Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Battlemode guide(Guide to using /bm)

Recently, there seems to be quite a few people asking how Battlemode works. Using the seach button, I found that there was really no comprehensive guide on its use. So, here's one now.


In short, battlemode takes up the majority of your keyboard so that you use all three of your hotbars at once (those things that you cycle between when you press F12). The end result of this is that it allows you to have quick and easy access to up to 27 spells/skills/equipment piece changes/items at the same time, instead of the usual 9.

If you're fine with the normal 9, this guide is not for you. But if you find that the normal hotbars always lack something you feel you need or if you find that you're constantly using the F12 key, you might want to read on.

How It Works:

Battlemode is activated by typing "/bm" into the chat screen. Once you do this, your keyboard keys are bound to your hotkeys as follows:

F1 - F9 are no longer the keys for your current hotbar; instead, it is always bound to your hotbar #1 (the hotbar number can be seen on the right hand side of the hotbar itself). If you have your hotbar cycled to #1 anyway, then these keys pretty much act as normal -- F1 corresponds to the leftmost skill/spell/item/equipment and F9 corresponds to the rightmost.

The rest of your keys are bound similarly.

QWERTYUIO acts as F1-F9 for your hotbar #2. Q corresponds to your leftmost ability on that hotbar; O corresponds to the rightmost.

ASDFGHJKL acts as F1-F9 for hotbar #3

ZXCVBNM<> acts as F1-F9 for hotbar #1 (Yes, it's a repeat.)

Also, you cannot have the same skill/spell on the same row of keys, you you CAN have it on different rows. For example, you couldn't have flywing on both keys A and S, but you could have it on both A and Z.

Positioning Abilities onto Your Keys:

To be the most effective user at battlemode, you have to position your abilities based upon which ones you think you will use most often, and which keys are easiest to reach for you.

As a general rule, you should put you most used skills/spells/etc. on the left hand side of the keyboard, since most people rest their left hand on home row while the right hand is using the mouse. Therefore, it's much easier to press something like "S" than it is to press the ">" key.

I will not give much more detail than that, however. What's easy for one person could be incredibly hard for others and, ultimately, the best formation of keys for battlemode is one that suits you, personally. It should take into account the skill sets that you tend to use the most, as well as the keys that you're most comfortable pressing. Experiment, practice, swap things around occasionally -- eventually you'll arrive at a setup that is highly effective for you.

The All Important Spacebar:

In battlemode, the spacebar becomes very, very important. Because most of your keys are bound to spells and skills and whatnot, this means that you cannot use the chat window in the way you normally can. To talk, you must press spacebar first, and then you can type anything you want.

Note, however, that while you're typing after pressing spacebar your keys are *not bound anymore* and, thus, you can use no ability with the normal keyboard keys. In short, you're defenseless for the duration of your typing.

As soon as you press enter, however, the keys are re-bound. Therefore, if you need to use a skill fast, press enter and then use the battlemode keys as you normally would. Sure you might look a bit silly because you're ending a phrase mid-sentence... but it's better than dying at the hands of an agro mob!

Also, keep the spacebar key in mind when you want to start talking with people. All too often when I was starting battlemode I forgot about this, and ended up casting a few spells or using a flywing before realizing that I hadn't pressed the spacebar first!

An example to illustrate how chat works with and without battlemode:

Without: "Hi! Blah blah blah! Important stuff!" [Enter] "Blah blah more important stuff" [Enter]

With: [Spacebar] "Greetings and good day; blah!" [Enter] [Spacebar] "So how are you doing? More blah!" [Enter]

Note also that you need to use the spacebar to type commands into the window, such as "/noctrl", "/noshift", or -- perhaps most importantly of all, "/bm" again!

Again: To leave battlemode once in battlemode, you must type "[Spacebar] /bm" for it to work -- you can't type any commands in battlemode without pressing spacebar first!

The All-Annoying Double-Up Problem:

(Thanks to mistermumbly for the reminder of this problem.)
First -- battlemode will not work unless your cursor is in the main chat window. That means if it's in a 1:1 chat or a trade window, battlemode will not work -- and will not work until you set your cursor focus back into the normal chat window! (This can be easily done by just clicking on the bottom of the chat window.)

Also, should the cursor be removed from the main chat window there is a possibility of your letters doubling up on one another; for example, trying to type "abc" would come out as "aabbcc". When this happens in a chat or trade window, the best thing to do is to close/cancel it, set your cursor focus on the normal chat window, and hit enter. This should solve the problem, and then you can reopen the trade/chat box.

When you get disconnected and this happens, however, things get a little more complicated. This is because you have to enter your password to get into the server, and you can't do anything to change /bm from there! Most of the time this means that you have to restart the entire client for you to be able to log in again.

There is a way to get around this, however. If it gets so horribly annoying, just double-up your password. This is what I did. So if your password was something like "abcd", then change it to "aabbccdd" -- normally you'll have to enter a lot more characters in order to log on, but if you are having this problem a lot it does let you log back in without having to restart the client (and, thus, you don't have to re-select your skin or your command settings like /bm and /noctrl again).

Also, if your password *is* abcd or aabbccdd -- change it. Because seriously, that's just asking to get your account stolen.

A Note on Keyed Equipment:

This applies to non-battlemode function as well, but I find it only becomes really important when you're in battlemode. When keying equipment, the game distinguishes between different types of equipment, but does NOT distinguish between the same piece of equipment with different cards in them, or at different upgrade levels.

What this means is that keying a piece of equipment to a hotbar key will key ALL types of that equipment. This can be both good and bad. It's good in that you can easily rotate between similar pieces of equipment with just the touch of just one key (for example, I use the key H to cycle between a heal clip, alarm clip, and phen clip). However, it's bad when you've got a peice of equipment similar to what you keyed that you *don't* want to switch to.

The way the game chooses the piece of equipment to switch to is simple though: it finds the first available item the matches the criteria of the key pressed.

Example: if you have keyed s.coats and you have a +5 unfrozen coat to the left of a +6 Pupa coat in your inventory, pressing the key will 1) unequip your current armor, whatever it is, 2) equip the +5 unfrozen coat. If you press it again, then it will 1) unequip the +5 unfrozen and put it at the end of your inventory and 2) equip the +6 pupa coat.

Just keep this in mind when keying equipment that you have to change to/from quickly!

Personal Experience:

I started using battlemode out of necessity a few months ago. At first, it's always difficult to use (as in, you try to use one ability but you accidently press the wrong key and use another), but after about four days of constant use (yes, even using it while just hanging around and talking to people in cities) I became fairly proficient at it and by two weeks I made almost no mistakes.

That said, you will notice that this probably isn't something you can expect to master in a day. It takes a little while to get used to and, thus, to use effectively. Now that I'm used to it though, I can't see how I could go back to just 9 hotkeys -- I'm using all 27 at this point and it still doesn't seem like quite enough!

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