Since Blizzard’s most recent banhammer came walloping down on the not-so-pristine players in-game, questions about the legality of everything from looting to botting your sister’s account have popped up. But one question that continues to be asked and constantly misunderstood is the question of the famous (dun-dun-dunnn!) G15 keyboard.
Now, I don’t have one of these keyboards. My keyboard is the run-of-the-mill Dell kind that has letters and numbers and the standard function keys. But G15 keyboards – and a few other brands that are out on the market – are made for gamers. Not only do they have extra keys, but extra keys that work like macros. Those macros, however, is where the shady area begins.
I’m sorry to say that the area isn’t nearly as shady as people seem to think it is. There’s a rather simple method to determining whether or not what you’re doing on your very nifty keyboard is within Blizzard’s regulations or not. Just ask yourself: Are these macros possible in-game?
The game is designed to allow us to use multiple commands at once, requiring us to abide by each command’s cooldown. This is all well and good, and can lead to some interesting macros (my beloved Bestial Wrath macro being one of them). However, these fancy macro-enabled keyboards usually come with software that can do more than what Blizzard’s interface allows, and that’s what will get your account actioned.
For example! I have a standard 3:2 shot macro on Tchann, and I’m running Quartz so I can see my auto shot timer. I hit the macro once, and it starts Auto Shot (no cooldown), Steady Shot (global cooldown), and Kill Command (no cooldown). There’s also a script line or two in there to pretty it up, but in the end, I have to wait for the Steady Shot cooldown to end before I can cast it again, at which point I click the button.
But these keyboards (and certain other programs that can manipulate the keypresses) allow the insertion of a wait time in a macro before recasting the macro or ability. If Blizzard allowed this in their coding, then there wouldn’t be a problem, but they coded it out a long time ago. Instead, these programs are running outside of Blizzard, and automating a very small part of gameplay: waiting.
Automation is still automation, and automation is bad.
We’re paying to play the game, folks, and while I can understand the allure of just being able to hold one button down and walk away from the computer, it’s fairly easy to see that it should not be that way. One can claim carpal tunnel and sore fingers all they want in order to try to excuse themselves from using these programs, but let’s face it: if you can’t type or use a mouse for extended periods of time without pain, then gaming is not for you. In fact, go see a doctor: that stuff can get serious.
So, in the end, the keyboard is fine to use. And so are the macro keys! You just have to be aware of what you’re actually doing with those macros. And lastly, for those of you who may doubt me:
G15 Keyboard Legality
Aside from that, as long as you use those macro keys as ‘extra space’, without using them to perform functions that the default macro system could not, then you *should* be okay.
Those macro keys are pretty useful (I use a G15 myself, though that’s a personal statement, not a Blizzard endorsement). On the other hand, they can be dangerous too.
Do not use them to automate game play in any fashion.
Do not use them so that a single macro press results in multiple actions.
Do not use them to insert time delays between hardware functions. For example, making a macro that causes your character cast a spell, delay one second, then cast another spell would be unacceptable.
Honestly, if in doubt? Don’t do it.