World of Warcraft Keyboard ReviewWritten by Simon Barker on January 7, 2009 · Filed under Games, Review, Tech
Steelseries have released two different World of Warcraft keyboard options for players of the world’s biggest massively multiplayer online (MMO) game to co-incide with the recent release of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack. One is a full Zboard package and one is just the WoW:WotLK keyset which is the option you’ll want if you’ve already got a Zboard keyboard.
I’m sure for most casual players that playing with their standard computer keyboard is more than adequate, certainly to begin with at least. However, I’ve found that as you get more into the game and start looking at other options such as setting up macros for the more repetitive tasks and re-assigning keyboard shortcuts to speed up your response time in play – especially important if you start PvPing like I did once I hit level 70.
This is where one of Steelseries’ new World of Warcraft keyboards could come in useful, not only are they great to look at in terms of carrying the Lich King artwork, but more importantly they also allow for more complex, intuitive and precise controls for World of Warcraft.
The World of Warcraft keyboard itself actually uses the established Zboard gaming keyboard platform – this is essentially a blank keyboard mechanism which allows you to plug-in a variety of custom keyboard sets that can provide you with specific controls for a certain game. In this case, the ‘World of Warcaft: Wrath of the Lich King’ Zboard gives you a wide array of control options which you would normally have to use specific keyboard shortcuts to access them.
In terms of getting this keyboard set up and running, it was a very simple process since it’s a USB keyboard, just plug it in and it’s working. However, there is a separate software application to install which sets up the more custom keys on the keyboard, however this works really well (ie. simple) and after installing, it downloaded updated keymaps for various games – obviously the main one I was concerned with was the World of Warcraft controls – which work well ‘out of the box’ so to speak. Obviously, if you want to further customise your controls with this keyboard, then you are fully able to using the included Zboard software.
Not only do you get special keys for specific World of Warcraft control functions, but you also get the default shortcut keys used in WoW written on the appropriate keys – I think this is a great idea which will encourage any new player to WoW to easily learn the controls. I’m an established WoW player already and even I learnt some new keyboard shortcuts because of this which has had a positive impact on my game playing – I never had any idea about the Assist Target function which comes in very handy for instance and raid gaming – and it was there all along!
In terms of using the keyboard for typing, it initially took a bit of getting used to for me as the keys themselves require fairly firm presses as they are quite “clicky” in nature, they remind me of the old-style keyboards from the 80s and early 90s. However, you soon get used to them and they become good to use and definitely have a re-assuring ‘feedback’ kind of feel to them.
In the World of Warcraft keyboard package, you not only get the WoW Zboard, but you also get a standard keyboard layout to replace the WoW layout for those unusually times when you’re doing something other than playing World of Warcraft! – A great option when you want something a bit more standard for everyday tasks, especially if you want to make use of a numberpad, although given that keyboards are USB these days, you could also quite easily keep a secondary keyboard plugged in for standard use and that would avoid you have to keep changing the Zboard keysets.
Overall, I’d say that if you’re a WoW player looking for the ability to better control your favourite game with lots of customisation options, then you should definitely consider taking a look at the Steelseries’ World of Warcraft Keyboard options.
Also, if you’re interested in getting a custom mouse to help with your WoW gaming, then take a look at the World of Warcraft mouse, also made by Steelseries.
- Specially designed World of Warcraft keyset included
- Pre-defined profiles for more than 150 games
- Anti-ghosting capability: Up to 7 simultaneous keystrokes
- One-touch macros for raiding and PvP gameplay
- Z Engine allows full customization of each key
- Internal hub with 2 USB ports