Monday, June 6, 2011

The Great Debate

I was reading a forum post today that was discussing (or trying to) the aspects of moving with your mouse versus moving with your keyboard. This led to more posts that started to discuss the concept of using key bindings instead of clicking on abilities. This got me thinking about the two distinct styles of play and why some prefer one over the other. I think for most people it comes down to what they plan to do in the game. For example, if you just log on and run some random battlegrounds or dungeons, then you may not really see a difference between the two styles. However, if you plan to play at a high level of end-game play in either ranked PVP or true progression raiding, then you will definitely see a difference between the two styles.

So what is the difference in the two styles really? The style that people refer to as keyboard turning is where you are utilizing your keyboard to move. This typically is accompanied by using your mouse to click on abilities that you have set up on your ability bar in-game. The other style is where you are using your mouse to move and have your abilities set to certain keys on your keyboard. Now, there are also combinations of these two styles, but for the sake of time we are only going to look at the two basic styles.

So why do people view using key binds to be superior to clicking? The easiest answer is that pressing a key is much quicker than moving your mouse to select an ability that is set up on your bar. Remember that some of the biggest things that are used to measure your skill is DPS (damage per second) and HPS (heals per second). In other words, seconds are extremely important in this game and the belief is that if you are losing even a half of a second per ability by clicking on it, then this will be costing you a very large amount of damage or healing over the course of an encounter that will last anywhere in the neighborhood of five minutes and up. I like to compare it to a drag race. The difference between the winner and the loser is quite often how quickly they come off that line (barring any sort of mechanical issues).

Now the problem that faces many players who prefer to click is that they are quite often not as mobile because they are using their mouse to select their abilities rather than move their characters. In my opinion this is not as detrimental in PVE as in PVP. In PVE, you are quite often needing to move out of an AoE ability or something of that nature, so you can easily just push the forward key and be clear. So why does this not work in PVP? Quite simply because in PVE, you are doing a scripted fight. In other words, the AI is programmed to use certain abilities and move in certain patterns; whereas in PVP your human opponent may see you step forward and decide to get behind you. With certain classes like Rogues, this will permit them to deal more damage. Also, if your opponent is behind you, how can you fight them back? The real problem then becomes that if you are using your keyboard to turn, then you must wait for the character to slowly change its direction. With using a mouse, you simply need to flick your wrist and you are facing the opposite direction. In truth it just boils down to shaving off a few seconds in your reaction time. (Drag racing anyone?)

I think that over time, players naturally begin to change their play style and adapt based upon what they are doing. Most people who do any sort of serious PVP will begin to utilize key bindings and movement with their mouse because it really does matter in your response times. I think that PVE is a slight bit more forgiving because you are doing a scripted encounter that if given enough time you would be able to memorize where you should be, which will then allow you to compensate how long it will take you to be somewhere at any given time. My own personal play style is to use my mouse for movement, bind some abilities to keys, bind some abilities to the mouse itself, and then just click any miscellaneous abilities that are not used all that often. Do I look down on players who choose to not play the same way I think is best? Absolutely not. How about you guys? Do you hate the thought of a keyboard turner in PVP? Does the mere mention of someone clicking their abilities in PVE make you want to rage?


Fish said...

I do <3 some healbot. I just realized your mouth binding sounds like a DPS version. Smashbot perhaps? lol

Edyion said...

I am a bit of a hybrid. I have small hands so I have problems with binding at times.

Ruhtra said...

@ Fish

My mouth binding? What happens? I press a key and a phrase is uttered? Hee hee! Kidding. Yeah, you could create something like that. Most people refer to your smashbot as a cast sequence macro though and those do not always work so well simply due to how many things are based off of procs now.

@ Edyion

Is that an excuse? Just kidding. Like I said, different people adapt to meet the style of play they have. Small hands could pose a problem for some set-ups or complicated classes that have a very wide array of abilities that may be required depending on the type of encounter or number of opposition.

Anonymous said...

I am from the old point and shoot school and don't type - a definite disadvantage. I also have arthritis in my hands so keyboard turning is much easier for me. However, for healing a good add-on is a must and if you have a multi button (5 or more ) mouse then healing becomes much easier than point and click as those split seconds can make a difference.

Ruhtra said...

@ Anonymous

I can completely understand your reasons for playing how you do. I also agree with your comment on a good healing add-on combined with a mouse with at least five buttons available. I personally use a combination of mouse-over macros and Vuhdo as my set-up.

In truth to further expand on your comment about the mouse, with a couple good add-ons you can easily keybind macros and abilities directly to your mouse for DPS. I use a set-up like that for when I play my Rogue. It provides very easy movement with a large amount of abilities directly on your mouse.

Great comment!

Ruhtra said...

Oh and I should point out that in my last comment it sounded like you needed add-ons to make macros and keybinds. That is not the case, but there are some really nice and easy to use add-ons that make it really easy for people to keybind with.

However, if you are minimalist then you can go into the game itself with no add-ons and use the standard keybind option found there.

I do not like doing that simply because that is a long list of commands to go through to look for one or two specific button locations. To each their own though.

Anonymous said...

Hehe, I didn't even know there were add-on for healing. I use the in-game system with my 7 button mouse, and with shift I have like 14 spells bound to the mouse alone. I still keyboard turn, nut now that you guys taught me that mouse turning works faster, I'll prob switch to that since, as was previously stated, in PvP every second counts. Also, I was looking at a trackball mouse at the store, and it feels like turning and looking would be insanely fast, and comfortable too, since your thumb would always be moving and not in that constant mouse holding position. No I am not a sales rep or anything, lol