Editor’s Note: I was going to wait until I hit level cap before publishing this guide, but people have been asking for it, and I recognize that sharing it sooner than later may help players who want to self-assess their keybinds before they become hardened in muscle memory.
I may tweak the keybinds as I level up and try different things – stay tuned.
As I wrote in my detailed Guide to Strafing and Keybinding, the default keybindings for every MMORPG (including and especially WildStar) do not support skillful play. To understand the implications of poor keybinding versus effective keybinding, please go read the Guide and watch its videos, then come back here.
OK, you’re back.
Before we talk about keybinds for WildStar, let’s consider the distinctions of this game relative to other MMORPGs in terms of the combat mechanics:
- The combat revolves around aiming of abilities, so you need to be able to fluidly and accurately target opponents who are moving
- Given that you have to aim by keeping a target in front of you, the old MMORPG technique of strafing sideways from a target and still being able to hit them doesn’t work
- There are a very limited number of abilities, aka the LAS (Limited Action Set). Gone are the days where a given class has 30+ abilities. This is the direction the industry is moving in. So we should be able to keybind most or all of our in-combat abilities without modifier keys
- To break out of stuns, you have to quickly hold down the appropriate random movement key: forward, backward, left strafe, or right strafe. So those directions must be bound
Before I talk about my WildStar setup, let me reiterate what I stated in my Guide to Strafing and Keybinding:
Keybinding is a sensitive topic, so keep in mind that the intention of this [guide] is to show “one way of thinking about it.” The way that you feel comfortable setting up your keybinds may be very different from mine – what matters is that you are able to execute [combat effectively and accurately].
Don’t feel constrained at all by my particular setup. I’ll explain my thought process below, but how you keybind should suit your needs. Just don’t box yourself into the default lame keybinds.
Here are my draft keybinds for WildStar:
I have 17 in-combat keybinds that each require a single keypress, which enables me to to fluidly move and aim without finger gymnastics. My pinky, ring finger, middle finger, and index finger rest on Q, W, E, and R respectively. I put the spammable ability on 3 so I can hit it with my middle finger. This is comfortable and I’m able to strafe while using it.
I’m still mulling over the location of the Innate ability. For the classes aside from SpellSlinger, C works fine. SpellSlinger needs to micromanage their Innate, so you may want to consider mapping Innate to a comfortable key that is closer to your LAS 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 backward – again, intuitive and natural. Normally I bash backpedaling as ultimate noobiness and don’t even keybind Backward, but the combat mechanics for WildStar are different from most other tab-target games. In tab-target games you can strafe sideways and hit your target. Not so in WildStar. Backpedaling in WildStar allows you to create some separation while keeping your target in front of you.
As I wrote in the Guide to Strafing and Keybinding, I use the mouse for character turning (right mouse button), camera turning (left mouse button), and moving forward (both mouse buttons). There is no reason to waste valuable keys for keyboard turning left or right, and in WildStar, using your mouse to turn/aim is much faster and more accurate.
In WildStar, when you are stunned you are presented with a random button to press to break out of it. Those map to my W/R and E/D keys respectively, but they’ll map to whatever your strafing and forward/backward keys are.
With the Limited Action Set (LAS), there are only so many keybinds you need, so I limit the usage of my left pinky to select movement-related skills. Given that in combat my left fingers rest on QWER, using Q for Sprint has worked well for me. From a thematic standpoint, since my left pink is about movement, it’s the finger I use to Mount (Z) and for Dash (1).
As discussed in the Guide to Strafing and Keybinding, it’s really helpful to use “thematic” keybinding, where the letter of a key related to the first letter in an ability, or you use the same finger for similar actions, and you do this across classes and across games to reinforce the muscle memory.
E.g. for every class I map:
- 3 to the main spammable
- S to Stun
- D for dodge Backward
- C for class Innate
- T to talk, aka Interact
- B to Vacuum Loot into my backpack
These are examples, but come up with what works for you.
Also, if you decide to make significant changes to your keybinds, read the instructions in the full Guide to Strafing and Keybinding – you want to approach new keybinds thoughtfully and patiently.
To see how keybinds enable good gameplay, check out the following video.
- 2014/06/19: Replaced the combat footage video with good examples recorded last night
- 2014/06/18: Per FrankyMcShanky’s and Martin’s feedback, bound 1 to Dash. Labeled the specific type of abilities for most of the LAS slots