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Beginner's Guide to Overwatch Competitive Mode

By: Sean Ridgeley | Guides | Posted: Sep 4, 2016 3:50 pm



Many players massively undervalue the importance of communication in an FPS. The truth is, good communication between all players makes a world of difference versus playing with little or no communication, or communication between some players, or poor communication.



If your Widowmaker is telling you and your teammates the position of all enemies, when to push in because she got two picks, etc., Zenyatta is calling out targets he's put Discord Orb on for you to all gang up on and shred while telling low HP heroes too far ahead to pull back for heals, and you have a primary shot caller who tells the team to group up after a semi-wipe or which heroes to swap to and from to counter the enemy composition, it makes you a much more efficient team.


Morale is a factor, too: a group that focuses on the positive and communicates mistakes in a calm way can do wonders for your collective mentality which in turn will help you play better. Congratulating each other on great plays, thanking the supports for heals, saying things like "okay just one more minute we can do this" and so on go a long way.



Conversely, little or no communication or bad communication means a team will be disorganized, trickle into the point one or two at a team and get crushed in a 1v5 or 2v6, play too aggressively, and so on.


If you're solo queuing, this could take some work to get going, especially at lower ranks. Part of the issue is Blizzard insists on defaulting to group chat and not team chat; to get in team chat, you either need to get in game and set it, or change your options (Options > Sound > Group Voice Chat Off / Team Voice Chat Auto Join). Once in a game, it's recommended you check who's in team chat and who's not (hit the P key on PC), and if there are any that aren't, encourage them in the text chat to join up.




Regardless of how many people are in the team chat, say something at the start of the round to let everyone know you're there, friendly, and ready to communicate. Alternatively, just start calling things out, either in the spawn room ("Let's go top left stairs and attack them from above the point, guys") or once you encounter the enemy ("turret back right of the point"). Just everyone grouping up together from this kind of communication alone can win you matches you wouldn't otherwise, particularly on offense.



Hardware and Settings


To be the best you can be, you'll want to have an edge on opponents who don't have superior gear, or be on par with those who do.


First up, make sure you invest in a quality, wired mouse for maximum accuracy, responsiveness, and reliability. Logitech is always a good bet (most use the G502, although I personally prefer the G400 or MX 518, if you can still find them); various Zowie mice are another popular choice among pros, as is the Razer Deathadder Chroma. Of course, there are many other strong choices, but if you don't know what to go for, these are a strong bet.


Once you acquire a good mouse or if you already have one, make sure you tweak the DPI settings alongside in-game sensitivity settings to achieve much greater aiming and precision (and to avoid giving yourself wrist problems). You'll want to set the DPI to whatever your mouse's native DPI is (it should be anywhere from 400 to 1800), and adjust in-game sensitivity from there. Generally speaking, you're aiming for roughly 30cm/360, which is to say you need to move your mouse 30cm to achieve a 360 turn. For 800 DPI, this means 4 in-game sensitivity; 400 DPI means 8 in-game sensitivity, and so on. These values are partly down to preference; pro player values range from about 20cm/360 to 50cm/360, so mess around until you're comfortable, but be sure to give whichever settings you're trying a fair chance, because there is an adjustment period.



If you've been playing with extremely low high cm/360 for years as many have, you'll need to change your methodology. Whereas high sensitivity and DPI settings encourage wrist aiming, low sensitivity and DPI settings encourage arm aiming. While you'll still use your wrist somewhat for finer aiming and movement, your arm will be doing the majority of the work. Watch the video above to get a good idea of what you should shoot for. And yeah, you'll want a fairly large mousepad.


Apart from a great mouse and large pad, you'll want a mechanical keyboard (which requires less effort and offers more responsiveness over standard keyboards; the Logitech G810, Razer Blackwidow Chroma, and Corsair K-70 come recommended), a high refresh rate monitor (for much smoother gameplay and much lower input lag; popular choices include the BenQ XL2430T and ASUS VG248QE), and a solid headset (for great communication and to easily hear footsteps of flankers, ultimate callouts, and so on (strong choices include the Logitech G933 and Sennheiser PC 363D). The monitor is the most expensive by far (about $300), while the rest will cost you roughly $100 per item, though if you look around enough, there are usually good budget options and/or sales.




If you can't afford the good stuff, don't sweat it too hard: it's still possible to do well with average gear if you have the skill to compensate for it.



Final Thoughts


In short, doing well in Overwatch's Competitive Mode requires good team composition, good communication, and quality gear and settings. There's more to it of course, but upping your game in these three departments alone will see you climb significantly.


Season 2 of Overwatch launches soon and brings plenty of changes and improvements to the ranking system, modes, mechanics, and more, so there's never been a better time to jump in.


Happy Overwatching!

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