Optimizing Your Mouse Settings

Lissandra optimizing her settings
I'd bet money she knows what settings to use.

We all move and click our mice every game we play. Yet, some of us are more precise than others. Part of that (most of it) is practice, but some of it has to do with settings. To get the best possible results, here are some things you can adjust to give you the edge over your opponent.

Mouse Sensitivity

Mouse sensitivity makes a huge difference in your targeting accuracy. You’re looking for a good balance of speed and precision – this means that your sensitivity can’t be too low or too high. You want to be able to easily reach the sides of your screen, but also select individual minions in a wave. Anything that’s comfortable within that range is fine. The actual sensitivity number needed to achieve that will depend on how you move your mouse.

Adjusting Sensitivity

There are three places where you can adjust your sensitivity: your hardware, your operating system, and in game settings.  Hardware is the best place to make adjustments. This is because you can change how much raw movement information your mouse is gathering. Software like Windows and League can only remove movement information, never add it.

Hardware settings are typically only accessible through software bundled with your mouse. If you do not have a gaming mouse, it is unlikely that you will be able to edit the settings. If you have any extra cash lying around, consider purchasing one. Not only will you be able to fine-tune the sensitivity, you’ll also be working with a better sensor. Software can only imprecisely modify sensitivity information. As such, your windows and league of legends sensitivities should both be set as close to 50% as possible.

Types of Grips

There are three typical ways that players grip their mouse: Palm, Claw, and Fingertip. There are plenty of articles already out there that do a much better job than I can of showing you what those look like. But, as I mentioned above, the grip style that you use will affect how you determine your sensitivity.

If you use a palm grip, you probably move the mouse with your whole arm – elbow and shoulder are involved. You are free to move your mouse large distances across your mouse-pad, which encourages a low sensitivity setting. If you use a claw or fingertip grip you probably move the mouse with your wrist and fingertips. As such, to make the full screen accessible, you’ll need a higher sensitivity setting.

But What’s the Best?

If you have not yet developed a grip that you’re comfortable with (or are determined to develop optimal habits) it is best to aim for a posture which allows you to use the full arm. This is because it allows you to achieve finer control in the long run. By having a wider range of motion, small movements of the mouse can map to small movements of the cursor. With a wrist-style, small movements of the mouse have to map to large movements of the cursor. This leaves nothing (except tiny tiny movements) to map to small cursor movements. You’ve lost some amount of precision.

All that said, the difference between styles is negligible outside of pro play. It’s rare that miss-clicking by one or two pixels is the difference between winning and losing a fight. If you’ve already developed a style, it’s fine to stick with it. I myself use a claw grip and a wrist-oriented style because of years playing with a small mouse-pad. I’ve never felt held back by it in the slightest.

Mouse Acceleration

Mouse acceleration chains your sensitivity to the speed of cursor movement. The faster you go, the higher the sensitivity. This allows you to quickly move the cursor large distances, while maintaining precision during small movements. Sounds useful right? Wrong. Acceleration is bad and you want to get rid of it. This is because you’ve lost a crucial property of your movement: repeatability.

Checking For Acceleration

Here’s an easy way to check if you have any mouse acceleration. Whip your mouse a small distance in one direction, then slowly drag it back to its original position. Repeat this movement a few times. If you have no acceleration, the cursor will be in the same place you started. Otherwise, it will meander across the screen in the direction you whip.

Without acceleration, distance moved on your mouse-pad directly maps to distance moved on the screen. With acceleration, you can make the same movement with slightly different speeds and end up in slightly different places. This means that you cannot be both precise and fast at the same time. Your muscle memory will be harder to train, and in the end your accuracy goes down. If you’ve been playing with it, it will take a while adjust to playing without it, but trust me – the difference is worth it. This one actually matters.

Where to Adjust it

There are two likely places that mouse acceleration could be affecting you: Hardware and Operating System. In the software that comes with your mouse, it is usually labeled as acceleration. However, in windows, all you’ll see is a check-box in your pointer settings menu labeled “enhance pointer precision”. You want this unchecked.

To Review

  • Optimal Sensitivity depends on your grip and posture.
  • The optimal posture is one which uses a large range of motion and uses your whole arm to move the mouse
  • Acceleration is the devil and we want nothing to do with it

If you’ve decided to change some of your settings, you may find that you can no longer move your mouse with any accuracy whatsoever. Do not lose heart. The payoff is worth it in the end. In the mean time, consider retraining yourself between matches with games like osu or aimbooster. I wish you the best of luck. Practice hard – that’s still more important than anything else.

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Atherton Wing
Atherton Wing is a long time League of Legends player and coach. When not initiating teamfights, he enjoys cooking, writing bulleted lists and composing video game soundtracks.