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What are your gaming peripherals?

Breakfast Topic What are your gaming peripherals
Recently Frostheim AKA Brian Wood recommended peripherals for use with playing WoW over on Warcraft Hunters Union. He detailed which mouse, keyboard and headset he uses and why. He eschews anything wireless as a fraction of a delay can mean life or death in certain in-game situations.

Personally, I agree with him. Though I dislike the inconvenience of being wired to my computer, I also have a non-wireless mouse, keyboard, and headset -- all of mine Logitech. I'd like to upgrade to trying out Steelseries or Razer, but my pocketbook hasn't allowed for that. I can say that my peripherals have taken a beating over the years and are still working fine, if a bit disheveled.

I also concur with Frostheim's opinion that gaming keyboards should be lit, for ease in seeing the keys in low light. If you tend to use keyboards until they fall apart like I do, illuminated keyboards have the added benefit of not having the letters rub off. My daughter's hand-me-down keyboard is missing several letters, and she isn't a touch typist (yet). I guess it's time we upgraded her.

How about you? What are your gaming peripherals? Can you recommend them or are you just slumming it until you can afford something better?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Reviewing the Razer Anansi MMO keyboard: A tricky little spider

Razer has very graciously sent me one of its Anansi MMO keyboards to review for you fine people. My previous experience with Razer products has been positive, mostly because its MMO-centric wares fit well into my own MMO-centric lifestyle. I face this simple fact every day -- I play a lot of games. In fact, I play a lot of World of Warcraft. When you play a game this much, you get the tools made for it.

How about some features in convenient bullet point form?

The Razer Anansi MMO-Gaming Keyboard:
  • 7 thumb modifier keys
  • 100+ programmable keys
  • One-button profile switching (awesome for backlighting your Alliance characters blue and Horde characters red ...)
  • Five additional macro buttons
  • Media keys
  • Gaming mode option

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Hardware

WoW Rookie: Effective movement and camera use

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the basics of a good start in the World of Warcraft. For links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's, visit WoW.com's WoW Rookie Guide.

Does your numbskull pet always seem to come between you and the object of your affectionate (or not-so-affectionate) clicking? How can you get turned around and react more effectively when something smacks you from behind while you're drinking up? Wouldn't it be nice to see something besides your own rear end? And speaking of which, is it your camera angle or do you think your character been putting on a few extra pounds?

What you need, my friends, is better movement and camera controls. As the challenges and skill level ratchets up over the levels, clunkier styles of viewing your game field and moving your character may eventually cause you to fall behind the performance curve. Our advice: Find out what the best practices are, and then try them out sooner rather than later. Let's face it, changing the way you see and move around the game world can be completely disorienting. You feel as if you're starting all over again, just learning the controls. (Bottom line: It's true. You are.) But the payoff is more efficient, more effective play that ultimately makes your character more enjoyable to play.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

WoW Rookie: A computer to love WoW with


New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the basics of a good start in the World of Warcraft. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic, and be sure to visit WoW.com's WoW Rookie Guide for links to all our tips, tricks and how-to's.

WoW Rookie has already answered the first question asked by so many new players when they realize "You know, I think I'd like to have my own characters and my own account -- but will my computer run WoW?" This week, we'll burrow into the next level: "We've been engaged for months now. I'm in love, I'm committed, I'm of legal age (level 80, baby!) and I'm ready to drop some cash. What should I be looking for in a computer system to settle down in?"

If you're not into PvP, you may have missed PvP specialist Zach Yonzon's excellent series this summer on gearing up for PvP. But wait -- this is no in-game gear guide. Surprise! It's a look at the best hardware for running World of Warcraft. Whether you enjoy PvP or PvE content, here's a look at the gear that'll deliver the eye-popping, mind-blowing, mouse-clicking madness you crave for endgame WoW performance.

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Filed under: Tips, Features, WoW Rookie, Hardware

Keybindings and how to change them


Xella has a great post over at WoW LJ about keybindings, and it got me thinking. I play with what I thought was the "standard" way -- with the left hand sitting on the home fingers of Shift, A, W, D, and the spacebar, and then jumping up to the 1-6 (or further down the number line if necessary, though truth be told, I usually mouse-click those when I have the time to do so) to hit various abilities. But xella does it very differently -- she maps her fingers to the top abilities keys, using only her ring finger for movement. I would probably never have come up with that on my own (my habits come directly from FPS games, where the 1-6 keys are mostly for weapon switching, something you don't do quite as often as casting abilities), but it does make a lot of sense, even if xella says her ring finger, with all of those movement motions, is getting somewhat worn out.

And then she hits on something else I've been dealing with lately, too: changing what you've got. Setting up your keybinds is one thing, but actually changing them can be tougher.

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Filed under: Tips, Tricks, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Hardware

BlizzCon 2009: Hands-on with Razer's Naga MMO mouse


We posted last week that Razer had released an MMO mouse fittingly called the Naga (technically after the Sanskrit word for "snake," but c'mon, who plays WoW and doesn't know what Naga really means, right?), and when we did that, we mentioned it would be usable on the floor at BlizzCon. Sure enough, when we ran into the hall (hey, had to get to the store before those plush murlocs sold out) in Anaheim, there it was. We sat down with Travis Wannlund, community manager for the mouse and accessory company, for a quick demo and hands-on.

In that demo, we learned that Razer has actually developed their own WoW addon for the mouse's use, allowing you to map your abilities right into on-screen slots that correspond to the 3x4 touchpad of buttons on the thumb side. He also let us in on some of the design reasoning for the mouse itself, and what they've got in store for the device's future. Read on to learn more.

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Filed under: Items, Add-Ons, BlizzCon, Hardware

The sin of Tab targeting

I'm not a keyboard turner -- my steady diet of FPS games growing up made sure of that. And while I do occasionally point-and-click abilities, for the most part, I do use hotkeys. But, just like Tank Like a Girl, there is one control-scheme sin that I'm definitely guilty of: I am definitely a Tab-targeter. I guess the issue is that sometimes you do have to use Tab to choose your different targets -- sometimes, you can't quite click on the thing you need to target, so instead you hit Tab to flip through all the available targets until you get to the one you need. But that's a no-no. Flipping through the targets takes more time than you should (if you happen to miss your target, you need to flip through all of them yet again), and, as I know from personal experience, Tab targeting often ends you up on the wrong target. Not that CC is so much of an issue anymore, but let me tell you: the first time you happen to pull that one dragon your group has cast sleep on, it'll be embarassing.

So how to get it right? TLaG suggests this post from TankingTips, which hints at using the mouse instead of the keyboard to target (you can choose friendly targets easier that way), but doesn't offer any real suggestions of how to make the switch. Moving the camera back is one, getting your positioning right is probably another. And learning to use focus and macro targets is probably the best tip you can have: anything that's more specific or direct than either Tab or click targeting is probably better. Addons like Promixo will help in the Arenas as well.

No one's perfect, and no one way to do things is perfect either -- depending on your situation, Tab targeting might be better. But it's important to have as many tools as possible, so if you, like me, find yourself depending on the Tab key more often than not, it might be time to mix up your toolbag a bit.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, PvP, Raiding, Hardware

SteelSeries WoW mouse dangerous in no uncertain Terms (of Use)

We had an article here not too long ago about the SteelSeries WoW mouse, purportedly das ubermaus, replete with glowing fissures and lookin' all like a Templar helmet. We actually had kind of a hard time finding out just how the mouse performed -- it was advertised months before it came out, and it doesn't appear that many gamers actually got to use the mouse prior to pre-ordering it and did so based on Blizzard's official licensing of the WoW name on the product.

The few that did use it, those that played around with it at BlizzCon, actually reported to us that it felt cheap, flimsy, and about to break. That was a bit disconcerting to read, of course, and it wasn't actually an isolated incident--all of the emails we've received about it thus far have been negative reviews. Folks complained of broken buttons or strange key reassignments with the accompanying software.

Now, our sister site Engadget just released their own impressions on the device and they appear to like it, offering a large size, good weight, and robust software among their list of pros.

The inconsistency in reviews of the product thus far isn't what really bothers me, though. It's the fact that the mouse is a WoW-licensed product that performs functions that are against Blizzard's policies.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Hardware

WoW Rookie: Leaner, meaner character controls

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

How do you control your character? If you move with the W-A-S-D keys and stab at spell and ability icons on-screen with your mouse, you're missing out on a whole world of options that can streamline your game. Simply by setting up your character controls a little differently, you can make your game play easier and more efficient. WoW Rookie pulls together a whole host of options to mull over.

One of the first points to consider: How do you move your character? If you read a bit of WoW and gaming sites around the 'net, you've probably seen the phrase "mouthbreathing keyboard turner" bandied about. You're a keyboard turner if you use keys (usually W-A-S-D) on the keyboard to turn and move your character. Your character can turn (and get behind and around things and other players) much, much faster if you whip around with the mouse rather than slowly pivoting in place with your keyboard. So why's that such a big issue?

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Filed under: Tips, How-tos, Features, WoW Rookie

New Logitech G13 gameboard offers in-box WoW support


Our friend Drayner over at twinkinfo.com sends word of a brand new Logitech "gameboard" (keyboard extension?), called the G13. It actually looks really cool -- it's got the G15's screen, but it's actually an extra set of 22 keys that you can control outside of your normal keyboard. And plus, the keys are all backlit (with hundreds of available colors), and it even has an analog thumbstick on there for extra-precise movement. World of Warcraft gets mentioned not once but twice in the press release, and they say that it comes with support for "Burning Crusade," which we would assume also means Wrath of the Lich King as well.

Pretty groovy. It works with both Windows and OS X, and it'll set you back a tidy $80, which seems like a lot for a "gameboard," but then again, if this is the kind of thing you play WoW enough to actually make good use of, you've probably got a way to justify the purchase anyway (and if anyone's looking for a gift for me this year...). Anyone intersted in replacing their Nostromo with this one?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King, Hardware

Blizzard's European A Very Warcraft Christmas Contest

Blizzard's European arm has partnered with Steelseries to offer some cool prizes this Christmas for folks that send in pictures of a World of Warcraft themed Christmas decoration. The contest is only available to a slew of countries in Europe, and there is no indication if there will be a US version of the contest (though I wouldn't be surprised).

They're offering some pretty cool prizes from custom WoW keyboards, to gaming mice, to mouse pads. You can browse through our gallery bellow to take a look at what you can win.

I'm most interested in the keyboard. I tried one like it at a convention a couple years ago, but never had any extended play time with it. I have to wonder what it would do for my prolific use of macros during raids and groups.

Check out after the break for some more contest rules from Blizzard, along with a list of exactly what countries are eligible.

Remember, send your entries to Blizzard! Not us!

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Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Contests

How to set up and use the Belkin Nostromo N52

Our good friend Phaelia from Resto4Life (who, I'll have you know, will be live on our podcast this week -- more info tomorrow) has an extremely in-depth guide to setting up and using one of the most popular controllers for World of Warcraft, the Belkin Nostromo keypad. Some people swear by the G15 or the Zboard, I personally like to keep things vanilla with just an Apple Keyboard and a gaming mouse, but whenever you ask WoW players what they use, it seems like the Nostromo always comes up.

And Phaelia's got it down -- from setting up button mods (she's using Bartender, one of Adam's essential addons for 3.0.3) to configuring the keyboard itself and even putting in macros for all three Druid forms, if you've ever wanted to use the Nostromo, there's probably something interesting to learn here. Seems really complicated to me -- I'm not sure if I'm willing to commit that much work into getting my interface exactly right, especially if there's a chance that a big patch could wipe it all out.

But I can see how half the fun of playing the game is getting the controls just perfect, and if tweaking things that much makes you play that much better, more power to you. If you want to dive into the world of custom controllers, Phaelia's guide will probably be invaluable.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Add-Ons, Hardware

The fastest way to play Arena PvP

We've covered the topic of keyboard turners before, but Paul over on LJ has a similar distinction between control schemes -- he set up a spectrum that has clickers (or those who click all their icons with the mouse) on one end, and pressers (what he called "experts," though that's a little too biased for our tastes) on the other -- those who use the mouse to control movement only, and hit keyboard buttons to use abilities.

Personally, I do a mixture of both -- some icons, especially on the top rows, are easier to reach with the mouse than on the keyboard, so I click them. But most of the lower icons are easier to just reach up and click the number buttons on the keyboard, so that's what I do with those. Still Paul isn't really interested in the ways people do it -- he's interested in what's best. In Arena, getting abilities cast and out as fast as possible is often more important than anything else, so it definitely seems like relying on the mouse for movement (and maybe even binding oft-used abilities to mouse keys) would be much faster than clicking on icons periodically. Of course, there's always the option to do both at the same time.

It would be interesting for sure to see what kind of schemes and setups winning Arena teams use -- I'd imagine that they'd have to play with default interfaces, so while keybindings and macros would probably work best, they wouldn't be able to go too overboard with customization. At the highest levels, is it faster to click and press or just use the mouse for movement?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tricks, Odds and ends, PvP, Arena, Hardware

Avast! update causing issues with WoW

Avast! anti-virus, which is used by millions of people around the world, recently upgraded to version 4.8. Unfortunately, it seems that this upgrade has caused many WoW players to have a drastically lower play experience.

The most common symptom is severe keystroke lag while playing the World of Warcraft. Mouse actions also seem to be affected by this. Delays as low as a second and as high as five seconds between keystroke and the game receiving that action have been reported. Supposedly, running WoW in windowed mode fixes this, but your mileage may vary.

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Filed under: Odds and ends, News items, Forums

Addon Spotlight: Its' G15 Binder


There has been a lot of talk about keyboards and mice as of late, leading many of you to look at your play style under a different light. There has also been a bit of buzz over at Macro Anatomy about binding keys to different actions and macros. Well, my friends, it's spring, love is in the air and these two fascinating subjects have found romance.

The developer of Its G15 Binder addon tipped us off to the updated version of this simple, but useful mod. It has one very simple requirement, you should probably be using Logitech's G15 Keyboard to get the most use out of this addon. I should also mention that the developer made special mention of our own Adam Holisky as a potential fan of this addon, so consider the hat tipped in your direction, Adam.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Tricks, Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

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