Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Great Keybinding Project: Part I

So, this post is a wee bit late in coming; this Project was really part of a greater Mists of Pandaria Preparation project I put together at the last minute. Still, it was a valuable experience, so belated or not, I'll share it.

It all started with a jolt of inspiration, garnered from reading Jasyla's blog and trawling the healing forums.

Playing all five healing specs at max level, I'd long been aware of the similarities (and differences!) between their various abilities, and sort of hap-hazardly tried to keep their abilities in 'about' the same places, so that it made sense to me. This was more or less successful, with some noteable failures- I was a frequent victim of 'where did I put cleanse/dispel??' as it was sometimes on a shift F modifier, sometimes on a shift 1 modifier. This depended on whether the class I was playing had one or two AoE heals. Somehow, I could never get Prayer of Mending to be in the same place on both Holy and Discipline.

And let's not even think about how cluttered and awful and non-intuitive my DPS bars were; even if I knew what I was doing on any given DPS class, my setup was so bad that I'd probably do sub-par deeps anyway.

In addition, my use of Bartender was different across each toon I had. None of my bars was consistent- I had set each class up in whatever way happened to make sense to my scattered brain at the time of creation! So for one character, maybe trade skills were a strong inclination- they'd be right above vital attacks. On another, the hearth stone would randomly be at the end of my primary action bar- this is something I used to do when I was new to the game.

For a healer who plays all classes, all specs, it can be a real problem to lack organization!

So, looking at Jasyla's beautiful spreadsheet... I felt the compulsion to do something with it. And thus, the Great Keybinding Project was born.

I began by opening up Excel and quickly plotting my reachable keys- 1-5, 1-5 with a shift modifier, and 1-5 with an alt modifier. I also added, to the end of each 1-5 row, my 'f' key and assorted modifiers. Now, technically I also could have throw up 'ctrl' modifiers for 1-5 and 'f', and I could also have added other alpha keys to my bindings- but binding other alpha keys in the past has ended poorly for me (I accidentally bound the 'b' key, and was constantly frustrated trying to use it to open my bags- this happened with a great number of keys whose original functions I couldn't recall when creating the new bindings.) I haven't yet felt the ctrl keys are necessary, though I'm not opposed to using them.

Of course, I need more than 18 abilities- but the others can be clicked on with the mouse. Surely I won't need to use more than 18 keys on a constant basis, in a raid situation! My muscle memory couldn't take it!

I also opted to provide myself with a half dozen 'Aux' bars for abilities that maybe didn't see so much use; most of those bars belonged to the 'non-combat' section, but certainly not all.

I will go into more detail on how I set things up, in installment II!

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