There are some questions in life which have no correct answer.
Ginger or Mary Ann?
Which is your favourite Beatles album?
Would you rather fly a Hammerhead, Starfury or Viper Mark VII?
Given that the Bengals are the fifth best football in team in the state of Ohio, what is the order of the first four?
Which was the worst sequel: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace or Highlander 2: The Quickening?
Since the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum, what might be right for you, may not be right for some.
The same approach applies to how you set up your graphic user interface (GUI; pronounced gooey) for LOTRO or any other game. The way you lay out your quickslots and hotkeys is your business. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to play their class or how to set up their computer, but this is how I have my screen configured.
Where the last article was a general background on healing, this will focus on my specific setup, so it will probably be a lot more boring and some of what I do will probably conflict with the way you have set up your user interface.
Arrange Your GUI
If you look at the screenshots of both my minstrel and RK’s setup, you’ll see that I leave many of the basic elements in the same places. The radar is in the upper right, and the quest tracker is right below it. I leave the fellowship/raid vitals on the left side.
To move elements around your screen, press CTRL + \ (it’s on the row between the enter and backspace keys) and it will show all of the elements that are available for you to move. Then place everything where you think it works best. If you’re not a rune-keeper or warden, move your attunement bar and gambit panel to some far corner of the screen. For my RK, my screen looks like this.
You can re-size elements by going into your options (CTRL+O) and then clicking on the "UI Settings" button and then scrolling all the way down to the bottom to "UI Scale". Almost all of the elements can be magnified or reduced depending on how you like it. For healing, I almost always dial up the Fellowship/Raid vitals to make the green bars bigger.
What I have done is to lock quickslot bars #1, #2, #4 and #5 to the screen. Bar #1 is docked at the bottom. Bar #2 is placed vertically on the left side of the screen and bars #4 and #5 are on the right. I have bar #3 tied to my shift key and it has skills on it that I don’t use in combat (“Track mines”, “Return to . . .”, housing, milestones, etc.).
Keyboard or Mouse
One of the comments in my first article asked whether I use a keyboard or mouse. I use both. Kind of. For me, getting the right gear has been extremely helpful with regards to the way I interact with the game (and I don’t mean grinding skirms and superior third marks to get the Helegrod set). My comments about computer hardware come with the caveat that none of this stuff is cheap. If your budget won’t support extra hardware, then your play style will differ from mine.
To start, I play on a desktop computer with a full keyboard. I have discarded a factory keyboard and replaced with a Microsoft Sidewinder X6. I bought this keyboard mostly for the backlighting feature, but it’s also got 6 2-function macro keys as well as multi-media controls. You can also move the keypad from the right side to the left side based on your preference.
I have actually removed the keypad and it sits on a shelf because I use a Logitech G13 gameboard, which features 24 buttons and a directional control. To make my life easier, I have many of the controls on the main quickbar and bar #1 mapped to the buttons on the G13, as well as the ASWD directional controls. Generally speaking, I control all of my combat/DPS actions through the G13, which you can see from where the icons are placed (marked as #2 on the screenshots).
I should also mention that I started out with Razer Nostromo Gaming Keypad (back when it was the Belkin Nostromo N52te; Razer has since bought the rights to produce the device from Belkin). I switched to the G13 when I found out that there weren’t enough buttons on the Nostromo for an MMO. The Nostromo is a fine device to use for FPS games, but I like the 24 buttons on the G13, as opposed to the 16 on the Nostromo. On the down side, if you have small hands, you will find yourself reaching for some of the buttons on the G13.
Bar #2 is almost exclusively for healing. This is marked as #1 on the screenshots. The reason for me keeping all of my healing buttons on the same bar is that I use a Razer Naga mouse. In addition to being able to adjust the mouse sensitivity, it features the standard four buttons plus scroll wheel and then another 12 buttons which you can program with macros.
There are 12 spots on the quickbar and 12 buttons on the mouse. Not a coincidence, I suspect. So I have placed the healing skills I use most (Bolster Courage, Inspire Fellows, Chorus of Salvation, etc.) in the slots that are easiest for my thumb to reach. That way, when I am in healing mode, I can do so by touch and without having to use the mouse for anything other than movement.
For skills that I don’t use in my regular rotation, I put those over in the #4 and #5 quickbars on the right side of the screen (marked as #3 on the screenshots).
If you compare the setup I use for my minstrel and my RK, you’ll notice that I try to keep similar skills in the same spots. That’s no accident. There’s a lot of muscle memory and repetitive motion that goes into the playing the game. I think that when you alt and change roles, it takes a few minutes to adjust your mindset to whatever you just started playing. For example, I’ve found that when I swap from my minstrel to my champ or hunter, for a little while, I will still be watching the group’s green bars, even though there’s nothing I can do about them and that’s not my job any more.
I try to set up the quickslots for all of my characters with the same basic format so there is as little confusion for me as possible when I alt. For example, my health and power pots are ALWAYS in the same slots, so when the poo hits the fan, I’m don’t have to think to myself, “Self, where the hell did you put the athelas?” and can just hit the button to use a green pot.
For wounds, fear, disease and poison, I use the Palantir plugin which provides a button which will activate the appropriate potion (marked as #4 on the Igash screenshot). Other plugins you can use for pots are Buff Bars and Tonic Bars.
Another setup I use is I bind the fellowship maneuver colours to a hotkey combination. That way I don’t have to try and hit a button on the screen, which can be kind of confusing if a lot is going on and my mouse cursor gets lost in the fire, lightning and other poo that drops.
This is a technique I stole from a buddy of mine. Each of the colours is marked as one of the cardinal directions, which I then bind to shift and the corresponding ASWD key.
- Red = north/Shift+W
- Green = east/Shift+D
- Yellow = south/Shift+S
- Blue = west/Shift+A
When a conjunction comes up, I wait my turn and hit the appropriate key combination. This is especially helpful in the more complicated CJs like Wings of the Windlord or Dawn on the Deep. It took some getting used to, but now it makes hitting a CJ much, much easier.
As I said before, how you set up your screen is your business. Some people don’t like clutter and others want every plugin that’s available from LOTRO Interface. Some people write macros for every possible scenario they can think of, and others just mash buttons. For me, it took a lot of trial and error to find a setup that I find playable–which I am still experimenting with, by the way–and that’s part of the fun of the game to me. It’s all about your own personal preference, because it takes different strokes to move the world.
The way I would answer the questions above are:
Magical Mystery Tour
Viper Mark VII (with the Cylon-vulnerable CNP upgrade removed)
1: Mount Union Purple Raiders, 2: Ohio State Buckeyes, 3: Massillon Washington Tigers, 4: Canton McKinley Bulldogs
The last one is actually a trick question; true Highlander fans adamantly deny that the second movie ever existed and insist that Highlander: The Final Dimension is the direct sequel to the classic 1986 movie and that Highlander: Endgame is the third film in the series.