Friday, February 20, 2009

Bettering yourself as a tank

Usually, as a tank, there is always something more that you should have done, or could have done. It could have been that you were not Heroic Striking enough and DPS got killed (not to mention all of the rage that was wasted), or it could have been that a shield wall or last stand would have saved you but you did not use it.

I have tried bettering myself since day one and have become a pretty good tank. Now, I am going to try something I have never really done....keybinds.

Thats right, since day one I have been a clicker (shame). It has worked for me for the most part, but I have come to realize that it is impossibe for the mouse to be in more than one place at once. I started this process a little bit ago by putting Heroic Strike on my mouse wheel. I just recently started trying to use keybind with shield slam, devastate, revenge, and shockwave.

I am thinking of setting up my keyboard as:

Devastate- 1
Shield Slam- 2
Thunderclap- 5
Cleave - Shift 1
Concussion Blow - Shift 2
Charge - Shift 3
Shield- block Shift 4
Shield Wall- Shift 5

It is going to be a difficult journey as I have always been a clicker. I clicked my way thru everything and I am ready to try something know. I will let everyone know how it goes.

Also, for you other tanks out there, do you have any good keybind tips?


Occeleta said...

Mouse clicking sucks. I have most my actions keybound to my mouse side buttons and up/down scrolls, with shift/ctrl/alt modifiers.

Darraxus said...

I unfortunately dont have side mouse buttons. Gonna have to work with the number keys it appears.

Kusamoto said...

Not really a tip in particular (since I have goofy-looking keybindings for my makes sense to me, and that's all that counts, though), but just remember the shortcut to your secondary action bar, too: Shift+mouse wheel. This made my life soooooo much easier after I happened to see it on the back of the main instruction manual with the rest of the handy shortcuts one day. I put a lot of my opening moves on the secondary bar (vigilance, charge, disarm, shockwave, slam, berserker rage, etc.), as well as hotlinks to trinkets, which freed up slots on my primary bar for the bread-and-butter specials.

Talldar said...

One tip: Don't hesitate to experiment a lot. Finding your keybinds will take time and you'll shift things around more often than not. What you will want is to get it to feel "natural". Also don't forget about the character keys around the basic movement - F, Q, R, T, C, V, Y, X are way closer than 5, 6, 7, or any shift-combos.

If you're a good typer you'll adapt to the keybinds fast and if you've already been good with clicking, you'll improve vastly with keybinds - you can act way, way, way faster.

A mouse with side buttons is a solid investment. They go for as low as 30$, probably less, and once you got one you'll never look back.

Darraxus said...

In BC, clicking worked well because I wasnt having too many situations where I had immense rage that had to be burned off. Now I am needing to keep up with it a little faster. Good suggestion on the buttons around the movement keys.

Dink said...

Another tip: Move the WASD over to ESDF. You'll get anbother row to the left of your movement keys that are closer. Use qazxcvbgt2345 for key binds.

Jon said...

I've never tanked, so I don't know how relevant or useful this suggestion might be, however I have always found that using the num-pad for my key-bindings is easier.

The dis-advantage is that I often find I have no hand on the mouse and am using wsad for movement, which can also be a bad thing.

Another positive however is that a separate USB num-pad (aimed at laptop users really) is a lot cheaper than a gaming keyboard and has the advantage that you can place it on either side of your keyboard.

Darraxus said...

I have actually considered that as I am very comfortable with the number pad. I may give that suggestion a try as well to see how that works out.

Chad S. said...

Use macros that utilize shift to change the ability used. IE, 2 is Taunt, and Shift+2 is Challenging Shout.

HolyGhost said...

In your keybinds, think about your most used keys when everything is going right when your locked into a mob.

Put all your "oh shit" buttons to the left of those keybinds and the regulare ones to the right.

Now if something does go wrong your not reaching far from your regular used keys in your rotations to click an "oh shit".

The only back fire to that is the occasional finger spasm hitting the wrong key.

Posolutely said...

Keybinds are a very personal thing (I wrote a topic about how many buttons us warriors need to use on my blog the other day).

I have my numpad bound to the marks (skull, x, star, etc) for quick and easy marking in dungeons and raids.

I hate not having my hand on my mouse when tanking as I want to be able to strafe and move around mobs easily while still putting out threat (if you ever tank Malygos without DK's, you'll realize how tough this can be).

Don't be afraid to experiment. some people love using shift and ctrl and alt. Others get so fed up they go out and buy an N52 controller.

Find out what fits you best.
Practice strafing and gaining threat.

Good luck!

TGAPGeorge said...

First of all, I'm impressed! I couldn't imagine doing what I do with mouse-clicks.

I did keyboard bindings for my first 6 months of WoW, then got a Saitek Cyborg Command Unit. It was okay.

Now I use the awesome Logitech G13 and I can't recommend it enough. I don't look down. I can hit ANY spell with a button push, or a few with a shift or alt combination.

Seriously, it's worth the investment, and since you're beginning your keybinding journey, it will be easier to start with a G13, rather than adapting to it later.

Umlaut said...

If you go the route of alt-ctrl-shift bindings, I recommend using a bar addon to manage them, not macros, because it's just faster to set up and manage.

I personally use esdf for movement, and have stuff bound to r,t,g,b,3,4,5, and the two thumb-buttons on my mouse, with the scroll wheel+modifiers for stance changes. I use the thumb buttons for either abilities that need to be used a lot (ss, hs, tclap, etc.) or for things that need to be used in a hurry (shield bash, spell reflection, etc).

While I do, for example, have challenging shout on the same key as battle/commanding (by an old convention, not because it's a particularly good place), the last time I made a major mispress was Scarlet Monastery.

Finally, if you keybind every ability that you need to use in combat and learn them, you can set the bars to hidden (using an addon) and free up the UI space for something else. I personally use a cooldown mod, UnderHood, and Power Auras to keep track of what I can use, instead of looking down all the time. This helps keep my focus on the mob, not the bars.

Anonymous said...

Since we're all just leaving suggestions, here's my setup:

I use ESDF for movement, which frees up a lot of keys for various moves. I also make liberal use of my mousewheel. Here are my specific binds (I should note that almost every key has a macro bound to it, not just a skill--where appropriate, I indicate what the macro does in parentheses):

q = devastate (mouseover macro)
w = concussion blow (+shift = shockwave)
r = shield slam (+shift = queue up cleave too, +alt = queue up heroic strike too)
t = revenge + HS macro
y = shield block
a = shield bash

z = battle stance/overpower macro
x = defensive stance/disarm macro
c = berserker stance/intercept macro
v = heroic strike (very nice to just tap this with your thumb to keep queuing HS)
b = intimidating shout
g = charge (+shift = intervene)
h = berserker rage

1 = taunt (+shift = mocking blow)
2 = challenging shout
3 = spell reflect
4 = whirlwind
5 = rend
6 = heroic throw (+shift = shoot)

I can reach everything in those three groups easily without moving my left hand from "home" position on ESDF.

Then I use my mousewheel + modifiers for my shouts, bloodrage, thunderclap etc. I have a "four direction" mousewheel (if you have one, you know what I mean) so I use wheel left for shockwave too. (This binding is rather bizarre, but it evolved out of my use of that button for piercing howl back in my pvp days... so it makes sense to me.)

I use the numpad for my longish cooldown abilities (shield wall, enraged regeneration etc.)

Finally, I bound F6-F12 to raid markers.

Darraxus said...

I have been trying out using the number pad with my macros since I am a bit more comfortable with it. The only downside is not really being able to use the most and keep up rotations at the same time. That said, using my new bindings that I am not totally used to? I boosted my DPS by about 150-200.

Anonymous said...

Make sure you free up Q and E as well. That's like 4 extra abilities there (Q, E, Shift+Q, Shift+E).

No-one should ever use Q and E to turn, as you can just hold down Right Mouse Click and do it much faster.

WASD should be standard in WoW tbh. It's like the first thing I reconfigure when I reinstall WoW. It's natural for people who played FPS games like Counter Strike in the past.

One last bit of advice though: start off simple and don't keybind everything! It's ok to keybind your important abilities and maybe make a bar in the middle with your long CD abilties and click it. The worst thing you can do when you start keybinding is get confused and spam anything when you panic! Just give it time.

Grendalsh said...

I second the use of a gamepad for WoW. Keyboards were not designed for gaming, and WASD is a holdover from 'how do we play this Doom thing on a PC'.
I've been using the Belkin N52 since WoW launch, and retirred it for the N52te last year. There are pros and cons vs the Logitech G13, but either will be an improvement over even keybinding on a keyboard.
For a vids of how to set them up and what you can do with these thing (esp as a prot warrior) check out my youtube channel Http://

Bilson said...

One of the things I do on my warrior is bind a targeting shape (say, Skull) to my Tab key. Since I use W, A, S, D to move, and most tanks don't have problems AE-tanking anymore, I just ask my group members to concentrate on the skull. Then, when I start a pull, instead of having to "click" the enemy portrait, select target icon, and then skull, I can simply press Tab every time I change targets to let the group know what I am attacking. It's quick, painless, and instantly-informative. A few tank friends have also switched to this method for tanking as well. Try it, and enjoy it. It should speed up your runs considerably!

Stu said...

I have tried more variations of keybinds than I care to count, and tried numerous gamepads. In the end, I returned to a regular keyboard and did something that coincides with my needs for work (heavy vi user): I remapped my Caps Lock to act as another Control key. That one change alone makes all the difference in the world. Control becomes even easier to reach than Alt (assuming your keyboard doesn't have a bizarre layout or your hands are just too small).

I will primarily also use QEFR for the things that will either most often do, or need to do on the run instead of just standing there and tanking. Q is shockwave, E is my revenge/HS macro, Charge is F, R is shield slam, etc. Then put items you use less often as your Shift + the above keys, even less often as your Ctrl + those keys, and so on. I've worked out a system that follows this model for every class, have an addon like Dominos or Bartender that allows me to share keybinds across characters, and just drag and drop in my abilities as necessary according to their use.

Let's see.. just off the top of my head, that gives me Ctrl+WSADQEFRCG, Alt+WSADQEFRG, Shift+QEFRG12AD (I don't include W and S because I sometimes use my Shift+ abilities while running, 1 (shield wall) and 2 (taunt) without modifiers, and so on. And that doesn't include my extra mouse butons. ;)

The possibilities are endless. I haven't clicked on an ability in probably 2 solid years unless I was eating with one hand, and half the time when I am, I'm doing everything needed via keyboard with left hand and eating with my right!

Olnir said...

Well... all of my keys are mapped close together... I drive with the mouse. My keybindings are the following...

Z = Battle stance
X = Defensive stance
C = Berserker stance

Alt+1 = Battle Shout
Alt+2 = Demoralizing Shout
Alt+3 = Intimidating Shout
Alt+4 = Challenging Shout
(this keyset does not change)

Shift+Q = Sunder
Mouse button 5 = Execute
Alt+Q = Heroic Strike
Alt+E = Overpower
Ctrl+Q = Cleave
Ctrl+E = Shield Slam
R = Bloodrage
V = Last Stand
Alt+B = Berserker Rage
(This keyset does not change)

Battle Stance
1 = Charge
2 = Rend
3 = Hamstring
4 = Devestate
5 = Shield bash
6 = Thunderclap
7 = Mocking blow
8 = Heroic Throw
9 = (filler - empty)
T = Retaliation

Defensive Stance
1 = Taunt
2 = Shield block
3 = Revenge
4 = Devastate
5 = Shield bash
6 = Thunderclap
7 = Disarm
8 = Heroic throw
9 = (filler - empty)
T = Shield wall

Berserker Stance
1 = Intercept
2 = blank
3 = Hamstring
4 = blank
5 = Pummel
6 = Whirlwind
7 = Slam
8 = Heroic throw
9 = (filler - empty)
T = Recklessness

The 1 - T keys of course change with stances.

Alt+5 = Shockwave

This keyset has everything I need within reach of one hand and all close together.

I use Outfitter to change my equipment sets (with F9 as tank, F10 as DPS, F11 as naked). I think that is pretty much it...

Karolientje said...

On an AZERTY keyboard

zqsd = movement

² = Spell Reflect (button under esc)
1 = HS
2 = commanding shout
3 = demo shout
4 = Thunderclap
5 = intimidating shout
6 = challenging shout
ctrl+1 = Conc blow
ctrl+2 = heroic throw
ctrl+3 = charge
mouse3 = blastwave
mouse4 = shield slam
mouse5 = shield bash
a = taunt (Q on qwerty)
e = cleave
r = revenge
t = bloodrage
f = intervene
< = rend (button next to shief)
x = devastate

all the others are clicking

basicly i still need (want) a shortcut for last stand which will probable en up as 'v'

Once you've been using keybinds for a few days you'll wonder how you've managed to tank before.

Using shift mousewheel for me is no option as you dont want to be stuck in a bar without skillz in midfight.

Using numpad on a boss like thaddius not making it possible to turn etc is a pain in the *** as well if u ask me.

But a 5 button mouse is a must!

Karolientje (Shattered-Hand EU)

SappyRogue said...

Been a while, grats on the WowInsider mention!

As for keybinds, the easiest solution I've come up with is alt and shift modifiers on 1-6. Also, I map tilde (~`) with alt and shift also.

As many have said, a multi-button mouse is really helpful. Even if you don't have a 5 button mouse (I have a 4 button trackball myself), make sure to map moves to your mousewheel click along with alt/shift.ctrl modifiers.

Using modifiers gives you a lot of flexibility, up to 4 moves to each button if you can remember the mappings for them.

Darraxus said...

I am trying it with the number buttons again, using shift and alt modifiers so far. Once I get the hang of that, I will probably be adding more. Thanks to everyone for the good advice.

Kenneth said...

Hi, When in stance mode are the keys always 1 thru 9 and T?



Yabuttplug said...

There are many great wayys to bind your keys as ppl has shown us in this blog, but the strange thing is that i havent seen anyone that use WASD as movement keys talk about binding the key: |/§, wich is the button to the left of 1. Its a bit tricky to use it as a shift bind but without shift i find it very conveniant and i hope some of you out there will as well:). Personally i use it for shield bash as it allows you to quickly TAB change to a target casting a spell and then interrupt his spell with the button right above TAB and then change back to your primary target. Thats what suits my playstyle best. Check out what ability that will fit yours.

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