Rebinding Shortcuts for Eve Online

The effective and frequent use of keyboard shortcuts is probably one of the biggest separators between competitive and casual video game enthusiasts. In Eve Online you can get away with (Shift-) clicking most of your modules for a very long time. Pressing only [F1] will get you far enough in many cases.

The reason is two-fold: For once, every action is performed within server ticks that happen every second (said oversimplified). And the second reason lies in the gameplay itself. A fight in New Eden is often decided before it’s even happening. The strategic decision to engage in a fight, based on the available information, or to avoid the fight is often the deciding factor long before the first virtual round is fired.
But when it finally comes down to it, reaction times are still important. Especially when you can expect an opponent of a high skill level. Like in the 10vs10 formats of the Alliance Tournament.

Some Motivation Required

This year’s tournament (AT XVIII) was a big motivator for me to step up my game. There was the chance that I’d need to fly a ship that would require me to press more than my usual five buttons of F1-F4 and Shift for heating those. Namely, this was the Oneiros.

The fit in mind has up to 11 active modules + drones you’d need to manage accordingly while double-clicking in space to stay a) alive, b) inside the arena, and c) away from opponents while d) being within an effective range to repair incoming damage. That’s an extreme case, yes, but I would have way worse chances pulling that off with the default keybindings.

Instead of using the F-keys, I changed my layout to using the first row of number-keys 1,2,3,… first row, middle-row modules to QWERT… and lower row of modules to ASDF… with Shift for heat-control.

In the end, you need to spend a bit of time and think about what actions you need your ship to perform and what button layout would benefit that. Also worth spending some attention to is how you like to place your hand on the keyboard: What buttons can be reached easily? For me, it turned out 1,2,3,4, and Q,W,E,R with Shift to turn heat on/off.

Sadly that new layout meant I needed to change the keys for controlling my drones, which I’m still practicing to get gud at. Sadly drones are derps and often stop doing their thing when you don’t repeatedly tell them to do it.

Launch Drones: C
Engage Drones: V
Recall Drones: B

If you are curious, I did not end up flying an Oneiros during ATXVIII. But I flew a Pontifex and a Scalpel. Fewer buttons, but getting those command links on as many people as possible with the Ponti still required some precision – shortcuts tremendously helped there. And the heat- and capacitor-management under Armageddon neuts was much more fun spamming a hand full of keyboard buttons than trying to click them.
10/10 would recommend.

Don’t you use hotkeys approach/dock/jump/orbit?

The answer is no, I do not. But I actually might in the future. F1-F4 were freed up and I have put approach, orbit, warp, jump/dock put on them for now. Maybe I’ll use those more in the future.
But I’m very accustomed to the radial overlay and the classic “double-click in space” to fly my ship around. Having a good default setting for the ship you are currently flying is of course helpful, and keybindings are always to be preferred, but that’s the little compromise I made.

Overall I noticed quite some improvement after getting accustomed to my new layout. I could manage heat, even on fast cycling modules more precisely. Spamming a button on your keyboard allows you to move the camera, or adjust orbiting range, all while making sure your module does the thing you want asap.

To everyone who wants to lift his gameplay to the next level, I can recommend rethinking your keybindings. Did you btw know that you can set up keys to increase/decrease your core scanner probe’s radius? This has sped up my scanning by a ton as well. If you want to get real fast at (combat) scanning, this is the way to do it.

Do it. It’s worth it!

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