RESILIENT GEAR AND USEFUL FEATURES CAN HELP MMO PLAYERS
It’s been a while since MMO’s were heavily involved in e-sports. World of Warcraft 3v3’s are MMO’s biggest showing, being played alongside other e-sports. Now the upper tier of MMO’s are concerned with clearing raids and being the first to progress through new content. More important than that for most players are simpler factors such as comfort, durability and efficient macros. These things are important to the modern MMO player as they’ll let you play with high accuracy, over long periods of time, without worrying about your gear wearing out or breaking at critical moments.
Are keyboards the most important factor for MMO gaming?
For most games the keyboard is something that needs to be quick and accurate, and accompany the most important piece of kit, the mouse. But for MMO’s, what you’re doing with the mouse isn’t necessarily as important as the abilities and macro’s that you’re hitting on the keyboard. Lots of games make use macro functions bound to macro buttons, letting you execute a series’ of key commands with a single button press, and using macros like this is never better utilised than in MMO’s. Macros will allow you to execute a series of commands without even the small delay that comes from actually physically pressing the buttons, meaning that you’ll be hitting the maximum optimal ability cycles. Macros are also useful as they make rotating through different abilities simpler as you don’t have to remember so many specific sequences. The best keyboards for hardcore MMO players will make good use of macro buttons whilst being secure and durable. Wireless isn’t an option as for prolonged periods you really don’t want the batteries failing in your keyboard to be the reason your raid wipes!
What makes a good MMO mouse?
Mice have received attention when it comes to MMO’s, with Logitech, Razer and other companies developing mice that are pretty much tailored exclusively to MMO’s, but are they the best choice? Like keyboards, mice that are being used primarily for MMO gameplay need to be tough, reliable and make efficient use of multiple buttons. There are things like weights, versatility and wireless functionality that aren’t usually as important when setting up to play a large online game.
The MMO specific mice do actually do a good job of covering all of the basic desirable qualities. These are very solid, wired mice that have a lot of extra buttons that don’t make the mouse un-useable when not being used in an MMO. Sometimes it can be difficult to get into the habit of using the full range of macro buttons available on a mouse, but if you get through the setup and persist through a little bit of getting used to it, the advantages can make playing to a high level a lot easier and a lot more fun.
Are headsets important?
A headset in an MMO is very different from a headset in other games. In CSGO for example, you’ll want your team mates to be quiet whilst you clutch the final round by hearing faint footsteps. In MMO’s, you’re more likely to be hearing game sounds, squabbling on vent, the angry voice of a raid leader and the alert sounds of incoming boss abilities. That’s a lot of sound coming at you, so the ability to easily alter the volume is going to be advantageous.
Also a headset in MMO’s is just as much about your own communication as it is hearing other people. So a good, clear microphone is essential, with simple controls and the ability to quickly mute it is a plus! Comfort is also particularly important when it comes to choosing headphones for use with extensive MMO play, as having your headphones on for hours at a time playing MMO’s means that they need to be incredibly comfortable.
The Naga is Razers premier wired MMO gaming mouse, and includes twelve individual, mechanical buttons on the thumb side of the mouse. These are numbered from 1 to 12 and can be programmed to mimic any key or macro set of commands, intended to give easier access to commands in MMORPG games. The buttons are easy to tap and there’s never a question of “did that actually press?”.
The Naga has the essentials with a 1000Hz polling rate and can be set to a high of 8200 dpi. The twelve buttons on the side give you access to all your abilities quickly via the mouse, so if you would prefer having quick access to abilities on the mouse over the keyboard, this is a great solution. The mouse also comes with a Razer MMO configurator software application that helps you map the extra buttons to specific abilities and macros.
Logitech are well known by now for their high end gaming mice, and a lot of reviews / Q&A’s will suggest this particular model. The G502’s DPI ranges from 200 – 12000, which easily covers every possible level you’ll want to play any game. The onboard 32bit RAM processor makes controlling the 11 programmable buttons quick and easy. This is definitely a better mouse for someone who wants to really take full advantage of being able to use macro buttons to easily use items and abilities and gain a competitive edge.
The mouse typically suites a palm grip, but isn’t extreme either way and is still suitable for normal use outside of gaming. It’s a corded mouse and the software used to run all of its features will be the same used for any other Logitech peripherals.
The GCK95 is a fully mechanical and use Cherry MX red or brown switches like its baby brother, the K70. The CGK95 has a normal keyboard layout, with an additional 18 G-Keys which are capable of storing up to 108 macros in various combinations. If you’re going to attempt to make use of macro keys, then the relatively small increase in price from the K70 is probably worth it. The CGK95 has full 122 key rollover anti-ghosting.
There are a few extra media buttons in the top right area of the keyboard, and it comes with a detachable rubberised wrist rest. The CGK95 is another in the line of Corsair keyboards that have a huge variety of lighting customisation options.
Like the newer Razer keyboards, the Orion uses Logitechs own variety of mechanical keys, these being theOrion-G switches. These have a fairly standard 45g actuation force and 70 million keypress testing. The Orion features Logitechs G-keys, though the ones on this board have been moved slightly in an effort to make them more accessible and useful. There are a total of 9, five down the left and four across the top of the first F buttons. These extra 9 keys can be set up with macros to form 27 unique combinations and add to a total of an 113-key rollover anti ghosting set-up. The back-lighting options are extensive, offering full colour control over all keys. The lights beneath the keys use the custom switch technology to focus the light upwards and produce a very bright key with minimal light leaking out around the sides.
One feature that’s hard to miss is the ability to “dock” an Apple or an Android phone or tablet with the keyboard. This will then give you control over macros, lighting etc of the keyboard from the phone or tablet. There are also other apps that will monitor the PC’s hardware performance, giving you information about temperatures, speeds etc. Unfortunately this board won’t charge your phone.
This is a headset with a USB connection, giving digital full 7.1 Dolby surround sound headphone technology. There is a button on the side of the headset that turns the surround sound on or off, lighting up blue when it’s enabled. There is a small wheel on the headset that scan scroll up or down, which will affect the computers master volume, and there is also a switch on the headset to quickly mute or un-mute the mic. This is useful in an MMO as it gives you quick and easy control over the volume and the ability to mute very quickly. The microphone is attached on the left hand side and swivels down about 170 degrees from a vertical position to sit comfortably at mouth level. The microphone itself is inside a flexible, rubber bar, and can be gently pushed closer or further away from the mouth. It’s a good quality microphone that is very clear.
The earphones on the headset can each rotate 90 degrees backwards. The idea is that the headset can sit around your neck and you can hear audio without having to have the cups over your ears. This works well but is more suited for listening to music / movies than gaming, as some of the precision in the audio can be lost. The headset itself is very comfortable and the ear pads are soft and cushioned and quite large. Each cup can slide about an inch up or down on the metal supports on either side, allowing for the headset to sit on larger or smaller heads. This can be very useful for when you don’t need to hear every game sound, like when grinding or farming.
The Dolby 7.1 digital PC363D headset comes with an in built 3D G4ME1 USB sound card which is connected via a standard 3.5mm headset and mic jacks. There is the option to switch between 2, 4, 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound and the ability to turn on Dolby Headphone, which is a processing technology that provides a much richer 7.1 surround sound Dolby audio experience. The G4ME1 can control the base settings, but this headset has on-board volume controls. The mic is also incredibly smart, as when the fully adjustable bar is raised, the mic will automatically mute. These controls are great and give quick access to volume options, with the mic that mutes when pushed up, it means that you don’t have to hunt for the mute option.
Sennheiser have employ their own “Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement” technology to shape the headphones in a way that delivers audio very directly to the ears, without bleeding excessive amounts out to your surroundings. The ear cups also have an “open design” which is supposed to keep your head and ears cool and comfortable when used, and by all accounts, they have succeeded completely at this. The PC363D headphones often score at least 9/10 across all categories when reviewed, and unlike many are said to be extremely comfortable and do not make you very hot during extended use. The soft material used is Sennheisers “XXL velvet ear pads”, and the headband is cushioned with the same soft material. These things make this headset very comfortable to use over extended periods of time, which is something every MMO player has to consider.