Room for Improvement: Help Those Who Ask

Don’t Alienate

Esports have a way of bringing out both the best and worst in people. Competition in general has that effect. Online, it’s often simple to dehumanize faceless competitors and disparage them for poor performance or frustratingly superb gameplay. Egos bruise easily and are difficult to repair or even build in the first place. When playing at the top of one’s game, looking down at those who are lower on the skill ladder (rank-shaming), sneering at their lesser experience, try not to alienate them.

Competition gets dull when there’s no real challenge among opponents. In an effort to keep things interesting and to keep one’s skills sharp, be humble and welcoming—help those who ask for it. Help fellow gamers improve, for one may find themselves on that player’s team one day. Lead by example.

Learn by Teaching

Acquiring new skills and spending time perfecting them can be a long and grueling process, depending on the skill in question. One can spend months or years cultivating their techniques. However, one can do more than just pracetice to improve their gameplay. Teaching is a great tool for perfecting one’s own abilities.

Teaching forces the instructor to think about how to explain their skills and figure out how to explain the pros and cons of their playstyle, which requires a deeper understanding of their abilities and can reveal outlooks the teacher hadn’t previously considered. Instructing can be uncomfortable at first, but leike anything else that gets one out of their shell, it will get easier with time.

Don’t Assume

Humbling one’s self enough to be willing to teach others is an important tool in being welcoming as well as improving one’s own gameplay. That huumility notwithstanding, it’s also important not to assume that someone not performing up to one’s standards is an automatic cry for help. Offering unsolicited assistance to other gamers, while one’s heart may be in the right place, is a dangerous game in and of itself.

Some players take this unprompted assistance as an insult, even if one’s intentions are good. “I don’t want your help,” “I don’t need help,” or “I’ll figure it out on my own” are frequently the types of responses uttered when someone provides advice that wasn’t requested. Be willing to teach, but wait for soimeone to request the tutelage. Lead by example.

Challenge Them

Challenging one’s “student(s)” doesn’t mean dueling them or seeing how well or poorly they perform against the teacher. Rather, it’s about having them practice certain skills with specific parameters. For example, make them focus on improving their aim and reflexes by stipulating they can’t aim down their sights for more than two seconds before pulling the trigger. This would require someone to figure out the appropriate sensitivity level of their mouse/joystick in order to compensate for their level of accuracy.

Being a teacher isn’t always about explaining different mechanics or articulating why certain builds and “metas” are better than others at higher tiers. Once basic and intermediate concepts have been covered, trials by fire can be implemented to force students to apply what they’ve learned and make any necessary adjustments to their button/key mapping to suit their needs.

Ego Check

Ego can be a double-edged sword. It’s great for one’s self-esteem, provided it doesn’t spill into arrogance and result in the defamation of other players. Moreover, if someone who asked for help ends up besting the teacher after receiving aid, that’s not a cause for a bruised ego. That’s cause for celebration, for that means the instructor(s) did a great job, and now there’s one more skilled player to add to the community, team, and competition.

Bring those who request help up to one’s level, and watch their own egos rise, giving them a level of confidence they likely didn’t feel prior. However, don’t let students become overconfident and lord their newfound abilities over others—that not only ruins other people’s time, but also makes the instructor(s) look bad (assuming said student gives credit where it’s due). Lead by example.

The Reality

It’s not the most common occurrence for gamers to seek aid from individual players in any given eSport. It’s not an abnormality when it occurs, but it’s not the norm. Most gamers get their information from public forums, watching live-streams, or prerecorded videos online and apply what they learned on their own time.

However, teaching isn’t always done by conversing directly with a pupil. Recording videos, live-streaming one’s own gameplay, and contributing to guides or public forums are all reasonable outlets to help others. Just think of someone watching the video or reading the guides and forums as both their request for help and their reception of it.

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