Nostromo n52 Gamepad and WoW
Note: I wrote a more recent article on the Belkin n52te, an updated version of the n52, if anyone is interested in reading a comparison.
It took a about week for me to find the “perfect” WoW button configuration and a week or two more to get really comfortable using the n52 in multiple situations and on multiple characters. Once you pass the adjustment time frame, it really is a great gaming accessory to have, seeing that you can map pretty much every single ability and macro onto your left hand.
The n52 has 3 rows of buttons (2 rows of 5, 1 row of 4 on the bottom), a D-pad where your thumb sits, a red button above it, a large button below it, and a clickable scroll wheel between the keypad buttons and the D-pad. It also has 3 different shift states (red, blue, green) which can be bound to any button. You can set each shift state to “momentary” (only active while holding the button) or toggle (active until you press the button again). If you aren’t sure what a shift state is or need more information, read the literature on Belkin’s website.
Anyways, I don’t know how useful this post is to anyone, but when I was Googling for information on WoW n52 setups, there wasn’t a whole lot of useful information available. I tried to make my setup as generic as possible to avoid having to tweak settings in the Nostromo software. So swapping ability positions means just swapping where I keep spells on my action bars in game.
There are basically two ways in which people have the D-pad bound: a. using it to control basic movements or b. using it for shift states (shift, control, alt, and then jump or whatever). I do the former, binding it in this manner: forward, back, strafe left and strafe right (using the mouse to turn of course). Using it to control basic movements is actually what takes the most getting used to, since WASD is the norm. Even if it takes some time to get used to I would recommend binding the D-pad in this way, it will leave more of the keypad buttons open for abilties and shift states.
I have red shift set to momentary bound to the large red button above the D-pad and blue shift on toggle bound to scroll up. Normal (not red or blue) is used for spells and abilities, red is used for the non abilities (the map, social screen, battleground score, bags, etc), blue is bound to the raid icons (aka lucky charms) and other junk.
Shift (top action bar in WoW), alt (self cast), and control (pet bar) are bound to the leftmost keypad buttons on each row. The remaining 11 buttons on the three rows are bound to abilities. I have my most frequently used abilities bound to the middle buttons on the middle row because that is where my fingers naturally rest.
Scroll up is bound to blue, scroll down is bound to the key that switched my action bars in WoW (bar 1 is for frequently used abilities, bar 2 is used for buffs), and scroll click is used for jumping. I have the button on the bottom bound to tab targetting. It seems like it would be a good place to bind jump but it really isn’t since you can’t use the D-pad and press it at the same time (not unless you were born with a second functioning thumb).
Oh by the way: The black hand rest is removable and adjustable; the manual just doesn’t really say how to do it. Hold the n52 firmly on a table and pull the black part straight up, it might require a bit of force. If you have large hands, you can move it down a peg, otherwise just remove it or leave it where it was.
I stated this at the beginning of the post but: the n52 takes some time to get used to, it has a fairly steep learning curve depending on how you choose to bind your keys. Give it some time, it might take a week or two to get used to.
Attached to this post is the .n52 file for my WoW configuration profile if anyone is interested.