It's not really an issue when blogging and working, but on more than one occasion I've been hunting in EQ2 when my avatar suddenly won't stop moving left, or right, or some other random direction and I have to mash the keys to free them up before I run headlong off a mountain, go swimming in lava or into a camp of mobs (not good in the middle of an epic 4x raid, and all of those examples have happened!).
I don't know why it's started happening. Perhaps I've dribbled too much beer over the keys, perhaps it's getting a lot more use since I started blogging, or perhaps my three year old has been mashing the keys with his drumsticks again. Whatever the reason I'm now in the market for a new keyboard, and I'll probably take the opportunity as an excuse to get a new mouse too.
So I've taken my first foray into the world of MMO peripherals looking for my next keyboard and mouse and I am astonished and a little overwhelmed at the variety of peripherals available. It seems almost impossible to get a simple keyboard and mouse for gaming anymore!
Build quality and ergonomics are more important to me than flashy add-ons I'll never use. The LCD screen on my G15 is nice, but I never look at it whilst gaming, it's a redundant piece of fluff as far as I'm concerned. Yet some of the keyboards I've been looking at almost seem set up to play the game for you if you'd let them! Let's have a look at a few of the options...
It seems that there are a few good keyboards around for MMO gaming, and the following are amongst the most popular recommendations.
The Steelseries Merc Stealth is the keyboard I'm actually going to get. It's had good reviews and comes highly recommended by some of my friends. It favours functionality over flashy screens and weird control methods, and I like the gaming key area, which will allow me to use my normal WASD type controls but without the slight angular twist of the wrist you have to use with most keyboards. It also has rubberised keys which give some of the best tactile feedback. Anyway this is the one I'm getting so I'll be sure to post my thoughts when I've had some time with it.
Razer Anansi. This seems very similar to the Steelseries in design, and is more functional than flashy. It lacks the gaming key area however, and I have had reports from friends that the build quality on the Razer keyboards can be a bit hit and miss.
An honourable mention here has to go to the official Razer Star Wars The Old Republic gaming keyboard. It looks damn cool, and has that "must get" factor when you first see it, yet it costs $200! That's just insane! Once you get past all the flashy stuff (lcd track panel, adaptive keys whose graphics change depending on what skills you assign, interchangeable logos etc) you also begin to realise it's badly designed too. The keypad part with the function keys and trackpad should be on the left of the main keyboard if you are planning to use a mouse with your right hand. 10/10 for looks, but that's about it!
There are so many weird game controllers available now...
I've seen all of the above recommended for use with MMOs, but I just can't see it myself. Perhaps I'm getting old!
Anyway, there are hundreds of good gaming keyboards out there for MMO gaming right now. Choosing one isn't as easy as you might think. I haven't even started looking at mice yet...