ByTim Horton, writer at
Business Development Manager at Universally Speaking. @TimHortonGame | Email: [email protected]
Tim Horton

Gaming is now one of the world’s most popular pastimes; one that's no longer confined to the living room. According to Deutsche Bank, competitive gaming is the third most watched sport on the planet. That’s right; your football, hockey and baseball leagues don’t even come close.

So, it’s not so much casual gaming but competitive gaming that is the big seller today and the beautiful thing about this highly lucrative industry is that anyone can become an e-sport star.

It all starts with you and your controller; whatever you play, wherever you play, you too can become a superstar e-thlete.

Having racked up thousands of hours online in both professional and non professional leagues across multiple genres, i have certainly learnt a thing or two about online gaming. Today, I would like to share that experience with you.

These 16 tips will put you on the path to becoming a career-grade gamer. From there the world is your oyster. Go get ‘em, tiger!

16. Practice does make perfect (or near enough)

Just because it's a video game doesn’t mean that it takes any less practice than any other activity or sport. To be the best it takes hours of dedication. Know each and every angle, outcome and possibility - this is how you win. If you are new to online gaming before you enter the fray give practice mode (bots) a few spins and get accustomed with the basics.

15. Play the tutorial

No matter how experienced you may think you are, it is always worth playing the tutorial. It doesn’t make you any less of a gamer; even the pros play the tutorials for new games. iI’s true, I know and regularly play with a few. For the sake of a five minute run through it is always worth that initial familiarization.

14. Know the controls

Taking the above point a little further, before jumping into a game and attempting to pick up the controls as you go along, combine the first two points above and become accustomed to the button layout. You do not want to go into an online competitive game not knowing what you are doing – it will not be good for your confidence going forward or your online stats (you will be judged by these stats online so look after them).

Once you know where everything is, the next question to ask yourself is: Is this set up right for me? The default layout is not always best. For example, I am a prolific drop shot player and for this I need to have the crouch button under my thumb, not over at B (Xbox), or O (PS). Simply go into settings and spool through the available set up until you find the right one for you.

13. Beat the single player mode first

This will help familiarize yourself with the controls and give you the background knowledge required to know what is going on online.

12. Watch the pros

Just like any other competitive sport, watching the pros can and will provide you with tips and tricks you can try at home. Look and see what button layouts they use, what weapon set up they use, what routes they take around the map, what special abilities they have selected. Analyze what team wins most often and figure out why. Watching competitive games will provide you with a wealth of knowledge that Google cannot.

11. Choose your genre

Online gaming is a commitment so choose your genre carefully. You will end up spending a lot of time online lost in your new found world, so make sure that you are happy with the path you have chosen. RPGs or MMORPGs usually eat up more hours than shooters, so make sure you have the time available to make the most out of your chosen game. Of course, you can play as many as you want but the more you play the more time you consume.

10. Knowledge is power - adapt

It’s simple, the more you know the better prepared you are. Watch the pros, go online, go on YouTube, ask other gamers – you are the smart one asking questions to strengthen your skills.

It is always best to have multiple answers to a proposed question. What I mean is that in online gaming there may be times where your current plan of attack is not working - the enemy knows how to counter your approach. This means that you must have an alternative. By arming yourself with knowledge of the game you will be able to recognize the enemy's tactics and counter then with an alternate proven attack.

9. Work with teammates

You scratch my back, I scratch your back; this is very much the mentality online. If you prove yourself as a true team player, your teammates will protect you. Whether you are playing an RPG or a shooter you are always stronger as a team. Team work not only prolongs your life and enables you to rack up a greater score, but completing team based activities often provide you with greater XP rewards. So, if you are looking to level up quicker, become a team player and the rest as they say will be history.

8. Never stand still

A no brainer really. You stand still, you die. Simple.

7. Think human

Remember that once you cross that threshold into online gaming you are playing against other humans – the ultimate prey. Think human, double back and double back again – try to put yourself in the shoes of your opponents and remember that they will be doing exactly the same thing. Remain cool and call their bluff every once in awhile, p-p-p-p-p-p-p-p-poker face.

6. Don’t panic when on a losing streak

The fastest way to make things worse is to panic or get angry. Trust me, the harder you fight it the worse it gets. If you find yourself on a losing streak my tried and tested fix is to put the controller down for ten seconds, in that ten seconds you are to move from your current position (stand up maybe) and take in a few deep breathes and take my next point into account.

5. Respect your opponent’s skill

It is vitally important to respect the skill of the other player. Sure you were bested but you were only bested today – you can and will get better. Instead of looking at it as a negative experience, look at how you can learn from it. How did the opponent better you in that situation? If you learn from each and every moment such as this you will soon be that player that forces others to learn and adapt.

4. Take a break

It is important to take a break – your concentration levels will drop the longer you play, but you won’t realise this is affecting your performance. The best thing to do is to take a break every hour, just for a few minutes whether it is a lap around the garden or a quick pet with the dog the difference this will make will be self evident in your game score.

3. Do not cheat

If you cheat you lose all respect from other players. You gain nothing by exploiting glitches or cheats – you do not better yourself or the gaming experience, so just say no.

2. Keep it clean

Do not be tempted to drop to another person’s level when it comes to trash talk. If you are being trash talked it is because the other player knows you are better and can only respond with trash as their gaming ability just doesn’t cut it. Shake it off and beat them again – that is the fastest way to shut them down. We need to encourage a united, safe and fun world online; if we all adopt this approach we are that much closer to that end goal.

1. Have fun out there

They are called joy sticks because gaming is fun. At the end of the day that is the fundamental purpose of gaming. To have fun and share in one another’s adventure. Go out and have fun people!

And remember…

Great players are not always top and top players are not always great.

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