Control, the hardware side

Mists hadn’t been out a week and I was frustrated. I was having trouble keeping my Sacred Shield active as I was something of a clicker for cooldowns. I’ve got small hands so the number of keys I can comfortably reach is limited. I’d never been happy with clicking for cooldowns but with a long cd I didn’t have to do it often. Sacred Shield is only a 30 second buff though. I just wasn’t happy with my performance so I decided to get a mouse with extra buttons.

The decision of what one to get wasn’t easy. I considered Steelseries, different versions of Naga, a couple of other makes too. As I have small hands I worried that I wouldn’t be able to reach the extra buttons, I worried that the mouse would be too big. I wanted to go to a store to test hold it but the nearest one was over an hour away. So I bit the bullet and ordered online, from a company that said I could return it no questions asked. I went for the Razer Naga 2012 and I couldn’t be more pleased with it.

The buttons
This particular model has 12 buttons, laid out in a number grid style, on the left of the mouse. Then there are 2 more extra buttons behind the scroll wheel. I did look at an earlier Naga version which had these 2 extra buttons at the end of the mouse button. I’m glad I didn’t get that one as my fingers don’t reach down that far.

In terms of how easy the buttons are to reach I personally find button number 7 the hardest to hit, then number 12. By hard I don’t mean impossible, I just mean that it isn’t as easy and takes more practice. I bind my most used cooldowns to button number 1 and 2, Sacred Shield and Word of Glory. My thumb hovers over this area so these are the easiest to reach buttons and I hit them without thinking about it when needed. Muscle memory is good like that.

Also so my muscle memory kicks in I have the buttons do similar things, or the same, on all the characters I play a lot. I have taunt bound to button 8, and interrupt to button 11. The level 75/90 talent is bound to button 10 etc. It’s hard to enough to remember where all your keys are, without the same functions changing places.

For those back buttons I tried the technique of rocking your thumb, so that you hit it with the joint rather than the thumb itself. I found that I kept hitting button 8 when I meant 11 doing it like that, which meant I was taunting rather than interrupting, not a good thing. However if I bend my thumb I can hit the buttons with it normally, perhaps a perk of having small hands.

The binding
I haven’t used the default ui in a long time on my main, and I’ve now rolled out the same custom ui to all my characters. When I created a horde alt, to battle a pet in horde cities, the other day it was really strange seeing the old ui, I can’t imagine trying to play like that now. That isn’t a good thing of course, you shouldn’t be overdependent on addons. However, I think everyone is to a certain extent, so it’s something to ignore that we do, or at least I ignore that I do it.

Razer Naga has it’s own addon which is an action bar addon. I already used Bartender for that purpose, had the ui already set up, and quite frankly was loathe to switch to the different addon. You can use the default ui, or any action bar addon you like, so that isn’t an issue. What is slightly annoying though is how it programs when you do that. If you use their addon then you can bind the keys to the mouse directly, if you don’t then it’s either the keyboard number panel, or the numpad. Obviously I use the keyboard number panel for my abilities so that’s out and numpad works well. However, as auto run is num lock, I do have to remember to make sure that I have the numpad activated, otherwise the mouse buttons don’t work. It’s a minor annoyance at best and one I’ve grown accustomed to. I just put my Sacred Shield up before the fight to make sure I can.

The improvement
Well the main point of getting the mouse was to make playing Warcraft easier. I’ve not had it that long but it feels like I must have had it forever. I really can’t fathom how I managed to play before I got it. How did I taunt? How did I interrupt? How did I blow my cooldown’s? Well I know how I did it, but how did I do it in a way that worked?

Now I don’t know if my performance, has made as big a jump, as it feels like it has. I feel like I’m playing a lot better, like I’m smoothly hitting the buttons, keeping buffs up in a way that I just couldn’t manage before. When I think about quick taunt fights like The Stone Guard, or quick interrupts on Spirit Kings Zian, I must do it a lot faster now.

Now the mouse isn’t cheap but I really would recommend it. It’s comfortable to use, works fantastic in Warcraft, and isn’t limited to Warcraft if you play other games. For instance if I ever figure it out I’ll be able to use the extra buttons in windows. I’d love, for instance, to be able to have audio controls on it. I used to have them on my old keyboard and I miss them. I’m sure this is possible but I haven’t worked it out yet, and in all honesty, I’m getting enough from the mouse to justify it, even without that use. If you raid, or PvP, or play a lot of games, get this mouse. You really won’t regret it.