Chapter 8: Gaming Tips
Here's a fact that shows exactly how popular video gaming is right now. A full two-thirds of Americans – about 227 million people – play online games, and this proportion has been rising for some time.
If you're an experienced, seasoned gamer, it may not seem like many new players are joining the community, but the numbers show that they are. At first, we all start out as new players (newbies), and that's OK – as long as we don't stay in the newbie stage for too long.
The goal is to learn how to get good at video games fast and catch up to the competition. That's what we're going to go over in this guide to leveling up your gameplay in the most popular genres!
Besides, there are aspects to how to be a better gamer that is harder to pin down than others, like game dynamics and the nuances of different genres.
Even within game franchises, substantial differences can exist between titles. Add PC game mods to the mix, and it's easy to see how the gaming landscape can get confusing.
But we'll try our best to keep the advice as practical as we can without getting too deep in the weeds and flood you with too much information at once. The idea is to learn the basics of all games to improve gaming skills overall.
In the end, the tips and tricks you learn here will teach you how to get better at gaming faster than you think.
Engage your brain before you engage your weapon.– Marine Corp. General James 'Mad Dog' Mattis (Ret.)
FPS detractors and haters like to downplay shooting games as simplistic, but the depth of FPS strategy and tactics belies their complaints. That's why this chapter will be more copious than the rest because there are simply more nuances to the genre.
If there's one thing we can say about modern first-person shooters (FPS), it's this: the game action moves faster than newbies can handle.
Really, that's the fun of FPS games – the thrill of battle and the agony of defeat when you could've made better choices during a match.
Split seconds and millimeters count in FPS games, but think about it from this perspective too.
How can you hope to compete against gamers that have more experience, more skill, and are more adept at squashing newbies than you are?
The answer is to know the fundamentals and practice, enjoying the learning process along the way.
So, to start out, we'll go over basic defensive concepts.
Cliché alert! Offense may win the game, but defense wins championships. You may have heard that phrase applied to professional sports, yet it also coincides with FPS gaming.
Defense is so critical that we felt we had to lead off our FPS chapter with the fundamentals.
So, a simple strategy for better defense includes tactics like:
- Constant movement
- Studying the multiplayer maps
- Class selection
Of all tips we'll discuss in this guide, movement is by far the most critical to survival.
Stay on the move, or die – period! Those are your two choices.
If you remain stationary – even taking a brief pause to aim slowly – you're easy pickings for an aggressive player, playing out of control and charging around the map without discipline.
Bob and weave. Shuck and jive.
Run in zig zag patterns. Jump around when taking fire from an unknown location.
Do anything to make yourself a more difficult target to kill, and never stand still for more than a brief moment to gather your thoughts!
Studying the multiplayer maps
Depending on the game, there may be significant differences between single player maps and multiplayer maps.
Knowing common hiding spots and perches will give you the advantage of situational awareness, also known as game sense.
Honestly, nothing should surprise you when playing an FPS match. Notice boxes, walls, places to hide, and memorize the layouts of buildings to know how to position yourself during a firefight.
TIP – If you want to learn how to get good at games, go into practice mode and take laps around each map until you know every wall, crevice, and sniper hideout.
Never choose a class that doesn't match how you intend to play.
It's also not a good idea to get too creative with customization because the game developers spent an incredible amount of time designing set classes, so use them accordingly.
If you pick a support character, don't charge out into the open like The Punisher himself. Likewise, if you pick an assault class, don't play timidly and wait for the enemy to come to you.
Now, we move on to the fun part that most gamers focus all of their FPS training on - running, gunning, and taking down the enemy in a blaze of glory.
Most guides on how to play video games better begin with attacking and shooting, and it makes sense because these games are, in fact, shooting games.
But our advice started out with defense to provide crucial context on how and why certain offensive tactics work well versus an unaware, hapless enemy.
So, the essentials of FPS offensive strategy include:
- Weaponry selection
- Aiming technique
- Efficient shooting
Every FPS is different, but generally, weaponry selection encompasses the following choices:
- Pistols – intended for close-range combat and as a last resort when out of ammo
- Sub-machine guns – Great for tactical assaults on buildings but not meant for mid-range or long-range shooting
- Rifles – Best overall because they're versatile and pack a punch, yet they're not ideal for close-range engagements
- Shotguns – Close-range specialty, heavy firepower
- Sniper rifles – Have the advantage of range and firepower but require more talent to use well
- Explosives and rockets – Great way to take out aggressive players with poor situational awareness
- Devices – Each are specific to the game (e.g., tactical drones)
TIP - Improve aim by practicing with a pistol. This technique is a great drill for warming up or improving in-game accuracy!
In some games, aiming down your gun sight is required for accuracy, but in others, it won't be much of a concern.
Still, other aiming fundamentals include:
- Recoil and climb – Certain weapons will be harder to control than others
- Bullet spread and drop – Often depends on how far away a target is and the firepower
- Firepower - (cliché alert!) Size matters
Now, we come to the best part – pulling the trigger!
Based on the above fundamentals, you have to practice efficient shooting to earn a respectable kill-death ratio.
Indeed, the essentials of shooting include things like:
- Trigger discipline – The art of not shooting your team mates in the back
- Reloading – Know how many rounds you have at all times, and you'll never be caught off guard
- Marksmanship - The culmination of everything because when you fire with accuracy and discipline, you're playing like a true marksmanship.
Common FPS strategies
Now, we put it all together and apply everything we learned to an actual match that's bustling with action.
We can't stress enough how every FPS is different, but we'll do our best to outline common FPS strategies.
Without a doubt, confusion during battle is a problem for many. Thus, some pro squads do well by naming a single “shot caller” that calls out tactical information, so there's no superfluous communication.
This straggly is an alternative to shot-calling, and pros deploy it often. The idea is to make tactical adjustments based on how your enemy responds to the action. Indeed, your enemy always gets a vote on the battlefield.
Shoot where your enemy will be, not where he appears in the moment, but why?
While it's not as big of a concern as it used to be, server latency can still effect shooting accuracy. That's why you may have to shoot slightly ahead of an enemy to record a hit.
Camping is a valid strategy if deployed in certain instances, but generally, FPS gamers considered it poor taste. Yet, you'll see pros doing plenty of camping from time to time, especially snipers.
So, taking out a camping player is a skill you must develop to be a better gamer.
Sniping is more than a weapon class; its a talent and takes a certain kind of gamer to play with the “one shot, one kill” philosophy. Either way, a good sniper is worth his weight in gold because they can influence the flow of the game like no other.
Slow and steady wins the race, right? That's why lurking is the art of judicious, but not lazy and slow, tactical positioning; nor is it playing the hero and running into the fray alone. In fact, a good lurker needs to have an incredibly high situational awareness and game sense to play this way.
Is it ever a good idea to try to clear a building room-to-room on your own? No, it isn't! So rather than waste your time, wait for two other team mates to meet you before “kicking” the door. The idea is that everyone charges in together and doesn't stop until the building is clear.
That's the gist of how to get better at video games with FPS elements.
Multiplayer online battle arenas
Jack of all trades, master of none.– Robert Greene
Multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBA) relate closely to FPS games, but the difference is the expanse of the map and the number of players in the server at one time.
If you want to learn how to be a better PC gamer, improving your MOBA skills is a must.
It's OK to specialize in one type of online game. After all, the jack of all trades is master of none!
Some gamers have divided opinions on this piece of advice, but we'll take the stance that it's OK to start small, get good at something, and expand your skillset from there.
In MOBA games, taking the time to understand characters' movements, special abilities, and how they can influence the game will give you an edge.
You'll become a specialist, instead of a newbie generalist, and this experience should increase your win rate substantially.
Without a doubt, many famous streamers are specialists and true masters of their craft – and their followers come to watch them again and again because of it.
Everything you do should be deliberate in MOBA games.
You should know the outcome you desire before making a move, and it's OK if it doesn't result in a kill. Still, there should be a plan ahead of time.
For instance, spamming your abilities every time they finish cooling down isn't how to be good at video games with a massive number of players fighting at once.
Instead, chaining your abilities to have a max impact and to deal max damage is the better way to go in a MOBA!
Likewise, if you can coordinate your abilities and your teammate's abilities into one combo, you're much more likely to secure a victory when the match stands at a turning point.
It's awfully tempting to play the hero and go for the highlight play or try to steal all the kills from your team mates.
There's a time and a place for showboating but not during a tightly contested match.
Generally, you want to group together in MOBA games because the other team doesn't need to be that talented to win a 2-on-1 if you're caught by yourself. Enemies can easily pick you off one by one, especially if you can't pinpoint their location.
Honestly, that's precisely the situation you'll be in if you're always playing the hero role, trying to dominate the entire server alone.
Now, we'll move on to mobile real-time strategy games, which also boast massive global communities.
Mobile real-time strategy games
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.– Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Sometimes called farming games, mobile real-time strategy games rank among the most popular on the planet for a number of reasons.
Mainly, mobile gaming caters to a larger community than other genres, which may or may not have global reach.
PC games will never go out of style, but there's a different element to RTS games: in-depth social interaction.
That's not to say other gamers who prefer other genres don't talk to each other. The difference is that the social aspects of mobile RTS may a greater influence over the flow of the game than attacking and warfare.
In short, if you're looking for a game with constant fighting, maybe the RTS genre isn't for you. But if you want a get-away from the energy of PC gaming and consoling gaming, playing a farming game might be what you're missing.
That said, here's what we recommend to be good at video games with RTS elements.
In the RTS genre, your economic development is everything because it's how you'll unlock more powerful units, buildings, and maybe character abilities too.
RTS games usually entail gathering/farming/mining at least three different resources, and you use those resources to upgrade your base and make units too.
Typically, these games have a medieval setting, but some work well within the space sci-fi genre.
Nevertheless, the best way to grow an economy is the same in any RTS game: never stop building and never stop gathering resources!
The time element in these types of games is primary, and that's the whole fun!s
Without the RTS style, it would be harder – if not completely impossible – to coordinate players from different continents who live in vastly different time zones.
Indeed, the main diffuclt for newbies in the RTS genre is how to grow fastest without being killed by an experienced player active in another time zone.
TIP – Gathering/mining may not be the fastest way to collect resources. Ask your clan mates what works best in the game!
Yet, curiously, the RTS genre doesn't lend itself too well to the traditional concept of warfare in video games – and that's why we love them so much!
What's frustrating for many players about RTS games is the fact that overly aggressive warfare is detrimental to the game, especially if there are cross-server events that demand teamwork.
The truth about these games is that players spend an incredible amount of money to reach the top and stay there. Honestly, some players spend thousands of dollars over the course of their play to stay on top of the leaderboard, if not more.
But do the paid players succeed by constantly attacking everyone? No, they don't! Starting out, they put in the work and grow strong before waging warfare and only fight when it's absolutely necessary.
Still, you don't necessarily have to spend a single penny to enjoy an RTS game. Many of the top titles offer free in-game goodies to at least try to level the playing field.
What's fascinating about the RTS genre is how closely the gameplay coincides with real-life political, cultural, and social aspects.
For some, the entire fun of playing an RTS is avoiding war because in an RTS-style game, war is hell.
It's tempting to partake in conflict, strife, and drama, but that's not the best way to grow strong in RTS.
In fact, attacking too soon and too often is a sign of weakness and poor strategic thinking.
TIP – Don't hurry to attack players until you have a reason to do so after joining a big clan.
Invest in your economy
When a game has a social element, you can't play it without taking into consideration how your actions will affect your teammates.
Unfortunately, it's common for players in this genre to develop deep, deep emotional attachments to the game, especially the attack units they spend days producing.
Honestly, arguments between team mates or petty bickering in chat amongst brash players can have ripple effects throughout the whole server. This situation may seem counter-intuitive, but it's a fact.
Just like in real life, there's a political and social dimension to the game that can't be ignored.
If you play like a lone wolf and try to grow on your own, you won't survive – period!
You need your teammates to help you learn the game, navigate the politics, and build the friendships you'll need when there is a fight on your hands.
The main risk is that you could begin to make the gameplay life your daily life rather than a retreat for the daily grind.
But if you keep in mind the social/political side of the equation, you'll keep the game in perspective and get much more enjoyment from playing it.
Ultimately, follow these tips and fundamental strategies, and you'll level up your gameplay faster and learn how to get better at video games overall.