Nostromo N52 Revisit

[Edited to add: an update to this has been posted here: “Button Button who’s got the Button“]

I’ve had my Nostromo N52 for almost two years. It’s been a long time since I posted about it(original post).. so I figured it was time for an update (Besides, this makes a really good Christmas present for the Wow Player in your life).

What it is:
The Nostromo N52 is an external gaming speedpad. You use it in addition to your mouse and keyboard to manipulate and interact with your computer.


The original Nostromo N52 was released about 5 years ago. The newer N52TE was released last year. My understanding is that the new one has a joystick you can attach to the D-PAD and has lighting. I only have the original. I think the new one is in the $60-$90 range.

How it works
The device has 14 keys, a scroll wheel, a thumb key and a red button which you can bind to any key you’d find on your regular keyboard. Additionally you can setup “macros” to run on a keypress (have care with setting these up. The device can be used to setup macros that are against the rules and can get you banned).

Additionally the pad supports multiple colored “states”. Changing from one colored state to another colored state can completely change the keybindings of the device.

How -I- use it:
I’ve never found a good use for the states. I have bound everything in the “null” state. My bindings are as follows: (Download Nibuca’s Nostromo Profile)


Red button: [insert] (ventrilo key up)
Thumb button: [ctrl]
Scroll wheel: [space] (jump)

I’ve mapped the “dpad” for movement.
I’ve mapped “wasd” to the four directions.
Up-right is a macro that hits both “w” and “d” quickly so i can go forward and right.
Up-left is a macro that hits both “w” and “s” quickly so I can go forward and left.
Down-right is “e” (strafe right)
Down-left is “q” (strafe left)

In practice I’ve found up-right, up-left, down-right, down-left very hard to hit reliably. Mostly I use my mouse for movement.

In the Warcraft keybinds menu I’ve bound the letter ‘x’ to “flip camera to look the other direction”. I’ve found that very useful in situations where a wall or a big group in the raid has made it hard to see.

In Warcraft I am using Dominos to manage my buttons.

Originally I setup a block of buttons 2×5 (10 buttons total) and mapped those to the top 10 keys on the Nostromo. I found that I really needed to see more than 10 buttons. So I expanded it to 4×5 (20 buttons total). The top 10 buttons are accessible through the Nostromo by hitting the 1-9,0 keys. The bottom 10 buttons are accessible by holding down the shift key (bottom left-hand corner of the Nostromo) and then chording the 1-9,0 key (ie, shift+1).

This maps nicely to the Nostromo but I had 4 buttons that were available on the default button bars(through Dominos) that I were hidden and unusable. With Wrath’s release I added those buttons back to the screen.. but I only put actions there that I plan to occasionally activate by mouseclick.

In addition to the (now) 24 buttons showing I can access additionally buttons by using modifiers. When I hold down the CTRL key (which is on the thumb key) the button bar flips to show an additional 24 buttons. Of those, 10 are directly accessible through the Nostromo. The rest would need to be mouse clicked. When I hold down ALT (which is in the bottom row of the Nostromo, un der my ring finger) the button bar flips to show an additional 24 buttons. Of these again, 10 are directly accessible through the Nostromo and the rest need to be mouse clicked. (I could potentially make more buttons directly accessible.. but I’ve found that 40 directly accessible buttons is plenty for my playstyle.. In fact, I probably only use 1/2 to 1/3 of the accessible buttons)

By doing this I’ve vastly increased the number of buttons I can easily access. It’s definitely increased my cast speed and at this point I don’t think I can play without it.

11 thoughts on “Nostromo N52 Revisit

  1. My wife actually just bought this for me for Christmas. I have been messing around with it for a couple of days. I think once I get the keys bound and use to using it it will be pretty sweet.

  2. After looking around a bit, I got the Ideazon Fang instead of this one. Still not not sure whether I’m going to like it either though.

  3. @Mell
    As far as I can tell, the only difference relaly between the original and the TE is that the TE has backlighting.. and I -think- fewer states (since I’ve never used -any- of the states I don’t see that as a problem).

    I bought my original Nostromo N52 for ~$40. Right now I think you can only get the original off ebay.

    I’d say, get the TE and go with it.

  4. I too am having the issue that the Nostromo is too big for my hand, I have to take my fingers off the buttons in order to use the directional pad/joystick and am looking into alternatives. Any suggestions?

  5. I don’t have “man hands” and I’ve never had any problems reaching the buttons/thumb pad. Check the palm rest. It pops right off and has 2-3 different positions. I know my fiancée (who does have man hands) has the palm rest moved to its furtherest back position to accommodate his larger hands. I have it all the way forward.

    I can comfortable rest my palm on the palmrest and reach all the keys. The bottom row is a smidge awkward.. but I think that’s the placement not the size of my hand.

Comments are closed.