I have read the tracking doesn't change if you have a recent optical mouse but the way it moves around is different.
Would like some user experience please?
(Specifically with reference to FPS)
I went from a basic mouse pad to a large (have space for my keyboard and mouse to sit on it) Steelseries mouse mat, and the difference was noticeable straight away, mouse just glides rather than having to be "pushed" across the surface. Also the extra space makes it easier to throw your mouse around ;) It just makes your mouse movements feel smoother and more comfortable.
The top of cheap mouse pads will move sideways slightly since the whole thing is flexible, that makes the first part of a move do nothing, then have a jump as the surface moves. Really horrible to use when you have the mouse set to a decent sensitivity.
If you have the mouse set to office worker low DPI then I doubt you will notice, but I hate the crap free mousepads that everyone at work was given. Also hate the crap mice so take my razer one in. Using the crap ones ruins my coordination when I come home to use a good one.
TBF I did buy a Razr "gaming" mousemat purely for the size - it seems even larger than an A3 sheet of paper, which suited my needs more than the standard sized mousemats.
Not sure that the materials help it "perform" any better than an OfficeMax job. Like all "gaming" branded peripherals, it seems that the designation plus some "extreme" decals are mostly responsible for the mark-up.
I have bought a few of the the Playmax mouse mats from the warehouse (EB Games stock them too) and have been very happy. They stay put on the desk, mouse glides along and tracking is much better. I also got an even larger mat off Aliexpress which works just as well but quality isnt as good as the playmax (edge threading is a bit iffy). I wish I had bought a quality mouse mat/pad a long time ago.
My wife on the other hand has a "pretty" mouse pad from Kmart, its terrible and I cringe everytime I have to use it.