With the growing popularity of eSports and competitive gaming, more and more people are looking for how to become a pro gamer or how to get involved in competitive gaming. But how does one get to that level? How do you join an eSports team? Let’s take a look at some suggestions for stepping up your game (pun intended)!
Pick Your Game
Obviously, the first step is deciding which game you are going to play competitively. Some people looking to join an eSports team might already know exactly which game they are going to compete in. However, others may be undecided on which game they would like to pursue. ESports is a very involved and demanding field, and the game you pick needs to be one that you can stick with and not get burnt out. Many pro gamers spend countless hours every day honing their skills.
The most obvious advice would be to pick a game that you’re already good at. Naturally, this would make climbing the competitive ranks easier. However, you don’t need to be an expert at a particular game to become competitive in it, or even pro-level. If you don’t have a game that you’re exceptionally skilled at, pick a game that you want to become good at. With the right amount of practice and dedication, you can improve your game.
Now that you’ve got an idea of what game you’re going to be focusing on, it’s time to learn it! It doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to the game or you’ve been playing it for years, there’s always more to learn.
Watch videos of pro gamers playing your game, either on YouTube or by watching live streams on platforms such as Twitch. Analyze what they’re doing, and why it’s working. Make note when they do something you wouldn’t expect, or wouldn’t have thought to do yourself.
Many high level gamers also post tutorial videos to teach certain strategies that they use. There are plenty of strategy videos on YouTube for many different games, and they are well worth checking out.
Look online for published guides, tutorials, or tactics. Read and study them. sites like Icy Veins for World of Warcraft and Overwatch players provide tons of information for new and skilled players alike.
And finally, keep aware of any changes affecting your game. If a new patch or expansion is released, make sure you read the patch notes, and are aware of anything that will affect how you play. For example, in games like World of Warcraft, certain abilities may be added, removed, or changed between patches. In Overwatch, new characters are added, and abilities of existing characters may be changed. All of this information is documented in a game’s patch notes.
As the old adage goes, “practice makes perfect.” It’s true with eSports just like any other competitive activity. No one picks up a new game and becomes a professional overnight. Even if you’ve been playing forever and know the game inside and out, keep practicing. Top level pro gamers dedicate tons of time outside of competitions practicing.
Focus on your technique and experiment with different strategies that you may have learned (you’re still watching those YouTube videos, right?). If you’ve got a small team or a core group of friends with, practice together in private sessions and you can help them grow while they help you as well.
Networking is important for anyone looking to join an eSports team. Major teams won’t sign someone they’ve never heard of, and even small teams might be hesitant. Build a network and get yourself out there. Utilize social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as streaming platforms such as Twitch. Interact with other gamers on these platforms, from the pro-level gamers to other gamers at the same rank as you. Post highlights and clips to YouTube. If you’re ready for people to see how you play live, stream your matches.
Posting tutorials and guide videos for your game is another good way to get yourself out there. It provides useful content for other players, while also showcasing the things about the game that you are good at. And of course, teaching other people is a good way to learn yourself.
When networking, always remember to be professional and respectful to your fellow gamers and potential teammates. You’re promoting yourself, so make sure you put your best foot forward!
Join or Start a Small Team
Before setting your sights on a high-profile team, consider joining a small team. If you have a core group of friends that you regularly play with, you might want to think about starting your own team! Small teams allow players the opportunity to practice together in a low-stress environment, and help each other grow. And who knows, your “small team” may grow to become the next big thing in eSports!
Your team may be local, where you get together face-to-face and set up a LAN party. It could also be an online group that plays together at set times, using voice chat programs such as Discord to stay connected. Either way works.
As you begin to grow, decide with your teammates what you want out of the team. You may decide that you want it to stay small, or you might try to grow your team to be a major player in competitive gaming. In that case, your team can look towards joining an established eSports league. This allows your team to compete in seasonal events and championships. Popular leagues include Overwatch Open Division and Major League Gaming. Your team can also enter tournaments that may reward cash prizes, and can lead to some pretty sweet sponsorship for yourself or your team!
Be a Team Player
This should go without saying, but it’s important when looking to join an eSports team that you are able to be a team player. You’ll need to get to know your teammates, and be able to communicate with them, both in game and out of game.
Part of being a team player means learning how each member plays, don’t just expect them to adapt to your play style. Once you know how each member plays, a team strategy can be developed utilizing each player’s best attributes.
Another key part to being a team player is not being a one-person army. Don’t break for the team because you think you’re going to get a team kill single handed, or capture the flag with no support. Work with your team, communicate. If you see an opportunity, call it out and work together.
Remember that every team’s goal is to get better. Don’t have a defensive attitude if someone tries to give you pointers, or suggests you do something differently. Part of teamwork is helping each other improve. If you see a teammate doing something wrong, don’t berate them, but simply point it out, and offer a suggestion of what to do differently.
There can be a lot of stress when it comes to joining an eSports team, but don’t forget to have fun! Taking video gaming from a hobby to a competitive or professional level is no overnight task, and it is definitely not without a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears. But if you’re not having fun playing the game, it’s only going to make it that much harder.
Don’t neglect your health! Staying hydrated and fed will go a long way. Don’t forget to stand up and stretch from time to time when putting in long hours practicing.
Keep working, keep improving, keep learning about your game! Network with other gamers, reach out to small teams looking for players. It’s not an overnight process, but if you set your goals and pursue them, it’s definitely achievable!