Blizzard has given us some memorable games over the years such as Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo. Now with the introduction of Overwatch, it has stepped into the arena of first-person shooter (FPS) games. Overwatch features six-man team fights with players selecting their own characters based on their role in the team.
However, like many multiplayer modes in different FPS games, having lag, delay, and packet loss means the destruction of smooth gameplay. Sadly, the same problem has plagued the new shoot ‘em game by Blizzard as various gamers from around the world have complained about Overwatch lag Spikes.
How to Fix Overwatch Lag
Lag, high ping, packet loss, and delay can be caused by numerous reasons as there are different factors that may contribute to this problem. To help you out, we have highlighted some these reasons why you might be experiencing lag in Overwatch and how you can fix these issues.
Turn Off ASUS ROG Equipment
If you are using ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) equipment on your PC, then we would recommend that you switch it OFF. The ROG Game First III Service seems to be causing massive lag spikes for numerous Overwatch gamers. Turning this feature off will help you reduce lag and delay. Here’s how you can turn off this service:
- Search for ‘ROG Game First’ in the Windows search bar & launch the application.
- Once opened, look at the bottom corner of the application. There is a function switch.
- Turn ‘OFF’ the switch & re-launch Overwatch.
Alternatively, you can use the following method to switch off the service:
- Open Task Manager (either by right-clicking the taskbar or press Ctrl+Alt+Delete).
- Click on the ‘Services’ tab.
- Look for ‘AsusGameFirstService’.
- Right-click the service and select ‘Stop service’.
Resolve Internet Connection Issues
One of the major reasons for experiencing lag spikes in Overwatch is due to internet connection issues. If you connection is poorly setup, unstable or does not have sufficient bandwidth, then chances are that you will have input lag and experience rubber-banding and shuttering while playing Overwatch. Here is a look at what lag and delay does to your gameplay:
Input lag is caused when you enter a command through your mouse, keyboard or controller but the character remains unresponsive. At times, the commands are completed after considerable delay. To improve your network’s performance and resolve internet connection issues, you can use the following steps:
- Switch off background applications that would be consuming your bandwidth. These include any downloads (torrents managers, P2P file sharing services), automatic software updates (antivirus or firewall), system updates, and VoIP service (Skype).
- If you are connected via Wireless network (Wi-Fi) then we recommend that you switch to a wired connection (through Ethernet cable) as it’s more stable and consistent.
- Consider changing your internet password and then running Overwatch. This could help you determine if someone else was using your network.
- Check for any hardware issues such as loose network cables, ports, or overheating routers. Having faulty equipment could result in Overwatch lag spikes. Consider replacing the equipment for smooth gameplay.
- Upgrade your network to a faster connection. Overwatch is highly dependent on your bandwidth and requires fast and stable connection. We recommend that you have at least 5 Mbps or higher connection.
Optimize Your Hardware Settings
Your hardware can be another reason why you might be experiencing consistent Overwatch lag and delay. Here are certain factors you should take into account for improving the overall performance:
Close Unnecessary Background Processes
It is important that your system has adequate RAM and GPU to run the game seamlessly. This is because RAM and GPU store temporary data files and make them readily available when you play the game. One way of freeing up RAM for optimum performance is by closing all unnecessary tasks.
There are certain processes that run in the background and use a lot of memory. For instance, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Skype tend use considerable RAM. You can close such processes by opening the ‘Task Manager’ and closing these applications.
Similarly, Antivirus applications can also slow down your system’s performance. Antivirus performs regular scans of your PC in the background. Today, majority of antivirus services offer a ‘gaming mode’ (the name may vary from vendor to vendor). When you are in this mode, the antivirus disables its background scanning, thus enhancing your games performance. Alternatively, you can manually disable background scans while you play Overwatch.
In addition to this, you can also use game boosters to close background applications. These are software are specifically designed to boost your system’s performance by stopping irrelevant services, ending unnecessary tasks, and optimizing your systems settings.
Adjust Processes Priority & Affinity
To reduce Overwatch lag, you can adjust the processes priority and affinity. By setting the priority of Overwatch to ‘High’, your system gives first preference to processing the game compared to other less priority tasks. This helps to increase the games performance and overcome lag spikes.
Affinity allows you to select the CPU cores that want the game to run on. For instance, if you select Core 1 for Overwatch, the system will always run the program on this core only and not on others. However, adjusting the ‘Affinity’ is for seasoned gamers and those who know their way around this feature. If don’t have any idea about what it will do, then its better not to mess with the affinity.
Adjust Virtual Memory
You can also adjust the ‘Virtual Memory’ to get the best out of your operating system. Virtual Memory allows the operating system to compensate for the lack of physical memory by temporarily storing data on disk storage instead on RAM. Here is a simple step by step video that shows how to adjust the virtual memory on Windows 7:
Check Game’s Minimum Requirements
The minimum requirements for Overwatch on PC requires you to have at least 4 GB RAM, Intel Core i3 and an above average GPU (Nvidia GTX 460, ATI Radeon HD 4850 or higher). If your hardware does not meet this set benchmark, then you would have to upgrade it to overcome Overwatch lag. However, you should try all the above mentioned tips before considering an upgrade.
Allocate Memory to Graphics Card
Another way of boosting your system’s performance is by allocating memory to graphics card. This technique has been used by various gamers for many years but it only works if you don’t have an external GPU. However, do note that there should be considerable memory left for the system to run different programs, otherwise your system will crash. You can perform this process by entering your system’s BIOS and changing the memory allocation.
Change Overwatch In-Game Settings
Overwatch is visually very pretty but this stunning display could be hampering your game’s performance. You should check the video settings available in Overwatch and adjust them accordingly so that there is no lag or delay while you play.
To get the best performance, you should turn off Vsync, Triple Buffering, and Anti-Aliasing. Similarly, you can also set a limit on the FPS (frame-per-second) you want to achieve. There are three options to choose from, No Limit, Display or 30 FPS. If you are experiencing Overwatch lag spikes then try the game on 30 FPS mode.
Use Ping Reduction Tools
The genre of first-person shooters is such that any miss click due to lag or slight delay can leave you dead in an instant. The above-mentioned tips can help you resolve your Overwatch lag issues. In addition to these methods, you can also try ping reduction tools. Some of these tools include Kill Ping and gaming VPN services.
What the ping reduction software does is that they redirect your gaming data packets through their own servers, eliminating all the congestion and traffic along the way. This is really helpful if you are considering playing in regions far from your location.
For instance, if you are located in Australia and want to play in USA, you might encounter lag and packet loss while playing. This is because the gaming data packets have to travel a long distance and through highly congested pathways between your system and the gaming server. However, if you have any of the ping reduction software running, what they will do is reroute those data packets through the closest server destinations and through traffic-free pathways. This way you won’t face Overwatch lag in Australia.
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Low Tick Rate Causing Overwatch Lag
Now have you ever experienced while playing that you dodged an attack from the opponent by using your abilities and escaped the clutches of death but still found yourself dead? If so then you have experienced the issue of low trick rate in Overwatch. For those of you who don’t know what tick rate is, it’s the rate at which the server refreshes. The rate at which the server receives inputs from you and other gamers has to be in sync and instantaneous.
Low trick rate means that server does not receives these inputs at the same times as a player presses a key. Popular FPS titles such as Battlefield 4 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have tick rate over 60hz while Overwatch’s trick rate is 20.8hz. The difference is staggering when you consider other established games of the same genre and is perhaps one of the reasons why you might be facing lag or delay in Overwatch.
This issue was first identified during the Beta stage but it hasn’t been resolved as yet by Blizzard. We are also waiting for any update from Blizzard regarding this issue. Here is an analysis of the netcode of the game, demonstrating the low tick rate of Overwatch:
To wrap things up, Overwatch gives gamers a much needed breather from other popular multiplayer FPS titles such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Call of Duty: Black Ops. And, since Blizzard is behind the development of the game, you can expect it to grow exponentially in the online multiplayer arena.
However, Overwatch lag, delay, and packet loss can be a big hurdle for all online gamers. This has been a chronic problem for numerous new FPS titles; for instance Battleborn lag as destroyed the gameplay of numerous players.
But if the new shoot ‘em up game has any chance of knocking off other popular FPS titles, then its issues regarding online gaming experience have to improve. Using the tips and tricks mentioned above, you can overcome some of the problem relating to lag and enjoy seamless gameplay.