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Hot Keying Abilities Versus UI Clicking in World of Warcraft

To use the mouse, or hot key bind everything, that's the question.


Note: This article is a part of a much larger and continually growing collection of useful World of Warcraft Guides, information that we keep a current list of and update constantly. Take a look at the World of Warcraft Guides Index for more WoW hints, tips, tricks, tactics, and walkthroughs.

In World of Warcraft there have always been two camps of people: keyboard hot keyers and ui clicker. A ui clicker assigns abilities to the in game user interface (ui) hot bar and uses their mouse click option to use abilities. A hot keyer are those that after assigning their abilities to the in game ui go further and assign to each in game ui slot a key board placement or key binding. This means that I can assign major abilities to any key on my keyboard allowing me to press one key to do said action.

Both ways can be done, but both have their pros and cons.


With clicking you can be certain you are clicking the right spell as you can visually see what you are clicking. Beware you're at the mercy of a mouse slip or a mis click at the worst times. Mice are prone to wigging out from being internally dirty; try to make sure your mouse is not full of years worth of dirt along with the overall shape of your mouse pad.

Player reaction time tends to be lessened due to having to manually move to click on screen the needed spell. Now you technically do this on a keyboard - but mouse clickers tend to search for a spell on the ui. That half second in searching where a key is on the ui can become a second too long in certain situations.

Keep in mind also that in clicking the ui, the mouse is not available for player movement. This tends to force a player to use the directional keys on the key board to move. This in itself isn't so bad… except for since the player isn't using key bindings the use of the strafe keys nor the quick 180 turn that the mouse allows for is not available limiting their movement.

Key binding

Key bindings tend to require more memory skills; many veterans of mmos and FPS games prefer this style of play. Some players even free up real-estate on their screen by removing the visible spells completely from their ui.

Hot keying, or using the keys on your keyboard is generally quicker as:

  1. You do not need to look at your keys to click from memory, and
  2. The half second one uses in dragging the mouse cursor to the ui hot bar could be shorted by down pressing a key.

But this has a set back mostly in if you had to switch gaming setups to play? For awhile I had to travel between two computers; one to raid and one for general tasks. The keyboard felt different and learning a new hand to key placement was rather strange.

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