As with any computer game, taking advantage of key binding is one the first things any veteran player does to improve their performance.
Star Wars: The Old Republic offers highly customizable key bindings with an easy interface for setting up your custom key binds. This guide will briefly explain why you should key bind, give you information on effective key binding choices, and show you how to create key binds in-game.
Why bother key binding at all?
Many things are happening all at once in Star Wars: The Old Republic. You just got stunned, molten plasma appears beneath you, a Rancor charges into your group, and combat text covers your screen. You’ve got to see all this, react to it, and maintain top performance in the middle of this mess.
Your performance in high pressure situations is based on how quickly you react and move to different scenarios. Having to point and click at abilities is slower than using keys and reduces your effectiveness. By using Key Bindings on your most important abilities, you will be able to react and respond to situations quicker and more effectively.
But if I key bind, what do I use my mouse for?
Using your Mouse is still critical, but not for clicking your abilities. By holding down both Mouse Buttons, you run forward until you let go – and your mouse movement will also steer your character. Controlling your character through the mouse allows for more precise movements than just using the keyboard alone.
You can combine keyboard movements with your mouse. Using the WSAD keys and holding down the right mouse-button to steer your character. This allows you to maneuver and turn almost instantly compared to turning with your keyboard. This is a very popular movement method and is also very effective for kiting, as you can run one direction, then jump, and use your mouse to spin around and cast something, then spin back before landing from the jump.
Your mouse is the most effective tool for maneuvering and controlling the movement of your character.
What are good key combinations for key binding?
The first thing you should do is find a ‘modifier’ button that you find comfortable and accessible. A ‘modifier’ button is a button you hold down while pressing other keys. Some popular modifier buttons are: Shift, Alt, and Ctrl.
By holding down a modifier key (Shift, Alt or Ctrl), you can now press other keys to activate additional abilities. For example, let’s pretend you set your “1” key for a Medpac. If you hold down Shift, and then hit your “1” key again, you might then activate an Adrenal. So now “1” is for a Medpac, and “Shift + 1” is for an Adrenal.
Why use a modifier key?
The goal of this setup is to keep your left hand on the keyboard and right hand on your mouse. Constantly moving your hand around the keyboard will slow you down. This is why keys on the right side of the keyboard are generally not very good to use. You want to maximize the amount of key combinations you quickly access without moving your hand. By using a modifier, you greatly increase the number of key combinations on the left side of the keyboard.
Give me some direction!
The image below is a simple diagram of how most players use their keys.
View “SWTOR Keyboard Map”
Some players like to use the keys “Q”, “E” and even “A”, “S”, and “D” for more abilities, and completely rely on their mouse for movement. This is a bit more complicated and isn’t necessarily much better, but it is worth knowing.
Should I key bind all of my abilities?
You want to bind the most frequently used abilities for your class. These abilities key include those in your rotation, cooldowns, trinkets, and consumables. Abilities that are used out-of-combat or very rarely in combat do not need to be bound.
I’ve never made key bindings before. How do I create them?
Star Wars: The Old Republic has a built-in Key Bindings interface. While logged in the game, press your ESC key, and the Options Menu will appear. Click “Preferences”. This will bring up the Preferences panel. At the bottom of the Preferences panel are tabs labeled “Game” and “Key Bindings.” Click the “Key Bindings” tab.
The most important key bindings are located in the “Targeting” and “Quickbar” sections. The “Quickbar” section is where you change the keys bindings that activate your abilities. Select the “Quickbar” section.
This is the section where you can key bind abilities on your different action bars. To do so, find the action bar slot you would like to rebind. For Example, search for “Quickbar 4 – Slot 12” which, by default, is the bottom most slot of the action bar on the right side of your screen. To add or change a key binding to “Quickbar 4 – Slot 12” you should click on the button that reads “Not Bound” which will bring up the “Recording Keystroke” prompt. At this time, press the key or combination of keys that you would like to use as the key binding for this slot. You should now see the new key binding listed. Click on “Ok” or “Apply” to close the Preferences panel and save your new key bindings.