I really wish there were more mice in WOW. I think a race of large friendly mouse NPCs would be fantastic. I figure they’d speak similar to the “Big-Tongues” in Sholozar, and just scurry around being all adorable as they ask you to rescue their friends and defeat evil invaders. The closest thing we have currently to a race of mice is the Kobolds. While they are amusing with their “No take candle!” cries, they don’t have a lot of depth (Tam’s friend Gerald excluded of course).
But that’s not the kind of mouse I meant to discuss today. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was thinking about picking up a Razer Naga. I ran out to Best Buy later that day (because when I get an idea in my head, that idea must come to fruition immediately – otherwise I get very impatient and may lose interest) and purchased one.
I took it home and pulled it from its spiffy packaging. It’s a very slick-looking gadget, made of nice, sturdy material. The cord is quite long and braided which makes it tangle-free and more durable. The mouse itself is made of a plastic that feels quite nice in the hand. It’s a great size for me – not too large or heavy. I suppose some people might consider it small, but I prefer to feel like I’m not clutching a hand weight.
The soft blue light from the keypad, scroll wheel, and logo give it a very pleasing appearance (of course you can turn these off in the settings if you want). I’m a bit obsessed with the color blue, so maybe I’m biased. The special Molten Cataclysm edition of the mouse has orange lights instead, which my husband is drooling over. Then of course there is the insanely expensive Epic edition with wireless and changeable lights.
The Naga didn’t come with a disk – just instructions to download the driver online. They obviously know their audience is capable of using the internet. The driver installed smoothly on my Mac, and I played around with the configuration a bit. I’ve never had a mouse with so many features before. From DPI adjustments on the fly to acceleration, this mouse has more than I will ever need.
After launching WOW, I keybound my it to my main action bar. I used the mechanical switch on the bottom of the mouse to make it the keypad act as if it were my Numpad (by default it behaves as the numbers across the top of your keyboard). This allowed me to also keybind a few easily reachable keys for my left hand (1-5). I also used Shift as a modifier to fully fill out two action bars with keybindings. The letter keys are utilized for other purposes such as movement, bag, mounting, companion pets, showing nameplates, targeting, etc. Hopefully I wont be running out anytime soon.
Next, I sat down and thought about how best to utilize my bindings. The ideal is to have the most easily accessible buttons used for the most commonly used or key abilities. Previously, I had my elemental spec and healing spec’s bars almost identical, for consistency. I noticed that when I had the same spells in different places, I got terribly confused. It seemed a shame though, to waste easy to-reach buttons on Lightning bolt while in resto. (especially since I’m not currently specced into Telluric Currents). Then I realized that I could use actionbar paging. I set up a second bar to match my elemental one, and can pull it up when I need to (for example, I’m questing and realize too late that I forgot to switch specs and a mob is trying to eat my face). This second bar is normally hidden, but when I hit SHIFT scroll or SHIFT down arrow, it becomes the main bar. Switching back is just as simple. I’ve accidentally done this before and then panicked when all my abilities were missing – now I actually understand the purpose of it.
I plan on writing a post detailing my actual macros and bindings for my resto shaman, and possibly for other classes or specs as well. Stay tuned for that later this week if you’re interested in seeing an example of how to set up a Naga.
After I set up my bindings, using a combination of Clique and mouseover macros, I started practicing. At first it was awful – I fumbled around and constantly hit the wrong things. Healing a normal dungeon was agonizing. I feel bad for the poor ret pally who I let die several times in the Lost City of Tol’vir. I was just too slow to heal the DPS and the tank.
Changing the Way I Play
It really only took a few days though, to feel comfortable healing with it. DPSing with it is going to take some more time, as a use a larger range of buttons, and I’ll have to relearn it with each character and spec that I play. Pressing a mouse button also has a very different feel than the click of a key on a keyboard, which leads to some very minute adjustments in the timing of the way my fingers move, which affects my DPS. My run as elemental last night started off a bit rocky, but by the end of Heroic SFK I think I was getting the hang of it.
The keypad buttons are surprisingly easier to hit than I expected. I was expecting my thumb to get tired, but its quite comfortable. I’m learning to hit the rear buttons with the side of my thumb instead of moving to touch it with the tip – this is tricky, but provides great results. I find the second to-last row to be the toughest to hit (7, 8, and 9). The buttons aren’t overly sensitive, so its not as easy to misclick as you might think.
The 4th and 5th mouse buttons are still quite difficult for me to use. My previous mouse had one button placed nicely for the thumb and the other for the pinky, which worked very well for me. These are both quite small and placed to the left of the left mouse-button, and are very awkward to hit often. I do wish that they could place these buttons better, although I’m not entirely sure where they should go. I’ve been putting important abilities on long cooldowns there, such as Heroism.
It’s strange, but it is almost more satisfying to DPS with a mouse. I was leveling my priest yesterday, and it really felt like I was melting faces with my hand.
Why The Naga Is Great
I happened to stumble upon an article about the Naga on WOWInsider (formerly Wow.com, formerly WOWInsider) from back in June about the Naga. The comments were filled with spewing hatred, which isn’t atypical for the site, but surprised me a bit. I completely understand that not everyone has enough dexterity with their thumb to make the Naga work for them, that not everyone needs a huge range of buttons to press, or they’ve already found a keypad they love. But violent bashing on something they haven’t even tried? It seems ridiculously close-minded.
I don’t think all the commenters understood the potential of the device. The biggest complaint was that the standard keyboard/mouse setup already offers everything you need to play WOW effectively, and the Naga is an overpriced waste-of-space. Many whinged that they already have enough mouse bindings available with a 5 button mouse and modifiers (15 combinations). That’s great, but I find that hitting multiple buttons simultaneously is less efficient, and CTRL and ALT are uncomfortable for me to constantly reach for. And let me tell you, I know uncomfortable. I played the Bassoon for many years, which is certainly one of the most awkward instruments in terms of stretching your fingers and key combinations. Not even that made my hand ache the way that using tons of modifiers on the keyboard does.
The keyboard itself doesn’t actually offer enough easily reachable keys for all my abilities and macros, especially on hybrids. I would probably have enough if I used both hands, but then I would be moving entirely with the keyboard which isn’t efficient. With my left hand on the keyboard and right on my mouse, I DEFINITELY don’t have enough keys available. I’ve tried using things like SHIFT-1 in the past and it just feels so unnatural and awkward. If I used a keypad this might be different, but I play on a laptop, which doesn’t even have a numpad (and no, I can’t connect it to an external keyboard while I’m sitting on my couch). With the Naga, if I need to use modifiers (currently only SHIFT), I don’t have to stretch one hand to reach both keys – I can comfortably use both hands.
The Naga obviously isn’t perfect – the 4th and 5th mouse buttons are tough to reach, and the keypad requires dexterity in your right thumb. I do think it is in general a comfortable device, and solves a lot of the issues I’ve been having with keybind space. As I continue to improve training my muscles to use it, I may give a brief update, but for now it seems very promising.
As for the price? Well gaming mice are generally expensive – they’re designed for heavy use and with lots of the configuration abilities that gamers prefer. If you’re fine with your sub-50 dollar Logitech (which is what I used previously), then that is great, but if you want a gaming mouse I don’t think that $80 is unreasonable.
Overall, I love the mouse. It’s a little awkward at first, but completely worth it. If you’re interested in shelling out the money for a gaming mouse, I would highly recommend the Razer Naga. I’m really impressed with Razer in general - they really know their target audience and provide products that are high quality, functional, and have aesthetic appeal.