal leaving my hands free for healy goodness.

    My guildies called me nerdy (and now they’re secretly buying one).


  6. magicstrudel says:

    Whoo boy, keybindings are something near and dear to my… fingers. You just inspired my post for today. That or I couldn’t think of what to write yet ;)

    I once tried putting everything on my mouse… it didn’t turn out so well. I’ve found that I *really really* like zooming in and out, and I can’t stand letting something random happen when I meant to zoom.

    I may try again… especially if Christmas means a Razer Naga :-D


  7. theerivs says:

    I’m way to lazy to keybind. I just use default stuff. Maybe my hand will curl up in a richtus claw at 60, but hey thats probably more because of the dirty mags I read. :)


  8. […] December 10, 2009 This post was inspired by and is in response to Arioch’s post today. […]


  9. Tebla says:

    I love the keybind. I have everything bound. There are a couple of things that have allowed me to remove a bunch of icons from my UI. One is OPie. I love that addon. I use it for mounts, ports, armor, bufffs, pots, etc.

    Also, and this is pricey and has gotten a bad name when it first came out, but I use the WoW mouse and really, I couldn’t play without it now. I use every button on it.


  10. Jess says:

    Have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t fix something that isn’t broke.”? Yeah, I decline your challenge. :P

    And that’s not crazy at all. I just got comfy using 1-6, F1-F5 and clicking 7-“=” and all other abilities. My healing and DPS has only improved since I started playing. My boyfriend, on the other hand, has crazy keybindings like you do. So, at least he’s not the only crazy person I’m associated with. <3


  11. Tyræl says:

    Finding out that Ari was crazy at this point in your relationship scares me..reference “steel dildo beatings” referenced by Tel in another post.


  12. Euery says:

    I have a friend who has never played WoW on a regular computer, on a regular sized keyboard, or with a mouse. He plays on his laptop and has everything keybound. It’s pretty crazy to watch because I honestly don’t know that I could play without a mouse, much less try to use that dang scrolly-pad-thingamajigger . . .UGH.

    I personally have things split between key bindings and my mouse. The only thing that keeps me from binding more to my mouse is that when I travel I have a much less functional travel mouse that I take with me.



  13. Ragnvald says:

    I used the default key bindings, for the most part. I have remapped a few utility-type things: z and x are mounts, v is blink, S-v is slow fall, and sadly that’s about it. I bought a 7 button mouse a few months ago, and still haven’t gotten around to mapping anything to it!

    I’ve been thinking lately that what’s holding me back from the next level of dps-awesomeness is my use of the default keymappings and UI. One of these days I need to find time to redo my UI, but keymappings shouldn’t take too long.

    My question is, do you folks use an addon to do all your fancy remappings? The default key mapping list is such a pain for me to sort through, and it’s tough to see when a key is already mapped to something. Any suggestions?

    Oh, and another specific question about your mappings: I love the idea of using R for Arcane blast, but the what do you remap Reply to? I’m worried that Reply=R is so hardcoded in my brain that I’ll blast something when I intend to chat…


  14. Raven says:

    I guess technically I’m a keybinder. I got a WoW Stealth?Steelseries?I don’t know? keyboard for my birthday. It’s a standard keyboard (sort of but is totally fucked up if you want to use the number pad for accounting purposes) with an extra keyboard on the end. I’ve bound everything I use in a raid to that and my mouse. (oh hubby had the steel series wow mouse and sold it on ebay the week after he bought it. We went with Razor FTW!) I can’t tell you my key bindings because its where they are, not what they are. I don’t even know what’s on them. Unfotunately it rebinds stuff on the standard keyboard so if I wanted to use the default bindings I’d be SoL. The ONLY problem I’ve ever had, and this started after I had a moment and slammed my keyboard on my desk (don’t ask and no things like that are not common), is that now when I hit one of my keys occassionally I’ll get some random occurance. Mostly it will set a random totem out. Once it started casting astral recall. It’s actually amusing and never interfered with a raid.

    ALL of my healing spells (Earth shield, rip tide, chain heal, etc.) and decursing are on my mouse (healbot and decursive). I use a Razor mouse with 5 buttons. (Razor is beyond awesome) Forward side button is vent and then there is left, right, wheel, and rear side button. I use all those buttons with a combos on alt, shift, and control so i guess I have about 20 different things I do on my mouse alone. (healbot and decursive are how I bind these so most of them are not even on my UI) I never really even thought about it. If I was just a clicker (which is saved for 1 time use spells like heroism and mounts) then I would suck at raids because it takes to long to find the damn thing. Being a keybinder also keeps my UI all neat and pretty. I even disabled some of what comes standard with spartanui (which is pretty spartan) because I just don’t need much.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s