Playing Diablo 3 PC With A Controller [Guide]

One year ago I quit playing Diablo 3 due to problems with carpel tunnel. Yes, there is a console version, but it is inferior to the PC version in many ways. I also don’t really want to play on console because all my friends play on PC.

After trying countless different pieces of software, I’ve found the best answer: Play on a Windows machine with Pinnacle Game Profiler with an Xbox 360 controller.

If you’re on a Mac, there is no good answer. Joystick Mapper + 360Controller Driver is probably the best option. This is actually a reasonable setup for most games, but for Diablo 3 you are not reasonably going to be able to play the game with this setup. I don’t recommend it at all.

Ultimately, the best solution to this would be for Blizzard to add controller support to the PC/Mac version of Diablo 3. Or at least add keybindings for character move up, down, left, right. If you’ve played the console version of the game, you know how *good* the game feels with a controller. So I’m surprised that Blizzard hasn’t put this feature on their radar yet. Until then, however, you have this guide.

You’ll need the following:

Surprisingly once you get all this stuff, everything works out of the box. Hook up the wireless receiver, pair the Xbox 360 controller with the receiver, and you are ready to rock. Pinnacle even has a 20 day trial, so if you can at least try before you buy.

You can install my custom profile by simply downloading it, and with Pinnacle installed, double clicking on the .pin file to add it.

The Xbox 360 controller driver for Windows works well enough, and Pinnacle is decent, so the secret sauce here is tuning the Pinnacle profile to work with Diablo 3, and also figuring out what is actually viable.

The layout I’ve created is based heavily on Errol’s profile. You can see Errol’s setup here:

You can see my setup here:

The main reason we’re using Pinnacle is because of the “mouse spring” features that it has built in. No other software (that I was able to find) really does this well. By using mouse spring, when the joystick is at rest the mouse will return to the center of the screen. We can also program certain actions (like left click) to happen when the joystick is pushed a certain percentage of the total distance it can be pushed, and we can tweak and modify things like deadzone (so that *very* minor bumps on the joystick don’t register).

Deciding how to optimize the controller bindings for the game is an important design decision too. I figure that about 90% of Diablo 3's actions are actually fighting, smashing stuff, and looting, so I’ve optimized the controller for that, while still trying to maintain some bindings for playing the game with other people. I still keep a mouse on my desk for some of the more finicky controls and menu options.

Classes that rely on long range and precision clicking are going to be tougher to play than smash-and-grab classes. So for controller play I’d recommend Monk, Crusader, or Barbarian. If you’re willing to try it, you should give the other classes a shot (and tweak the settings to fit your needs).

Happy Hunting!

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