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How To Reduce Lag and Increase FPS in Overwatch



Many Overwatch players are unaware of just how much input lag the game has. However, a common complaint I see amongst FPS enthusiasts are that games like CSGO feel much more smoother for aiming than Overwatch does. The reason this complaint arises is because Overwatch has a very peculiar engine which handles frames in a much different fashion than an engine like Source’s. There are multiple steps one can employ to make their game feel more responsive, as well as increase frames and stability. Many of the following steps have been discussed individually across this subreddit, but I have not found one collective post that discusses all of them.

​Using Blizzard’s in game netgraph I have seen my input lag (SMI) from around 30ms to ~5ms, a near 80% drop, after applying these settings.



1. POWER OPTIONS

The first thing one should do to make sure their computer is utilizing its full potential is change their power option so that it prefers high performance. This will allow the CPU and GPU to use significantly more power. This is especially effective for laptops, which have many restrictive power options. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open the run dialog, type in powercfg.cpl, and click Run
  2. Under the Preferred Plans section, select High Performance.

2. DISABLE FULL SCREEN OPTIMIZATIONS

The Windows 10 Creator’s Update, which was released around a year ago, includes many updates for gaming on Windows 10. However, it seems to handle certain games strangely. Many people have reported that this update makes their game feel choppy, despite maintaining a high framerate. Disabling fullscreen optimizations will make games feel more stable, as they will be run in a “raw” fullscreen environment, rather than being tampered by Window’s gaming features. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Locate your Overwatch folder. For most people, this will be in: C:\Program Files (x86)\Overwatch
  2. Right click Overwatch Launcher.exe and click Properties
    1. Go to the Compatibility tab, and check Disable fullscreen optimizations.
    2. Apply.
  3. Go into the _retail_ folder and right click Overwatch.exe and click Properties
    1. Go to the Compatibility tab, and check Disable fullscreen optimizations.
    2. Apply.

3. IN GAME SETTINGS (FPS CAP = 300, REDUCE BUFFERING = ON, GRAPHICS = LOW)

Many people assume that limiting their FPS to their display’s refresh rate conserves power, which would otherwise be used in a redundant manner. However, this statement is false. The more frames you have, the more responsive your game will feel. In other words, if you had a 60hz monitor, you would benefit from uncapping your FPS at 300 rather than capping it at 60-70. There are a few settings I recommend changing in the actual Overwatch game to benefit from lower input lag and higher FPS.

  1. Turn reduce buffering on
  2. Remove the FPS cap, and turn it to 300
  3. Turn VSYNC off
  4. Turn your graphics low
    1. Less eye candy for sure, but a more stable game. This is why most professional Overwatch players turn their graphics on low.
  5. Render scale 100% (or lower)
    1. A render scale of 100% is recommended for the best graphics-to-stability ratio, but there are semi-pros/pros (like Kabaji or Dafran) who have used 75% render scale in the past for an FPS boost. It also makes enemy outlines thicker, thus improving tracking/aim.

4. GRAPHICS CARD POWER OPTIONS

This part of the guide is written for Nvidia users, but if AMD users can chime in on how to do this with their drivers I will append it to the post. Make sure your graphics card drivers are updated. Here’s how to change your graphics card power options:



  1. Right click on your Desktop and click Nvidia Control Panel
  2. Go to the Manage 3D Settings tab on the left
  3. There will be a page with two sections: Global Settings and Program Settings
  4. In Global Settings, scroll down to Power Management mode, and set it to Prefer maximum performance.
  5. Apply.

5. LOWER LATENCY MODE (NEW FEATURE)

Nvidia has recently released an Ultra low latency mode, and I have not seen it being talked about much. While this may be more taxing on your CPU, it will make the game feel much more responsive. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Follow steps 1-3 of the last section to open your Nvidia control panel.
  2. Go to Program Settings in Nvdia Control panel.
  3. Where it says “Select a program to customize”, select Overwatch
  4. Scroll down to Low Latency Mode, and set it to Ultra.
  5. Apply.

6. CREATE A CUSTOM SHELL TO LAUNCH THE GAME (OPTIONAL)

I recommend ditching Blizzard’s launcher, and creating a customized Batch file to launch Overwatch in high priority mode. This is how you can create that batch file.

  1. Open Notepad.exe
  2. In this Notepad file, type: start "Overwatch" /high "C:\Program Files (x86)\Overwatch\_retail_\Overwatch.exe"
    1. Note: You may need to replace the Overwatch.exe path with your own system’s path.
  3. Go to File->Save, and save the name as anything.bat. Make sure that you change ‘Save as type’ to All files.
  4. This file can now be used to launch Overwatch in high priority mode without the launcher. I recommend creating a shortcut of this file, and adding the Overwatch icon to it so it looks more clean.

An alternative solution, which allows the game to be ran at high priority mode, was mentioned by u/aullik:

The following script saved in a .regfile can make changes to your registry that will make OW run in priority mode whenever you start it. It will also decrease the priority of battle.net making it less important to close it. This means you don’t need a startup script this way.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\Overwatch.exe\PerfOptions] "CpuPriorityClass"=dword:00000003

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\Battle.net.exe\PerfOptions] "CpuPriorityClass"=dword:00000005

7. INCREASE YOUR GAME’S FPS CAP TO 400 (OPTIONAL)

A method for increasing the FPS cap from 300 to 400 was recently uncovered in the Overwatch community. It is very simple to do.

  1. Go to Documents/Overwatch/Settings
  2. Open the Settings_v0 file in Notepad
  3. Change FrameRateCap to 400 (instead of 300)

This setting often seems to be reset. One can make their Settings_v0 file locked and read only to make sure this 400 FPS setting does not get overwritten.

CONCLUSION

Hopefully this will allow people to have a more responsive game, similar to games like CSGO which feel very responsive. These settings will allow the game to be run in a more raw environment, free from extra “fluff”. Furthermore, these settings will allow your computer to utilize its full power, thus adding a framerate boost.



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