SteelSeries Rival 500
An MMO mouse that actually makes sense
MICE DESIGNED around specific game genres and titles have always confused us here at MaximumPC. After all, everybody's different, and we all use our PCs in a wide variety of ways. Whether it’s for gaming, working, browsing the web, listening to music, or all of the above, it’s easy to see why the PC as a platform is so attractive to any and everyone. And that’s the ethos that has, for as long as we remember, been adhered to when it comes to the overarching design of most peripherals. It’s about versatility, not niche usage. So, to buy a mouse dedicated to one particular game genre seems a little odd to us.
Generally speaking, previous MMO and MOBA mice have always come across as a little uncomfortable, packed with way too many buttons, which are often too difficult to place or feel, and don’t particularly help the user in any meaningful way, outside of what you can achieve with a standard keyboard and mouse anyway. So, it’s safe to say that we approached this review with a fair wad of preconceived opinions already circulating around our heads. After all, the Rival 500 has one hell of a legacy to overcome—but, we’re glad to report, it does so with relative ease.
Let’s start with the basics. For $80, the Rival 500 comes with up to 15 programmable buttons, a PixArt PMW3360 optical sensor, registering up to 16,000 dpi, two-zone RGB lighting, to the sum of the usual 16.8 million colors, and an overall ergonomic design that caters to the righthanded palm, claw, or fingertip gripper, depending, of course, on the size of hand. Nothing out of the ordinary here, then.
So, what is it that makes the SteelSeries Rival 500 so much better than the other MMO mice offerings out there? Haptic feedback. Yep, that. On a mouse. Odd we know, but this is ridiculously useful, especially on a mouse with so many buttons, such as this. Allow us to explain: In short, most mice with 10 or more buttons take an eternity to master. Learning exactly where all your buttons are, and what they’re bound to, can take an extraordinary amount of time, not to mention lining up your various in-game rotations, too. Very often, it results in those buttons being abandoned entirely, or demoted to the use of silly pointless social macros, to spam guild chat when they’re not looking. HAPTIC AWESOMENESS With the Rival 500, however, you can assign each button to a specific style of haptic feedback. Jumping into the SteelSeries Engine, you can change how each individual button vibrates when it’s pressed. Whether you want it to rumble once, twice, three times, for a long time, pulsate—you name it, it’s there. What this provides is a reassuring notification of exactly what you’ve pressed, which then connects with those neurons in your brain to associate your finger position with the button, with the vibration, and with the ability that has activated on screen. It’s exceptionally intuitive.
On top of that, you have the option to either disable or lock out the buttons entirely, either via a software option, or by a hard lock switch located below the mouse, which stops the buttons on the left side actuating, making this mouse almost the best of both worlds.
Is it perfect? Not quite. It still has a few niggles. For instance, not every button is within easy reach; it still feels a little clunky and less free-flowing than some of the more simplified mice designs; and it’s nowhere near as ergonomic as something such as Mionix’s Castor or Corsair’s M65 Pro. But, damn it, it’s still impressive. The improvements to ergonomic design, the plethora of programmable buttons, and the pinpoint accuracy of the PixArt optical sensor round the Rival 500 out to be a class leader, as far as MMO gaming mice go, and that’s not something we say lightly.