The Best Mice for MMO Games

Do you like buttons? Do you wish your mouse had more of them? How about a full number pad’s worth? If so, consider the not-so-humble MMO mouse. MMORPGs have largely fallen out of gaming’s zeitgeist, but the mouse design created in their heyday still has a wide utility. While the best esports mice are shedding features to minimize weight, the MMO mouse is wide, relatively heavy, and features as many buttons as possible.

With MMOs, not to mention city-builders and strategy games, you can assign most, if not all, of your keyboard shortcuts to the keypad on the mouse’s side. Even MOBAs, with their many hotkeys, pair well with one of these devices. Depending on the game, you can offload all your inputs onto your mouse, and play in one-handed fashion. If you’re less concerned about your quickdraw, and more focused on comfortably playing games that require many inputs, a top-flight MMO mouse may be for you.


Logitech G604 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Mouse Side Buttons

Buttons, Buttons, Buttons

MMO mice frequently make consumer tech oddities lists because of their defining trait, a whole mess of buttons on their thumb sides. Instead of adding the usual “Back” and “Forward” side buttons, a “traditional” MMO mouse features a button grid on the side. The actual number varies quite a bit. Our recommendations include products with as few as six buttons and as many as 12 buttons, factoring in the non-side pad buttons. As a result, most MMO mice total between 15 and 19 customizable inputs. By contrast, the most feature-rich gaming mice outside the category generally top out at 10-11 buttons.

As a general rule, more is better. Even with six buttons, you must learn how to maneuver around the pad, so why not go all the way? In theory, 10 or 12 buttons lets you assign the full number row or function keys, respectively, so you could argue that’s the sweet spot.

Not all buttons are created equal, however. The difference between a good MMO mouse and a bad one comes down to the side pad design. A great MMO mouse needs buttons that are large enough for you to press without accidentally pressing their neighbors. They should have discernible gaps and edges, too, so you can feel the buttons as your thumb moves across the side pad. Also, many modern MMO mice provide some type of tactile guide, like a bump or textured center key, to help you find your way around without looking.

While any good MMO mouse lets you customize every side pad input, a good naming/numbering system is important. Having the first button—the one that corresponds to “1” or “F1”—in the place that feels right for you, and that the other keys follow suit, ensures that you’re able to instinctively find each button. Ideally, that’s reflected on the label, not just in your mouse’s profile. There’s no hard and fast rule for which order’s best. The important thing is that its logic reflects your preference.

Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite Gaming Mouse

Size and Weight

Size and shape are the other defining MMO mouse characteristics. These products are generally wider and heavier than the average gaming mouse. (The difference seems even more pronounced now in the era of ultralight esports mice). Building a chassis with room to properly position so many buttons adds heft, so extra weight is part of the package. That said, it’s all relative. A five-ounce mouse isn’t heavy—you can still quickly and accurately maneuver. It simply requires a little more pushing and pulling than a smaller counterpart.

Beyond that, though, MMO mice are built more for comfort than speed. Putting hotkeys on the side minimizes mouse movement in many games, so the chassis shape is designed primarily to alleviate the pain associated with long play sessions. Many MMO mice are wider than average, with a groove carved out for your ring finger, so you can simply lay your hand flat on the mouse without gripping the sides. Some MMO mice also have a thumb wing, though that isn’t common. Relaxing your grip makes pushing the mouse easier and more comfortable. It’s worth noting that comfortable doesn’t automatically mean ergonomic; twisting your wrist to lie flat strains your wrist. Still, that’s no worse than using a standard mouse.

Behind All the Buttons, a Configuration App

Configuration software is an important facet of any gaming mouse, but it’s especially crucial for an MMO mouse. Config apps let you customize your buttons, create macro commands, and change other settings. When your mouse has 4-10 extra buttons, those controls come into play far more often than with your average gaming mouse. In fact, it’s essential.

Configuration apps make it easy to see what each of your inputs does, and offers a quick, intuitive way to change them. They should also have a macro creator that lets you create custom commands. In 2021, any good configuration app lets you make an infinite number of custom profiles, so you can customize your mouse on a per-game basis. Many MMO mice also feature onboard memory, so you can store a few of your most important profiles should you switch PCs. The best configuration software lets you link those profiles to specific PC games and apps.

Though MMO mice fans deal with limited choices, the good news is that most of the remaining manufacturers in the space have great config apps that work across all devices. The three apps that pair with the majority of the MMO mice this list—Corsair iCue, Logitech G Hub, and Razer Synapse—are the best configuration apps across all mice and keyboards.

Roccat Software

What If I Play MMOs, But Don’t Want an MMO Mouse?

Obviously, you don’t need an MMO mouse to play an MMORPG. If you want a similar experience, but without the heavy frame and full keypad, check out a gaming mouse. There are many gaming mice with extra buttons that you can use to transfer your most-used keys. You can find ones with as many as 10 or 11 buttons (including left- and right-click), but that won’t give you enough space to move over your entire number pad. Still, you can set a few core hotkeys. If you have an MMO in your game rotation, or plan to jump back in to one soon, simply focusing on the number of buttons and their layout goes a long way. Your hand will thank you. We’ve included a few in the tables.

Check Out Our Recommendations

Now that you know how to find a great MMO mouse, it’s time to go shopping. The genre isn’t in vogue at the moment, so there aren’t many modern MMO mice. We’ve done our best to lay out a comprehensive range of options for you, though.

If you want to learn more about the basics of picking a great mouse, check out our rundowns of the best computer mice and the best gaming mice. If you’re refreshing your desk, you may also want to take a peek at the best gaming keyboards.

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