Massively Multiplayer online games remain a unique genre. Despite a few attempts to change them, the most popular titles still use an ability-focused combat system that requires players to use a wide variety of keys. In addition, MMO gamers need access to voice chat for quick communication.
It’s possible to get by with a simple keyboard and a three button mouse, but if you’re a serious player, you’ll need the right equipment. Let’s look at the coolest MMO peripherals available today.
Razer Naga Mouse
A conventional mouse does surprisingly little work in a MMO. Yes, it points you in the right direction, but with only a few extra buttons available there’s not much room for binding attacks. It’s the exact opposite of a shooter, where the mouse can handle pointing, weapon selection and secondary attacks and the keyboard is responsible for movement and a few other actions.
Razer was the first company to decide and rectify this by building a mouse with MMOs in mind. The result was the Naga, which features a grid of programmable keys along its flank. These are incredibly useful, as they can be bound to secondary abilities that are difficult to activate on a keyboard.
Corsair Vengeance K90 Keyboard
There are a lot of gaming keyboards available today, and that makes it hard for any one keyboard to stand out from the crowd. Yet that’s exactly what the Corsair Vengeance K90 does – and upon closer inspection, it’s easy to see why.
The K90 is a mechanical keyboard using Cherry MX Red switches. They require little force to activate, making repeated key taps easier. Up to 20 keys can be activated at once and your custom key profiles are saved to on-board memory. Along the left side of the keyboard is a battery of 18 customizable keys that can be bound to whatever function you’d like. Oh, and the keyboard is backlit.
All of this is backed up by amazing build quality. The chassis is constructed from aluminum, giving this product a sturdy feel rarely found in gaming keyboards.
Retail price on the K90 is $129.99, but it’s so popular that many retails are sold out. As a result, you may need to pay over $150 to snag one. But you know what? I’d buy one even if it was $200.
Logitech G930 Wireless Headset
Back in the early days of MMOs, players had to make due with text chat. It’s hard to imagine how players of games like Everquest managed to beat bosses without a headset. Today, such equipment is mandatory for anyone that wants to raid.
There are plenty of cheap headsets available, but quality can be spotty. If you want the ultimate in clear, crisp communications, the Logitech G930 is an obvious choice. It stands out because it offers both excellent voice communication and solid surround sound. Cheaper headsets tend to handle voice fine, but do a poor job of reproducing music.
As it is wireless, the G930 provides mobility. You don’t have to worry about tripping over or disconnecting cords. It also includes programmable keys that can control the functions of your chosen voice chat client. Your significant other will appreciate the closed-ear design, which prevents noise from leaking out of the headset and into your home.
All of those features are great. But as with the K90, the real reason to buy this product is overall build quality. The combination of features and durability found in the G930 is unmatched by any other gaming headset on the market today. You’ll pay about $180 for this product. It’s worth every cent.
VisionTek Bigfoot Killer 2100
This isn’t a peripheral. It’s more of an upgrade. The title “3 Awesome Gaming Peripherals For Hardcore MMO Players – And A Network Card, Too” just wasn’t working, alright?
The Killer 2100 is an internal network adapter that promises to provide a better experience in games by prioritizing network packets that carry game data. When the original version was released back in 2006, it was surrounded in controversy. Many people didn’t believe that a network adapter could heavily impact performance.
Over the years there have been many reviews of the product. The general consensus seems to be that it works, though reviewers disagree about how well. Many end their reviews by pointing out the high price tag (about $90). That’s a lot to pay for a piece of hardware that may have imperceptible benefits.
For hardcore MMO players, however, it’s worth a shot. Some reviews have reported lower ping times, higher frame rates and fewer lag spikes. All of these can translate to a smoother and more enjoyable experience. This goes double for players who want to be able to download files in the background while questing.
This isn’t a list of products that provide great value for money, but there’s something to be said for quality as well. I’ve played MMOs on a $20 keyboard with a free mouse bundled with a desktop PC. I’ve also played MMOs on a dedicated gaming mouse with a keyboard designed for MMOs. The difference between them couldn’t be clearer.
I’ll go so far as to say that you should buy peripheral upgrades before hardware upgrades unless your computer can’t run the MMO you want to play smoothly. Bumping up a game’s graphics from medium to high is nice. Being able to game for four hours without fingers cramped by poorly placed keys is even better.
What peripherals for gamers would you recommend?