I have a confession to make, I’m really hamfisted with a mouse. Not so that it isn’t usable, but it always seems to take me ages to do anything with it. From ‘argh, where’s the cursor gone?’ to ‘you stupid machine! I totally did click on that icon!’ So I’ve always been a dedicated keybinder. Like most ex-MUSHers, I can comfortably type at 40+wpm without looking at the keyboard and have a good feel for the keyboard layout so I find it fairly straightforwards to try out different keybinds and get them into my muscle memory promptly.
Usually in games where you level up a character and get more abilities, you’ll be assigning abilities to keys as you get them. And then need to revaluate later on and possibly try different binding schemes once you know which abilities you need most often or most urgently. The general idea is to bind any ‘oh shit’ or emergency abilities (such as detaunt) to buttons you can get at very quickly. So if you are using WASD to move, it’s the buttons close to that which are the keyboard prime real estate.
I also admit that I wish I could control my character purely from keyboard without using the mouse at all, I’m really much better at typing than mousing. But you can turn a LOT more quickly with the mouse than with the keyboard and tab targeting (even when it works well) isn’t as good as mouse targeting. In particular, using the mouse to turn is pretty standard for PvP. If you don’t do it, people who do will outmaneuver you and if you are trying to get to someone’s back (or stop someone else getting to yours) then you’ll be at a serious disadvantage. It’s more of a deal for melee than ranged, but still worth practicing.
I was reading this thread on Elitist Jerks about keybinds for WoW, where they discuss their keybinds and the thoughts behind them in more detail.
So if you are using the mouse to turn that leaves you with one hand free to do all the keyboard stuff. And here’s another disadvantage — tiny hands. It’s true, I will never be a concert pianist or double bass player. And there are tighter limits to how many keys I can comfortably access on the keyboard with one hand if I need to keep it fairly steady than there would be on someone with bigger hands and longer fingers. There is the option of getting a mouse with more buttons on it and binding more abilities to that (people in the thread discuss binding shift and control to the mousebuttons too eg. shift+mousebutton1, ctrl+mousebutton1, etc). Although some of those also are designed for larger hands to use, plus I don’t much care for the mouse in the first place.
I’ll probably talk more about keybinds once my Archmage is higher level and actually has all her abilities. I’m looking at my hotbars now and at the abilities I will be getting between now and max level and thinking that I’ll need to use the 4 bar hotbar layout. In truth, in large RvR battles where you are more static, it’s not quite so important as in smaller skirmishes.