Don't be That Guy: Five Tips in Surviving Online Competition

Online competition can be intense, but with these five tips, the intensity will turn into fun.

Competitive games have become exceedingly popular on the online front. May it be Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or StarCraft 2, people have been devoting hours of their time to mastering the intricacies of their preferred game. But for all the pros that pull off incredible ults and go on insane kill streaks, gaming communities have had an influx of newcomers struggling in the new, highly-competitive environment.

There are a few ways to make the transition into these highly competitive communities easier. From improving communication to understanding the competitive mindset, players can learn and improve in the face of hardcore competition. These five tips will help you survive online competition -- even in casual matches.

Get a Headset with a Good Microphone

One of the most important pieces of equipment needed for competitive shooters (or any competitive game, for that matter), a microphone is essential for communication and victory. One of the biggest challenges in team-based competition is to get all players to work together. Without a microphone, this becomes nearly impossible as your communication is severely limited. In addition, teammates likely won't take you seriously without a good headset and microphone. That may sound petty, but when immediate communication is essential for victory, the lack of a good mic makes you a hindrance to your team -- not an asset. 

Luckily, you don't need to break the bank to get a microphone. Headsets can be as cheap as $20 and can last you multiple years. If you really want to get into competitive gaming, a microphone is essential. Check out our list of gaming headset reviews and guides to get started. 

Learn the Terms

With that microphone, you'll have the tech to better communicate with your teammates, but you'll also need the vocabulary to facilitate cohesion. Learning the terms and phrases used in each game you're playing will allow you to understand your teammates and explain your thoughts clearly. This can be as simple as understanding the common terms seen in MOBAs to as complex as learning the specific strategies in StarCraft 2.

While you will be able to learn these terms through extensive playtime, checking out websites and YouTube videos can provide a quicker understanding. You don't need to study everything, you just need to know enough to communicate with your team.

Understand Your Mistakes

No one starts out perfect, and you will make plenty of mistakes as you try a new game. Allow yourself to fail and learn from those mistakes. Even if it seems overwhelming, remember you are learning how to play the game. Enjoy each match, even when you're struggling. It takes time to get better. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to win. There's always next game.

However, you do want to learn from your mistakes and to do so, you must be willing to be self-critical. An easy way to analyze your mistakes is to record your gameplay. While some games have the ability to re-watch matches, you should use third-party software (such as OBS or integrated Nvidia recording software) to record your games anyway. This way, you have more control in your recordings, allowing for deep analyzation of your performance. Remember to find solutions for your mistakes, as just watching your mistakes over and over again will drain your confidence.

Don't forget to listen to your teammates, either. While they will criticize you, they also can provide helpful advice that will improve your matches. You can go even a step further and ask your teammates for constructive criticism. This will take a lot humility, but it is important to get advice when you can. They may be harsh, but the feedback you'll get is essential improving your gameplay.

Master That Mute Button

But sometimes people are just jerks. They scream slurs and call you every name under the sun. When you encounter these people, mute them and report them immediately. You don't have to deal with that toxicity. Regardless of what others say, it is not part of the game and is not acceptable. These games are meant to be fun, and you don't have to listen to people actively trying to ruin the game.

This also means that you shouldn't be that jerk, either. While you may get angry at teammates or get frustrated at the game, that is no excuse for being an a**hole to other players. Don't belittle others because they're not as good as you and don't accept that belittlement when it happens to yourself. Mute, report, and block these players because everyone deserves a good time.

Don't be Afraid to Walk Away

Sometimes the game just becomes too much. People are excessively rude and mean, the game becomes frustrating, you're just getting tired of the same routine. Taking breaks is not only healthy, but essential in truly enjoying competitive games. Allow yourself to walk away and don't be afraid to stop playing altogether. If you're not having fun, play something else. Gaming is huge and full of opportunities; don't ignore that potential just because you're playing a game you're not enjoying.

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Jumping into a competitive game is challenging. Like anything in life, the first few hours will be rough, but things do get better. If you're truly not having fun, find another game, there's plenty of competitive and non-competitive games to choose from. With the strength of online gaming, a new competition is just around the corner.

Published Jul. 29th 2017

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