Zoomo! Overwatch Rolls Out 63Hz High Bandwidth Mode

Blizzard are rolling out upgraded netcode for Overwatch [official site] across the world, and you’ll likely find it’s live for you now. The update has most Overwatch servers now running in the “high bandwidth” mode, which previously was limited to an option in custom games. This increases the frequency with which players tell the server what they’re doing and receive updates on what other players are doing, in theory meaning less frustration with things like being shot after escaping round corners.

The update is switching the client update rate to 63Hz (63 times per second, up from 21), which should broadly make everything feel better and less frustrating. Blizzard started rolling this out last month, but now it’s live in enough regions for Blizzard to properly announce it.

If you want to get technical, Overwatch lead engineer Tim Ford and senior engineer Philip Orwig explain the change with paper cups in a new video, but the takeaway is:

“The net result of that is you will be shot around corners less, you’ll be able to predict escape moves better and the server will hear about it sooner – so if you got that blink off, the server’s going to process that quicker – [and it will] make you less likely to get hit by hooks.”

They explain that Overwatch launched with a 21Hz client update rate because they wanted to be sure everything would be stable at launch, with 63Hz mode reserved for custom games if people really wanted it. But 63Hz takes a beefier connection, so before rolling it out they made tech to detect if a player’s connection can’t handle it and downgrade their rate.

The realities of online gaming mean you still might be frustrated by getting hit when you feel you shouldn’t, but that should be a lot rarer.

Here’s the full scoop:

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  1. aircool says:

    Hopefully this will make defensive reaction skills much more useful, rather than shouting ‘no way man, I pressed my ghost button waaay before you shot me’ every time you pop a defensive skill waaay before you’re shot.

  2. aircool says:

    I think BF4 has a 10Hz tick rate or something similarly daft.

  3. gwathdring says:

    Well, if this finally makes me able to use Luccio’s sound blast properly outside of practice matches I’ll be happy. My ping seems low but I just can’t get it to work about half the time even from right next to targets with no momentum. :(

  4. Phasma Felis says:

    Low tick rate, effectively, makes whatever lag you’re already experiencing slightly worse. The extra lag added by 20Hz tick rate (vs. 60Hz) is less than an eyeblink. Therefore, most of the “get shot half a second after dodging/taking cover/raising shield” situations will not change.

    But at least people will shut up about tick rate finally.

    • GenialityOfEvil says:

      Except it’s you’re not looking at it for an eyeblink, it’s continuous. That’s like saying 60 fps isn’t much better than 20 fps because it’s only a 33 milliseconds difference.

      • Phasma Felis says:

        Remember this change is only on the server. It only affects how often you receive updates from the server. Receiving updates at 20Hz adds up to 50ms to your perceived ping time compared to infinity Hz; 60Hz updates add only ~17ms; so this update improves things by ~33ms.

        A 33ms ping difference is not much. It’s not nothing, but people on the forums were screaming about tick rate when they got retroactively hit by things a half second (500ms) or more after they blocked/avoided them. It is impossible for tick rate alone to cause that kind of error. It can make bad lag slightly worse, but it can’t approximate bad lag by itself.

        • aircool says:

          The servers were already running at 60Hz, so I presumed this increase was for the client.

          With all clients only updating 20 times a second, whilst the server clocks at 60Hz, that leads to quite a large disparity in timings between two players on opposite sides, particularly with the shooter first mechanic.

          • gunny1993 says:

            I believe it was always 60 HZ up to server but 20 HZ down from server, now its 60-60

          • GenialityOfEvil says:

            @gunny: It’s the other way round, client to server is 60 but server to client is 20. Press Ctrl+Shift+N to see the stats overlay.

          • GenialityOfEvil says:

            Curse lack of edits! I misread your comment, yes 60Hz out, 20Hz in.

        • GenialityOfEvil says:

          33ms is a huge difference and is the exact difference between 20fps and 60fps. Try limiting a game to those frame rates and tell me if it affects the gameplay.

          • Phasma Felis says:

            Frame rate and tick rate are different and affect the game differently. Please try to read and understand what I said.

          • GenialityOfEvil says:

            I know they’re different, it’s an analogy. You’re only comparing the tickrates over a very short period of time. 33ms isn’t very much in frame rates either, but the effect is cumulative in both cases. That was my point.

  5. PanFaceSpoonFeet says:

    DayZ could use something like this. I consider it my Fav Game Ever despite the p2p, especially mêlée being goddamn awful.

    • PanFaceSpoonFeet says:

      Eg I had a very laggy fist fight with a player last week. The only feedback that registered was a letter this morning from the zombie council explaining he had ‘turned’ and that I should seek medical assistance.

  6. jhonny says:

    That’s great news, love playing Overwatch.. I got my copy from g2a if anyone is interested, it’s pretty cheap there, link to g2a.com

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