Moving with ESDF
Read A guide to PvP keybinding, part 1.
ESDF is keybinding code for a type of hand position that moves the hand slightly to the right. As you can see, the movement keys are no longer WASD, but ESDF (hence the name). (See last week's column for an explanation of the colors in the charts
There is a reason ESDF is so widely praised as a fantastic adaptation: It gives you access to more keys with very little sacrifice
! I highly recommend this variant for the user who is currently using the common WASD with roaming pinky positioning.
This type of hand positioning gives the WoW
player access to more keys on both the left and right. A roaming pinky can now access A and Z without much trouble. Moreover, the index finger can find its way back to home row much easier because of the little ridge on F. ESDF positioning also allows the hand to have easy access to more keys to the right, such as 6, Y, H, and B.Roaming index
Roaming index is another type of hand position variant, but this type is much different than ESDF. Most WoW
players rest their hand on the A, W, and D keys using their ring finger, middle finger, and index fingers respectively.
However, players who use a "roaming index" style instead rest their fingers on home row and use their ring finger to touch the W key. This means their index finger is free to "roam" amongst the middle keys, giving them a more friendly access to F, G, C, V, R, T, and 5.
I haven't played a lot of games other than WoW
, so when I started playing, the roaming index style was very natural to me. I haven't tried to break the habit, because as we'll see very shortly, this positioning is arguably the most optimal hand position for keybinding.
Look at all those green keys in the center of the keyboard! Moreover, there aren't any purple keys anywhere to be found with roaming index positioning.
Roaming index definitely allows the user to have the most keys easily accessible without using modifiers. Perhaps the biggest draw of roaming index is the ability to access 7, U, J, and N without much difficulty.
The Z key is much harder to use in this configuration, but this is an acceptable sacrifice in light of the large amount of access the user has in the middle of the keyboard. R, T, G, C, and V all become prime real estate for the roaming index. Moreover, if you use your mouse for autorun, the Z key is actually fairly accessible with the ring finger.Spell Interrupts: The key to the castle
While this is certainly debatable, I believe the most important keybind a PvPer has access to is his keybind to interrupt enemy casters. Stopping a heal is the difference between victory and defeat far more than I'd like to call attention to.
I highly recommend binding your primary spell interrupt to E, R, or F, if you're not using ESDF. If you're using ESDF, your spell interrupt key should probably be R or G, or possibly T.
Your index finger is probably the quickest and most reliable finger on your left hand. You want to give it access to spell interrupts to maximize your chances of hitting that enemy spell. A thumb button on a mouse is another great place to put an important spell interrupt ability. On my death knight, I have multiple spell interrupts, so I bind them to E and R, and Strangulate is on my thumb button.My personal keybinds
As I've mentioned, I use the Roaming Index WASD keybind system -- I'll be disclosing my keybinds for my warlock. I use a very similar keybind system on all my other characters, which I will explain after the wall of text.`~ Immolate1 Curse of Exhaustion
and Conflagrate2 Bane of Agony3 Corruption4 Unstable Affliction
, Hand of Gul'dan
, and Shadowfury5 Haunt
, and Chaos Bolt
(51 pointers)6 Drain Life7 Shadow Ward
(previously Drain Mana
, Shadow Ward was on 8)Tab Demonic Circle: SummonQ Life TapW,A,D
Pet macro / interrupt (Sacrifice
, Spell Lock
, Axe Toss
, etc)R Death CoilT
Tab target" (because I have a roaming index, it's easier to tab target on T)Y Howl of TerrorF FearG
Move petZ Bane of DoomX Searing PainC Fel FlameV Shadow BoltB ShadowflameN Curse of WeaknessSPACE
JumpSHIFT + `~ IncinerateSHIFT + 1 Soul FireSHIFT + 2 Racial ability
(except for Every Man For Himself)SHIFT + 3 PvP Trinket
(Every Man For Himself is also here)SHIFT + 4
Power macro (on-use trinkets + Demon Soul
+ engineering use items, etc.)SHIFT + 5 Soul LinkSHIFT + 6 Fel ArmorSHIFT + 7 Demon ArmorSHIFT + Tab Demonic Circle: TeleportSHIFT + Q
Other pet ability macro (Felstorm
, Succubus Knockback
, Imp Dispel, Felhunter Dispel, etc.)SHIFT + W
Flying mountSHIFT + E
Pet focus macro (Spell Locks, Seduces, Axe Toss on my focus target)SHIFT + R
Death Coil focus macro (Death Coils my focus target)SHIFT + T Seed of CorruptionSHIFT + A
Ground mountSHIFT + S SoulshatterSHIFT + D
Focus target (acquires my focus)SHIFT + F
Fear focus macro (Fears my focus target)SHIFT + G Healthstone
macro (eats healthstone, uses battlemaster trinket, etc)SHIFT + H Health FunnelSHIFT + Z Curse of TonguesSHIFT + X
Pet attack focus macro (tells my pet to attack my focus target)SHIFT + C SoulburnSHIFT + V Soul HarvestSHIFT + B Banish
Focus macro (Banishes my focus target; I do not have a regular Banish cast)SHIFT + N
Curse of Weakness focus macro (CoWs my focus target)SHIFT + SPACE Immolation Aura
(Metamorphosis)CONTROL + `~
through CONTROL + 6 cast the normal spell on my focus target (I rarely use these)CONTROL + Q Drain SoulCONTROL + E Summon ImpCONTROL + R Summon SuccubusCONTROL + A
Bandages my targetCONTROL + S
Bandages myselfCONTROL + D Fel DominationCONTROL + F Summon VoidwalkerCONTROL + G Summon FelguardCONTROL + Z
Curse of Tongues focus macro (CoTs my focus target)CONTROL + X Summon FelhunterCONTROL + SPACE Demon Leap
(Metamorphosis)MOUSE MIDDLE BUTTON
Autorun (I use this far more than I use W to move)MOUSE THUMB BUTTON 1
Ventrilo push-to-talk keyMOUSE THUMB BUTTON 2
Tertiary spell interrupt on certain classesAn explanation of my keybinds
These keybinds aren't intended to be "perfect." Perfect keybinds are keybinds that work for you
, not a set that works for other people. I'm just listing my personal keybinds because I've found that organizing spells and abilities in a logical manner has helped me to improve my game.
I'm not a big mouse guy, unfortunately. I just haven't shelled out the cash to get a mouse with a ton of buttons on it. I'm not sure I'd really want one, either. One of my friends considers it a godsend for pet movement. More power to him!
I don't care much for Alt modifiers, as my roaming index positioning can make it complicated to use Alt while stretching to 7 or J. Control is also an awkward modifier, but it's the price I pay for having lots of nice, index-based keybinds.
You'll notice that most of my DoTs are from 1 to 5. These are instant-cast, spammable abilities that whatever class I'm using has access to. I try to not put long cooldowns on the number keys unless they're on 6 or 7. Your mileage may vary.
Shift keybinds are important cooldowns that I don't want to accidentally hit. Demonic Circle: Summon is the regular keybind, while Demonic Circle: Teleport is the Shift keybind. This is important because I don't want to accidentally hit my teleport at any given time during an arena match or rated battleground. If I accidentally hit my summon, that's fine because I'll probably be on the move anyway (and it has a cast time so it won't do anything), or I'll just relocate my portal. It's certainly less devastating than getting out of a good position or burning an important survivability cooldown.
Shift also allows me to (pun incoming) shift my abilities from affecting my target to affecting my focus. I prefer Shift to do this in most circumstances to control because my roaming index hand positioning allows for greater reach with Shift, as well as less awkward positioning if I hit Control.
Also, notice that abilities that cannot be used in multiple trees (Unstable Affliction and Shadowfury, for instance) occupy the same keybind. This is to save on space -- it also feels nice knowing that my 4 key is bound to important abilities all around the board, even if they're pretty different in what they do.Listening Music:
Whitney Houston. Few voices will ever be heard that are as incredible.
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