Conquer The Old Republic With These Tips

by Adam Biessener on Feb 06, 2012 at 01:01 PM

Like all MMOs, Star Wars: The Old Republic has unbelievably terrible default keybindings. Stave off repetitive stress injuries and dramatically improve your reaction times in the game by learning from this sage keybinding advice.

The biggest problem, which every hotkey-based game has fallen prey to, is that moving your left hand* to the other side of the keyboard in the middle of combat is cumbersome and imprecise. Since The Old Republic expects players to cycle through 10-14 abilities in the most basic combats, this is a constant issue past level six or so.

* All of the advice in this article is aimed at right-handed gamers, but lefties should be able to easily apply the concepts behind the advice to their own setups.

The simple solution is to re-map your ability hotkeys to the left side of the keyboard. This will make a huge difference in your ability to quickly and easily activate any and all of your abilities without having to look down at the keyboard or move your hand away from its natural position.

The twelve slots on your primary hotbar can be easily remapped to the following keys:


From there, it’s an easy step to map shift-modified versions to a second hotbar for easy access. Bam, you’ve got 24 abilities ready to go without having to move your hand a single inch. You’ll have to move your out-of-combat functions to other keys, but there are plenty of open options on the right side of the keyboard. Personally, I use J for my character screen, K for my inventory, and L for mission log, but you have a ton of options to bind the interface panels you open commonly enough to warrant a keybind.

Congratulations, you’ve taken a big step in removing the barriers created by a bad interface. To really amp up your game, though, be a pro and swap your movement keys from WASD to ESDF. This lets you use even more keys without moving your hand. My setup has the following keys (and shift-variants) all bound to specific abilities, and having a key bound to every long defensive cooldown has saved my Juggernaut’s life more than once.


That’s three full hotbars (click the screen up at the top of the page to see what my UI looks like) of easily accessed keybinds. Not having to move my hand away from my movement keys (or mouse-activate my abilities like some kind of total noob) is a huge advantage in PvP and in any kind of fight where you’re clawing for every advantage and using every skill in your character’s arsenal. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Whenever the Old Republic development team decides to bring the interface into the current decade and let us keybind targeting icons, those will go on the number pad on the right side of my keyboard -- and my flashpoint runs will go much smoother since I’ll be able to mark crowd control and kill targets for each pull in three seconds instead of fifteen. Of course, the Marauder will promptly ignore those and go bouncing around breaking mobs loose and making it ten times harder for me to tank effectively, but that’s another story.

Have you come across any interface tricks in TOR that are worth sharing?