Finding a Gaming Club: A Newb’s Guide
On a scale of one to ten, how lost and alone do you feel when playing eSports? Are people yelling abuse at you on team chat, calling you a scrub/newb/expletive du jour? It sounds like you need some help. But not just any help - a community of folk who will help craft your skills, while reassuring you that you're pretty. It sounds like you need a gaming club.
But the world of eSports is already large enough for a petrified newb to lose themselves in the vast array of choices... and that's just the character selection screen of DOTA 2!
How to Find a Gaming Club
So how do you find a gaming club? A place where a Newb can walk in the doors and ask what a 'Top Lane' is and why it needs a 'Tank' without some experienced Jungler trying to gank them.
Yes, 'gank'. You want to play an eSport? Looks like you're learning a new language while you're at it!
Well, the answer to your questions is... HOMEWORK!
There's a lot you can do on your own, without risking the dangerous waters of an unfriendly interweb. Heck, elsewhere on this very site, you'll find a series of articles to help create a sweet home set up, showing you how to get the best computer, chair, keyboard, headset and even mouse to help you up to take home The International!
What Gaming Communities Are There?
With so many places to look, it's easy to get overwhelmed, and if I know anything about eSports, they're all about making sure their players aren't overwhelmed!
OK... scratch that.
To get you started, here are my top 6 places to look for community, support and all things eSport.
1. Official Sites
This one may seem like the biggest "No duh!" moment ever, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to miss!
Where do you think the biggest place is for information on upcoming tournaments, patch updates, release discussions, and more? The damn company website!
Pick your poison, and go jump in!
2. Social Media
OK, these are going to get less obvious, I promise... but you're a newb! Maybe you went over and checked out battle.net... but did you check out Blizzard's twitter? Their facebook page? Most of the competitive players I know in found a gaming club through the company's social media!
Heck, if it's good enough for the President of the United States, it's good enough for Riot!
3. Video: Youtube/Twitch
Here we go, onto the meat and potatoes. You're on the internet. You want to play fast-paced games revolving around epic acts of violence. Reading is for chumps! (except for this article... please keep reading this!)
How can I jack information right into my cortex without all those boring printed words?
Youtube is a great place to start.
If you're looking for information to keep you up to date, as well as a thriving comments section, check out The Score. Its videos offer a kind of mix between a nightly news report and a fails compilation video.
... actually, they do have fail compilations.
These guys are awesome.
You want to go where the money is, right? I mean, there's a time and a place for youtubers recording tinny sounding, dimly-lit thought pieces... but if you're up for some seriously glossy content, I don't think anyone has thrown more money at eSports than Yahoo!
If this is all looking too mature and nightly news broadcast-like, why not check out Australia's very own, LT.LICKME. Infamous for trolling wrongdoers, he's like Robin Hood for CS:Go... if Robin Hood had a potty mouth.
Twitch is also an amazing resource.
The other main use for twitch is to stream the largest eSport competitions.
For your first few weeks (read: Months... OK, years) you're likely going to be so overwhelmed that watching the champions at work then trying to copy them would be like watching an episode of Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares and hoping to be able to make a passable souffle at the end of things.
BUT, eventually, you're going to want to start tuning in and taking pointers from the best of the best, and Twitch is the place to do that... and once you're in, you'll be able to compliment the astounding plays of the competitors like civilized gentlemen with the gaming community you'll find there.
Because if I know anything about Twitch Chat, it's a place for well thought out, respectful communication.
Well, look at you, ahead of the curve. You're already here!
Yes, things the wonderful articles right here at REIZE are going to help you find that eSports community you've been craving.
When changes happen to your favourite games, there are journalists like myself scouring the internet for information so we can vent our spleens and complain about them. Overwatch has a massive change to the meta, nerfing your whichever poor chump you decided to main? We're here to help you understand what those changes mean.
If we're not enough for you... it's fine. Just because you think she's prettier and our body hasn't bounced back since the twins, we get it... there are other sites out there with passable content to look at.
For articles, key places to check out are:
Cause who doesn't want to take something exciting, like running through a forest with magic powers, turning your enemies to dust, and make it more like statistical analysis?
No one. No one wants that.
BUT Gosu Gamers takes all that wordy/mathy nonsense, digests it, and spits it into your little birdy mouth holes! They've got a slick site, with an active gaming community in the comments.
Do you miss magazines? No... me either.
But we definitely miss the sweet, steady flow of articles, and Slingshot Esports is a great place to feel like you're in the most high tech gamer magazine of all time!
So, I'm nostalgic for the 80's. Sue me.
I blame Stranger Things.
Now we're getting into it! FORUMS! High post content, low moderator to user ratio. The place you can say what you want, when you want, without Blizzard suspending your account for accusing some kid of an intellectual disability (dude, that kid just smoked you in your last round... where do you get off throwing shade?).
A forum can be a great place for a gaming club if you know where to look.
Probably the best place to check out for an esports forum is Team Liquid.
After that, things start to thin out. Game Ogre has a decent bunch of folk, and some switched on admins hunting up twitch code giveaways for loyal subscribers...But honestly, there's only one real place for community on the internet nowadays, and if you haven't guessed it yet, you're a bigger newb than I thought.
Come on kids, sing it with me:
Yep. Reddit. With subreddits abounding, you want an eSports forum? Check out Reddit.
Yeah, bet you didn't see that one coming!
IRL - In Real Life.
What? You actually bought into that whole idea that gamers were all overweight, hairy dudes, cramping up their parent's basement?
That just ain't the case, kids. Gaming is cool. Magic the Gathering has made no small meal of the fact that jacked, hunky, Seattle Seahawks player, Cassius Marsh, is a longtime player!
Tell us again about how all gamers are out of shape?
So, how do you find a real-life gaming club?
Well, game stores are a decent start. Many of the online games have real-life peripherals. Find out where they're sold, and you'll find people just like you, each with countless hours of insight into which hero to main, which items to upgrade to first, and feel bad stories of that time they were 'this close' to making gold... they weren't... but, cool story, bro.
Find a University Gaming Club
If you want something more serious, with players who know what they're on about and have a real desire to get better, why not check out your local university?
The National University Esports League has over 400 teams across college campuses in the UK! Sure, that doesn't help those of us based in other countries, but good on the pommes for taking point on this one!
Don't get disheartened - there are loads gaming societies, and other forms of general like-minded groups on university campuses the world over. Why not take a look and see if yours has a gaming club?
And if you're not at university... consider enrolling? One subject a semester, and you're eligible to join in with a group of people much younger and more talented than you are. Sounds appealing, right?
So there you have it - a Newb's guide to finding a gaming club. The amazing thing about eSports, as it slowly pushes past the stigma attributed to it by late night comedy hosts, is the way it mirrors existing 'real' sports. A gaming club is a fancy word for a place where you can make friends and influence people. An eSports community may exist digitally at the moment, but there's a time in the near future where we'll head down to the local eBar, and grab some drinks while watching the daily Hearthstone highlights. We'll have eSports forum interfaces in every booth.
And my mum will finally be right, girls will think I'm awesome purely based on my ability to play computer games.
She's a heck of a forward thinker, that lady.