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How to Keybind

January 18, 2011

Another awesome article. Thanks MMO


Aside from wanting shiny loot, I felt that now would be a great time to try to give back to the community. Keybinding is something that lots of people argue is or isn’t needed. On top of this, people who try to start often, as I first did, find it overwhelming, hopefully this will help.

This post will cover keybinds.

Part 1: What’s important about keybinding? (Blue)

Part 2: How do I do it? (Red)

Part 3: My Personal Binds (Blue again)

Keybinding, it’s importance is one typically overlooked by the people who don’t do it, sacred to those who do, and often considered hard to transition to for people new to the concept. It’s advantages in both PvP and PvE are as numerous as they are impacting.

Why Keybind:

The answer is two-fold when broken down to the most simplistic of reasons.

First, moving your mouse to click spells takes longer than simply hitting a button on your keyboard when practiced. The average class has well over thirty plus abilities, not counting targeting/focus/castsequence/pets and other macro’s or modifiers. This takes up a lot of room no matter how you configure your UI or how small you make your bars. You also lose the ability to pick certain targets out without the need to tab-target through all of them. This can mean missing a crucial interrupt by a short time, or losing pressure because you take longer on swapping.

Second is movement. Turning with your mouse is infinitely faster than turning with your keyboard. I say infinitely because it is only limited by the speed at when you can move your mouse and your reaction time. The simplest way to test this is to do the following. Go to any target dummy in any major town, stand so your back is toward it. Now, try any way you can to face this dummy. Keyboard turn to face it, reset your position, then use your mouse to face it. The mouse speed should win, provided you aren’t over eighty-five. Another common mistake is to backpedal. Again, stand in front, back to the and try again. If this target was a player, keyboard turning and back-pedaling would not get you to face them.

This will improve your PvE game as well, imagine if you will, a boss fight such as Marrowgar, even if it is outdated. The best clickers in the world can use WASD to move while clicking their abilities. But when Marrowgar charges during bonestorm, their turning to face the boss and getting to him costs them time. Anytime you ever have to turn, it is faster to do so with your mouse.

What do I keybind?

In short, everything. If under any reason you will ever use an ability or item it should be bound. Using your mouse to turn and target means that it isn’t freed up for moving to click skills. This is a good thing. It will seem like you don’t have near enough room on your keyboard to do this, but with the help of modifier keys (I’ll go into detail in post 2), I promise you can. I play a feral druid as my main, I have all of my abilities (including balance spells and heals) bound comfortably within reach of my left hand on the keyboard. If I can do that, all other classes can to.

———- Part Two! ———-

How to go about it:

The majority of people who click and want to make the transition to keybinding are overwhelmed by the thought. I admit, when I learned this on my own I was very much the same. I promise you thought, after this post you’ll feel much more comfortable about the situation, if not, find me in game and I’ll be happy to go over anything you want to know about it.

Things to know getting started:

What keys to use:

First thing is first, let’s take a minute to look at the image above and let me explain.

Blue: These are your movement keys. Unbind strafe from Q and E and make them A and D respectively. Strafing is important.

Green: These are the keys easiest to reach from blue, this is where your most important abilities should be bound. Interrupts and main attacking abilities go here.

Yellow: These keys may take a bit of a stretch of your fingers and move away from your movement keys, but are still ok. Bind these to things that you use, but not as often.

Pink: Are the modifier buttons. See below

Orange:Tab and space. Tab swaps to nearest target, space jumps.

Work in Stages!

Go in stages. Don’t try to do it all at once. Go in stages, when you’re comfortable with one stage, move on to the next.

Step 1: Unbind Q and E in the keybindings menu, make your strafe A and D. this forces you to use your mouse to turn.

Step 2: Bind the green buttons. Pick your most important spells and bind them to some of the green buttons, get used to using them that way.

Step 3: Work your way out!


Finally we get to the section I’ve said look below to find twice already. Modifiers! These keys let you use them in conjunction with another to use a different spell than if you pressed it alone. For example, on Rand I have

R bound to rake

Shift-R bound to rip

Ctrl-R bound to berserk.

Alt-R is unbound, I find it uncomfortable to use Alt personally.

This lets me use a button in the good zone more than once, multiplying the number of abilities I can fit onto the keyboard.

Important Things:

1.What you bind to which keys can and will be different for every player. A few things to keep in mind though. You should bind things so that they are easy to reach with one hand, leaving your mouse-hand free to do it’s job. Ctrl+7 is a bad idea.

2. A lot of these require that you unbind certain WoW functions to use them, C can no longer bring up your character pane when it’s a spell. That’s ok, there is a whole other half of your keyboard, and a number pad free! Rebind them in different places!

3. People’s hands and keyboards are different and because of this, what you are comfortable using may be different than me, remember, use keys closest to your movement keys first. I personally find it uncomfortable to use the Alt modifier, and my F1-4 keys are near out of reach. You may find using alt to work, and your F1-4 may be right on top of 1-5.

4. Healing addons can help! As a druid I have an ungodly amount of spells, if you are going to use a raidframe (healers always do) make sure it’s in a good place. Having heals set to modifiers+mousebuttons means you dont need to bind those to your other keys (if you have room though it’s still good to). Mouseover macro’s work wonders too!

5. Macro’s, like modifiers, are one way to get more room and bang for your buck. Using a macro that, when targeting enemy casts one thing, and friendly casts another, you can bind that to one button. Example as follows.

Bound to a button

/cast [harm, nodead] Lightning Bolt; [help, nodead] Healing Wave

This would cast LB if the target was an enemy and alive, and healing wave if target was friendly and alive.

Bind something similar to the same button with a modifier, and you have four+ spells on one button!

Do not, for the love of god, bind alt+f4 though.In fact, if you’re going to use alt, be careful of things like alt+f4, alt+tab, and so on. It’s another reason I personally don’t like it.

How to actually keybind:

For sake of ease I’m going to assume you know how to make macros and move them onto your bars, and move spells onto your bars. If not, another post for another time.

Simply hit esc, open your keybinding menu, scroll until you find the corresponding bar and button you want, and bind it to that button. If you have the addon bartender, it becomes even more simple. You would just type /kb mouseover the button, and press the button you want it to be bound to. Simple as that.

This has been your intro to keybinding, it covers actual keybinding, but not the more complex things like macro’s to help yourself. If you need any help, ask!

———- Part Three! ———-

My personal binds:

This is mostly to show you how, with the use of modifiers and other things, I grant myself the ability to have almost everything a druid needs bound. Some of these have shifted and changed with the addition of spells, or removal, but for the most part, it stands unchanged.


My Personal Keybinds (Feral Druid)

My personal keybinds are built around stance macros, letting them do different things in different forms so that I can pack as many abilites as I can into the keys. Don’t worry if you don’t understand macro’s enough to do it, remember, ask for help!

Sanything means Shift-button

Canything means Ctrl-button

Ctrl has a lot of my special macros and targeting functions that I wont post just to save room and time.

Also, my mouse binds are set to mouseover with an addon for healing, the healing spells are still bound even though I dont have them anymore (natures swiftness and swiftmend) just in case.

S1: bearform

S2: catform

S3:Stance Macro (shifts from form to same form for snares)

S4: travel form

S5- flight form

` : PvP trinket

1 : (Bear)-mangle (Cat)-mangle/pounce (travel/caster/tree) nourish

2 : (Bear)-swipe (Cat)-swipe

3 : (Bear)-lacerate (Cat)-Bite

4 : (Bear)-faerief (Cat)- Tigers fury

5 : (Bear)-enrage (Cat)-stealth

Q : (Bear)-Charge (Cat)-shred

W : move forward

E : (Bear)-bash (Cat)-maim

R : (Bear)-growl (Cat)-rake

T : mouseover cyclone

A : left strafe

S : backup

D : right strafe

F : all forms faerie fire

G : Vent Key

Z : Nature’s Grasp

X : (Bear)-Challenging Roar (Cat) Savage Roar

C : (Bear)-Demo Roar (Cat) Dash

V : Mouseover abolish poison

SQ: Barkskin

SE: Survival Instincts

SR: Rip

SC: Feral charge cat (it’s inferior to bear)

SV: remove Curse

CR: berserk

CF: shadowmeld macro

With My Mouse! (LC-leftclick MC-middleclick RC-rightclick)

Helpful (over friendly)

Ctrl-LC : Lifebloom

Ctrl-MC: Regrowth

Ctrl-RC : Rejuv

Alt-LC : MotW

Alt-MC : Thorns

Alt-RC : Innervate

Shift-LC: Swiftmend

Shift-MC: Natures Swiftness

Shift-RC: Healing Touch

Harmful (over enemy)


Ctrl-LC : Wrath

Ctrl-MC: Starfire

Ctrl-RC: Moonfire

Alt-LC : Roots

Alt-MC : hibernate

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