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) and camera turning (left mouse button). 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
I also use the Lockdown mod which gives me mouselook and my #1 ability as L Click on my mouse. It saves a lot of unnecessary spamming, at least at lower levels. Plus, it automatically frees up your mouse cursor and disables the attack on L Click when you need to interact with menus. Has made the game much more natural and easier to play, IMO. Not sure why Carbine didn’t put in a mouselook option themselves.
That sounds like a slick mod!
That said, I intentionally stay away from mods that are related to character control. If the addon breaks, you’re SOL.
I tend to stick with mods that provide useful information (which I can live without if they break).
Thanks for this Ed! One of the primary reason I follow you. Excellent character control tips.
May be an oversight but there is no dodge keybind. It was mentioned under ‘other tips’ but that conflicts with move backwards.
Keep it up!
Mentally I think of backing up as dodging, from my days in GW2.
IMO keybinds are a very personal thing.(which you said) I see how yours could work, but after playing the game for a year, I’ve never had any problems with wasd and using 1-6, e and q for my LAS. Then using X for gadgets. (Also, rebinding strafe to a and d)
I find the key hardest to hit being 2 in this setup.
I also totally agree with muscle memory for the binds, I always have my stun on 3 personally.
I agree with your add-ons that change gameplay breaking, and making you gimped.
I re-edited the Guide to be very clear on that point. Some folks on Reddit were mistakenly thinking I was advocating my particular setup.
Great guide, Ed! Question for you. In both GW2 and WildStar I’ve set up my keybindings so all of my movement is done with my G600 MMO mouse. There are 12 thumb buttons on the mouse and I’ve mapped strafe, dodges, and autorun to the mouse. This frees up my left hand to focus completely on the LAS skills, sprint, and jump. What do you think of doing this? I have so much muscle memory invested in this style of play, I’m not sure I could easily change.
By all means DO NOT CHANGE what you have.
The point of this Guide (and I’ve clarified this above) isn’t to adopt my keybinds, it’s to adopt whatever works for you, since the default keybinds are horribad.
I’m not looking to emulate what you have simply to emulate. I am curious, however, whether you think a setup similar to what I have (with movement all done with the mouse) is fundamentally sound or flawed.
It really depends on a few things, in particular as you are playing a melee class:
1. are you able to consistently get behind and stay behind your target?
2. are you able to circle-strafe your target easily? I mean literally run circles around them?
3. are you able to fire the ability you meant to accurately and with the right timing?
I tried a similar setup when I had a naga. I worked, but was flawed for me. My hand was too big for the mouse, and using it for movement interfered with my mouse control.
I have to suggest binding dodge roll and disabling double tap to dodge.
The double tap to dodge option resulted in a lot of misfires for me.
I’m using double tap to dash at the moment.
I’ve made some mistakes, but they’ll go down as I get more reps in.
That said, I can see the benefit of binding it, so that you can keep moving and dash in a direction.
I’ve adopted your keybind idea for all sorts of MMO play for a while now. Cheers for the innovation. My thoughts here is that double tapping seemed to not mash well with your idea of one-touch keybinding. My experience with double tapping is that it can be hard to pull off in intense PvP situtations (or maybe I’m a klutz more than most).
Having played Guild Wars 2 for a very long time, I’ve bound Dodge to Caps-lock (for WERD configuration, it’s basically like what shift is to WASD) so that I can easily pull off jump dodges. You mentioned that you wanted your pinky to use movement skills and that seemed like a good fit.
Since I don’t even use Caps-lock for anything, I’ve edited the registry to make Caps-lock function as another Shift key.
A friend swears by binding Dodge to Spacebar, so there’s that as well.
Well, you and Franky are advising the same thing, so I’ll give some thought about changing how I dash.
The 1-touch keybinding is more about not having to hit 2 different keys. But that said, you are right, there are limitations with double-tapping, such as if I am trying to strafe right, and I want to also dash in that direction, there is a very minor hitch when I take my finger off the strafe right key to hit it twice.
Thanks for the feedback.
Why use W and R to strafe Left and Right? instead of S and F? Is there some advantage to this?
Simplicity and physical positioning of my fingers.
I have my pinky, ring finger, middle finger, and index finger lined up over Q, W, E, and R respectively – that is, in a straight line. It’s comfortable.
I’ve changed my keybindings according to your tutorial and played for a couple of hours…wow boy did I have trouble haha but I really do believe in the logic behind it so I’ll keep trying! Thanks a lot for this guide!
As I wrote in the detailed Guide (i.e. not this WildStar one), it takes about a week to settle in to a new keybinds setup.
It should get much easier. If after several days it doesn’t, then re-evaluate what you have.
Frizz here. I still use my trusted c and v for left and right strafe and the spacebar for jumping. My dodge is on my mouse, and this means all the q, w, e, r, a, s, d, f, are used for killing weaponless peasants.
Also, I am playing a spellslinger and assumed I would be awful in duels and so tended to flee and then comeback once the person was off me and refocused on someone else once they realised they wouldn’t catch me. But I attempted some duels last night and as long as you keep them at arms length you can make there life hell.
I’ve always thought that a bit odd, but if it works for you, stick with it :)
SS has excellent kiting Utility skills. Gate, Flash Freeze, and Void Slip are all good tools. And I think you’d like Spatial Shift, it’s a position swap and screws up your opponent’s movement – it’s so trollishly you!
Replaced the video with one with good illustrative footage of my keybinds in action.
“He will die like the weaponless peasant that he is.” I didn’t realize you were such a bad dude ’til now.
Nice video, by the way! May have to tweak these keybinds to fit myself, but they look pretty solid. I just can’t do WERD movement, tried and failed.
I’m the nicest opposing PVP’r you’d ever meet.
I never engage in teabagging and such :D
If this is for new people to Wildstar then more detail needs adding, for example binding A to “Gap Closer”, what is the gap closer? Where would it be in the keybind settings?
Gap closer is a generic term for any movement ability that manages distance. E.g. Charge for WoW Warrior, Leap for WildStar Warrior, etc.
My current keybinds
My configuration is quite different. I think mainly due to not being able to use my pinky as much. I tend to only use index, middle and ring finger. Using this configuration I use those three fingers for movement but also to press ability keys.
3 people playing musical chairs with 2 chairs is the best I can describe it.
Fixed the image link for you.
Great guide Ed, I was wondering how you feel about binding directional dash to middle mouse with directional dash backwards enabled?
If you do that, how do you camera zoom in and out?
My middle mouse can be pressed as well as scroll. Could be a feature of my mouse that others do not have.
Mouse wheel depress is a pretty common function.
I’m going to try your setup for directional dash. Thanks for the tip!
It took a little effort to get out of the habit of double tapping, but game play has felt more natural now that I’m use to it.
Let me know if it works out for you.
Directional dash was my original thought too. But playing a medic I found it incredibly important to be able to make minor lateral changes. Slightly backing up or forward is the difference between healing 2 ppl or 3 ppl.
I’m guessing for dps dash binds are superior though.
I recommend binding directional dash because it allows for minor position adjustments without accidentally dashing. It is also much more fluid than double tapping or binding every dash direction. Though this second point is pretty clearly my opinion.
I am playing a Stalker and concede that I don’t know if directional dashing is good for healers. I can however say that it has been amazing for being in the damage role and even more amazing when filling the tank role in the pve setting.
I’m not the best in pvp by a long shot but I have felt like this set up has improved my performance. Though if I ever run into Taugrim it probably wont matter how my bindings are set, I’ll be on the floor or looking for my claws lol.
Played around with a bit today. Useful, I’m tempted to replace my ‘forward’ with it or ‘toggle run’. That said, thoughtful movement seems to be more important than reactionary dashing, so I’m probably going to stick with double tap for medic. I might revise that with an alt.
Thanks for this awesome guide, I’m trying to learn the Keybindings right now and I was wondering which fingers you use for targeting enemies and the 4,5,S,A,F,G keys.
I guess you use the thumb for all the keys on the bottom (Z,X,C,V,B,N)
I also forgot to ask you which key you use for the Infochron
I keep my hand aligned with the typing stance of ASDF but up one row.
So the fingers of my left hand rest on QWER.
– 1/Q/A/Z are activated by my pinky
– 2/W/S/X are activated by my ring finger
– 3/E/D/C are activated by my middle finger
– 4/R/F/V are activated by my index finger
– 5/T/G/B are also activated by my index finger
I changed the sprint key from Q to V because I never used my pinky much and when I do my hand starts to hurt after a while for some reason. I’m playing with your keybindings for only one day, It already feels really comfortable and I’m able to melee strafe like a boss.
Thanks a lot for this awesome guide!
Awesome, glad you tweaked them to better work for you.
Is that Build also viable for PvE leveling or Is It a pure PvP build?
I started using it for PVE leveling in Wilderrun, because I was getting ganked. Wilderrun is very much like WoW Stranglethorn Vale.
I found that the build allows you to pull 2 mob packs at a time because of the good sustain.
Yeah they definately do! Which key do you use for the Infochron? As thats Important in Wildstar too atleast while leveling.
What is the Infochron? Is that the quest box in the bottom-right (Datacron)?
I only map in-combat abilities to accessible keys for my left hand, it’s too valuable real estate.
Yes Its the Datachron (Your phone) so where did you map It to then?
It’s not relevant for combat so I bound to Ctrl-Something, can’t remember.
Honestly, it’s not important.
I’m interested in how much your site traffic has surged since your gank fail video blew up on Reddit.
I didn’t link the video here on my blog in its own post, so not much. My WildStar videos have seen a lift in view counts though.
May I ask how do you map sprint to Q key? I cant change it since its set only to Shift, Ctrl and Alt in Wildstar
Sprint Modifier can be set to a specific key in the 2nd column
Hey Taugrim this is Psychrome from SWTOR i am totally stoked that you are playing wildstar I am interested in your thoughts. totally missed you on Gamebreaker SWTOR show stopped watching when you left!!
I used D for dash in GW2 so I wanted to use that preset here as well. Also, I’ve found that using Q for sprint made the left side of the keyboard a bit too busy. I’ve currently set sprint and go back on mouse keys 4 and 5 respectively. It’s working great so far.
Hi Taugrim. I just found this guide while trying to figure out my keybinds for WildStar. After being a long time WoW player my old keybind set up didn’t really transpose over well. After finding your guide though and using your keybinds it has been great. Your keybinds have really improved my playing. I noticed in your newest WildStar Esper video that it looks like some of your keybinds have changed. I was wondering if we could get an update on what you changed and why. It looks like you changed from using 1 as your directional dash and so on. Would just like to hear why you changed them and what your updated binds are. Thanks for the awesome guide!
I re-mapped 1 from directional dash to gadget.
The reality is that hitting the 1 key for directional dash plus 1-2 other keys wasn’t feeling too comfortable. So I ditched it.
Cool. Thanks for your reply. I agree. I tried using 1 as directional dash and it felt to out of the way to hit with another key. I use the side button as well as the middle click on my mouse for directional dodge and I find it to be really smooth.
That sounds like a good spot to map direction dash.
I’m currently using middle mouse button click for Set Focus, which I use to track pesky enemy DPS Slingers or healers.