Of Touch Typing and Treadmills

QWERTY Keyboard Home Key Positions

You would think that using a keyboard would be an instinctive skill at this point– for all the years of piano lessons and jobs where touch typing was required. But yeah, not so much.

To be fair, I am pretty decent WPM when I’m sitting at a desk, but once you add a treadmill into the mix things get a little crazy.

Why? Because why I’m at a desk, I use my right hand for a much higher percentage of the keystrokes than I’m supposed to (self-taught skills FTW). So as soon as I put that hand on the mouse, my instinctive movements don’t work.

But wait, you cry, all the default action buttons are on the top row!

Well yes, but I have no way of knowing where I am on the top row without looking (since there are no helpful bumps like there are on F and J). So after a few faceplants because I hit the wrong keys, I decided it was time to fix my keybindings.

The Crafty Option

If you don’t mind altering your keyboard, you can use superglue and made a small bump on 3, 6, and 9, thus giving you a ‘map’ to the top row. But since I figure most folks aren’t interested in making their keyboard OOAK, an alternate method is below.

Keys I Can Reach
Keys I Can Reach

Non-Crafty Option

This takes a little bit of trial and error to sort out, so give yourself a bit to find your own natural key positioning. Just keep in mind that you have the whole keyboard to play with, don’t limit yourself because of what Blizzard has already put in place!

I paid attention last night whilst playing and my hand ended up in this default position:

  • Thumb – spacebar
  • Index finger – 2
  • Middle finger – 1
  • Ring finger – ~
  • Little finger – Vacation mode

From this position I can easily reach the Tab, Q, W, E, 3, Alt and the F1-F4 keys without looking (which is the target metric).

Since Alt is a macro modifier key, I can use that to double the number of keybinds, with the exception of the F1-F4 since they are too far to reach both. That gives me 21 actions to work with, which should be more than enough for the teams I’m currently fielding.

A Wild Hand Appears!
A Wild Hand Appears!

Putting Theory in Motion

To give the new idea a Trial by Target Dummy™, I logged into my new baby hunters and started moving things around. (Since I’m a visual person, I also moved the position of the buttons in the UI around to match where they were on the keyboard.)

The baby hunters are highly macro’d since they are meant for group play so there wasn’t as much to move around as there will be for my dual-priests or my main. Always help to start simple! *grin*

KeyKeybindingALT
~Macro: Share TargetMacro: Follow
1Macro: KillIt[empty]
2Steady ShotConcussive Shot
3Macro: StunIt[empty]
TabFind Next EnemyTarget Next Friend
Q[empty][empty]
W[empty][empty]
E[empty][empty]
SpaceJump
F1Mend Pet
F2[empty]
F3[empty]
F4Macro: Aspect

Note: the keys that I use in non-combat, non-frequent occasions stay with the same keybindings since I have plenty of time to track them down (example: Hearthstones are still bound to Home because I am a dork like that.)

You’ll see I have plenty of room to expand, but as I pick up more skills (and start to micro-manage the pets) things will get a little more complicated. It will be interesting to see how well this works, so I’ll check back in a week or so with an update.

And who knows, I might end up customizing my keyboard as well… *eyes superglue*

Someday I will get a mouse with Way Too Many Buttons™ and I’ll have to start the process all over again…

Onwards!

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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