Blizzard is updating Overwatch in a way that’s both exceptionally important and likely only noticeable by its most diehard fans. The game’s tickrate is moving from the currently dismal 21 to the sought-after 63 on the PC platform.
What in the world does this mean?
In competitive gaming, tickrate is rather important. The stat indicates the frequency that player clients receive updates from the game server. So, with the tickrate at 21, players would receive serve updates 21 times every second. Games like Counter-Strike, however, have a tickrate of 60, so players see their client updated 60 times each second.
If you play Overwatch a lot, you might have noticed that you’ll initiate a move to dodge an enemy attack, like, say, Mei’s ice wall. On your screen, the wall goes up while you die. Then you watch the kill cam and never see the wall shoot out of the ground. That’s because the other player’s shot came before you activated your wall, and the discrepancy happened thanks to the lower tickrate.
That’s all changing on the PC platform. After receiving lots of feedback from fans, Blizzard has announced that they’re rolling out high bandwidth to all game types.
So what does that mean? In Overwatch, our high bandwidth option adjusts the game’s client update rate (the frequency at which your client gets updates from the game server) from 21 updates per second to 63 updates per second. This reduces the amount of time between when you complete an action and when your client hears back about the result, which in turn will help make the game feel more responsive.
Since we know that not all internet connections are equal, we’ve also added in tech that will automatically and adaptively scale down your update rate if we find your connection can’t keep up. Similarly, because high bandwidth servers (as the name suggests) will increase your bandwidth consumption, we’re also looking to add an option to self-limit your update rate in a future patch.
This is great news for Overwatch. The competitive community was reluctantly embracing the game citing this tickrate as a big reason why. With that slowly changing, one has to assume that perception will improve.
Blizzard’s doing a wonderful job support this game so far.