Practice makes perfect is an aphorism that most of us have been told since childhood. There is certainly a lot of truth in this – the more time we spend doing something, the more we learn about it and the better we get. The gaming community is a demographic that is always seeking new ways to improve. As new games are released and technology advances, games become harder and more complex. Hardcore gamers who want to stay ahead of the competition are therefore always on the lookout for advice on ways to improve existing skills and add new talents.
If we all agree that practice does make, if not perfect, then at least better, then spending more time playing is clearly the number one activity that will help gamers to improve. Practicing deliberately involves not simply sitting down to play but formulating a plan for play that delves into the mechanics of the game and ensures a greater understanding will be achieved. What these mechanics are will depend on the game. It could mean taking time to develop excellent aim in first-person shooters, practicing skill moves in football games or learning how to find the enemies that offer the most XP in MMOs. Entering each playing session with a specific goal in mind can quickly lead to boosting skills.
Learn Basic Strategy
Many online games have a basic strategy that can help players to beat the odds and maximize their chances of winning. For example, when you play blackjack online, you can reduce the house edge from anywhere between 1% and 2% right down to 0.5% by embracing basic strategy. For blackjack, this involves always splitting aces and eights, doubling 11s when the dealer has two and 10 and hitting or doubling on ace-six. Many other types of games have strategy guides available for purchase or online. Using these can help even the rawest new players to fully understand the complexities of the game and develop a strategy that will help them progress.
Mentor Another Player
There is a phenomenon known as the protégé effect which shows how tutoring others increases the knowledge and skills of the mentor as well as the mentee. By teaching a new player how to progress through a game, regular players have a good chance of seeing their own skills improving within that game as they teach. Tutoring another person not only refreshes existing knowledge; it also forces the teacher to look at things from a different perspective, which often involves spotting new areas for improvement.
Join a Team
MMOs and other multi-player online games often give people the opportunity to join a team within the game and learn from each other. No matter how good one player gets at a particular game, there will always be things that another player has spotted that will be new to them. Other forms of games may be designed to be played alone, but there are many online clubs and groups for competitive gaming that can help players get involved with like-minded individuals and share their knowledge.
Choose Better Opponents
As with any type of game or sport, players who only ever challenge those they are already ahead of in terms of skills will quickly find their improvement levels stalling. While the thrill of an easy win might well be appealing, those who truly want to advance will seek out opponents who have been playing longer than them or who have advanced further up the ladder. This is one of the best ways to learn new skills, even if it does mean taking a few hits while practicing.
Adapt the Gaming Environment
Being comfortable while playing is essential for those that are settling in for a long session, Adapting the gaming environment before sitting down to play can make a huge difference. This could mean wearing comfortable clothes, adjusting the monitor or screen to the right height and brightness level, customizing gaming controls, investing in a pro-gamer mouse and keyboard set, adjusting external lighting and anything else that means the player will feel relaxed. Those who play a lot might want to consider a gaming chair designed specifically to support people playing for long periods of time.
Find Your Genre
There are multiple game genres to choose from and each requires a specific skillset which may or may not suit everyone. New gamers should take some time to experiment with a variety of styles to discover which type of game best holds their interest and is best suited to their talents. Once they have found a genre, gamers can then explore all the games in that particular category to find those they love.
Control the Psychology
Games can be a great way to alleviate stress. However, those that are serious about improving their gaming will avoid playing when they are stressed or generally feeling down, as this can have a negative effect on ability. Pro gamers also avoid stimulants such as caffeine or alcohol when playing as they want to keep their brains sharp and prepared.
By taking the time to strategize improvements, even the newest players can soon see their skill levels increasing. Above all, gaming should be fun, but those that want to boost their improvement rates should take practicing seriously.