How to get better at first-person shooters – tips from a pro Counter-Strike player

The first-person shooter (or FPS) is one of the most prolific genres in competitive and casual gaming.

With titles ranging from the highly-competitive Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to the narrative-driven Dishonored, there are many different types of first-person shooter.

However, all these games rely on one central game mechanic – the player’s ability to aim, shoot, and move efficiently from a first-person perspective.

MyGaming asked Ruan “Elusive” van Wyk for a few tips on how to improve your first-person shooter skills.

van Wyk is a member of Bravado Gaming’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team, which is the best CS:GO team in South Africa.


Gear

A decent mouse and keyboard are a necessity for improving your FPS game.

Luckily, this doesn’t mean buying high-end gaming peripherals, as any decent mouse-and-keyboard combination will suffice.

Your mouse needs to be fairly accurate with no built-in acceleration, and your keyboard should be comfortable and ergonomic.

A noise-cancelling over-ear headset is also a great peripheral to have, as this allows you to clearly hear where noises are coming from in game while filtering out pesky irritations.

“The mouse is considered to be more important since players have specific shapes and sizes that they prefer,” says van Wyk.

“Personally, the keyboard isn’t as important for me, as long as it is a mechanical keyboard. The responsiveness of a mechanical keyboard just feels a lot better than the old-school keyboards.”

HyperX Cloud II


Mouse Sensitivity

Mouse sensitivity is one of the most important parts of becoming a good FPS player.

While you may be used to high sensitivity in default Windows applications and other games, FPS games favour a relatively low sensitivity, allowing for more accurate tracking and precise movements.

It is also important to turn settings such as mouse acceleration off, and ensure that vertical and horizontal mouse sensitivity is always equal.

“CS:GO sensitivity and mouse DPI go hand-in-hand. It is generally considered that a low DPI is best,” says van Wyk.

“The majority of professional players use 400 DPI, and then they adjust their in-game sensitivity accordingly.”

logitech-g-pro-gaming-mouse


Practice

Practice is by far the most important part of improving your first-person shooter skills.

Improving your aim is no easy task and requires a combination of reflexes, muscle memory, and efficiency.

Training techniques will vary according to which game you are playing, but general aiming skill is usually transferrable across games, which is why good FPS players are good at most shooters.

Ruan “Elusive” van Wyk outlines some general practice tips:

“The most important thing is to find some consistency in your setup. Select your mouse and sensitivity, and practice with it.”

“There are hundreds of aim practice maps where you can shoot bots that are stationary or moving, or maps where you have to react by shooting objects that pop up in random positions. Playing on these maps for an hour a day will definitely improve your FPS aim.”

nag-lan


Awareness and Game Sense

Enough practiced gaming means that you will eventually learn the finer points of competitive gameplay specific to the game you are playing.

Playing often enough on certain maps and certain game modes allows you to predict the most likely places for enemies to appear and guess what strategy the opposition is employing by noting that they don’t appear in certain areas.

This sense of awareness can vary from game to game, but generally comes as a result of practice and sufficient understanding of the meta-game.

We gave Elusive the difficult task of explaining the concept of Game Sense in one sentence:

“Game Sense is your ability as a player to utilize your raw skill and/or experience to essentially read a situation and make the correct decisions based on what you predict is going to happen.”

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Now read: What it takes to be a professional gamer in South Africa

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How to get better at first-person shooters – tips from a pro Counter-Strike player

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