We’ve all been new, and we’ve all felt the sting of our inexperience. expertise comes mostly through play, and you can glean some strategies from us here at T3 and elsewhere, but being new can be a difficult time, more so in older, established games. Here are my five things every multiplayer noob should know.
1. Death is your friend
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: all new players will die. A lot. Some of your deaths will seem illegitimate, some will be because of a mechanic you didn’t expect. You might even expect a hacker or two (and you might be right), but the vast majority of your deaths will be your own fault. It might have been your aim, lack of map knowledge, or some other kind of carelessness. Your job is to accept this fact and try to have fun regardless of your failures. As a new player, try not to have any expectations of yourself, one way or another. You have no experience to compare your efforts against, and until you’ve mastered the basics, your sample size won’t be large enough.
More importantly, every death should teach you something. You don’t have to do a deep analysis of the frames before and after you die, but take a tidbit of information from every failure, and every D in the K/D marker. Make one quick note, be it what killed you, where you died, what you were doing when you died, etc. Then, when you find yourself in the same position, you can change your tactics. You’ll probably fail again, but every death is a data point. Eventually you’ll rack up enough to start extrapolating some real information.
2. Questions are never bad
One quick and easy way to stop unneeded deaths is just to ask a question. There’ll be times when you get flak for asking “n00b questions,” but when you get a straight answer, you’ll know that much more. And those times when you do get people laughing at you, understanding what’s a simple question and what someone just doesn’t know. Depending on the timbre of their voice when they respond, you can gauge not only the simplicity of the question but also their own comfort on the topic. If indeed they don’t seem to know, use that ignorance against them, then find out the answer for yourself.
More often than not, though, you’ll be met with someone who actually wants to help you. When they give you your answer, milk them for all the info you can. Don’t be a pest, and don’t take advantage of their generosity, but if you can get in their party or TeamSpeak or Mumble, do so. You’d be surprised, but that’s one of the best ways to get a core group of gamers. If you’re not Internet Famous with access to thousands of screaming fans, a core group of like minded friends will serve you well, new player or not.
3. Use all the resources available to you
Whether you’re on PC or console, there are a ton of ways to learn about and perfect your chosen game. PC certainly has a lot of free, downloadable content, but even on XBox and PS3 you can use sites like T3 or YouTube to gain a lot of knowledge. Most multiplayer games these days come with a private match feature that you can use to get a handle on movement and basic mechanics. You can create aim challenges either alone or with your friends. If you have a large group of people available to you, try having friendly matches against each other. You’ll get real time experience with rules you can customize to fit what you and your buddies want to learn.
For those of you on PC, go hunting for training maps. Valve games are great for this, and Counter-Strike alone has loads of aim training maps built for and by competitive-level players. That said, any game with mod support probably has drilling maps to help you improve. One thing to be aware of though. Not all games use the same acceleration/smoothing settings, and some feel strange regardless of what you do. The first and best thing I can recommend for weird mouse movements is a mouse settings registry fix. Personally, I use the cheese mouse fix, and it works beautifully.
4. You aren’t alone
Even older games have new players coming in every single day. Counter-Strike, for example, wouldn’t have the long life it does without a constant stream of new players. There are banks of servers set up expressly for noobs to play against each other, and even if you choose to go in face first, you’ll run into plenty of newbies like yourself. As you play, watch and listen to your teammates, new and experienced. You’ll pick out both quickly. Don’t immediately latch on to the veterans, and don’t just huddle with your fellow noobs. Try and “spread the love” as it were. Spend time around as many players as you can, and observe how they react to situations.
In the new players, you’ll see mistakes you often make. In the veterans, you’ll see actions that confuse you. When you have some free time, analyze both. What confuses you will, upon further inspection, will teach you. What’s familiar will seem silly but you’ll still learn.
5. Remember your roots
No one’s a n00b forever, but most people forget that, at one time long ago, they were new to the game as well. Any new players you run into will have a lot of the same questions you once had. Do them a favor and extend Ye Olde Olive Branch. Take a few under your wing, even. Show them the courtesy you never got. You’d be surprised just how far a little generosity goes. I know plenty of new Team Fortress and CS:GO players just stopped playing because no one gave them the time of day. The shit talking will never stop, and you’ll do your fair share, I’m sure. Just don’t make a habit of it. You’ll be new again someday too.