Not every mouse is right for every genre, and nowhere is this more evident than in massively multiplayer online (MMO) games. The Razer Naga provides everything that hardcore MMO players need — a plethora of thumb buttons, a streamlined design and a capable software interface. While the Naga isn't a perfect mouse, it may be the best dedicated MMO mouse on the market and is well worth a look from high-level players.
At first glance, the Naga makes one thing eminently clear: Claw-grip players may be better served elsewhere. The Naga is a large, heavy mouse with an incredibly high profile to accommodate its four rows of thumb buttons. Palm-grip players can rest their palms on the mouse's steep curve and their thumbs on the thumb buttons. The ring finger has its own contoured rest, while the pinky has a textured pad.
Left-handed players will be pleased to know that unlike similar MMO mice from Logitech and Corsair, the Naga is also available in a sinister conformation. The mouse's design is mirrored, but otherwise identical.
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The Naga sports a staggering 19 buttons, but the layout makes them fairly usable. On the side of the mouse, there are 12 thumb buttons — numbered 1 to 12 — in four rows of three. The mouse also has a left button, a right button, a scroll wheel that clicks in three directions, and two buttons directly underneath the scroll wheel that have no preprogrammed purpose.
Aside from the fact that housing 12 buttons makes a claw grip difficult (but by no means impossible), the Naga feels comfortable to hold and use. The buttons are as well-spaced and distinct as they can be without supersizing the mouse, and the peripheral's comfortable texture makes it easy to maintain a grip, regardless of how frantic the action gets on screen.
The Naga's high profile and multitude of buttons make it relatively unsuitable for all-purpose gaming, but as an MMO mouse, it does about everything right from a physical perspective.
A high-end gaming mouse is often only as good as its software, and the Razer Synapse 2.0 delivers where it counts. Of the Naga's 19 buttons, 18 are programmable (the left button is not) with everything from individual keystrokes to macros, changing dots-per-inch (DPI) sensitivity and switching profiles.
Each profile can store eight separate keymaps, giving a player access to almost 100 programmable buttons per profile. However, cycling through keymaps is not that straightforward: As it has no default button, users must program this feature into each individual profile themselves.
The Naga also sports a generous DPI range: 100 to 8,200. As MMOs tend to rely more on rapid keystrokes than rapid camera movements, the upper DPI ranges may not be terribly useful, but having them there is still appreciated. Users can also customize DPI for the X- and Y-axes individually, calibrate the mouse for different surfaces or control the device's illumination.
On the off chance that you play a number of different MMOs, you can also link profiles with individual games. This feature is a nice touch, but perhaps less necessary in an MMO mouse than in an all-purpose peripheral.
What sets the Naga apart from its competitors are its rows of thumb buttons. While the Logitech G600 has a similar setup, the Naga features crisper buttons with more satisfying clicks. The 12 buttons don't feel incredibly different from one another, but thanks to the curve of the mouse, each one rests at a different elevation. This means that with a relatively short learning curve, users can tell the buttons apart and access them frequently with little trouble.
It's worth noting, however, that the thumb buttons are all active on the mouse's default profile. This means that unless you're very careful, expect to see a lot of random numbers pop up while you're surfing the Web or typing in a word processor, until you learn to rest your thumb very lightly.
As an MMO mouse, the Naga understandably did not excel at most of our standard test titles. We had thoroughly adequate experiences with "BioShock Infinite," "StarCraft II" and "Batman: Arkham City," but even when we reprogrammed the thumb buttons to useful commands, the mouse's overall design proved clunky and inefficient.
On the other hand, the mouse was a boon for "World of Warcraft" as well as "Star Wars: The Old Republic" (which we tested for the Naga as well, given the MMO's popularity). Both of these games rely on a toolbar of skills that players need to access at a moment's notice. Since moving and using skills simultaneously is tough with a traditional keyboard, having 12 keys within thumb's reach was extremely helpful.
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Aside from the buttons, the mouse itself was responsive, accurate and precise. We also found the extra keymaps feature to be useful, as it let us access a second set of commands just by holding down one of the buttons beneath the scroll wheel (although we still believe that eight separate keymaps is overkill).
In general, keeping our skills assigned to the primary keymap and nonessential commands (such as a quest log or inventory) to the secondary keymap was a great way to access every game feature with our dominant hand.
The Naga has a programmable liftoff range, but its Z-axis tracking leaves something to be desired. Picking up the mouse and replacing it causes the cursor to drift a short distance across the screen, although this is generally not too disastrous in an MMO.
By definition, an MMO mouse cannot be a mouse that appeals to every kind of player, and the Naga makes no attempt to be one. With its multitude of buttons and very specific physical design, the peripheral is almost guaranteed to confound general-interest gamers and delight MMO fans.
If you aim to play games such as "World of Warcraft" and "Star Wars: The Old Republic" at the highest levels, the Naga could prove to be the perfect tool for the job.
Laser Depth: 2.5 mm
DPI: 100 – 8,200
Size: 115 x 75 x 35 mm
Weight: 138 g
Grip Type: Palm