Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Recently, my mouse died. I’d had it since sometime in 2010. I can’t remember precisely, I just remember that when I got it I was a boomkin/resto druid and we were doing ICC. I had a hard time getting it set up and I had a hard time learning to use it. Yet when it died about two years later, I went right out and bought another one just like it.

The mouse is the Razer Naga. No, not that kind of Naga.

Why would I buy the same mouse, you  might ask? (And no, this isn’t exactly a product endorsement, I’m definitely not getting paid by Razer). Well, for a few reasons. The first one is that it fits my hand perfectly, which isn’t easy to come by. I find most gaming mice to be too large or unwieldy or simply the wrong shape for my hand. I would go so far as to say that the Naga might be a bit small for the average male hand, but it is exactly the right size for mine. So ergonomics is one strong reason; when you use a mouse really often it matters whether it’s comfortable or not.

The second reason I went out and bought another Naga after the first lasted for two years is because this mouse changed the way I play games, more than any peripheral or addon. Here is what my new one looks like:

You see those buttons on the side? 12 side-buttons, the main two buttons, a wheel and two extra buttons ensures that there are a ridiculous number of buttons to press at any time. The Naga is specifically designed for MMOs and maximum button access. The way that the Naga is able to achieve so many extra buttons on a mouse is by making them correspond with buttons on a keyboard. There’s a slider on the bottom of the mouse that lets you determine whether you want buttons 1-12 to match the number keys at the top of your keyboard, or the number pad on the side. I choose to use the numpad, because I don’t use it for anything else otherwise, and I still need access to my nuke keys at the top. I’m going to let you have a rare look at my UI so I can explain more readily how that works out in-game. Don’t judge my really messy bars – there are duplicates, there are random things, but all the important things are within reach.

So here are my bars, as a mage. I’ve highlighted a block of buttons on the side; those correspond to the 1-12 keys on the Naga. I laid them out to match the configuration of the physical keys because I find that less confusing, but that isn’t strictly necessary, it just works for me. My most important buttons are 1-5 (in the first row):

1. Mirror Image
2. Fireball
3. Pyroblast
4. Fire Blast/Impact
5. Combustion

And on the Naga’s buttons:

1. Flamestrike
2. Living Bomb
3. Scorch
4. Dragon’s Breath
5. Counterspell
6. Assist
7. Blast Wave
8. Mage Armor
9. Flame Orb
10. Use Extra Action Button (primarily for Dragon Soul; I switch this in and out depending on whether a fight requires it like Ultrax)
11. Iceblock
12. Invisibility

There is a reason for the placement of most of these abilities. All of the abilities I’d want to be spamming are kept on the keyboard. Primarily Fireball in position two and Pyroblast right alongside. What I find the Naga really excels at are abilities that are either instant, or that require placement. So for example using the Naga for Flamestrike or Blast Wave is really fast and intuitive, because I can be hitting the key and already moving my cursor into position to place the reticule. This would also apply for Blizzard, when I happen to be playing Frost. I keep my Counterspell in a really easy to hit position for ease of use. My assist macro doesn’t really NEED to be on the Naga but I find it convenient for it to be. Scorch also occupies a position in the first row of buttons so I can cast all the scorches while moving.

I also use the same set-up for my healing characters. Here’s a glimpse at how that plays out.

As a healer, I tend to favour all of my healing abilities being on my mouse in one way or another. Here you can see I’ve set up mouseover macros for all of my castable abilities: Holy Shock, Flash of Light, Word of Glory. Light of Dawn is over at button three because it’s a moving/situational ability anyway so it’s easier to hit three after I’ve maneuvered to cast it. Next on the Naga comes Rebuke, a few of the Hand spells, bubble, Aura Mastery, healing cooldowns, and a warlock cookie. (I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t remember what paladin cooldown is called, but hey I’m not a paladin blogger! I’m pretty sure it’s something either divine, holy, or Handsy).

The rest of my healing abilities depend on simple key clicks via Vuhdo (e.g. left click is “bread and butter moderate cast/mana heal,” the right one is “longer cast time heavier mana/oomph heal.”) My dispel abilities are likewise “hidden” in this UI because they are variations of CTRL + clicks or SHIFT + clicks. Although my method tends to be a bit haphazard, it works for me!

It’s pretty evident why I’d be reluctant to give up the mouse now that I’ve been accustomed to it for two years. I’ve always struggled to use the far right portion of the keyboard, although I do use some other buttons in other places. (Note that “Blink” is bound to F, so it’s never far from any of my standard WASD keys). I also use Button 4 and Button 5 (on a standard mouse, these are usually the side buttons while Button 3 is the click wheel). B4 is my mount button and B5 is Spellsteal. This has been one major drawback of the new Naga – these buttons have switched positions.

This is really messing with my head at the moment. Although I understand why the buttons were moved – on the first generation mouse they were hard to reach and it took me a long time to get used to them at all – now they are right underneath where I’m used to letting my hand rest and I really have to think about how to reach them. I don’t tend to use the “click” feature on the mouse wheel for the same reason, but currently I have it set up through Vuhdo to cast Slowfall on myself or others.

The newest Naga has another feature that wasn’t present on my old one: adjustable side-plates.

You can see them fairly well here. From what I can tell, a magnet holds the plate onto the mouse itself, so you can just pull one off and pop a new one on. I am using the one that’s most like the old Naga (why fix it if it ain’t broke) but it comes with two other sizes, one of which seems fairly wide and might help to alleviate size issues for folks who find the mouse doesn’t fit their hand properly. I was concerned initially that the side plate might be prone to just pop off, but so far that hasn’t happened. I’m generally happy with the new Naga. Most importantly, after I installed the drivers it worked perfectly with my existing WoW set-up. Here are some Naga pros and cons for you.

Naga Cons

1) Mandatory registration via the Razer website: The idea is that this “Synapse” system of theirs will save your mouse settings and sync them if you’re on a different computer, like at a LAN party or a gaming tournament. That’s not really the kind of thing I do so the registration was a bit annoying. I saw a reviewer comment that it was a deal breaker for him and he wanted to return his mouse, which seems a bit over the top to me. It takes five minutes and is just one in a long list of things I’ve had to sign up for but didn’t really want to.

2) Longevity/Durability: I mentioned that my previous Naga only lasted two years or perhaps a bit less. With this in mind, I bought the in-store warranty for this one and I hope if it is has issues they will happen within that window. I fully believe that Diablo III pushed my aging Naga over the edge; the problem it was having was an issue with double clicking. I’d click just once and it would think I clicked twice (which is more aggravating than it sounds). Youtube had various people offering fixes for this, all of which required opening up and lubricating the mouse – and they also admitted it may only extend its life for an extra few months. This wasn’t worth it for me, and I’d rather go out and get a new one. The moral of the story is: don’t play Diablo III. (clickclickclickclickclick)

3) Adjustment period: For a new person getting the Naga, there IS a period of time during which none of those buttons will mean squat to you. You can’t just take it out of the box and begin to play with it, it has a learning curve, and for some people that may be a major drawback. The mouse does come with tiny little “training” stickers that you can place on the buttons to help your thumb get its bearings. I never used these, and after a certain number of hours of gameplay they weren’t necessary. They are there if you need them, but if the idea of learning HOW to use a peripheral doesn’t appeal to you, you may not like the Naga. I would urge you to persevere with it if you want to try it though! It’s definitely been worth it for me.

4) Cost: At $79.99 (Canadian) it’s not exactly cheap. The fancier version, the Razer Naga Epic carries a whopping $129.99 price tag for its wireless capability and colour changing backlighting. Not worth it for my needs but it’s pretty snazzy.

Naga Pros

1) Ergonomics: I find the shape of the mouse to be exactly ideal for me. The new adjustable sides make it so you can potentially change between three configurations and find one that suits you best. For hours of gaming, you want a mouse that will support your hand and not cause any strain.

2) Buttons: The Naga’s side buttons are fantastic and I love them. I honestly think I would be really frustrated if I had to play with a “normal” mouse that lacked them, now. They are a Must Have, so I guess Razer has snagged me for as long as I require a gaming mouse.

3) Style: The Razer products all look pretty cool, if that matters to you. I am a bit sad because my previous one had blue backlighting (matched my keyboard and tower) and this one is green so it’s odd-man out, but nobody notices that stuff besides me anyway.

There are fewer “pros” written here than cons, but for me the pros are pretty big ones. I hope this Naga will last me more than two years this time, but even if it doesn’t and I am still playing MMOs, I will probably be likely to buy another.

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Comments on: "Why I Can’t Quit My Naga" (33)

  1. I’m not quite sure I understand the reason behind moving the B4/B5 buttons. I have a Naga Molten which has the “old” placement and they are amazing. I find them extremely easy to use as I barely have to slide my finger off the left mouse button to reach them. The new placement scares me and makes me hope my Naga last forever, because I cannot wrap my brain around how anyone could ever reach those as quickly.

    Maybe I hold my mouse strangely? I don’t know. I’ve always got my hand flat against the mouse with my fingers resting on the left/right buttons. This new design makes me think I’m just odd and that everyone else must hold theirs in a more claw-ilike grip with just fingers on the mouse.

    • I’m not sure I understand it, either. I found them awkward at first but I grew used to them and now we’re fine. With these buttons – I do find it a bit awkward to press them. I’m thinking I’ll make sure that whatever is on them is not essential or very important, unfortunately.

  2. Do you ever find that the Num Lock key doesnt come on after a reboot, and you have to manually toggle it sometimes? That’s a problem I sometimes get.

    • Hmm. I seem to remember having to turn Num Lock on a few times, but I never made the connection. I thought I had just hit it accidentally and turned it off!

  3. Great post. I love mine so much I’ve got two. And to compliment my right hand(Naga) I use the Nostromo for my left. Mouseover macros bring magic from my fingertips. Thanks V :)

  4. gameldar said:

    I have a naga too and thankfully my 4&5 buttons are the old position. I use 4 all the time it is my main reticle placing button. I have it macroed to automatically place it where I click so I have instant heroic leap, mushroom placement, freezing trap, distract and pet nova.

    I still tend to have my healing keybound and keep my naga for cool downs. Mind you I still need to play around with settings for my rogue for example because I find that some buttons are not usable from my regular hand position (12,9,8) and I have some useful things bound there at the moment.

    The synapse thing is annoying too because the old version wasn’t online based and it was only when I reinstalled to switch to 64 bit windows that I had to use it…. And now it is always wanting to update (especially when my kids are using the computer).

    • That sounds like a pretty sweet macro! I’d be interested in trying it out if you are willing to share!

      • gameldar said:

        It is easy to do – just need to go into the synapse macro tab then you can record it – do so without the delay thr just record the button 4 press followed by a left click. Then if you go back to the profile page you can then assign the macro to the button (click on the button and there is an option to assign macro). I have different profiles set up for my different characters – by default it is just the macro setup on buttons 4&5. My Mage also has one on buttons 1 &2 for the two fire spec ones (I’ve forgotten those ones-although in frost one of those is blizzard). My hunter has an extra two on 3&6 for trap launching and I’ve just added in trap launcher in that too but I haven’t tried it out yet.

        If you want to see a video you can probably search for “swiftly Razer heroic leap macro” which is what I watched to get the idea although synapse has changed a bit since then.

  5. Entropia said:

    I’m very torn about purchasing another Naga. While it is a very comfortable mouse, probably the most comfortable I’ve ever used and the extra buttons are invaluable. I’m not sure if I can support a product that crapped out after 2 years (conveniently just shortly after the warranty ended). I was intending to purchase another and bought a Logitech M510 (a small, cheap wireless mouse) in the interim and it’s been doing the job. However the Logitech G600 has me very tempted. http://www.logitech.com/en-us/gaming/mice-keyboard-combos/g600-mmo-gaming-mouse

    • The G600 looks pretty hot! If you do get one, you’ll have to let me know how it works out for you. While I shared some of the reservations about re-purchasing a product that had worn out, I do have to admit that I am really hard on hardware in general. I killed my Logitech G13 as well, and I don’t think it was poorly constructed, I just type hard and fast and spammed two for so long on its keys. Likewise, the Naga did last me for many, many hours of gaming and I don’t have a basis for comparison for how long a similar mouse might have lasted in the same circumstances. Although there’s a commenter here who remarked that her mouse lasted four! Then again, it wasn’t me using it…

      • Well, the Logitech is four years old at this point but it got that 18 month break when I was using the Naga. So I guess that makes for 2 1/2 years of solid use.

  6. WTB a Naga, although right now I think I’d want one of their keyboards instead. I don’t suppose you use one of those, do you?

    • Actually I do. I use this one: http://store.razerzone.com/store/razerusa/en_US/pd/productID.211651300
      Although I wouldn’t recommend it for you because of the intense sound of the beautiful mechanical keys. With your variable play hours, I think you’d find it would be a big no-no in your household. But they MIGHT make a non-mechanical version with silent keys as well? It has been great for me, I love it, though I think I don’t use it nearly to its full potential. I’ve never bound anything to a single one of the macro buttons on the side.

  7. I only ever tried one Razer mouse, the DeathAdder, and while it had a nice scrollwheel, I didn’t like the shiny (i.e. slippery) sides and generally felt it was a bit too long, even for my pretty big hands.

    I guess one can get used to pretty much any non-terrible mouse but I think it’s absolutely worth trying different mice until you find one that really clicks with you, as it were.

    As for paladin cooldowns: my main’s a prot paladin. I’ve killed Deathwing with him. I still can’t remember the names of 3 of his main cooldowns, and can only recognise them by their icon. Divine Holy Shield of Righteous Protection? *shrug*

    • FWIW I’m using a Steelseries Xai right now, and it’s the best mouse I’ve used so far – only had it since February last year so I can’t really comment on its longevity, apart from the way the logo has mostly worn off the back.

      I also have a Cherry G80 mechanical keyboard, which I’d recommend to anyone who needs to type a lot. No fancy gaming-related stuff, just a really nice feel on the keys. Kinda noisy though, which might be a problem in some environments.

      • When I had to replace my keyboard, I picked up the Razer Black Widow (mechanical also) because I am sooo rough on keyboards. Now the problem is that the incredible sound has made the entire guild tease me relentlessly and Voss complains at every opportunity. I tested it in the store and he assured me that it’d be “fine.” I think he’s lived to rue the day. ;)

  8. Nice Review, I hadn’t seen the new button placement, but they also have the 6/7 button version now as well. Mind if I link my own review?

    http://bikesbabesbytes.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/razer-naga-molten-a-review/

  9. thrinetu said:

    you can still use the old style razer config program, its under razer naga epic, its so much nicer for me then the Synapse system. http://www.razersupport.com/index.php?_m=downloads&_a=viewdownload&downloaditemid=744&nav=0,76,229,90,156

  10. I use the same mouse as your old one and I really can’t imagine playing with else. Have you ever tried it out the Nostromo gaming pad (http://store.razerzone.com/store/razerusa/en_US/pd/productID.221675100/categoryId.35156900)? I briefly considered using the two together but in the end decided it might be overkill and have a learning curve I couldn’t get down with, but I’m still curious…

  11. Ah, I had a Naga for a long time and loved it but wound up switching back to a five button mouse when my husband and I were sharing a computer for a bit. He wasn’t going to change and swapping out the mice every time we shifted users got old fast. My Naga was about 18 months old when I Craigslisted it, now I feel a bit guilty. I hope it hasn’t died on the new owner.

    The new Hex has been temping me but I’m going to hold out until the 5 button Logitech dies (almost four years and counting).

    • That’s a really respectable amount of time! I can’t tell whether two years is a short period of time for a mouse, or I am just tough on hardware. I killed my old Logitech G13 as well. The keys just plain stopped working. This time I sought durability when I was choosing a new one!

  12. I find 2 years to be really long in hardware life. My dear beloved Death Adder (which showed up by accident in the mail when I tried to order a Naga) is on its last breaths after about 20 months and I think that’s the longest a mouse has ever lasted me.

    I do have a Naga that I bought after that Death Adder showed up, but I haven’t been able to stick with it long enough to train myself. The edges are just so sharp and my hands miss the softness of a Death Adder. Or maybe I just have disgustingly huge hands. I know my parents should have given me those piano lessons I begged for as a kid.

    • I thought it was funny that our mice died almost SIMULTANEOUSLY to the same issue (the double clicking thing). I’ve never really had a dedicated gaming mouse before this one so I have no basis for comparison! The funny thing is I don’t really have small hands at all, I think I have small palms but long fingers? The Naga just “fits” right, but it did take me – I think they said in the instructions that it takes about 24 hrs of playtime to adjust? And I think it took me about that long. I can’t blame anyone for not wanting that adjustment period though, it is a frustrating time when you are flailing around looking for your buttons, getting yourself killed in stupid ways, and just being generally ineffectual.

      You might like the Naga Hex! It has only six buttons on the side, which is still a respectable amount of buttons – but they’re easier to find and bigger. I have not held a Death Adder so I don’t know about the softness, but now I have a desire to compare them the next time I get the opportunity! Mice are so personal, there’s no right or wrong, just “whatever works” best for you. I hope you can get a replacement soon though, it’s so frustrating being without.

      • I didn’t realize that your mouse also had double clicking as its final illness! Our mice are twins! Though, from the responses I got on twitter, it seems like it’s a fairly common condition.

        My mice do tend to die early because, for years, I used them on a laptop. Which means they’ve been dragged EVERYWHERE. Generally it’s the wire or the usb plug that dies. I think this is the first time I kill a mouse from simply overuse.

        I will give my Naga a good trial run before I decide whether to order another Death Adder. I’m very used to using a mouse + keyboard combo, but maybe if I train myself to just use the mouse and get used to the shape of the Naga, I might come to love the Naga as much as I loved my Death Adder.

      • Imakulata said:

        I agree with Ophelie, a lot of Nagas seem develop the double click disease. Luckily mine’s not in terminal stage yet but I will consider other mice because of this. The Logitechs I used to use worked fine for years but they only had 3 buttons.

        I wonder about the new 4&5 buttons, I don’t like the current placement and don’t use button 5 at all because it’s so uncomfortable to reach it.

  13. I invested in a Razer Naga earlier this year myself, and it’s frankly the best MMO-gaming mouse I’ve ever used. It’s a tad small for my hand (I bought the older version), but it’s not really a problem. Originally, I used the first WoW-Cataclysm mouse (from SteelSeries?) due to its plethora of buttons, but it unfortunately only works properly with WoW. Honestly, I found it unnecessarily tedious to swap out my mouse for my regular computer use and/or playing other games. I swapped to the Naga because it works fine with everything (if I’m not mistaken, it’s one of the few MMO-mice that works with SWTOR), and its button placement is much more straightforward setup, in my opinion.

    On a side note, the only time I really use my keyboard in WoW is for typing out messages in chat; instead, I use my Logitech G13 gamepad and Naga simultaneously. I got the impression from the pad’s design that buttons 4, 10, 11, and 12 are the intended movement keys (they have little depressions to make them easy to find without looking, and they’re in the classic WASD formation), but I use the little joystick on the pad for moving my character. This frees up two rows of six keys on the pad, which I use for the normal 1 through = keys. My UI looks quite similar to yours, Vid (I use the exact same setup on the right side for my Naga buttons!), just I have stacked rows of six in the bottom left that are tied to the regular attack bar. That way, I have 24 abilities literally at my fingertips that I can use while simultaneously move… and my UI reflects exactly how they’re laid out on the peripherals themselves!

  14. Wow it makes me want one now!! Unfortunately I can’t use a mouse anymore due to RSI. I use a tablet (which has saved my life.. I couldn’t do my job which is office based or still game if I didn’t have it) as a mouse substitute.

  15. […] number of buttons on it. The life of the Razer Naga MMO is intended to be spent helping its owner slay monsters in video games. The five top buttons and twelve side buttons can seem overwhelming at first. But all seventeen can […]

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