Article By Ryan ‘k1ucHt’ Buckley
Art by D4RPA
The following is a community-submitted editorial and as such does not necessarily reflect the opinions of GotFrag or its advertisers
As the eSports community in general, and the Counter-Strike community in particular, becomes more widely known across the globe, teams in the lower brackets may feel “out of the loop” thinking that they don’t have a shot in the big leagues. This may be true in some cases, but shouldn’t discourage those who are less known or in some cases less skilled from trying to step up and make a difference. Any team has the potential needed to make a move towards the top, the trick is knowing how to access it.
Now, before I go on, let me tell you a little about myself, because I am sure most of you have many questions to ask. Why should I listen to you? What do you have that I don’t? What makes you think you know what it takes? Well perhaps you do know more than I do. Maybe you are the better man for the job, but that doesn’t mean everyone is and that is why I am taking the time to write this article and open the eyes of the discouraged or “less skilled” players we all tend to forget about or look down upon in some way.
My name is Ryan Buckley or k1ucHt in the eSports community. I have been playing Counter-Strike since 7th grade or the year 2001. I am currently a Junior in High School in Merrick, New York, a town about 45 minutes from New York City in Nassau County, Long Island. I started in this game like most of us have, floating around in a cs_assault server with a ping of about 150 and the gravity set to the low hundreds. In the next year I began to become familiarized with the ways of clan play and match setup. By the time I was going into 9th grade I began to participate in CAL with several teams, one being Havok eXtreme who just finished participating in CAL-Premier playoffs this season. I had been taught so much by some of the more advanced players in the teams I had been with and started to adapt a style and game mentality of my own. Since then I have continued to play and work on my own teams and in-game playing style. I am currently managing and, for the time being, starting for Pre-Eminent Gaming as we fight our way to a known place in the community before I call it quits and move on to bigger and better things involving the advancement of eSports. This is my story and I would like to further share my thoughts and knowledge of this game and the eSports community as a whole.
Now that you know a little bit about myself and what I am all about, let me go back to my original point in telling you about the art of taking a team to the top. When making a team, leaders tend to favor friends or go against the members they do not like. They may not admit to it but when it comes down to it there is no denying that it’s true. When building your team’s roster, it is important to think of each member as an individual at first. Do you know these people? Are you searching on IRC for final members? What are you looking for? The answers to these questions are very similar in most cases, team leaders want dedicated, highly skilled, mature players for their team. What most fail to understand is that there are a lot of players that meet this criteria, making it very hard to go searching for such players at random. You have to be true to yourself. Are you playing with friends from school or work? Are they good players or are they the right players for the team? This is the question of the year or in terms of eSports, the season. We are all guilty as team leaders of favoring members that you know in real life or have known for a long time over those who you have met online or those that have disagreed with you on something. You may go to school with the next Kyle Miller and want him to start for your team, but if he has an ego out to Mars or snaps out at anyone who questions the way he moves his crosshairs, is it really worth it? The answer is no, but in most cases the friend and leader will die trying to defend this guy against the other members of the team, simply because he’s friends with him at school or work and doesn’t want to make the situation there tense or uncomfortable.
After reading this at least half of you are probably denying the truth to the core saying this is not the case but in the back of your mind you know it is the truth. The other half of you who have pleaded guilty and are probably wondering how you may go about preventing such a situation. The answer is simple. Come straight out with your friends or the people you know, tell them your roster is full or if you’re a new team tell them you don’t think it will work out. They’re your friends, they will understand and if not they’re proving your decision to be right and you have nothing to worry about. It’s only a game and they’ll get over it. Keep in mind when you’re building your roster you are not only looking for the best player but the best person or people you can find. Internal conflicts or fighting is the number one way to prevent your team from going somewhere. Also keep in mind the less people on your team the less conflicts in interests and the less likely it is that a fight will occur.
Now that we have that issue taken care of, it is time to go into the game and discuss the actions that need to be taken once you’ve got your team together. When playing in scrims or matches, it is important to keep in-game talking to a minimum. Ventrilo, although useful in some cases, usually does more harm then good. In-game works very nicely when the server voice codec is changed and the quality is raised. You should go over T strats and CT setups prior to scrimming. A server comes in very handy at this point and is well worth the investment. In terms of scrimming and practice time, realistically a good team puts in at least six hours a day. If this is not a possibility then it is important to realize strats, setups and drills with the team are much more beneficial than constant scrims. Improving teamwork and strategy help greatly, contrary to popular opinion. Use your time wisely. It’s important to have fun and be productive at the same time.
We have gone over the basic creation of a team and how you should go about your practice schedules, but now comes the most overlooked part of team creation and success: attitude. There is a gigantic lack of maturity in the Counter-Strike community and in eSports as a whole. You can blame age all you want, but that is the easy way out. I have been in teams with thirteen year olds that have played better and acted more grown up then a players in their twenties. If you want to be mature you can be, no matter what your age or personality. Listen to those in charge and if you care enough it will come to you. Besides the little fights and arguments that go on in less developed teams now and then, in-game actions are very important as well. If you find yourself or members of your team constantly fighting with the other teams or accusing them of hacking it is time to put them on the spot and see if they are really worth the trouble they are bringing to you. It is very important to maintain a professional attitude towards those within the team and towards the rest of the community. How others view you is essential to your success. As we all know, CAL and other major leagues in this community play favorites when it comes to who moves up and advances within the league. I am not bashing them for doing so, in fact I think it is essential that they do this in order to run a professional and respectable organization themselves. With league advancement your team will usually become more popular and widely known throughout the community. When this happens, I know what you’ll be thinking: you want to get sponsored. Getting sponsored isn’t an easy process by any means and I am not about to go into details on how you can go about doing so. Just keep in mind it is essential to your success that you maintain a professional attitude and act maturely throughout the community at all times. Look at yourselves from another point of view and see what you think. You always want to look like a good respectable team in the eyes of the community.
Most of the ideas and tactics I just went over are probably second nature to those of you who consider yourself to be more advanced in the community. This article isn’t meant to teach everyone how to run their team or play this game, it’s meant to be used as a guideline or as a form of motivation to those who feel as if they are slowly slipping away from the top. The game of Counter-Strike is easily 80% mental and it is essential to realize this to make it in this sport. I have gone though these steps and in fact I am still in the process. Please take my advice and use it to your advantage. I am only trying to help and I feel it has worked for me, now let it do the same for you.