WASD as the default movement, became cemented in gaming very early on. Whether it was doom, or Quake, I can’t exactly remember, but it immediately became adopted by the industry as standard. It’s dumb, and it’s wrong, and you should change your keys.
But why should I change my keys? Very simply, you are wasting keyboard real estate. There is a huge amount of wasted space left of your hand when you use WASD, that could be used for a larger number of easily accessible keybinds. Moving your movement keysbinds over one step, to ESDF is certainly better, but it still suffers from some of the same problem. The optimal setup is really RDFG, this keeps your hand close enough to the standard typing layout, as to not be a problem to switch between, and has the added bonus of placing the standard keyboard ‘nub’ under your middle finger, so it’s easy to find without looking. This placement allows you to still reach as far as shift/ctrl, but with much more keys available in a comfortable arc to use as keybinds. This opens up at least 8 additional keybinds that can be used without having to shift your position on your movement keys.
I’ve been using RDFG since the 90s, and I can’t imagine using WASD. As a lifelong musician, the logical layout, and ease of access to, as many keys as I can easily use has been very handy. There are a lot of games that frequently call for 20+ keybinds, and moving your starting position makes a huge difference in how many of them you can get to without fumbling around.
WASD is one of those things that should have never been. Someone early on did it, and no one ever bothered to challenge it. It should be challenged, it’s dumb, it’s wasteful, and there is a better way.
If I move farther then ESDF I can’t reliably hit tab, shift lock, shift, control, or alt. Could I retrain myself and gain better pinky dexterity? Probably but there aren’t enough benefits to make it worth it. Really if a game needs more than keys I can reach from WASD it probably isn’t for me anyway!
You’re not playing an MMO where you actually may need to type out a conversation with someone while also moving your character. WASD is bad enough, I already need to bring my right hand near the center of my stomach. R-whatever would be far worse.
Want to make your head explode?
There’s a popular Minecraft streamer who goes by…
Next they’ll be pronouncing “gif” with a hard “G.” Fucking kids these days. No respect.
I suppose there are superior options out there but WASD has always worked fine for me and as others have suggested, the problem isn’t really changing the binding of those keys themselves but then of all of the other keys that would need to be changed in turn and then you would be out of sync with any instructions for actions that you happen to read on the internet which are using the standard key bindings. It will just have to go into the pile of things that are technically superior but we aren’t going to change them because history has decided otherwise.
Counterpoint: WASD is default in every game released in the last 25 years. Like fuck will I rebind everything in every game, especially given they don’t always even let you.
It’s like people championing Dvorak keyboards. Are they better? Probably. I’ll never know, because I can’t put a Dvorak keyboard on every computer I’ll ever have to use, and no computer in the real world will have one already.
It is an alternate arrangement of letters, yes. I don’t know if you can switch it in your OS, but I would absolutely not have a good time if the output didn’t match the keys. I more or less touch type, but it would throw me the fuck off anyway. And that’s assuming I had access to that particular setting, which I wouldn’t on a lot of the computers I use, including probably my work computer.
Funny - I have used Dvorak for about thirty years or so. You can choose it as an option in Windows itself (Fun to do that to fellow workers who dont lock their keyboard when they step away to teach them secure practices). Even the geeky types never realize they were switched to the Dvorak settings.
I’ve been using RDFG since Quake for identical reasons. I suppose if one has small hands ESDF might be better.
Yes, to all the WASDers out there – you have to rebind everything from default layouts, but it’s a huge quality of life improvement.
If I was using one of the keyboard with macro keys (Logitech or Corsair for example), I could see maybe using WASD as those macro keys would be more accessible on the left side of the keyboard. Even then I think RDFG gives you more keys you can hit with the pinky and ring finger.
But, really, RDFG is the one truth path and when the revolution comes the WASD savages will be the first against the wall.