Guide to Guild Wars 2 Keybinding


As I wrote in my Guide to Strafing and Keybinding, the default keybindings for every MMORPG (including GW2) do not support skillful play. If you are not clear why keybinds matter so much, go read the Guide and watch the video.

You can solve the keybinding issue with hardware, e.g. with a Razer Naga gaming mouse and a Razer Nostromo gaming keypad. That said, there is a very simple software solution: rebind the default keybinds to a setup that makes sense. I do not use a gaming mouse or keyboard, as I don’t need them. That said, if you feel you perform better with gaming hardware, great, stick with what works for you.

Here is my keybinds setup for GW2:

GW2 Keybinds (v1.2)

I have over 20 keybinds that each require a single keypress, which enables me to to fluidly circle-strafe and kite-strafe targets while activating abilities.

I use my ring and index fingers to strafe left and right respectively, which is intuitive and natural. Likewise, my middle finger is used for forward and dodge – again, that is intuitive and natural. I do not backpedal, so there is no reason for me to bind the backward key. As I’ve said many times, you should be very careful about backpedaling, especially in PVP, because it’s the slowest way to move in every major MMORPG including GW2 and it’s like putting a pinning a “target me” sign in neon letters on your chest.

As I wrote in the Guide to Strafing and Keybinding, I continue to use the mouse for character turning (right mouse button), camera turning (left mouse button), and moving forward (both mouse buttons).

Revision History

  • 2012/01/22: I started playing Ele a month ago and realized that I needed the profession keys (for attunements) to be more easily accessible, so I swapped the keybinds for my profession skills and utility / elite skills.
Posted in Guide, Guild Wars 2, PVE, PVP
138 comments on “Guide to Guild Wars 2 Keybinding
  1. chetjan says:

    One recommendation I would have is changing the profession keybindings, I find that V is easier to hit with my thumb than Z with my pinky. The setup I would recommend is yours backwards (profession skill 1 is V, 2 is C, …). Profession skill 1 is the most used (obviously across classes) and for necros sometime double tapping it quickly is a must. I find that difficult to do with my pinky. Maybe it is just personal preference. Thanks for the awesome key-bindings though :).

    • taugrim says:

      chetjan :

      One recommendation I would have is changing the profession keybindings, I find that V is easier to hit with my thumb than Z with my pinky. The setup I would recommend is yours backwards (profession skill 1 is V, 2 is C, …). Profession skill 1 is the most used (obviously across classes) and for necros sometime double tapping it quickly is a must. I find that difficult to do with my pinky. Maybe it is just personal preference. Thanks for the awesome key-bindings though :) .

      Your point is important – players should tweak keybindings as they see fit and for what is comfortable for them.

  2. Sho'Nuff says:

    Good point on updating your keybinds somewhat for your profession. For me the most important 2 aspects I learned from you when it comes to keybinds are 1) use the KISS principle for simpler, intuitive, and faster game play ie one key press for all active abilities. Save the shift combos for bringing up character screens, inventory, etc. 2) Make the keys you need to press most often easiest to reach!

    Simple really. I too was struggling a bit when I switched from Engie (on whom I highly underused my profession keys anyway) to a Guardian. Virtues are a powerful part of the Guardians aresenal for pretty much any build and especially for group play. I too had them mapped to the bottom Z-V keys, but found mapping Z to the Virtue I wanted to activate most often problematic and difficult to execute while strafing.

    I’ve tried moving a lot of things around (including taking out E for forward since I use almost no ground targeting skills with a Guardian, but used them heavily with the Engineer) but I will try swapping the Utility row and the profession row and see how that feels.

  3. I’m a little confused, this is all about remapping your keys. and you have mentioned you can remap your keys with different hardware, but i tried doing this will my K90 keyboard and it didn’t work. i am to assume that you can’t not use macros at all to bind keys?
    i don’t think you can use macros in guild wars 2, but can you not use them as simple binds?
    (just started playing the game yesterday; first mmo i have never enjoyed playing)

    • taugrim says:

      Nicholas Lloyd :

      I’m a little confused, this is all about remapping your keys. and you have mentioned you can remap your keys with different hardware, but i tried doing this will my K90 keyboard and it didn’t work. i am to assume that you can’t not use macros at all to bind keys?
      i don’t think you can use macros in guild wars 2, but can you not use them as simple binds

      There is an in-game menu for setting your keybinds for various commands.

      No macros, custom hardware, or anything required.

      Nicholas Lloyd :

      (just started playing the game yesterday; first mmo i have never enjoyed playing)

      The combat in GW2 is *very* different from other MMORPGs. Give it a few days to settle in, and try different classes.

      • i think it might just be a problem with my keyboard then (k90) as it doesn’t allow the G keys (macro keys) to act as simple keyboard binds to other keys without software, which i think the game blocks.
        just found your videos today and youtube and you make great content, will be will checking out more of your stuff :)

  4. Stephen says:

    I just wanted to leave this comment as an endorsement – since my early days in WoW I used the standard keybinds…after reading this guide and doing some experimentation to find the keys that suited where my hands naturally lay down, I was able to setup a keybind profile for GW2 that has me only using the mouse to straighten the camera’s vertical axis. I can engage in combat without touching the mouse, and it’s blazing fast. A mob 4-5 levels over me has no chance as long as I have the space to strafe and kite.

    • taugrim says:

      after reading this guide and doing some experimentation to find the keys that suited where my hands naturally lay down, I was able to setup a keybind profile for GW2

      Glad it was helpful to you Stephen :)

  5. […] options you have that aren’t even bound by default) in the options menu.I use a similar setup to the one that Taugrim offers. It’s much easier to use, but takes a little while to get used to if you’re used to […]

  6. […] Experiment with your keybindings if you’re still using the default ones. I didn’t really notice what a difference this made (since I’ve never really used the default bindings) until I switched to another computer to do some screen capture for this guide. Defaults seem really unintuitive, make you stretch your hand across they keyboard (or click) and doesn’t really provide the minimal effort to reach my virtues that I’m used to. It may take a while to get used to, but there are much better ways to bind your keys. Taugrim’s blog has a nice layout (similar to what I currently use) here: https://taugrim.com/2012/06/27/guide-to-guild-wars-2-keybinds/ […]

  7. […] used to. It may take a while to get used to, but there are much better ways to bind your keys. Taugrim’s blog has a nice layout (similar to what I currently […]

  8. […] always, I recommend taking a look at Taugrim’s entry on keybinds if you’re still using the default setup in-game. Being able to quickly reach your keys […]

  9. Scott says:

    So I don’t have much dexterity in my pinky so I was having a hard time using it for keybindings. However I have it used to typing on a keyboard. So I was sitting here searching for a good setup that did not make much use of my pinky. And in the process I came up with an idea: use the left and right mouse buttons for strafe, and the conventional middle finger to move forward. At that point movement is entirely done with the mouse — I might even set the dodge key to the middle mouse button. And so I am free to use all of my fingers to activate keybindings.

    Any thoughts?

    • Scott says:

      Hadn’t thought of the fact that you need to hold down a button to move the camera — I will see if a keybinding or mouse button is easier for that.

      • Scott says:

        Sorry about the triple post. Use the index finger for left mouse button strafing, middle finger on the middle mouse button to do character movement, and ring for the right mouse button.

      • taugrim says:

        Yea I was going to point out that you lose the character turning and camera turning functions.

        That being said if you can get a functional control set that works for you, that is what matters.

  10. anchauvies says:

    […] used to. It may take a while to get used to, but there are much better ways to bind your keys. Taugrim’s blog has a nice layout (similar to what I currently […]

  11. […] used to. It may take a while to get used to, but there are much better ways to bind your keys. Taugrim’s blog has a nice layout (similar to what I currently […]

  12. […] Guide to Guild Wars 2 Keybinding | Taugrim’s MMO Blog – As I wrote in my Guide to Strafing and Keybinding, the default keybindings for every MMORPG (including GW2) do not support skillful play. If you are not clear why … […]

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