How to watch an esports event like a pro

Competitive gaming is a hot new phenomenon that is getting mainstream attention for the first time, and if you are one of the many new viewers tuning into esports events who got a bit confused by all the dazzling data and the exciting plays, we’ve put together a list of the most important aspects to pay attention to.

Give the game a spin

Just like how a soccer broadcast doesn’t begin with a thorough explanation of the rules of the beautiful game, there’s only so much an esports livestream can do to catch you up to speed with the intricacies of the particular title in question. This is why it’s so helpful to spend a bit of time with any esport title before tuning into a big event.

Be it your own gameplay experience or a couple of videos or general livestreams, nailing down the basics of any video game will go a long way in increasing your enjoyment of the tournament. Sometimes the organizers even have a separate newbie-friendly stream with a larger emphasis on explanation over shoutcasting, like The International’s “newcomer streams”.

Check out the odds

Another way to figure out which teams are expected to win is to go above and beyond what the panelists have to say, as they are sort of forced into saying vague generalities to satisfy the broadest possible audience. However, those making a living out of predicting the outcomes of matches, like bookmakers, have more skin in the game when it comes to making an accurate prediction rather than generating interesting panel discussion.

This means that a quick look at sites like Rivalry can get you a good understanding of the real power dynamics in any esports matchup. Many of the major tournament broadcasts partner with online betting sites to offer real-time updates on the odds on screen as part of their sponsorship deals for the event, which is another great way to keep an eye on the expected winners.

Read up on past results

There are excellent community-based resources like Liquipedia that list tournaments and roster moves going back for an incredibly long time, which allows you to quickly figure out the most important storylines going into the event. Sometimes the event pages even include links to articles with notable interviews and the thoughts of big personalities, which adds further color to the tournament coverage.

Look for regional broadcasts

If you’re not a native English speaker, chances are that a stream featuring your mother tongue would enhance the viewing experience. Luckily, there’s an ever-growing number of such broadcasts partnered with the tournament organizers.

This is a trend that is looking likely to continue, which means there is a good chance you can actually find something along those lines of exactly what you’re looking for, at least when it comes to the biggest esports events in the world.

Check out the players’ social media profiles

Since esports broadcasts don’t rely on pay-per-view, the merchandise aspect of the business model is all the more important. This, in turn, incentivizes orgs to make players as interesting as possible to generate a large following.

This means there’s a lot of thrash-talking and other such fun tidbits on social media, and spending some time looking at what the biggest players of the game (and the upcoming tournament have to say) is a sure-fire guarantee of a good time. Be it some good old-fashioned raging or talking tough about your upcoming opponents, digging into the depths of Twitter in the esports world never fails to elicit a smile.

Close Twitch chat

No, seriously. You’ll thank us later. It’s the petting zoo of the internet and you don’t want to be a part of it under any circumstances. Just set the stream to fullscreen mode and enjoy the show.

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