What is the holiday season without gifts and what gifts are better than gaming gear? This holiday season I was lucky enough to get a Razer Nagia Elite gaming mouse. This is a MMO 5,600dpi laser sensor mouse with a 12 button keypad for all your MMO gaming needs.
Although I have been playing MMOs for a long time, I only ever had a 4 button mouse, which only allowed me to program 2 buttons for quick bar abilities. Since I usually play a melee class this was not always a problem. In DDO, you really only need about 4 combat skills to be effective and those can be easily accessed via the keyboard. However in other MMOs such as LOTRO and SWTOR this is not the case, you are often forced to hit the 1 key all the way to 9 during combat. If you add keys such as Ctrl or Shift you can go get 12 abilities out of your easily accessible 1-4 keys but it is not very convenient.
Hence it was time to get a real MMO gaming mouse. I decided to either get the Razer Naga (retail $79.99) or the Razer Naga Epic (retail 129.99). Both the mice have programmable 12 key keypad, however the Razer Naga is a bit smaller, has only one color (blue) and is not wireless. Razer Naga Epic on the other hand is a dual mode mouse, meaning it can work plugged in or wireless. It also has 3 interchangeable side panels and supports various colors. I did not really care for the wireless aspect since I always play plugged in. The different colors of the Naga Epic are neat but not a huge selling point. I was strongly leaning towards buying the Razer Naga (non epic) however it just so happened that both the mice went on sale. It turned out that I could get the Razer Naga Epic for $79.99 and the Razer Naga for $59.99. I decided that for $20 I would take the plunge for the Epic version.
About the Mouse
First I want to say, the 5600 dpi is great. You can really feel the mouse cursor responding to your every move. This is probably more important for first person shooters than MMOs but it is still quite nice. The mouse is comfortable and did not require me to change the side panel for my average sized hands. The mouse is also very cool looking with its internal varying color lights.
The 12 button keypad is easily accessible and very easy to learn. By biggest concern was re-learning to play by pressing the mouse keypad rather than the keyboard. I would suggest to start by using the first 3 buttons only, than move to 6, 9 and finally 12 when ready. Forcing yourself to use the first 3 buttons was easy because they are positioned exactly where your thumb would usually sit. I was effectively using the first 6 buttons within 30 minutes of playing. The next 3 are a bit tougher because they require you to move your thumb down. Fortunately the mouse comes with sticker guides that you can place on keys (I would suggest center key) to make it easier to know where your thumb is without looking down. Within a week of gameplay I can say I am using the first 9 buttons very effectively and I am still learning the last 3. This allows me to access my most used 9 abilities quite well, and the last 3 least used abilities a bit more clumsily (although probably still faster than I was with the keyboard).
For the really advanced gamers you can program the Razer Naga to understand key combinations. So if you want you can press Ctrl in the same time as the keypad to double or even triple the amount of abilities you can access from your mouse.
By default the mouse will map its keypad to the 0-9 +- keys without installing any software. The Naga Epic will also cycle though different color highlights as you are playing. You can however install the Razer control software that allows you to customize the mouse color and key mappings and combinations.
In conclusion I am really enjoying my new gaming mouse. For those people that are thinking about making the jump and are on a tight budget I would suggest getting the Razer Naga for similar functionality and almost half the price. However if you can find one on sale the added “cool” factor of the Razer Naga Epic is worth it. For me at least, gone are the days of 4-5-6-7-1-1-2-3-1-1-1-1-2-3-1-1, loot.