The Rival 500 is an interesting mouse. Of course, every test is purely subjective, but hopefully my input will help if you’re considering this mouse for yourself. The general movement accuracy and speed is excellent, as it always has been for any optical mouse I’ve tested. Pixart makes great sensors and I’ve yet to see my opinion change on that, especially since my work mouse is a laser that constantly reminds me why I use an optical at home. The weight on the 500 feels great to me, being a mid-range between a heavier and lighter feel. The feet give a consistent, smooth glide so there’s nothing to complain about there.
The grip ends up feeling like a full palm grip versus other mice that end up being more of a claw one for me. This is due to the mouse being a bit wider than others. I found this to work really well in an MMO style game. Using the mouse to look around or click on targets is perfect with it’s size and weight, making this a go-to mouse if I only played World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy XIV. Shooters and MOBAs are not quite as good in my opinion. I know the Rival 500 is aimed at MOBAS as well and the optical sensor makes the experience really good, but a smaller claw grip seems better for targeting last hits with quick ability casting, or quick movement aiming a gun. I’d probably use something different if I was only playing League of Legends or Overwatch, but this is also a subjective feel that you might not mind in similar titles. On the flip side, you could play a game like League entirely from the mouse if you set up the buttons for it.
The Rival 500 seems like a great option in RPG games because of the thumb button arrangement. While the overall shape seems perfect for the genre, the buttons really set this mouse apart. Let me start by saying I think the thumb button positioning is a great idea that would likely take over as an MMO mouse standard. Even though I’m far too stuck in my ways to learn a new button setup, I hot keyed my action bars to the buttons around my thumb and knew that would be the new way to play if I had the time to adapt to it. I’ve used a thorough keyboard setup most of my life, but the Rival 500 would open up so many possibilities that it would certainly give a playing edge for raids and battlegrounds.
This brings me to the cons I see with the new button setup on the mouse though. First, the buttons need to be wrapped a tad tighter around the thumb, particularly in helping reach the front ones, while the finger buttons should be back a bit further as well. I don’t have the largest hands, but I can easily stretch past an octave on a piano. I found the buttons farthest to the front of the mouse required stretching my grip in order to reach them. This would mean they would never be used in my circumstance. The only other recommendation I would have after that is to have some kind of tactile bump in the middle of each thumb buttons so you can easily feel which button is which. The button ring is smooth around your entire thumb, making it hard to distinguish which is which. I’m sure enough time could get around this, but having a tactile spot on each button would make this fool proof.
Overall, the design is great. I think STEELSERIES has a game changer on their hands that can easily “Rival” the competition for an MMO mouse. I believe having the buttons surrounding the thumb like this is far more intuitive than a numpad. The design feels a bit too stretched out for me, but it would only take some minor tweaks to make it perfect. Combine all of that with the fact that the mouse has an excellent feel for MMOs and the Pixart sensor is great for accuracy, then it would be hard to recommend anything else for someone who wants a mouse specifically for WoW. Let’s finish this up by looking at the price and giving the Rival 500 an award.