An Analysis of Pro Mouse Sensitivities
Mouse sensitivity matters. It’s a contentious topic where many err on the side of “Use a sensitivity that’s comfortable and just practice more”. It would be nice if it were that simple, but there’s complex physiological and cognitive mechanics at play that strongly indicate this is not true.
Quick Look At Competitive Players
A quick look at competitive Overwatch players mouse sensitivities reveals the average player uses an in-game sens of 6.3 on an 800 DPI mouse (check it on overwatch pro settings). So that’s equivalent to 27.5cm per 360 degree of camera movement. There are always going to be outliers as we see players like uNKOE of Rogue playing at 7.5 cm/360 and on the other end of the spectrum Ryujehong of Lunatic Hai playing at 75cm/360.
How to choose my Overwatch sensitivity ?
Great, we’re looking at a range between 7.5cm/360 and 75cm/360, how does that help me choose a sensitivity? For now ignoring the outliers is the smart way to go, there’s a reason they’re outliers as very few people are able to perform with that particular setting. The average of 27.5cm/360 is what should be looked at. Almost every competitive player plays within about 24cm/360 and 40cm/360. Why is this? In a game like Overwatch that features high mobility and tight hitboxes you need to have excellent aim to consistently land shots both when trading at range and when fighting up close with enemies moving about erratically. This range of sensitivities allows for a safe mix of accuracy and maneuverability which is why pro players have gravitated towards this over time.
There are numerous factors that can dictate what sensitivities are viable to use. If you aim with your wrist sitting at the edge of the desk, you’re going to struggle with anything above 24cm/360~. If you aim with your arm on the desk you can play to a very low sensitivity but you may become limited by your mousepad space. If you’re wondering about what arm aiming is or how to do it you can check out https://youtu.be/hcuCrGqEFhk and if you think your mousepad may be too small for lower sensitivities check out:
Should I change sensitivities between heroes?
The aiming requirements of different heroes in Overwatch can vary vastly between hitscan damage heroes and tanks like Reinhardt and Winston. This results in the competitive players often having a mouse sensitivity that reflects their role. Typically tank players have a higher sensitivity as the heroes aren’t as aim reliant, although it’s not an excuse to simply ignore your aiming skill as heroes like Zarya and Roadhog are still very aim reliant and if you ever have to flex off tank you don’t want to be useless. The type of damage hero you play can also impact what sensitivity is most suitable. For example Taimou who is renowned for his hitscan ability, especially on McCree plays on 63cm/360 whilst ShaDowBurn who is famous for being an incredible Genji main plays on 13.85 cm/360. McCree has limited mobility and relies very heavily on aim, so to an extent the lower sensitivity the better. Genji on the other hand has very high mobility and therefore requires very drastic changes in aiming, 180 spins and very swift re-targeting which tends itself better toward relatively higher sensitivities. Please note I don’t think that players wanting to main Genji should necessarily play on ShaDowBurn’s sensitivity as he is an outlier and I would recommend something on the lower end of the pro spectrum like 24.7cm/360 to 30~cm/360.
I would like to bring up something I mentioned earlier about a widely accepted idea that you should only play on what’s comfortable. Many players have only played on 1 sensitivity, often the default. To know what’s comfortable you have to be willing to give the other options a good shot. I used to play on about 15cm/360 but put a great deal of effort into researching and learning about the best aiming methods and analysing pro players and have consistently dropped my sensitivity over time all the way to 54cm/360 in Overwatch. I would use even lower (about 70cm/360) but I use Rapid Twitch Aiming (https://youtu.be/-3iixD8Fhs8) which becomes quite tough above 55cm/360.
Pro Overwatch players are dedicated to being the best and there is much to be learned from them. Not every pro player has godly gaming genetics, they’ve simply put in the work and have the right mindset in making themselves the best players they can be. Avoiding figuring out your ideal settings is self-handicapping behaviour stopping you from playing at your potential.
If you’re interested in learning about the mechanics of aiming and just about everything else you need to improve in Overwatch, take a look at The Ultimate Overwatch Guide here > www.elevateoverwatch.com