eSports: 101 [The Beginner’s Guide]

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Esports, or competitive gaming, has been steadily growing in popularity and has transformed from a casual pastime to a professional sport. For those looking to enter the world of esports or simply understand it better, this quick-start guide serves as a helpful introduction.

At its core, esports involves teams of players competing against each other at a professional level, often vying for lucrative prizes. Many popular games, such as League of Legends and Dota 2, have well-established competitive circuits, with players worldwide dedicating their time and efforts to succeed in this fast-paced industry.

Beginners seeking to participate or simply enjoy esports as spectators can start by learning about its rich history, which dates back to the 1970s, but truly began flourishing in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Becoming familiar with key terminology, various gaming titles, tournament types, and popular teams is a great first step in the journey of exploring the exciting world of competitive gaming.

eSports 101: Beginner’s Quick-Start Guide

eSports, short for electronic sports, refers to the competitive world of gaming where players face off against one another in organized multiplayer matches or time/score-based competitions. These tournaments often boast massive audiences, with some, like the 2017 World Championship for League of Legends, attracting over 100 million fans according to analyst website eSports Charts.

One key component of eSports is the variety of games and genres available for competitive play. Some popular genres include fighting games, first-person shooters (FPS), multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBA), and real-time strategy games (RTS). Popular games within these genres are Street Fighter, Super Smash Bros., Tekken, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Call of Duty, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends, Dota 2, Starcraft II, and Warcraft III.

To begin your journey in eSports, it’s essential to choose a game that suits your interests and playstyle. Spend time researching and watching gameplay streams or tournaments to determine which game captivates your attention. Involvement and commitment to a single game or genre can accelerate your growth and understanding of its competitive mechanics.

Once you’ve chosen a game, focus on growing your skills through consistent practice and learning game mechanics, strategies, and tactics. Popular resources for improving in eSports include:

  • Online tutorials and guides
  • Community forums and discussions
  • Watching professional players’ livestreams
  • Analyzing your gameplay and identifying areas for improvement

Building connections within the gaming community is also valuable for personal development and networking. This aids in finding practice partners, joining teams, and staying up-to-date with the latest news and trends in the eSports industry.

Key Takeaways

1. eSports is a booming industry: Electronic sports, or eSports, has grown from a casual pastime to a professional competitive gaming scene. The industry has attracted millions of fans, sponsorships, and investment, making it a multibillion-dollar business.

2. Popular genres in eSports: There are several game genres that dominate the eSports landscape, with first-person shooters (Call of Duty, Counter-Strike), battle royales (Fortnite, Apex Legends), and Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games (League of Legends, Dota 2) leading the way.

3. Teamwork and strategy: Most eSports titles involve teamwork, communication, and strategic planning among players. Professional teams often have designated roles, set plays, and practice routines to ensure they remain competitive.

4. Global leagues, tournaments, and events: eSports has a diverse and international scene with numerous leagues, tournaments, and events taking place all over the world. Major events can attract thousands of in-person spectators, millions of online viewers, and massive prize pools.

5. Accessible for casual players and aspiring pros: eSports offer various entry points for casual players and those looking to go pro. Many games have beginner-friendly options, and there are multiple resources available to help aspiring players improve their skills and find a community of like-minded enthusiasts.

What Are eSports?

eSports, also known as competitive gaming, refers to the world of organized, multiplayer video game competitions. These contests often involve professional players and teams who compete in various genres of games for notable prizes, fame, and recognition. The term “eSports” is derived from the combination of “electronic” and “sports,” reflecting the digital nature of the games played and the competitive atmosphere surrounding them.

There are several popular genres in eSports, including first-person shooters (FPS) such as Call of Duty, Rainbow Six, and Counter-Strike. The battle royale genre has also gained significant traction, with titles like Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds drawing massive player bases and viewer counts. Another prominent genre is multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, including League of Legends and Dota 2.

Competitive gaming has grown rapidly, evolving into a multibillion-dollar industry with sold-out arenas, dedicated fan bases, lucrative sponsorships, and the potential for inclusion in future Olympic events. The rise of eSports can be attributed to several factors, such as advancements in gaming technology, the widespread availability of high-speed internet, and the increasing global popularity of video games.

The world of eSports is not limited to professional gamers alone; amateur and semi-professional players can also participate in competitions, grow their skills, and potentially ascend to higher levels of play. Furthermore, the eSports ecosystem extends beyond players to include roles such as coaches, analysts, managers, and broadcasters, offering numerous avenues for enthusiasts to engage with the exciting world of competitive gaming.

Popular eSports Games

eSports has a wide range of popular games where professional players compete for glory and cash prizes. The most common genres in eSports are MOBAs, FPS, and RTS games. Let’s dive into a few of the popular eSports games.

League of Legends

League of Legends (LoL) is perhaps the world’s most-watched eSport, with viewerships that surpass both its direct competitors and traditional sports events like the Super Bowl. It is a MOBA game in which two teams of five players each try to destroy the opponent’s Nexus, with each player controlling a unique character with special abilities.

Dota 2

Dota 2 is another popular MOBA eSport with a strong competitive scene. In Dota 2, two teams of five players each compete with the objective of destroying the other team’s Ancient structure, while controlling their individual heroes with unique abilities. Dota 2 is known for its complex strategy and teamwork requirements.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is a first-person shooter (FPS) game where two teams, terrorists and counter-terrorists, face off in various combat scenarios. The goal for the terrorist team is to plant a bomb and defend it from defusal, while the goal for the counter-terrorist team is to prevent the bomb from being planted or defuse it before it explodes. This game emphasizes strategy, reflexes, and communication skills.


Overwatch is a team-based FPS game that features a diverse cast of heroes with unique abilities. The objective in Overwatch is to either defend or attack an area on the map, or escort a payload from one point to another. The game is well-known for its fast-paced action and emphasis on teamwork and coordination.

Call of Duty

Call of Duty (CoD) is a long-running FPS game franchise with a strong eSports presence. Teams compete in various game modes, including Search and Destroy, Hardpoint, and Control, each with specific objectives and victory conditions. Call of Duty is known for its fast-paced gameplay and emphasis on individual player skills.

eSports Platforms and Streaming

There are several platforms accessible for both streaming and watching eSports. These platforms enable competitive gamers to gain viewership, reach diverse audiences, and monetize their gaming activities. In this section, we will discuss three main platforms for eSports streaming: Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Gaming.


Twitch is arguably the most popular platform for eSports streaming. It has become the go-to platform for many competitive gamers and tournaments, as it attracts a massive audience interested in competitive gaming. Twitch offers a variety of ways to monetize gaming content, such as through ads, subscriptions, and donations. eSports tournaments are regularly broadcast on Twitch, including prominent events like the Call of Duty League and numerous CSGO events. Furthermore, Twitch allows streamers to collaborate and engage with their audience, fostering an interactive and supportive gaming community.

YouTube Gaming

YouTube Gaming emerged as another significant contender in the eSports streaming market, leveraging the vast user base of YouTube as a whole. With a similar user experience to Twitch, YouTube Gaming presents live streaming of gameplay, video on demand, and sharing of gaming content. One advantage of YouTube Gaming is that it offers video creators a more effective search engine optimization (SEO) tool, as ranking and related video suggestions receive support from the larger YouTube ecosystem.

Facebook Gaming

Entering the eSports streaming market to compete with both Twitch and YouTube Gaming, Facebook Gaming has been gaining traction. Utilizing Facebook’s massive social network, Facebook Gaming aims to engage a larger audience by promoting gaming content on the platform. Some popular eSports tournaments and events are also streamed on Facebook Gaming, further expanding viewership scope. While still in its early stages, Facebook Gaming already presents an alternative option for gamers to attract viewers and grow within the eSports community.

In summary, each platform offers unique advantages and disadvantages, so gamers must carefully consider which platform best suits their streaming goals and preferences. Newcomers to eSports can explore these streaming platforms to learn about the competitive gaming landscape, follow their favorite eSports tournaments, and connect with the gaming community.

The eSports Ecosystem

The eSports ecosystem is a bustling environment, where several key stakeholder groups work together to create a thriving, competitive scene for video gaming fans to enjoy. In this section, we’ll break down the roles and responsibilities of some of the most important participants within this ecosystem.

Teams and Players

At the heart of eSports are the teams and players who compete in various video games, striving to become the best in their field. These individuals dedicate countless hours to honing their skills and working on strategies to outperform their opponents. Teams often comprise skilled players from around the world, brought together to represent their brand and compete for major prizes and recognition.

Coaches and Managers

Behind every successful team is an effective coach and manager. Just like traditional sports, eSports coaches help develop players’ skillsets, devise game strategies, and provide motivation and support. Managers, on the other hand, handle the logistics of the team, such as organizing travel, contracts, and ensuring the well-being of their players.

Tournament Organizers

For eSports to flourish, there must be events for teams and players to showcase their abilities. Tournament organizers are responsible for setting up and running these events, which can range from small, local contests to international championships. They handle everything from inviting teams and managing schedules to securing venues and managing live production.

Sponsors and Partners

To fund the growth and development of eSports, there must be financial investments from various entities. Sponsors and partners play a vital role in this ecosystem by providing funding for teams, events, and organizations. In exchange for their support, these sponsors and partners receive brand exposure and affiliation with popular eSports personalities and events.

Biggest eSports Tournaments

eSports is a rapidly growing world of competitive gaming, with major tournaments being held every year. These events draw in large audiences and host some of the best players from around the globe. Let’s take a look at a few of the top eSports tournaments that you should know about as a beginner.

League of Legends World Championship: Known simply as “Worlds,” the League of Legends World Championship is arguably the most prestigious eSports event of the year. Teams from various regions battle it out in this tournament, organized by Riot Games, for a chance to claim the title of world champions.

The International (Dota 2): Considered to be one of the most lucrative and exciting events in the eSports scene, The International is an annual Dota 2 championship organized by Valve Corporation. With a multi-million-dollar prize pool funded by the community through in-game purchases, it’s no wonder this event attracts top talent and viewership.

Call of Duty League Championship: Bringing together the best Call of Duty teams from around the world, the Call of Duty League Championship showcases intense matches and high stakes in this popular first-person shooter game. The competition is fierce, and the passion of the fans is evident at this annual championship event.

Overwatch League Grand Finals: Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch features a unique and diverse cast of heroes, making it a vibrant and entertaining eSport to watch. Its premier competition, the Overwatch League Grand Finals, is held annually and pits the top teams against each other as they battle for the coveted title.

EVO Championship Series: The EVO Championship Series is a must-watch for fans of fighting games. A yearly event with a long and rich history, EVO brings together the best competitors in games like Street Fighter, Tekken, and Super Smash Bros. With tense battles, amazing comebacks, and often-unpredictable outcomes, the EVO Championship Series is a thrilling spectacle for all eSports enthusiasts.

These are just a few of the many eSports tournaments available for viewing, but they represent some of the largest and most exciting events in the scene. As you dive into the world of eSports, you’ll discover many more games and events, each with its dedicated fan base and unique competitive flair.

How to Get Involved

Becoming a Competitive Player

One of the initial steps in getting involved in eSports is to choose a game you enjoy and excel at. Once you have selected a game, spend time practicing and mastering the skills required. It’s helpful to watch professional gamers’ live streams, tutorials, and guides to learn strategies and techniques. Team up with like-minded players and start participating in online tournaments and leagues to gain experience and exposure.

Attending eSports Events

Attending eSports events is an excellent way to become immersed in the community and learn more about the competitive scene. Keep track of major tournaments and events for your chosen game and make an effort to attend or watch them online. Networking at these events can lead to opportunities to join teams, compete, and learn from experienced players.

Popular eSports events include The International, League of Legends World Championship, and the Overwatch League. You can find a comprehensive list of eSports events by visiting reputable gaming news websites or social media groups dedicated to your chosen game.

Connecting with the eSports Community

Building connections within the eSports community is crucial in establishing a strong presence and enhancing your journey. Here are a few ways to engage with fellow players, enthusiasts, and professionals:

  • Join forums and social media groups: Many games have dedicated forums, Reddit communities, and Facebook groups where players share their experiences, knowledge, and advice.
  • Attend gaming conventions: Conventions such as PAX, E3, and BlizzCon offer an opportunity to meet other gamers, try out new games, and learn about the latest industry trends.
  • Participate in local meet-ups: Search for local gaming clubs or meet-ups to find gamers in your area. This can be an excellent way to make friends, practice, and form a team.

By actively participating in these communities, you can fine-tune your skills, develop a network of contacts, and increase your chances of success in competitive eSports.

Find, Grow and Live Your Passion For eSports

As a beginner in eSports, it’s crucial to first find the games and communities that resonate with your interests. Discovering the diverse world of eSports can lead to new friendships, career opportunities, and a deeper understanding of gaming culture.

To grow your passion, immerse yourself in your chosen games by actively participating in online forums, social media groups, and streaming platforms. By engaging with other players and spectators, you can acquire valuable insights and form connections with like-minded enthusiasts.

Attend local and global eSports events to witness firsthand the excitement of competitive gaming. This exposure to the dynamic atmosphere and the dedication of the players can further ignite your passion and propel you toward achieving your goals.

To live your passion for eSports, consider turning your hobby into a career. The eSports industry offers diverse job opportunities, such as:

  • Professional player
  • Coach or analyst
  • Event organizer
  • Streamer
  • Content creator
  • Journalist or blogger
  • Marketing or sponsorship coordinator

By investing time and energy into your chosen field, you can develop your skills and make a name for yourself in the eSports community. Continuously strive for self-improvement, and never be afraid to embrace new challenges or opportunities.

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