First of all, if you turn using the keyboard ('A' and 'D' by default) you are doing it wrong. If you want to improve your game, the first thing you should do is unbind your turning keys.
Personally, I use W to move forward alongside A and D to strafe left and right. It doesn't matter if you use W, Q, E instead, as long as you're not using the keyboard to turn. Turn your character using the right mouse button and the mouse exclusively.
I'll save my rant on backpedalling for another day.
Which keys are available?
Now, my system for determining keybinds is pretty simple:
- W, A, S, D reserved for movement
- ~, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 used for often-used abilities
- Q, E, R, F, C used for clutch instant-cast utility (interrupts, etc.)
- Z, X, T, G, V used for utility
- Mouse 3 and Shift Mouse 3 are "target focus" and "focus target" respectively
- Numpad buttons are reserved for raid-icons
- Alt and Shift are my preferred modifiers
- Control used sparingly, usually for low-maintenance actions (pets, shouts, etc)
Tip #1: Unusual, but awesome combinations.
One really clever tip I came across when figuring out binds for my warlock; you can bind channelled/cast-time spells to mod+W,A,S,D. This is due to the fact that you don't want to move while casting these anyway!
For example, my Health Funnel (channelled spell that heals your pet) is bound to alt+S. Haunt is bound to alt+W. It feels very awkward at first, but after a few minutes it's easy as pie, and it frees up other buttons (like 1-5) for instant-cast/mashable buttons.
Tip #2: Have clutch abilities usable while strafing.
The next tip I have for you is put important/clutch abilities close-by, so you can mash them on the move. For example, interrupts are generally instant-cast and are often off the GCD. Hence, I usually put my interrupts, dispels and stuns on Q, E, R, F and C.
Now, if you're a keyboard-turning noob, you might wonder; "How can I strafe right (D key) and press F to interrupt at the same time?". The answer is simple; jump.
Practise this move: Strafe right (D) and jump (spacebar) as you're strafing. Immediately release the strafe key (D). You will continue to move right at run speed! This is the perfect time to let fly a Wind Shock or Strangulate.
Tip #3: Have one modifier key as your "focus" key.
Let's say you choose alt as your "focus" key. If you're a Mage with Counterspell bound to R, you could replace the Counterspell button with this macro:
/cast [mod:alt, @focus] Counterspell
- This will cause Counterspell's cooldown, icon and mouse-over to be displayed for the macro
- This will interrupt whatever you're casting to perform the counterspell. Very important!
- If alt is held down when this macro is run, cast it at (@) your focus target
- Cast Counterspell normally (that is, at your current target)
So, in a single button, you now have the ability to Counterspell either your current target or your focus target (by holding alt).
If you're not familiar with the focus frame and focus targeting you're missing out. The Blizzard UI allows you to have one target and one focus target. This means you can "target" two opponents at once! Better still, with macros you can set up spells to automatically hit your focus, rather than your target.
In PVP (especially Arena) this is, of course, mandatory. As a Mage, for example, you can have the "kill target" in your sights, while keeping the healer "focused". Because he's focused, you'll see a cast bar as he pumps up that Holy Light; a quick Focus Counterspell and you've interrupted his healing without stopping your DPS on the main target.
In PVE, focus can also be useful in less active ways. For example, keeping Deathwhisper as your focus allows you to watch her mana bar during Phase 1. A healer can focus Saurfang to keep an eye on his Runic Power. This is a great way to start using and learning about focus.
And a question for the Warriors:
How have you keybound your stances? I'm having a lot of trouble figuring this out! I'm planning to have some macros for PVP at 80 but I'd like to know how PVE warriors handle stance dancing.
Any help or advice?