Much like typical sports (football, baseball, martial arts, soccer, etc.), video games have given fans a sense of commonality. With the proliferation of online gaming and the Internet in general, the world has become an exponentially smaller place. With some exceptions, communities are no longer confined to one town, state, or even country. Gamers have the ability to communicate with people who share similar interests all over the world.
This technological empowerment has made it easier to make new friends and create lasting friendships. The idea is still so relatively new that older generations raise an eyebrow at the thought of actually getting together with like-minded individuals who first met each other in a video game.
Making friends in eSports isn’t dissimilar to other competitive ventures. Within the broader gaming community, various cliques inevitably spring up and claim a niche. A multitude of clubs exists on the three primary gaming platforms (PC, PS4, and Xbox One) that reflect the interests of the clubs’ members.
Some clubs are more general and cover a variety of gaming genres, while others are dedicated to one or two specific genres. Sports, shooters, RPGs, MOBAs, and more have cliques committed to bringing together players who wish to have a pool of people with which to play.
When these people come together and bond over their similar interests, synergy begins to form between them. Their gameplay, especially when playing cooperatively, improves together and their wealth of skills and knowledge begin to complement one another. Their sense of commonality provides a morale boost that enhances their talents.
The jargon and wit shared between friends makes it sound like they’re speaking their own language. Naturally, there are terms that most avid gamers understand that are unique to particular games or to specific genres. However, tighter groups tend to craft their own vernacular.
This back-and-forth lends itself to playful jabs at one another that results in more laughter than ire. Friendly banter creates an atmosphere of relaxation that balances out the tense, competitive moments.
During this time, players enjoy kinship and gaming as a simple pleasure rather than just a job or sport that requires constant, vigilant skill upkeep. Remember that cliché about all work and no play? It exists for a reason.
There will come times when a player struggles with maintaining their skill level. Some days will seem like the gamer merely is banging their heads against the wall. A series of losses, toxic chats, hostility, and rudimentary mistakes can lead to self-doubt and the urge to walk away from a game. While giving in to that temptation is rare among professional gamers, a bit of encouragement from peers, friends, colleagues, and the community in most online clubs can go a long way.
Few paths are easy ones, and the ones that are easy tend to be less fulfilling. Having a close group of friends, or even one good friend, to help lift the player’s spirits during those frustrating times can be the difference between success and failure. Coupled with self-motivation, discipline, and controlling the deluge, the hard times can be softened.
Create a Sense of Commonality
With all the toxicity that is prevalent in many online cultures (not just video games and Esports), it’s easy to feel alone. Getting bogged down in the muck of unnecessary hostility and what seems like outright hatred is a common thread to which many people cling.
However, when gamers create a sense of commonality, when they find some comradery over which to bond with other players, the toxicity seems rather trivial. That common ground is essential to navigating the often-grimy battlefield of Esports. Along those same lines, knowing the difference between toxic hostility and friendly jabs with mates is also important. Friends mess with each other, enemies provoke and attack. The primary difference? Friends remain.
Winning competitions is both a physical and mental game. Having the physical talents and skills to play well is important, just as having the fortitude to withstand psychological warfare is equally critical. Enjoying the company of like-minded individuals and playing and training together is pivotal to taking someone’s gaming to the next level.
Every niche within the gaming community has ways of being found. Reddit, forums for specific games, and browsing clubs on Xbox, PS4, and PC are just some of the ways to locate people who share one’s interests. Simply reaching out to other players in a game can also be a gateway to expanding one’s community.
Eventually, that sense of commonality arrives, and more opportunities arise from there. Everyone starts somewhere, either alone or with a small group. However, if one is serious about improving their Esport status and gameplay in general, expanding one’s community is a necessary stepping stone.3