ESports have been steadily, and rapidly, on the rise since the mid 2000’s and is now reaching record numbers each year. With the constant growth the gaming community has seen a rise and fall of many professional players and team dynasties. Many players, with the wide spread popularity of eSports, have big dreams of traveling the world and playing the games they love for a living. What does it take to be a professional gamer and advance through the ranks to an elite status? After reading several articles and listening to countless interviews with professional gamers, here is what it all comes down to:
As they say, practice makes perfect. If you want to take your gameplay to the next level you need to play…a lot. Typical professional players who are contracted with a team in any game (StarCraft 2, League of Legends, FIFA, Counter Strike, ect) put in the same amount, or more, hours than you do in your full-time job. With the typical day consisting of 8-12 hours of gaming each and every day of the week, it’s no mystery how the pros are able to play on a whole separate level than the general public. How do you get to that point? Make time.
As with any skill which you are looking to improve you need to set aside time and practice. Any player looking to break into the pro scene must be taking the game as seriously as they do at the professional level. Start by increasing competitive play time. Many games have both casual and competitive modes/servers. Spend your time in competitive play and become a contributing part of the game’s community.
Take the time to learn from the best. There are already people living your dream and doing exactly what you are hoping to accomplish yourself, why not learn from them? With the advances in technology, and in eSports specifically, watching professional gameplay is easy and free. Whether it is through replays of tournaments or live-streams, the knowledge from high-level play is at your finger tips. Use it.
Many players and teams do a lot of research into the stats of particular units/strategies, hours and hours worth of compiled numbers and theories, why not use them? It has been suggested over and over by top League of Legends player Voyboy that players looking to improve should watch pros intently, regularly, and try to take bits and pieces to adopt into their own strategy and play style.
Study and adapt to the ever-changing meta. Nearly every player who is looking to play video games as a career also hopes that they will stumble across a cheese strat or overlooked mechanic that they can exploit. Although there are some who find that one thing, most will build a trend of less than stellar play because they are not focusing on the core mechanics of the game. If you are looking to make it to the next level, flawless mechanics and your ability to play the current meta game are critical.
The meta game in any professional game is typically determined by what works best at that particular point in time. It is a way of streamlining your game before it even begins. Learning to play in the meta is going to make you a better player. Fact. Slight deviations from the meta are encouraged, that is where you develop your own play style and set yourself apart from the rest of the pack, but correctly playing the meta game gives you a distinct advantage over a player who doesn’t. Why not use that free advantage?
Taking your gaming to the next level, traveling the world, and earning a living on something you love, is a completely plausible dream if the proper effort and time is put into it. Do the things others aren’t willing to, that will make you better, and the better players always rise to the top.
Got any tips for your fellow gamers? Leave them in the comments below!