A greater appreciation for mice and their DPI (dots per inch) settings has inspired more people to pay attention to their peripherals' capabilities for faster response time and more accurate cursor response. Pro players have trained with varying DPI or eDPI (effective dots per inch) depending on the game's interpretation of sensitivity and a mouse.
While FPS is a popular genre in esports, DPI settings are significant to all pro players in MMO RPGs, MOBAs, and RTS games. Depending on the game, DPI and its relative eDPI are often changed depending on mouse capabilities and game interaction.
eDPI relies on game and mouse settings to calculate accurate response sensitivity between user and game. This equation can gauge the interaction between user input and the game. Here is a calculator based on certain games for those wanting to refine their sensitivity information.
This article will look at the multitude of tactics used to refine DPI for the end-user looking for a more cohesive experience in a game.
Setting a Boundary Box
To better understand the usefulness of how DPI and a game's settings interact, there is an exercise that I employ you to do when gauging the area of the mouse pad you have at your desk. While a greater mousepad area means more available DPI polling data, bigger mouse mats will have an advantage over smaller mouse pads.
A good rule of thumb is to find the “boundary box” or the area that the mouse can move in the following steps. This is meant for people new to these types of games and will point you in the right direction for the sensitivity for you.
- Move the mouse horizontally from edge to edge of your mouse area in your selected game.
- Seeing where you stared vs. where your mouse ended, you should be a full 360 degrees.
- If the view goes over or under 360 degrees, refine the game's sensitivity until you can access your immediate 360-degree area in one mouse pass before dragging the mouse back to the center.
- Slightly adjust the sensitivity and DPI to get a workable eDPI that fits your boundary box.
Here is a video to show the difference adjusting in game sensitivity to DPI. I’m using the Logitech G502 Hero and a mouse mat with 17.5 inches (44.45cm) of free space.
Is A Higher DPI Better?
Higher DPI can often help with aiming and general mouse movement depending on the mouse type and game sensitivity. Two factors go into movement rate: eDPI and polling rate. While DPI and game sensitivity create an eDPI value, polling rate is the variable that determines how many updates the mouse sends to the game.
In most cases, the polling rate needs to be set to max as a mouse constantly updates the position of points in the game, which causes the cost of more power from the mouse. If you have a wireless or battery-powered mouse, high poll rates contribute to consuming more power.
Good DPI By Genre
While DPI numbers seem set in stone, genres tend to follow certain skews in the most tactile responsive inputs under a specific range of DPI. Using this article, let's look at the most effective range of DPI when dealing with all types of game genres.
MMO RPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games)
- MMO RPGs have a reactive, dynamic movement directly from the world navigation. DPIs between 1000 and 1600 is a popular choice. The response rate is suitable for fluid combat for navigating combat in the environment and against players.
FPS (First Person Shooter)
- FPS titles often require precision as a significant area on a monitor is dedicated to scanning terrain to kill players based on engagement. Popular DPI is between 400 to 1000 for accuracy, aiming close and far away. Depending on the game, they will often have some scope/aiming sensitivity that is separate from the general senastivity.
MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena)
- Navigating a MOBA panel view is achievable, with most DPI being around 400-800 in popular games. This is lower than RPGs because most of the interactions done use the mouse in regards to movement. One misclick could be taken advantage of by an enemy and spell disaster for the rest of the team.
RTS (Real Time Strategy)
Real time strategy often uses cameras to go back and forth to stationary tabletop-like positions on a digital game map. Most mouse movement compares different points of interest in an amount of time. Because of this behavior, a popular DPI choice is between 1000 and 1200.
What DPI Do The Pros Use?
Depending on the game and pro, there are multiple approaches to accommodate skills and playstyles. This article did a good job focusing on most FPS players between 400 and 800 DPI without getting too much into every genre.
- 400 DPI
- 30% Sensitivity (Fortnite)
- 1,236 eDPI
- 450 DPI
- 2.4 Sensitivity (CS:GO)
- 1,080 eDPI
- 800 DPI
- 0.077 X Sensitivity (Fortnite)
- 0.079 Y Sensitivity (Fortnite)
- 62.4 eDPI
- 400 DPI
- 0.11 X Sensitivity (Fortnite)
- 0.11 Y Sensitivity (Fortnite)
- 44 eDPI
- 800 DPI
- 5 Sensitivity (Overwatch)
- 4,000 eDPI
- 400 DPI
- 0.13 X Sensitivity (Fortnite)
- 0.13 Y Sensitivity (Fortnite)
- 52 eDPI
- 400 DPI
- 3.09 Sensitivity (CS:GO)
- 1,236 eDPI
- 400 DPI
- 2.0 Sensitivity (CS:GO)
- 800 eDPI
How To Check DPI
With the advent of programmable mice, most name brand mice from Corsair, Logitech, and Steel Series have their proprietary software to address DPI, polling rate, and other aspects of mice or other peripherals. If you have a lesser know mouse, then third-party programs or support may not be able to customize the polling rate, DPI, and other mouse features.
Overall, game sensitivity vs. DPI is important to adjust when playing a new FPS or other game genre title. Using the exercise at the beginning of the article, you can conquer 80% of the difficulties for both RPG and FPS games by following those steps.
While higher DPI often has better results, adjusting both the DPI and game sensitivity will give you a more significant area to accommodate your cursor to expand your boundary box. You can adapt your game sensitivity to compensate for hardware-locked limitations, no matter your mouse.
At Apex, we offer mice with DPI buttons that can switch between pre-selected DPI and ease of access depending on your play styles. These mice are available with the purchase of any one of our custom prebuilt PCs. Whatever your mouse needs, we hope to fulfill them at Apex!
Written by Will Wilson