Online games have become the go-to for gamers all around the globe. From online tournaments, to the Major League of Gaming, to meeting up and spending a night with your close friends, nothing brings us together like the world of online videos games. But sometimes playing online video games can be frustrating – video games are fun no matter what, but nobody enjoys losing all the time. You might not be the best player out there – after all, it’s some people’s jobs to play video games for a living. However, there is something you can do about it. Getting better at video games is easy, especially if you follow some proven tips and tricks. Check out Xbox DIY’s top 5 ways to become better at playing video games online:

Learn the Controls Inside and Out

This is by far one of the most important aspects of becoming better at video games, especially when playing online. Imagine if you were in a fight and both you and your opponent got a chance to pick from the same weapon stash. He chooses an M16, Desert Eagle .50 and a rocket launcher. You choose a knife. Sounds pretty ridiculous, right?

This is exactly what you’re doing to yourself by not learning all the controls. Video games come with an arsenal of different controls that you can use to outmatch your opponents. You’re doing yourself a huge disservices but only utilizing a few of these different options, especially when your opponents are most likely using all of them to beat you.

Tip: When you first get a game, spend a day or two learning the controls. Use the manuals to study the controls, and use practice modes or skill games to put them in to action.

Study patterns, trends, and common scenarios and learn how to recognize them.

Just like in real life, video games are a set of complex scenarios that, if you play often enough, reoccur time and time again. Being able to recognize these patterns and trends helps you become a better player.

You might be playing a First Person Shooter (FPS) approaching a choke point on the map – turning the corner you know three things: your enemy might be coming around the corner at full speed, he may be sitting in a corner, or he may be in the distance sitting in a window. If you know this prior to approaching the choke point your chances for success increase dramatically. It’s just like any other training, the more you do it, the more it becomes habit and muscle memory, and the better you’ll get at it. Some people say video games are mindless, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Tip: If your game has maps, learn them! Knowing key choke points, high ground, location of key resources, and potential hiding spots gives you an advantage over an opponent who doesn’t. 

Recognize your weaknesses – don’t blame the game, learn how to fix them and get better!

It’s common for players to become frustrated with a game – whether it’s the speed, the mechanics, or controls, there’s always a scapegoat for why we’re having trouble. This is not to say that games are bug-free, or perfect by any means, but there are things you can control and improve on: learning controls, recognizing patterns, and spending more time practicing those in matches.

One of the first steps of implementing an idea like this is to recognize where you’re consistently being beat, and work on getting better at it. On the flip side, you can go the down the path of specialization: where you spend a significant amount of effort learning and mastering 1 or 2 aspects of a game. Just like in sports, business, and politics, some people are really good at one thing, but not so great at others.

Join a Team

Life is better with friends. At the core of online gaming is the community – without it, playing video games online wouldn’t be where it’s at today. Not only does joining a community help you meet other like mind individuals around the globe, but it provides you with opportunities to expand your experience in online games, and most likely learn a lot along the way. Gaming communities also offer real life networking opportunities, such as: trips to conventions, community events, and much more.

Tip: Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit are great places to find clans, outfits, or squads

These are just a few of the ways to get better at playing video games online. Playing other human beings requires a different way of thinking, and there are thousands of ways to improve the way you match up with others over the web. Never stop trying to discover ways of getting better at video games. Have a suggestion, or question? Comment below!