How to Succeed at Videogames

I feel strongly that success in life comes down to a few important ideas, values and habits.  I wanted to share my top five tips for succeeding at videogames that I’ve used in Elder Scrolls Online and Star Wars the Old Republic.  No this isn’t going to reveal any major secret for success, but will give you some basic information on what I’ve used (using) in order to accomplish my dreams both in and outside of videogames.

#5 Set a Goal

I consider this to be the most important aspect of accomplishing anything.  If you don’t know what you’re after, you can never get it.  When setting a goal, make sure it’s measurable, meaning you can judge performance increase, decrease or your desired outcome.  Also make sure you have a time table for completion that will give you a sense of urgency.  Lastly, be honest with yourself as to WHY you want what you want.  Here’s an example from me while playing Star Wars the Old Republic nearly five years ago.

  • GOAL – I want to be the #1 ranked Vanguard on my server in PvP.
  • TIME – During Ranked Season One PvP.
  • WHY – Because I want to make guides which requires credibility in order to get buy in.

I used the same philosophy in Elder Scrolls Online when trying to obtain Emperor.  That goal took me two years of failing over and over but I finally got it and did so two more times afterwards.  Remember that success leaves clues, if someone else did it, there’s no reason you or I can’t.

#4 Gather Information

Once you have a goal, you have a vision and you know why, now it’s time to get the most information you can.  Modeling is a powerful tool that allows one to get inside of the mind of someone who’s already achieved those things.  Model (or find out how, why, what) the top achievers are doing if you want what they want.  If you’re competing against them, you’ll likely need more information.  Take for instance healing in ESO PvP. I wanted to be the best because Templar was my favorite and I loved playing it.  Gilliam the Rouge and I would constantly theory test new sets, ability changes, morphs that stacked, whatever it was to get an advantage.  We’d use the information and math within a game to get an edge. Additionally, no one person knows it all so ask others.  Look for other like minded people just like you who are trying to push their performance to the edge.  And no matter, always seek to improve, because when you don’t someone else will surpass you.

#3 Practice Hard

If you remember some of my earliest videos from SWTOR, I had a webcam with a saying etched into my wall since I was too poor to afford a green screen. It said “Iron Sharpens Iron.”  I wrote that on my wall so I had to look at it every day to remind me, the only way to improve is through difficult circumstances.  The common man (or woman) looks for easy competition to boost ones ego.  To win against inferior opponents because they are deathly afraid of losing.  The strong man looks to lose in order to improve their game so they never do so again.  I had a habit of taking the easy road out, finding weaker players (nothing against them just didn’t have commitment, knowledge or time that I did).  It was only when I started to “try and lose” as odd as that sounds, that I improved drastically.  Practice hard is about constantly seeking the hardest most stressful environments because that’s when you grow.  I’ll always remember when a fellow stream King Richard said to me in ESO “throw yourself at zergs (a lot of players), you’ll die at first, but before you know it you will start killing them.”  I took that attitude and ate my humble pie for literally one year before I started to be confident solo on my Templar.  It sucked dying over and over, getting tbagged, trash talked, and humiliated, but in the end I improved.

#2 Ignore the Haters

If you’re doing anything new, interesting or different, you will have people who dislike you for it.  Look at me for example.  Read my comments on Gamer to Gymrat series. It was like I kicked someone’s dog, called their mother a dirty name or punched them and personally offended them.  It’s better to be hated than ignored.  You will encounter people who don’t believe in you, dislike you and no matter what and you can’t run from it.  Keep you goal, vision bright and focus on accomplishing it.  Will it get to you? Sure, we are human it does everyone, but in the end they are looking for attention or goals of their own.  Nietzsche said “if you know the why, you can endure any how.”  Keep driving towards your goal no matter what people think about it, because if it’s important to you than that’s all that matters.

#1 Never Quit

When accomplishing any major goal, task or endeavor it will not be easy.  I literally failed, while live streaming, going for Emperor for over two years.  I had two years of people saying “he’ll never get it.”  Two years.  The goal was important to me, I didn’t care what they thought I KNEW I was going to get it.  The only way to get through those tough times is doing steps 1-4, because you will question yourself “this is a silly videogames, why am I doing X?”  And if you run from this goal, you’ll run from them all.   The harder the task, the more crap you take, the sweeter the victory.  So no, this guide isn’t clicking a magic button, get this gear, do X and you’ll be great.  But that’s the beauty of succeeding, there’s no secret.  Try these steps today, find something that drives you, gather info about it, work hard every day, ignore the critics and never quit.


If this works for you, please I’d love to hear from you in the comments or via email.  If you have tips of your own, please share them in the comments and keep striving for what matters to you!

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