Razer Naga Molten Special Edition Review: Get Imba
By Nic (Nilax) van ‘t Schip, OnRPG Admin
When the original Razer Naga was released last year, people questioned how a mouse with 16 buttons would perform. Would 12 buttons under your thumb be an advantage or a hindrance? Our Editor Tully swears by the improvement to his MMO gaming that his Naga has given him, now it’s time to see if the same will happen to me.
The Naga Molten Special Edition is an upgraded themed release of the Naga conveniently released close to World of Warcraft’s Cataclysm and the nice folks over at Razer sent an early review version to the OnRPG office. This baby won’t hit stores until January so our geek hearts skipped a couple of beats in anticipation. With the team spending a significant portion of their spare time during the Christmas holidays in World of Warcraft and other MMOs this is the perfect time to put this impressive looking mouse to the test. I am new to the Naga myself so I’ll take up the task of giving the Special Edition a run. The slogan of the mouse is “Get Imba”, so let’s see how Imba this mouse made me!
First impressions are very important and Razer understands this like no other. Not just the outside of the box looks appealing but the unboxing is an impressive experience in itself. The high quality cards, including a Certificate of Authenticity(!), do their job of making you realize that Razer don’t fuck about, they mean business. The same can be said for the ‘Naga Configurator’software in which you control just about anything about your mouse. Razer have a long and proven track record in this field and the Naga proudly builds on this tradition.
The mouse itself feels light but not too light. It slides over nearly every surface with hardly any resistance and fits my rather large hand nearly perfectly. The pulsating Razer logo and the fiery glow of the buttons are pretty without being “in your face annoying”, something that I worried about before seeing the mouse plugged in.
To emphasize that the Naga is a mouse aimed at MMO gamers Razer provide a tasty custom UI Addon for World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online. While the addon isn’t essential we would like to see some more games added to the list that they already cater for, example: Runes of Magic, Aion and Age of Conan also offer the possibility to use interface addons.
But that said the WoW UI Addon Razer offers is effectively a customized version of the very well known “Bartender” addon. This means that for other games that offer addons that let you manipulate and edit action bars will no doubt support the Naga as well. It also means that if you already use an action bar addon yourself you’ll want to be careful activating the Naga addon.
As I am very particular (and according to some also a bit peculiar) about my addons I opted against using the Razer addon. This posed no problems what so ever as I was already using Bartender to manage my action bars. I found a neat little group of buttons that could be set up to be my special Naga buttons.
If you are familiar with Mage spells in WoW you may notice that spells and macros that are used less often are on the higher number on the mouse, and spells that I often use are on the lower numbers. This is because the lower numbers are much easier to reach with your thumb and the 10, 11 and 12 row is neigh on impossible to find quickly and easily as you need to completely relocate your thumb for it.
Don’t get me wrong though this is simply due to human anatomy and isn’t meant as criticism towards the Naga. The fact that six of the buttons are extremely easy to use is a wonderful thing in itself and is more than most mice manufacturers can claim!
Taking it for a spin
The setup you see in the image above wasn’t the first setup I went for. At first I tried to leave the default setting at the underside of the mouse to the “123” setting, which allowed me use the buttons on the mouse to spam my primary attack spells. This worked fine for about 13 seconds, then my thumb cramped up and I realized that the thumb buttons on the Naga are best used for abilities with a longer cooldown.
After I was done setting up the longer cooldown spells with the Naga buttons it took a short while to get used to the mouse but by far not as long as I feared. After a couple of dungeon runs I felt I was now a more effective Mage and to be brutally honest I needed a bit of a boost in DPS so Tully would stop making fun of it, hardcore bast… never mind!
We don’t spend every second in MMOs (unfortunately) so it’s important to comment on out of MMO use of the Naga. With 12 buttons that are available for use in any program that allows keybinding its likely you’ll find multiple ways to improve how the mouse can interact with other software. Tully uses his buttons as keybindings in Photoshop which allows him to crack out images very quickly. I quickly played around with setting text editing functions like Copy/Paste, Home, End and some other standard actions to the buttons on the mouse and after some practice I do believe that could be a very effective use of the mouse as well.
Those of you who are partial to first person shooters may find that the positioning of the thumb buttons can be in the way when trying to have a full grip for maximum precision, Razer has some other mice designed specifically to cater to FPS gamers so if you FPS a lot I’d pass on the Naga. In RTS games however the buttons are downright awesome. Binding numbers to groups of units and buildings in StarCraft II to the numbers keys allow for extremely fast selecting of them without even having to move your keyboard hand to the number row!
Razer targeted the MMO genre and delivered a product that certainly is a performance and functional improvement for the user. We’re extremely excited to see how it will pair up with the Razer Anansi MMO Keyboard which is released early next year. We’ll be sure to do a full review on that once we get our hands on one.
The Razer Naga Molten Special Edition will be available for purchase in January 2011 for €79.99. Find it on the store here!
Be sure to check out the Images of the Naga Molten Special Edition below.