Archive for the ‘Interface’ Category

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PVP/PVE interface Tip for button bashers…. Vive la Blizzard toobar!!

November 10, 2008

This is a suggestion to help with fast combat… and may be more appropriate for PVP but I use it for both PVE and PVP. 

WOW is not a twitch games like many First Person shooters, it is much more tactical.  I find that  spell global cool downs really help because they give you quite a long time to adapt your strategy on the fly…..1.5 seconds is an age in combat!!!  Most people can react way quicker than 1.5 seconds!!  And GCD is probably only there to allow for latency!! 

All good tactics require having the right buttons to hand when you need them, and having a cluttered interface is BAD!!!! 

Cluttered interface =  cluttered mind (sounding like my dear old mum here!!!). 

I don’t claim to have invented the techniques below!!  But I do think I use them as they were designed to be used!! 

So here is a suggestion I use on most of my characters (I do something subtley different on my Warrior because of stances… wrong blog!!!), it helps me so hopefully it helps you too.

Here are some tips: 
1.  Group your combat spells into rows of six.  Create 6 different groups of 6, think about them tactically and try to put them down in the order you will use them.  If you pop an attackpower/spellpower/Haste etc trinket before an ability, also put it in your group of 6. 

My keyboard buttons 1-6 are the quickest to reach if I don’t want to move my left hand about a lot.  Six functions are enough to be looking at one time and this allows 36 spells to be easily accessible!!

2.  Turn off all the extra combat bars in your interface menu, i.e. bottom left, bottom right, right bar and right 1.  If they are on they cannot be scrolled through in the main tool bar.  They also clutter up the screen!!

3.  Learn to use the available tool bar scoll options, the blizzard default key strokes is Shift + mouse scroll wheel ‘up’ or ‘down’.  This greatly speeds up tool bar selection.  You can also use hotkeys shift + 1 for bar 1, shift + 2 for bar 2 up to 6.  You can click the tool bar scroller, but this is a bit slower and needs more mouse accuracy.  I use the mouse scroll wheel and shift more myself I think it is the quickest.  

I also set the ‘G’ buttons on the G15 for each bar the for ‘o shit’ moments when I lose track of what bar I am on…. G1 for bar 1 ( key mapped to shift +1), G2 for bar 2 (Key mapped to shift +2 etc).  I rarely use this option but it’s available!

4.  Find the mouse sensitivity that suits your style of play and practice moving your character holding down mouse 1 and mouse 2 or by keeping W held down and holding down mouse 2.  No two people will use the same sensitivity, it’s almost like a finger print!!!  Take some time over this, you’ll be surprised that after spending half an hour or so, you’ll find a ‘sweet spot’ that suits you, and you’ll be in total control over your movement.  You’ll wonder why you never did this before!!!.

5.  STOP CLICKING with your mouse!!!!!!!!  You have to move the mouse to click, you can’t control your character while doing this and ITS SLOWER!!!!!!  Mousing over the button also puts up tool tips you only need to read a few times!!

6.  Use the Blizzard default hot keys.   It saves you time in the long run, especially if you clean install regularly!!  They are really well thought out.  The buttons around WASD are standard hotkeys, and I like the Blizzard design, T to attack, F to assist. 

7.  Minimise your hand movement.  Being mobile during combat is pretty essential for both PVE and PVP, but that doesnt need to mean you move about a lot!!  You’ll be quicker if your hand has less distance to travel.  Personally I don’t like moving my hand too far away from WASD and I like using my mouse mostly for movement, not clicking.  That’s why 1 to 6 works for me… you may like 1 to 8, or 1 to 5!

8.  Use mouse buttons for Interupts/counterspell/purge/kick/escape trinkets/racials etc.  I only put normal combat abilities on the numbers 1-6, my mouse has 5 extra buttons, I use 3 of them for instants, these are the only ones I put on the toolbar on keys o, -, =, and I key map the other two to abilities in the keymapping screen, like petattack.  Putting the interupts etc on the toolbar means I can always see their cooldowns.  Because I only use the mouse for abilities you need to use instantly I don’t want to wait to use them!

9.  Use ESC to stop casting.  I don’t use Macros for my instant spells, but I suppose you could write them with some kind of stop casting command to mean they will be available even if you are in mid cast.  I prefer to use the ESC escape key to stop casting.

10.  Use your spell book for trade skills, etc.  Do you really need a shortcut to your cooking skill etc!!!!

11.  Try not to change your mind about your set up too often.  If you use the same one for a long time it will became instinctive.

The fact I use only 6 combat functions on buttons 1 to 6 and 3 quick cast options means I have quick and easy access to 39 functions… how many classes have 39 combat actions?  Using 6 buttons means I can also group them into suitable cycles.  Something I expect to be doing for my Death Knight.

I have also tried deliberately to stick to a ‘no mods’ here.  Mods, and Macros cause interface lag….. You may blame the server but sometimes it’s also your interface mods that can lag your combat.

Once you’ve tried this you’ll probably steer clear of most mods and Blizzards toolsbars are the quickest, and once you are used to using them, you can reduce their size.  Using buttons doesnt need a big target on the screen!!!

As a wee bonus (and something from 65 days played as a hunter!!!)

One of my favourite techniques is ‘jump shots’… I learned this to do the hunter epic quest back in the day when this was useful!!!  A hunter needs to be facing their opponent to shoot them, but needs some distance because of the dead zone.  If you are running away from your target you can jump, turn to face them in the air (you don’t need to be totally facing them, anything over 90 degrees is enough), then shoot an instant shot, then turn back to face the way you are running then land, Doing this makes you a pretty formidable kiter.  It looks cool too, like you are shooting over your shoulder!!!  I have not tried this with other classes but I guess the same thing will apply for any kiter.  Perhaps a death knight shouldn’t be sharing this technique!!!!!

I used to use bar mobs and had 5-6 bars of 12 buttons each showing all the time, with a load of the buttons hot keyed.  I did fancy designs, big buttons little buttons and spent a lot of time trying to pretty up my screen.  Before I used mods I had the standard toolbars all showing… i.e. left bottom, right bottom and right bars 1 and 2 showing, also hot keyed and that needed time to set up and was less efficient than the bar mods.  Both techniques were cluttered, and were slower to use because I had to find the buttons with my left hand or my mouse flicked about the screen wildly.  The mouse is far better used for movement, so this hindered doing things quickly.   Holding down both mouse buttons, and hitting the number buttons for instants makes a character very mobile in combat.  Combine this with the jump shot technique and your combat will get really fluid. 

The most annoying thing about Bar mobs usually happens nearly every time there was a patch especially if you had a druid/warrior………….  I felt I was spending too much time messing about moving things around when all I wanted to do was play.  I also changed my mind a lot and felt like each patch meant I needed to relearn how to use my character again. 
If you had asked me 12 months ago I would have heavily criticised Blizzards interface, but if you learn to use it, you’ll find it surprisingly more efficient than every bar mod out there especially for quick combat.  Now all they need to do is let me unlock my character and target/targets target windows like you can with the focus target, and I’ll be totally happy. 

Many resources I’ve seen talk about the benefits of this mod and that mod, but I find the standard Blizzard toolbar the best, and have found that it is elegant and simple and a lot more flexible than it looks… if you learn to use it!!!

So try this……..go with Blizzards standard interface…. try using ‘shift Scroll wheel Up or Down ‘.  Try only showing 6 combat buttons at a time…. believe me you’ll find you don’t need to move your hands about much and your reaction times will improve drastically.