One of the things I never really thought about was how to identify people’s habits, in particular their bad ones. In competitive games, everyone (even if they don’t realize it) fall into habits; things they do by routine, in each game they play.
Sometimes, these habits are what allows people to be good and win most of their games. However, those same habits can be people’s undoing. If you pay close attention, you can use those habits against them and make them think twice about what they’re doing.
Firstly, you’ll have to be in a mindset of looking for habits. In shooters, it might be that someone repeats the exact same sequence in a gun fight i.e. aim, go prone, shoot, sprint. If you see someone doing this without fail, then anticipate it and adjust your strategy accordingly. In fighting games, it could be that someone likes to use the same buttons over and over. If you see that the player will commit to this, make them regret it. Pick an option that counters what they’re doing and force them to change it up or risk losing the match.
Habits are hard to break. The best players are able to switch between their usual patterns and adapting to different playstyles. This is tricky because it means stepping outside of your comfort zone to play differently, dealing with someone in a way that you’re not used to. If you know a player who is particularly bad at this, then take advantage of it.
Obviously, it’s not a definitive strategy for victory by just combatting habits. A lot more goes into winning competitive games, especially the element of random and people making sudden adjustments. The reason I mention bad habits is because it’s one of the most overlooked aspects of head-to-head gaming.
We’re so concerned with increasing our own skill and building our own game plan that we forget that others do the same. Remember, you’re not just fighting that player’s character, you’re fighting the player. And unlike cheap A.I. that can read your button inputs, human beings can and will make mistakes.
Hopefully you have an idea of the importance of utilizing awareness of habits to help you get better in competitive gaming. It’s not about reading minds or always making the right decisions, it’s about noticing simple patterns and doing something to counter it. Think of it like solving a puzzle, where success means dominating an opponent. Gaming can be complex and this is one of those things you need in your arsenal.
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