Compared to today’s standards this event may sound insignificant; but this is widely considered the first eSports tournament. The game, Spacewar!, had been created ten years earlier and saw two players face off, each controlling a spaceship managing limited fuel and ammunition while fighting against gravitational pulls. Today, eSports attract players and spectators from across the world with events being enjoyed at physical venues and online. Their largest prizes now pique into the millions of dollars, instead of a trivial subscription. The question is, then, how does one go from casual gamer to pro? Let’s break it down.
The Road to Pro
First off, as is the prerequisite for any career, you need to cultivate a love for the medium—a passion strong enough that it will not break under the stresses and strains which going pro can bring. This will not only bolster your abilities, but ensure that your time as a pro remains fun and engaging.
Picking your Game
Pro gamers are often known for one (or rarely a handful) of games. The easiest way to begin determining which game is for you is whittling down genre. Are you a keen MOBA player? A pin-point accurate FPS player? A strategist? An MMO commander? A fighter? A sports lover? Whatever it is, narrow down your niche and start reaching for games.
Remember, while many of your favourite pro players may have mastered existing games, it may be a good option to pick up a recent or upcoming release as your game of choice—as this provides a more level playing field for all of those wanting to go pro. That said, newer games obviously need to build traction before their eSports scene skyrockets—so picking up either a new or older title has its advantages and disadvantages. If you’re looking for a head start in a game, or are dipping your toes into numerous titles such as League of Legends and Rocket League, you could consider purchasing in game items, accounts for LoL or Rocket League boosting services from El Dorado to jump-start your career.
Embed yourself in the community
Once you’ve chosen the title, getting deep into the community will help you locate tips, tricks and mentors as you’re learning the game. This can also help plant seeds for future teammates and pro collaborators further down the line.
Refine your tools
Professional eSports players all have their favourite controller, mouse, keyboard and headset amongst other peripherals. But to start with, it’s valuable to begin with high-level tools—that means quick response mouses and no, not that old banger of a keyboard you found tucked away at your parents’ house. Ensuring your inputs are quick, accurate and customisable will give you a head start.
Join a Team
This one may be easier said than done, but once you get embedded within the community and begin to climb the ranks, you should join a team and build your name to be mentioned alongside other serious competitors. This can be teaming up with the friends and mentors along the way to compete in small, local tournaments or online events. Once you start getting noticed, a full eSports team is the next step. Whether you get there through trials or merely being noticed by their scouts—it’s a must to weasel your way into a pro team to being your time as a pro.
Manage your career
While finding yourself in a pro team may seem like the end goal—it’s far from it. You want to reach your way to the top. Leading the best team in your chosen game so you can raise trophies. That said, at this stage it’s important to manage your time. Keeping a healthy, balanced life around your newfound career will help to stave off the dreaded feeling of grinding and keep every play session fun and dynamic.
Managing a work/life balance is a consideration for any profession—but it can be especially important when you’re doing what you love.
Live the Dream
If you’ve made it this far, you’re bound to keep moving onto bigger and better things. If we have one more tip for pros, it is to ensure you don’t get complacent with your position. Unlike traditional sports, eSport games come and go, so it’s important you stay on your toes, scouting out other upcoming games which may bring you your next championship title.
Whether you’re joining the retro crowd with Super Smash Bros. Brawl or jumping into the big-leagues of Overwatch, Counter-Strike or Fortnite, put in all you’ve got, and you’re sure to make it somewhere.