So I'm hellblazer445 blazin' my way through the blogosphere. I intern at a game review website for parents and children called Learningworks for Kids. We write playbooks to help improve the thinking skills of children and turn games into a positive experience for both parents and kids. Our beta site should be up in the next month and I'll have links to that as soon as possible. I enjoy RPG's, FPS's, RTS's, and MOBA style games. PC is my platform, bitches (laughs maniacally at the tiny console gaming children- ok too far, just kidding). Feel free to drop me a line if you like something I've written and keep the FAPS coming!
While the debate over E-Sports and their credibility as a ďsportĒ rages on, one thing that isnít up for dispute is the rise of competitive gaming in todayís market. Hyper competitive and tightly balanced games like League of Legends, and StarCraft II have developed into a huge industry that includes everything from professional tournaments to product endorsements and sponsorship. While Iím FAR from the pro level and Iím still not sold on the idea of video games as sports, I can say that Iíve had a lot of fun and some success with these titles. This is my guide to competitive gaming. Itís not going to make any pros, but if youíre a casual gamer like myself it may help you understand the appeal of these games and provide a foundation to improve your game. Since League of Legends and StarCraft II are the competitive games Iím most familiar with, Iíll be using my experience with them to help shed some light into competitive gaming and what you can do to break into games like them.
Know Your Game: One of the defining features of a game like League of Legends is its tight game mechanics and balance. There are fundamentals that every player wishing to be successful will need to understand to have any chance of besting their competition. These games are extremely deep; donít get frustrated if they take a little getting used to. I got into LofL a little less than a year ago. When I started it probably took me a good ten games before I even understood what was happening well-enough to be a contributor to my team. There are laning roles, team tactics, champ builds, and so many other things a player will need to understand before they can attain a skill level theyíre satisfied with.
So how does one know where to begin? Well for starters there is a shit-load of basic information available right on the internet. Try searching ďStarCraft fundamentals,Ē or something similar. Watch YouTube videos of pro players so you have a better understanding of the games core systems and strategy. Youíd be surprised how useful what you find might be. In StarCraft itís imperative to know what your units and your enemies units are good at and what their special abilities are. How could you possibly hope to counter your enemyís siege tanks if you donít know that immortals are the right unit for the job? Youíll be stuck fruitlessly throwing stalkers at an enemy that is built to ream through units just like it. I canít emphasize how important research is in games like this; if you havenít already, TRY IT.
Keep it Simple, Stupid: Eventually youíll understand LofL well enough to create your own champ builds, but when youíre starting out youíll need a base plan that you can rely on. This is not to say do the same thing every time, but find some champs that work well for you and read about what makes them unique. Make sure you know how that champís game mechanics work and how to synergize and exploit their strengths. Use highly-rated champion item and mastery guides. Try opening with that Protoss 4 Gate strategy until you know how to do it well. Itís worked for me and it can work for you too. As your skill progresses youíll know how to rush Dark Templars through your enemyís back door, but more importantly youíll know when thatís a viable strategy and when itís not. Don't try rushing advanced units or expanding early-game until you know what you're doing. Expanding or spending on tech too early can spell doom just as easily as doing these things too late. Again, simple strategies which you can build off of will help you understand the game's foundation.
Define Your Own Success: This is huge. You are not IdRA, or HuK, or any of these pro players and you probably never will be. I am a very humble player in both of the aforementioned games. I define my success by feeling like Iím continually getting better and winning more than I lose (even if just by a fraction). My StarCraft II league was Silver the last time I played a couple of months ago. I made my way towards the top 10 of my division before Skyrim and the plethora of other Fall blockbusters stole my attention away. In League of Legends I feel like Iím a competitive player who can help his team win against opponents of similar skill. With champs like Sion and Ryze I feel confident I can be a contender. These days I win slightly more than I lose and often place in the top 3 for my team. Once in a while Iím even the gameís best player. Iím happy with that. I hope through continued play Iíll get better, but my goal is solely to have fun. Iíll never be pro. Iíll never have 300+ APM. Iím really only a casual observer of that level of play anyway. I couldnít tell you when the next tournament will be or who won the last one. To define my skill and success in those terms would really detract from my experience and I'd like to think my position would likely define the majority of gamers who play hyper-competitive games.
I hope this post helped a few people and that I didnít just ramble on. Please feel free to comment on what you liked and didnít like and add to it! Find your game, learn it, refine your play, and set a realistic goal for yourself. Thatís all there is to it.