Since I started this journey into the world of Competitive gaming I have come across many personalities and heard plenty of reasons why people play video games competitively. I have also heard an equal amount of people tell me why they DO NOT play video games competitively. The one “excuse” that comes up time and time again is of course a human beings most basic reaction and that is to exclaim ” I’m not that good Id probably lose so I wont even bother”.
Of course this may indeed be true if that person was to actually pick up a controller and step into a competitive event but it isn’t grounded in anything other than the players own lack of confidence.
I often use the analogy of professional sports championship matches. Do you really think the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks wakes up at the beginning of the playoffs and sais” nahh….we better not lace up today boys…were jusy gonna get our asses handed to us.” ?
Suppose you don’t fall into the category of a hardcore Competitive gamer. Lets say you fall somewhere in between a skilled player and someone who plays a few rounds of matchmaking once in a while. How do you go about even trying to get into the competitive scene with a particular game without getting your rear ended handed to you by players who have been logging hours since launch day?
Follow these 5 steps and you’ll be on your way to playing with the “big boys” ( Note: This article mainly applies to shooting games/genre)
Step 1: Learn the basics
Take the time when you first start playing in match making to learn all the controls and various elements that make up basic multi player gameplay. This included starting to learn your maps and the pros and cons to each of the weapons in the game. It’s a good idea to start with the default equipment and learn to play matches with only those. As your comfort level grows start branching out and learn some new equipment. Eventually you will have covered all the gear in the game and should be able to decide what weapons you are best at using and feel comfortable with.
Step 2: Grown some thick skin
You will die a lot in these early matches but the skills and information you learn will serve you well. Think of these as your proving grounds. Dont even worry about how many times you die in a game and whatever you do don’t get frustrated. Every timeyou die make a note on how and what weapon killed you. Take time to reflect for a few seconds on how it happened ie. Did you rush in or did you not see your opponent before he killed you. Resist the urge to blame every death on the game or internet connection. I constantly hear tournament players yelling at screens and blaming the game for his/her own shortcomings. Not only does this use up mental energy it also puts you in a negative mindset and does not help your learning curve at all.Be positive and play positive.
Step 3: Make Friends
Put that Mic to good use and start talking to your team mates, even if they are people you don’t know or play with regular. Chances are they have been playing longer than you and you may just pick up a few tricks of the trade by chatting with them. Tell them, you are new but that you want to get better. Not only will you have a better experience playing online but you may make some new friends to add onto your profile list.
Step 4: Power of the internet
Make sure you do some research out of game as well. The internet is filled with people like me who are writing articles and posting tips on how to play certain games better. You can also find maps and tactics for each map that will help you in your next session. Treat your online match making just like an exam. Study for it and come prepared.
Step 5: Set some goals
This is a tip I picked up on from my past life ( I wasnt always a professional video game blogger); ” you will never reach your goal if you don’t know what it is”
This can be something as simple as obtaining a certain level for your character in-game or achieving a particular K/S ratio. Whatever benchmark you think is going to make you feel like you have accomplished everything you set out to do in this particular game. Some games have a in-game challenge system that allows you to see your progression as you hit those benchmarks. Call of Duty pioneered this concept in modern shooters and almost every competitive game since uses some form of that system to track player progress. Set your sights on one and make sure you hit it!
Overall your experience and skills will improve over time as long as you keep at it and don’t let the fact that you are not the top dog bother you. Everyone has to start somewhere and as long as you are using your time in match making productively and not just complaining that the game is flawed and broken ; you will eventually become a better player.
Focus your energy on being positive and embrace the community for help, heck maybe you might even find a team to play in some organized events and get a taste of what real competitive play is all about.