From Mouse Sensitivity to Gaming Gear. The Full VALORANT Setup Guide
Choosing the Right Mouse Sensitivity for VALORANT
Mouse sensitivity is overall a personal preference, and while some players have high sensitivities (20cm / 360° Turn) and others quite low (60cm / 360° Turn) there are some guidelines when it comes to Valorant settings you should take into account before choosing or changing your mouse sensitivity.
a. The Time to Kill (TTK) is very low, meaning that you die in a split second when taking damage. This means that when an enemy pops-up outside your field of view (FOV) he has a major advantage over you as he sees you first and most likely going to take you out if he doesn’t mess up his aim.
b. Targets in Valorant are quite small and the hitboxes aren’t very forgiving as they just cover the hero’s body mesh. This means that you need to accurately aim and there isn’t any room for error when it comes to first shot accuracy as the spread and gun recoil kicks in quite fast for most guns, making it harder to correct when firing.
Having these in mind we can confirm that Valorant tailors more towards a low sensitivity rather than a high one.
Reasoning is, when you are flanked and the enemy pops-up behind you or even outside your FOV the chance that you die is extremely high in an evenly skilled match up.
Having the possibility to turn your camera 320° in one mouse swipe won’t help you win the fight as it’s probably over by the time you are on target due to the very low TTK.
The lower the mouse sensitivity the higher the room for aim error.
When the 360° turn distance is doubled (20 => 40cm) so is the error margin for over and under aiming your target because the in-game camera moves twice as slow when performing the same mouse swipe.
Overall, when being used to a low sensitivity your first shot aim accuracy will be higher compared to a high sensitivity.
What is a low mouse sensitivity?
To put it in figures, everything between 35 – 50 cm / 360° is considered “low.” However, this depends on the space you have available on your desk and the size of your mousepad.
When placing your mouse in the middle of your pad, it is recommended to make sure you have at least 25 cm of space all around between your mouse and the edge of the pad, in order to be able to perform a 200° mouse swipe starting from the middle of your mouse pad to not impede your hand movement. It goes without saying if your mouse sensitivity is above 45 cm more space is required.
If you don’t have that kind of mouse space available, try looking for other available solutions in order not to hinder your mouse movement and negatively affect your in-game performance.
Gaming Gear Setup for VALORANT on PC
To boost FPS when playing Valorant, aside from having a PC that runs the game smoothly at 144 frames per second 4 other devices are important when it comes to gaming.
The mouse is the most important weapon a PC gamer can have to conquer in FPS games, it almost unequivocally determines the effect on your in-game aim and performance. Do not underestimate the powerful performance of progressively engineered mice. So if there is one thing you shouldn’t try to save on, it’s a decent gaming mouse from a leading brand!
When it comes to improving your aim at Valorant, getting your crosshair as fast as possible on your enemy’s head with the lowest amount of effort is crucial to be successful in this game due to the low time to kill. Hence, one of the most important characteristics of your mouse is its weight. That is due to the fact that every time you move your mouse or change its direction you need to overcome the inertia (resistance to acceleration) and the static friction first. The heavier the mouse is, the higher inertia and static friction, the more force you need to apply to get it moving or change its direction.
This might sound far-fetched but the difference between a 150 gr mouse or a 75 gr mouse is huge as you need to apply almost 2 times less force to get it moving. And this is very important when it comes to muscle control.
In order to have maximum control over your mouse movement, and consequently maximum accuracy, the difference between the initially applied force to get it moving, and the continued applied force to keep it moving should be kept to a bare minimum to make the transition as effortless as possible.
Imagine you need to push a 100 kg bag of sand, the initial force you need to apply to get it moving will be a lot higher than the continued force you need to apply to keep it on the move. This is because you need to overcome the static friction first between the bag and the surface, the more the bag weights the higher the initial push needs to be. This is the same when it comes to moving your mouse and why it’s important to keep the weight to a minimum.
Another aspect that contributes to inconsistent mouse movement due to resistance is the mouse’s cable. To keep it simple, get rid of it and buy yourself a wireless model as the cable creates unwanted drag that forces you to always re-adjust the applied force you put on your mouse as the drag force continually changes depending on the position of the mouse on your mousepad. A mouse bungee is just a half-baked solution, as the cable still acts as a sort of spring making it harder to move your mouse towards the bungee and easier to move it away which basically doesn’t solve anything.
Wireless gaming mice are becoming more and more affordable, and since this is the most important piece of equipment you have as a gamer, investing in a premium quality 2.4ghz wireless gaming mouse is the smartest decision you’ll make. The next thing that is important is the sensor of the mouse.
Knowing that moving your mouse 5 cm always results in the same crosshair displacement is a must when it comes to building your muscle memory. A great optical sensor is the best choice and makes a world of difference in your aiming performance. Great performing sensors are the Logitech HERO sensor or the PixArt PWM 3360. Both are known for consistent results and can be found on numerous mid to high budget mice. Do not buy laser sensors as they tend to have “false mouse acceleration”.
Last thing to mention is the fact that Valorant doesn’t require a lot of input compared to MOBA’s, so don’t buy a mouse with 100 buttons on it as it just increases the weight and the chance of misclicks.
When it comes to mousepads there are 3 things you need to look out for.
Make sure your mousepad is big enough so you can perform at least a 200° mouse swipe starting at the center of the pad and still have a couple of centimeters to spare. XXL pads that provide space for your keyboard is also something to think about as you don’t struggle with keyboard placement that rests half on your mousepad.
b. Control or Speed
A lot of manufacturers sell 2 types of mousepads, a speedy type which has a very fine cloth top layer and control type with a rougher top layer. Which type you should buy is actually up to you, but I do recommend to test them both out before choosing one as there is definitely a difference.
The speed version provides less static friction due to the smooth surface, making it easier to start moving the mouse but harder to stop it, see it as a gliding on ice, it takes no effort to start, but it is to stop as the inertia works now against you. This tends to overshoot your target rather than undershooting.
The control version provides basically the opposite, easier to stop because of the rougher surface but harder to start as the surface provides higher static friction compared to the speed version and requires a bit more force to keep it going. Anyway, the most important when it comes to your mousepad is maintenance! Clean your mousepad regularly and give it a bath with some soup and rub it gently with a rag.
Dust is your worst enemy and exponentially increases the static friction of your mousepad in no time! I recommend cleaning your mousepad at least every 2 months to keep it in shape, you will be amassed about the difference between a clean and a dirt mousepad.
c. Edges & thickness
Check if the edges of the mousepad exist out of rounded stitching, else it will start to irritate the skin of your underarm quite fast.
Eye-hand coordination is everything when it comes to aiming, so the more information your eyes are receiving at any given time, the better. That’s why a 144hz (or higher) refresh rate monitor is a must when it comes to aiming. Compared to a 60hz model your aim feels a lot smoother and the feedback you are receiving is more instant, I cannot stress enough what difference it makes when it comes to your aim and in-game performance.
The monitor is the 2nd most important piece of equipment you have as a gamer and if you haven’t upgraded yet to a 144hz piece, then do this now! 144hz TN models are quite affordable these days, so I highly suggest getting one. If you want better contrast and colors an IPS panel is your best option but in combination with a 144hz refresh rate is also the most expensive.
d) Keyboard & Input Device
The least important attribute in this list for a gamer is your keyboard. Yes, a mechanical keyboard feels better and has on paper better response times, but in practice, it makes little difference compared to a rubber dome one. So, if you covered all the rest, and still have money to spare, go and get yourself one! Otherwise, make sure you spend your money on a decent gaming mouse or monitor first!