Crosshair placement in Overwatch

Crosshair placement in Overwatch

Good crosshair placement and prediction can help a lot with aim inconsistency and landing abilities when it counts. Even if you are a support main, you can still benefit from the tips we are presenting here to help you gain more information in games and aim better.

This article is about proper crosshair placement in different situations and how to use prediction of your opponents to gain the upper hand in fights plus other small insights that you can use to get better.

Choosing a fitting crosshair

Before everything else, you need to choose a crosshair that fits your playstyle and aim. You can choose a crosshair in the settings and you can customize that for every hero or use the same for all of them. Our tip here is to use a bright color that can be seen in any environment, and avoid black or white. Pink works well for example as there are only a few pink-ish colors in the game. It is really a personal preference, just make sure it is visible and comfortable for you.

The recommended default crosshair shape is either the dot or the small rectangle for most characters. The goal here is to have a crosshair that is not covering a lot of screen space and gives you the ability to aim precisely. The dot is the smallest you can get, however it covers the exact spot of aiming, thus making it uncomfortable to some players. The small rectangle covers a little bit of screen space in the middle, but does not overlay the target, making it easier to acquire the opponent more easily in some situations.

We recommend to keep the bloom of the reticle off, as it will transform your crosshair when you are shooting with some characters. We are looking for consistency in every aspect of our aim, so let’s keep the crosshair the same.

Also, some characters can benefit from using the default crosshair because there are additional helpers on screen. You can use Zarya’s default crosshair for example to learn how to arc your shots to precisely bombard different spots on the map. Of course the same can also be done with a simple dot crosshair, you just need to practice. Figure out what works for you and then stick to it.

The very basics of aiming

A lot of players don’t think about how they are acquiring a target. There are two different schools here: you either focus on your crosshair and bring the target under it or on your environment and bring your crosshair over the focused point. There isn’t a huge difference in the result, as you will hit your target nevertheless. However it is important to know which is the recommended way, as it can help your game tremendously. Let’s examine the two types of target acquisition, starting with focusing on the crosshair.

Focusing on the crosshair

This type of aiming is when your sight is mostly on your crosshair and you navigate the game like that. New players of FPS games tend to aim like this. If you want to match it with a real life example, it is like when you are having your eyes in a fixed position (not on a fixed point) and turn your head like that. Your head and eyes are moving together in this case.

So what do you think about looking at the world like this? You can focus more around the point where you are fixing your eyes at, and less on everything else going on around you. If you will try this in game, it is easier to concentrate on aiming with this method, as you don’t have to deal with extra information, just the thing you are looking at right now. This technique makes it easier to place your crosshair well.

However due to the lack of information around you, this is not a recommended way to aim. It should also feel unnatural if you think of it. If you are moving around the game like this, you are missing a lot of intel about what exactly is happening around you. So let’s just see the other type and you will understand why is it the go-to way for aiming.

Focusing on your target

Focusing on your target rather than on your crosshair gives you much more to work with. This is more like how we are using our sight in real life. Your eye can wander on the screen, and when you acquire a target, you bring the crosshair over it, essentially looking at the target through the crosshair. This not only gives you more information about your environment, but by not fixing your sight on the center, you can and should look at other important parts of your screen. This way also help you to memorize different distances on the screen, thus allowing you to develop your muscle memory for small shots. This is how good players do their flick shots, their hand knows exactly how much they need to move to score a headshot from any position on the screen.

Crosshair placement

It’s short and simple, keep your crosshair at head level at all times. Again, this is useful for any type of character, not just DPS ones. You will need to be able to quickly dish out discord orbs when needed with Zenyatta, or hit the flamestrikes with Reinhardt, and so on.

By keeping the crosshair at head level at all times, you are making sure that you can hit the initial shots for the critical damage with DPS, and giving you a nice advantage with other abilities too. It’s important to deliberately pay attention to this if you want to improve and make it a habit. Even when you are just wandering around the map, have the crosshair placed at head level. Stop looking at the ground or higher up in the sky. You will see more of the maps and again, have more information to work with. After a while it will come naturally to place the crosshair at head level at all times, but until then you need to keep it in mind and adjust every time you catch yourself not doing it.

Predictive crosshair placement

This is the habit of not only keeping your crosshair at head level, but at the exact place where you can expect the target to be at in the next seconds. Here is an example of someone roaming around in King’s row just focusing on the predictive crosshair placement. Note that you will need to know the map to be able to do this. It also helps to know the common positions and paths enemies take, but that is not necessary. Let’s see our example:

When leaving the spawn, the player keeps the crosshair on the side of the bus, then quickly checks the gate, then the top of the rear building and back to the gate again. This covers all the usual positions of the enemies, so there will be easier to hit them if they are standing in the predicted position. The gaze is returning to the gate after checking the other places as that is the most usual place for an enemy to peek out from. Then going towards the point, the focus is first on the right side, then switching to the taxi, then sweeping to the left side to the wall, and then to the hotel on the far left, all this while moving behind the statue. From this point, checking the entrance to the salon, then the right side of the point, the arc and then the dark area behind the hotel.

If an enemy is at any of these checked places, or near them, it will be a lot quicker to aim and fire at it using this technique. As we are always checking the nearest visible space, there should not be an issue of missing anything or not getting to the target quickly enough.

Around corners

A special case of the aim prediction is when you are waiting for an enemy to appear at some place. Let’s see an example of what we are talking about.

You managed to get to the first point on King’s row as an attacker, wiped the defenders. But you are expecting them to come back to try to contest the point. In this case, you can use preemptive crosshair placement to make sure that you can hit your target as soon as it is visible. To do so, place your reticle at head level to a small distance away from the spot you are expecting the enemy from. The small distance is needed to leave room for reacting to the enemy popping in your vision. This way your aim can be really consistent, as you just need to land the initial shots without moving the mouse, then start tracking the opponent. You can’t exactly predict where the enemy will go, but they are probably going to try to get straight to the point. So when the foe appears, you can expect it to move towards you, not sideways or away from you. Always try to think what the enemy wants to do and place your crosshair accordingly.

This way you can easily get the upper hand in situations where you are defending a point. You will need smaller adjustments after the initial shot if the enemy is expected to move towards you, and bigger if moving at the same distance or away from you. The first few shots can decide a fight in itself if you are using this technique well.

Crosshair placement when moving and dodging

What we written about so far were simple scenarios without the chaotic happenings of a live match. When playing, you are going to have to pay attention to several things in the same time. During a live game, you will need to move around a lot and dodge shots and different abilities. Therefore it is necessary to learn how to compensate your aim. When you are doing the preemptive placement for example, you need to learn how to keep the crosshair at the exact same spot while moving around. A real life example to try is to fix your eyes on a spot and move around while keeping your gaze on that point continuously. If you move to the right, your head will compensate by turning left. The same should be learned with a mouse. This also helps you to track your targets better by the way. Practice moving around and keeping your crosshair at the exact same spot.

This can also be used when you are dodging. You are doing sharp movement changes, and you need to compensate sharply with the mouse to keep on the target or the spot you are aiming at. Again you will need practice, but it is well worth the effort.

Practicing the mentioned techniques

Okay so you know what crosshair to use, to focus on your target rather than the crosshair, to always keep the reticle at head level, to use preemptive crosshair placement and how to compensate when you are moving around or dodging. Now if you really want to integrate all these techniques into your game, we recommend doing them at once. Changing your crosshair is a one time thing, but the others need practice. This means that your next few games should be solely about practicing these concepts with a hero. Hop into bot games, or quick play and make sure that you pay attention the things we have been talking about here. Make sure to do it for a few days, and it will come naturally. You will probably die more because you are not focusing on the game that much, but don’t mind that.


All in all, these are small changes to your gameplay but can affect your aim greatly. Make sure to pay attention to these and practice it a lot. You won’t notice it growing to a habit, but that’s what we want to achieve. You will surely see improvement in accuracy and game awareness.

That’s what we had for you. If you like what we are doing, share these tips with your buddies. Also, you can join our Discord channel and improve together.

This article was created with the professional support of Overwatchdojo

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