Thursday, April 22, 2010

Restoration Druid Keybinds

Below are the keybinds I use when healing as a Restoration Druid. For general information on how to set up your keybinds see How to Set Up Keybinds in Warcraft's Default UI. Also, check out the bottom of the post to review keybinds for other Druid specs.

Keep in mind when reviewing these binds that I have them set up both on my Tree of Life action bar and my caster form action bar when I am in Restoration spec. This is so that if I need to drop into caster form for some reason, I can continue to spam heals until the opportunity presents itself to become a Tree again.

F = Nourish: Nourish is your go to top off spell and also your bread and butter when tank healing. Depending on your role, spec, and style, however, you may want to consider swapping it for Rejuvenation (for dedicated raid healing) or Healing Touch (if you are spec'd for it and spamming it such as for Dreamwalker). Long story short, assign whatever spell you cast the most to the F key.

C = Rejuvenation: You will be tossing around this lovable HoT quite a bit, so it is important to keep it in a comfortable spot on your keyboard. C is a nice fit for me.

X = Lifebloom: Odds are you will not be using Lifebloom all that much unless you are tank healing, so the slightly out of the way X key is a fine place for it. I also like the consistency of always having my "stacking spells" (Lifebloom and Lacerate) associated with the same key.

G = Regrowth: To keep a healthy supply of mana, you want to avoid casting this spell too often. The G key is just far enough out of the way to keep you from spamming it out of panic, but close enough that you can still cast it when needed.

E = Wild Growth: For most Restoration Druids, Wild Growth is a go to spell every single time its brief cooldown is up. Hence the accessible E key is dedicated to this beast of a healing spell.

Q = Swiftmend: Swiftmend is a solid emergency heal, so having it easily accessible, but set off slightly from your other spells makes perfect sense. Q fits that bill perfectly.

Here are the specific keybinds I recommend for other Druid specs:

Feral Tanking Keybinds
Feral DPS Keybinds (coming soon)
Balance Druid Keybinds (coming soon)

Feral Tanking Keybinds

Below are the keybinds I use when tanking in Bear form. For general information on how to set up your keybinds see How to Set Up Keybinds in Warcraft's Default UI. Also, check out the bottom of the post to review keybinds for other Druid specs.

When reviewing these keybinds, keep in mind that I have a macro which adds Maul to every single one of my other abilities so I have no need to cast it separately. I also choose to click cast my defensive cooldowns, Berserk, and Enrage. If you want to add additional abilities to my set, you can use the Z, V, and R keys though you will need to assign other keys to auto-reply and sheath weapon. You can also use 1, 2, 3, and 4 if you don't mind moving up from AWSD. If you are going to add additional abilities I would recommend Barkskin be the first.

F = Swipe: Generally speaking, you should put whatever ability you use the most often in the F slot. It is simply the easiest key to reach when your hand is resting at AWSD. For Bear Tanks, that ability will be Swipe.

G = Demoralizing Roar: G is actually one of the more difficult keys to reach within my keybinds, so I assign a less crucial, infrequent use ability to its slot. You may want to replace this ability with Barkskin should you find yourself rarely using Demoralizing Roar.

E = Feral Faerie Fire: Just behind F and tied with C, E is an easy key to tap, so a high volume attack like Feral FF fits well here. I also like having a ranged attack on a key above the middle of the keyboard just from a conceptual standpoint.

Q = Feral Charge: Relatively easy to reach, but set off from your other keybinds, Q is the perfect choice for Feral Charge placement. This ability is situational and serves a unique purpose, so setting it off a bit makes Q a nice fit.

C = Mangle: The same logic for Feral Faerie Fire at E applies to Mangle at C. It is a high volume ability and therefore deserves a prime spot on your keyboard.

X = Lacerate: This ability is not spammed except to build up stacks and therefore makes a perfect fit for the comfortable, but not too comfortable X key. Putting it next to Mangle also keeps your single target melee abilities together for conceptual consistency.

Here are the specific keybinds I recommend for other Druid specs:

Feral DPS Keybinds (coming soon)
Restoration Druid Keybinds
Balance Druid Keybinds (coming soon)

How to Set Up Keybinds in Warcraft's Default UI

Most World of Warcraft players will tell you that click casting is an inefficient method of accessing your characters spells and abilities. The preferred method of moving away from the old mouse are keybinds. Below I will briefly explain how to set up some basic keybinds in the default World of Warcraft UI. For all those Druids out there, check out the links at the bottom to see my preferred keybinds for the various Druid specs using the setup described below.

There are several third party programs out there for assigning and managing keybinds, but the default World of Warcraft UI does a fine job of handling them on its own. To set up your keybinds, go to the World of Warcraft Options Menu and go to Keybindings. A long scroll menu will then open up listing all the functions which can be keybound alongside their currently assigned key or keys.

To start adding bindings, scroll down to the part of the menu which governs your Action Bar buttons. You will see that they all have their numerical keys listed in Key One column of the menu. You will want to click the Key Two column where it should say "Not Bound" and assign the following keys to whichever action bar buttons you like: Q, E, F, G, X, and C. Now those keys will activate the abilities you place in the corresponding action bar slots. Now it is just a matter of putting the abilities you want in the rights slots and presto, you are using keybinds!

This method of setting up your binds is great because you can convert it use by multiple characters and specs simply by shifting around the buttons on your action bar to put your high use abilities into your bound slots.

Here are the specific keybinds I recommend for Druids:

Feral Tanking Keybinds
Feral DPS Keybinds (coming soon)
Restoration Druid Keybinds
Balance Druid Keybinds (coming soon)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Next Lil' Pet for the Blizzard Pet Store

Yesterday I shared my thoughts on Blizzard's loving embrace of micro-transactions and let's just say it wasn't pretty. Nevertheless, after blistering Celestial Mount sales yesterday (conservative estimates are claiming between $4 and $5 million) it is clear that Blizzard's new business model will be here to stay. As a result, the Pet Store will continue to grow. That means more "Lil'" versions of famous World of Warcraft denizens will inevitably find their way into the store alongside Lil' KT and Lil XT. Here are my top five picks for the next Lil' pets:

5. Lil' Marrowgar

With three comically large skull heads atop a disproportionately small winged body, a baby Marrowgar would certainly be a crowd pleaser. For extra flare, he could Bone Spike critters and even cry out "Bone Storm" in a baby voice at random intervals. Could it get annoying? Sure, but that didn't stop the Pandaran Monk...

4. Lil' Anub

This little bug would be certain to unleash a pestilence of preciousness upon all our souls. He could burrow and unleash microscopic swarms much to the delight of pet lovers everywhere.

3. Lil' Ragnaros

It will never be "TOO SOON" to get our hands on this fiery little scamp. Not only would he make a cute companion, but you could cook on him as well: delightful and delicious!

2. Lil' Sindragosa

She has been plaguing your sign in screen since Wrath of the Lich King's release, so why not drag an adorable version of her around with you! She could even do a miniature version of her roar. Chilling, yet endearing!

1. Lil' Hogger

The bane of lowbies existence since World of Warcraft's release, Hogger certainly deserves a place in the Pet Store. Would he have any cool abilities? Probably not, but come on, he's Hogger!

What Warcraft creature would you like to see turned into a Lil' pet?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Celestial Steed Mount Now Available.. For a Price

Blizzard has just announced the location of the Celestial Steed, a rather cool looking mount which was found hidden away within World of Warcraft's game files. Some had speculated the mount would be available from some reincarnation of Ulduar's Algalon the Observer. Unfortunately, however, the reality is more terrifying than the possibility of another Code Omega. The Celestial Steed will only be available through the Blizzard Store for the hefty price of $25.00.

Along with Lil' XT, this new "Pet Store" offering continues World of Warcrafts slippery slide into the world of micro-transactions. What is a micro-transaction? It is an in game item or feature which is available only at extra real world cost. For a full primer on the subject, check out any of the many games offered by Zynga or Nexon. Those games are built around the concept of micro-transactions.

Zynga and Nexon games are also, however, free to download and play. World of Warcraft at $15 per month on top of the cost of actually purchasing the game, is distinctly not. Hence my growing gripe with the Pet Store. I can understand, to a certain extent, the need to charge for services like faction changes and server transfers. The cost does serve after all as a deterrent for over use. For pets and mounts, however, there is no real need for deterrence.

Lil' XT could drop of XT. The Celestial Steed Mount could drop off Algalon. World of Warcraft's many denizens pay a monthly fee so that Blizzard can grow and maintain the virtual world in which they live. They do not pay so that the company can R & D some virtual goods to sell back to them. Now that the veil of charity is lifted, it is hard to see the Pet Store as anything but a greedy, player-unfriendly enterprise. Sure, Blizzard is a company out to make money, but when does the risk of alienating their player base outweigh the short term cash boost of micro-transactions?

For me, if I wanted to play Farmville, I would, but I would rather play World of Warcraft. I hope that Blizzard keeps that in mind.