As promised, here’s my review of the Belkin n52te.
What Is The Belkin n52te?
The Belkin n52te is a basically a gamer’s pad designed for FPS (that’s First-Person Shooters, not frames-per-second :)), MMORPGs, and RTS (Real-Time Strategy) games. It has a handy design that supports your wrist to help keep you from having to shake awake your hand. With 15 fully programmable keys it should cover most of your needs, but also has an 8-way thumb pad and scroll wheel that can also be programmed for spells and abilities.
The n52te also has a few other features, but you can go read their site to get the info.
So Why Did I Buy It?
If you’ve been following my blog for a while you know that I transferred from a PvE to a PvP server a few months ago. As such, I’ve become more interested in PvP as a means to defend myself. I have even gotten to the point where I’m starting to like it. Wintergrasp is actually fun, although the lag buff is annoying. What do you mean I’m not in range?! I’m standing right on top of him!!! Warsong Gulch which was my least favorite battleground due to the Alliance’s inability to end a round better than 0-3 is actually more fun now that I can actually kill Horde.
But the big problem I have had with PvP is that I…suck. So how to get better?
One of the problems I was having was trying to watch Horde run all over the place, follow them, attack, and not die ALL AT THE SAME TIME! The last thing on my mind is trying to look at my finger placement to make sure I’m on the right keys. I’ve found myself trying to hit Crusader Strike only to find I’d been hitting Divine Plea in an attempt to make it happen.
I purchased the Belkin in hopes that finding the right keys without looking would no longer be a problem.
PvP With The n52te
When it comes to PvP this handy toy is a godsend. Overall I have seen my performance in battlegrounds increase. The biggest advantage has been that with a limited size it’s much easier to automatically place my fingers on the right keys and not fumble around. I had however hoped that the thumb control would help me manuever, but I found it to be rather choppy. It’s not exactly the most responsive directional control. So instead I bound 4 additional spells to the N-E-S-W controls and that’s worked out great!
Raiding With The n52te
I finally got to try it out in a raid the other night. It worked great. The only problem I had was I was moving around my spells to get them keybound to the right places. This kind of screwed me up as I had a hard time remembering where my some of my spells were. I highly advise you to go practice somewhere for more than 10 minutes, if it messes with your setup.
Overall though when it came to raiding I didn’t see that much of a difference with the n52te, but then again I messed with my button placement. It works great, but in raids I generally have less of a problem with finger placement.
Setting Up Your Belkin n52te
Here’s what your setup screen looks like. Notice the 14 buttons, button 15 (default spacebar button below the directional pad), button 16 (a thumb button right above the directional pad), the 8-way directional pad, and the scroll wheel. Each of these can be programmed to different keys by left clicking and selecting the first option in the drop-down menu.
There are even 3 different keymaps so you can have different configurations if you like. I’m not mentally agile enough to remember 3 different settings so I’ll only ever use the one. I suppose I could use the other two for other games, but except for WoW all of my games are on the XBox360.
You’ll notice in my configuration that I have not assigned keys to the DPad NE, SE, SW, and NW. Until I get used to this thing I’m always afraid I’ll click the wrong direction getting the wrong spell. Button 15 is set up for my press-to-talk button on Vent. It’s in a slightly awkward position so I don’t use it for spells.
As you play around with this and change the keybindings, remember to click the Apply Changes button to activate. If you don’t, it won’t work properly in the game. The nice thing is you can do this while WoW is running and tweak things as you go.
You’ll notice off to the side there’s a Macro Editor. I don’t know enough about what constitutes a macro that could get your account banned, but I’d be very careful making macros using this for WoW. Make your macros ingame. If it can be done there using WoWs macro editor, then you’re probably safe. Anything outside of that is something I’m too chicken to mess with.
Is It Worth It?
I paid $70 for mine. It’s a little on the pricey side, but if you’re looking to improve your gameplay in PvP it’s definitely worth it. Even for raiding it’s a nice tool and I think as I continue to use it I’ll see some improvement there as well. My test night was difficult just because I ended up messing with my button configuration 30 minutes before the raid. Not a great idea.
So if you’re a hardcore gamer, I’d be surprised if you don’t already have something. If you’re just a casual gamer that isn’t worried about the little extra this is going to provide, it’s probably not worth your money. It’s improved my gameplay and I’m extremely happy with it.