Saturday, 5 March 2011

A Tale of Two (Razer) Nagas

I bought my first Razer Naga over a year ago, not long after I'd started playing WoW and wasn't having an easy job of converting from a clicker > keybind method. I haven't looked back since and, as of this week, am now the proud owner of an Epic version as well. I don't want to drone on endlessly about it, there are plenty of thorough reviews out there that will do that. What I want to do is briefly give my opinion of the new Razer Naga Epic but also compare the two and tell you a bit about how I use them.

Ooooh shiny (and matte)

The Naga is an aesthetically spectacular thing. I often find gaming peripherals, even high-end ones, quite tacky (sorry Logitech) but this mouse, resembling the Batmobile when off, is beautiful in it's form and tight in it's manufacture. The regular Naga glows blue, which is pretty but can not be changed, the Epic will default to phasing through several colours, which can be customised to your taste with the software. I'm thinking of leaving it blue until I have all epics and then changing it to purple. Because simple things please me.


Having experimented with Grid, Clique and Healbot in the early days of my original Naga (oh, and the AddOn that comes with it, which I don't recommend over conventional mods) I felt most comfortable with Healbot and have used it since. I keep my actionbars in rectangular blocks of 12, reflecting the 12-button layout on the Naga's side:

Really you can find a way of making it work with most exisiting addons and, unless you have a definite preference already, I recommend trying the 'big three' in turn to see what suits you.

Grips and Gripes

Once I'd swapped out the side panel to my preferred one (matching the old Naga, which doesn't have an interchangeable side) there was very little difference in terms of feel. The epic is heavier but unless you're severely limp-wristed it's no bother and in fact you may feel more rooted.

I have three gripes with the new Epic Naga.

1) What is noticeable is that the two little buttons that were on the side of the left-click on the old Naga have been moved centrally to just under the scroll-wheel like so:

I found this out by running off the edge of a cliff and pulling a load of Apprehensive Workers in Tol Barad as my autorun wasn't where I'd left it. After an evening of use I still prefer the old positioning, my hands are small so I hold the mouse quite high up, and I can't comfortably curl my index finger to those buttons without moving my hand down. I will have to acclimatise or change my autorun bind before our hunter's mad pet has to save me again (sorry Crispy).

Oh, for those that have noticed - the Epic doesn't have a backlit logo (the logo is there however, bad photo) probably to preserve battery life. I was a little disappointed at this to begin with, but then, when I was looking at it just sat there later, I realised how sleek it is and, unless you knew, I think you'd just assume it was a designer mouse. Beautiful.

2) The entire base stand and cord must be attached to your computer for it to receive signal and work. My setup is that my regular Naga lives with my home PC and my Epic comes with my laptop (and gets the most use). I was looking forward to not having to stuff the cord under my MacBook to stop it trailing everywhere.

I'm aware that most gaming mice don't have the 'on the go' gamer in mind, but if you're going to develop such a beautifully innovative device why not include unprecedented versatility? If I know that my mouse is fully charged and good for the evening, I want to be able to plug in a tiny USB receiver instead of the charging stand.

3) For my last gripe I have a story about a pugged HC I ran on the first day I had my Epic. All was going well, even if the tank was a bit of a tosser, and we got to the last boss. I've been looking at the mouse frequently over the past few days simply because I'm interested to see what it's doing and definitely NOT because I'm obsessed with my new shiny thing and its lights. I happened to see the scroll wheel light flashing, meaning it's low battery. During normal play I would never look at my mouse, especially since I'm entirely used to the Naga keypad from my original one. An on-screen visual warning would be better but not great as, with many gamers and especially those of WoW, our screens are so covered in bars and lights and things exploding that unless an all-singing, all-dancing effect like those of "GTFO of the FIRE" Deadly Boss Mods - a low-battery graphic would likely get lost in the chaos. What would be useful is if the mouse vibrated at a certain percentage of battery-life, determined in the settings dialogue. Hooray for tactile feedback!

So back to Shadowfang Keep; "wait a sec guys" popped the cord in and "ready". At about 50% my cursor started moving really slowly across the screen, unable to properly examine what may have been wrong I had to plough ahead as best I could. It died, we wiped, I got kicked. The Naga Epic requires you to TURN IT OFF underneath if you want to use it in wired mode. What?! For a bit of kit that's otherwise so intuitive this seems a terrible oversight.


- The new Razer Naga Epic is a beautiful, masterfully conceptualised and crafted device.
- It is comfortable and a pleasure to use.
- It works well with the popular AddOns.
- Lights are pretty.
- I would like a tiny receiver to replace the base stand at times, I wouldn't mind this as an accessory sold separately.
- I would like it to recognise and swap to wired mode on plug-in without having to switch it off.

The Razer Naga Epic has earned it's place alongside my regular Naga, but I will not be replacing my regular with another Epic as it's uncomplicated use and preferable button layout are valuable to me.