Bloody is a company that has consistently impressed us with their attention to both hardware detail and gamer needs. The company has done a commendable job of providing peripherals that appeal to both professional players of the FPS and MMO genres and recreational gamers who are looking for greater performance. In an already highly-competitive market for sophisticated gaming peripherals, Bloody has managed to hold its own by offering solid hardware design, unique software interfacing, and a price point which won’t break the bank. The Bloody Commander ML16 is the latest in a line of impressive and innovative gaming mice offered by this company (See our previous reviews of: the ZL5a Gaming Mouse the Multi-Core Gun3 V7 and Bloody Headshot V7).
Consistent with the levels of excellence pursued by Bloody, the body construction of the ML16 is solid and durable without being heavy or clunky. As with other models, the mouse boasts metal x’glide feet, which provide a notable increase in ease of movement. The ML16 glides effortlessly across a variety of surfaces, and the optical cavity is protected and dust-resistant. The Bloody mouse has advanced laser technology, which allows for uninterrupted cursor sensitivity. The ML16 boasts 16-grade calibration, making mouse movement and sensitivity easy to customize for each individual user. The ML16 also has the same braided cord as on previous models and it is long enough to keep those used to a wireless mouse from feeling like they’re on a tether. The cord is also durable enough to match the mouse’s “20 million click” guarantee on the left click button. The durability continues into the body of the mouse, as the x’glide feet promise over 300km of usage without wear. Other noteworthy features include a sweat-proof textured panel on the left button, contoured sides, and 17 easily-accessed and programmable buttons.
The mouse is instantly usable upon plug-in, but to maximize its full potential, users will need to install the bloody 5 control panel. Both the bloody 5 control panel and the PK test panel are available for free download from the company website. The PK panel allows users to compare the ML16 to their current mouse to observe the difference in click speed. Once the Bloody 5 control panel is installed, drivers download and update automatically. The control panel has 3 different profiles available for each “core” mode, and allows players to program specific action buttons for each profile. There is some lag when switching between cores, but this is likely due to both the pre-configurations and user-saved preferences which upload when switching, as the cores each lend themselves to different game types and button configurations. These preferences are saved to the internal memory inside the ML16.
Users of the ZL5a will find many of the setting options familiar. In fact, the ML16 is similar to the ZL5a in a lot of ways. The excellent construction which is both lightweight and durable, the smooth glide thanks to the metal feet, and the in-menu and on the fly wide range of button customization and adjustability. Wisely, Bloody continues to utilize components and options which have worked in the past, while diversifying or improving in other areas. The ML16 is a bit more ergonomic in its design than the ZL5a and the profile of the mouse has become slimmer and more comfortable for a smaller hand. The number of thumb buttons is down to two, and the sides have improved contouring for comfort. Under the centered roll wheel players will now find a “gear shift” toggle switch to jump between “1” and “n” for 1 and 2 burst firing. Below that are “3” and “4” for further increases in burst firing. The bloody handprint logo, 2 subtle strips at the back of the mouse, and the wheel itself all indicate via LED color which profile the user has engaged, providing users a convenient and visually pleasing reminder should they need one. Unfortunately, the ML16 also shares several of the problems with the bloody 5 app which were present for the ZL5a. The wireless mouse menu is still navigable even with a wired mouse, and it is in fact necessary to access this menu in order to adjust the LED brightness or the framerate adjustment. One of the only other downsides to the ML16 is once again that Cores 3 and 4 are only accessible with a purchased upgrade.
The ML16 comes with 2 of its 4 cores accessible out of the box. The first core is primed for MMOs and RPGs, with button mapping and macro assignations galore. The second core is geared towards FPS game play, allowing players to switch from single to quadruple burst firing via the center buttons and toggle. Core 3, the FPS Headshot Combos Core, allows players to make trajectory adjustments pre and in game for easier headshots, quick switching between sniper and rifle modes, 6 different sniper modes, and a macro editor to create gaming combos. Cursor sensitivity adjustments can also be made in-game, to facilitate fine-tuned sniper scope adjustments. Core 4, the “Ultra” Core, allows for complicated multi-key sequences to be programmed into one key-commands and auto cycling commands. The 17 programmable buttons give players a broad range of choice for these more complex mappings. Cores 3 and 4 allow for a lot of potential for FPS, RTS and MMO gamers to up their competitive edge, but it comes at a price. Users need to pay to upgrade, and those in the more casual to amateur gaming levels may not feel this upgrade is worth it. However, at only $14 (current sale price, down from $30) and with a promise that users can “upgrade eternally” to the latest version of the bloody app, this price point may be low enough to entice gamers looking to up their game into trying it out. Players may want to consider whether their game library warrants this, as these upgrades, like the customizable burst options, are applicable to a limited number of games.
Where the ML16 really sets itself apart is with the included MMO number pad. The number pad is surprisingly easy to use and despite its unusual appearance at the top of the mouse, it shares the same solid feel and sleek design as the overall construction of the mouse. The middle “5” button serves as the right button on the mouse, and it stands out from the rest of the pad thanks to a slight difference in size and in the way it clicks. Even with smaller fingers, the 9 number pad is fairly easy to access and use. The Center buttons also seem more easily accessible than in previous models. The usage of the core system still has the proclaimed advantage of mitigating simulated weapon recoil allowing shooters to fire faster without having to adjust, as with the ZL5a. Players who enjoy weapon recoil for the immersion it brings to an FPS may be a bit put off by this option, but players focused on securing headshots quickly and efficiently without concern to whether their weapons are responding realistically, will appreciate the tactical advantage offered by this mouse. Players looking to gain a slight tactical advantage or stay ahead of the curve will also delight in the smooth action of the recoil compensation. For those who don’t want to opt for the upgrade to Cores 3 and 4, the ML16 still provides the smooth action and calibration benefits, and the number pad proves appealing for numerous uses.
Another noteworthy trait of the ML16 is that it provides a range of uses in order to appeal to a broader audience. Gamers can choose to utilize the mouse for other applications outside of gaming. Players can assign multi-media hot keys, Microsoft Office hot keys, gesture settings and a number of additional, more generic keyboard and mouse related settings to the programmable buttons. The only oddity with configuration is that you’re not able to change the left click button to anything. This seems like an odd choice, considering the side thumb buttons are so accessible. The ability to move your whole hand over by assigning left button to thumb button and right button to index finger (traditionally left button) would allow the hand to move up naturally for easier access to the M pad. This also means that the mouse cannot be used in a left handed manner.
While this mouse is definitely well suited to MMO, RPG, and FPS players, there is a bit of a learning curve with the ML16 design. Different games and computer functions will each respond uniquely to the sensitivity and control of the ML16. Some of this is automatically compensated for within the programming, but users will likely need to establish slightly different sensitivity and mapping options whether for gaming or professional programs. Gamers will also need to adjust to the location of the macro pad in the top right corner of their mouse. If you’re used to keyboard access for Macro commands, retraining yourself to do it all on the mouse may take some time. Additionally, depending on your hand size, it may take some time to adjust to the hand placement required to reach the 9 number macro pad. However, once these adjustments occur, gamers are likely to appreciate the convenience of having their game macros, skills, and spells resting at their fingertip instead of on a separate pad. Over all, once the user has made the necessary adjustments in their mind and in the control panel, the mouse will feel like a natural, integral part of whatever program it is utilized for and the smooth movement, fine-tuned calibrations and macro-key efficiency will likely have you hooked to this mouse for some time.
Tech Specs (via A4Tech):
Main core: Intelligent four cores
Buttons: 11 buttons + wheel
Encoder: High precision laser engine
Connector: USB (2.0/3.0)
Supported operating systems : Windows XP/ Vista/ 7/ 8/ 8.1
Cable length: 1.8m
Weight: 153 g.
Resolution: 100-8,200 CPI, 5 level adjustable
Graphic Capacity: 1080 million pixels/sec
Frame speed: 12000 fps
Accelerating speed: 30g
Tracking speed: 150 inches/sec (ips)
Report Rate (USB): 125～1,000Hz/sec (4 selectable levels)
Key response time: less than 1ms
Profile allocable: 3 sets
Memory: 160K bits
Key Switch life: 20 million times (for left & right buttons)
Mouse Feet Wear-Resistance: More than 300 Km