How to Build a Career in Professional Gaming (10 Tips)

If you’re a fan of esports, you might know about the DOTA 2 championship. In this event, 16 top teams compete for a prize pool of over $2.8 million. The Swedish team, Alliance, won half of that money in the 5-day tournament in Seattle.

Even before the U.S. officially considered gamers as pro athletes, there were already high-paying competitions for games like Starcraft 2, Counter Strike, and League of Legends. Age doesn’t matter—these events are gaining popularity, and gamers as young as 13 are going pro.

If you’ve ever heard someone say, “You can’t make a living playing video games,” think again. Thanks to the efforts of people in the industry, esports is now taken seriously. Besides prize money and fame, top players can even get a U.S. P-1 visa, which is usually for traditional athletes. This allows them to live and earn in the U.S.

Becoming a pro gamer isn’t easy, though. It requires countless hours of practice, skill, and teamwork. If you’re interested, here are 10 basic tips to help you start your journey to becoming a pro gamer.

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1. Understand the Gaming Lingo

One key aspect of multiplayer gaming is understanding the specific terms or jargon used in different games. This isn’t just limited to common internet slang. Each game has its own set of terms.

For instance, in MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games like DOTA 2, League of Legends, or Heroes of Newerth, you’ll hear terms like stun, hex/voodoo, disable, lane, neutrals/jungle, and ancients.

In First-Person Shooter (FPS) games, players often name specific locations on the map to help teammates know where enemies are. Effective communication is crucial for strategic gameplay.

2. Start with AI or Robot Opponents

If you’re new to a game, you can practice against computer-controlled opponents, also known as AI (Artificial Intelligence) or Bots. This is a great way to learn the game mechanics.

Practicing against bots in a game

You can choose different difficulty levels to start easy and gradually challenge yourself. This also helps you get familiar with the game’s controls and interface. Think of it as laying the groundwork for better performance in actual games.

3. Team Up and Learn with Friends

Once you’re comfortable, start playing with real people, ideally your friends. Multiplayer games are a great way to socialize online and have fun.

Playing with friends helps you learn faster as you can share tips and experiences. You might even form a team of players with similar skill levels.

Playing games with friends
Penny Arcade

While gaming is fun, it can also be competitive and sometimes stressful. Knowing your teammates’ styles can help you work better together in the long run.

4. Learn from the Pros

Watching professional gamers can provide valuable insights into advanced strategies and techniques. You can learn a lot from their gameplay, teamwork, and quick decision-making.

Watching professional gamers on

Many pros live-stream their games on platforms like YouTube is another good source for in-depth game tutorials and guides.

If you’re stuck in a single-player game, you can also find walkthroughs on YouTube to help you advance.

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5. Master Your Favorite Playstyle

If you want to excel, focus on mastering specific skills. Every game offers a variety of characters, weapons, and roles. The key is to find the combination that you love and excel at it.

This could mean anything from exploring the map, diving into action, collecting resources, or supporting your teammates.

Different gaming classes

To be an exceptional team player, become an expert at your chosen role. Find like-minded players to form a strong team.

6. Invest in Quality Gaming Gear

Don’t let poor hardware ruin your gaming experience. Brands like Razer, SteelSeries, CM Storm, and Logitech offer high-quality gaming gear that’s worth the investment.

These products are designed for gaming: they’re durable, responsive, and can significantly improve your performance.

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Razer Ouroboros gaming mouse

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7. Learn from Guides and Tips

Watching others play can be helpful, but it won’t reveal their thought process. To truly understand a game, read guides and study it in detail.

Gaming tips and tricks

The internet offers a wealth of information on game mechanics, characters, strategies, and more. Mastering these details can be challenging but it’s worth the effort to win consistently.

8. Improve Through Genuine Effort

Becoming a pro gamer takes time and practice. Watch live streams to understand what full-time gaming involves. Keep track of your performance to measure your progress.

Enjoy the game for what it is and learn from both wins and losses. If you’re tempted to use hacks, resist. Using hacks undermines your skills and is not true gaming.

Pro gamers earn respect by mastering the game mechanics without cheating. Play the game the right way and climb the ranks honestly.

9. Adjust Game Settings for Better Performance

If you don’t have a powerful computer, no worries! You can still enjoy smooth gameplay by simply lowering the game’s graphic settings. This is especially helpful during intense moments in the game.

Example of Low Graphics Settings

Don’t worry about how the graphics look. Professional gamers often lower their settings to focus on gameplay. Doing this can actually improve your game’s performance and reduce distractions.

10. Be Kind to Everyone

Gaming is competitive, but remember, everyone is there to have fun. Avoid being rude or mean, especially if you’re new to the game.

Being friendly can go a long way. You might find someone to team up with, and they could even teach you some game tricks. If you don’t have friends to play with, you can make new ones in the game.

If you’re playing on a local server, you might even make real-life friends. Just be cautious when sharing personal information online. Good luck, and may the best player win!