How to Become a Pro Gamer in Less Than 2 Years

All the way to the top!
All the way to the top!

Check out our step-by-step guide on how to become a pro gamer within two years!

So you’re a serious, hardcore gamer, and you fancy yourself good enough to play in the big leagues? True, talent or skill can take you far, but if you really want to become a professional eSports athlete, you’re going to have to do a lot more than just practice.

eSports is really big business right now, so you’re not the only one who wants to take their gaming up to the professional level. If you want to succeed, you’re going to need strategy, some good old-fashioned networking skills, and more.

So in this article, we give you some important guidelines to help you achieve those pro gamer dreams of yours. So read up, and take these lessons to heart!

1. Pick a game that’s big in eSports

As gamer, you probably love a wide array of games and game genres, from survival horror to turn-based strategy. The sad reality is not every game is a good candidate for the eSports scene.

The biggest draw of games like Dark Souls or BioShock Infinite is the experience of being in another world, of being in another’s shoes. And, challenge-wise, you play such games to beat the games themselves.

If you want a good eSports game, pick a title whose gameplay primarily involves you testing your skills against other human players. This would mean games built around robust multiplayer elements, such as first-person shooters like Call of Duty and real-time strategy games like StarCraft II. These are the games that, in spirit, resemble physical sports like football and basketball the most, which is why they’re such a great fit for eSports.

At the moment, the genre that is making the most waves in eSports is the MOBA. So if you want to be safe with your pick, there’s Dota 2, League of Legends, and Blizzard’s rising star, Heroes of the Storm. These are games already being played by millions of eSports athletes, with tournaments offering cash prizes that sometimes reach millions of dollars.

2. Watch how the pros play

It’s good to have a benchmark, a level of skill to strive for. Having a clear goal in mind will facilitate the process of turning yourself from a noob into a bonafide eSports badass.

This is why it’s important to watch how professional eSports athletes play – so you know just how good you have to get if you want to survive in the competitive gaming world. And if you want to get that good, you’ll have to develop an in-depth understanding of the professional’s playstyle.

So when you watch the pros play, don’t just watch for fun. Observe every little action they do in-game. Break down their strategies into smaller components, then dissect each into even tinier constituents.

Ask yourself important questions like:

  • Why did he pick this particular Dota 2 character? How will the character’s skill set complement those of his teammates? How will those skills prove an advantage against the enemy team’s picks?
  • How does she use a League of Legend character’s moves to heckle enemies? Which particular move does she use for which particular situation?
  • Why does he favor this particular firearm over others in Halo? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

This is how you bring yourself closer to your eSports dream: by learning from the best.

3. Study the science of the game

This is related to the #2. But while watching one or two professionals play can turn you into a good player, you’ll need to know the ins and outs of a game if you wish to become a true master.

Learn how everything works. If it’s a fighting game like Ultra Street Fighter IV, know the strengths and weaknesses of every character in the roster. Learn how to counter every single move – from the most powerful specials to the weakest of jabs. Master the main strategies of every character. This way, you’ll know your character, and more importantly, you’ll know your enemy’s.

Familiarize yourself with the technical side of the game. This usually means studying and understanding a host of esoteric terminologies. What are pokes? What is frame rate data? What do zoning, hitstun, and cross up mean? How much time does it take to perform a particular move? How far will that kick reach? How big is the enemy’s hit box?

It is the same with MOBAs and other genres. If you want victory, you’ll really have to turn that game inside out. Remember, knowledge is power, and with the right knowledge, you can become an eSports juggernaut.

4. Play the game yourself

Knowledge is worthless if you’re not going to use it. So repeat this mantra to yourself: knowledge must come hand in hand with application.

It’s the only way you’ll get to test out all those clever strategies you’ve learned. So go on and play that game. Then play it some more. Play it with like-minded individuals. Communication is key to success, so share your knowledge with each other. Experiment with various playstyles. Don’t be afraid to ask for criticism, to criticize, and to be criticized. This is all for your betterment.

Some professionals practice for eight hours or more a day, every day. Sure, it sounds harsh, but know that dedication will take you places.

Before you know it, you’ll be developing your own strategies. You’ll be using combinations of moves that you and your friends can call uniquely your own. This is the best thing about the application of knowledge: as you learn how to perfectly employ what you’ve learned, you learn completely new skills in the process.

Always try to play against other individuals or teams. Join tournaments when you can – it doesn’t matter how big or small they are. Don’t worry about losing; it’s all part of the process of learning. When you fail, figure out where you went wrong, then try again. With experience, you’ll grow in skill and confidence, and those victories will start coming before you know it.

5. Start your own fan base

Now that you’ve won several matches, you’re starting to get people talking about you. People recognize you by name. They look for you on Google.

In other words, you’ve gotten yourself a following.

Don’t waste that. Success is as much about social networking and developing your list of contacts as it is about skill and hard work. So if you know there are people out there who already admire you for your gaming prowess, make it easier for them to communicate with you.

Create social media accounts dedicated to your gaming. People flock to Facebook and Twitter, so make sure you have those. Market yourself as a hardcore gamer. And don’t forget to use hashtags!

Join gaming and eSports forums. Become an active contributor in relevant discussions. Share some of what you’ve learned from all your training. Be humble and admit you still have a lot to learn from others.

Create a YouTube account. Create videos of your best matches, then upload them. You can even explore Twitch.tv and figure out how you can use the service to your advantage. Just make sure you have everything you need to make these things possible, such as the hardware and the software you can use to capture and edit your videos. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when it comes to setting up your equipment. Remember, the more professional your videos look, the better.

Why go through all this trouble? Simple: to get noticed. Who knows, there could be a big-name sponsor or an established eSports team looking for someone exactly like you. It would be a shame if they didn’t know you exist!

6. Make friends with people in the eSports industry

So now you have a name, an identity. Chances are, other eSports athletes have heard of you. So why not go out and make friends?

There’s no need to be shy. You’ve worked hard to earn your reputation. And you can be sure there are professional gamers out there eager to get to know you.

Go to events, mingle with the pros. Shake a few hands. Heck, if you have a calling card, give some away. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll get invited to a few scrimming sessions. Or maybe you can do the inviting. Establish rapport, then develop a friendship or an alliance.

But don’t limit yourself to speaking with just the athletes; try to talk to everyone in the eSports industry, including the commentators, event organizers, sponsors, media, game publishers, etc.

This is about you leaving a mark, about getting your foot in the door. Once the door opens – and it will, if you give it your all – a world of opportunities will lay itself out before you.

7. Find/create a team, go professional

If you’ve exerted a sincere effort to excel in steps 4 to 6, this step will be much easier. Maybe you already have a team of players just as skilled and as eager to make it big as you are. If you don’t, then you have a good shot of getting invited to join one. Alternatively, you could found your own team, and invite others to join you.

Once your team is set, it’s time to go hunting for bigger game.

There are lots of professional eSports tournaments out there you can complete in. Take the plunge and register for the major ones. This is where the real competition starts. Remember, all these other teams are aspiring for success and stardom, just like you. So don’t underestimate them, and keep practicing. Keep developing new strategies. Stay observant, study the competition. And if you lose a match, don’t let it get to you. Instead, reevaluate yourself as an individual and as part of a team. Reexamine your techniques. Develop new strategies. Then try again.

8. Win tournaments

Training and professional experience will significantly improve your abilities; of that, there is no doubt. So it’s time to start winning those big tournaments.

Making it to the top 10 best contenders list in any premium tournament is a huge deal. Making it to the top five is even better. Top three, and you can make sure there are teams out there wanting to steal you away from your own team. Your name will spread across the eSports industry like wildfire.

Win the grand prize, and the status of “eSports legend” is just within your reach.

Aside from giving a considerable boost in prestige and popularity, winning major tourneys means you’ll be raking in the funds. That’s money you can use to buy better equipment, among other things. Most importantly, it means you can now support yourself financially off eSports alone, so you can devote your time to practice.

9. Look for sponsors

If you’ve been paying close attention so far, there’s a good chance #9 will be a breeze. Wealthy companies already know about you, and will offer to sponsor you.

Alternatively, you and your team can go looking for them yourselves. Do extensive research on the various organizations that are enthusiastic about sponsoring eSports teams, then approach them.

Remember what we said in step #5 about creating a social media account? Well, sponsors like teams with enormous followings. Why? Because sponsors want to increase awareness of and build their brand, and they can’t do that with teams or individuals who have little to no social media reach. So make sure your Facebook and Twitter accounts are swimming in fans, friends, and contacts.

Sponsors are integral to your road-to-eSports-success strategy because they will offer you the support you need to be the best athletes you can be. A good sponsor will pamper you. Aside from providing for you financially, they will give you the best equipment, and perhaps even a training center for your team. They’ll shoulder all your travel costs, meaning you won’t have to spend a dime flying across the world to attend those international tournaments. You won’t have to go scouring cities for a hotel to stay in, ensuring your visit to a strange land that much more palatable. They’ll even help with the marketing, so that your brand will make it to as many people as possible.

10. Start thinking about the next step

The truth most of us don’t want to admit to ourselves is that we diminish with age. One of the most important factors that heavily influence how well you play is your reaction time – which is the time it takes for you to respond to stimuli. Unfortunately, reaction time slows down the older we get, and there’s even science to prove it.

This means that, as you grow older, the more often you’ll lose to younger players.

But there’s something you’ll have as an older game that those younger than you won’t: wisdom. Wisdom is something you develop with years of experience. So while you may no longer be at your peak physical condition to compete, you now have what it takes to impart all that wisdom you’ve gained to the next generation of gamers.

Thanks to your reputation, you can bet there will be countless aspiring young gamers who would be more than happy to have you as their mentor, to be taught the valuable lessons that you have learned in all your years of professional gaming. So start considering coaching or managing your own eSports team.

You have already achieved what you’ve set out to achieve. You no longer have anything to prove to anyone, including yourself. It’s time to pass the torch, and share the glory that you can rightfully call your own.

So there you go! An easy, step-by-step guide on how to become a pro gamer in a span of just two years! How about you, fellow gamers? Do you have any important tips you’d like to share?

And if you want to read more about eSports, here are a couple of articles you’d enjoy!

Top 15 eSports Teams in the World

10 Most Popular Esports Games in 2015

Esports Could Make You Rich

Dota 2: 10 Most Amazing Comebacks Ever

Esports: 11 Interesting Facts about the Rapidly Growing Industry

10 Countries where Esports is Growing Massively

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Writer, Gamer, Dreamer
Gamer Since: 1986
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Bloodborne, Mortal Kombat X, Tera Online
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dark Souls II, Bioshock Infinite, Dragon Age: Inquisition
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