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Posted Guest on 09 August 2012 - 08:08 AM
With the newly launched GW2 section of AJ, I am promoting some of my most popular and well-received guides for the community here that were originally shown on guru, While they pertain to GW2 in general, I published these guides to be sure they represent a variety of competitive scenes, so many items, such as in this guide here, can be applied to WoW or other formats.
I hope you enjoy. We posted the guide in full here, but the original can be found on www.teamlegacy.net, as well as many other great guides.
Coaching Yourself in Competitive Play
How many friends do you know that lose their game in a fit of rage and blame everyone else for it? Throughout the gaming community, players like them fail to realize the clear picture of how the big names in E-Sports rose to fame. Here's a hint, if you thought they mega-raged after each loss, you were wrong.
Coaching yourself in Competitive Play
Chapter 1. Introduction - You learn the most from losing. It's true.
Chapter 2. Dealing with a Loss
Chapter 3. Learning from previous mistakes
Chapter 4. Practice Makes Perfect
Chapter 5. Closing Thoughts
Chapter 1. Introduction - You learn the most from losing. It's True.
If you are in this thread, it means you have gone past the basics of what it means to be a competitive gamer. Although you understand what is to come, until you actually experience it, you won’t truly know what it’s like. What I’m referring to is losing. Losing straight-out sucks. It can be frustrating, infuriating, and make you want to quit. There are plenty of reasons why you lose, teammates, out-skilled, out-smarted, mistakes, etc. However, there is something to be gained regardless of knowing why you lost. Losing is perhaps the most important part in the growth of a competitive gamer. But if you aren’t taking your losses properly, you will continue to lose, eventually plateau, and never improve.
Before we go into this idea of losing properly, I want to give you a background of me as a gamer, so you understand my mindset and perspectives. The games that I have played shaped the way I have learned from them. The games YOU play, affect the way YOU learn from them. I cannot stress that enough. Your gaming background is going to influence how you view what I write, and I want to let you know where I am coming from, so that you can take my knowledge and apply it properly to your knowledge.
I started gaming at the age of 2 on the NES with Super Mario Bros. Ever since then I have been addicted to video games until maybe 2 years ago, at the age of 23, when I moved to Korea. My drive to be a competitive gamer started in middle school with CS 1.3, and started when I was in college. I have since then stopped playing competitively
My gaming time has recently been cut down drastically due to work and relationships, but my mentality has not changed. I pick up games very quickly, and I always want to win. I succeed in every game I play, not because I play it a lot, but because I nitpick the hell out of it. The games I played the most in my gaming career, Counter-Strike 1.3-1.6, Madden series, World of Warcraft until TBC, Guild Wars, DOTA until 6.54b, Brood War, League of Legends, and most recently DOTA 2. Note that three (WoW world PvP/duels) of the games I listed have been solo competitive play oriented. They also happen to be the games I played least out of the ones I listed. So my input comes from not just learning from my own play, but from playing with organized clans/guilds and pugs, as will my examples. This guide is focused on losing when playing team-oriented games.
Chapter 2. Dealing with a Loss
Losing will be the most frustrating you encounter when you play games. You can be hardcore or casual, it doesn’t matter, losing is frustrating. It’s why game developers have different levels of difficulty, and why they include cheat codes rather than remove them when the game goes live. Losing becomes even worse once you make the decision that you always want to win, and being a competitive gamer is something you desire.
Remember, this doesn’t mean having fun is now out of the equation, what it does mean is that winning will amplify your enjoyment of the game. Never lose sight that in the end, we all play games to have fun. Once it stops being fun, you should re-evaluate playing the game. Seriously, from the words of Lim Yo-Hwan, known to many of you as SlayerS_`BoxeR`, “But if one is a progamer, the most fun thing in the world must be games, and the only thing that is fun must be games.” When there is no fun, there is no purpose. When there is no purpose, every loss snowballs to the point where you will take your frustrations out on others and you will hurt those you meant to have a good time with.
That being said, when playing a game, keep things in perspective. Realize everything else you learn to do in life, you have to start somewhere, and it’s not the same starting point for everyone. You will not be the best right away, and based on the life of the game, you will probably suck. Always remind yourself that you are a student of the game, and that there is always something to take away from these losses. If you are out skilled, you already have a starting point to learn from someone better than you. If you lost from your mistakes, you have a focal point of where to improve. If your losses are from your teammates, you have areas to learn on how to lead and be a better teammate. The list goes on. No matter what level of play you are at, there is always something to learn, something to improve. Most importantly, it’s not always related to the game, but your own personal condition. Your mental and physical health plays a pivotal role.
Try your best to not get upset from these games as you learn. There is a fine line between not caring and caring, just as there is a fine line for caring and caring too much. Your goal as you play is to ride the line to as close as caring too much as possible. It will improve your skills and efforts, because you are trying to win. If you do not try your hardest, then the losses become meaningless since the source of every mistake or problem that was made in the game is unknown.
Chapter 3. Learning from previous mistakes
So you’ve lost a game, now what? This is where it’s important to separate the focal point of your losses, and gaming backgrounds will influence what you consider important. i.e. Starcraft first focus of improvement in losses is mechanical since wins and losses are directly tied to your own play, whereas Counter-Strike would first be positional tactics because you need your whole team to work together to win, since pre-requisite is that you have mechanics down. Your loss breakdowns will fall in one of these categories probably: Mechanics, Out played, Out skilled, Teammates. There are different stages to improve your play based on how far you have progressed on the learning curve of the game.
What I mean by mechanics is not the basic gameplay elements. I am referring to the individual aspects that will allow a player to maximize and minimize their play. Mechanical losses are probably the easiest ones to deal with. This is because you know that the fault lies within your own play. It’s the one thing you have absolute control of, because your opponent(s) cannot influence how you click a mouse or how you push keys on a keyboard. (Doesn’t mean they can’t influence what keys you push though ;])
If you are brand new to the game, then you simply need to learn smaller parts of the mechanics and focus on just that one aspect of the game. Replays are not needed, because the tactical areas of the games shouldn’t be involved. You simply want to succeed at completing the one task you have set for yourself. The nice thing is that you can practice this normally through some form of PvE where the influence of the enemy is hampered quite a bit. Some games make it more difficult to practice, but your options will always be there. Here’s a list of examples that you can apply.
TS: Practice Partner or vs. AI<br />
FPS: Designated aim_xxx maps.<br />
MOBA: vs. Bots
As stated before, the goal of these games aren’t to win, but rather to complete that one task and do it damn well. Set your goals relatively low, but not something you can regularly attain. Slowly increase your increments. Once you are comfortable with it, EXPAND your goals. Include your goal + timers for example. This is the basic form of a build. They are easy to emulate, and will start netting you wins. It will also let you transition nicely to the next level of the learning curve, and the next main reason for your losses.
You also should be looking up how skills work and interact with each other. What makes PvP far harder than PvE is the chaos. Teamwork and communication helps here, and the less chaos there is, the higher chance of success. It is very important to know HOW you can interact with your enemies AND teammates. Figure out the strengths and weaknesses of the role you enjoy playing and exploit it. When you run into something you don't understand, look it up. This will help develop the proper mentality when you play.
Sure, having your skills perfectly layed out is great, but executing them properly is another matter entirely.
At this point in the game, you have left the newbie style of play and progressed to a level of play where you at least have some idea of what you are doing. What has led you to victory before, will probably not work as well anymore. This is largely due to the change in opponent. Your games should be played against other human opponents in order to introduce the core elements of competitive gaming: strategy and tactics. Your reason for losses will shift from your own play to your opponents. The next two stages you have of your competitive gaming rise to the top, will fall into two categories: Lower-Intermediate and Upper-Intermediate. There is no true intermediate stage of any game, due to the constant flux of players and patches. It’s either you win slightly more than you lose, or you win a lot more than you lose. If you’re losing more often than you win, it’s either you hit your plateau in terms of skill for that particular game, or you’re in the upper-intermediate status of organized play.
This stage is probably the quickest to get out of. Players normally enter this stage and will either get out quickly or stay here permanently. It’s what separates the players who want to learn from those who simply don’t care. Your mechanics have strengthened to the point where there is a good room for improvement, but they are solid enough where you can focus on other aspects of the game. Mainly, live game analysis. This is where you start massing games against live enemies. Bots/PvE will not help your improve here, because they are predictable. You need real situations to analyze and adapt to. Replays are still not a focal point, except for something that completely blows your mind away and makes you want to know what the hell just happened.
Mass gaming is incredibly stressful. For those who don’t know what it is, it’s exactly as it sounds. It’s play as many games you can when given the time. Based on your personal life, it varies a lot. While it sounds perfectly fine, since that’s all we do with our free time anyways, the difference is the amount of mental strain you put on yourself. Your goal is to play perfect every single time. Some games like Starcraft will burn you out in one or two games, others like League of Legends or Dota will take maybe a few more. Either way, you need to put a lot of pressure on yourself to maximize gains.
Jaedong - SC Brood Wars Idol
A person I used to play Brood War with is perhaps the best example I know about mass gaming. We would play on ICCUP, a the official competitive Brood War server. It gives grades based on your performance in a season. Pro gamers are usually S class, sometimes A+. Top foreigners would hit A-, only one or two have been able to hit A. The lowest grade is E/Computer, and everyone starts at D. Perfect mechanics is about C-/C. I never exceeded D+ often not having the dedication to do well. I’d run into late-game macro problems, as well PvT wall break issues (sadly, my worst matchup as Protoss was vs Terran). The person I used to play with, was always around C-. I considered him extremely good, but he considered himself bad and undisciplined because of the lack of games he played. He eventually reached B+ in one season, but he told me that it took about 20 games a day to get there. If you’ve ever played Brood War seriously, one game is extremely tiring. There’s so many things you have to do, even if your mechanics are perfect. It’s absolutely grueling thinking that you have to do 20 20-minute games with minimal breaks. The payoffs are huge, but it also takes a toll on your physical condition.
I’m not saying you must dedicate yourself to gaming, just realize the more games you play seriously, the faster your improve. There is no shortcut. Some will learn quicker than others, just don’t be frustrated by what happens. This is the most critical point, because it will give you the needed exposure to what actually happens in games. It will help build your ability to adapt and analyze. It's okay to play non-serious games. It will help your relax and refresh your mind, but realize you also can't properly judge your own ability in these games.
The upper-intermediate status is similar to that of the lower-intermediate, except you are now winning far more frequently than you lose. Your analysis of situation is generally acceptable, and you make few mechanical mistakes. You understand your role within a team, and the best way to achieve your team’s goal. However, there will be a point when your skill level hits a plateau. Many games with matchmaking have incorporated the ELO system, and whenever your ELO starts to fluctuate +- 100-200 of where you started is when you need to start watching replays to improve. It’s important to understand what you’re looking for. If you just blindly watch a replay, it will do you no good, because you just wasted a bunch of time not truly understanding your losses. I’m going to use League of Legends, a MOBA that actually prevents 1v5s unlike other popular MOBAs, for the rest of my examples in this thread. I think it stresses teamwork far more than people realize, and with the reputation MOBA communities hold, proper analysis of replays is further magnified. This is where I’m currently at in League of Legends, but I haven’t hit my cap yet simply because I don’t put in the time to find out what it is. I’m fairly certain my ELO is higher than what I maxed out at, simply because I still had a 60+% win ratio at the time I stopped. I will be focusing on PUG play in this section. By PUG I mean a non-full team with everyone on the same VoIP. If you are playing with a group of friends on a VoIP program, this can still apply ONLY if you are relatively new to the scene. Organized play is a completely different beast, and probably deserves its own section.
Replays should be watched for your own personal play. I will guarantee you that you did something wrong that contributed to the loss of the game. Your positioning was off reducing the amount of damage you could do, you got caught and forced your team to fight with uneven numbers, you made a bad call, etc. Pay attention to what you can fix, because the nature of PUGs prevents you from having a huge amount of influence. Replays in MOBA are pretty simple, although they may seem long. Skip to the team fight sections and realize what went wrong. t's rather easy to find out if you were out of position, lacked vision, etc. If you lost your lane, no need for a replay. Practice and get better at it, you should realize what made you lose since it's a 1v1 thing.
Solo queue in League of Legends supposedly has something called, “ELO Hell.” As you can imagine, it’s a point of ELO where your teammates are simply so bad, you cannot get yourself higher. This prevents you from reaching your true ELO. There is a big debate about this, and I for one, think it doesn’t exist. I believe it reflects the poor mentality of the standard “hardcore” gamer, and shows why only a small percent actually reach “high ELO” status.
I have played games where I have double digit kills, and 1-3 deaths, and lost, and I was a huge factor to why we lost. I could have lost my lane early and not applying proper pressure to prevent the enemy from roaming. I could have not been committing hard enough in team fights. There’s always something that I did wrong that contributed to the loss, and my goal is to prevent those mistakes from happening. While that is obviously impossible, limiting the number will far increase your chance of winning, and it will also help you stay level-headed so that you don’t tilt and throw your own game.
If you are having trouble understanding what I mean, it’s easiest to just see it.
Day provides great insight in terms of analyzing replays. He also is popular enough to draw in professional level players and hear about their thought process. Although the game is Starcraft 2, it shows just how many facets that should be looked at when analyzing your play from a game.
The one thing I cannot stress enough is this. It is important to realize that YOU are the problem when you lose. Whenever in doubt, just think about the common denominator rule. What is the one constant in every loss? YOU.
“Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.”
- Proverbs 27:17
Teammates are the last thing to consider when learning from a loss. However, they will be the reason for some of your losses. Just like with anything that is team oriented, communication is the key to winning. You don’t win by yourself, and you don’t lose by yourself. Organization is crucial, and with PUGs, it can be extremely hard to do. You, as a player, need to learn how to lead. Confidence is important and trusting yourself. If you honestly believe you know what is best for your team, make the calls. You have no one else to blame except yourself if you knew what to do to win, but say nothing about it. A lot of responsibility comes with making calls, because a bad one will cost you the game. However, having everyone commit to a bad call is far better than people half-committing to good ones.
Another thing to remember when dealing with teammates, is how to properly change their attitude and behavior in a game after losing. Show them respect, even when they aren’t respectful to you. Applying more pressure to them, or talking them down when they are already doing poorly, WILL shut off the desire to win. Their goals may even change to make sure you have the least amount of enjoyment possible. MOBAs are notorious for this. Forcing your teammates to mute everyone only hurts and doesn’t help. Just because you aren’t the one saying it, doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Mediating helps tons. Just realize, the instant someone gives up, you’re fucked.
Chapter 4. Practice makes Perfect
It's ok to be upset you lost, but take a moment afterwards to reflect on why.
This is as straightforward as you get. Apply the knowledge that you have gained in order to improve. Learning from your losses is a crucial step to improving quickly. When something doesn’t work out as planned, go back and try again and make adjustments if needed. People with the time to play games don’t need any guidance with this. Many of us already do this without realizing it. However, for the gamer who lacks time, like myself, we live in an age that will give us pseudo-hours of actual playing time:Streams.
Streams come in two forms: Professional Players and Tournaments
Streams of professional players let us know what we should try to achieve, even if we aren’t at that level of play. It gives a visual cue when it is normally impossible. The most popular streams are ones who keep in touch with their viewers and let us know their thought process. The biggest advantage is the incredible amount of insight you get through FPV. You get to know how they watch the game unfold. When I streamed and people I played with got to see how I played for the first time. They were amazed at how much I'm keeping tabs on everything. My screen never just stays in one area but rather jumping to places where I think something important may happen.
Streams of tournaments are another excellent form of learning. It gets to show us the team-play aspect of games. Often times, streams of players are very self-centered. You can learn the individual things you have to do to succeed. Tournaments are the opposite and allow you to understand what to do as a team. Just make sure the casters are appropriate. The color commentator NEEDS to know his/her stuff or else you won't learn anything. Tobiwan for DOTA 2 vs. any group Riot Games sends out will quickly show the huge gap of casting skills in the same genre of gaming.
Remember, streams are a resource just like anything else. Nothing will ever replace actual playing time, but they can help you improve much quicker. Furthermore, there are many sites that provide written guides for games you play, which will give you a framework to work with, if you cannot watch streams. They should not be a crutch, but rather guidance until you are comfortable enough to do everything on your own.
The last thing to remember is to keep things in perspective. The people you playing with aren’t professionals. You won’t improve as quickly as the person who can play 6-8 hours a day, but you can improve far quicker than before if you are smart about your time.
Chapter 5. Closing Thoughts
If you have gotten this far, congratulations! I do not often put my thoughts down on paper, and am actually a pretty poor teacher of games. I am much better at understanding the thinking of others than explaining how I actually think. I hope that this guide has provided some insight to how you should view games. Much of how I view games is actually from how I view life. Looking for the why instead of the what has treated me well, and is the basic requirement for understanding and improving yourself.
For the aspiring gamer, there is one thing I strongly recommend you read: Crazy as Me. The biography of Lim Yo Hwan. If you can find it somewhere translated on line, it's worth the read. http://web.archive.o...y.blogspot.com/
This will not only make you a better gamer, but give you a greater appreciation for games and the commitment that we as individuals make in our lives. Since it is from a professional gamer, I believe it is easier to understand since he goes over many situations that we have experienced or have imagined.
This guide and others can be found on www.teamlegacy.net. We understand everyone has great opinions, and we encourage open criticism. Thanks for reading, be sure to drop kwlpp a line @ TL if you have specific feedback!
Posted Guest on 09 August 2012 - 07:51 AM
With the newly launched GW2 section of AJ, I am promoting some of my most popular and well-received guides for the community here, originally promoted on Gw2Guru. While they pertain to GW2 in general, I published these guides to be sure they represent a variety of competitive scenes, so many items, such as in this guide here, can be applied to WoW or other formats.
I hope you enjoy. We posted the guide in full here, but the original can be found on www.teamlegacy.net. As well as other great guides.
Here's a simple question for you: Do you play to win? I bet 90% of the people reading this would immediately answer "Yes, of course." The problem is, a great number of them would be wrong. They think they are playing to win, but they are trapped by pride and mental defense mechanisms that prevent them from truly playing to win. I was once one of those players. Most players start out that way. The default state of human psychology is "protect the ego from harm." When you lose, it's not your fault right? The other guy was using an OP weapon, or a cheap move that takes no skill. While these concepts are comforting to our ego, they are a massive barrier preventing us from getting better at games. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have the capacity to break through that barrier and truly Play to Win.
Playing to Win
"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."
- Sun Tzu
Lets start off with a disclaimer: Playing to win is not for everyone. It takes time and effort, and can be incredibly satisfying for many people, but not everyone enjoys it. Some people have other hobbies and only play games on the side. There's nothing wrong with that. This article isn't for them This article is for the type of person who finds satisfaction in mastery, competition and self improvement. Games provide a fantastic avenue to measure these aspects of achievement. You either win a game or you lose; there is no in between. So if you are the type of player who is willing to sacrifice time, effort, and a little pride, this article is for you.
Playing to win is a very simple concept: It means using the most effective tournament legal moves/tactics/abilities/characters/factions available. It means you will sometimes be using abilities/characters/tactics that will win you the game, but earn the ire of your opponents. It means accepting the fact that defeat is not to be blamed on your opponent's; defeat is not to be blamed on the game; defeat is your fault. This is the key to playing to win. Once you can accept that fact, you are ready to travel down the path of self improvement, towards satisfaction and victory.
"That move is so cheap! It ruins the game!"
We all accept that some games are better than others, but when it comes to multiplayer competitive games, there's only one measurement that really matters: how deep is the game? Depth, in a multiplayer competitive game, is a measure of how many different viable avenues there are to victory. If there is a single character/strategy/ability that is vastly superior to all others, the game is very shallow. Whereas a game with many different equally viable options would be very deep. Imagine if an FPS had a gun that was effective at all ranges, easy to aim, and did more damage than any other weapon in the game, with no major drawbacks. We can all agree such a game would be become quite boring. Nobody would bother to use the other weapons, and there would be very little variety in playstyle or tactics. Now imagine an MMO where every class was equally viable in the 5v5 competitive mode. Imagine the combinations you could make! Two warriors, a necro and two rangers might play very differently from a Warrior/Guardian/Elementalist/two thief setup. As long as both teams have a roughly equal chance of winning, the game has a ton of depth.
The thing is, it's very hard to tell when a game is truly shallow, or if there is something that you are missing. Sometimes deep games will appear to be shallow until you learn more about the game. Sometimes games which look shallow actually are shallow. The best example I can provide is this one. Would you look at this n00b? He's whining about his opponent rushing him in an RTS game:
So this guy encounters a strategy that seems to be uncounterable. And even if it could be countered, it's not a real strategy because it ends the game in 5 minutes! You never even get into the later ages of the game! These arguments are not new, they've been made countless times ever since RTS games first started to be played competitively. There's only one problem with these arguments: they are all based upon the premise that this strategy is unbeatable. This guy got beat once and immediately concluded that such a strategy is overpowered/broken. About 15 posts down, one of the developers calmly responds with the easy to execute counter-move that stops such this rush dead. This was a pivotal moment for this player. He could accept the fact that he was wrong to jump the gun, or defend his pride and whine about rushing in RTS games forever.
For those of you who haven't noticed, the post in question was written by me, and was a turning point in how I viewed multiplayer games. I had this mental rule that said "rushing is lame and should not be allowed." I wasn't playing the actual game, I was playing a special sub-set of the game where you're not allowed to rush. What's more, I expected everyone to abide by my made up rule. Rushing isn't a problem in RTS games unless the rush is truly a degenerate/broken strategy that is the only method of winning. On the day I wrote this post, I learned how easy it is to misidentify a game mechanic as broken. From that day forward I decided to be more patient, and take more time before making the decisions that X mechanic was overpowered/broken.
I even came up with a fantastic method of testing to see if a strategy/character/ability really is overpowered, and it's the easiest thing in the world: Master the potentially broken mechanic and use it against everyone. If you think a class in an FPS is overpowered, play as that class exclusively and use all his "cheap" moves/weapons. Nine times out of ten, someone will show you the true meaning of depth and wipe the floor with your "overpowered" character. Try and figure out how he did it, and you're one step closer to mastering the game.
Playing to win in a broken game will result in boring, repetitive gameplay. Playing to win in a deep game will force you to learn counters to the powerful strategies, and then learn counters to those counter-moves, and so on. The deep games can look just like a broken shallow game, but give it a little time and you may find a whole new level of play you didn't even know existed. Always assume there is more depth that you are missing and you won't wind up looking like a fool to the more knowledgeable players.
You Are Not Good At This Game
"Ever Tried? Ever Failed? No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail better"
What goes through your head when you lose? "I could have beaten him if only..." or "Well there was no way I could win if he used that broken..." or maybe "that map sucks anyway." If your goal is to get better, the first step is to correct the thoughts that run through your head right after a loss. Instead of excuses which comfort the ego ("he beat me with that overpowered ability!"), the best possible path to mastery is examination of what you did wrong ("I should have been more prepared to dodge his powerful elite skill"). Ask yourself these questions:
- "What mistakes did I make in this game?"
- "For each mistake, what could I have done differently?"
- "What can I learn from my opponent's play?"
"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."
Once you accept that you are not good at the game, you can start to learn from others. If you're struggling with a particular faction/character/class, seek out guides/replays/videos from other players. This is another mental barrier for some people. What you'll hear from these people is "you didn't come up with that strategy by yourself, you just copied a better player." For them, innovation is the only skill worth evaluating about someone. You could wipe the floor with them using every single character/faction/class in the game, but if you do it by utilizing other people's strategies then (to them) you are clearly less skilled than they are. This is another mental defense mechanism designed to protect the ego. These players don't have the speed/reaction times to compete at the high level, so they will make up their own mental rule about what makes someone "good" at a game. To these folks, winning isn't the ultimate measurement of someone's ability at a game. They suggest that you must also measure the innovation of their strategy. This makes them feel better when their innovative strategy fails to win them the game. The best players study others and combine all the best strategies they can find. If you spurn "copying" other people then you are setting yourself up for failure.
Innovation has it's limits.
Another great way to learn is to write your own guides. I have noticed that when I go to write a guide I want the information to be accurate, so I am motivated to go out and actively test/research everything that I'm writing about to make sure it's correct. As I write, I learn more about what I do and don't know about a character/faction/strategy, and I'm able to correct my deficiencies. In addition, if what you write is incorrect, there will be plenty of people ready to tell you what you missed. This is a great way to really discover what your own knowledge consists of.
Yomi - Get Into Your Opponent's Head
"I see only one move ahead, but it is always the correct one."
-Jose Raoul Capablanca, 3rdWorld Chess Champion
Yomi is a Japanese word that means "reading." It is used in the fighting game community to mean "the process of reading/predicting the mind of your opponent." Once you have identified and eliminated the flaws in your standard play, it's time to graduate to the next step: playing the opponent and not just the game. Have you ever played a game where you are preparing some hidden strategy, and just when you go to launch it, your opponent unveils the perfect counter to your strategy. But...but you know for afact he didn't scout you. You made absolutely sure that there was no way he could know you were going for that. How the hell? He must be maphacking right? Or maybe he's just lucky. There's no other explanation!
Often you will find that very good players seem to just "know" what their opponent is about to do. They are actually reading subtle cues and patterns in their opponent's play that broadcast the next move. You can take advantage of this pattern recognition. Not only should you study the patterns in your opponent, but try laying traps for him. Broadcast a pattern (Attack, dodge, stun, big damage, repeat) and then when he has that pattern figured out, change something to catch him by suprise. When he dogdges twice to dodge your stun and big damage attack, wait until he finishes his second doge,then throw your big damge at him. A great way to train this ability out is using the card game "Yomi" by David Sirlin. You can play for free online, and I highly recomend it.
If you are utilizing all your skill and Yomi and still are unable to defeat your opponent, perhaps you should stop playing to his strength, and break out something unconventional that he may not be prepared for. If nobody in high level play uses the melee ranger build because it is considered "Weak," that means that nobody has spent any time countering it!
Conclusion: Be Humble; Know Thyself
One of the key concepts running through this article is that of being humble. Never assume you know more than you do, or you might make a fool of yourself when you call something overpowered. Always remember to avoid making up mental rules that handicap you from playing the real game. When you lose, don't blame the game, blame yourself and seek out what you can do better next time. Don't think so highly of yourself that you don't ask for help. Always assume that you are giving something away to the opponent, and try to take advantage of that.
Respect the game, respect your opponents, and respect yourself
Change the Way You Get Better At Games - Gamesradar
Playing to Win - David Sirlin
How David Beats Goliath - The New Yorker
This guide and others can be found on www.teamlegacy.net. We understand everyone has great opinions, and we encourage open criticism. Thanks for reading.