Pro Gamer Tips: Finding a Gaming Community
By Steven "Dark Chaos" Beach & Jerry "LordJerith" Prochazka
Last week, the folks of vVv Gaming told us about the benefits of joining a gaming community. In fact, if you want to become a successful pro gamer, it's a necessity. But how do you find the right one? How can you tell which is a good gaming guild and which isn't? How do you find the right one for you? The answers to those, and other questions, will be found right here!:
Last week, I talked about why it is important to join a community. This week, I want to share some insight about the specific qualities to look for when researching which community is right for you. If you need someplace to start to find a gaming community, look at tournament sites or site forums related to the games that you like to play. Word of mouth can also help. Talk with players and listen to the people you meet in public rooms or lobbies. These approaches can help you start your search for the gaming community that's right for you.
Read more after the jump!
Any gaming community worth their salt has a good, professional website. All of the big players like vVv Gaming , Evil Geniuses (EG) and Schroet Kommando (SK) have websites where you can find all sorts of information about them, from team rosters and forums to mission statements and bios. The site doesn't have to be anything fancy, but it does have to be functional and easy to navigate. Nothing is more frustrating for a potential applicant than a confusing website.
Once you hear or read about a few communities that might be interesting, check for the ones that require an application. Some communities have an application process that is designed to help screen the applicants and maintain the community's culture. This is a good thing! Make sure that the application process not only requests appropriate information, but has questions about you as a person and as a gamer. Don't join a community that will just let you walk in and join, because you are far less likely to find a community where members actually add value to the community, or where the community is consistent. A good community will require you to be involved for a certain period of time before you can actually become a full-fledged member. This trial period is for the staff and the community to get to know you and decide if you'd be a good fit, and to explore how you will add value. It is also your opportunity to see if the community is a good fit for you, so make use of it!
After you fill out your application and start the trial process, it's important to examine the quality of the members. Are the members dedicated to gaming? Do they let you join in random scrims (battles/matches)? Are they helpful and supportive of you, or do they constantly tear you down? A community is only as good as its people, so make sure you get to know the people within the community, and that they're the kind of people you want to game with.
It is crucially important that you find an active gaming community. Activity is defined by the quality and frequency of posts in its forums and in the chat/shoutbox area. For example, a community such as vVv Gaming is always adding fresh content. Its forums and chat areas are very active, and it develops its players and develops the community. Even in the middle of the night, you can find people to talk to or game with, and usually from all over the world. In a good community, there should always be something new. You'll want to find a community that has a lot of people active during the times you are most active. Don't forget that you must also contribute.
Along with activity, you should also explore the community's presence. What role does that community play in eSports? Are they doing anything to shape the way games are played competitively? Do they produce content (news, blogs and articles) that makes an impact in the eSports world? What are the members within the community doing to help develop eSports? Do they have a good reputation or a bad one? Do they attend LAN events? These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself as you're doing your research.
A novice mistake when looking for a community is to overlook the leadership. In life, leadership is always important. Be sure to critically examine the leadership of a community. Is the leadership active? What do they do? What is their statement or vision for the community? These things are important. Great leadership helps build and develop a great community. A community that lacks leadership will fall apart. In short, find a community with a strong leader.
If you're a competitive gamer looking for a place to hone your skills on competitive games, you're going to want to see what the community has achieved. Normally, you can find an achievements page or press page on the community's site. What do they have listed on there? Are they relevant to what you're looking to do? Do they play the game or games that you want to compete in? Are the accomplishments valid? It may take some time to cross check their achievements to see if they're legitimate.
As a gamer, find a community that works for you. In order for a gaming community to work, it depends on you, the individual. How do you add value to the community? What can you do to make it grow and develop? You must give to the community just as much as you take from it. Start as a floating, isolated gamer, and grow into a valued community member, and you'll grow as a person while adding value to the community and helping it grow. Be involved, talk to people, and start building your identity in that community.
If you want to compete in video games then it is imperative to join a competitive gaming community. You won't last as long without it and a good community will help and support you. No person is perfect. In turn, no community is perfect, and every community has flaws. The difference is that the communities fix and learn from their mistakes. Be smart about it, do your research, take a look at the members and forums, and join the community that is right for you. Most importantly meet new people and have fun, and soon you and the community will be growing together.
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