How To Become a Better Gamer
Loving your gaming but feel you’ve reached a bit of a dead end when it comes to your level progression? Or are you wanting to get more competitive and need to fine-tune your gamer’s edge?
You’re not alone. With online team play, professional tournaments and super-realistic/super-challenging single play games, there’s no denying the gaming world is heading in bigger and better directions and nobody wants to be left behind.
To help boost your gamer credentials, we’ve compiled the Gear Hungry no-nonsense strategy to become a better player. Whether you’re a console or desktop demon, solo gamer or online multi-team player, our seven top tips will help to keep you in the thick of the gaming action.
1. Make Sure Your Set Up Is Right
Ok, this may seem an obvious one, but it can be overlooked in the rush to get online. A quick check of your set-up and gaming gear before you power up is always time well spent. So, make the following your pre-game routine for a sure-fire way to enhance your game:
- Comfort is king – You could be in for a long night (and/or day) so make sure it’s as easy and comfortable as possible. If you’re playing at a desk, can it easily accommodate your screen, console, gaming router and gadgets without clutter or lack of mouse space threatening to derail your game? You could always consider getting one of the many gaming desks out there to give you the right space to play. Having a mouse or controller you find comfortable and your gaming monitors at the right eye-level can also really make a difference when the game is on.
- Brighten the screen – with the complex visual nature of gaming, many tend to use a combination of dark, muddled background colors to help make the action stand out. It adds to the game’s atmosphere but can make it difficult to see everything as you concentrate on the screen. Crank up the brightness and you’ll make your gameplay clearer as well as keeping your eyes strain-free and on the ball. Gaming glasses can also help to protect against any glare.
- Customize the controls – Some games let you change the settings so that you are comfortable in play. Make the most of any customization features and get to know the settings so you have the best sensitivity levels for you and your playing style. Use the controls to your advantage and it can really enhance your game.
2. Keep Your Focus
Like most things in life, if you want something you’ve got to work for it and gaming is no different. It’s one thing to fun play on the hoof and have a blast doing it but to really up your play technique you need to put in the hard work. And that, my gaming friend, means keeping focused.
Each time you play – particularly if you have a favorite game or an online tournament goal – try to focus on every aspect rather than going through the motions. This way going into the zone when it comes to serious or competition play will become second nature.
Keeping focused on your game requires concentration so you also need to avoid getting distracted. And that means eliminating background distractions when you play. You may think the soothing sounds of your download back catalogue is helping your performance but for serious zone moments, music is a no-no. Your focus has enough multi-tasking to do to keep in the game. Instead, plug in your gaming headphones and turn up the game soundtrack volume so you get the full immersive gaming experience with no distractions.
3. Learn From Others
When it comes to developing our playing skills and strategy, we could all do with our own gaming version of Mr. Miyagi in our lives. Learning from others is key to developing as a gamer and recognizing that you can always learn means you are open to the gamers around you.
With online play, you can learn from your opponent in real time – yup, it stings when you get beat but turn the pain of losing into an opportunity and work out just how your opponent had the edge. Then use this intel to improve your game next time.
The internet is also a top learning tool when it comes to developing tricks and fine-tuning your gaming strategies. And the World Wide Web is certainly not short of people happy to share their expertise! Find your favorite online gaming sites and forums and take advantage of other people’s experience and insider knowledge on new games and hacks to crack difficult play. Ask questions and get into online conversations, you never know just what you can pick up that can really help you to polish your playing style. Seek out and follow any blogs from your favorite gamers or players you admire.
YouTube is also a diamond mine of guidance, hacks, tips and lessons from your gaming peers. You can check out videos for specific games or channels from the gaming creators such as TGN, EA or Battlefield for the latest insider knowledge on their products and game play. Or learn from the many individual gamers who regularly post content and video tutorials that can really help to enhance your own game.
Away from your gaming monitor, you can also keep on learning. Reading gaming magazines, listen to gaming podcasts, sign up to e-news alerts from your favorite gaming websites will all make sure you are plugged in and informed on what’s going on in the gaming world.
4. Practice Makes Perfect
We do love a good cliché here at Gear Hungry, and when it comes to improving your gaming strategy, this is one of the best. But with gaming it isn’t just about simply practicing (that’s just playing right?), it’s about how you practice and who with.
Not only do you want to hone your skills to a point where you can do them in your sleep, but you also want to improve so you need to push yourself out of your gaming comfort zone.
Play online as much as you can. Build your gaming contacts and play against good players so your reactions and game tactics are pushed to the max. Then get back to your gaming desk and play some more. Note how you performed and how you responded under pressure and learn from players who are better than you.
With your favorite game, go back to solo play and repeat skills and levels until they are lodged in your brain and are totally part of your gaming muscle-memory. If multi-team play is your thing, then shake up your teams and push yourself to lead the play. Keep communicating too, this is a key skill when it comes to strategic gaming, and one we can all do with practicing – and it could well bring new teams and gaming levels into view, and ultimately help to boost your ranking.
5. Knowledge Is Power
Set aside some time away from your own gaming to watch others play on YouTube or live streaming and you can learn a great deal. You can observe how they react in certain situations that perhaps you’ve found difficult and discover a new way to tackle the challenge.
Checking out replays of others’ games – especially if they are profile players you particularly admire – also gives you the chance to see how they react to their opponents and break down the components of their winning strategies. This is a sure-fire way to improve your own game – who doesn’t want to learn from the best?
Watching streams of professional games on the E-sport scene is not a good way of not only learning from the top gaming pros but also to pick up the newest tricks to give you the advantage when you fire up your next online game. The gaming world is an ever-changing one and watching the professional means you can get plugged into the latest updates, tactics and hotfixes.
It may sound time-consuming – especially if you have repeated messages from your friends to join in a scheduled game – but take some time to do your homework and you will undoubtedly reap the game skill rewards.
Another good tip is to watch re-runs of your own games if you can on spectator or replay mode, particularly the ones where you’ve not quite got into your gaming mojo. It may be a painful watch but if you don’t work out what you’re perhaps doing wrong, you’re only going to carry on doing it and you are not going to improve.
Then get back to your gaming desk and practice! Load up your favorite game and re-visit their tutorials and pace yourself through any demo games to practice your new and improved skills and any strategies you’ve learnt. And to get even further ahead without breaking the bank, download free demos from brand new games on the market, to test your skills out on the latest game play and to keep your overall game plan sharp.
6. Stay Healthy
Ok, so you’ve done your homework and you are pumped to get back online and tactically blast your way to your next win. But there are other ways in which you need to be total gaming match-fit to get the results you want.
While the on-screen action may well be enough to get you out of breath with just a controller in your hand, as a gamer you are ultimately a physical bystander and can be sedentary for hours at a time. But what you do health and fitness-wise away from the screen as well as in front of it can make a real difference to your gaming performance.
Away from the screen – hit the gym or go for a run outdoors! Build up the strength and stamina needed for a gaming all-nighter by working on your cardio and your core. Exercise regularly and you’ll be able to react faster, play harder and keep focused for longer.
Build in hand exercises to keep your game grip strong if you are playing regularly – simply squeezing a tennis ball in the palm of your hand can help with strength, hand flexibility and gaming performance. And don’t forget to eat well – a balanced diet will ensure you have the energy for a full-on video battle or team game.
When it’s game on – be body aware to avoid sitting in the same position for hours on end. Go for an extended cable on your gaming headsets so that you can regularly get up, stretch and move around, even during play. Look after your eyes too, consciously blink to avoid dry eyes caused by prolonged game stare and try out some gaming glasses to filter out screen glare.
And don’t forget to keep hydrated – no worries if a few beers are part of your game plan but be aware that alcohol can slow your reaction time. And caffeine hits are all good if it’s looking to be a long night, but too much and your precision control or mouse movements can become too twitchy.
7. Take Time Off Your Game
This may not be what you expect to hear when it comes to top tips to become a better gamer, but it’s important for both you and your play to take a break from gaming every once in a while. Sometimes you really can have too much of a good thing and being aware while you game of just how much is too much is a healthy strategy to have.
A positive attitude is essential to strategic game play so if you are feeling stressed out or tired, switch off the console. The game can be played – and won – another day.
We’re not talking about boxing up your gaming gear and storing it away in the basement, but some short time away from the screen can help to recharge your batteries and bring you back to the console with a refreshed game-on attitude. Time-out from playing a particular game can also give you the headspace to re-think your approach and create new play strategies that will knock your opponents out of the video game park.