For those of you with ‘more gaming’ on your list of New Year’s resolutions, here’s a few tips for new gamers to get you started on your journey into the world of altered sleep schedules and increased beer consumption.
1. Don’t compromise your schedule.
This is more of a tip for first-time MMO players, but remember this: real life always comes first. Join guilds and play with people who respect this – slave driver GMs are the ones you want to keep away from. Put your real life priorities over game-related ones, and don’t ever hesitate to take a week or two off if you need to.
Signing up for a crucial role in a raiding guild probably isn’t the best idea if your job takes up a good deal of your free time, a lot of which should be reserved for getting a good night’s sleep.
2. Research before you buy.
Assuming that gaming isn’t something you’ve tried before, or haven’t done often, you’ll want to do some reading and watching before you buy anything. Don’t just pick up an Xbox One or a PS4 because all your friends say it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Each system has different games and its own personal feel, so try things out before you make that big purchase. This goes for games as well – pick what you think looks fun and interesting. And if you don’t like it, there’s nothing wrong with that. Elitism runs strong in the gaming community, and the best way to deal with it is to ignore it entirely. You’re here to get into a new hobby, not to run yourself ragged to try and impress people.
3. Ask for help.
Join a guild. Talk to people. Get recommendations. Post on the subreddits. Call your friends in a blind panic. Whatever you do, ask.
If you’re afraid of the assholes in the community, don’t be – they come, they go, and they take their bitterness with them. The block button is your friend in this case, as are report systems and moderators. Most people will be more than happy to give you some assistance, and it isn’t uncommon for veteran players to just give things to newer players just to be nice. There’s really kind people in the gaming community if you don’t judge it by the trolls and elitists. It’s intimidating, but making connections helps. You won’t learn everything just by reading game guides. Additionally, be just as kind in return, and you’ll make friends. Mistakes happen and ignorance is a thing – as long as you accept both and don’t act like a douche, you’ll be fine.
4. Learn to play the game before you say you don’t like it.
Everything takes a little bit of skill. You’re not going to be a pro your first time playing, and the sooner you accept that, the better. Clunky controls and frustrating game mechanics are one thing, but if you fail to familiarize yourself with the basics, you won’t enjoy yourself later on. Play the tutorials and read everything, and check the game’s forum or subreddit if you notice bugs or hit a wall in progression. This is especially true for MMOs – learn your class and play different classes to figure out what you personally enjoy. And unless you enjoy challenges, I wouldn’t pick the class with the most difficult learning curve your first time playing.
5. If you’re not having fun, there’s no harm in moving on.
No one is going to enjoy the same game or the same community. If you’ve found that you’re getting bored or tired, you have the right to back out, even if other players might give you hell for it. When you stop having fun, it becomes a chore, especially if you’ve been playing the same game for a long time. Mix it up – instead of logging into your usual MMO, go play one of the games that’s been sitting in your Steam library for six months. If you find yourself stuck in that rut where none of your games interest you, it might be time to go out and do some non-gaming related things for awhile.
Most importantly, if you find that gaming isn’t for you, don’t think you’re any less of a person for it. Not everyone’s a fan of heavy gaming, and it’s not for everyone – in fact, I know a couple of people who aren’t into gaming, but enjoy watching others play. You’re the one who has the right to decide what you’re interested in, and if it’s not gaming, it might be something else entirely.