Launched on May 24th, 2016, Overwatch was created and developed by Blizzard Entertainment, the makers of other popular games such as Diablo and World of Warcraft.
Overwatch is an online multiplayer first-person shooter game, where teams are pitted against each other to battle it out while defending their bases and resources.
In the game, players are assigned to two teams of six players each, with each individual player getting to select a “hero” from a roster of about 30 different characters. Each hero has a unique set of skills and style of play, which fall into three general character/skill types.
To win the game, players must defend and secure certain control points on the map or work together to escort payloads and items to specific destinations within a limited amount of time.
As the game progresses, players also have the ability to collect cosmetic rewards, such as character skins and victory dances. While these rewards don’t do anything to affect the actual gameplay, they are still fun to collect and add to the overall enjoyment of the game.
Overwatch was originally launched with several different game modes such as casual play, ranked mode, and arcade mode. Then, following the initial release, Blizzard even added in a player-customizable server browser.
Today, Blizzard has added many new game maps, characters, and modes, which can all be played for free, with the only exception being loot boxes, which players must pay for to earn additional cosmetic items.
Overwatch lag issues
With the release of Overwatch, Blizzard Entertainment finally stepped into the realm of first-person shooters.
For many gamers, Overwatch came as a breath of fresh air compared to other similar titles, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops, since it brought along with it a whole new array of heroes to play as, each one with their own unique skills and fighting styles.
However, like most online first-person shooter games, it’s not uncommon to experience some minor issues such as lag during gameplay.
So, if you’re experience any latency issues that are causing glitches or stuttering, the first thing to do is to make sure that your system meets the minimum requirements to run Overwatch properly.
Overwatch system requirements
One of the most common problems that cause latency issues when playing Overwatch is related to your system’s hardware. Both RAM and GPU are essential to ensure smooth and consistent gameplay while online. This is because these computer components store temporary game data, which makes them more readily accessible for your system during gameplay.
Meeting the minimum system requirements helps eliminate low frame rates (FPS stuttering), as well as instances of lag. So, if your computer’s RAM and GPU don’t meet the following requirements, you’re bound to run into latency issues at some point or another.
Minimum system requirements
- Processor: Intel Core i3 or AMD Phenom X3 8650
- RAM: 4 GB
- Hard Disk: 5 GB
- Graphics Cards: Nvidia GTX 460, ATI Radeon HD 4850, or Intel HD Graphics 4400
- Screen Resolution: 1024 x 768
- Operating System: 64-bit Windows Vista
Recommended system requirements
- Processor: Intel Core i5 or AMD Phenom II X3 2.8 GHz
- RAM: 6 GB
- Hard Disk: 30 GB
- Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 or ATI Radeon HD 7950
- Screen Resolution: 1024 x 768
- Operating System: 64-bit Windows 10 with latest Service Pack
Keep in mind that you will still able to run Overwatch by meeting the minimum system requirements. However, since your computer will just barely be able to keep up with the game, it’s not uncommon to experience latency issues. That being said, we recommend updating your system to meet the recommended requirements for running Overwatch efficiently.
There are many other reasons that could be causing you to experience lag while playing Overwatch. If the issue isn’t being caused by inadequate system hardware, it’s likely being caused by either a network or server issue.
Below, we’ll go over a few more simple solutions that you can try to help fix Overwatch lag.
Another common problem that contributes to lag could be related to your internet connection. When you use an unstable connection, or you simply don’t have a sufficient bandwidth to support multiplayer gaming, your data will take much longer to travel back and forth to the game’s server.
As a result of this, you’ll often encounter lag and stuttering issues. In this case, you might also encounter input lag, which is when your game doesn’t respond properly to the commands you enter through either your keyboard or mouse.
For these issues, make sure that your connection is adequate to be running the game. Fortunately, there are a few different things you can try to optimize your network connection.
For starters, disable any background downloads that may be leeching your connection speed while gaming. This includes any streaming services, torrent downloads or managers, as well as any automatic update features on software such as your firewall or anti-virus applications.
If you’re still experiencing issues, we also recommend upgrading to a faster internet connection that offers a higher bandwidth. When playing online multiplayer games such as Overwatch, you need a fast, as well as a stable connection for the game to run smoothly. Therefore, it’s best to use a connection with a bandwidth of at least 6 Mbps.
It’s also a good idea to try switching to a wired connection, which will be significantly more stable than a wireless connection.
Reduce Overwatch lag with a VPN
If your ISP is throttling your connection speeds, the easiest and most popular method for fixing latency issues is to run Overwatch while using a VPN.
A VPN allows you to choose a connection through a server that is closer to the game server, which can make the speed drop off minimal.
The game’s servers are located in New York, Los Angeles, London, Moscow, Paris, Seoul, Taipei, Sydney, Singapore, and Sao Paulo. Therefore, when you choose a server, choose one that is near one of these locations for the best results. Of course, you should also choose the one that’s closest to your actual location.
For example, since Blizzard has game servers in London, establishing a connection to a nearby server will drastically reduce ping times and packet loss since you’ll be accessing the game’s network from a server nearby.
Close background applications
One simple and effective strategy to increase your RAM’s performance is to check your system’s overall RAM usage. You can do this by opening your computer’s Task Manager, clicking on the performance tab, and checking the percentage of RAM currently being used.
If you see that your RAM usage is high, you can free it up a little by closing any unnecessary programs that are running in the background. Search through your list of applications that are currently running for any programs that you don’t currently need and that is using a lot of RAM.
Then, simply close these programs and re-launch your game to see if it has solved you lag issues.
Limit the number of users on your network
It’s also a good idea to try changing your internet password to make sure that no one else is using the same connection as you. If you change your password and then notice that you’re no longer experiencing lag issues, the problem was likely being caused by another person using up your bandwidth.
Other potential in-game fixes
If you’re still having issues with latency, there are also a few in-game tweaks that can be made, which should help you fix Overwatch lag. Simply navigate to the game’s settings menu to make the necessary changes.
Below, you’ll find a few settings that you can change to ensure Overwatch runs properly without lagging:
- Local Fog Detail: Set this option to “Low”, which should improve your FPS.
- Render Scale: Setting this to “High” should radically improve your FPS and reduce lag. Just keep in mind that your PC might start overheating if you’re using a built-in graphics card.
- Refraction Quality: This will likely only have a small effect on input lag and FPS, however, it’s a good idea to test the game with this option on and off.
- Model Detail: This won’t have a huge impact on your FPS, but it will improve the game’s graphics overall.
- Texture Quality: If you have a lot of Video Memory (VRAM), we recommend setting this option to the max. It won’t have any effect on your FPS but will improve the texture of all elements in the game.
- Local Reflections/Ambient Occlusions/Dynamic Ambient: This won’t have any effect on your FPS but can cause input lag. Therefore, be sure to turn these settings off.
- Texture Filtering Quality: Keeping this option at either a low, medium or off setting will reduce FPS.
- Anti-Aliasing: This setting is known for affecting FPS and therefore, should be tested properly to see if it’s causing any issues.
- Dynamic Reflections: This setting should be kept off since it can drastically affect FPS.
- Simple Ambient Light: Shouldn’t affect your FPS, but we still recommend testing the game with this option on and off.