Even though competitive online shooters, Battle Royale games, and sports titles from around the world dominate the videogame landscape right now – with MMORPG and VR games pretty popular as well – it’s important to remember that entire generation of gamers were raised playing RTS (Real Time Strategy) games, too.
RTS games like Command and Conquer, Age of Empires, Civilization, Diablo, and more shaped the lives of millions of gamers. Gamers spend hours and hours optimizing their forces, strategizing their next attack, and then unleashing their forces against their enemies on the digital battlefield while defending their positions and resources at the same.
Though the RTS world is slightly less popular today than it was 20 years ago it is enjoying a bit of a resurgence, as evidenced by the fact that major monitor companies are building “RTS Mode” capable monitors more and more these days.
If you’ve been looking at new gaming monitors and are unsure of whether or not one that offers RTS Mode options is worthwhile (especially if it’s slightly more expensive than some of the other monitors you are considering) you’ll definitely want to check out the inside information we highlight below.
Let’s get after it, shall we?
What is RTS Mode on Monitors?
RTS Mode on gaming monitors today is exactly what it sounds like – a moment for your monitor hardware that has been specifically engineered and optimized to improve your overall RTS gaming experience.
What you want to understand, though, is that this mode isn’t exclusively going to benefit RTS titles.
All kinds of games – particularly MMORPG games – are going to see a big buff in performance as well.
Anything that is particularly colorful, is particularly well detailed in the graphics department, and doesn’t require lightning fast reflexes or pinpoint precision with next to no input lag will see a major overhaul the second that you flip your monitor into RTS Mode.
Does that necessarily mean that you absolutely, positively MUST have an RTS ready to roll monitor?
Maybe. But maybe not.
Though if you have any real interest whatsoever in these kinds of games and really want to experience everything that they offer from a graphic and immersion angle there’s nothing better than RTS mode!
Video - Example of RTS mode on BenQ Monitor
What Happens When You Go Into RTS Mode?
A couple of things happen when you trigger this kind of display mode on your monitor.
Right out of the gate, you’re going to notice a significantly different saturation adjustment made “behind the scenes” when you move from the standard mode of your monitor to the RTS Mode.
Colors are going to look a whole lot more vibrant, and that’s going to have an impact on graphical fidelity of the overall gaming experience. Colors will pop off of each and every one of your buildings and units, the landscape will look more lush and more inviting, and the immersion you feel when you play these kinds of games skyrockets almost immediately.
Brightness and contrast rate are also tinkered with when you go into RTS Mode.
The brightness is usually dialed up a little bit but so is the contrast, making sure that each and every one of your units and buildings (as well as those of your opponents, PC or real player) are easy to see and easy enough to identify.
Screenshot - RTS vs Normal mode
Anyone that has been ambushed in Age of Empires by units that were “hiding” in plain sight over near a forest understand exactly how important it is to be able to easily identify every item and unit on the digital battlefield in the blink of an eye.
On top of all that, sharpness from your monitor is really honed to a razor point when you turn on RTS Mode.
Because these games are not wholly dependent on lightning fast reflexes and no input lag you can really push a lot of your resources into the graphic department.
Sharpness brings out even the most minuscule details in your RTS world, whether that be tiny little elements on your units and your structures, small landscape elements that would have been blurred out or smoothed over outside of RTS Mode, or even particle effects on explosions, spells, and the like.
In real-time-strategy (RTS) and even multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) combat games where you have lots of units crowed around a single point it makes it easier to see where your units are and what's happening in the melee action and make better more refined decisions.
All of this conspires to produce a much more real, vibrant, and lifelike kind of gaming experience that you wouldn’t have been able to enjoy otherwise.
Without RTS Mode, a lot of the most popular RTS titles today feel kind of flat, two-dimensional, and sort of lifeless.
The second that those same games are played in RTS mode, however, everything changes and you feel like you are transported right into the mix!
What Happens If I Play Shooters in RTS Mode?
The only thing that you have to be aware of as a gamer if you are playing RTS titles or MMORPGs 100% of the time is that you flip out of this mode whenever you go to play shooters or other competitive games online.
RTS mode is definitely going to place more stress and more strain on your graphics card, your CPU, and your gaming resources. Your gaming monitor is going to have to chug along as quickly as it can (120 Hz refresh rates are recommended) when you have this mode enabled.
All of that results in frames per second (FPS) numbers and higher input lag – both of which translate to near instant digital death when you are playing competitive first person shooters or other games online that require twitchy reactions, accurate movement, and near instant responses.
The overwhelming majority of RTS Mode enabled monitors today give you the opportunity to manually flip into and out of this mode – though you do have to remember to actually flip into and out of it when you boot up your favorite games.
Most of the time these modes can be manually selected with physical buttons directly on the monitor itself. All you have to do is press the RTS Mode button to turn it on or off, though sometimes you might have to cycle through different monitor modes (Standard, Movie, Gaming, etc.) until you get to the mode you are looking for.
All in all, though, the process is pretty simple and straightforward and one you are definitely going to want to get comfortable with.
The last thing you want to do is play a modern shooter online (especially competitively) with RTS Mode enabled. Your performance will suffer significantly and you’ll lose a lot more digital fights that you might have otherwise won simply because of the way that this mode is configured.
On the flip side of things, after you have played RTS games with this mode enabled on your display it’s going to be almost impossible to go back to non-RTS ready monitors.
Everything feels kind of flat, kind of lifeless, and sort of monotone when you see the carnival of colors, the level of detail, and just all-around immersive experience that RTS brings to the table.
It’s something you have to see firsthand to really get down in your bones!
Are RTS Monitors Worth Buying?
Truth be told, only you are going to be able to answer this question for yourself.
If you are a big time RTS gaming fan, or if you love MMORPGs or colorful titles that do not pit you against other players around the world that are willing to squeeze every drop of performance out of their computer to dominate the digital battlefield then yes, RTS enabled monitors are a smart way to go.
If, on the other hand, you want huge on RTS gaming or can ever imagine yourself flipping between this mode and another when you want to play different kinds of games that may be that these monitors aren’t for you.
Luckily, though, most of the top-tier panels and monitors being made these days come with some sort of RTS option built right in.
This means that gamers that might not have otherwise even tried RTS titles are going to be buying monitors that are still built with those kinds of capabilities “under the hood”.
Maybe that pushes them in the direction of these kinds of games, and maybe they see the magic of RTS capabilities all on their own. After all, this mode is always just a button push or two away most of the time it really does make a world of difference when you see it for yourself.
Do you need to necessarily go out of your way to hunt down a monitor that is 100% RTS optimized?
Not unless you are a professional gamer that focuses exclusively on something like League of Legends, or another MOBA, MMORPG, or RTS.
But if you want to see the finest level of detail on those galleons in Age of Empires, or what those heavy jackal units look like up close and personal in Age of Mythology, it’s not a bad idea to make sure that your new monitor at least has the ability to go into this mode every now and again.
Check it out for yourself. You won’t regret it!