We’ve all been there; it happens to all of us at one point. We all get stuck in ranked purgatory or feel like we’re plateauing in physically and mentally in our gaming ability. After playing the same game for 4 to 8 hours every day for months at a time this can feel like you’re actually getting worse at the game or your wasting your time, most of the time it’s to no fault of your own. The constant state of not getting better but not getting worse can kill your drive even to play the game at all.
My game was Halo, and while I did eventually put down the sticks for good, I went through several different cycles of purgatory through my career. That nearly makes me an expert on the subject in my own right, so here I have compiled some tips for eSports players on how to curb the effects of plateauing in a game.
Play the game at a casual level
While this might sound strange, the casual and social levels of games do have a place in the hearts of competitive players; it’s where most of us planted our roots to become the best. By playing your game of choice on a non-competitive level, you get to both appreciate the game again and focus on the fundamentals of the game itself without having to really worry about winning. As toxic as some of the casual environments may be in certain games (*cough cough* Overwatch *cough cough*) you have got to keep in mind that casual doesn’t really matter anyway. Casual also allows you to face a broader range of player skill rather than just the people stuck in the same rank as you.
Watch & Record more gaming footage
Some games automatically record each game that you play; in others, you have to find your own way of recording. In either instance, it’s essential to actually take the time and go back look at the footage that was made. Especially in the cases where you lost a big match, or it was a close match, looking at recordings allows you to dissect what had really happened that game. It will enable you to look at things you or your team was doing wrong or things that the other team was doing way too right. Looking at recordings especially helped me with things I would miss around the maps (i.e., where I should have been during specific times, better team placements). Recording is also a decent area of relaxation where you can spend some time looking at your better moments and collecting a highlight reel.
Playing with new gamers
If you’re playing at a competitive level, you probably already have a group that you’ve been playing with for a while and plan on continuing to play with for much longer, and that’s great. But if you’re starting to feel some burnout, it’s never a bad idea to hop on with a new group of players once in a while, especially with people in a higher rank than you. Playing with a new group can open up a path of communication with a broader community of players who can give you tips on getting better that you can bring back to your day ones. Being a part of the larger community can also open you up to smaller events and tournaments that will help you hone your craft. I did this a lot in the halo community during the beginning when I was stuck in diamond for two seasons. Eventually, this led me to playing with a bunch of onyx ranked players and then promptly getting myself to onyx soon after.
Taking a much-needed break
This is probably my biggest piece of advice to give: TAKE A BREAK. If your plateauing it probably means you’re not trying your hardest at the game, it means you’re not running on all cylinders anymore. It means you’re getting a little burned out of the game in its entirety. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take a break from it all. Do something else for a little while. Whether it’s picking up a new game for a while or picking up a new hobby altogether. It doesn’t really matter how long your break is as long as when you come back to the game you know you’re ready to play the game again. Even if a new ranked season has started, you’ll most likely get ranked near what you had previously. Personally, when I would take breaks, I would wait for a new update to come out altogether. This gives you time to catch up and relearn the game a little while everyone else is still figuring out the latest update, it creates an almost near even playing field.