Archive for February 26, 2011

Dear CCP :: Please Investigate Keybinding Lag

Posted in User Interface on February 26, 2011 by Easley Thames

CCP, the release of Incursion has brought many welcome changes. For example, I am a big fan of the group-weapons button. This feature can save time when grouping weapons, and helps avoid a major disaster if your guns burn-out and have to be quickly  un-grouped.

There is only one thing I noticed with the initial release, using F-keys for module activation has been buggy and unreliable. I encounter problems most often in those life-or-death moments where I jump into a gate camp and every second truly matters.

For example, I recently encountered a camp with 2 T3 cruisers, 3 BC and one probing cov-ops while in my shield cane. All but 1 BC were aggressed and in my system (some on-gate with me, some on another gate in system).  When I jumped-through I was met with a lone an armor brutix and saw another cane on scan.

I decloaked 18 km off the Brutix, pressed F1 (for my mwd) and hit align to a celestial in front me (away from the gate not towards the brutix). I was hoping he would gcc stupidly and I could melt him with gate guns on my side before his help arrived. If he was strongly buffered my plan was to warp  away, but experience told me I could test his tank and might get lucky here.

He not only GCC’d but caught me! I had to mash the MWD key a dozen times before it activated and by then the brutix was half way up to top-speed and landed an over-heated scram when he neared top-speed before I could hit 1/4th maximum speed with my MWD on. He was able to catch me because the mwd was not responding to the F1 key input (where it was bound) as it has so many other times.

I didn’t have any drones in this engagement because I lost them earlier and, even fighting the blaster brutix + other late-comers, I took him to low armor. He was indeed armor tanked, and if I could have started the fight by kiting while pouring some barrage into his hull before switching to close-ranged ammo when he invariably tried to break-off pursuit I would have taken it fairly easily even with his late-comer allies.

Taking him a distance off the gate before they arrived was the key, and it wasn’t possible because my module failed to activate the way it always has for the last 5 years.

This is still a rather new keyboard (about 6 months)  and I have no problems with the f-keys in other applications. I cleaned it just to be sure and if it’s an electrical problem it isn’t manifesting in any other game as far as I can tell. I’ve had this keyboard since before Incursion and it worked fine then.

My standard procedure is to use the F-keys for most of my modules. I am quicker if I use the overview for navigation with my fingers already on the MWD (or AB, cloak, ecm burst, etc.)

I wrote it off at first as my own fat-fingered ineptitude, but I’ve been testing it and the issue is happening consistently. Other pilots have told me the same thing, some after I asked and some have brought it up on their own. I don’t think this is an imagined problem.

After jumping through a gate, being able to activate key modules instantly is crucial when re-approaching or burning off. Being able to cloak on the first press of the button is also something that HAS to work right, or else you die in embarrassing ways. Mashing the cloak button isn’t an option, it will end up de-cloaking you. We MUST have accurate and responsive keyboard controls.

I’ve taken a couple incredibly silly losses due to what seems to be an entirely new delay associated with key-bound activation of modules.

The work-around for now is to use the mouse. Clicking modules seems to work as before. The problem is I am so accustomed to being able to use the mouse for navigation and targeting, having to go back to being a “clicker” is not fun for me.

The pejorative connotations of the term “clicker” are lesser in Eve than other MMOs, since reaction time is often de-emphasized in Eve, but for those of us who like to fly without a safety net, it’s very important that the game responds in a predictable way.

I hope that CCP will investigate this issue.

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