When one thinks of gaming mice, a few brands come to mind and Razer has made quite a splash in the past few years. There have been some lovely additions, as well as some I didn’t care for, and at this time when we seem to have reached the pinnacle in precision and response time, it’s coming down to a case of diminishing returns as we get into minute differences. I wonder if 4800 / 5200 /5600 dpi sensitivity in a mouse really makes a difference in MMO gaming, so I was a little skeptical when I received the Razer Naga, a mouse purportedly made for MMO gamers. Right-handed MMO gamers, by the way, there isn’t a left-handed version.
First, let’s get the specs out of the way.
They say a picture paints a thousand words, but the simplicity of the design of the Razer Naga hides the phenomenal amount of engineering that has gone into it. Taking a look at the fit and finish, it’s quite an improvement from the Razer Diamondback that I purchased in 2005 and still use. The cord is now covered in a woven fabric to better prevent kinking. The rubberized texture of the mouse feels good to the touch, and doesn’t attract finger prints or slip under tight gaming conditions and sweaty gamer hands. It looks great. Razer mice always looked classy and felt solid. From packaging to product, the Razer Naga is an attractive package. Mouse clicks are smooth and the absence of large grooves to accommodate separate right and left mouse buttons means that it collects less dust and fuzz bunnies. It looks good, feels solid and with their own patented Teflon feet, moves over my cat hair covered mousepad without missing a beat. Yes, for some unfathomable reason, my cat Daisy loves the Naga and curls up around it on my mousepad. She didn’t do that with the Diamondback.
I like how the Naga fits my hand. It is a little more rounded and rather petite looking when compared to the Diamondback and the Deathadder. With the flatter Diamondback, my hand lays flat with the mouse buttons at my finger tips. With the Naga, my hand curves over it and my finger tips curl up higher on the buttons which allows my thumb to rest naturally as well, right there where it should be, over the 12 button thumb grid. With personal input devices such as mice and keyboards, personal ergonomic fit and experience counts for how each device fares with each individual gamer – i.e. apart from technical specs, how well a gamer likes a mouse is purely subjective. I liked a heavier mouse until I got used to the light and twitchy Diamondback (I had paid good money for it and darn it, I was going to get used to it!)
Finally, we go on to what they did to designate it an MMO-centric mouse; that’s the 12 button thumb grid. This replicates the number bar across the top of your keyboard, or with a flip of a switch underneath the mouse, the number key-pad to the right of your keyboard. Razer estimates that it takes about 18 hours of game play for the average gamer to retrain the muscle memory and reflexes on how they play a game, and provides trainers - adhesive rubber dots that you can stick to the 12 button grid to help yourself get used to button placement. I started it out with the good old standard, EverQuest where all I really used was 6 buttons, moving to EverQuest 2, LoTR, Final Fantasy, Global Agenda, Star Trek, several media tours of different games and I like it – especially since I mostly use the WASD keys to move and I really liked being able to do things like change weapons while running. I played quite a bit of Global Agenda with this mouse, equipping the jetpack and leaping off buildings without a hitch in my stride. Also convenient was remapping the various keys in Star Trek Online to the number pad and using the thumb grid.
Drivers are not shipped with the mouse and to get the most out of the Naga, players will have to download drivers off the Razer website. At this time, drivers are available for both Mac and Windows and the latest drivers provide full re-mapping and macro ability for all 12 buttons on the thumb grid, placing macro control literally, under your thumb. In-game custom interface add-ons are also available through the Razer http://www.getimba.com web-site for World of Warcraft and Warhammer and more are planned.
I’ve found the Razer Naga to be one sweet mouse for MMO gaming and it’s sitting in pride of place right now, having replaced the Diamondback (all 1600dpi of it) which has been relegated to the laptop for work purposes, with the photographer in the house cackling with glee at having received the Deathadder for Photoshop work.