I heard a little while ago that SteelSeries, makers of fine gaming mice and mouse peripherals, were planning on making a Blizzard approved World of Warcraft gaming mouse. Well, the SteelSeries WoW MMO Gaming Mouse is here and available for pre-order, and can be yours at some indetermined release date for the price of $99.99.
That’s not terribly much to pay for a gaming mouse if you’re used to paying a premium for gaming peripherals, and especially not terribly much more than other gaming mice if you’re used to SteelSeries’ pricing model and if you’ve paid for Blizzard-branded gear before (remember the Dell World of Warcraft branded laptop?).
The mouse itself touts the ability to create up to 160 character macros that can be toggled using only the mouse, a total of 15 programmable buttons on the mouse, and glowing lights that shine out from angular slots on the front of the mouse like the thing’s shielding your vision from something radioactive. The lighting itself can be customized for brightness and intensity, the colors can be tweaked – hell, SteelSeries claims you can customize just the lighting in 16 million ways, with 3 illumination levels. You can even turn on effects that make the lights pulse slowly while the mouse is plugged in and on.
Engadget took the SteelSeries WoW Mouse for a spin and thought it was pretty good all things told. The programmable buttons and macro capabilities are Windows-only, so Mac users playing WoW are a little out in the cold this time around, but SteelSeries claims they’re working on a solution for the Mac users.
The problem however popped up when I read an interesting post over at the venerable WoW Insider today that explained that the programmable macros and scripting functionality for the mouse are very clearly against Blizzard’s EULA and TOS for World of Warcraft.
This is a pretty serious problem, and reminds me (as it does the poster at WoW Insider) of the trouble that turned up with the Logitech G15 gaming keyboard when it was released; owners of G15 keyboards found themselves getting their accounts locked and banned just for using the scripting and macro functionality that came with their device.
The difference here is that the SteelSeries WoW Mouse is actually Blizzard supported and World of Warcraft branded – that implies that Blizzard is being contradictory with regard to its stand on macros and scripts; although it’s likely a case of development talking with one hand and marketing talking with another. The marketing folks who agreed to the partnership with SteelSeries probably didn’t even bother to consider whether the functionality of the device would be a problem for operations and development, and that unfortunately leaves the poor folks in ops and customer service with nothing to do but repeat the rules and tow the company line.
In any event, if you plan to pick up the SteelSeries WoW Mouse, take heed of the negative reviews that WoW Insider received as well as the positive endorsement from Engadget – I can’t speak to the DPI of the mouse itself because none of its literature (and the Engadget review unfortunately) all leave that information off of their descriptions, but if I were looking for a sharp looking new mouse, this one would be pretty tempting, even at just under a hundred bucks. If you do pick it up though, keep an eye on those macros until SteelSeries and Blizzard get things sorted out.