World of Warcraft Classic launched last week, bringing all the
pain fun and torment joy of the original version of the legendary MMORPG. Which means it’s a lot harder to play than it used to be. Do yourself a favor and make it just the tiniest smidge easier by using a gamepad.
Gamepads, like the Razer Orbweaver Chroma, are engineered to maximize flexibility and efficiency when you’re mashing keys in complicated games. In other words, they’re perfect for MMOs. When you’re staring down Onyxia—or, let’s be real, seven wild boars—every millisecond counts, and the more efficient you can make your casting the better.
When I first started playing WoW, I used a complicated keyboard shortcut scheme that I spent hours customizing to get right. But eventually, the finger gymnastics required to contort my way across a keyboard became too much to bear. It was time to upgrade.
I bought the amazing—but now-discontinued—Logitech G13. You can still buy it from Amazon for an overpriced but somehow still worth-it $190, though better gamepads have been made since then (but if you’re playing WoW Classic, you don’t care about newer, better versions of things, do you?) Finally, the setup I needed was within my grasp. The G13's buttons are in a comfortable, ergonomic position, its wrist rests are adjustable, and my fingers can reach a lot more keys without moving my hand than I could muster a regular keyboard.
But the true power of gamepads isn’t just in their comfort; it’s in their customizability. Both Logitech and Razer provide companion apps that make programming macros and creating complicated keyboard shortcuts a lot easier.
That kind of power could be invaluable to WoW Classic players. Technically, the new old version of the game supports macros and add-ons, but they don’t transfer over seamlessly. If you relied on macros to raid or run dungeons, you might need to rewrite them. Add-ons will take time to re-develop for Classic. So every little edge you can get helps.
And of course your class doesn’t work the same way you’re used to by now. Part of the appeal—if you can call it an appeal—of Classic is returning to the grueling days where guns used ammo, multiple people couldn’t share loot from random mobs, and it took months to earn the right just to ride a slightly faster mount.
Maybe it violates the spirit of the game to bring modern technology back in time to your classic experience. On the other hand, you’re not the same person you were in high school. You’ve got a job. You’ve got kids. You’ve got things to do besides spending your entire week grinding a single level. Maybe if you use a gamepad to automate a few repetitive tasks, your younger self can forgive you.