Naga Day 1 Impression

So, I’ve played around with my Naga for 4-5 hours now, and I’ve gotten enough out of it to write down a first impression.

First of all, the mouse is a lot smaller than I have imagined for something that’s packed with 12 thumb buttons plus a few more. It’s actually smaller than the Logitech G7 that I used up until now. I don’t know how uncomfortable it would be for folks with bigger hands, but that’s obviously not my problem!

And props the Razer guy for not including an install CD in the package. It’s an MMO mouse. We have internet connections. The driver on the CD is almost never up to date. Finally, someone that put thoughts into the whole driver ordeal. Installation is extremely smooth. The “numpad” keys are actually recognized without the official driver (which is just there to control DPI and backlights).

I’m not sure why, but you’d think for something as forward-thinking as a mouse designed from the ground up, they’d at least include some instructions on how to hold the mouse properly. I’ve mostly figured it out on my own, but it would be nice to know that I’m doing it the right way instead of fumbling around randomly for a few hours until it works.

The numpad buttons are about cell-phone key sized, and currently the tip of my thumb actually rests between 2 and 5. 1-3 are easily reachable without adjustment, and 4-6 requires some effort to move my thumb back ever so slightly. Now comes the weird part: after some experimentation I’ve found that it’s much better to knock on 7-9 with the knuckle of my thumb, and 9-12 with the base of my thumb. That way, my thumb never moves far enough from the neutral position to force me to manually readjust.

Make no mistake: there’s a training period associated with the mouse. 1, 2, 4, 5 are relatively easy to cycle between, but 3 and 6 forces the thumb to curve in and 6 especially makes me lose my positioning at times. 7-9 are the slowest for me to hit, but outside of high pressure situations I can press any single button without fat-fingering into other buttons now.

The second half of the training, of course, is to rebind all the action bars (in WoW) from a left hand oriented layout to use the thumb keypad buttons. The official addon for the mouse is no help (as expected). Way too many icons dumped onto the screen, and ugly to boot. There’s a noticeable drop in my dps currently since I have to keep consciously think about what button to press, then recall how to press it, then press the button. One thing that I *do* notice though is that my attention is strangely detached from the action bar icons – I’m much more situation aware, but I’m not paying as much attention to my cooldowns as I normally am.

I’ve also fired a couple of other games: Team Fortress 2 for the usual FPS romp, and Alien Shooter 2 to get a feel for pointer aiming. I do run into some problems with TF2… the mouse seems to have a unitask design of handling MMOs and MMOs only. Both the left and right buttons are very recessed, which makes continuous weapon firing (i.e. the Heavy’s minigun) very uncomfortable. I’m still getting used to the new mouse contour though, so hopefully my trigger sense will come back in time.

One thing is for sure: there’s no going back once I make the full transition from using my old keybinds to using the Razer buttons. I am kind of worried about being too attached to a specific peripheral, especially since I do run into the occasional emergency sessions on my laptop nowadays. The thought of hauling the mouse around in case I need to log into WoW is a little unsettled, but hopefully I can get used to it.

I’ll probably do one more post for the Naga, around the time when I decide to keep or give up on the mouse. I’ve dumped macro pads into storage before (they’re for sale, by the way!), so this would not be the first time I deep freeze a new shiny peripheral. I have a good feeling about this mouse, though.

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