This has been going on for long enough, every time you turn a corner he’s there, and you’re dead.
Every time you look down the scope, it’s too late he’s got your number and the twitter handle of every member on your team. You can’t beat him, they can’t beat him and he’s single handedly carrying the entire enemy team. This time will be different, you’re ready this time, besides you’ve just been playing around up until now and it’s time to get serious. You carefully count each step, your back to the wall at every turn, not even jet li in a slightly darker black, tactical turtleneck could get the jump on you. You take a quick peek past the wall, he’s got to be there and it’s time to clutch. One more peek around that corner and you’re ready to go and BOOM! He stuck you with a grenade the moment one foot passed the safety of your wall.
Skill vs Strat
We all know this story, sure maybe you’re really great at what you do but there’s always those games where someone is just seemingly too good, untouchable. They have to be cheating, right? Probably not, some people just have their aim, their guns, and grenades, their skills down to a rain man math that only they can understand. Now, how can you combat this? Obviously, you’re going to get better (and if you’re a real winner you’ll use Aim Lab to make yourself a god), but what do you do when you come up against someone or something you just can’t seem to beat right then and there? You have two options, hope they forgot to pay their internet bill, or build a strategy against them. That brings me to my point, skill vs strategy; the battle of importance. Which is better? Which is going to win more games? Neither, it’s all about both and understanding how they combine to help make you the best player you can be.
Skills that pay the bills
Skill is undeniably important in how good of a player you are, otherwise it’s all up to luck and if you’re opponents happen to be worse at this than you are, not really the best way to go about competitive gaming. Skill shots are also the backbone of most competitive games. Everything from League of Legends to Destiny 2 will require the best precision and timing to stay on top. In a game like League, each skill and champion has such a unique way of firing off or activating their skill and it truly makes a difference facing off against someone who knows their champion better. The same can be said for Overwatch and the classes in Destiny 2. When you start playing a new character or class for the first time, and come up against an opponent who mains that character or class, you get destroyed and make sure to tell everyone how “This is my first time playing this guy, sorry, I apologize in advance.” Even If it’s like your seventh time and you just aren’t getting the hang of it. This is a perfect example of how crucial skill is, you can’t ever rely on luck and broken classes/guns. Remember if there’s a broken build that you are using to just easily destroy the competition with, so is the majority of everyone else you will play against so you still have to be more skillful than the rest.
Attention allows us to select relevant sensory information for preferential processing. Behaviourally, it improves performance in various visual tasks. One prominent effect of attention is the modulation of performance in tasks that involve the visual system’s spatial resolution. [Anton-Erxlebel and Carrasco]
Now what’s going on in that head of yours when trying to be your best in a competitive match and how is it affecting your gameplay? For starters, your attention span, being able to stay attentive at all times will let you get the jump on opponents and let you react quicker to anything that comes your way. Take for instance, the quote listed above; essentially we can focus in one area and still spread our attention around to familiar areas. If your watching for another player to pop their head out from cover, you are most likely also spreading your attention to the left where one of their teammates could try and get the drop on you. By doing this we are prepared for different situations and still able to have a main focus on what’s in front of us.
Unchecked this can also be a drawback, look at eye trackers for instance; you will see in a lot of videos that people look at their ammo count when reloading or constantly look at their skills to check up on cooldowns. This leaves you a bit more vulnerable every time you do so and until eye trackers came about, most of us had no idea we were even doing it, or doing it so much. Sure, you have to check on some things, sometimes but you may not realize you are doing it at the worst times and way more than what is necessary. Try to keep your eyes on the screen, preparing for enemies and not checking anything unless you are in a safe spot and if you haven’t already start paying attention to cooldowns and before you know it you won’t even have to check them, you’ll be on the same cycle and just know.
Next, we have your mindset, keeping your cool and confident even when it’s not looking good. It’s surprising how much our mood affects our gameplay, if we’re being negative nancies than we’re going to have negative k/d ratios too. Be confident that you can single handedly change the game at any point and it’s not over yet. Even if it’s impossible to come back, at least you will play better for the remainder of the game and if you really want to be competitive than every game needs to reflect you trying your very best. Don’t let the game get you too angry, as this will not only make you play worse but push you closer and closer to having to but a new controller/keyboard/mouse/entirecomputerdesk. Keep your cool and have a positive attitude with teammates because your mood could affect them as well, sort of hard to play your best if a teammate is already giving up or acting like it’s impossible to beat a team.
Obviously skill is incredibly important, we know that and we always have but now we have a pretty good idea of how even our mood and mindset has such a major influence in how well we play. Our attention span plays a big role on whether we get the drop on opponents and how fast we react to them getting it on us. So, let’s stay positive in our games, even if the end seems bleak. Don’t let anger get the best of us, and don’t get all Jason Bourne-revengy in your games, constantly charging after that one guy who keeps kicking your teeth in, is not going to help the team. Lastly try and not look at cooldowns and instead guess and expect when they will be up, try to notice how much you look at your ammo count or get distracted by random objects in a map and try to do it less and less, at least wait until you’re safely out of reach. I will definitely be trying to stay more positive and just having fun playing my best, what about you? Got some fun stories of rage modes or “Oh hey, look at that basketball….and I’m dead.” Distractions? Share em, it’ll only make me feel better about myself.