Keybinding, do it

A lot has been written about why you should not keyboard turn (it’s too slow), and that you should keybind. I wrote about how PvP improves your raiding too. I’m going to skip that preamble and just talk briefly about keybinds.

Owen Starsky & Hutch Signature Do It

Yesterday the little survey I did on myself included a snippet which Perditio commented on, saying he had the same binds!  Spooky because they’re not the most obvious ones.


I move with ESDF. If you are still on WASD I recommend you spend the next month getting your muscle memory into ESDF instead; you gain QAZ as keybind options.

Take your time with keybind changes, you need muscle memory to set in before you move onto the next change. Do one thing at a time; this could take months. Movement keys particularly took me ages to get used to.

Rebind non-combat actions set by the default UI to shift or alt equivalents (alt is better since it’s usually an awkward key to use in an action binding). So you’d change ‘reply’ to be shift or alt R. Rebind ‘open all bags’ to alt-B, ‘open character panel’ to alt-c, ‘pvp panel’ to alt-h and so on.


Binding rule:

Near your hand, bind actions which you hit very often or need to get to very quickly

Emergencies: Blood tap and ERW should be easy to get to, since you will use them for an emergency tank cooldown or a snap DnD.

I have shift-1 is blood tap, shift-2 is ERW (all rune reset).

Interrupts, must be easy to get to.

b is strangulate (interrupt), x is mind freeze (interrupt). If in unholy, ghoul stun is c, if I’m frost for PvP then hungering cold is c.

F2 is death grip (default UI has F1..5 as ‘target party member’, which I never needed even as a healer)


h is howling blast and z is DnD.

I have pestilence and blood boil in two sequential buttons (6 and 7), so I can flow from one to the next.

Horn of winter

if you’re using it to maximise your runic power (you should), it’ll be a button you can easily hit a lot. I have it bound to Q.

Logic and consistency

try to use the same key for the same purpose on all your talent specs (and ideally on all your different alts). So my interrupts are always c, b, and x, on any class. My bone shield/ vampiric blood is always F5 and IBF is F4. On a hunter, my deterrence (damage reducing) was shift-F4.

Voice comms

I use the side button on my mouse. I don’t think it should be keybound, since you’ll make it too hard to act and move and talk at the same time.

Taunt and targetting

I have taunt on t. I have assist target and retarget on G and shift-G.

Being able to move and act

I mentioned this in the survey, it’s my learning edge: moving and maintaining high threat at the same time. Make sure your bindings allow you to do this (ie. voice comms point). Keep the main threat and defence buttons right near your hands and you should move with your mouse when possible (doesn’t work well with moving backwards; some tanks have ‘backwards’ on a mouse button which is pretty cool, but confused me).


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26 comments to Keybinding, do it

  • Axius

    I would find it quite hard to move from a WSAD system, I’ve been using it since day 1 for gaming…
    My own keybinds though are rather interesting.
    1 – IT
    2 – PS
    3 – HS
    4 – DS
    5 – Hysteria
    6 – Rune Tap
    Ctrl + 1 – Death Coil
    Ctrl + 2 – Pestilience
    Ctrl + 3 – Blood Boil
    Ctrl + W – Death and Decay
    Shift + 1 – IBF
    Shift + 2 – AMS
    Shift + 3 – Racial
    ` – Taunt
    Ctrl + ` – Death Grip
    Mouse 3 – Mind Freeze
    Shift + Mouse 3 – Strangulate
    Ctrl + Mouse 3 – Chains of Ice
    I have both my trinkets macroed simply because if I am in a situation where I feel using the trinkets would save my life, using both would be more ideal, which I think is on either 8 or 9. Got a bit of junk on my action bars but it’s all there. Having my setup like this means it’s less-than-ideal switching because I’m used to the location of my taunts.

  • For movement, I unbound the “turn left” and “turn right” actions completely from the keyboard and use the mouse to turn and “strafe left” and “strafe right” while running forward to circle strafe if needed.

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      Does this mean that you cannot look in one direction (say at your healers) and move in a different direction (say towards some mobs)?

  • As a matter of fact, I can’t and hadn’t ever had this need on my shaman and mage when I started using this keybinding set.  I’ll need to rethink some things on my tank, it appears.

  • One of the most highly underrated buttons, is the ` ir ~ key.  Its idealy located so that you can cleaning slam the corner button in an emergency (PVP trinket, oh yeah) or even as lower-level undead for will of the forsaken in my own experience.  regardless… i’ve helped friends realize how great this key functions as an “oh sh!t” button… great to bind as a healing pot or trinket when you are so locked down that you have time to slam your ring-finger on it… get fancy and SHIFT bind it to perform a similiar “god save us all” function.  plus its nice and out of the way for typical DPS rotations.  2 cents!