The Daily Grind: How long does it take you to acclimate to a new MMO control scheme?

    
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NOT THE WARP TARU!

On some level, every MMO is going to feel like it has the wrong controls to me. The reason for this is simple: My first MMO was Final Fantasy XI, which uses such a radically different control setup from every other game that my original muscle memory still sends my right hand to the numpad as my primary means of locomotion. Yes, I got intimately accustomed to moving with my right hand and tweaking the camera with my thumb. No, it does not help me unlearn this fact that I can get away with that in Final Fantasy XIV so long as I never try to jump.

Of course, even when you don’t have that particular bit of oddness to deal with, you still have an adjustment period. After all, going from FFXIV to World of Warcraft is full of reminders that even though the games have many of the same keybinds, they’re not all the same by default (“L” opens the quest log in the latter and the linkshell setup in the former), and even some of the finer details (WoW jumps are shorter, movement speed is different, there’s no universal Sprint) can trip you up. So let’s open this up for everyone. How long does it take you to acclimate to a new MMO control scheme?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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nobleeinherjar

My acclimation period is usually pretty short. With so many MMOs having similar structures these days, I have a general keybind setup that works in pretty much every MMO I play. Adjusting my UI and options does take a little longer. I like to use an MMO’s default UI for a while before deciding how and where I want things to go. But playing comfortably from the get-go usually isn’t a problem.

The exception for me is FFXI. I never learned to play with the full keyboard mode, so thank goodness for the compact keyboard option. Though on the occasions that I return to FFXI these days, it all comes back to me pretty quickly.

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NeoWolf

Controls outside of Controllers are always somewhat finnicky for me anyway as I am left handed and control schemes and peripherals are almost NEVER made with left handers in mind.. so pretty much everything is back to front for me from the get go, but that I am more or less used to moreso now that I taught myself to be ambidextrous.

However most control schemes are fairly simple to get to grips with, others less so. I also foind as I get older I am less welcoming of change when it coems to control schemes in so much as I know what I like and when thinks go outside of that if I cannot re-bind to my comfort then I will skip a game rather than play feeling awkward.

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rafael12104

Oh, yes. There is an adjustment period. But thanks to my Razer Naga and Orbweave gamepad, it takes me maybe a few hours at the most to get the hang of a new control scheme. My remapping is pretty consistent, but I can change it to fit the priorities needed for a new game. Combos are a snap too.

Now, that’s not to say there aren’t schemes I prefer and others I detest. But that has nothing to do with my learning curve.

Specus
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Specus

My G13 gamepad has made switching between games very easy, once I have the mapping down. Usually, I setup the gamepad mapping while I’m leveling a new game, so it doesn’t really take any extra time. Even games I haven’t played in a couple of years come back really quickly, since I try to keep all my mappings consistent.

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rafael12104

Exactly. The brand doesn’t matter. They allow you to make the switch between games seamless or almost seamless.

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Anstalt

I tend to remap all my keybinds in an MMO so that its pretty quick to pick things up, so I’d say 5-10 hours to develop suitable muscle memory. That’s more about getting the order of the keypresses correct, rather than which buttons do what.

This is especially true in games that involve complex rotations, it can take a while to get the skills in the right order to make it the most comfortable and efficient layout for my hands.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

It’s a never-ending process for me, but UI and control systems are my fetish.

I can’t play the click-with-the-mouse game. Icons and bars offend me. I’ll use autohotkey, custom keybinds and shell scripts until I can chord every action my character can make onto a pair of thumbpads or some other config that minimizes me ever having click on a screen element.

So I’m always tweaking scripts and building layouts for each game I play, and I’ve worked out my own basic standards that apply to most of the control schemes I’ve encountered.

It never ends, though. It’s like password discipline. It’s an added layer of work and complexity that never goes away.

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Peregrine Falcon

I have a standard key layout that I use in all MMOs. This usually makes making a new character take longer than it should as I go through changing all of the keybinds.

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Paragon Lost

In some cases I can’t. Take SWL, they totally changed how the UI worked and how movement/look/mouse controls worked. My wife and I never did get over it and it made me motion sick. Same related issue with ESO and DDO as well, never could get used to the look/mouse controls and they made me motion sick. Gave up.

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Hikari Kenzaki

This used to be a huge problem for me. If I couldn’t rework the controls to be City of Heroes-like, I would have lots of problems with a game. This probably is a reflection of playing that game nearly exclusively for 7+ years.

Most games could be tweaked enough to get passed this quirk of my playstyle. It wasn’t until Blade and Soul came out that I was really forced to adapt to completely different controls. Then Black Desert Online. Once I had adjusted to those two games, other games became easier to cope with learning new key combos and such.

I do generally prefer to rework a few keybinds here and there (F to interact, F11 for screenshots) if I can, but it no longer takes me 30 minutes of futzing with the options screen.

The problem I encounter now that I play so many games is going back to the game I played once or twice 3 months ago. I have to relearn how that game plays and ‘unlearn’ whatever game I’m currently playing regularly.

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Greaterdivinity

Usually not too long since I just remap everything to my “standard” layout. That and I try to only keep a few games active at a time so I’m not forgetting which game I use my thumb buttons for mounts and which are random numbers and which are random letters and OH GOD HOW AM I ALRIGHT WITH THIS.

The only notable exception I can remember is the header image…FFXI. Probably told this story before, but the first time I loaded it up (long ago) I was completely overwhelmed and lost trying to figure out how to do something as simple as basic control changes. A kind, wonderful soul (on console, no less!) spent a solid hour+ slowly walking my dumb ass through the process and giving me some starter tips. I felt bad I didn’t stick around with the game after he put in all that effort, but that’s my one “horror” story for MMO controls.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

I spent most of my time in GW2 last night repeatedly hitting B, which puts me on my skimmer rather than opens my backpack as it does in Trove and SWG. People at the bank must have thought I was a complete idiot.

Sooooooo more than a day. :P

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Greaterdivinity

I dunno, that seems like pretty normal “hangin out at the bank” behavior in GW2 : P

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

You’ve just reminded me that I must find and remap whatever ‘throw grenade’ is in Star Citizen. It’s starting to become embarrassing.