For PC gaming I have been using the Logitech G-13 Programmable Gameboard for a couple of years now and thought I would post about it.
This keypad interface has really improved my game. Particularly my World of Warcraft game but it is usable in a great many PC Games. To date I have happily used it in:
- World of Warcraft
- Diablo III
- Fallout 3
- Call of Duty 4
While it certainly adds to the ease, ergonomics and playability of all of the above games and more besides, it is specifically for World of Warcraft that my wife and I got the keypad.
World of Warcraft has two general methods of interfacing with the game. The first method is the “Button Clicker” method. In this scenario the player uses the Mouse to click action or spell buttons on the screen while using the keyboard (the WASD keys usually) to move and turn. The advantage of this play method is that it is easy for a new player to identify and click the actions they wish to perform on the screen. The big downside is that the player is slower. Turning a character in-game using the keypad is slow. Mousing around picking buttons on the screen to punch is also slow.
I, myself, was a “Button Clicker” for a couple of years in World of Warcraft – however I played a healer and healing spells in World of Warcraft have no facing requirement. So I could get away with it. For any Non-Healing class the Button Clicking method is a rookie play style. Especially in Player vs. Player a button clicker is going to be at a huge disadvantage.
The second method of interfacing with the game is the “Mouse Turning“ method. In this scenario the player uses the mouse to move in-game and presses hotkeys on the keyboard to cast spells. The advantage of this play method is that the character in-game is highly mobile, can turn on a dime and has faster reaction time from casting spells or performing actions by keyboard hot keys. The downside to this method is that one must memorize what key performs which spell or action. Also, the player must be able to press those keys on their keyboard without looking at it. Mouse Turning is for pros and that is where the Logitech G-13 comes in.
The G-13 has programmable keys which can be mapped to a players most often used actions and spells – or to macros which fire those actions and spells. The hand fits snugly on top of the keys which makes it comfortable to use in long gaming sessions. A player will still have to memorize which key they mapped their in-game actions to, but it does not take long to get it down.
The G-13 has a thumb-stick which can actually be used for moving around if desired. Also, the G-13 has separate profile buttons, so it is possible to map completely separate keys for different characters – your Hunter, Druid and Paladin might all have separate keyboard set-ups, for example. Blizzard supports the G-13 with an information feed of basic in-game World of Warcraft stats which show up on the G-13′s LCD screen. I rarely look at it myself but it is still pretty cool.
For long game sessions the G-13 is very comfortable to play on. Games like Fallout 3 or Skyrim which take long hours to play through are very comfortable experiences on this game pad. The G-13 has built in default profiles for over 200 PC games, including first person shooters, RPGs and strategy titles.
If you are currently a player relying on the “Button Clicker” method of interfacing with World of Warcraft you probably want to switch to a “Mouse Turning” play style. For that, the Logitech G-13 Programmable Gameboard can be a huge help.