With enough playing, anyone can train their reflexes for speed and agility, but it takes a certain personality and insight to be a leader. eSports player Evan Pierpont, most recently for the organization Armada eSports as captain of their Rainbow 6 team, has all the traits needed to be a pro.
His story might be similar to yours. When he was a small kid, his family rented an Xbox and he and his brothers played Halo around the TV for hours. From there, he was hooked and soon realized that to be a pro, you needed to be quick and deadly. But, there’s an important component Evan says you also need: communication.
Here are 5 ways to work better with your teammates—and have fun doing it -- from someone who knows his way around a team and a PC.
Keep your chatter strategic
Keep your in-game conversations to a minimum. When there’s an amazing shot? Two words. That’s it. In the case of Rainbow Six? “Bandit dead.” Not, “Oh, my God. That shot was amazing, dude.” After the round, Evan says, is the time for more talk. In the moment, it's important to communicate who you killed, when you killed them, and where the position is, too. Communication is very important, as is the equipment you use. Even though the words are quick, you need to hear each other clearly. That’s why Evan uses a ModMic.
While you’re in game, everyone is present, but while you’re off game, not everyone can be. Evan says to make sure that everyone is familiar with upcoming events the team is participating in. This sounds 101 but it’s important. He suggests making a schedule and communicating the times when you’ll be scrimming other teams and different leagues. This way you can put your strategies, communication and teamwork to the test against opponents. Having a schedule also helps plan for times when a player can’t make it. That’s where subs are crucial.
“I was really grateful for our subs,” says Evan. “We had two full-time subs for our team and they were wonderful because they would fill in at a moment's notice.”
Identify your competitor’s skills
Evan keeps mental notes on who the players are and how they play. For instance, in Rainbow Six there are teams who play by the book, teams that are loose, and those that adapt to how their opponent is playing. You also have teams that rely solely on their aim or teams that rely solely on aggression or broken operators. “For all of these different teams, I would consider how we would formulate and execute scrims against them,” says Evan.
Flex players are your golden ticket
Flex players are the best of both worlds. They can provide support on the objective, they can provide support to the entry fraggers, or be that odd player out that you wouldn't expect to be there. One of the common phrases in gaming is, “why is he there?” (That sounds like someone wasn’t communicating, right?)
The flex player provides support in attacking and if both your entry fraggers die, your flex player can provide immediate relief to ensure the roam player can still work efficiently. “As a support player, I'll make sure that I can attack the objective sufficiently,” says Evan. By conducting accurate calls clearly, your team can identify the opponent’s strategy and disarm their efforts. “It’s all tightly controlled,” says Evan.
To have a successful team, it's important to build camaraderie. One of the easiest ways to do this is to play the game non-competitively or do things outside of the game. “Have a relationship with each other. Bond over something, because if it's just going to play the game competitively 24/7, you're not learning more about your teammates,” says Evan.
“In eSports it goes without saying to treat everyone on your team with the utmost respect. As Bill and Ted once said, ‘be excellent to each other.’ There's no reason to not take that to every other aspect of life,” says Evan.
Getting faster and developing strategy will get you and your friends to the next level, but communication is what separates a haphazard group with luck on their side from a winning team, operating with common goals and the camaraderie necessary to weather the good gaming times and the bad.