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5. Get your hardware sorted
If you want to compete on an even playing field, the last thing you want is a dated rig or sloppy internet connection holding you back. In a game whose combat is as finely balanced as that of Counter-Strike, just a slight framerate drop can be catastrophic. “Low fps can affect your recoil, bullet registration and smoothness of your game,” says Elliot. “If you’re stuck with a terrible computer, you don’t really have much chance online against someone with a top-end machine.
4. Practice your tactics in the best environments
If you’re considering competitive Counter-Strike, the chances are you’ll already spend a fair number of hours playing the game. But practicing in the right environments is key to your continual improvement. Deathmatch servers are a good place to start – “You respawn as soon as you die, so you’re constantly shooting and it’s a good way to improve your gunplay,” Elliot explains – and clan war practice is pretty much essential.
3. Watch demos of other players
Practice might make perfect, but there are numerous intricacies to Counter-Strike play that you may be able to pick up from others. Watching demo videos of other players is a great way to assess their mad skills without fear of being gunned down if you take too long to stop and stare. Professionals will have various different ways of moving, aiming, shooting and reacting to different situations.
2. Find a team you get along with
Sometimes in life we’re all thrown into a situation where we have to work with people we aren’t so fond of. Like at PC Gamer, for example. Bloody scoundrels, the lot of them. But there’s no doubting that getting on with your team mates is going to make things a whole lot easier down the line. In fact, it might even be better to pick friendly souls with potential to improve than switching in the cream of the crop without knowing them well.
1. Forget the rest, play against the best
It’s always nice to win, so it might be tempting to select weaker opponents for practice matches. But this can be counter-productive. Unless you’re playing at the highest level you’re capable of, there’s not a great deal of compulsion to improve – and certainly less you can take away from both victories and defeats.