What I learned playing with the online gaming community.
A while ago I had a blast playing Halo 3 for the first time. It lead me to reflect on the countless hours I’ve poured into the Halo series over the past 8 years. Sure, I might not have much to show for it, but that time was thoroughly enjoyed. In retrospect, I even learned some important life lessons that have helped me succeed.
1. Hesitation is death – In Halo, nothing will get you cracked on the back of the skull faster than hesitation. The same is true in real life. If you waste time worrying about what your competitors are doing, you’ll never succeed. Sure, if you take a chance you might get burned, but you need to accept that risk and make a move. If you fail, learn from the experience and try again. Success comes from being aggressive and actively seeking opportunities.
2. Success requires experience – Obviously natural skill contributes to Halo success, but what really makes a solid player is experience. If you jump into a game without understanding the geography of the map or the capabilities of the various weapons, you won’t stand a chance against an equally skilled player who does. The lesson here is that to acquire an expertise, you need to put in the time to learn the basics. If you don’t know the medium you’re working in, you’ll be strategically disadvantaged.
3. You can’t win without teamwork – In team Halo matches, the ability of players to work together is more important than individual skill. A group of solo artists working against a unified team will constantly be isolated and overwhelmed. To be successful you need to sacrifice personal glory to watch your buddy’s back. Once you can get past ego and start to cooperate with others there will be more success for everyone.
4. Anticipation is the key to victory – The key to making a sweet kill in Halo is knowing what your opponent is going to do before he does. This comes from experience and pattern recognition. When you can anticipate, you can place yourself in the ideal position to bury your competitors before they have the time to adjust.
5. Leverage your strengths – The world of Halo is extremely diverse. Between the numerous weapon strengths, ranges, and combinations, there is an infinite number of ways to make a kill. Different playing styles lend themselves to different strategies. You’ll be much more successful if you can recognize your personal strengths and put yourself in a position to capitalize on them while hiding your weaknesses. Winning comes in streaks – Anyone who’s played much Halo has experienced streaks. One day you’re dead on, killing everyone in sight. The next, you’re getting dominated and can’t seem to find a rhythm. Streaks are part of any high functioning activity.
6. Some days you just can’t concentrate a well as others. The lesson here is that you need to recognize your streaks so you can weather the bad ones and make the most of the good ones.
7. The Devil’s in the details – To the untrained eye, a Halo match looks like a bunch of maniacs running around shooting. In truth, it’s a precise ballet of intelligent players reacting to each other and the environment. The difference between life and death can be as small as the angle of a grenade toss or the decision to reload. The same is true in real life. You need to pay attention to all the tiny details that contribute to success or failure.
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