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World of Warcraft: Learning to Use Keybinds

Why and How to Use Keybinds in WoW


September 17 2011

If you really want to excel at World of Warcraft, particularly in PvP combat, you have to learn to use the keyboard to activate most or all of your abilities rather than clicking on the shortcut bar. Many new and even intermediate level players continue to debate this, but there's very little argument among top-ranking players, who overwhelmingly use keybinds. The importance of keybinds varies from one class to another, and it is possible to use a combination of binds and clicking, but generally speaking, the more you do with your keyboard (and extra mouse buttons if you have them) the better you will become.

Why Keybinding is Better Than Clicking

One of the most important reasons to learn to use keybinds is that it is much faster than finding abilities on your shortcut bar, moving your cursor over them, and clicking them. It eliminates the time it takes to move the cursor around, even if you know where everything is. Keybinding is also highly reliable and leaves your mouse available for other important things, such as turning.

If you use the keyboard to turn you'll find that you rotate at a fixed rate, and it's quite slow. Turning by holding down the right mouse button and moving the mouse does not limit the speed of your rotation, allowing you to run in far tighter circles and even change directions 180 degrees in a split second. This increased maneuverability can benefit any class, but it's particularly important for melee classes like Warriors and Rogues.

Most keybinders leave the WASD keys bound to their default movement functions but use the mouse to move instead. Steering with the mouse is superior to steering with the 'A' and 'D' keys, and you can move forward by pressing both left and right mouse buttons at the same time, or assigning forward to a different mouse button. Moving in this way and employing keybinds makes it easier to navigate and use instant abilities without stopping, which is essential for certain classes.

What Are The Best Keybindings?

Naturally, what abilities you decide to bind to each key will vary a lot from one class to another and from one talent build to another, along with adjustments to accommodate personal preference or play style. A typical approach is to assign all the keys within easy reach of WASD to your most frequently used abilities. Because there aren't enough close keys for everything, slightly less used abilities get assigned to 'Shift' and 'Ctrl' modifiers of these same keys.

While the "best" keybinds are bound to vary from player to player, a good place to start is by looking at what other people are using, particularly the pros. The WoW Keybinding Guide is full of specific information, including recommended configurations for every class and talent tree. If you want to go a step further or you play several classes, you should consider the Play Like A Pro software package from LvL86. It's a little expensive, but it greatly streamlines the process of entering keybinds, it's supported with a wealth of data, and it lets you print visual representations of your binds to facilitate the learning process.

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