What Is Hitscan and Why Is It Important?

Oct 22, 2016
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Analysts and casters use the term hitscan without breaking it down for the viewer. And although the name does a decent job of describing the concept, you might still wonder what it’s all about.

There are different types of ranged weapons in Overwatch: projectile and hitscan. We’ll be taking a moment to look at Hitscan, what it is, and how it’s a core skill that’s needed to become good at Overwatch.

Weapon mechanics don’t get any simpler than hitscan. All you do is shoot, and the damage instantly impacts the first object in your crosshair’s line of sight.

Treat hitscan weapons like a laser pointer. The shot arrives instantly and doesn’t drop. There’s no waiting. No guessing. The skill requires reaction more than anything else. You can find a list of hitscan abilities at the Overwatch Wiki.

Subcategories

Although hitscan, as a mechanic, is just one way of dealing damage in Overwatch, it also has subcategories of its own.

Single Shots

Think of Widowmaker’s sniper, McCree’s revolver and Soldier’s rifle. They shoot one bullet (or a couple) in a straight line. The trajectory can be random, like in the later stages of Soldier’s spray, but it’s always a straight line. To be successful with these heroes you have to work on your consistency. Each shot costs time that can go to waste so it’s paramount that your shots connect as much as possible.

Multiple Shots

Think of Reaper’s guns and D.Va’s mech blasters. Multi-shot hitscan weapons deal damage across several bullets. Multi-shot hitscan creates a spread of which only the bullets that hit the target deal damage. It’s important to target the right heroes and hit the right part of their body.

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How can you train your hitscan abilities?

Overwatch Widowmaker Wallpaper art
via wallup.net

Train your muscle memory to improve your consistency. I explore this topic in an article discussing aim in Overwatch. You also want to minimize the amount of movement necessary to hit your shot. Significantly improve your consistency by putting some thought into your crosshair placement.

We all have our opinions on how to ensure hitscan prowess. Truth is, it’s largely subjective because the only criterion is success. But we can still agree on some things that can help your form, so here it goes:

Keep your crosshair at head level if your character gives more damage with headshots. Otherwise, you’ll be making it harder on yourself to deal the maximum amount of damage.

You can see an example of what I mean in Taimou’s aim training video. Taimou’s just practicing his flickshots here, so don’t think that this is how he usually aims.

But I’ve seen players carry this tendency into competitive play, which will only bite you in the butt when your options to improve begin to wither away.

So now that you understand what hitbox is all about, load up the practice range and fire away!

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Martin Stuessy
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TFT mourner. CS:GO addict. Philosophy at Ohio State. English/German/Spanish/French in order of ability. Culturally diverse. Writes about Overwatch, CS:GO and other topics. Follow @MartinStuessy on Twitter.
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