If you are reading this, chances are that you've tinkered with your gaming mouse a few times before, even if it's just applying aftermarket skates. Whether mods are worth it or not, there are two ends of the spectrum. In this article, I will explain why whichever path you choose, there's a right and wrong way to go about it.
At one end of the spectrum, there are gamers who never mod their mice at all. Maybe it's because they just don't care: they play just fine without it. Or, they believe that keeping things stock is the way to ensure reliability.
At the other end of the spectrum are people who endlessly mod their mice, to the point that they care more about their mouse than playing games.
For the most part, I have been on the "mod until the mouse breaks" side of things. My curiosity of how to improve things lead me to aftermarket products, such as a Zowie S2 lightweight mod, paracord mouse cables, and more. It lead me to starting this business, as I thought about how mouse skates could be improved. A list of mods I have attempted, with varying levels of success, include:
- Drilling holes to reduce the weight of a Logitech G Pro Wireless (who hasn't done that)
- Removing the DPI button on various mice (worth it)
- Sanding down the chassis of a Finalmouse Ultralight 2 to better fit my grip
- Modding the rotary encoder on various mice to create a "silent" smooth scroll wheel
- Switch modifications
- Many more
I've broken plenty of mice (Luckily, only one from raging in-game).
The Wrong Way to Mod a Gaming Mouse
In the past, after doing some work to my mouse, I would suddenly discover that something suddenly stops working. The sensor would cut out, or some buttons would no longer work.
There's this concept of "tolerance stacking." Manufacturers make things within a certain degree of accuracy (tolerances). By changing something outside of the stock configuration, any unintended change can be amplified. Perhaps this is what was going on here.
Modding a mouse is not a bad thing. In theory, it should be able to boost performance and create an input device that is more customized to you. The problem arises when doing it mindlessly.
In the past, I thought that if I add X, Y, and Z, there is going to be an inevitable improvement.
What about Keeping Everything Stock?
There are certainly some merits to keeping things stock. If you are in an esports tournament, you might be concerned about doing too much to your everyday carry main mouse. Maybe you have some other mice you can mess around with. And some people simply don't focus too much of their attention on their mouse, despite being passionate and highly successful gamers.
But for those who are aware of mouse modding but choose to never mod, I will have to disagree here for several reasons.
First, is that sometimes there are great mice out there but happen to simply have one or two flaws like mushy switches. (For me, skates are a no-brainer and every time I get a new mouse and try the stock PTFE, I am reminded of how inferior it feels to Sapphireskates.)
Second, is that the mouse manufacturers aren't necessarily ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing performance-related design choices. There's a lag period of when someone comes up with an effective mod and when a manufacturer gets "inspired" to implement such a feature. (An example of this during my time on working at Razer: on a conference call, I suggested "why not make a 60% keyboard as there's more room for your mouse-hand?" only to be met with the response: "because full-size keyboards sell better).
Do it the Right Way
If you are happy with how your mouse performs currently, that is great. If you mod, I suggest targeting certain aspects of the mouse and be sure to ask yourself if there are any side-effects you might encounter.
For example, if you open up your mouse often, be sure not to overtighten the screws. Overtightening the screws actually changes the shape of the mouse base, making it so that is no longer flat.
Another example is something that we learned about adhesives. I experimented with applying superglue to sapphireskates for a permanent install. But then I discovered that the adhesives play a role as shock absorbers.
Lately, I am a fan of mods that are more temporary and reversible. And I try to open up the mouse internals as little as possible. Mouse adhesive grips are an effective mod that isn't permanent. I also discovered that the added grips reduce the vibration of the mouse chassis during lift-off / landing the mouse on the mousepad.
The TLDR is: yes you should mod your mouse, but carefully. And please don't ever slam your mouse more than once (even if you encounter hackers, or are teamed with leavers in ranked).