Closeup of hands of an Esports team put together.

Interested in professional gaming? To join an esports team, you need to have the skills of a competitive player, not just a matchmaking player. Here’s what it takes to get there.

Competitive Gameplay vs. Matchmaking

Before you try getting recruited on a professional esports team, you need to understand the difference between competitive gameplay and matchmaking. The reason is that you may not be prepared to play against professionals, even if you’re at the top of the leaderboards.

In almost every game, competitive gameplay is far more difficult than matchmaking. The playstyles may be significantly different also. When you compare videos of the two side by side, they may look like completely different games! In the competitive scene, you’re playing against some of the best players and teams around the world. You can’t just play how you normally would in casual or matchmaking games.

Think of it as a boxing match. Imagine you’re a skilled boxer with no professional experience going up against a boxer with professional experience. The pro boxer is far more likely to win because they know what it’s like to fight at the highest level. They’re trained and conditioned to fight against the best.

It gets even more complicated when it comes to team-based games. In competitive gameplay, you’re playing with the same teammates over and over again. You need to have synergy, knowing how to play off each other. Whereas with matchmaking, you play with new people all the time with little to no synergy.

Some team-based matchmaking games may even feel like a solo game. And if this is what you’re used to, you won’t be able to compete in the pro scene. You need to gain experience playing at a professional level rather than just matchmaking. Your practices should be very technical and adapt to competitive gameplay. Consider upgrading to better gaming gear, especially your mouse and keyboard.

Training for the Competitive Scene

Most games have a competitive scene that differs from matchmaking. A competitive scene is anything that’s similar to a tournament where players register and only one person or team wins. If your game has a competitive scene, you’ll be able to train for it.

If your goal is to get recruited on a professional esports team, you should forget about playing matchmaking games for now. Leave those for when you want to play casually. Figure out what it takes to beat the competition and focus all your training on that. Remember that you don’t have to win a tournament to get recruited, although it will make it a lot easier. You just need to have the potential to win.

If a recruiter believes you have what it takes to compete at the highest level, you have a good chance of joining a team. Training at a professional level can be a lot more stressful than playing matchmaking games. You’ll need to put in long hours focusing on technical skills. It may even take the fun away. This is something you need to be aware of and decide if it’s still what you want.

Stream Your Games

One of the best ways to gain exposure for yourself is by streaming your games on gaming platforms like Twitch. Twitch is one of the most popular streaming platforms in the world, and many full-time streamers have found great success with it. Take note of how many people watch the game you plan on streaming in the first place. If barely anyone watches your game on that platform, choose another.

Once you’ve chosen a platform, stick to it for a long time even if you initially don’t get many viewers. Every streamer starts with little to no viewers, so don’t let that discourage you. You may want to avoid looking at your viewer count for several months because it will be slow at first. If your computer can handle it, try streaming on multiple platforms simultaneously.

Focus on playing at a professional level and stream your games as often as possible. Create a schedule that you can easily maintain as this is the best way to increase your viewership. You don’t want to have your viewers guessing when you’ll be online next, so keep it consistent. Of course, things happen in life, so it’s okay to miss a day here and there. The goal is to gradually gain more consistent viewers over time, which will draw the attention of recruiters.

The hardest aspect about streaming is giving people a reason to watch you. It usually comes down to three things: be entertaining to watch, be very good at the game, or have connections. There are other ways to grow your audience, but everything usually stems from those three.

RELATED: How to Live Stream Games on YouTube

Don’t Forget Social Media

Another great way to gain exposure for yourself is by using social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. You can post updates about your progress, share clips of your best moments, or just tweet and post about your life. The goal is to establish a personal connection with your fans and potential followers. Focus on quality and being consistent with your uploads.

You can be as creative as you want when it comes to social media. Just make sure your posts are interesting. Like streaming, upload on a schedule so you don’t leave your followers guessing. If you can’t think of anything to post, look at what other people in the scene are doing for ideas. Don’t copy them, but use them for inspiration instead.

And don’t be afraid to interact with your followers. Reply to their comments, thank them for watching your videos, and respond to their tweets. This will make them feel like they’re a part of something bigger than themselves, which is the best way to build a community. Having a community may be exactly what you need to attract recruiters.

If you’re lucky, some of your followers may even become fans that will follow you for years to come. This is not only good to help you find a professional esports team but can also lead to other opportunities down the road–sponsorships, brand deals, and more.

Apply for Teams When You’re Ready

This one’s only for those who are ready to compete at the pro level. You can look on recruitment sites such as seekteam to help you find a team. You’ll usually have to apply and go through a trial. And if you’re good enough, they may decide to pick you up.

The hard part about applying for teams is standing apart from the rest. There are countless players out there looking to find a team to join, so the competition is fierce. Make sure you’re putting in the work to master your skills before you apply. You don’t want to waste an opportunity to try out for a team when your skills aren’t where they need to be yet.

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Profile Photo for Andy Nguyen Andy Nguyen
Andy Nguyen has been a professional freelance writer for over three years and has written hundreds of articles. He has loved computers and technology ever since he started gaming as a kid back in the 1990s. He's the person everyone he knows turns to for help with tech, too. Andy also runs a blog where he provides information and guides for students on becoming more productive.
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