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#1 Azmodean

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 03:01 PM

Player mechanics
So after seeing multiple high rated players' stream and movies i realized something; most of these guys have put all their focus into developing perfect strategies but completely neglected their own mechanics.

Now what do i mean with mechanics? It's a term often used to describe a Starcraft players fundamentals such as macro and micro. Koreans have realized how important good mechanics are and of such have perfected how they control the interface of Starcraft. Tasteless has a great 3-part tutorial over at starfeeder, which inspired me to do the same for wow.

Yeah you may look at my ratings and go "OMG SCRUB GTFO" - I'm not going to try and excuse my current ratings, as this is not my only char and also, i have canceled my subscribtion. For the detectives out there go check my statistics on armory, I have been higher rated than this =P

This tutorial will be based on a healer PoV although many of the concepts covered in this could be applied to any class/spec/role.

The good stuff
Most pvp'ers have figured out the limitations of the default layout which is as follows:

Posted Image
http://bayimg.com/naJALAaCF

wasd = Movement
1,2...0 = spells
F1,F2,F3,F4,F5 = Target party members

Now what most players do is that they change the movement keys. Good start, using "esdf" or even "rdfg" (my preference) frees up keys on the keyboard for quick access to spells.

The next obvious step is to bind "Q", "E" and other keys near your movement keys to spells. The advantage is obvious, it allows to you use all your normal spell binds, but adds 2 extra which are very easily accessible.

However, this still isnt enough keybindings. Some of the players who go to tournaments have 50+ keybinds !. So how do they achieve that? They start using modifier keys (Control, Shift) to their spell binds. They'll have something like Frost Nova bound to shift+q. Lets think about the consequences of doing this for a second. Sure it allows you to have more keybinds, but does it feel natural? Does it feel easy to hit during intense moments of arena? Yeah you can train yourself to use this kind of setup, but above all: MAKE IT EASY FOR YOURSELF. How often have you seen a 2500+ stream misclicking stuff from time to time? You see that constantly, or at least often enough to be significant. I really believe this is because of the modifier key approach, which in my oppinion should be kept to a minimum. "But Azmo, I need all those keybinds" - Yes. Yes you do, and here is how you'll get them back:
Most people have so-called "gaming-mice" these days. These kind of mice usually have more than the normal 2 buttons + mouse wheel. I use the Logitech MX518 in this tutorial as it is the mouse i currently use, but you should be able to figure out something similar with your own mouse.
What you do is you bind 2 action bars to your mice, so you can easily flip between the two. This gives you a massive 12 (!) extra keybinds by sacrificing 2 on your mouse. Not too shabby.

Posted Image
http://bayimg.com/naJApaacF

You now have 24 easily accessible keybinds at your disposal, 12 more than the default setup. This is a fair bit away from 50+ keybinds, but a good starting point. Once you've filled these 24 keybinds and you feel like you still need more, try to incoorporate your mouse buttons. Still need more? No other way than adding modifier keybinds, but do it in a clever way. If your normal rotation is "q, 5, shift+q, e" you will find yourself messing up the rotation more than you need to since, as I mentioned earlier, modifier keys are clunky and akward. It would probably be a good choice to replace the "shift+q" keybind with something like "a".

Healer mechanics
This is the part i originally wanted to discuss so now that we have the basics down, lets get on with it.
I cant tell how many healers use mouse-over macros or click their teammates. DONT DO IT! It is the worst, most newbie thing you can do. It is indeed worse than backpeddling. Even hydra does this is his 7th movie, but he is forced to use the default UI which is horrible for showing debuffs and having your mouse over your teammate is the only way to know all the debuff he has, so lets not take anything away from hydra.

Why is clicking bad? Contrary to popular belief, it is not because of speed. With practice, clicking can easily be as fast as keybinding all your stuff. After all, even with 1 second GCD wow is locked at 60 apm. What really makes the difference though, is the fact that you forgot what should be your most important mantra: MAKE IT EASY FOR YOURSELF. It is not easy to have godlike Toxiq (quake legend) aim and hit those boxes with your mouse during intense battles, and when you are a healer consider how many times during an arena battle you have to switch target. Yeah, it's a lot of times.
Another disadvatange of clicking teammembers is that it takes 100% of your focus/concentration. It is not like you can glimpse quickly at your teammate and then instantly dispel him. With clicking, you have to conciously move your mouse to your partners icon, make sure you hit it, and then you can dispel. Very inefficient to say the least, and remember, targeting people is NOT on the GCD. The amount of stuff you can do while still keeping your GCD constantly on is what makes the difference between a good and a great player. As i said before wow is locked at 60APM with the GCD so the only way to be faster than your opponent is to use everything thats not on the GCD effectively.

How to achieve this? The default layout already takes care of this, with the f1, f2, f3, f4 and f5 keys. Start using them ! It will feel weird at first but trust me: It will not only make you a better player it will also increase the enjoyment you get from playing when everything just "flows" and there is not clucky mechanic holding you back you start to notice a lot more things during the match.

Once you've grown accustomed to this setup you will realize that using the F1-5 keys suffer from the same problem as the modifier keys do: It doesn't feel very natural, especially for me the f4 and f5 keys never became something i could fluently put into my gameplay so here is what i did:

Use your extra mouse buttons for targeting instead of actual spells ! Why? Most spells you would put on your mouse have a cooldown or a cast time and hence does not need to be hit as fast as targeting as spells suffer from GCD and targeting does not.

Here is my current setup which I honestly believe is superior to anything else I've seen:

Mousewheel down: Target self
Mousewheel up: Target teammate1
Mouse sensitivity decrease: Target teammate2

If you have more mouse keys than this, feel free to put in teammate 3 and 4, target focus target, or even an /assist macro.

(When I played warlock i used the mouse for every single pet ability. Attack, pull back, spell lock, devour magic and so on. This was before I got interresting in improving my mechanics and as such I havent done extensive testing with this setup so I'm not sure whether this is the optimal setup)

Focus mechanics
Almost everyone i've played with uses gladius->right click to focus target people. This is fine at the beginning of the game as you usually have a few seconds to do this before the game really starts off. But as your 2nd most important matra dictates, CLICKING IS BAD, this is obviously not optimal when the game picks up and you need to do it during intense battles.
What I did was to use "½" to make my target my focus target. I didn't use this key for anything else, so why not? I then added capslock to target my focus target (I prefer this to having 50+ focus keybinds. Which is better is hard to determine, 50+ keybinds is probably the way to go if you want to be a pro but for us human beings just going for gladiator and rank1 either is fine).

My keyboard setup

Posted Image
http://bayimg.com/OaJaCAACf

(Note that 3,4 and 5,6 are bound to the same spell to avoid missclicks)

As you can see if you compare this picture with the default one, everything is much closer to the movement keys and therefore more accessible. If you have somewhat big hands as I do, you can easily throw in a few modifier keybinds inthere to increase the amount of bind you have.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on player mechanics, please let me know what you think.
(If you are too pro to read this guide, please just stay away instead of starting a flame war. Thanks)
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#2 WarpedAcorn

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 03:19 PM

Good stuff. When elitists think they are the best and stop looking for ways to improve, they stagnate and get passed over. You always gotta look for ways to change/improve your game. Some of it involves stepping out of your comfort zone.
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#3 migzor

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Posted 31 December 2009 - 11:37 PM

Keybinding will vastly improve your performance in arena, you just have to be fluent with them.

I have considered moving my movement keys around, although it doesn't feel comfortable.

But coming to think of it there are still alot of not so crucial spells that I do click, I guess i'll sort that out :rolleyes:
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#4 Lover

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 12:00 AM

i've thought millions about binding target party somewhere else and I agree on using modifiers only when you absolutely need them, but all my easily accesible binds are already taken(yes, this includes mwup, mwd, mwleft, mwright, thumb1, thumb2 and the + - on the g9), and I really don't feel clicking party frames is gimping me, atleast nowhere near to the extent me beign awful is.

After all they aren't a moving target so they arent that hard to hit, once you get used to it you'll hit them in roughly the amount of time it takes you to move your finger from numbers to the F's since it's kind of feels sloppy to me to target via F's.
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#5 Seriana

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 12:57 AM

I have considered moving my movement keys around, although it doesn't feel comfortable.


I've tried moving my movement keys from WASD to ESDF, my fingers got unbelievably painful and cramped in a few minutes of gameplay because I frequently use Shift and Control as modifiers.

Unless you're some sort of dexterity god I really wouldn't recommend it
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#6 Stokes

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 01:04 AM

Why is clicking bad? Contrary to popular belief, it is not because of speed. With practice, clicking can easily be as fast as keybinding all your stuff. After all, even with 1 second GCD wow is locked at 60 apm


Ability use is capped, but you generally are constantly moving and keybinding allows more precise control of your movements than clicking does.
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#7 Nesgawl

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 01:45 AM

When clicking you risk spells not triggering and there's a bigger chance to missclick. Not to mention I'd love to see you be a death knight spamming diseases while running after your target. Your hand would hurt.
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#8 migzor

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 02:23 AM

Not to mention I'd love to see you be a death knight spamming diseases while running after your target. Your hand would hurt.


I thought DK's used their faces ?? :confused:
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#9 Nesgawl

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 02:33 AM

Yes we do - that's why we keybind and don't click!
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#10 Gyonshke

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 08:46 AM

best first post ever
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#11 Marathi

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 09:04 PM

Be nice to see some sort of sticky on player spells, auras, spellstealable buffs, dispellable buffs etc.

As a mage I had to learn what buffs to keep an eye out for to spellsteal, etc. :x
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#12 Azmodean

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 08:40 PM

Thanks for all the feedback guys, really appriciate it. Once my IRL slows down a bit (and I come back to the game) I'll make sure to fix typos and the likes, but for now this will have to do.

I actually think a lot of people who qualifies as Arena Junkie could benefit from this tutorial as well, seeing some of these posts:
http://www.arenajunk...ad.php?t=141420
http://www.arenajunk...ad.php?t=142269
http://www.arenajunk...ad.php?t=142198

If anyone could post a link to this in those threads or even start a new thread in the Junkie-section I'd appriciate it. (Or a moderator could copy/paste it there, as it still fits in The Waiting Room)

After all they aren't a moving target so they arent that hard to hit

They may not be hard for you to hit consistently, but my point about clicking requiring 100% focus still applies. I still firmly believe that if you would make an effort switching to using keybinds (dont be lazy, changing to a new setup takes time) you would increase your potential as a player.

I've tried moving my movement keys from WASD to ESDF, my fingers got unbelievably painful and cramped in a few minutes of gameplay because I frequently use Shift and Control as modifiers.

Read the whole post please, you should try to avoid using shift and ctrl so much exactly because of this.

Ability use is capped, but you generally are constantly moving and keybinding allows more precise control of your movements than clicking does.

I think we agree, movement is not limited by the GCD either so this is ofcourse something you'll want to be using efficiently.

When clicking you risk spells not triggering and there's a bigger chance to missclick.

I'm not sure I understand your comment. If you mean miss-clicks then i agree, thats a big possibility when clicking.

best first post ever

Not really my first post here, but I prefer using this account for this tutorial. But thanks for the support, xoxo =D.

Be nice to see some sort of sticky on player spells, auras, spellstealable buffs, dispellable buffs etc.

Great idea! But I really dont think it fits the purpose of this tutorial, maybe I'll make something like you suggest in the future. Or seeing that you've learned it, you could write a tutorial. I'm sure people would appriciate it.
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#13 dubroya

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 09:20 PM

Really nice guide man, best first post ever and I'm trying this out at the very moment!!!
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#14 Aenoan

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Posted 04 January 2010 - 06:29 AM

Lucky for me I am an old school PVPER ( I love you UO with all my heartz!) So I've only had to adapt my spells/abilities to my 10yr old binds. :P

for me personally, my mouse is all movement, 1 button = right/left click so now I just hold one button to move and I can click the other button is free for vent (left click)

I basically use the following this is only half the keys though. Because of EQ and UO I've learned to remap everything, I've never had the pleasure of playing a FPS game like CS/Quake, i wasn't really into those games, so I never got used to WASD.

123 = diseases + blood strike (#3)
q = obliterate/runestrike
w = deathstrike/runestrike
e = death coil
r = pet stun (shift+4 = focus gnaw)
t = trinket
a = blood boil
s = pest
d = frost/heart/scourge strike
x/c/v = all my defensives out of the way so I don't blow something prematurely.
f1-f4 is basically amz/ams/pact and trinket #2
mouse 4/5 = silence/chains of ice and focuses.
y/p horn and mount shift/p is flying mount.
z+shift/alt = chances my presences.

Pretty simple easy to use and everything is right there.
Also note, I have small hands, so I find it much harder to have to reach when using wasd and rdfg. I also have a tough time holding down r/w and the turn key and trying to use a spell, I guess if I had something like the naga razer or something for a mouse, I would definitely change.

Basically use what you feel is best. Clicking is generally bad but if your used to doing that and first timer pvper, start off small do 3 or 4 skills at first, work your way up.
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#15 Shietwagon

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:56 AM

While I have never thought of swapping actionbars with mouse, I still think that just binding modifiers to the mouse is more effective. Swapping actionbars gives you 12 more, but adding a modifier to your mouse doubles the number of binds you can use, so assuming that you use at least 13 binds, its more effective. That said, I also use many more binds than 24 so I think I would have difficulty capping myself at that.

To list the binds that I, personally, use: (I use the WASD base for movement, so I don't count those)

No modifier: 1,2,3,4,5,q,e,r,t,f,g,z,x,c,v,b
Shift modifier: 1,q,e,r,t,f,g,c,v
Ctrl modifier (on mouse): q,e,r,t,3,4,5
Alt modifier (on mouse): x,c,v,f,g,e,r,t

And I still have TONS (at least 15) of room for extra binds should I feel the need to bind more things.
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#16 Pharaun

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 04:26 AM

Decent guide overall.

Really, the following criticism is meant as constructive, as a fellow guide writer (:D) I mean nothing but respect:

I strongly disagree with your overall modifier key point. It should be easily possible to finger memorize comfortable modifier keys (capslock, shift for the most part). It's not easy with a RDFG or further movement base, yes.

I also don't get why you support using mouse keys as binding action bar swaps instead of modifiers (by no means an original idea on my part). Mouse keys make excellent modifier keys (perhaps the best, actually, since it gets rid of basically ALL awkwardness, assuming you're not using a 3 button mouse :P). Using two mouse buttons as modifiers opens up like 30~50+ hotkeys, not just 12. Also the argument can be easily made that you'd get stuck in the wrong action bar just as easily as fubbing a modifier key (not likely either way if you have them finger memorized - modifiers or swapped action bars will be missed much if you do the time beforehand).

Overall though, very good. I agree that clicking Gladius to focus is a bad move (though most of that is my stigma from pre-arena# unit ID targetting NIGHTMARES OH MY GOD STOP CLICKING IT, IT DOESN'T WORK). I'd not go with a target focus key, since that's an extra hit, but the effect is virtually the same since it's a big, fast key.

Also good points on the duplicate binds... very useful if you have the space, especially for panic buttons.

And lastly, a good guide should not need anti-troll warnings at the end. It should be strong enough to stand against them without calling them out.
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#17 Zoltån

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 04:50 AM

If anyone could post a link to this in those threads or even start a new thread in the Junkie-section I'd appriciate it. (Or a moderator could copy/paste it there, as it still fits in The Waiting Room)

Posted it in junkies section for you :)
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#18 calovina

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 08:45 AM

does anyone else has that problems with "START MENU" key on keyboard. how to get rid of it, if you don't count to pull off the key from keyboard.. sometimes i accidentaly press that spell and "START" key, and it throws me in dekstop,.. but we still win teh game in arena.
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#19 cydial

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 06:31 PM

The targeting parts a good idea, but you should expand it to including binds for arena frames as well.

Also, the bar switching is a very inefficient idea. It's far smoother to just bind everything to modifiers.

1-5 Q-Y A-H

With those keys add shift, alt, and ctrl modifiers.
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#20 bdub

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 06:49 PM

i remember watching a mage stream who would switch action bars so fast to cast different spells and i always wondered how he did it so pro....but using ur mouse buttons to switch action bars is a nifty idea i havent thought of. everything else i learned from my own experience like targetting using mhweel and not mouseover macros and using natural keybindings and modifier use.

good post though wish i read this months ago when i started my first healing class :)
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