Ankit Panth aka V3nom during a CS tourney Image: Ankit Panth
In the frantic fast-paced world of gaming, some might consider First Person Shooter (FPS) games dated but the genre's popularity has not waned since they first appeared in the mid-'70s.
The genre, which debuted with Maze War and Spasim, has gone on to spawn more titles than any other gaming genre in the world. FPS truly broke into the mainstream during the '90s with blockbuster titles such as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Blake Stone: Aliens of God. The introduction of 3D graphics during the late '90s gave the genre an unprecedented boost. Hugely successful FPS franchises such as Halo, BattleField, Call of Duty, and Far Cry established a cult status. Given the long list of FPS games over the years, it’s tough to choose the best of the lot. But the most popular ones for an aspiring professional gamer are either Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) or Overwatch.
Counter Strike or CS rules the roost of popular titles, alongside DoTA and FIFA, the two other top games among professional gamers.
For the uninitiated, Ankit aka V3Nom is the leader of Team Brutality. This team has been a top clan since the CS 1.6 days and is still considered one of the best Counter Strike teams in the country. The team became famous overnight in 2010 after knocking down Goliaths of the game at Chitkara.
We got Ankit to share some invaluable tips to help you nail these headshots and own your opponents like a pro.
To conquer the professional gaming arena, you should start in the field as early as possible. I started at 15. I still reminisce about the beginning of this wonderful career.
Find your game
Before narrowing down on a particular game, play several titles and find out which game impresses you the most. Before CS, I played a plethora of different games and found out soon that I am not meant for MOBA/MMO games due to my lack of patience and strategy. I was more of a shoot-to-kill type, who lives for bursts of short adrenaline rushes in a game. It was games such as CS 1.6, Unreal Tournament and Doom that gave me what I wanted. Over time, I stuck to my foremost love, CS.
Hard work and patience are the keys
There are enough reasons why e-gaming is considered one of the best professions around. Like every other top profession, it also involves a lot of competition. So, if you want to be the best, you should possess enough passion and dedication. Hard work and patience are the two other key factors to become successful at hunting down your rivals in the game.
Like in every other popular sports arena, you should learn how to hold your nerves and keep your cool. I remember when I was playing my first tournament in a gaming cafe, the reaction from the crowd truly took me by surprise. They were shouting and cheering their favourites just like fans do in a football or cricket stadium. As I was not yet a professional back then, the environment was really scary. But with time, I have learned how to deal with it (laughs).
It's all about the team
In multi-player games such as CS, you need to be in a team. And the most important thing in a team is to be part of a cohesive unit. Every member in our team, including me, treats “Team Brutality” as family. We gel with each other so well that we don’t need to worry much.
Learn from your opponents
Like in life, you must keep learning from every game you play, especially, when you’re playing against tough opponents. All you need to do is hold your head high and play your level best without worrying much about the outcome. Learn from your failures and make them your strength.
Practice, practice, practice
CS is one of the toughest games in the world, and that’s why you need to practise a lot to master it. You should at least practise 4 to 6 hours every day. And if you want to be a professional player, you have to invest at least 6-8 quality hours every day.
Learn to deal with unpredictability
It’s best to play against human opponents as much as possible. After all, human players provide stiffer challenge compared to Artificial Intelligence (AI), which comes with limited programming and is quite predictable. Sometimes a human player may react similarly, but most of the time, expect an unorthodox bit of gameplay to surprise you. These surprises come more during live matches, shocking the audience as well as the players. Every human player has his or her own way of thinking and reacts differently to a specific challenge in a game. This makes for endless possibilities to counter, which in turn means more fun.
Watch top players in action
Besides playing the game, you should also keep a tab on international teams and players by watching them regularly. You can actually learn a lot of tricks from their style of gameplay, which would eventually help you to grasp the game better.
Other games can help you get better
Try other gaming titles too, even if you aspire to be a CS champ. Playing different games helps you to learn different strategies and works as recreation as well. Apart from playing CS, sometimes I try my hands in WWE and FIFA, and I enjoy both.
It's fine to have other passions
There is no harm if you have interests other than gaming. In my case, it’s my love for music and my undying passion for fitness.
Learn to keep your cool and be simple before big match days. Just focus on your game and execute all the things you have discussed before in the “boot camps” and team meetings. In our case, we love to mix it with a pinch of rage and adrenaline to keep our fans excited. That’s how we cook a tournament to remember. Sometimes our dish tastes really good, sometimes it doesn’t. But that’s what makes us loved by our fans.
(With inputs from Santanu Basu)