Warlocks, Trash Your Keybinds

You’ll get all sorts of advice before having your first kid. Most of it will be bad. “Get plenty of sleep now!” sounds great, but it’s really bad advice – it makes you freak out about the impending sleep deprivation while not actually helping you cope with the reality of the first year or so of raising an infant. Getting 8 hours of sleep during the second trimester does you no good when your 8 month old is still waking up every three hours and oh god could I haven’t had a complete REM cycle in forever. It’s even worse advice if you’re the one who is pregnant, because getting a good night’s sleep during the final month or so is basically impossible due to the very large, very active kicking being in your belly.

“Assemble the crib in the nursery” is a bit better, because it points out something you might not realize if you’ve assembled furniture but not cribs before – they’re too wide to fit through doors, but not so wide that you’ll immediately realize it. So if you assemble the crib out in your living room (where there’s more room) and try to get it through the door, you’re bound for frustration. But you can also probably figure this out yourself.

The best advice I got before having my first kid, and I’m now giving to you, is to start lifting light weights as soon as possible. Get some light dumbbells, curl gallons of milk or six packs of diet coke, do some pushups – whatever you can to start getting your arms ready for carrying 8-10 lbs of baby around all the time. I wasn’t prepared for that, and even with the advice (which I didn’t follow enough) I found myself still struggling with how much more physical I was going to have to be. Kids are gradually increasing weights, so you catch up – but I could have used even more of a boost.

So, I’m going to pass on something that I learned in the beta which you might not have considered. You can take it, or not, but if I had to go through the experience of picking up my Warlock all over again this is what I’d do.

Trash your keybinds.

Take everything off your bars. EVERYTHING. Take every ability off your action bars and start with a blank slate. Look over the spec you’d like to try, open up the spell book and read over the new abilities. Go to a training dummy and start, slowly, bringing stuff back onto the bars.

My initial experience in the beta was awful. It was terrible. I told Xelnath that after the first hour of trying to make sense of the changes, I nearly quit in frustration. This was before the Core Abilities tab, or the What’s Changed Tab – I was trying to set everything up like I was used to having them and it just didn’t work. Warlocks have changed too much to bridge between the patches. Your macros are probably useless. (Stop trying to cast Fel Armor, you don’t need to do that anymore!)

Start over from scratch.

My second day in the beta, I threw everything out. My intricate bindings were gone. I switched, for the first time in years, to a WASD setup, and started adding things back onto my bars. I remapped to different buttons. I looked at the spellbook and threw out what I thought I knew about playing a Warlock. It wasn’t easy. But instead of being totally frustrated with the strangeness of it all, of cursing that it doesn’t work this way and why doesn’t my buff macro work it was, oh, I have a suite of defensive CDs now, I should group them over here, and Fel Flame can always go here, and …

I was amazed at how much better this went, how much easier it was to adapt to the changes of the class. Forget that, I was amazed at how much room I had on my action bars now! By giving up mouse driving and going WASD (and eventually ESDF), by admitting that my previous strategy of having 120 potential binds wasn’t needed, I got rid of my expectations that I knew the class and got back to learning it anew.

The class is different now. Even Affliction – the spec which is the most similar – is really quite different. Don’t assume you know what you’re doing – you don’t. Not yet. That’s what this next month is for.

Start over. Nuke your whole UI if you have to, but start by jettisoning your keybinds.

Your keybinds carry expectations with them.

Today is a day to reset and start over.

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30 Comments

Filed under Cynwise's Warcraft Manual

30 responses to “Warlocks, Trash Your Keybinds

  1. Marsailli

    Sage advice! I actually plan to do this myself including nuking all of my mouseover macros. It’s gonna be blue hand healing for a bit just until I’m sure things are stable.

    • I’m scared to nuke all my macros, but … it’s the right thing to do. :(

      • Marsailli

        The bright side is you know how to write an eloquent macro. So now you just need to figure out which spells go where. /meerkathugs It’ll be sunshine and destruction soon, warlockins. :D

  2. Ben

    I totally endorse this. In fact, it’s a great time to get rid of the add-on bloat that has gradually increased over the course of the expansion. I’ve been thinning out my add-on folder recently and found all sorts of things that I didn’t need anymore. (Ogri’lazy, EasySerum)

    I’m looking forward to a complete rebuilding of my actionbars and incorporating OPie more for things I don’t use as often rather than having bizzare Ctrl+4 or Alt+E keybinds.

    • I was so amazed by how much space I had. OMG. So much space. Even for engineering doodads!

      Like you, I’m looking forward to getting rid of a lot of those bizzare keybinds.

  3. krizhek

    I wish I could do ESDF, but like DVORAK keyboard setups. Unless you can go all the way you end up being much worse off. And I don’t think I could deal with changing to ESDF on every game I play.

    • I drive with my mouse, so any kind of keyboard movement is going to take some getting used to. I figure ESDF has some slight advantages, so I may as well give it a go.

  4. With 5 top levels chars, it will be a month of redoing UIs, relearning the class, and random battlegrounds to test it all out. It will be a nice change from leveling my rogue out of boredom. Can’t wait until tomorrow (EU) to get into it.

    What i’m looking forward the most if finally being able to have a different 2nd spec for my lock. I’ve had since double spec was introduced PVP affliction and PVE affliction as my specs. Now as you can change talents with no cost i can gave Affliction and most surely will go Demon for my 2nd spec. YAY!

  5. Ryegore

    Cyn, I’m looking forward to your rundown of the different specs. I’ve read what other sites to say and I’m still confused about certain things.

    For instance, destro is and always has been my favorite lock spec. What confused me on the beta dummies was the multiple fel ember slots. It takes a while just to fill up one of those, much less multiple ones. Why would I not just burn a chaos bolt as soon as the first one is full and start over? I don’t see the point of saving them, and I’m looking forward to any help i can get. At the risk of sounding like a qq’er, the new destro doesn’t seem any more streamlined than the old destro. Thanks.

    • I think, and I have not been following along that well, but I think the idea is that you do launch those CBs when you have an Ember, and you use Backdraft to Incinerate to generate more of them. I could be wrong – I would check out Megan’s work on WoW Insider for immediate guides. I’m going to be a while playing about with things, to be honest.

  6. Trimble

    I fully support this I did the same and it worked wonders. Bit iffy start tho

  7. When I was testing out on the beta I did the same thing. I had to. Once I did I was able to get into the groove of the new Affliction rotation.

    Great advice on the weights! I will try to keep that in mind for whenever we decide to have kids.

    • The weights really helped. Pushups do the trick too.

      Also, if you wear cap sleeve shirts you’re probably not going to be able to wear the same ones – your arm muscles will grow. >.>

  8. First of all, WOW! That’s a small gap btwn your two kids.:P

    Secondly, I couldn’t agree more. It’s a novelty having space on your bars again and what better time to start from scratch.

  9. I’m excited. With the help of this blog and others I’ve been able to get a decent grasp on the post-4.3 Affliction ‘lock to the point where I’m consistently able to hold my own, but as has been pointed out, it’s not a particularly rewarding puzzle to solve in terms of total DPS. I’m looking forward to cleaning out my action bar and starting over.

  10. Dejara Thoris

    Sigh. As part of a virtual worlds research project I have a lot of oddball UI devices…and now they are all staring at me and yelling in a chorus of “You have to relearn it all anyways…Use Me!” The Razer Hydra is especially loud.

    • Oh my. Oh, oh my. That’s quite a predicament to be in.

      I wonder if I can do it all on the Naga.

      • Dejara Thoris

        On the Naga? Probably. Especially if the shifting keys are on the other hand. In Cataclysm I has a Nostromo n52te under my left hand, a Logitech G700 under my right, and used ControllerMate (which I can’t recommend enough) to tie it all together.

        If your are going to go down the keyboard moving path, I suggest playing a bunch of Team Fortress 2 in order to get used to moving with the keyboard without a lot of the extra WoW clutter.

  11. elkagorasa

    lol, it was my second child, my son, when I started my WoW account 6 years ago. He did not sleep well, so I’d go quest. Of course, I did a lot of this solo.

  12. Damn, what the hell am I doing with this crib in my dining room?

    Great post!

  13. One of our guildies gave this advice on making macros –

    http://www.macroexplain.com/

    seems to help. I think the advice on trashing addons and macros is good, I’m just getting so many popup lua error dialogs – even after updating what I could..

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  16. Bwappo

    I recently went through a long, tedious, desperately needed overhaul for my PvP shamans, and it’s already paying off in spades. Spend the time to minimize “interface lag” and the game attains a higher enjoyment cap.

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