For someone who plays a ton of competitive games like APEX Legends, Overwatch, and League of Legends, we’re quite familiar with how some games are decided in a split second.
We know the pain of losing a really close game because of a mechanical outplay, a bad decision, and a team miscommunication. These stings a bit, but they’re fine because they tend to become learning experiences.
But none of these are as painful as an equipment delay or malfunction. Those moments when you’re absolutely sure you’re going to win the game, but your mouse decides to veer just a couple of pixels away from the winning headshot, and you end up getting killed instead.
If you’ve been playing for as long as us, you’ll know how much this sucks.
Now, if you haven’t experienced this, good for you. But if you’ve had these moments more than once, it’s time to consider making some changes so you can win more games.
The first change you need to make is the calibration of your mouse. This is because most games rely heavily on your mouse – most of your movements and actions are controlled by it.
And, if you have a mouse running on default settings, you’re essentially setting yourself up to lose to other players who’ve calibrated their mouse.
How to Calibrate Your Mouse Like the Pros:
Get the right mouse
The first thing you need before you start calibrating your mouse is to have a good mouse. This is because not all mice are created equal. Some mice are built for basic computer functions and wouldn’t have the advanced options you need to play better.
So when you’re looking for a mouse, make sure to look for the following things:
✅ Ergonomics. Make sure the mouse you’re getting feels good to hold because it’ll spend a lot of time on your hands. You’ll also have to catch a feel of whether all of the programmable buttons are easily accessible by your fingers, and if there’s ample space to differentiate each one. The last thing you’d want to happen with your calibrated mouse is a misclick during a close fight.
✅ Programmable Buttons. There are a lot of different gaming mice available out there in the market. Each offers different features and advantages to gamers. When choosing a gaming mouse, keep in mind the kind of game you play.
If you’re an FPS/shooting game addict, opt for simple gaming mouses with two to three programmable buttons because you need speed and adaptability throughout the course of the game. Hence, simple is better.
However, if you play MOBAs of MMOs, you’ll need a mouse with more programmable buttons because these would help you execute your combos of skills and items.
✅ Customizable Software. If you really want to play like a pro-gamer, there’s nothing wrong with investing in the right tools. Choose to buy mainstream brands over unbranded gaming mice because these proven brands have software where you can calibrate your mouse.
Now that you have the right weapon for the job, let’s talk about how to calibrate your mouse like a pro-gamer, so you can win more games!
Fix Your Default Windows Settings
The first thing you need to do when calibrating your mouse is changing your mouse’s default Windows settings. This is because your PC’s default settings are for regular browsing. So as good as they are when you’re using it to scan through text on your browser, it’s not ideal for gaming.
Where to change your Windows mouse settings:
- Open your Control Panel
- Click on Mouse
- Go to Pointer Options
Setting 1: Pointer Speed
Under the motion category, you’ll see a slider option labeled as “Select pointer speed”.
This setting allows you to control how far your pointer travels when you move your mouse.
By default, this option is on the 6th notch (middle) and that’s the best setting because it puts your mouse at 100% accuracy. Increasing this would speed up your cursor’s speed but decrease your mouse’s pixel accuracy –something we don’t want.
Setting 2: Enhance Pointer Precision
Below the slider, you’ll find a tick box labeled as “ enhance pointer precision.” This can also be known as “Mouse Acceleration”.
This function syncs your pointer’s movement to the speed of your hand’s movement. Meaning by moving your mouse quickly, your pointer would travel faster and cover a greater distance. This setting would create a lot of variance in your aiming because it takes into account your hand’s speed.
This means that in high pressure situations when you’re required to react quickly and aim precisely, your mouse wouldn’t have the stability to accurately aim your cursor at your opponents.
Conversely, having this setting unchecked would give you more precise movements because your pointer would match your hand’s movement dot by dot. This synchronicity and consistency between your hand and your pointer would ensure better in-game aiming accuracy.
This gives you an advantage because the longer you play, the more adept you’ll be at how much movement you’ll need to make on crucial plays. Moreover, you won’t have any variance with your aiming because it mimics your hand’s mechanics. So, if you miss, you can’t blame your mouse.
Now that we’ve fixed your default windows settings, it’s time to calibrate your mouse’s software.
Calibrating Your Mouse’s Software
After ensuring that Windows’ default mouse settings won’t interfere with your game, it’s now time to calibrate your mouse’s software.
Unlike the basic calibration Windows’ settings have, your mouse’s software would give you advanced calibration options that would help you play the game better.
The two major settings that we’ll be tackling in this article are the dots-per-inch (DPI) and the polling rate. These two settings would have the most impact on your games, that’s why it’s important to discuss them in-depth.
- Dots-Per-Inch (DPI)
DPI is the measure of your mouse’s sensitivity. It indicates how far your cursor travels each time your mouse moves. Having a higher DPI would mean your mouse would move faster.
If you would recall, we’ve already covered mouse pointer speed when we discussed your Windows default system. There, we instructed you to keep the pointer speed in the middle of the scale, so that you can retain its accuracy.
Adjusting your mouse’s DPI through the software instead of Windows’ default settings would ensure that you’re not losing the pixel accuracy you need to target your opponents.
Experimenting with your mouse’s DPI instead of mouse pointer speed could be the difference between a game-winning headshot and a frustrating miss.
What DPI should I choose?
There’s no one DPI setting that would make you play like the pros because there are a lot of considerations that you need to think about when choosing this.
Some of the considerations when choosing your DPI are the following:
✅Your body. Your hand would dictate how far your pointer travels every time you move your mouse. If you’re on the smaller side, you might benefit more from a higher DPI so you won’t have to move your hands too much to cover more ground.
✅Your skill level. If you’re a new gamer and you’re still training your hand-eye, it’s better to start with a lower DPI setting. This would help you have better control over your pointer. Ideally, the slower movement of your mouse would help you get used to aiming for your enemies. Once your mechanics and coordination improve, increase your DPI. This would help you react faster once you’re playing at a higher level.
✅Your dexterity. Some people are gifted with fast reflexes, while others aren’t. Controlling your DPI would help compensate for the lack of natural dexterity. If you find yourself slower to react, having a higher DPI might compensate for your slow reflexes because it’ll allow your pointer to cover more ground at a shorter time.
✅Your monitor. Another thing that you need to consider is how big your monitor is. If you’re playing on a 15-inch laptop, you better keep your DPI on the lower end of the scale. This would help you avoid losing track of your mouse on a smaller screen. The last thing you’d want is to bring your mouse out of the frame and mess up your character’s field of vision.
✅Your game. MOBAs and Shooting games would need different mouse settings.
Typically, MOBAs would need your mouse to move faster because you’re using it to control the movement of your character. Moreover, since you have a larger hit area to target your opponents, you’ll need less accuracy.
Conversely, shooter games need you to have a slower DPI because you’ll need to be more accurate with your shots. Slower DPIs give you more control over your aim. This is why some newer gaming mouses have a sniper-mode setting, which drastically reduces the mouse’s DPI to help you aim at your targets more precisely.
When choosing your DPI, our advice is to keep on testing which DPI you’ll feel most comfortable with. You can always change this depending on your mood and your playstyle. What’s more important is to find your comfort level.
- Polling Rate
Your mouse’s polling rate is the speed and amount of data your mouse sends to your computer. The better your polling rate, the less lag you’ll have between your movements and the corresponding reactions of your mouse pointer.
There’s not much variance to this setting. The rule of thumb is to use the highest polling rate available to your device.
The only reason you should try to experiment with your polling rate is when you have an outdated computer. This is because your processor might not be able to handle the data being transmitted to it, causing your computer to lag.
Now that you’ve configured your mouse’s software, you’re ready to jump into the game to tweak it. But before you hop on the lobby and look for a match to try your new setting, create a practice game first and do some final calibrations and testing.
Adapting Your In-Game Controls
As we mentioned above, each game would have different calibration requirements. This is because of the different dynamics and interactions inside the game. So, before you start playing, make sure to adjust your in-game settings accordingly.
Although there are a lot of in-game options to configure, here are some of the most common ones and how you should configure them.
- Mouse Acceleration (OFF)
As we discussed in the Windows default settings part of this article, your mouse acceleration should be turned off at all times because it would create a lot of variance in your aiming and cursor movement.
- Raw Input (ON)
Most games would give you an option to enable/ disable the raw input setting. Having this enabled means your game would be taking your mouse’s movements as they are. If your mouse acceleration on Windows’ mouse settings is enabled, it will override it.
This setting gives you better aim and control because the game matches your cursor’s movements with your hand’s movement dot-by-dot.
- Mouse Sensitivity
As discussed above, mouse sensitivity means how much your cursor moves for every inch your mouse moves. Higher mouse sensitivity means faster movement.
For FPS/Shooting Games, your mouse sensitivity would dictate how fast your character’s vision moves around and how quickly you can aim at a target. When your mouse sensitivity is high, your character turns faster as well. And if you’re a beginner, this can make aiming a very hard task. Moreover, it can be very nauseating.
Our advice is to keep your in-game mouse sensitivity on low since you’ve already adjusted your mouse’s DPI to your preference. This would make the game less laggy while giving you more control.
For MOBAs/RPGs, your mouse sensitivity would control how far your mouse travels. This means that higher mouse sensitivities can make it easier to move the view from one part of the map to another, giving you a faster view of actions happening on other parts of the map.
Since MOBA & RPG is a top-view-oriented game, having a higher sensitivity would be highly beneficial especially if you need to constantly check on your teammates on other lanes.
However, it’s still advised not to put your in-game sensitivity to the highest level because it makes it easy to lose control over your screen.
Now that we’ve covered most of the basic calibration principles, let’s now delve into the more specific ideas on how to calibrate your mouse like a professional.
Advanced Configurations for FPS/Shooting Games
- Mouse Sensitivity
When calibrating your mouse sensitivity, you’d want your screen to move fast enough to scout enemies quickly, but not too fast that everything just becomes a passing blur, and aiming is hard.
If you need a benchmark on mouse sensitivity, take a page from the book of some of these professional gamers.
“Magisk” who plays a rifler on CS:GO has the following settings:
- 800 DPI
- 1.00 Sensitivity
His teammate “gla1ve” who is also a rifler plays with the following settings:
- 400 DPI
- 2.10 Sensitivity
If you would notice, despite playing similar roles, they have 2 different approaches to the game. One prefers a higher DPI with lower sensitivity, while the other prefers a lower DPI with higher sensitivity.
Applied in-game, Magisk’s mouse would move a lot faster than gla1ve’s because he has a higher DPI. However, gla1ve’s view would move faster since his sensitivity is higher.
In our opinion, gla1ve’s settings make it ideal for those who function as the shot callers/IGLs because it’s mechanically easier for them to survey the field given their higher sensitivity. Magisk’s on the other hand gives him better accuracy, which is excellent for fragging opponents.
When setting up your mouse sensitivity for FPS, make sure to set it not as how the pros would set it because they already have years of practice to get used to that setting. Instead, experiment on what DPI (software) and Sensitivity (in-game)would work best for you. The settings we presented on top are just examples you can use as benchmarks when trying to find the right settings for you.
- Scope Sensitivity
Some games allow you to adjust your scope sensitivity as well. This gives you more control over how much your scope & crosshairs move when you are in sniping mode. And as we mentioned above, there are some gaming mice that allow you to activate a sniping mode, which automatically decreases your DPI when you use sniper weapons.
Adjusting this setting allows you to become a better sniper in-game. Our advice is to keep your sensitivity lower especially if you prefer to camp. This allows you to perfectly aim your shot well since you have the element of surprise by your side.
Like a true sniper, it’s better to be slow and accurate than fast and reckless when sniping down enemies.
- Programmable Button Setup
Aside from calibrating your mouse’s settings, it’s important that you calibrate your mouse’s programmable buttons if you want to have an advantage over your enemies.
Changing your default in-game key bindings and moving some key assignments from the keyboard to your mouse can help you react faster during battles. This gives you an advantage that could be the deciding factor of the game.
As we mentioned above, it’s better for you to choose a gaming mouse with only 2 to 3 function buttons because you’ll need simplicity, so you can quickly execute your actions.
Personally, we keybind our secondary and tertiary weapons on the 2 function buttons. This makes switching weapons while running or jumping easier – giving us an advantage on frontal combats.
Depending on the game and your role, you can change the keybinds of your function buttons to crucial abilities like healing/shields.
Now, before you hop on a game and test your new settings, go into practice mode first and acclimate yourself to the feel of your new settings.
Based on experience, spending an hour or so doing practice drills would help you get a good feel of your new settings. It would also allow you to make some more tweaks to your settings without the pressure of losing a game.
Advanced Configurations for MOBA
- Mouse Sensitivity
Contrary to the settings of FPS/shooter games, MOBA’s require higher DPI and sensitivity because map control and visibility is crucial. This is why players need to see different locations of a map quickly, so they can anticipate ganks, time their teleports, and see which lanes need help.
When setting up your DPI and sensitivity, it’s important that you also consider your primary role in the game.
In League of Legends (LoL) Top Laners and AD Carries need a high DPI because of responsibilities like last hitting, trading, juking and kiting enemies, and dealing massive damage during clashes. However, they don’t need a lot of Sensitivity because they are typically living in their lanes most of the game and won’t need to look on different parts of the map frequently.
Conversely, Junglers and Mid Laners need more sensitivity because they are the two primary gankers. This means that they need to quickly see lane mismatches, gankable lanes, and objectives to take, so they can capitalize on these.
Here are some of the mouse settings of the top League of Legends Players in the world:
Faker who is the midlaner of T1 is known for his impressive macro-play – acting as secondary support and playmaker in most of their games has the following mouse settings:
- 1800 DPI
- 80 Sensitivity (with Mouse Acceleration)
Teddy, their AD Carry on the other hand who is known for his mechanical prowess and his ability to 1v9 has the following mouse calibrations:
- 1600 DPI
- 50 Sensitivity (with Mouse Acceleration)
If you would notice, both players have their Mouse Acceleration enabled. Although we’ve advised against having this enabled, there’s an intelligent explanation as to why two of the world’s top LOL players have their mouse accelerations enabled.
In LOL, mouse acceleration is designed to help you land your mouse on where you want it to go (usually enemy champions). And even though it’s not accurate to the pixel, it’s very negligible because LOL has a bigger target area as compared to FPS games.
So we’re assuming that these pro players are milking the extra advantage from having it enabled.
- Function Button Setup
As we mentioned earlier MOBAs benefit from having more function buttons on their mouse. However, we believe that 2 to 3 additional buttons are best especially for rookies.
Personally, we use two extra buttons when playing. We keybind the first button for our defensive summoner spells, so we can easily run away from crowd controls. Then, we use our secondary function button as our shortcut to our primary offensive item. This helps us cast an item’s ability immediately as we auto-attack. Having it on our mouse gives us a split-second advantage to cast an ability immediately after.
Final word of advice:
Do your calibrations progressively. Don’t try to go for pro settings from day one. Instead, do marginal adjustments consistently.
Start your calibration with small tweaks from your default settings. Then, as you get comfortable with the new settings, upgrade them again and again.
This would help make the changes not too overwhelming for you. Because based on experience, jumping to pro settings immediately would cause you to lose a lot of games.