How to Get Started in Esports: What You Need to Know

Feel like traditional sports are a drag but not sure how to get into esports? We’ll show you how to get started.
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If you’re reading a site called WhatNerd—and we have reason to believe you are—your interests likely lean toward the geeky variety. This doesn’t mean you don’t like sports, but you may not like them as much as some of your friends do. That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the same thrills that traditional sports bring to fans.

After all, that’s what esports are for. Of course, just as with any traditional sport, you can’t just start watching a random tournament and expect to know everything that’s happening. That’s why we’ve put together this primer to help you get started.

Why Esports?

If you already follow a few streamers on Twitch, then you probably don’t need convincing as to why you’d watch esports. That said, if you mainly follow streamers who stream a variety of games or spend most of their time interacting with the viewership, it can’t hurt to examine the appeal of esports.

Basically, watching someone be really good at a video game is the same thing as watching them be good at anything else that’s interesting. It’s the competition that makes it truly engaging. If you need a little extra help, we’ve got an article that explains the appeal of esports.

Find the Right Games

The first and most important thing is to figure out which games appeal to you the most. This can be a little trickier than you may imagine. Just because you enjoy playing a game doesn’t mean you enjoy watching it.

If you like playing Overwatch, you might enjoy watching matches, but that doesn’t mean you might find yourself drawn to Dota 2 more. With MOBAs like Dota 2 and League of Legends in particular, you get to watch a team largely at once instead of a single player. This feels more like the camera angles you get in traditional sports, which might be why this genre has taken off in esports.

Still, it all comes down to what you feel like watching. Try watching a few different games, then branch out from there. If you like watching Valorant, for example, you’ll probably enjoy watching CS: GO matches as well.

Start With Twitch

If you don’t already have a few streamers you follow, getting start with Twitch.tv can seem a little daunting. As long as you know what game or games you’re interested in, it really isn’t that tough.

Twitch has an esports directory that can make your life much easier. Here you can browse by game, which is relatively easy to do anyway, but the games are narrowed down to those with esports components. You’ll also see a list of games that are currently live, so if you just want to hop in and start watching a match, this is all you need.

After you watch a few games, you’ll start to notice teams and player names that you keep seeing over and over. Once you get an idea which teams and players you like, search for them on Twitch and you’ll usually find they stream on their own as well.

Keep Track of the Big Tournaments

Once you’re familiar with the games you like to watch, keep an eye for tournaments. These are where the matches have the highest stakes and the players have the most on the line. This means you’ll find more big moments and plenty of excitement.

Where to look depends on the game. Searching for the name of the games you prefer with “esports” and “schedule” will help you find upcoming events. With some bigger games like Dota 2, there are tournaments like The International that you’ll probably just find via osmosis, making them easier to keep track of.

Esports Aren’t Exciting Enough?

If you’re still having a hard time understanding what gets people so hyped about watching League of Legends, Fortnite, or Overwatch, we can’t blame you. That said, you’ll find plenty of exciting moments in esports.

Don’t believe it? Just browse through our list of moments that show esports are just as exciting as “real” sports.

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