Logitech G11 Keyboard, tested using Age of Conan (AoC)

Really pleased to present my new toy – the G11, and it doesn’t get much better than this. The G11 is not the cheapest keyboard around, but then again it is a luxury item, designed for real gaming needs.

Quality: Primarily its a high quality computer keyboard,and, unlike its competition the  Zboard, it can be used completely for normal computing needs, like programming, blogging, etc.  The quality of the keys are above average, light and don’t need hammering, and the rubber underneath seems of a fair quality. Don’t get me wrong either, its not by any means the best keyboard quality I have experienced, but it does hold its ground.

Functionality: You might have read about the g11 having keys you can program, or assign macros to, this is really useful for playing games, especially games that are keyboard combination heavy, for example – AoC.  I was sceptical about this until I had tested the G11, it all sounded too good to be true. The manual says you can program the keys right from within the game, I have to confirm, its highly possible, so you can ensure exact and precise timings of your macros. The creation process took about 10 minutes max, and I wasn’t exactly rushing. I was amazed the first time I pressed a working combo using just 1 button and it actually worked. So I decided to give it a real test in the wild fighting some level 38 mobs (while my character is only level 35). I can’t say it made me a much better player instantly, but thats not really the point, it is way more comfortable, and really brings a whole new level of enjoyment to Age of Conan. I tested it continually for about 4 hours and I have to tell you the reliability is awesome, it re-enacts macros with pristine accuracy.

There is a little bit of skill in setting up the macros, remember certain combos require timing, but thankfully the g11 software makes it really easy to do. All you have to do is push the buttons exactly as you would while executing the combos.

Extendibility:

You get 18 keys that can be programmed in 3 differant banks (54 in total). AoC is the most demanding game keyboard wise I have played, far more demanding that WoW or Anarchy Online, I can assure you with the G11, I don’t think you’ll run out of keys. I don’t think any AoC character can even train 18 combos, even at level 80 with all feat points spent, its going to be impossible to outgrow the G11.

 Do I want a Zboard?

No, not at all, Nothing against the makers of Zboard, but I wanted something useable for real gaming, not just some concept toy like the Zboard.  I did a lot of research before buying the G11, a lot of people complained about the quality of the Zboard. The space bar has a gap in it which really is a lot to ask a seasoned gamer to get used to. The Zboard is not practical at all price wise, I cannot imagine buying a keyboard mod, for each game I own, and never mind the hassle of storing and switching those modifications around, (a) expensive (b) a royal pain in the ass. In my opinion you get way better value from the the G11.

Other functions:

The keys of the G11 amazingly glow in the dark, this might seem stupid, but its an extremely useful feature, gamers do also tend to play at night, and at times are forced to play in low lit settings. With the G11, you’ll never have to guess what button to press. You can also turn the lighting off if you want, so it doesn’t look too porno in the day time.

The usual multimedia keys are all there, volume, play, forward, rewind, mute and all that stuff.

Why I recommend it:

Age of Conan is a real hack and slash type of game, the makers of AoC have gone overboard to ensure that combat is as interactive as possible, due to the MMORPG genre becoming stagnant. Funcom refer to this combat style, as Real Combat. AoC requires a lot of manual effort, and at times, sorry to say, its a huge amount of effort to kill just one simple mob.  This “real combat” might be fun for an hour or 2, eventually you get to the point where you just want to take the keyboard gymnastics out of the grind. The G11 makes the hacking and slashing routings much more bearable, and reduces your keystrokes and need to concerntrate dramatically. After using it for a while, I found it also opens up the combat a bit, because instead of concerntrating so hard on combo execution, you’re now able (or mentally free) to move around and strafe your enemies. This means that you can begin a combo on one enemy, and should he/she die, you can move the same remainder of the same combo to the next enemy effortlessly. This is all possible with a traditional keyboard, but it would take way too much mental effort to keep this advanced co-ordination up on a regular basis.

Will Funcom ban use of the G11 keyboard?

Don’t believe this rumour for a minute, Funcom have marketed AoC to be a hardcore game (the fact that it isn’t is besides the point). Funcom imo would be flattered that their new release, Age of Conan, is the number one reason why G11 sales are looking that good. Any claim that Funcom are against G11’s or Zboards is complete garbage.

Does the G11 give you an edge in PVP?

Most of my experience I’ve mentioned here is PVE (Player vs Environment) , while its true PVE involves a considerable amount of “griding”, for pure combat, I guess the next question is how does the G11 assist you in PVP. The answer is just as you would expect. Forget battle nerves, the G11 won’t accidently get the keystrokes in the wrong order. Its best to assign a combo to each key, and not a whole long string of combos to 1 key, this way your blows won’t be predictable and avoidable. But remember you’re not the only player with a G11, lots of others have picked up on this great keyboard, and are using it everyday. Being made by Logitech means its the most readidly and popular gaming keyboard in the world.

What else can it be used for?

Its a recordable keyboard, and I am sure it can be used for other things besides games. Here are a few ideas.

  • Programming in a login and password combination seperated by a TAB (move to next input box) – could be used for Windows Passwords or WebSite passwords
  • For programming, lots of ways you can use it for programming in IDEs that have intellisense, select last word for example then . to bring up the options.
  • Binding it to programs and general computer tasks
  • Skype and MSN typing for commonly used phrases – lol, afaik, etc
  • Excellent choice for chat call centre operators who can assign frequently used replies and statements without the need for additional software
  • Used to store words for specialised jobs that require a lot of typing – for example legal secretaries or librarians.
  • Could be used to program in frequently used web site activity, like ebay shopping.
  • Used to store the names of frequently used contacts in a distributed environment (ok its a bit far fetched, but its possible)
  • If you’re a server admin you could program each key to correspond to an RDC connection – pre log you in 🙂
  • If you forget telephone numbers and need them a lot around the PC – store the numbers in the keyboard
  • etc

Sure you will agree its a great product.

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