It’s a Mousaclysm!

People who have been around (or looked back in my blog history) might remember my trying out Steelseries’ World of Warcraft MMO Gaming Mouse some two years ago, resulting in a rather confused and uncertain verdict. While I liked the overall idea behind it.. the execution seemed somewhat flawed, with several issues throughout both shape and software. While Steelseries have been working to resolve most of the software issues since and the mouse now has a native, in-game support rather than a clunky keyboard emulation interface, that hasn’t fixed some things like a few uncomfortably-placed buttons and the overall shape of the thing.

However, that’s when the sequel Cataclysm mouse enters the picture.

I’ll admit I was facinated by the idea of a sequel mouse since I first saw images of it – for all its flaws at the time, I rather liked the basic idea behind the original, and it appealed to me more than the Razer Naga, both in terms of button spread and overall aesthetic. That said, it’s not exactly the cheapest piece of kit, so I felt a little wary of picking it up without first feeling like there was some kind of confirmation that they’d fixed the issues that existed with its predecessor before I made any kind of decision.

Though I suppose feeling almost feverish without any actual sickness for a good half a month is enough to undermine the reasoning of anyone, and in a move that’ll severely eat into the gaming budget on a year that’s already shock full of potentially highly interesting offerings.. I ended up ordering one under the excuse that was already getting a replacement headset anyway since the old one had just broken. And since I wrote about the original mouse, I figured I might as well spare a few words for its sequel. Though I think I can probably best summarize it like this: I’m actually using this one.

It still has a shape you sort of have to get used to – it’s definitely more comfortable than its predecessor with a more rounded grip and a more natural shape to rest your hand on. Steelseries have actually reduced the total amount of buttons by one compared to the earlier version – from 15 down to 14 – but in doing so seem to have taken much more care to ensure every button is much more accessible and comfortable to use. Where there were several buttons I had problems pressing properly with the old model (in particular the big D-pad-like thing by the thumb which loved to trigger in more than one direction), I’m finding I could more or less reach every button on the Cataclysm mouse fairly intuitively with just a little practice. Overall, I’m finding the shape and button placement a vast improvement over the prior mouse; it’s not quite the greatest hardcore gaming mouse in the world ever or anything, but for a piece of kit that’d expect to sell more on brand and aesthetics than function.. it’s definitely impressed me – enough that I’m quite comfortable using it as my primary mouse for just about everything, even without really having found use for most of the extra buttons yet.

I’m not sure what to make of the sensor it uses – like its predecessor, it seems to have some significant issues tracking on the rough side of my favoured func surface 1030 mouse pad, but work perfectly fine on the smooth side, and admittedly I like the feel of the overall motion. I’m not really qualified enough to go into detail how good it is or isn’t beyond saying that I – as someone who has a preference for Logitech mice – am comfortable with it, which is in contrast with my limited experience with TwinEye-based mice which I actually didn’t feel I liked that much.

The software still feels a bit like the achilles heel; less so now with how you can basically dodge the whole clunky keyboard macro thing by just hitting the “enable in-game mode” checkbox and then use it natively in World of Warcraft itself. I sort of wish there was a kind of Hybrid mode between that and macro mode though, so you could assign most as in-game buttons but have two buttons reserved for increasing/decreasing the Counts Per Inch value or changing profile, rather than seemingly being all or nothing at present. Other nitpicks include how while the mouse profile/glow colour picker is essentially a full RGB rollout.. the colours you can actually use is from a rather limited palette, making the colour picker somewhat deceptive to use if there’s a particular shade you’re looking for and it keeps defaulting to two much different extremes. I can understand why the limitation is there, but I’d much rather just have it be frank with what colours are available rather than claim you can pick freely and then force your choice to conform to a rather limited selection set.

Overall, I rather like it. It doesn’t quite have all the bells and whistles I’ve seen on some hardcore gaming mice, and it feels like it could really do with a way of mixing in-game mode with standard mode so you could reserve a few buttons for things like changing profile and/or altering mouse sensitivity on the fly while still having the rest of the buttons assigned in-game. Like the predecessor, it feels like the biggest limitation on it is actually in the supporting software and what you can do with it. That said, like I mentioned above, I’m actually comfortable using it as my main mouse at present, which really says a whole lot. It really feels like it’s all the things the first incarnation wanted to be but didn’t quite manage to. That’s not to say it’s the best thing ever and everyone should get one – I don’t think everyone’d be comfortable with the shape, and I think you’d definitely have to be interested in either the branding, the aesthetics or the extra buttons to really get full value out of it. If you’re sitting around worrying it’s the same as its predecessor though – don’t, Steelseries definitely kicked the quality up a few notches.


5 Responses to “It’s a Mousaclysm!”

  1. 1 Synchronizor
    January 20, 2011 at 07:08

    Ohh, where can we see a full version of that top image?

    I remember the original SteelSeries WoW mouse being an ergonomic nightmare (I actually wrote it up as such as part of an assignment for a Human Factors Engineering class), so it’s nice to see them trying to improve on that. As for the buttons, do the new version’s buttons offer a more solid feel? I remember the first mouse’s buttons feeling very light and cheap, and quite easy to trigger when you were trying not to.

    • 2 Nhani
      January 20, 2011 at 16:17

      There actually isn’t much of a full version – it was a quick image I did just for this post, so the facial expression and the rest of the pose isn’t really all that, nor really is the background merge. I’d have to make a new and better one for something larger since I didn’t even bother saving it – it was that throwaway.

      As for the buttons, they’re definitely an improvement – there’s no flimsy split buttons anymore (like the old thumb D-pad) and every little button is its own thing and requires at least a little bit of force to register. Not so much that it takes effort to push them, but enough that I can easily rest my hand on the mouse with the thumb over the thumb buttons without any of them registering as pressed without my actually trying to press them.

      The thumb buttons sort of get in the way if you need to lift the mouse, but I’ve found I can grasp the area below the buttons for that purpose if I absolutely need to.

  2. 3 Ilyara
    January 20, 2011 at 11:05


    “Hardly enough to stop me from slaughtering hundreds more.”

    “Indeed. I doubt much would.”

    uses a Naz’jar Battlemaiden ^.~

  3. 4 Xel
    January 21, 2011 at 07:34

    *uses a logitech mouse*
    ^_^ <– Happy gamer is happy

  4. 5 Árcfélonas
    January 23, 2011 at 17:18

    I had the original steelseries and it was sadly regulated to my drawer within two months of use as it started to give what I know to be RSI symptoms and that’s not good if you play WoW.

    I like the look of the new one still not sure if I would want to buy it at the moment use a Logitech G15 gaming mouse. It’s a lot more comfortable for me and as for the button thing I prefer to see what I am pressing not have my thumbs or digits in the way if the numbers like you would do on the Naga. So yeah not fussed might get one if anyone else gives good feedback who owns one here.

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