Gaming is a popular pastime for millions of people around the globe. For others, it may even mean much more as the rise of esports has led to many players entertaining ambitions of turning professional.
No matter how or why you play games, it’s likely that you enjoy the experience of improving and building on your competence and abilities. This is not only appealing because it opens the door to winning more often. Rather, it’s because of the intrinsic benefits it confers.
At the end of the day, your greatest rival is yourself, and the feeling of taking on ever greater challenges and improving your abilities is something many people love about gaming.
So suppose you want to begin upping your skills – where should you begin? Whether you’re a Call of Duty die-hard, a poker aficionado or anything in between, there are certain fundamentals that are common to all players looking to get better at their chosen title. Let’s dive in and explore what these are below.
When we’re caught up in the thrill of playing a game, it can be easy to forget that there’s a lot of stuff we can do outside of the playing itself that can contribute to improving our abilities. Top of the list of these is, without a doubt, research and education. Every popular game, even supposedly simple ones, will have strategies, pointers, techniques, and methods you can learn to improve your gameplay.
Sometimes these are easy to recognise and source. For example, someone wanting to improve at poker will need to, sooner or later, take advantage of the free resources hosted on reputable platforms like PokerStars to learn the various aspects of the game, from understanding hand-rankings, to the psychology meta-game of competing against others.
Other times, the useful information may be more obscure. For example, high level Call of Duty players will know every inch of every game map in rotation – including where advantageous sightlines and item drops are to be found. Much of this knowledge is hard won through experimentation, but thanks to the internet you get to piggyback off the research of others who gladly share their findings in guides and videos on websites like YouTube.
They say practice makes perfect, and it’s undeniably true. But there’s more to it than playing the same games and modes over and over. While that approach does offer benefits – particularly with respect to refining muscle memory and reactions – you will soon plateau if you don’t try to push out of your comfort zone.
What this looks like will vary from player to player, and also depend on the game being played. In a battle royale title like Fortnite, this may look like opting to choose a landing zone you’ve never tried before, in order to help build your map knowledge and give you greater flexibility in your approach.
Elsewhere, it can mean deciding to pit yourself against players of a higher skill level than you. You will, naturally, lose more times than you win – but in the process you will learn vital new skills and techniques through watching the way more experienced players compete.
It may sound laborious, but keeping good records of your gameplay can prove immensely helpful over time. This is because it can assist you in identifying patterns of behaviour that may be concealed from you. For example, in the game of chess there are hundreds of openings, strategies and counter-moves – so much so that an inexperienced player will simply be unable to recognise them all.
But by keeping records of gameplay, you may notice that you tend to lose more often than not when you play your queen up the left side of the board. This minor detail may result in the realisation that you’re consistently falling prey to a popular counter-measure. Once you have this knowledge in hand, you’ll be able to respond appropriately and continue to improve your gameplay.