I've been playing WoW for years, and I have even managed to do some end-game raiding without shaming myself, all the while being a keyboard turner and action clicker. I do want to reform, and I have had limited success by rolling a new toon (a mage) and playing that toon on the keyboard.

However, that has only worked while leveling and on non-taxing content. As soon as I hit end game content, my limited range of actions in this new playing style means that I can't seem to maximize my DPS and have to revert to my old methods. The heart of the issue is that I seem to be only able to hit the first 4-5 action buttons reliably left handed - anything further over to the right on the keyboard is a lottery.

Does anyone have suggestions to help on this that has worked for them - should I look at one of the gaming pad like the Logitech G13?

Or, should I look at remapping all the buttons to be more easily reachable by my left hand? (this is not an option I like because I have gotten very used to the a-w-s-d-q-e actions)

I also find it tough to target with the mouse - too often, I end up focused on the wrong thing (I used to tab-target or FF) - any tips to help out on that front? (and yes, I play high res - full screen on a 1920x1080).

Any other recommendations, tales of woe, or tales of triumph in terms of making the switch?

  • What keyboard and mouse are you currently using?
    – Blem
    Aug 24, 2012 at 11:30
  • Currently just a standard keyboard, nothing special, with a logitech G9 laser mouse (wired)
    – Adam C
    Aug 24, 2012 at 11:38
  • 1
    My answer for "how to get better at mouse turning" since BC has been, "go do Murmur in Shadow Labyrinth until you don't get hit by Sonic Boom.
    – Ben
    Aug 24, 2012 at 16:07
  • The F-Keys are separated in blocks of 4 on many keyboards. Any of them can be found blindly with very little training. Also, depending on the make of the keyboard, some of the keys are specially marked to aid in 10 finger typing. These little marks could also be of help to find your way with the left hand without looking too much. You can feel those marks when speedily gliding your fingers over the keys and then you know where you are. Aug 24, 2012 at 16:41

4 Answers 4


Since my answer is so long already I add it at the top and it's regarding your troubles targeting mobs: Pressing V enables enemy name plates which makes it for me infinitely easier to pick out targets - still hard sometimes but so much better than without.

As Hex mentions, using Alt, Shift and Ctrl helps already a lot.

Now one thing I strongly recommend is to bind Strafe Left/Right to A and D respectively (you don't need to turn around with keyboard anymore - you do this with your mouse).

This gives you another two buttons (Q and E). I admit that when I first did that switch I had a lot of problems myself: being mounted on my mage, riding along in AV when I wanted to strafe right and hit E - I dismount and do Arcane Explosions. That might happen a few times but then never again and you've won 2 close keys you can use for keybindings.

All the stuff here is a lot of personal preference but I will put it here anyway so it might give you an idea.

I will list here a few hot keys (some with combinations of modifiers such als Alt, Shift, Ctrl). Granted, some of those unbind other functions but I never really use them.

F,X,Z,\ - Just around WASD - I even use R for my abilities and reply/rewhisper with 7 and 8 respectively.

Shift1,2,3,4 - these are bound to switch action bars by default, which I find terribly annoying - so good riddance.




If you have more than just left and right click on your mouse, use them aswell. Just read you have a G9, just with the 2 buttons at the side you have 6 more possibilities at your hand:

ShiftMousebutton 4

ShiftMousebutton 5

CtrlMousebutton 4

CtrlMousebutton 5

AltMousebutton 4

AltMousebutton 5

Again, this all comes down to personal preference but going away from clicking/keyboard turning to hotkeys/mouse turning is the right step. I don't think I could have made ANY top 10 world of logs appearances in ICC with clicking and keyboard turning.

  • 5
    I strongly agree with remapping A and D to strafe instead of turn
    – kalina
    Aug 24, 2012 at 11:54
  • 1
    Once you're used to mouse turning I'd recommend that you rebind A and D to turn, purely because most of the time you'll be holding right click anyway, which means that they'll act as strafe keys, and it's really nice to be able to turn one handed on long journeys in case you want to do something with your other hand (like drink something, or scratch an itch).
    – Mr Smooth
    Aug 24, 2012 at 12:27
  • basically, exactly what I was looking for - thanks :)
    – Adam C
    Aug 24, 2012 at 12:34
  • 1
    @Mr Smooth: Imagine you have to strafe away from a boss but need to target something else or want to readjust camera. With your method your mouse isn't free because you fix it with right click. With A/D bound as strafe you are still free to use your mouse to look around. But yea, it's not as comfortable playing with 1hand with my method :)
    – Philipp
    Aug 24, 2012 at 12:34
  • 1
    In fights with a lot of adds tabing can also be ineffective.
    – Blem
    Aug 24, 2012 at 12:44

Special hardware is not needed for for switching, it can help you in the long run but when it just come to switching it is not a must.

For the keyboard turning the best you can do is bind turn left/right to strafe. When holding both mouse buttons you can lock your camera and turn your character. This will take some getting use to but in the long run will make you preform better. This also indirectly helps you with the ability clicking because you wont be able to use the mouse while turning.

For using abilities I would suggest binding buttons to combinations of alt, shift and ctrl + 1-5, q, e and other buttons around your movement keys, if you feel like you do not have enough buttons you can move your movement keys further to the right on the keyboard rather than the usual WASD ( like ESDF or RDFG). I would not recommend using any buttons that you can not reach without having a finger on one of your movement keys for abilities.

If you have a gaming mouse of some kind with extra buttons you might be able to bind some of them to CTRL, SHIFT and/or ALT if you are having trouble hitting them at the same time as the button for the ability.

Then what it all comes down to is getting use to the controls and sticking to them.

  • seems like sound advice - upvoted - I'll probably accept, unless something else vastly better is posted :)
    – Adam C
    Aug 24, 2012 at 11:42

One way to make more actions reachable without moving your hand all over the keyboard is help/harm macros. I won't go into how to make them (there's an extensive guide to macros here), but explain how they can be useful.

Help/Harm macros allow the buttons on your action bars to dynamically switch based on what you have targeted. Click on a boss, and your 1 - 5 keys are your primary dps abilities. Click on your tank, and 1 - 5 becomes your healing abilities. You've just freed up 5 keybinds without ever needing to use a modifier.

You can also retain the self-casting behavior with alt.

Certain classes won't benefit so much from this, like warriors who have very few abilities that can even be used on friendly targets. But many classes will - especially healers.

One big way this can be effective is for those rarely used skills that normally wouldn't be important enough to occupy your 1-5, but when they are needed they need to be reachable fast. Help/harm your decurse/dispel/cleanse/whatever to your 1 key - problem solved.


Granted I don't play WoW these days, but utilizing the Alt, Shift and/or Ctrl keys in combination with keys 1 through 5 works very well in most MMOs.

You can usually customize these keybindings to your heart's content in the game settings.

  • maybe that is the heart of my issue - I need to not have the mindset to use all 10-12 buttons at the top of the KB but use the alt and ctrl buttons to give them alternative functions - quite a different playing method though, I wonder if it is actually that common....
    – Adam C
    Aug 24, 2012 at 11:39
  • @AdamC I don't know how common it is, but I keybind everything. I use ESDF for movement, QWR for stances, and 123456 ZXCVAG for actions. I use both Control and Shift to triple my action keybinds, and even use ALT for some longer cooldown actions/trinkets.
    – ghoppe
    Aug 24, 2012 at 18:02

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