Gaming Tips Bonus
How to become a better gamer
Admittedly nothing beats practice and experience when it comes to gaming. That said, we have gathered some general advice from top-ranked gamers across multiple genres. If you are a pro or not into gaming, feel free to skip this bonus chapter.
First Person Shooters (FPS)
Get a large mousepad
A mousepad with a large surface area will ensure that you have enough room to track your target. It will also allow you to to use the full length of your arm to aim, instead of just your wrist, thereby increasing the accuracy of your movements.
If you want to truly get better at the FPS of your choice – spend time in practice mode. Play with bots. Yes, it’s tedious. Yes, there is no ranking. But it will deliver results because deliberate practice works.
Enter the practice mode with a specific goal in mind and focus on that goal. Whether you want to get better at a weapon, increase reaction speed, or something else, the more specific the goal, the better. Single-threaded deliberate practice is the name of the game. Add this to your strategic calendar and watch yourself inch towards your goal.
Spend time researching optimal settings for your game. You do not need to mirror the #1 player. Everyone is different, but it is worth studying a few and trying to find a trend. Is anti-aliasing turned off? Do the PROs have a specific crosshair color or shape? There are reasons behind these decisions. They are deliberate and thoughtful. Someone spent time studying this and arrived at what is likely the best decision. No shame in copying!
Anticipate your enemies
Pre-shooting is key! Have you ever played a CS-GO, Fortnite, PUBG or Overwatch match and wondered how you died quickly to an opponent who did not have a clear advantage? It happens to us all the time and one of the main reasons for that is pre-shooting.
What is it? Pre-shooting is starting to fire into an area you expect your enemy to be fractions of a second before you see them. Your ability to successfully pre-fire will improve dramatically over time as you spend more time playing the game and understanding enemy movement and where they typically go on a map.
For example, you turn a corner, open the door, and enter a room. Based on your game sense, you will need to determine if there is a reasonable chance that your opponent might be close. The downside to pre-firing is that it will give up your position. The upside is that you will get nearly uncontested damage done. There is more nuance involved in understanding when to pre-shoot. If you are new to the game, this might be harder, but you will get better over time. Once you have a rough sense of where your opponent might be – it is okay to start shooting.
Make thoughtful movements
Movement is a cornerstone of every winning player. We often see highlight clips of insane headshots or kills, but behind the aim there is thoughtful and deliberate movement.
Let’s look at a few components of movement.
- Move erratically: This is especially true when you are in a 1v1 fight. Whether you are using hit scan or tracking weapons, you do not want to stand still because it makes you an easy target. Moving in a straight, predictable line makes you easy to track and kill.
- Be Deliberate: Make informed, thoughtful actions. There should be a purpose behind everything you do. No steps wasted. No time wasted. If you are looting, loot with a purpose. Do not pick up things for the sake of picking them up. Know precisely what you need and focus on that. If you watch any of the top FPS players, you will see how deliberate all their steps are.
- Check your surroundings: Use terrain or objects to your advantage by scouting, shielding yourself, or peeking. This can be as simple as taking the high-ground. It is generally always advisable to take high-ground in a FPS match because it puts you in control as your enemy is more exposed.
Win the fight before it starts
That's right. If you do not think you have an edge – don't fight. An advantage can be positioning, high ground, gear, team count, other information such as knowing that they just got out of a fight and looting. Your job is to gather information via game sense, audio, eyesight, and then do the following simple calculation. Do I have an advantage? If yes, engage your opponent. If not, do not engage unless you forced, pressed for time, have another agenda, or you are convinced that you are superior mechanically (we tend to overestimate our abilities relative to the competition).
Develop and rely on game sense
This is part of winning the fight, and it is also a complex topic, but let's give this a shot here. First, game sense is specific to a genre and a game. Second, it takes time to develop it, but it gives you a significant edge.
Let's give an example of what it means in practice. In a MOBA like League of Legends, if you are alone in a bot lane as ADC, the mid-tower has nobody, and you only see top and mid on the map – you should think about not advancing forward because the opposing team is likely camping you. That is why the lane is empty. There is a reason for this, and you should be able to deduce that.
Another example is a Battle Royale (BR) game with a closing circle like in Apex Legends or PUBG. You heard shots from opponents outside the circle. You can triangulate where the shots are coming from and roughly where the players will enter the circle if there are survivors. There is a high probability that there are survivors. Unless you are incredibly weak (low health, no ammo), you should more often than not pick this fight.
Why? They will be coming from outside the circle. They will often be weak. They will often think they are safe because everyone is further ahead, and they are the last ones here. You want to put pressure on them when they are in the open, making the final run towards the circle or just as they have entered the circle and start to heal.
In BR games, it is tempting to focus on the kills. We are incentivized to do so with the scoring system. We are programmed from past games that kills are good. Kills are synonymous with success. You see highlight reels of players going on kill streaks on YouTube. It is natural to feel the urge to finish off your opponents.
Not so fast. If you knocked someone down, keep their location in your head and either get the other teammates or wait for them to resurrect the knocked teammate and finish them both. A knocked team is generally no value on the field. It is tempting to want to finish them for the reasons we mentioned above, but be deliberate in your actions. The time and ammo spent on a target that is neutral value on the field is a waste. Instead, camp them or, better yet, go after their teammates.
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
It is okay to specialize in one game. Some folks have divided opinions on this, but we will take the stance that it is okay to start small, get good at something, and expand from there. Taking the time to understand your character's movements, abilities, feel, and interaction with every other aspect in the game will give you an edge. You will become a specialist and this should increase your win-rate. Many famous streamers are specialists in this regard. They are masters at their craft, and the viewers come to watch them.
Stay with your team
It is tempting to be alone and go for the highlight play or try to steal all the kills. There is a time and a place for that, but in general, you want to group together. The other team does not need to be that good to win a 2v1, and that is the situation you will end up in if you are always alone.
Chain your abilities
Everything you do should be deliberate. You should know what outcome you desire to achieve. It's okay if it doesn't result in a kill, but there should be a plan. Spamming your abilities every time they come off cooldown means you are not thoughtful in your actions. Chaining your abilities to have max impact and to deal max damage is the way to go. If you can coordinate your abilities and your teammate's abilities into one combo – you are much more likely to secure a kill.
Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
Invest in your economy
Economy means growth. Growing your economy allows you to expand and to attack. It will enable you to rebuild. Hurting your enemy's economy prevents them from attacking. Your economy is the root cause of everything. It is more important than any single unit, and so you must expand and protect your economy while trying to damage the other player's economy. How? Drive-by attacks on workers, prioritizing workers and core base over any other building or units.
Spend your money
There is no interest in any of the main RTS games that we know of. Sitting on thousands of a single source does no good for your game plan. In an RTS, we earn money to spend it. You should be actively building and spending. A good rule of thumb is to pick a number for a resource in the game and constantly check to make sure that you are not hovering above that number. If you look at the PROs, they are generally sitting on 100-200 resources.
Time your attacks
As the game progresses, your economy grows, and you unlock more of your tech tree. So does your opponent. Certain things in the tech tree are much more advanced than others or can be hard counters to others. There are also certain quantities of units at a specific time that can be just enough to make a dent in your opponent's defense. Your job is to study these evolutions. To understand these timing attacks and to execute. You can start by picking one specific timing attack and practicing. This can be marauder push at X minutes or roach push at Y minutes. If executed well, these attacks can be devastating, especially if you know your opponent is investing in 2nd expo or a higher-tech tier unit, and you catch them off guard with a timing attack.
Moving away from specific gaming types, this last section will focus on some general thoughts and best practices for multiplayer games (FPS with squads, Overwatch, MOBAs).
Start out friendly
Maintain a positive character and treat your teammates how you want to be treated. If you start out with a snarky tone or with a probe regarding someone's name or personality, it may seem like a carefree joke to you, but it may offend someone else. Sometimes humor does not carry well over the internet, and your goal is to build a strong team. Yes, that might be hard with randoms, but you are more likely to win if you can get them talking. It is also more fun to watch for your viewers!
The best-case scenario is that you are communicating efficiently, calling out what's happening to you in your game, and playing amicably with your team.
The worst-case scenario is someone is upset and is intentionally going to lose the game. You want to avoid that as best as you can, and the best tactic for toxicity from our POV is always leading with positivity. If someone is indeed toxic, then ignore them
If your teammate does something good – A kill, an assist, a good move -- celebrate them. That’s right, give a stranger a compliment over the internet. It will make them feel better and play better with you.
Let’s say you played with a solid teammate last match. They were a strong communicator, mechanically skilled or both – invite them to squad up for the next game. Sometimes that seems counterintuitive and odd. Why take the initiative and invite a stranger? What if they reject you? The reason you should invite them is because it is more fun when you play and win with others.
More fun for you and more fun for your viewers. If they reject your invite – that is okay. You tried. Moving on!
Choose a squad leader
Your squad leader will be the person who calls the shots or the plays. When are you engaging? When are you disengaging? What is the plan? Often there will be little time to decide, and you need an individual to align the team on a single call. Five people doing one thing in a coordinated fashion is better than five people going astray and creating a lot of uncoordinated situations, which is better for your opponent.
We will argue that even if the call is not great, rallying everyone around a single purpose will still net a better outcome for the team as opposed to five people running around in disarray. A shot caller should have a clear presence and good game sense. They may not be the most mechanically skilled player, but they should have macro thinking about the game and should have the confidence to use that thinking to optimize for a win.
Once you select your shot caller, you commit. Even if you disagree with the call, act on it. You can and should always debrief after, but in the moment, your team and your shot caller need you to stick to the plan. Try to relinquish control and trust in your shot caller. Trust is key. By trusting you maximize the chance that you will move in unison and can focus all your energy on execution. Then after the game – debrief, debate, discuss and get better as a team.
If someone upset you – stay out of it. Your career as a content creator can be affected. Everything you do when you stream is accessible to others. Your viewers are watching. The internet may seem vast, but the gaming community and the streaming community is tight-knit. When you end up moving up the ranks, do you want someone to fetch a clip where you were rude to a new player? No! So let’s not do anything that you could regret in the future.
Debrief your team
Yes, it can be that serious. Again deliberate practice. Some effort and some self reflection will go a long way. People jump from game to game without reflecting on what works and what doesn’t. After all, it is so easy. The games are designed to lure you back in. Resist the temptation to coast through your streaming session and gaming session on auto-pilot.
In between the games think. A failure is wasted if there is no lesson. One man said – I never lose. I either win or learn. Be that man. Yes it seems novel and scary, but you can lead the conversation. "Guys, no ego – what could we have done better? What could I have done better? One thing that comes to mind about where I made a mistake is X." Be vulnerable and start sharing. Your team will share as well.
As you do this – know that to each player their game seems best and we are prone to blame others for mistakes. Try to see the perspective of each player. Also, try to celebrate the wins. We recommend a simple system called plus delta. After each match, each player can say one thing that they’d like to change (delta) and one thing that went well (plus). Notice the neutral or positive framing on the word delta. We are purposefully not saying something that went wrong last match.
Think about the strategy together
What is working for you? What have you seen other teams do? What are your strengths? If someone is excellent at a specific class, think about a protect-X composition and build it around this player. What matters is the win and your team climbing together in ranks. It is tempting to want to be the X in that composition but try to let go off the ego. Know that your support takes skill, and each player is contributing to the win. What about another composition that meets your capabilities and play-styles? You will learn and grow as teammates if you build strategies and tactics together!
Remain task oriented
Have the mental fortitude to rise above conflict that is emotional and not task-oriented. A task-oriented conflict where you argue based on principles and goals is healthy – this is what makes teams stronger. Emotional conflict based on feelings can be detrimental, especially over the internet, when it is easy to be callous. It is easy to hurt someone because there is virtually no accountability. We encourage debate about strategy or a play.
Record your game and study them. Watch recordings of others and examine those. Ask someone to review your game. As you study replays, do it deliberately and thoughtfully. Remember: When we apply ourselves, we give it 100% with a disciplined and focused mind — deliberate practice. What we are NOT doing is watching a replay while alt-tabbing between Twitch, Discord, and Amazon, where you are browsing for a new mouse. What we are doing is sitting down with a notepad and writing down what went well and what did not go well in that game. Make all your effort directed at something.
Move past disagreements
First, do not let issues fester. It might be hard to resolve a conflict today. That is okay. Come back to it tomorrow. Second, if there is a decision that you disagree with but the team decided – commit to that decision.
Assume that you have blind spots – we all do. Assume that someone out there understands something that you don’t. Join a community for your game or your craft. Figure out who knows what they are talking about and ask them for advice. If you play games, ask them to practice or scrim with you. Perhaps you can climb up the ranks together. If you are doing arts or cooking or chess, maybe there is a forum or a Discord where you can get feedback on your skill or discuss recipes. We are, by nature, social animals, and we have an immense capacity to learn. Learning from others who are practicing the same trade with you will help you grow. As you grow and get better at your craft – your streams will be more appealing to your community.
When you approach folks, please do not get discouraged that they do not reciprocate. It takes time to build rapport. Some people want to be left alone, and that is okay. Others may be more comfortable to discuss with you in writing. And yet others will go so far as to play with you or co-stream with you or review replays of your game or your chess match. All of this is brilliant. There are a ton of ways to learn out there as long as you are high empathy, open-minded, and take the time to get to know people and to offer them something in return.