Competitive gaming is a fast-paced, high intensity sport which requires enormous mental stamina and refined dexterity. Players competing in eSports like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2 and League of Legends often make several decisions every second.
More famously, some top tier players in the StarCraft 2 scene would record actions per minute (APM) that reached several hundred, all whilst making pixel-perfect movements in a deft manner. Playing at this rate not only requires ultra-responsive hardware, but hardware that can handle the pummelling it receives every time the player sits down to play. This article will examine some of the hardware and PC equipment the top eSports players use.
- f0rest’s CS:GO Equipment
- Dendi’s Dota 2 Equipment
- Faker’s League of Legends Equipment
- Monitor Resolution Settings For ESports
f0rest’s CS:GO Equipment
Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg is a professional CS:GO player from Sweden who, since starting out in 2005, has had one of the longest careers in competitive gaming.
During his time as an eSports player, f0rest has amassed prize money of over $1.4m while playing at some of the most well-known teams in Counter-Strike. Teams that included Fnatic, SK Gaming and, for the last 5 years, Ninjas in Pyjamas (NIP).
BenQ is a well-known brand in eSports; offering relatively low cost hardware with a focus on gaming performance. The BenQ XL2411T is marketed as a monitor suited to first person shooter (FPS) gaming, boasting a 144 Hz refresh rate alongside anti motion blur technology.
The ZOWIE EC2-A has a simple ergonomic design. This gaming mouse provides USB 3 connectivity with a 2 meter cable length and a range of DPI settings. As you would expect with any gaming mouse, there are an additional 2 side buttons providing quick access to some necessary bindings.
Where f0rest’s mouse lacks in design, his Xtrfy keyboard makes up in style. This high performance mechanical RGB keyboard has 16.8 million colour options and can be customised to light up like a Christmas tree if the player felt so inclined.
With extra hardware macros, 50 million keystroke endurance and stamped as “Approved by NIP”, this piece of gear is one for the competitive gamer with some extra budget.
Dendi’s Dota 2 Equipment
Danil “Dendi” Ishutin is a Ukrainian Dota 2 player who has had one of the most celebrated careers in the scene. Dendi has played competitively with the team Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) for over 6 years and is regarded as one of the best players in the world.
In 2011 Na’Vi won The International to take home $1,000,000 in prize money, and the team has since notched up several six figure wins at a number of Dota 2 Majors.
This monitor is a high end piece of equipment from BenQ – one of the most recognised brands in eSports. The BenQ XL2430T comes equipped with a 144 Hz refresh rate, motion blur reduction and added technology that helps better-render fast moving gameplay. This is an extremely well-reviewed piece of gaming equipment, but for the price you’d certainly hope so.
Another simple ergonomic design from ZOWIE and a well-priced option which provides all the functionality that the vast majority of gamers would need. The only competitive gamers this mouse would disappoint are those with a penchant for RGB lights!
Tesoro Durandal Ultimate eSPORT Edition
Dendi doesn’t have an official gaming keyboard that he plays with or advertises, but Na’Vi do have an official partnership with Tesoro. These keyboards are middle of the road in terms of price and provide some good features including programmable profiles and macros, but the unique design may put off some gamers.
Up close with Dendi in some fast paced Dota 2 action:
Faker’s League of Legends Equipment
Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok is best described as a South Korean superstar who is globally recognised as one of the best League of Legends players in the world.
Faker plays for SK Telecom T1 and his appeal comes from his “hyper-aggressive” and unpredictable playing style which make for some thrilling viewing. At just 20 years old, Faker has earned nearly $1 million in prize money, with many fans speculating his career is only just getting started.
This monitor, also used by Dendi, is one of the more popular BenQ monitors for professional gamers. The quality of this monitor justifies its high price tag, although as mentioned further down in this article, some players compete just as well without the need for high end refresh rates and anti-motion blur tech that are so heavily advertised.
Razer DeathAdder Chroma
SKT T1 is a team owned by the eSports mega-brand Razer, and as such you’d expect their players to be representing all of the latest Razer tech. The DeathAdder Chroma provides similar specs to those you would find with the lower budget options from ZOWIE.
Where the DeathAdder Chroma differentiates itself most is in its style, providing customisable RGB underlighting and (arguably gimmicky) lighting effects that really show it off.
BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth
As with many Razer gaming keyboards, particularly those featuring RGB lighting effects, the price tag comes in a lot higher than their less stylish equivalents.
Despite this, Razer’s mechanical BlackWidow Ultimate Stealth has demonstrated itself as a superior keyboard in terms of durability – lasting 60 million keystrokes instead of 50 – although who’s counting? Other facets of this keyboard, such as responsiveness, are largely down to personal preference and opinion as to what “feels right”.
Monitor And Display Settings For ESports
When gaming casually, players will do their best to optimise their PC’s graphics settings to make for the most beautifully rendered gameplay.
For many eSports players however, the idea that high resolution displays and life-like graphics equals better results is totally false. In fact, some players – particularly in CS:GO – will edit their display settings to create something that would appear alien and “ugly” to most other gamers.
Field of View
Many of the top eSports players in CS:GO customise their field of view settings to help get a better “feel” for the gun. Changing the field of view settings will not benefit the player in seeing more of the game (and thus having an unfair advantage), but by altering their perspective they are able to play more comfortably in first person.
In a similar vein, some players choose to play with a left-handed weapon instead of the default right-handed one. Despite the impact of these changes technically making no difference at all, the comfort that a player might find in adjusting these settings can be hugely significant.
In FPS eSports, a key disadvantage to running the game on a high resolution is that by doing so there will be a decrease in frame rate. It is significantly more difficult for a graphics card to display a 1080p image than it is to display a 720p image.
Any reduction in frame rate will have a marginal and negative impact on the player’s ability to perform, and so mitigating this with a 720p resolution is very common.
Some pros in the CS:GO scene also choose to stretch a 4:3 ratio resolution up to a 16:9 resolution, resulting in slightly wider targets with the player’s viewpoint taking on a ‘zoomed in’ feel. It’s important to note that the wider targets won’t lead to a technical advantage, but some players do find this stretched display more comfortable to play in.
Ultimately, the best equipment and gear for eSports will not take someone from amateur to pro overnight. What’s important is you have the equipment and monitor settings you are comfortable with. Once you’re hooked up and feeling good, the only thing left to do is practice. Practice. Practice.
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