Razer Naga MMO Gaming Mouse

Razer is a well-known brand in the PC gaming arena, making a wide variety of gaming-oriented mice and other peripherals. The Naga is their mouse which is tailored to the specific needs of MMO players. So what is it that MMO players need that players of other games might not?

Buttons. Lots of buttons.

The Naga differs from other mice principally in the addition of a twelve-button keypad to its left side. By default, these are mapped to the “number row” across the top of the keyboard, but a switch on the base of the mouse changes the mapping to that of the numeric keypad instead. This gives you thumb-level access to the skills you’ve mapped to those keys in your MMO of choice, and if that choice is World of Warcraft or Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, Razer also supplies an Addon to help you manage your buttons in-game.

It’s a good-looking piece of hardware. All the buttons emit a blue glow, and the Razer logo on the back gently pulses; very pretty, but completely covered by your hand when you’re actually using it as a mouse. For numbers fans, the mouse has a 5,600dpi sensor, a 1ms response rate, and a 24-position click wheel. For non-numbers fans, those are quite good numbers.

Among the bewildering array of options in the driver software is the ability to switch the lights in the keypad and mouse buttons on and off independently, which may prove useful if you find the keypad lights distracting or just too warm. There are also the usual non-aesthetic options, including adjusting the sensitivity for when you’re taking a break from your MMO to play something a bit more twitch-based. The Razer software also allows independent adjustment of X and Y sensitivity in case you feel the need to tweak those individually. I left these settings at their defaults, as they worked fine on the desktop and in World of Warcraft.

In terms of “being a mouse”, I have to compare the Naga with my usual mousing weapons of choice, the Logitech G5 and MX500 series mice. I like the Logitechs because they’re good quality, reliable, and a good size for my hand; smaller mice tend to give me hand cramps and can bring back my tendonitis (RSI is no fun, kids: avoid it if you can). The Naga suffers a little here, for me, by being slightly smaller than the Logitech mice, but I used it extensively throughout the recent Ready Up redesign and didn’t encounter any problems. So, for regular desktop and web site construction use, the Naga holds up well. However, the placement of the keypad on the side of the Naga necessitates the shifting of mouse buttons 4 and 5 from their usual position under the thumb to a new spot alongside button 1, so if you’re used to using those for web browsing you’re probably going to find that frustrating, at least initially.

g5_and_naga
Side-by-side: the chunky Logitech G5 and the slightly more svelte Naga.

The purpose of this mouse, however, is to help you in your MMO mastery, which is where the keypad comes in. My thumb naturally rests above the top row of the pad, and there are raised edges on the 5 and 11 keys which help you to determine which row of the pad you’re currently on. Razer also supply a number of stick-on rubber pads to help you feel your way around the keypad, although they recommend that you remove these once you’ve become accustomed to using it.

The main problem here is one of scale. I mentioned that the mouse was slightly smaller than I might usually like; this is, according to Razer, by design, but it makes the keypad buttons feel a bit cramped. Conversely, the bottom row of buttons can’t be reached without folding the thumb, which makes that row difficult to reach. The conflicting needs of spacing the buttons enough to make them usable without spacing them so as to make some of them unreachable have led to an uneasy compromise which, for me at least, makes the pad awkward to use. With practice, I think the thumbpad could prove useful in-game – the first two rows are certainly within reach – but my hand isn’t the right shape for me to be able to use it without problems.

The other issue with it is that, once again, the altered placement of mouse buttons 4 and 5 makes them awkward to use, and as someone who does use them in-game (for autorun and jump) that’s a bit annoying. Again, this could be overcome with practice, but I’m just too lazy. I think I’ll continue to try, though.


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2 responses to “Razer Naga MMO Gaming Mouse”

  1. matt avatar
    matt

    Any chance you can post some pics of you reaching for the different buttons and some measurements of your hands? 🙂

  2. Emily avatar
    Emily

    My boyfriend uses this mouse for WoW, he gave me his last WoW mouse which is a monster by size comparison, and still has a few buttons on the side. I’m surprised how small this one is and that it actually has more buttons, it does seem rather dainty.

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