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This guide is more for a player who has just started WoW arena, or MMORPG games in general.
What is a keybinding? A keybinding in WoW is a keyboard shortcut to operate your abilities. This allows you to not click your ability. Keybindings is really important as it allows a player to react faster and multi-task better.
Here's a screenshot of half the keybindings I use on my Retribution Paladin:
As you can see, there's quite a variety of ways to keybind your abilities. Having a keybinding to nearly everyone of your abilities and macros is what many top players do.
Where to start off:
So what's a good way to start off with keybindings? I would start by actually keybinding everyone of your abilities that you use! It's never good to click an ability from your bars. This dramatically reduces your reaction time and is similar to "lagging" yourself. If you're not used to it at first don't mind it! It takes time to get used to keybindings.
To keybind an ability in WoW, you can hit escape and click on the "Keybindings" option.
After you get into the page you'll see a lot of areas where you can set your keybindings. Some basic keybindings to set first is usually 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. These 5 numeric buttons are in a comfortable spot for most people to use. I would recommend setting these to your main abilities. In my keybindings here, I've set 1 to Crusader Strike, 2 to Judgement, 3 to Cleanse, 4 to Word of Glory, and 5 to Hammer of Wrath which is almost my top 5 commonly used abilities in the game.
After you set some basic keybindings for your main abilities start looking into some of the more advanced keybindings by using modifiers.
Keybinds in WoW allow modifiers that allows you to do more with your keyboard. It would be quite hard to fit all the abilities needed in PvP without it! Modifiers are buttons you press along with another to use an ability. In my binds here I've covered modifiers such as "Alt", "Shift", and "Control". For example, my exorcism ability it is Shift+A.
Each person is different with what modifiers they are comfortable with. I would not recommend someone to blindly copy my keybindings or anyone elses. Every person's hand is built differently and you should keybind your abilities to the way you see fit. I am extremely comfortable with "Shift" and "Alt". I also have flexible hands that allows binds like "Ctrl+Z" to be possible.
To start off try using "Alt" as a modifier first. From my experience with top players, almost everyone of them use "Alt" in some way. Give it a shot! Try binding Alt+1 / Alt+2 to some of your more important abilities. I bind Alt + 1 / Alt + 2 to my crowd-control abilities like Hammer of Justice and Repentance.
What makes a good keybinding?
A good keybinding is something you'll be comfortable with. Keybindings that won't force you to look at your keyboard and also gives you an easy time to remember is good. Some good keybindings to free up a lot of times are the non-modifiers ones that WoW uses in default. This includes "Y", "W", "R", "A", "T" and more. Many top players free up the majority of their default keybindings for their own abilities.
Something I did with my keybindings is I unbound most of those letters I've spoke of. In return, I binded my "PvP Pane" and "Achievement Pane" to a simple modifier version instead. My "R" for example is not reply. Currently, it's a macro for repentance on Arena Target 1. My reply is "Shift + T" instead. "Shift+T" is something harder to press, but reacting super fast to replies is not usually too needed.
List of Keybinding Ideas:
- Caps Lock
- Mouse 3 and Mouse 4
- Middle Mouse Button
- Scroll Up and Down with your mouse
- A lot more!
It's almost never good to back-peddle or keyboard turn in WoW. Using your mouse and strafe to move is generally the most efficient way and you'll likely perform much better once you get used to it!
Make sure to keybind your abilities in a good sequence. In my keybindings shown above, I keybinded most of my most common abilities and rotation from ` to 5. You don't want your main rotation to be Ctrl + Z and Shift + Q. This causes your hand to move in unnecessary motions, making your reaction time slower.
Keybindings with good sequences should give you minimal hand movement. You should be able to use most of your abilities without much physical effort.
My sequence for my damage abilities goes like this:
` - Templar's Verdict (The biggest retribution paladin hitting ability)
1 - Crusader Strike (Most commonly used damage ability)
2 - Judgement (Gives me mana back, and one of the most important abilities in my rotation)
5 - Hammer of Wrath (An execution ability)
Shift + A - Exorcism (A proc required ability to use instantly)
Alt + W - Holy Wrath (A low used filler ability)
Practice makes perfect. Once you have your keybindings set don't be afraid to try them out in action. Go into an arena match, or into a battleground. You may lose a few times or perform poorly due to not being familiar with them. However, that's the fastest way to learn! Just make sure not to go into a match that will be too important.
You can also try using the target dummies as practice. I know Diziet in season 9 practiced his Boomkin spec on target dummies for 4 hours straight. When I came back from dinner, a shower, and some online shows we hit rank 1, so good keybindings and practice definitely pay off.