The Ideal Sensitivity for your Playstyle
Wed 12th Sep 2018 - 8:17pm
Overwatch is a very particular shooter because every hero is played very differently. Each playstyle has different necessities, and every sensitivity has pros and cons. This guide will help you find the ideal sensitivity for your playstyle, conditions, and heroes you use, but I want to make clear this is intended as a starting point. You have the last word and every person will find a particular sens more comfortable than others.
In order to have full control over your sensitivity, you need a gaming mouse that lets you customize its DPI, like HyperX mice, or at least a mouse with a known DPI. In addition, if you play on the lower end of the sensitivity spectrum, I recommend you to use a really big mousepad, like the Large FURY S, if you have enough space for it. You will be glad when you still have some mousepad left after doing a one-eighty.
In this article, we will talk about both in-game sens and DPI, that I will shorten with a slash; for example, 10/400 means your mouse is set to 400 DPI and your Overwatch sensitivity to 10.
First, some basic information I constantly see people getting wrong. The important number you need to pay attention to is called effective DPI or effective sensitivity, indistinctly. It is obtained by multiplying your sensitivity by your DPI. In Overwatch, 10/400 and 5/800 is the exact same, because both numbers are 4000 effective sensitivity.
Overwatch uses raw input, which means it doesn't take into account your Windows settings like mouse acceleration or your desktop sens, so you don't have to worry about that. I recommend you use the same settings across all heroes because different sensitivities will likely mess up with your muscle memory.
The most common range of effective DPI is 3000 - 6000, and it is where you should start. There are three main categories to keep in mind:
Mobile heroes. Tracer, Genji, Doomfist, and D.Va are very intense characters, you have to be able to comfortably perform one-eighties on a regular basis and move around the chaos of a team fight. If you mostly play mobile heroes, you will find 4500 - 6000 the best range to fluidly run around a fight and track down your target.
Low sens heroes. Widowmaker and McCree differ from the rest of the lineup because you can aim by flicking. This technique is considerably easier at lower effective DPIs because you have more room to fine tune your movement. It also benefits tracking heroes like Soldier 76 and Zarya, but the lower you go, the more difficult it will be to do anything else other than shooting. Zenyatta is a very special hero that performs extremely well at the lowest sensitivity possible, professional Zen players are the main contestants for the lowest effective DPI out of any other player. You can go as low as you want with your effective sensitivity, but it is a trade-off, Overwatch is a very fast game and choosing a very low sensitivity will result in being totally unable to play mobile heroes, but if you are fine with that, go ahead. You can play from as low as 1500 if you are a Zen main, but that is seriously incapacitating for pretty much any other hero, and it takes a really long time to climate to. Consider setting your starting sensitivity in the 3000- 4000 range.
Neutral heroes. The rest of the characters perform really well across the sensitivity spectrum, but due to the fast nature of Overwatch higher sens is probably favored. Besides, you might think heroes like Ana benefit from low sensitivity, but your principal task as a support is to stay alive, you need to comfortably turn around and use your Sleep Dart when getting dove on, for example.
Coordination and health
There are other factors to help you decide which sensitivity is the best for you, and it all comes down to your wrist. Roughly above 4000 effective DPI, you aim with your wrist, and you rarely move your arm, unless you are performing a one-eighty. This is great if you have good hand coordination, but not if you have butter fingers like me. In addition, the intense use of your wrist can eventually lead to injury after some years, if you consistently put in long gaming sessions.
Lower sensitivities are great for people with bad hand coordination because it forces you to aim with your entire arm. In addition, it won't hurt any of your joints over time, but it can take a while to accustom to and Overwatch really favors higher sensitivities except for a handful of heroes.
I have mentioned muscle memory before, it is the way you perform flicks, it uses your movement experience rather than careful tracking and coordination to aim. If you want to flick in Overwatch and you play (or intend to) other shooters, it may be a nice idea to have the same effective DPI, that way you will be able to easily switch between games without messing with your muscle memory. This is particularly useful for CS:GO and low sens shooters. This is only recommended if you play at a really low sensitivity in Overwatch because usual CS:GO settings tend to be too slow.
Sensitivity is a personal matter, and a lot of different factors can influence your ideal setting. Use this guide as a starting point, get to know yourself, the heroes you play, and your preferred hand movement; you will shortly find a good spot. Don't be afraid to tweak it until you are comfortable. Good luck!