Keybinds are essential to play World of Warcraft; without them, you couldn’t move with WASD or press simple spells such as 123 without clicking. Most(?) people go about the process in a willy-nilly way, their own style, what they are used to, what works for them… and not necessarily with regard to the human brain and how it works with its muscle memory, finger functionality, and the case of error. In order to achieve speed and precision, some thought must go into how you map your keys.
First lesson: it’s important to position or section your abilities on different keys so that they don’t get confuzzled, meaning if a misspress does happen it is less likely to cause a major disturbance in your ability rotation. You for example don’t want to put Lay on Hands on the same general key as Crusader Strike… that just screams for a high potential of a human error occurring.
The second thing (which as a meme should probably be the first thing): do yourself a huge favor and unbind your ‘move backward’ key off of
S. No, I’m not saying don’t bind it to anything, rather save that incredibly easy button to press for something more… special.. say a counter kick. All you have to do is bind the backward movement to SHIFT+S and the problem is solved. Your brain defaults to S being an essential base level keypress so it may take some time to unlearn the habit. Honestly, it didn’t take thaat long to get used to and it saves you from looking like a total noob all the time.
Now, this guide is mostly Marksmanship Hunter focused, so take what you can from it and apply it to your own class/spec. I do also play (actually main) a Retribution Paladin but I found the keybinds on my Hunter were far more flavorful and more deserving to be shared.
So let’s get to it…
“What should I bind my number ‘1’ key to?”
As you might think, ‘1’ should be saved for a button you love to press and is closer to the spam-side of things. It’s generally wise to have your ‘1’ key bound into a macro with both the normal cast and its modifiers, with the cooldown ability kept as the #showtooltip.
#showtooltip Rapid Fire /startattack /use [mod:shift] Rapid Fire; [@mouseover,exists][@target,harm] Arcane Shot /petattack [@mouseover]
As you can see, this macro enables Arcane Shot to be used as both target and now (@mouseover) as well. Not terribly useful but still imho worth having to kill stragglers or to spread damage quickly from an immune or walled target. The shift casts Rapid Fire as it’s one of MM’s primary damage cooldowns.
That brings us to ‘2’… wow aren’t we just speeding along.
Very similar to the keybind on ‘1’ as such:
#showtooltip Aimed Shot /use [mod:shift] Aimed Shot; Steady Shot
Ahha, nice. Very simple. So your major core abilities are covered (one could argue), now to figure out where to play the many more.
So, as a 28 year old male that has fairly large hands, I refuse to put an ability that I want to rely on pressing in a comfortable time frame on anything past 5, and even that is stretching it.
3: Multi (@mouseover) //important for landing it on 3 targets to proc Trick Shots 4: Explosive Shot (@mouseover) //to better land the AoE portion of spell 5; Tranquilizing Shot (@mouseover) //quickly remove BoP or other imp.spell on off T ...6: Volley //45sec cd spell makes sense for not to be big deal to reach some
Now here’s where things start to get funky, and what I have done might not work for you, but I welcome you to check how I do things out and let me know how it goes.
Let’s start with movement-based abilities. I for one and a League of Legends player. F is a very valuable key that isn’t pressed unless I really want to do something big. To me, it makes sense to save that brain’s energy to apply it to something that relates to movement, as Flash is in LoL. I’m a little judgmental when I see players put Flash on D as it’s on … D … a WASD key that is incredibly important for movement in pretty much any MMO. That being said, I generally bind F based on movement across all of my characters.
F: Disengage (w/ stopcasting) //when you press it you generally mean to press it Shift+F: Aspect of the Cheetah //boost to your movement speed, aka shifted up
Next comes Defensives. You don’t want to slip up pressing this key but you also don’t want it too far for when you need to react fast. G is the perfect key for the job, just one hop over from F so your fingers don’t rest on it and it’s still a rather easy reach.
G: Aspect of the Turtle Shift+G: /cancelaura for AotT
How about disengage tools? No, not literally Disengage. Well, how about Caitlyn’s 90 Caliber Net, what button is that normally on in LoL? Mmhm, E. E is easier I imagine for most to reach than G and it’s a button you’re used to pressing, much like its bigger sister: Q. Let’s go ahead and place the majority of or tools in our toolkit here…:
E: Scatter Shot (@mouseover) Shift+E: Feign Death > #showtooltip > /stopcasting > /stopattack > /use Feign Death > /cancelaura Feign Death Ctrl+E: Play Dead (pet's FD from book, look it up)
Q for hunters is the spot for my slows. It’s important to remember and it won’t be forgotten when it’s placed on Q. On my Paladin it is saved for Flash of Light. Charge on Warrior. A basic yet essential spell generally with a low cooldown.
Q: Concussive Shot Shift+Q: Bursting Shot
Makes sense… both have shot in their name and they have a slow component. Bursting Shot is semi-protected by the shift modifier so it’s not mistakenly pressed as easy as Q can be mistakenly pressed, if you know what I mean.
Pet control is an underrated, overwhelming juggle that Hunters are best known for having to take control of. Some say it is as simple as sending your pet in to attack and calling it back to retreat, plus maybe healing it… the reality is that this is rather far from the actual truth. There are a lot of nuances with pet control that to the naked eye or beginner player aren’t so obvious. For example, what if an enemy priest you were targeting had 3 targets around him, one being your pet. He’s acting like he’s going to fear, so what do you let normally happen to your pet? Let it get feared. Well, it should be obvious to you that is not the optimal play…
What is? Well how about pressing a keybind to make your pet stay before before he casts it to make it so that your pet doesn’t get feared? Yea. How many times have you done that or ever see that happen? It’s sort of similar to when your pet is attacking a target that is immune to damage, such as in an Ice Block. It’s actually draining focus when still set on the attack and you’re therefore effectively losing damage overall and requires an autocast toggle macro to fix the leakage.
Another point to be made is for when to keep your pet set to Assist or Passive stance. Btw yes, Defensive exists but it’s absolute trash and should next to never be used. Usually, when you are attacking a target your pet will attack it too! What if though, you wanted your pet to sic on a target that’s trying to run away to pick-up a health regen while also trying to attack a different, now ‘primary’ target… well obviously you will want to swap between setting your pet on Passive or Assist mode. Yes, normally it is kept on Assist but if you really want to min-max then using both is the way to go.
I recommend what I’ve found to be a really successful keybind that has ease of access, is easy to remember, and is distinctly different from your other keybinds…
Alt+A: Pet Assist stance //A for Assist(!) Alt+D: Pet Passive stance
Oh yea, don’t forget about your pet’s Growl ie a taunt. It can be used to taunt other player’s pets off their target. This can potentially be huge and possibly a lifesaver for yourself or a teammate.
Finally, Dash. Your pet’s sprint. It really should not be set on autocast. Yes, it has a high 50% uptime with a 20 second cd and a 10 second duration, but again, if you really want to be the best you need to not set your pet on a target 5 feet away and have the Dash cooldown be used right then and there. I recommend Ctrl+Space since it’s both easy and ‘fun’ to press.
Now let’s talk about keybinds for your pet…
Starting off: pet attack. The command should actually be a macro and not the pet action bar button bound. Why? Well, as with a lot of the macros you will use with essentially every class, you will want the option to mouseover to sic your pet on its target and macros can’t be placed on the pet action bar.
My keybind suggestions here require a gaming mouse. I personally love my G502 Wired, they’re only like $50. It has 5 buttons on the side along with many more features.
- x[ | ] ; x| " | [ x[ ' | = x| | ] x[_________] - Sniper Shot ; Bm toys (slightly hard to press button) [ Covenant Ability Shift+[ Stop casting/Stop attack Ctrl+[ Toggle pet autocast = Kill Shot Shift+= Double Tap Ctrl+= Pet Attack ] Binding Shot (@cursor) Shift+] Binding Shot (w/ range display) Ctrl+= Pet Follow Alt+= Pet Stay
Pet based ability buttons…
Focus on the Z button. Requires a slight reach which is appropriate for how much you use your pet stuff.
Z All-in-one pet macro > #showtooltip > /use [mod:alt] Dismiss Pet > /use [mod:shift,@pet,nocombat] Feed Pet > /use [mod:shift,pet:Bird of Prey][pet:Hyena][pet:Warp Stalker] Thick Paleo Steak > /use [@pet,exists,nodead] Mend Pet > /use [nomod] Revive Pet Alt+1 Call Pet 1 Alt+2 Call Pet 2 Alt+3 Call Pet 3 Alt+4 Call Pet 4 V Hunter's Ability (changes depending on pet) Shift+V Roar of Sacrifice macro (@mousover, @target, @player) Ctrl+V Master's Call macro (@mousover, @target, @player) C Scare Beast Shift+C Growl (@mouseover, @target) Ctrl+C Eyes of the Beast
Probably the bind I’m most proud of that I think is extremely efficient/effective that as far as I know next to nobody does. I feel like button presses for traps is silly due to ‘having’ to have both an (@cursor) and (@player) plus there typically being three of them needing to be bound. I feel that the binds are not that hard to learn… think of them as requiring a primary bind and then add Ctrl if you want it placed on yourself. Walaa!
SW is easy really easy to trigger. It makes sense for a self-heal and on-use trinket to be bound on the wheel as opposed to a button.
Alt+SW Up Freezing Trap [@cursor] Alt+Ctrl+SW Up Freezing Trap [@player] Shift+SW Up Explosive Trap [@cursor] Shift+Ctrl+SW Up Explosive Trap [@player] Alt+SW Down Tar Trap [@cursor] Alt+Ctrl+SW Down Tar Trap [@player] addition mouse wheel key binds... SW+Up Exhileration SW+Down PvP Trinket ShifT+SW Press Hunter's Mark
Miscellaneous key binds…
T Flare (@cursor) Ctrl+T Fireworks(!!!) R Trueshot (LoL ult button, lone press. Feels extremely satisfying to press) Alt+W Camouflage (same as walking forward) ` Mount
Focus on grouping abilities on general keybinds to reduce crosstalk
Rebind your move backward button or remove it altogether
Pick the key bind section/location sparingly, remind yourself how it takes for each key’s press as well as its level of comfort reaching to it
Don’t forget to make use of your mouse side buttons as well as the scroll wheel
It’s generally a bad idea to bind keys to 5 or higher nor any keys that require a noticeable stretch to press
Macros are your friend to condense button space, specifically (@mouseover), (@cursor) and (@player)
While I didn’t go over it in this guide, addons are
extremelyextremely helpful in making your gameplay easier to digest and make it imho more fun to play visually
A very good spot to bind your mount is ` aka ~. It just feels right to me
I’m a big advocate for putting your Gladiator’s Medallion aka PvP Trinket on scroll wheel down then putting your camera control on Shift+MW. It allows for a quick response on your right hand so your main key presses on your left are left free during that timeframe
Get yourself a gaming mouse if you haven’t already, and a gaming keyboard with the ability to bind macros to G-keys as well
This was not intended to be a full guide on Hunters or more so the MM spec. I somewhat want to fully cover Macros, Talents, Button Layout, Pet types, other Specs, and I’m sure more as I can come up with it. Depending on the reaction I get from this post, which tbh I’m not getting my hopes up and expecting much, I can maybe do more.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you get something out of this. Happy key mapping~!
P.S. if you need help with macros please post here and LMK. I’m also appreciative of any additional advice you can help offer to the guide and other players. I’m open to criticism on how I decided to bind my keys, so let’s hear it. Cx