Professional players prioritize performance above all else. No matter how polished the game could look, pros will often choose graphical settings that diverge from the norm.
We asked Supr, the current GM and former in-game leader for Soniqs Esports, about the settings he uses when playing Rainbow Six Siege.1
The Importance of Frames
The philosophy behind every decision boils down to a conversation around frames. In Rainbow Six Siege and most other competitive first-person shooters, frames make all the difference. “If you're in a gunfight and you're getting 144 frames and your opponent is getting 360 frames, it's going to be a smoother fight for them,” Supr said. “They're going to see things more clearly. That could be the difference between living or dying.”
While it’s important to get as many frames out of your settings and tower as possible, you’ll need a monitor that can display them. That means that you’ll want a 144 Hz, 240 Hz, or 360 Hz monitor depending on the FPS your system is able to achieve. (Learn more about why refresh rate matters here.) Every additional frame you get could give you the information you need to maintain a level playing field with the competition.
Following that same logic, any and all graphic settings that don’t impact gameplay are turned off or to the lowest available marker. That ends up including many of the settings that makes Rainbow Six Siege so beautiful to look at — Lens Effects, Reflection Quality, Ambient Occlusion, and Anti-Aliasing.
Remember that if you choose to use a monitor with a high refresh rate, you’ll need to ensure that your CPU and GPU are balanced against one another and are capable of allowing your system to deliver a frame rate to match. Check out our guides on how to choose a gaming CPU and how to choose a gaming monitor for more information.
Exceptions to the Rule
However, while that might represent the overall approach to choosing settings, Supr has a few personal preferences that are specific to his experience playing Rainbow Six Siege at high competitive levels.
Texture Quality - High
The first notable exception to the rule is Texture Quality. Supr plays with this setting on High due to the destructibility of Rainbow Six Siege’s maps.
Without this setting on High, it’s easy to miss small details that could obfuscate your aim. For example, when a wall has a hole in it, you’ll want an accurate representation of its shape so you can prone and utilize it to land better shots.
Level Of Detail or LOD Quality - High
Level of Detail or LOD Quality is another setting that Supr puts on High. LOD quality represents the distance at which the game will begin adding textures to your view. The lower your LOD Quality, the less accurate faraway parts of the map will appear in your game.
According to Supr, “Sometimes you’re taking a longer range gunfight and you want that to process. High is basically the minimum you can set LOD [Quality] at where it will process.”
Shadow Quality - Medium
Shadow Quality has subtler effects on your visual experience, but to pros like Supr, that edge can make all the difference. Supr plays with Shadow Quality on Medium so the game can process player shadows — something the game doesn’t do when the setting is on Low.
This is important in a game like Rainbow Six Siege where you’ll regularly find yourself in fast-paced close-quarters skirmishes. Quickly reacting to a sudden encounter can allow you to eliminate an opponent before they realize where you’re positioned.
Keeping Shadow Quality at Medium allows you to eke out more frames without sacrificing valuable information on whether or not an enemy’s arrival is imminent. “When someone is around the corner,” Supr says, “you’ll see their shadow on the ground. It’ll give you a heads up.”
Additional Settings to Adjust
Beyond scalable graphical settings, there are a few other settings that Supr recommends revisiting if you’re trying to improve your competitive experience.
Aspect Ratio - 4:3
Supr plays with his Aspect Ratio set to 4:3, a common choice for most Rainbow Six Siege professionals. The 4:3 aspect ratio makes objects and enemies appear slightly bigger and therefore easier to hit. In competitive play, a slight advantage is an advantage nonetheless.
Be warned that in 4:3, objects, including enemies, will move faster across your screen and require faster reaction speeds. Adjust your Aspect Ratio according to how quickly you can react to new visual information.
Field Of View or FOV - 87
Field of View of FOV adjusts how zoomed in you see the game. Higher FOV values will allow you to see more of your surrounding environment, though at a cost to your frame rate.
Oftentimes, a 4:3 Aspect Ratio is paired with a higher FOV to compensate for the loss in peripheral vision. Supr plays with a FOV value of 87 because he plays in 4:3, but it’s generally recommended that you lower your FOV value as you widen your Aspect Ratio.
There are a few exceptions, but in general, you’ll find that most Rainbow Six Siege professionals use lower mouse sensitivities. This is true for pros of many varieties of shooters as it allows for greater control of your reticule.
Supr plays with a 10/10 horizontal and vertical sensitivity and uses a 400 dpi mouse. His aiming down sight or ADS settings are as follows:
- 1X: 27
- 1.5X: 46
- 2X: 48
- 2.5X: 49
- 3X: 49
- 4X: 50
- 5X: 50
- 12X: 50
In Supr’s own words, “My reasoning for playing lower is that it’s going to be easier for you to have better aim or more steady aim.”
Mouse sensitivity isn’t the only thing to adjust if you need help improving your aim, however. It’s important to remember that esports games still involve precise physical movements on the player’s part, and much like playing the drums, the parts of your arm that you engage when using a mouse and keyboard can have an effect on your performance.
In that regard, Supr makes the case for playing “arm” as opposed to “wrist.” “Learn to play with your arm instead of your wrist – essentially moving your arm from your elbow up as opposed to keeping your arm steady and playing with your wrist,” he recommended. “Playing ‘arm’ will give you more control over your mouse. If you have good control, then your DPI doesn't matter as much.”
In short, people who control their mouse with their wrist need to play with a higher mouse sensitivity since their mouse doesn’t physically move as far. When every millimeter you move is amplified, it’s much more difficult to have the precise aim needed to be a competitive player in Rainbow Six Siege.
Finding the Settings for You
Now that you’ve begun to start considering your settings more closely, it’s time to develop the settings profile that’s right for you. Konect.gg profiles are a great place to find your favorite player’s own settings (Supr’s can be found here), but it’s important to make adjustments to find what makes you most comfortable.
Try playing with these settings in a custom game like Terrorist Hunt or Deathmatch, then tune each setting one-by-one until you find a level that works for you. In the end, settings come down to a matter of individual preference and there are no hard and fast rules.
Supr put it best: “In the end, it’s about finding your own settings and putting in the time to improve. If anyone plays 10,000 hours at a specific setting, you will become an expert at that setting. You just need to be consistent.”
As always, practice makes perfect. “Grind it out. Don’t get frustrated if you’re not immediately dominating your competition,” Supr warned. It takes time to perfect the craft.”