What's going on here?
Throughout this part of the article, I'll go over some of the basic accessories I feel are either mandatory (in my eyes), or at least helpful to your gaming experience. These different tips and advice comes from years of me playing around with gaming technology, dabbling in various gaming titles, and testing plenty of different gaming peripherals.
Please don't 'take my word as gospel' - I urge you to read on, take consideration, and figure out what suits you best.
Will they thrust you into Grand Masters on the Starcraft II Korean server? No. Will they instantly enable you to type at 120 WPM? No. But they will most certainly improve your computer using experience and quite possibly help with some quick weapon, control group or hotkey selections.
For those of you 'in the know' or whom have experienced mechanical keyboards already, you're likely thinking that I'm a bit of an idiot? "Why wouldn't you have a mechanical board, that's obvious?" However, for those who are used to occasional gaming, don't extensively browse forums, never actively search for reviews and are considered a 'casual gamer', they have likely never used, or sometimes even heard of, mechanical keyboards.
Unfortunately, it's hard to convince someone to go down this route until they're actually tried one for themselves. Alongside being slightly noisier than a membrane offering, they are also more expensive straight off the self.
Although more expensive and louder, I would never go back to using a membrane keyboard myself, unless I was forced by my current situation. The feel of a mechanical is simply too good. Not only do the keys spring back up quicker when you're spamming control groups in Starcraft II, they also feel much more responsive when making quick and precise movement tweaks in CS:GO or mashing your ultimate ability in Dota 2.
If you're unsure exactly what a mechanical keyboard is and how it works, I suggest you check out this quick guide.
I reached out to professional Starcraft II player Jared "PiG" Krensel for his insight on keyboards in general, with his statement ringing true in my eyes: "The main thing is no-one seeks to educate people on the real strengths of mechanical keyboards and different design bonuses. Instead people opt to market obvious features that stand out like backlighting and macro keys. I think more companies should really highlight that it doesn't just help your gaming but also for people working on PCs it's much easier. With the right marketing a huge market around business purchases could open up."
"But your eyes can't see past 30FPS!" Wrong. I'll admit that I'm a rather stingy computer user - I'm competitive by nature and eSports and competitive gaming is what I'm based around. This means that I run the bare minimum components needed to get me a stable 150 fps and don't upgrade hardware unless it's needed.
When I finally gave in to the hype and took home my own BenQ XL2410T monitor, I was simply blown away. As long as your PC can hold a good and steady amount of frames in your game of choice, everything is ridiculously smooth and feels much more connected to you.
There were some times where I would alt-tab in and out of CS 1.6 or CS:S and my 120Hz function would stop, and when this happens, you legitimately think that something is wrong with your PC - it feels that choppy and horrific. I could simply not go back to a 60Hz monitor after experiencing this beautiful image smoothness. Don't get me started on internet cafe competitions, seeing all competitors bleed their eyes out trying to get used to 60Hz monitors again.
Once again, a 120Hz or 144Hz monitor (or one also with NVIDIA G-Sync also enabled) isn't going to thrust you into Global Elite ranking in CS:GO, but your game is going to feel much smoother. Watch out for sensitivity issues, as 120hz generally will make your mouse feel like it's running at a higher sensitivity at first.
An actual mouse pad
Obviously to some, but not to others. In order for you to build proper muscle memory, you need a similar surface every time you game. I know a lot of people from back in my BYOPC LAN days who would never use a mouse pad - not at home, not at LANs, and not at their friend's house.
Not only will this cheap accessory help preserve the life of your mouse feet and table, it will feel more comfortable and ensure that your optical or laser sensor works on multiple surfaces.
Muscle memory is an important tool, meaning your precision in various games will be more accurate, and you'll continue to improve over years to come. To help increase this development, it's also suggested that you always keep a similar mouse and pad design as much as possible, meaning there is less for your body to re-learn. For an average of $15 from stores, it's certainly worth getting a mouse pad for yourself.
A mouse that suits your hand and playing style
Lets throw DPI, macros and LEDs out the window for now - what really matters when choosing a mouse? How it feels! If you're like most gamers reading this website, you're probably spending 10+ hours per week using your PC, why wouldn't you get something that feels great?
There are a few different grip styles involved with mice, however, two are most commonly seen - the claw grip and the palm grip. What mouse you choose most certainly depends on your hand size, alongside how you expect to hold the actual device itself. If you're unsure which one is for you, check out this explanation.
If you're more of a palm player with large hands (as am I), expect to be buying high-humped mice, with simple designs and a large structure - personally I'm using the Tt eSPORTS Saphira mouse and was a previous fan of the old Logitech MX518 and G5.
If you've got more of a fingertip style grip and smaller hands, something like Razer's DeathAdder or the SteelSeries Kinzu may suit you perfectly.
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