Warhammer Online Being a Pro Guide

Warhammer Online Age of Reckoning Being a Pro Guide

Hey everyone,

Several months ago, I wrote the following tips and posted them on the Warhammer Alliance fansite. Many players said that these basic tips helped them considerably, so I figured that I would repost them here. It’s a bit wall-of-text-ish, but that probably won’t be much of an issue. Hope that you enjoy!  Success in Warhammer comes as a result of doing five simple things:

1. Use hotkeys and mouse-turning
2. Learn how abilities work, and when and how they should be used
3. Play ‘aggressive’
4. Be a good teammate
5. Learn about maps, scenarios, game types, game rules, etc.

In this thread, I want to explain each of the above things. They are basic–but doing them can make anybody turn from a mediocre player into an awesome player. Skill involves more setupthan it does fancy keyboard moves–especially in an MMO, which is far more relaxed than many other game types.

So without further ado, let’s begin. Read closely–and you will turn from n00b to pr0, guaranteed!


Hotkeying abilities is the most important thing a gamer can do. Gamers who rely on clicking may do well enough to get by, but they will never, ever be as fast and responsive as someone who has everything hotkeyed. It’s not because clicking is inferior as a ‘concept’–it’s simply physically impossible to move the mouse and click as swiftly as one can mash a close-by key.

But what if you have been a clicker all of your MMO life? What if you’ve never played a competitive FPS game, in which ‘no hotkeying’ leads to instant disaster? Then these suggestions may seem difficult and you might spend a few hours becoming accustomed to hotkeys. Stick with it–do not give up! Hotkeys will feel natural soon enough, and you will be glad that you learned how to use them.

Think of learning hotkeys by the following analogy. If I want to sing Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer, I can crank up the music and sing along karaoke-style without any training at all, just belting it out. I might get through the song–I might know all of the lyrics–but I probably stumble over a few, I probably run out of breath on some long phrases, I may be rather off-key. Technically I sang Living on a Prayer, but I didn’t sing it well. If I want to sing the song well and impress an audience, I had better practise, take lessons, refine my voice, learn how to improve my breath control and so on.

Learning hotkeys is just like learning how to sing. It takes practise, but once you accomplish it, you’ll be making platinum records like Bon Jovi. Really.

Let’s take a look at how to create hotkeys in Warhammer Online, specifically. Follow these steps! Keep in mind that they are written from a right-hand perspective, mostly; but fret not, just swap the directions around. You will figure it out.

1. Before you do anything in-game, rest a hand on the left side of your keyboard (your left hand if you’re right-handed) and the other on the mouse. Get accustomed to the feeling. If you have used keys to turn your character in-game before, well, get that idea out of your head. Turning with keys is ridiculously slow. We’re going to learn how to turn with the mouse. For now, just rest a hand on the keyboard somewhere close to the left side. Keep your other hand on the mouse.

2. Got it? Great. Now you need to make a decision. With your keyboard hand (KH), place your fingers as follows:
Move your middle finger from W to S and back up again. Then move your thumb from the SPACEBAR to ALT and back again. Then move your little finger from LEFT-SHIFT to LEFT-CNTRL and back again. If this feels natural to you, great. This is called the standard WASD configuration. WASD are the main keys for controlling your character’s movement–except turning. We’ll get to that later.

If WASD feels uncomfortable or if you want to seem more ‘pro’ by using a nonstandard (but perhaps more awesome) configuration, place your fingers as follows:
If you have longer fingers than the average Joe (or Jane), this configuration–ESDF–may feel more natural. If it feels weirder than WASD, then forget it and go back to WASD.

This part is all about personal choice, so go with what you like. I prefer to use ESDF but that’s only because I’ve played a great many FPS games and I like to have bazillions of hotkeys. WASD, despite what some may try to tell you, is perfect. If it feels right, go with it. Because most readers here will likely choose WASD, the following hotkey instructions will be tailored for it. If you prefer ESDF, don’t worry–just shift my suggested hotkeys over to the next key.

3. Enter the game and log into a character. Once logged in, press ESC or click MAIN MENU at the top of the default UI.

The first thing we’re going to do is set up FOUR action bars. Yes, four. If you’re used to seeing one or two only, then this may seem strange. But we’re going to do it anyway. Once you become more proficient with hotkeys, you can figure out ways to show only one or two actionbars (or none at all if you’re really great at remembering when things are off cooldown) whilst still hitting all of your hotkeys. But for now, we want everything to be shown right in our faces.

So, on the MAIN MENU pop-up, choose CUSTOMISE INTERFACE. Click on ACTION BARS and choose the option, 4 BARS – SMALL CLUSTER. Then press ‘Okay’.

4. You should now have four friendly action bars on your screen. You probably have all of your abilities strewn on them randomly. We’re going to get all of that rubbish off for the time being, so we can start anew from a blank slate. Click and drag everything on your action bars off. You won’t lose your abilities, of course. They’re in your Abilities tab. We’ll get to them again in a bit.

5. Go back to the MAIN MENU and choose KEY MAPPING. Then click the HOTBARS tab at the top of the window. A crazy-looking, confusing screen of gibberish will greet you. Take heart and fear not. It’s not as complicated as it looks.

Here is another secret about hotkeying which few ‘i r so l33t pro’ hotkeyers would rather you not know: unless you’re particularly keen on memorising everything, you don’t need to hotkey everything. Instead, we’ll organise our abilities as follows for Warhammer Online:

Each character class has three ‘Mastery Paths’. Each Mastery Path features a set of abilities. There is also a ‘Core’ type of ability, too. So, all told, you really only have four ability ‘types’. Your character is probably heavily specialised (or about to specialise, if your character is new) in one of these paths with maybe a couple of near-meaningless Mastery Points elsewhere.

For example, an Archmage has three Mastery Paths: Path of Isha, Path of Asuryan, and Path of Vaul. Let’s say that our Archmage is an all-out healer specialised in the Path of Isha, meaning she uses Path of Isha abilities more than anything else.

Before you try to hotkey anything, consider your character. Which abilities do you use often? How are you specialised? If your Archmage (or whatever) is Path of Isha, then naturally you’ll want those Path of Isha abilities in an easy-to-access place.

Once you’ve determined what your favourite Mastery Path is, move on to the next step.

6. On the KEY MAPPING screen on the HOTBARS tab, scroll down to ‘Hotbar Button 1’. As you’ll see, you have over a hundred potential hotbar buttons, but you’ll likely never need that many! Next to ‘Hotbar Button 1’, you’ll probably see a ‘1’ under ‘Bound Keys’. That means, of course, that when you press ‘1’ on your keyboard, your character will perform the ability that is placed on the ‘Hotbar Button 1’ slot on your action bar. Duh!

Ensure that Hotbar Buttons 1-9 are set accordingly to keys 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. These keys–or really only the first five–will be used for your chosen Mastery Path abilities.

Next, scroll down to ‘Hotbar Button 13’. This hotbar number relates (or should, anyway) to the second hotbar ‘page’, which should be, at the moment, the top-right hotbar of the cluster. You can double-check by looking at the right end of the top-right hotbar–there should be a ‘2’ there. If there’s not, then accept the changes you made to hotbar buttons 1-9 (if any) and flip the top-right hotbar page to ‘2’ so we can see what we are doing.

Back to ‘Hotbar Button 13’. For its bound key, remove whatever it is bound to currently (if anything) and bind it to ‘ALT 1’. To do this, hold ALT and then press ‘1’ while binding the key. There. Now, whenever you press ALT and the 1 key, your character will perform whatever ability is set in the first slot of the top-right hotbar. Whoo.

For hotkeys 13-17, set them to the keys ALT1, ALT2, ALT3, ALT4, and ALT5. If you want, you can go up to Hotbar Button 24 and keep adding ALT plus a number or the minus and equal signs, but that’s probably unnecessary. These ALT keys will be for your second Mastery Path.

Set up Hotbar Buttons 25-36 the same way that you did 13-17, except with LEFT-CNTRL rather than ALT. Thus, LEFT-CNTRL and 1, 2, 3. . . and so on. These buttons should correspond to your third Hotbar page, which should be the bottom-left bar on your cluster. These LEFT-CNTRL keys will be for your third, and final, Mastery Path.

Hmm, now what to do about those Core abilities! Well, we still have a fourth bar to use (the one on the bottom-right of your cluster). On the KEY MAPPING screen, scroll down to Hotbar Button 37-43. Set these keys as follows if you’re using a WASD configuration:
37: Z
38: X
39: C
40: F
41: V
42: Q
43: E
Core abilities are often used swiftly, as many are detaunts or protective shields or whatever. By setting them to these keys, which are close by your ‘Movement’ keys, you’ll be able to mash them as needed during hectic battles.

A note on ‘Q’ and ‘E’: these two keys are perhaps the easiest to reach for the WASD configuration, so you may want to place your ‘most important’ instant-cast abilities here, even if they’re from one of your Mastery Paths.

7. Look at you! You have everything hotkeyed. Of course you could hotkey dozens of additional bars, but that is totally unnecessary. Be sure to click ‘Save’ on the KEY MAPPING screen.

Now we’ll set up your abilities again in their new, proper places. Open your ABILITIES menu and arrange your abilities on your bars as you see fit.

As above, I strongly suggest organising your abilities by their Mastery type. So, all of an Archmage’s Path of Isha abilities would go on the 1-9 keys, her Path of Asuryan abilities would go on ALT 1-9, etc. But keep in mind that hotkeys are customised for your specifications. They’re to make you play better. If it makes sense to you to mix your abilities in a particular way, do it. The main point is to never, ever click on an ability again, though (except maybe hour-long buffs which you only need to cast every now and then–you can click those if you want!), so if you ever find yourself trying to click an ability because it feels ‘uncomfortable’, move it to a more comfortable hotkey.

For example, I dislike pressing my ‘6-8’ keys so I’ve assigned those hotbar slots to different keys or just left them blank. What you’ll find in Warhammer Online is that, depending on your Mastery Path, you’ll have a set of abilities which you use all of the time and others which you almost never use because they are exceptionally weak in comparison to the abilities you have improved through Mastery Points. Again, for example, if our Archmage has improved all of her Path of Isha healing abilities, she’s probably not going to use her Path of Asuryan abilities all that often. So she can assign them to harder-to-reach keys without much worry.
You have hotkeyed all of your abilities! Now for the tough part, especially if you’re a die-hard clicker: getting used to it. Humans have self-control and self-determination, so put yours to good use and stop those animalistic clicking tendencies. With the ‘Four Bars – Small Cluster’ option, you can see all of your hotkeyed abilities and check what keys they are assigned to if you feel lost. But don’t worry. After you mess around for a bit, perhaps re-arranging your abilities on your hotbar slots to make things feel more comfortable, you’ll start to get used to it.

But there is one last thing to learn in this section, and that is MOUSE TURNING.

Although your ‘A’ and ‘D’ keys are probably set to turning your character, you’ll only ever use them for positioning your character in weird spots or when you’re being lazy. You should never press keys to turn. There is a much better way.

8. While in-game and looking at your character (or your character’s back, more likely), click and hold in the right mouse button. This will ‘lock’ the camera, in a sense. Now move your mouse left and right. Don’t press any keys. Your character will turn magically. Isn’t that awesome?

While still holding in the right mouse button, turn the mouse rapidly. Your character will do a 360 instantly!

To see just how much better and faster mouse turning is over keyboard-turning, press the ‘D’ key and watch as your character lamely spins around at the speed at which a slug crawls uphill on a cold day.
In a fast-paced battle, when you want to turn to face your target, you want to be turning with your right-mouse button–never with your keys. Else your target will run circles around you and escape before you can see where he is going.

So what do you use the ‘A’ and ‘D’ keys for? Not much. To move around, use your ‘W’ key to move forward and spin in the direction you want to go by moving the mouse whilst the right mouse button is held in. You’ll find yourself able to run around corners more efficiently, like a Formula 1 racer, and able to catch up to people (or outpace chasers) like never before. It’s amazing. Once you’ve got a handle on it, you’ll be thrilled how fantastic it is to control your character in a smooth, fast, and wholly better way.


You’re already 80% of the way to becoming a pro–just by using effective hotkeys and mouse-turning.

By that, I mean not only your own career’s abilities, but those of other careers too. Worry not; you do not need to play every career to R40. All you need is a general idea what other careers can do, what powers to look out for, what to expect, and you will be able to counter them so much more efficiently.

More directly, however, you need to understand your own abilities. Warhammer Online differs from some other MMOs in that certain abilities are much less useful than others only if those others are improved by a particular Mastery Path. For most careers, Mastery Paths are more or less well-balanced. They just require gamers with specific playing styles to make them work.

Each career in Warhammer Online has three different Mastery Paths from which to choose. Most players will (and should) focus on a single Mastery and throw any remaining points into their second-favourite Mastery. Warhammer Online makes it easy to figure out what Mastery to choose, because it tells you directly–it’s entirely based on whatever abilities you prefer to use, and how you prefer to play.

For example, let’s return to our Archmage.

Her Mastery Paths are as follows:
1. Path of Isha — ‘A Mastery path focused on healing and restorative powers’
The game tells you specifically what the Mastery improves–in this case, healing abilities.
2. Path of Asuryan — ‘A Mastery path focused on offensive and damaging powers’
The Archmage is still a healer regardless of Mastery, but one focused on Asuryan effectively ‘heals’ by dealing damage.
3. Path of Vaul — ‘A Mastery path focused on hindering and weakening foes’
The Archmage ‘heals’ by debuffing and weakening enemies with this path.

First of all, keep the following in mind: no ability outright, flat-out sucks. But if you’re focused in Path of Isha, your Path of Asuryan abilities will be poor in comparison to your Isha abilities. As a Path of Isha Archmage, you may wonder why you should ever use your Asuryan abilities except in highly specific situations–your Action Points would be better spent doing something else from your Isha line. The situation is flipped, of course, if you’re a Path of Asuryan Archmage. You may wonder why you should bother casting Path of Isha abilities much of the time.

That doesn’t mean you should totally ignore your non-mastery abilities, but it does mean that they will ‘suck’ in comparison to those you improve with Mastery Points.

Every now and then, too, you may recieve an ability which seems totally worthless. You’ll ask yourself, ‘What the heck is this for?’ Sometimes it’ll even be an ability in your chosen Mastery, but you find yourself wondering why you would ever use it, and how!

The number one rule is to never write-off an ability. Experiment with it and try to visualise times it might be handy. Perhaps it stinks on its own but becomes amazing when combined with certain Tactics and Morale Abilities.

A great example of this is the Witch Hunter ability ‘Trial By Pain’. Without points in the Confession path, Trial By Pain appears near-useless. Spamming Absolution tends to be a better choice. But after putting a few points in the Confession Mastery, Trial By Pain outstrips unimproved Absolution by a ridiculous amount. A Confession-specialised Witch Hunter will probably only rarely use Absolution–in most cases, Trial By Pain will be a fine choice. Never write-off an ability, even if it seems like it’s utterly awful. It is useful somehow, some way.


Some players mistake ‘aggressive’ as ‘charge straight into a pack of enemies and die instantly’. That is not what being aggressive is about. You can be smart and aggressive–in fact, that is the best way to be.

If you are playing a tank class, provided that your teammates are there to back you up, you should be charging into the fray or working to protect your teammates, to harass enemy healers, to help the DPS take down targets, and so on. That is being ‘aggressive’. You are taking the fight to the enemy–not waiting for them to run you over.

Playing aggressive means that you always are doing something. You may make mistakes and you may do something stupid from time to time, but at least you’re being active. If you’re standing there, waiting for an opportunity which may never come, delaying and hoping someone else on your team does your work for you, you will end up being the ‘weak link’ of your team and you will help the enemies win the battle. Don’t delay. Be attacking something, healing something, buffing something, moving somewhere at all times.

Never stand around wondering ‘what to do’, especially in scenarios. Move to those objectives. If you’re standing at an objective, be there for a reason–such as guarding it. You should never wonder, ‘Why am I here? What am I doing?’ You should always have a goal in mind and you should come up with new goals on the fly.

Let’s say that you’re playing a Witch Elf. When you first meet the enemies, your goal is ‘kill/harass a healer’. But let’s say that doesn’t work out (the healer dies before you can get to him, or runs off, or becomes impossible to reach, etc.). Don’t run around aimlessly or turn to the nearest tank and feebly stab at it–choose a different, appropriate target and head towards it immediately. Don’t waste time. Get moving, put out that DPS as much as you can.


Even if you are running solo in a scenario, you are still part of the overall team and your actions will contribute directly to winning or losing.

If you are a TANK, you should be. . .

1. Protecting teammates–using Guard and other such abilities to keep enemy DPS off of them; keep in mind that protecting teammates does not mean ‘standing around them’, but means instead to take the fight to the enemy DPS!

2. Harassing enemy DPS and healers. You’re nigh-unkillable with a healer supporting you, so you can disrupt enemy DPS and healers without worry. Don’t get locked into a battle with an enemy tank; it’s worthless.

3. Slowing, debuffing, weakening, damaging enemies. As a tank, you’re unlikely to take down anything on your own (if you do, it’ll take forever anyway) but you can deal significant damage and, even more importantly, you can inflict all sorts of status conditions on enemies. More than a ‘killer’, you’re a ‘nuisance’–and a very tough one at that. As a tank, make yourself as annoying as possible. You want the enemies to make the mistake of focusing on you just to make you stop irritating them.

If you are DPS, whether melee or ranged, you should be. . .

1. Attacking enemy healers and DPS, in that order. Enemy healers should be your number one priority. You cannot do much to protect your teammates–that’s the tank’s job. Your goal is to take out the enemy or at least do as much damage as possible before you die. Never waste your time fighting enemy tanks unless there are no other targets. If there are any other targets available, you should not be attacking an enemy tank.

2. Ignoring your health bar for much of the time unless the situation calls for paying close attention to it. Don’t bother to look at it normally. You probably have few self-healing abilities, so when you die, you die–you had better just hope that your healers are playing well. This may seem crazed, but it’s part of being a DPS class–you go out in a blaze of glory! The more damage you can do before you die, the better! Checking your healthbar constantly will only make you nervous and worried. Do not be worried. You are Rambo.

3. Remembering that the shortest path is a straight line. Move directly towards your target and ignore basically everything else. Your target will probably see you coming (unless you’re in a form of stealth, or are firing from range) but do not worry–that’s actually a good thing. The thing running through their heads will be, ‘Uh oh, I’m screwed, on me, ON ME, HELP!’ You want your target to be freaked. If they’re worried about their own survival, then they won’t be healing their teammates. They won’t be doing much of anything in the near future except trying to get you away from them. Even if you fail to kill your target, your teammates have probably exploited the opening and caused serious damage to the enemy team.

If you are a HEALER, you should be. . .

1. Healing! This seems obvious. Keep in mind, though, that healing in Warhammer Online takes many forms. If you’re a Path of Asuryan Archmage, you may not be able to use Path of Isha healing abilities well, but your damage abilities help turn the fight in your favour and you still have perfectly powerful Core abilities which you can use to heal teammates. Place Heals over Time on everybody; or throw Damage over Time spells on every enemy. Use your abilities liberally.

2. Detaunt enemy DPS. Yes, the detaunt abilities work in RvR in Warhammer Online. You can significantly reduce the damage you take from enemies by detaunting them.

3. Keep your cool. When a Witch Hunter charges you, this is tough. But remain calm. Trust that your teammates will remove the enemy DPS threat. If just an enemy tank is on you, you do not have to worry at all–he may disrupt some of your spells but he’s not going to take you out all on his own if you keep yourself healed a bit. Be cool, keep your teammates healed, and pay attention to your own health bar without getting terrified by it dropping. The best healer is a stoic healer. Be so stoic that you make Marcus Aurelius or Spock proud.


This one is simple. Learn what to do in scenarios, in keep raids, in open RvR. Learn where objectives are, what Victory Points do, how damage is calculated, and so on. Most of these things will come to you as you play through the game, but others you will need to investigate.

Never take some random guy’s word on the career forums, either. Experiment with abilities and such yourself and come to your own conclusions.

Learn how to play scenario game types. If it says ‘Capture the Flag’, that means ‘Capture the Flag’–not ‘Defend the Flag’. That means that you, and all of your teammates, should be working together to capture the enemy flag.

If you don’t know what an objective does in a scenario, or how to use a ram properly in a keep raid, or whatever, ask a knowledgeable teammate. It’s always better to ask than to look like a moron when you do something wrong, such as carrying the bomb in Talabec Dam to the wrong objective point. Pay attention. When you play in RvR, don’t be distracted–don’t watch TV at the same time or chat on the cell phone. If you want to play well, then watch what is going on, learn what to do.

Other Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Articles

Leave a Reply