Overwatch has become a phenomenon in the last few years. The online multiplayer FPS from everyone’s favourite publisher, Blizzard, has become popular all over the world since it was released in 2016. With a massive variety of characters (from bouncy Tracer to smart gorilla Winston), each with their own unique moves, animations and overall feel, there is a character to appeal to everyone. This variety has helped the game to become a hit with experienced gamers and newbies alike.
However, problems with your internet connection can cause major headaches when you try to play Overwatch. Whether you’re playing on a PC, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One, you will always need a solid and fast internet connection in order to play the game comfortably. Today, we’ll discuss how you can improve the consistency and security of your gaming experience with a VPN, then share our recommendations for the best VPNs for Overwatch.
Why Do Overwatch Players Need A VPN?
Contrary to some claims that you will see, a VPN cannot improve the speed of your internet connection. If you’re getting high pings and latency issues because of your internet connection, then a VPN will only be able to help in specific circumstances. If the problem is simply that your internet is too slow, a VPN cannot fix this and the only option you have is to pay for upgraded internet or to play at another location like an internet cafe.
That said, there are a number of situations in which using a VPN will help you when playing Overwatch and can improve your ping. Some of these situations include:
Sometimes, your ISP will choose to restrict certain types of traffic due to the finite nature of their network’s capacity. For example, a single customer using a ton of bandwidth will negatively impact other customers’ speeds. The ISP could deal with this by improving their infrastructure to provide greater bandwidth where it is needed.
Instead, some choose to deliberately impede the connections of heavy users. ISPs do this by analysing the traffic that comes through their network and identifying bandwidth-heavy activities like gaming or streaming video. Then they impose speed restrictions on those types of traffic specifically. If your connection has been throttled you will notice that your internet works perfectly fast for activities like browsing, but when you try to play Overwatch then the connection will suddenly become super slow.
- How a VPN helps: A VPN encrypts all of the data that your device sends over the internet. This means that your ISP cannot see what type of traffic you are using, and so they cannot tell the difference between web browsing traffic and Overwatch traffic. All of your traffic will run at the same unrestricted speed, allowing you to beat bandwidth throttling.
Overwatch occasionally bans or blocks users from playing if they are suspected of using cheats or hacks. While this is totally understandable and a necessary step to keep the game fair and fun for everyone, there can be problems with the way that bans are implemented. Sometimes when many accounts from a particular region of the world are using hacks, such as in parts of Asia, any connection from that region might be blocked. This succeeds in blocking the cheaters, but it can stop legitimate players from playing too.
- How a VPN helps: A VPN lets you connect to a server in another region and to play the game as if your were accessing it from that region. If the area where you live has been blocked from playing, you can use your VPN to connect to a server elsewhere and play that way.
If you’re a serious Overwatch player, you may well use a VoIP program to chat to your team over an audio channel instead of text. However, in some places in the world – particularly in the Middle East – VoIP services are blocked. If you live in one of these countries and want to chat with your team while you play, you’ll be out of luck.
- How a VPN helps: A VPN lets you get around blocks to use banned traffic types like VoIP. You just need to connect to your VPN, and the encryption will disguise your use of VoIP so you can use your chat services even if you’re in a country where those services are banned.
Security from DDoS attacks
One problem that can arise among Overwatch players is other players targeting you with DDoS attacks. This refers to when someone online gets a hold of your IP address and decides to knock you out of the game. They use a DDoS service which gets devices from all over the world to send a huge number of junk requests to your IP address. The huge volume of traffic suddenly directed at your IP address can take your connection offline as the server cannot cope with all of the requests it is being pelted with. This is a malicious way that some people try to prevent others from playing.
- How a VPN helps: A VPN service will hide your real location, so that people online can only ever see the IP address provided by your VPN. Because no one knows your real IP address, they cannot target it with a DDoS attack. In addition, you can get VPN services which are resistant to being hit by a DDoS attack. Even if someone tries to take you out of the game using this method, you’ll be able to keep playing.
How To Choose A VPN For Overwatch
You might be tempted to save some money by using a free VPN when you play Overwatch, but this is not a good idea. Free VPNs have many security problems and can actually make you less safe, and they usually have connections which are too slow for playing games online anyway.
Instead, we recommend that you choose a reputable paid VPN that has all of the following important features:
- Fast connections so that you don’t see a big increase in your ping when you’re playing Overwatch
- Excellent security to keep your data safe, such as the use of strong 256-bit encryption so no one can crack your data and a no logging policy to protect your privacy
- DDoS protection to keep you safe from malicious DDoS attacks from other players
- A large server network so you have plenty of options when you’re selecting a server to connection to
- Ease to use software that can be installed on all of the devices that you use
VPNs With DDoS Protection
In order to get the most from your VPN for Overwatch, you’ll want a service that has great security features as well as fast connections. To protect you from DDoS attacks, you need a VPN with this particular special feature included. This way, when you use your VPN then you’ll be safe even if someone does try to target you.
DDoS protection works by filtering the traffic that is sent to your IP address. Using purpose-built filtering software, it analyzes the metadata of incoming traffic to determine its origin before it passes to your device. In other words, it can spot potential DDoS attacks before they reach you. When the incoming traffic is deemed suspicious (such as arriving at great volume or hitting from all over the world at once), the software flags this activity as a potential attack. This traffic is then blocked to prevent malicious DDoS attacks from affecting your play.
Our Recommended VPNs
We looked through a range of available and trustworthy VPNs to find you the best services for playing Overwatch that have our important features, and these are our final recommendations:
ExpressVPN is a very popular service among heavy internet users thanks to its combination of super fast connections, an excellent level of security, and easy to use software. Key features include 256-bit encryption, a no-logging policy to protect your privacy, plus a kill switch to cut off your connection if the VPN goes down and DNS leak protection to prevent data leaks. The service doesn’t have a specific anti DDoS function that you can enable, but this provider has demonstrated that they are aware of DDoS issues and their connections are designed to keep users safe from DDoS.
The network of servers that you’ll get access to with a subscription is very large, covering over 1000 servers in 145 locations in 94 different countries. The software can be installed on devices running Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and Android, plus some games consoles, and there are browser extensions available for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari.
Read our full ExpressVPN review here.
NordVPN is one of the best options available for VPN users who want an extremely high level of security. This VPN uses the essential 256-bit encryption and maintains a no logging policy to keep your data safe and private. They also offer dedicated servers featuring double encryption, dedicated IP, onion over VPN, or P2P. They even have special anti DDoS servers which you can use to filter incoming traffic so that your IP address will be safe from DDoS attacks.
The number of servers available has been increased recently to a massive 3500 servers in more than 60 countries, and the connections speeds available are fast when you use the regular VPN servers. The specialist servers like double VPN or anti DDoS can be a bit slower due to the extra encryption or filtering required, but are still plenty fast enough for casual gamers. The software can be installed on devices running Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, or Windows Phone.
Read our full NordVPN review here.
PureVPN is a great choice for users who are looking for general security software as well as a VPN that they can use for Overwatch. The basic VPN service has the features that we look for, including strong 256-bit encryption as well as a no content logging policy. They also offer a purpose-built DDoS protection service, which is perfect for gamers and gamers and file sharing users alike.
Additional security features include anti virus and anti malware protection, plus an anti spam filter for your email inbox. There are options for app filtering so you can choose which apps pass their data through the VPN, plus DDoS protection, a kill switch, the option for a dedicated IP, and a NAT firewall.
The service has a reasonably sized server network of more than 750 servers in 140 different countries and the software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Android TV devices, plus browser extensions for the Chrome and Firefox browsers.
Overwatch players can benefit from using a VPN to get around restrictions like bans or blocks on VoIP services, as well as to avoid ISP throttling for better speeds. Perhaps even more importantly, a VPN will shield your IP address DDoS attacks while you play. If you’ve suffered from any of the issues illuminated in this article, such a service may be just the ticket for you!
Do you use a VPN when you play Overwatch? Which one have you found to be best? Tell us about it in the comments below.