What is Aim Smoothing in Overwatch

Blizzard’s flagship shooter, Overwatch, came out to critical appraise on all three primary systems (Xbox, Playstation, and PC).


Needless to say, there are specific differences between these three platforms that need to be addressed and catered to. 


Not taking into account the hardware differences, there is a myriad of complications that get in the way of a good port. Often, developers come up with creative solutions to these issues, easing the burden of hard coding sloppy solutions into the console versions. 


That is what Blizzard has done here. 


One of the primary differences is in a player input method. On PC, it is mainly keyboard and mouse, while on console, it is usually a controller. Now, in a lot of games, it’s just a matter of mapping the controls to the various inputs, but for shooters, things get a lot more complicated. 


The difference between keyboard/mouse and controller is night and day when it comes to shooter mechanics. 


Keyboard and mouse offer players more control over their weapon, and the way the input works often results in weapons that have far less recoil, and are subsequentially easier to control, than their console counterparts. 


Joypad players have to deal with increased recoil and lower handling, but in exchange, tend to have greater control over hero movement with a joystick over WASD keys.


To combat this aim disparity, developers include something known as “auto-aim,” or “aim assist” into their titles. 


Aim smoothing is sort of like an offshoot of that. It’s not exactly aim assist, but it works in tandem with it.


Essentially, it is how sensitive the game registers your aiming with a joystick. It is the game literally attempting to “smooth out” the input. As a result you experience a lower turn speed, and the game is less reactive to your aiming, lacking noticeable precision. 


Is it Any Good?


It all comes down to personal taste.


A lot of players like it as it makes their gameplay smoother, with a better flow while others like it because it serves as a counter to players who overcompensate with their enemy tracking or flicking.


Players on the other side of the fence give up the luxury of the assisted smooth gameplay in exchange for the control benefits. They prefer to have more precise control over their accuracy. 


Often these players are faster paced and require the heightened sensitivity offered by the option.


Should I Use It?


How do you play?


Are you a fast-paced damage dealer requiring split second reaction flicks and precise running and gunning? Then probably yes, you would benefit from it.


If on the other side, you are a slower, tankier player, then there really is no need. You can take the quality of life improvement over the input improvement, which isn’t all that strong, to begin with.


As I said, though, it’s all personal preference. Play with it on and off to see which you prefer and decide for yourself. It has its pros and cons but ultimately doesn’t affect gameplay too much.


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