Posted by on September 21st, 2009 in Guides

If you’re a First Person Shooter player looking to improve your skills, then my FPS Self-Improvement Series of articles is exactly what you’re looking for.

I’ve played FPS games competitively for nearly a decade and have decided to share my knowledge of FPS gaming in six thematic articles. Each entry takes a look at a different aspect of FPS gaming and how to improve your performance in that specific field of expertise.

This is the final entry in the series and it provides 10 general tips for improving your play. Take a look at the previous articles in the series for more specific guides and feel free to leave a comment in case there’s anything you’d still like to know, or that you think I might have missed.

Good luck with becoming a better First Person Shooter player!



1. Private matches are better than public play. You’ll generally play alongside (and against) players of a more equal skill level, and with the same group of players. A more consistent environment produces better results.

2. Losing is better than winning. Do not indulge yourself in owning noobs, that’s time wasted learning nothing. Go up in some higher skill server and take on players better than you. There’s a lot to learn just from watching them take you down.

3. Stick to the settings you feel most comfortable with. Other players will try to convince you to change mouse sensitivity or field of view, but these things are not essential for you to become pro. Comfortable gameplay settings are.

4. Keep (or become) physically fit. It is no coincidence that most pro players are in very good shape.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A lot of skilled players will be more than happy to help with any questions you may have, or provide a few tips to improve your play.

6. Watch demos or live clan matches. It may not be of quite as much use as watching replays in strategy games, but you can still learn a lot from watching pro players at work.

7. Don’t be hasty. You will not become a gaming God overnight. You may notice some early improvements, but it can take quite a few months before you’re at a level worth talking about.

8. Joining a clan is key. It may be a hassle, and yield unwanted obligations, but it does provide incentive to play and become better. Plus you get to chat with fellow (hopefully similarly skilled) players.

9. Participate in competitions, even if you know that you’ll lose. The experience of match pressure with a meaningful victory at stake is something you’ll need if you’re going to go all the way. You may lose scores of competitions, but you’ll become an expert at tuning out the pressure to win… which will yield you a serious advantage if you ever do become that pro gamer.

10. Don’t become an ass. You know the guys who shared tips with you were more helpful than those who called you a stupid noob when you were starting out, so don’t be the hater. There are enough of those as it is…


GameDrone FPS Self-Improvement Series:

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    27 Responses to “10 Tips for Becoming a Better FPS Player”

    1. jhavid says:

      i was about to read this then i saw “2. Losing is better than winning.” if thats the second most important tip to offer… u suck

      • Droniac says:

        If you think that’s a bad tip, then I fear you’ll never become even halfway decent at any game. The best way to learn how to play and to improve your skills is to constantly lose to players much better than you and to observe how they’re destroying you. Purely decimating noobs-only servers isn’t going to get you anywhere, ever.

        In case you still haven’t given this any thought whatsoever I’ll just spell it out for you:

        When you’re constantly playing below your level / winning:
        - You’re not being challenged or motivated to improve.
        - You’re not playing at your maximum ability.
        - You’re not analyzing your games.
        - You’re not pointed to flaws in your play.

        When you’re constantly losing:
        - You’re constantly being motivated to improve.
        - You’re constantly playing at your peak skill level.
        - You’re analyzing every game to see what went wrong.
        - You’re confronted with clear examples of how to play better every single match.

        If you think I suck for saying this, then you’re deluded. Ask any StarCraft 2 or Quake Live pro how they got to their skill level and they’ll give you the exact same advice: play against (and with) people better than you. I could go on to list a whole slew of things I’ve won and rankings I’ve attained, both in the FPS genre and in other genres, but that’s besides the point and you can easily look some of those up on this site anyway.

        • Eclouds says:

          Hey I have some serious needs of advice from you. I’m not sure if you play Crysis 3 a lot but I keep getting toasted by a lot of players that go cloak. What would you think is the best course of action?

          Thanks a ton for your time. :)

          P.S. I know this may sound silly as hell..but I’m thinking you’ll probably mention to look for their cloak silhouette and for me its hard to do cause I never pay attention to that and usually the very last thing i see..other than my dead body of course..lol Thanks again!

        • catchingavocados says:

          I think you’re wording it wrong. If a person constantly loses, frustration will kick in, and the learning process will halt. What I think you mean is that in order for a player’s skill to progress he/she must try progressively harder challenges, and attempt to play against opponents who are more skilled than yourself.

      • HuaHero says:

        I too was a competitive player for a decade and have won numerous competitions.

        Keep playing with noobs and you’ll end up becoming more noob than them cause they will be improving and learning from you constantly owning them.

        You will truly be the biggest noob when u found out that the noob you owned last time is now back to F you up.

    2. Devin says:

      Some good tips here. I am wondering about tip number 4. I would like to know more about how being physically fit plays a role in how well you play fps games. I’ve been looking for more reasons to get in shape, and I really enjoy fps games so understanding how that they correlate with each other would be motivating. Thanks!

    3. Syrous Filth says:

      look……i know this post has been out for a while…..and ive pretty much done everything you have said without even knoing it…..except turning up my sensitivity. Ive been noticing that since ive been doing this, instead of me being behind everyone else, im leading the pack for multiple rounds in a row. keep these posts going to help more gamers that need/want the help

    4. Fvaguirre says:

      Umm… Wtf? Stay or become physically fit… Ha,ha,ha. Your a joke. Im guessing you needed a tenth step so you decided to think up anything. Becoming Physically fit is not going to heighten you fps skills. This guy is just racist to fat people :p, lol. No but in all seriousness being fit is not going to effect your skills. Its not like your actually running around shooting people…. All iv got to say is that you are a joke.

      And no i am not a fat loser with no life, trolling.I got a gf,and ig2 school.

    5. Fvaguirre says:

      Nd im not fat…

    6. anon says:

      As an old progamer myself i can say you are spot on on the cirterias, its very important to keep a friendly inviroment, but that has faded over the years ive seen, sadly.

      Also you have to be prepared to play for 4-8 hours a day to become consistantly skilled, and not just doing “lucky” randomized shots. Movement patterns are important to get a hang of in most FPS games, and like said its a very good idea to study the 1on1s watch their movement closely-

      Also the faster you can get into an mIRC channel where the really good players hang out the better, it will keep a friendly atmosphere and you can skill up faster without the pesky lamers you run into on a public server.

      And for those saying physically fit doesnt have a say when it comes to pro-gaming is wrong. Look at le mans drivers or f1 drivers they are fit as hell, cuz they need it to be able to keep a steady arm, as will you when it comes to an official match where your nerves twitch and you sweat and panic. In that moment you will be more able to keep a steady hand to aim/move without twitches or any distracting discomfort.

      • DiGiTaL-CORE says:

        I agree. The community is hard to get past, but once you do you find some great people.

        As for exercise, of course it helps. Any person who thinks otherwise hasn’t, or doesn’t even want to, exercise.

    7. Vajrapani says:

      Hi there,

      I have to say the tips are very good. My mentality in Ut99 and ut2004 always was ‘spank me harder please’. The only way to go is to be beaten to a pulp over and over again. You will learn the fastest. This obviously does not work if you do not yet have basic mouse / keyboard control you have to be able to play a little before you will gain for getting spanked :).

      One thing I really liked to do to get my hitscan and reflexes up is playing at 140% gamespeed. This really pushes you. Also after doing 140% gamespeed the normal game will feel easy and slow.

    8. rediff (not real name) says:

      i agree wit the tips but can u say some fps games?

      • Leviathan says:

        Halo, Battlefield, Killzone, Homefront, Counter Strike, and of course, my least favorite, Call of Duty. I know I’m missing a lot more and Homefront is kind of outdated.

        • Leviathan says:

          Oh and I also forgot Crysis. If you’re going for “what everyone else plays”
          Then it’s either Halo, Battlefield, or Call of Duy. Those three are like the Holy Trinity or somethin, I swear.

      • Roymand says:

        Tribes ascend

    9. Leviathan says:

      Nice article but I have a hard time not being an ass sometimes, lol. I really gotta work on that. I can agree with all of your points and it amazese that the point about being fit is important. I know the #1 MLG player for MW2 and Black Ops. I went to school with him in fact and everything that is mentioned here he has told me about. And of course some other points. I play Halo a lot it’s my favorite FPS game.

      I just want to be a decent player sometimes but I get tired of losing against people I know I shouldn’t be losing against. I always learn from those who are better than me. It seems I always slip up or slack off. I guess being a good player can take lots of time and dedication, as you said in the article it takes many months. But I’ve been playing for years. I get a little upset when someone gets that “lucky shot” and gets me. It just aggravates me when I know they wouldn’t be able to do it, two, three or four times in a row as a pro player would be able to.

    10. Ryan says:

      You guys gotta put down these recent games and go back and download Wolfenstein: ET. Thats an FPS game that you just have to get good at once you start playing it. Best one ever impo.

    11. no one really says:

      Hi, I would like some advice. I’m not looking to become pro, just to be better in general. I’m terrible at FPS. I have only been playing FPS for a few months and would like to at least not be the player dragging everyone else down.

      I didn’t play previously because I would get sever motion sickness from being in FPS view. I have worked hard at overcoming this.

      Now my problems are the following:
      1) Panicking when other players approach me
      2) Poor reaction time to players hitting me from out of view
      3) Difficulty in seeing/tracking players in front of me resulting poor reaction time and poor aim.

      Any tips on those issues would be appreciated.

      • George says:

        My friend, follow your allies, depend on them, they depend on you.

        Every ten minutes whatsoever check up around yourself.

        To train these falculties, for the first play Battlefield 3 or any squad games.

        For the second try The War Z, a new zombie game where you really, really have to check around yourself. To improve your training, take the sound off so you have to look around yourself.

        IM OUT!

    12. yoda-1997 says:

      Those that play bo2 on the ps3 and think they’re pretty good please add me so i can play with you and get better.
      my id is yoda-1997

    13. TH3 XB0X PR0 says:

      Hi I’m TH3 XB0X PR0 Iv been playing BLACK OPS 2 for a year now and fps games for 5 yrs I need tips to getting better
      I’m prestige 9 with a 1.07 k/d i use the scar-h a lot and Skorpion EVO i have good classes i just need help on map strategies on raid,cargo,hijacked,overflow,and meltdown

      i would really appreciate the help thanx.

    14. Arix says:

      bro seriously it’s an awesome tips….thank you :)

    15. The OverSeer says:

      Good luck to anyone willing to play a FPS game peacefully.

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