Belkin n52te/Razer Nostromo Gaming Keypad

Back in May of 2009 I was inspired by Phaelia’s post in her (now retired) blog Resto4Life about the Belkin n52 to purchase my own gaming keypad.  Now, over four years later I still use the Belkin n52te keypad and I love it to pieces.  It revolutionized the way I played World of Warcraft, and was definitely one of the best decisions I have made in my gaming career.

When I first began using the Belkin n52te* Phaelia’s post really influences my choice of spell locations and macros.  Overtime, I’ve moved a lot of things around.  I’ve had to make room for our new spells and abilities, re-write macros to accommodate my shapeshifting preferences, and reorganize the movement keybinds.

Lately, I’ve thought it was about time that someone to put together an updated guide for (as it is now called) the Razer Nostromo Gaming Keypad*.  So here is my attempt at it.  Keep in mind the keybinds for the n52te/Nostromo* are highly customizable and I would recommend taking the time to see how a few different configurations work for you, especially regarding the movement keys and “alt” key locations.

*Note: For simplicities sake I’m just going to refer to the gaming pad as “n52te” from here on out.  From all appearances, my three year old n52te and the new Razer Nostromo are the same device.

Contents: n52te/Nostromo Guide

Configuring Your n52te

Character Movement Keybinds

Action Bar Layouts in WoW

Key Binding with Bartender4

Macro Planning and Considerations

My Macros

Configuring Your n52te

The n52te has 14 regular buttons, a scroll wheel button, a round thumb button, a D-Pad, and a large thumb pad.  This is how I have my n52te configured:

n52 setup

My setup for the n52te.

The very first button is the accent/tilde key, which is just to the left of the 1 on my keyboard.  It was sort of arbitrary when I chose that to be the first key.  Keep in mind that you can configure your keybinds however you like, I would just recommend avoiding keys that are bound to interface functions you use a lot (such as B for your backpack, P for spell book, or J for the guild roster).

I use the smaller round thumb button above the D-Pad as my L-ALT key (for use in macros).  The larger pad below the D-Pad is bound to my R-CTRL key (Push-to-Talk button).  Final item of note, I don’t use the scroll wheel on the n52te as a button, instead it controls my speaker volume.

Character Movement Keybinds
First, a confession:  I don’t know how to use WASD.  I never learned it.  I tried it once or twice, but pretty much failed miserably.   As a result, when I play using a standard keyboard, I cannot strafe or back up.  I could move using only the mouse.  Luckily, in the early days of WoW playing as a healer meant I was usually removed from the action and never needed to actually face my intended targets, so I never really found this to be a problem.

Once I had my n52te up and running, I began using the D-Pad to strafe and walk backwards.  I thought that was pretty neat, and I liked the flexibility of being able to move with my right OR left hand, but it was only after I began learning how to tank that I truly realized just how critical strafing and moving backwards was to World of Warcraft.

I have my n52te D-Pad keybind like this:

  • Analog Down: S (back up)
  • Analog Up: W (move forward)
  • Analog Left: Q (strafe left)
  • Analog Right: E (strafe right)

Sometimes, I end up hitting a corner of the D-Pad, instead of exactly up, down, left, or right, so I keybound all the diagonals to the corresponding strafe key.

  • Analog Down-Left: Q
  • Analog Up-left: Q
  • Analog Down-Right: E
  • Analog Up-Right: E

My center mouse scroll wheel on the right hand serves as my jump button. I can also move forward by holding down both the right and left mouse button and directing movement with the mouse.  In a raiding situation I can only actually turn my character to face one way or another using the mouse, though I can strafe easily with the n52te.  Lastly, I left both the keyboard Left Arrow and Right Arrow keys bound to turning so that I can “keyboard turn” in non-critical situations (such as flying while eating a sandwich).

I’ve found that having movement options on both my right hand mouse and left hand keypad to be very useful in many raiding situations.

Action Bar Layouts in WoW
As Phaelia suggested, my recommended action bar layout is a 3×5 grid of buttons, which mimics the physical layout of the n52te.

The last button on the bottom row, labeled “B5” is button 5 on my mouse. You could instead use this as the scroll wheel button of your n52te, personally I just found that to odd to hit in the middle of combat to be useful for me.

I use Bartender to manage my action bars, but since it has a limit of 12 buttons per bar, I had to use two separate bars to create the 3×5 grid.  The first bar has 10 buttons in two rows, and the second bar has 5 buttons in one row.  Other action bar addons may not have similar limitations, but I would recommend ending up with a 3×5 grid of buttons.

I prefer to put my main abilities in the center row, where my fingers rest.  Lesser used but important abilities find their home in the top bar.  I found the bottom four buttons to be the most difficult to hit, so I use that bar for abilities that should be key bound to the n52te but that are used much less often in a raid.

Key Binding with Bartender4
You may have noticed in the above screenshot that the top left button is NOT keybound to 1.  Instead I use `, which on my keyboard is the key just to the left of the 1.  It’s the accent key, or tilde key.  If I start there and then go across the keyboard, I have 13 buttons (“accent key” through “equal sign”) and then I have my fourteenth key bound to the forward slash.  This configuration made sense to me at the time, but keep in mind that you can bind the n52te to ANY set of keys that you want, and in any order.  It doesn’t really matter, you just want to make sure your keyboard layout matches your n52te profile set up.

A Note on Vehicle Fights

Vehicle fights may cause slight confusion if you use my current configuration.  For example, for me the first ability in a vehicle fight takes the place of the first button on my action bar, the ` accent key, the second ability is the 1 key, the third ability is the 2 key, and so on.  In fights such as Malygos, where I may normally be told to “spam my 1 key” I have to mentally translate that to spamming the top left button, or ` key, because of my unique keybinds set up.

If I had to do it all over again, I would probably start with the 1 key and put the ` key on the bottom row with the \ key, just to alleviate this slight incongruity.  By now, though, I’ve gotten so used to it, that it doesn’t really bother me.  But it’s something I would keep in mind when setting up your own keybindings.

Macro Planning and Considerations
As mentioned above, I use the smaller round thumb button above the D-Pad as my L-ALT key.  This enables me to set up an alternative action for each button on the n52te through the use of macros.  These macros let me use one ability when I hit a key, sch as 5 , and another ability when I hold down the round thumb button (or the alt key) and hit that same 5 key.  In their most basic form, the standard format of my macros look like this:

/cast [mod:alt] AltAbility; RegularAbility

Since I use my thumb for both the alt key AND D-Pad movement, I prefer to put instant cast abilities in the “RegularAbility” slot and casted abilities in the “AltAbility” slot.  This assumes that my thumb wont be needed to move my character while I’m forced to stand still casting a spell, and that I can use my thumb to move around the room while hitting the instant cast buttons.

With the addition of Symbiosis (with which I usually grab Spiritwalker’s Grace from a Shaman) and some niche encounters (such as Earthrager Ptah in the Cataclysm dungeon Halls of Origination) the inability to use my thumb for both moving and casting has become a little inconvenient.  However, I’ve found that keeping Regrowth (the go to casted heal for Resto Druids) on the 7 key has helped keep my thumb free for quick strafing while still being able to cast strong heals.

In general, I tend to group my healing abilities on each button.

Key       Regular Ability Alt Ability
`    Tree of Life (location relevant shape shift)
1    Nature’s Cure Stampeding Roar
2    Nature Swiftness + Healing Touch    (nothing)
3    Barkskin (myself)
Ironbark (target)
4    Innervate (myself) Innervate (target)
5 Lifebloom Bash
6 Rejuvenation Genesis
7 Regrowth Nourish
8 Wild Growth Entangling Roots
9 Swiftmend Wild Mushroom: Bloom
0 (tab target) (nothing)
Moonfire Wrath
= Symbiosis Nature’s Vigil
\ Tranquility (nothing)
B5 Hurricane Wild Mushroom

Some additional notes regarding the above listing…

Since B5 is one of the side buttons on my mouse, I tend to like using it for abilities that require placement via the targeting circle, such as Hurricane and (glyphed) Wild Mushroom.  Moving the mouse towards the target location immediatly while tapping a button on it to activate an ability targeting circle feels like a smoother action then using a key on my n52te.

I’ve found the 0 key, located on the bottom left corner of my n52te to be very inconvenient to hit with my pinky. Perhaps this is just a case of having small hands.

As for the 2 key and the \ key, I’ve always been hesitant to bundle Tranquility and NS+HT together with other abilities in a macro.  I have this nagging fear that I would hit them accidentally and waste powerful healing cooldowns.

However, as the number of abilities in the Resto Druid toolkit has expanded, and the cooldowns for both Nature’s Swiftness and Traquility have been majorly reduced, I’ve begun to feel the need to explore better uses for these four essentially empty button slots.

My Macros
Please check out the links below for the specific macro configurations for Leiyan.

Restoration and Balance Spec Macros

Restoration and Balance Spec Macros

Here are some of the macros I have used for Restoration and Balance specs.

Unless otherwise stated, I always choose the red “?” icon for my macros so that the image displayed in my action bar corresponds to the active spell.  The “#showtooltip” line will ensure that the appropriate tooltip is displayed when mousing over an action bar button.

And, of course, you can always replace the spell name in my example with whatever spell you would like to use in that macro.

Restoration Macros

Basic Mouseover Macro

I use this mouseover macro as the backbone for pretty much all of my healing spells on Leiyan.

This macro casts Rejuvenation on the target my mouse cursor is currently hovering over.  If my mouse isn’t hovering over anyone and I’m targeting a friendly mob it cast Rejuvenation on them.  If my mouse isn’t hovering over anyone and I’m targeting an enemy mob, it will cast Rejuvenation on whomever that enemy mob is targeting.    If my mouse isn’t hovering over anyone and I’m not targeting anything, it will cast Rejuvenation on myself.

/cast [target=mouseover, help][help][target=targettarget, help][target=player] Rejuvenation

Mouseover Macro with Alt Modifier

This macro is very similar to the basic mouseover macro, except that it will cast a different spell in all of the same situations if I hold down my ALT key while casting.

/cast [target=mouseover, help,mod:alt][help,mod:alt][target=targettarget, help,mod:alt][target=player,mod:alt] Nourish; [target=mouseover, help][help][target=targettarget, help][target=player] Regrowth

You can replace “alt” with your preferred modifier key (such as “shift” or “crtl”).

NS+HT Mouseover Macro

As long as you are standing still, this macro will cast Nature’s Swiftness and then Healing Touch on your mouseover target in one hit of my keyboard.  I’ve found that if I’m on the move I need to hit the button twice to activate Nature’s Swiftness and then cast Healing Touch instantly.  If anyone has a NS+HT macros that works while on the move with one click, I’d love to hear about it.

#showtooltip Nature’s Swiftness
/cast Nature’s Swiftness
/cast [target=mouseover, help][help][target=targettarget, help][target=player] Healing Touch

Another small point about this macro is the use of “#showtooltip Nature’s Swiftness.”  Instead of using the “?” image so that the active spell always shows, I chose the Healing Touch image for this macro, since that is more significant to me than the Nature’s Swiftness icon.  However, the addition of that “#showtooltip Nature’s Swiftness” line means that this macro will always display the cooldown timer of Nature’s Swiftness overlaid on the Healing Touch image icon, and when I mouseover this action bar button the displayed tooltip will give me information about Nature’s Swiftness, including the time left on cooldown.

Balance Macros

My Balance Macros are fairly simple affairs.  Due to my n52te setup (which I am writing a post about), it is typically not easy to move while using the ALT key, so I tend to put casted spells on the ALT modifier and instant spells as the default action.

Basic Modifier Macro

This macro casts Insect Swarm normally, and then Wrath if I hold down the ALT key.

/cast [mod:alt] Wrath; Insect Swarm

Likewise, this macro casts Moonfire normally, and then Starfire if I hold down the ALT key.

/cast [mod:alt] Starfire; Moonfire

Lastly, I like to bind one of my side mouse buttons to spells that have to be targeted on the ground, such as Hurricane and Wild Mushrooms.  This way I can move my mouse into position and just click the side button to place the spell.

/cast [mod:alt] Wild Mushroom; Hurricane

In order to detonate the mushrooms, I use a macro that normally casts Starfall  but whenI hold down ALT it will blow up shrooms.

/cast [mod:alt] Wild Mushroom: Detonate; Starfall

I know a lot of people like to put their Wild Mushroom and the Detonate Mushroom on the same button. I prefer to use separate keys so that I can keep my target-able spells together instead. It’s all up to personal taste.

Spec-Independant Macros

Innervate Target Macro

What I love about this macro is that if I use the button normally it will ALWAYS Innervate myself, no matter who I am targeting or who I am mousing over.  If I want to share my macro with someone else, I simply need to target them and hold down ALT while hitting the button.

/cast [mod:alt, target=target] Innervate; [target=player] Innervate

I’ve thought about making the ALT modified side of the macro work with mouseover targets, but making sure my Innervate isn’t accidentally cast on the wrong person is very important these days.  I don’t want to accidentally slip and mouseover the Shaman with full mana when the Priest I’m targeting is on her last dregs.  I prefer to make sure I’m solidly targeting the player I intend to Innervate.

Mouse Clicker’s Focus CC Macro

Even though CC is much more important in Cataclysm, I never use my CC abilities enough to warrant keybinding and instead have them on my mouse clicks only action bars.  I also make heavy use of my focus target for CCing that way I can be free to target whomever I need for healing or dpsing and never worry about needing to find my CC target again.

If I click it with the LEFT mouse button it will cast Entangling Roots on my focus target.  If I click it with the RIGHT mouse button it will cast Entangling Roots on my actual target.

/cast [button:1, target=focus] Entangling Roots
/cast [button:2] Entangling Roots

Keybinder’s Focus CC Macro

This is a similar macro but built to be placed on a keybind, if you have room for that sort of thing.  If you hit the key normally it will cast Entangling Roots on your focus target.  If you hold down ALT while hitting the key, you’ll cast Entangling Roots on your actual target.

/cast [mod:alt] Entangling Roots; [target=focus] Entangling Roots

And that’s about it for Leiyan’s macros! I’ll be posting again soon with Haylianna’s macros (Bear/Cat Spec). I also have a planned post regarding my n52te set up which I’m really looking forward to publishing.