I think one of the keys to playing a character well is getting comfortable with it. For me that usually means testing what I have my abilities bound to. I am not one of those people that says if you click you are bad because that is flat out false. In PvP that most definitely holds true but in PvE I am sure I could do the same fight on my hunter and get the same results whether I click on the screen or click on my keyboard. It really does not make much of a difference. What makes the difference is getting comfortable with your abilities.
For me, and a new spec or class, finding that comfort zone is the hardest part of the game. I really wish there were a way to save my set up for all specs so if I change and change back I did not have to redesign things all over again, but that is another story all together.
I've been playing around with my monk to test out brewmaster and I am having a hell of a time finding my comfort zone. Although I only spent a few hours out and about killing things, which is not nearly enough time to get comfortable with some binds, I still feel as lost on my bindings as I was before I spent that time testing it out.
I've noticed that my ability to play a character is directly connected to the number of binds I have for them. Not sure if that is the same for others and I am only basing this on my personal opinions of my ability to play the classes but the classes I am better at have more binds. Take my poor hunter as an example. He has binds for everything, macros for everything, and I know where they all are and can call them up on the fly without even thinking about them. It is also the character I am best at by far. Again, my own opinion of course. Is it the fact I am so invested in it that makes me good with it or the fact I have so many binds that does? You decide. I say it is because I am well practiced, the binds only help, it was the practice that made me good.
Things like my rogue, which I do not like playing and am not really all that good at, has minimal keybinds. I am not sure if the connection is I do not play it enough to know what else I should have bound or that the reason I am not really good at it is that I do not have things bound. I'll leave that up to you to infer what you wish.
Usually when setting up a new bar I will throw my main abilities there and move them in a order that works for me as I am playing. Putting things in priority order doesn't work really, not for me, and even more so not for a healer or tank. But it is just a matter of practice and place until you get into a rhythm with your bindings
Sounds simple right? Actually is isn't. Finding your bindings is about how comfortable you are with where things are. It is part of the reason I am not very comfortable with my paladin, there are a few abilities I still have not found the right place for them binding wise. And my DK, I just can not find were to put its taunt. Seriously. I have yet to find a place where I feel comfortable with it in relation to my other abilities.
My monk however is new, so it is all starting from scratch and I am completely lost firmly outside of the comfort zone. I have a whole slew of abilities I threw on my bars in blocks. Offensive abilities, ones that build chi, ones that spend chi and of course my free one. Defensive abilities, use on every cooldown, use often, use when needed, use in case of emergency. Utility abilities I could use often, sometimes and rarely. Aggro generation abilities. AoE rotation abilities. It just seems like there is a lot going on and I just do not have enough standard slots I feel comfortable learning with for it.
As far as what standard slots means for me it means main bar, some shifts, some alts and a bunch of letters here and there. I don't use control on any character other than my hunter and even at that I only use it for the most rarely of rarely used things on my hunter. So much so that even if I know my hunter like the back of my hand I sometimes forget I have things bound there, that is how rarely I use control. Not sure why, just do not like it.
So with that in mind, so many things to do, it was time to start finding my bindings.
I went into the world, as I said earlier, and decided to pick on a few mobs. I pulled normal quest mobs one at a time. I am not going to get any information from this. I went and pulled a nice bunch of normal mobs. I would say it was about 12 mobs. No biggie so far, nothing rang as true to me on where I needed to move anything just yet but I noticed that having tiger palm in a better position might work for me. It is shift 3 at the moment and for something I am using that often it shouldn't be something with a modifier. It should have a basic number or letter bind.
I then went to an area with all elites. I needed stuff to last a little longer, something I might actually need to use some defensive abilities on so I can get to know how those cooldowns feel where they are binding wise. I pulled one, did not really need to worry about anything, don't think my life even budged from 100% and if it did it was back there so quick I did not even notice. I pulled a few more the next time but with the same results.
I then decided that a better test was needed and went to the top of townlong where that one rare is, that one quest mob with high health is, and a whole slew of elite guards that are around him and decided this is where I could really test some abilities. I rounded them all up and started to mow them down in one huge pack. Got a big bag of arms from the rare at the end too, cool huh?
Although I did not have to worry about aggro, one of the abilities I grouped as an aggro generation ability I learned I did not like where it was. Dizzying haze is all fine and dandy but outside of pulling a few extra elite mobs to me with it I don't think it deserves the priority space I had given to it in my binds. I can't see ever using it outside of the pull or on the rare occasion I need to peel adds off a healer. Correct me if I am wrong there experienced monk people, but I do not see myself using this one a hell of a lot once the fight is underway and even more so can't see using it if there are no adds.
So I need to move it. Just not sure where to yet. That is how I decided on where my bindings are. By using the character and finding what I used, when I used it, how I used it, and how often I need it. As for that ability I was thinking it could be one of those click type abilities, I always have a few of those, but being it is something I need to place a target for it does not seem like it should be. Clicking and going back to the field to place it would be a huge waste of time. As anyone that reads here knows, I am not exactly a fan of wasting time. So it needs to remain bound (even if it is only used once per fight), accessible, but not in priority.
And that is where I am having an issue finding my bindings for my monk right now.
After playing around with my monk a bit doing increasingly more challenging solo type stuff just to get a feel for it, it seems like most of my monk abilities I would classify in the same zone. I need it bound, accessible, but not a priority. Oddly enough this is the first and only class / spec combo where my 1-5, those easy access buttons, I can not decide what to put there. Where do I start, what do I build around. I can not find 5 buttons I think worthy of those prime spots. Some fights it would be one thing, another it would be another thing, as I get more stats it would even a third different thing, against a raid boss it might be a forth thing.
And then there is the other end of the spectrum. The cooldowns, I normally use Z, C, and things like that for the big coodowns on my tanks but I really do not have big cooldowns on a monk. At least not that I have noticed. Do I put some of the little things there like guard?
Finding your bindings are the key to playing a class well and sometimes it can be hard to find where you want things even when you are talking rotations that do not require a lot of buttons like mages or locks. But when you have something like a brewmaster and I look at it and say there is so much I want to be accessible but nothing I would call priority I am kind of lost at where to even start.
I've at least tested every spec in the game (except monk healing) and I can honestly say there is no rotation that is even remotely as whacked out as brewmaster monk. So many good things, no great things, make for one of those really odd combinations when it comes to binding.
Finding my bindings on other characters took a little time. Finding my bindings for my monk when tanking might become a life time adventure. Then again, I still occasionally change things with my hunters bindings. I guess, if you want to play well, your bindings are an ever evolving thing.
Just wish I knew were to start on my monk. I am seriously considering going the clicking route until they start to appear to me which abilities should go where. It might actually be the easiest way. If anything, you evolve from clicking into binding over time anyway. It happens to everyone. Maybe that is what I need to do with my monk and start from scratch.
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