Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Setting up my Belkin n52te

My brand spanking new Belkin n52te speedpad arrived last Friday! Woot!
My geek/nerd B-day present to myself actually arrived on my Birthday, what are the odds?

After a few days of gaming with this beauty here are my initial impressions.

I looooooove the blue back-light. This calls to me when I am away, and greets me from across the room when I arrive home from an evening of work. Speedpad is my frieeeend, my precious.....

The button response/feedback has definately improved from the original n52. Especially the "circle" button above the joystick. Now you don't need a death grip on the controller to depress the button.
There is a defenate improvement in the scroll wheel/button. much easier to use.

Anyhoo this is how I made the transition from full keyboard and trackball to Speedpad and Trackball.
First a couple of notes:
  • I am using the UI add-on called Trinity Bars to map my in game action bars, this includes all my key-bindings.
  • I am using an iMac, the n52te, and a Logitech Cordless Optical TrackMan trackball.
  • It took me 2-3 weeks to make a full transition. Given that you will be developing some new muscle memory reflexes, allow yourself a fair amount of practice time before heading off to SSC.
  • I would suggest creating a lowbie character of your favorite class and playing it up until you become more comfortable with the speedpad. This way you will get one ability at a time, and can move things around to fit your playstyle without everything becoming too confuddled.
  • For a while I would switch back to my keyboard for instances and group play so I wouldn't inadvertantly wipe the group. After a time the keyboard began to feel cramped, that is when I made the full switch.
  • Now that I am comfy with the speedpad I wouldn't change back at all.
The first thing I played with was simple movements. Here is how my set up looks.
On the Joystick:
D-pad up = Left Arrow Key
D-pad Forward = Auto Run
D-pad Down = Right Arrow Key
D-pad Backwards = Down Arrow Key
D-pad Backwards Down = S
D-pad Backwards Up = S
On the Keypad:
Key 03 = W

So with this set up I turn left, right, and back up using the joystick. If I need Auto-Run it is a forward push on the joystick; and if I want to walk forward and stop when I release the button I use the #3 key as though it were my ol' W key.

One of the differences I am finding between the n52 & the n52te is that the joystick is more sensitive. I keep veering left or right when I try to back straight up a few steps and this was getting annoying. That is why all the Down Arrow key settings. I may change this later, also the pad is advertised with a removable joystick. I may take it off and see how that feels.

To Strafe left or right:
This becomes a combination of keboard turning and turning with the mouse, or trackball in my case. After a little practice this method of strafing is comfy in both directions, and I saw a big improvement in my kiting abilities. Strafing with the joystick is possible with this set up, though a little touchy.

Strafing left = right click on the mouse+down on the joystick
Strafing right = right click on the mouse+up on the joystick
To strafe at a 45 degree angle either direction add the #3 key to move forward.
If you need to turn use the mouse or trackball to change your direction.

To set up the rest of your speedpad.
This is pretty subjective because everyone has a different playstyle. What I did was take out my lowbie for a spin and figure out where I wanted a particular ability mapped via leveling up. I'd get a new ability, map it out, then switch back to my main and see if I still liked it.

I am still relying on Trinity Bars for key-bindings and all my macros are in game so far. I pretty much use Trinity to map out all the different abilities of my alternate characters. My speedpad set up doesn't change too much. I might use the Different cycle states to create a profile for grinding, pvp, and instances. I'll update y'all on that later.

Rinse and repeat.

For the final trail by fire, I hit the Battlegrounds to really drive home the new reflexes.

Okie, so 2.4 has finished downloading, the patch is done updating, my realm is online, and now it is time to delve into the world of broken addons. See ya in a month .....

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