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SteelSeries Academy Part 2: Let's Talk About Gear

Ready to take your gaming skills to the next level this year? In this series, we will explore how to improve your game from the inside out - from attitude to training and how to get the most out of the esports team experience.


Last time, we showed you to how to prepare your body and mind for gaming excellence. You can read part 1 here SteelSeries Academy Part 1. Today, we're going to take a closer look at your gaming gear settings to make sure you have the competitive edge you need.

SteelSeries Academy (#AkademiaSteelSeries) was originally written and posted to our Polish Facebook page. Tips have been reordered for readability and adjusted slightly for an English-speaking audience. You can find the original Polish text here.


The Importance of Consistent Mouse Sensitivity

Getting a new mouse or mousepad changes the way a cursor/crosshair behaves. It may seem insignificant or even impossible to see with the naked eye - however, it's important to have consistency when training. In this section, we will explore different scenarios in which you need to keep your settings handy:

  • Buying new gear
  • When you attend a LAN party or competition, you can't always take your gear or perhaps you forget your mouse pad
  • Visiting friends
  • Returning to a game after many years

How to measure mouse sensitivity

  1. Enter your game in a non-competitive mode so you don't get killed a bunch of times trying to measure.
  2. Find a distinct feature in the game such as a sign or tower, then line up your camera to face it head on.
  3. Take a tape measure and lay it across the bottom of your mousepad.
  4. In the game, turn your camera 360 degrees.
  5. See how many centimeters (cm) your mouse had to move to achieve this - this is your mouse sensitivity.

Here's an example of how to do this in CS:GO:

Now you can take your measurement and compare it to pro players - try different settings and see which ones you like best! Grip is also important to consider. Read more about grip.

Not all games are alike - you may want a higher sentitivity for an RTS but a lower one for shooters. Luckily for you, the SteelSeries Engine allows you to save all your settings for each game and the mouse will automatically adjust once the game launches. However, if you're taking your equipment somewhere else, take a moment to verify your settings, because they can be effected by mouse pads, drivers, and other factors.


The Key to Keyboards

Position your keyboard at the same angle as your hand to prevent fatigue. Pictured: APEX 150

How you position your keyboard is especially important for long gaming sessions. This is associated with maintaining a good posture at the keyboard and in the long run, your overall health.

Remain Neutral

The most important thing is that your wrist and entire hand remain in a neutral position at all times. Note that when we put our hand on the table, it is not pointing straight ahead, but slightly at an angle - towards the center of the body axis.The keyboard should mirror this angle. For example, if you keep your left hand on WSAD-z , the left end of the keyboard is moved a little more from the edge of the table so that the hand lies perpendicular to the keyboard.

Keep your hand and forearm at the same height, keeping the wrist as straight as possible. The most natural position is to rest your forearm on the edge of the table, however you might have comfortable armrests or other suitable options. The most important thing is that we are able to reach all important keys with using just the wrist, without having to move the whole hand. This allows our reactions to be quicker.

In MMOs, we often use the numberpad in addition to the most standard WSAD keys. In that case, the keyboard should be as close to the mouse as possible so you have a shorter distance between the mouse and numberpad.

Take a moment to review your seating position to make sure it is comfortable and will not cause injury over time.

Making Adjustments

Remember that all the keys needed to play must be easily accessible. If you have a problem with reaching the key you need, it's worth changing the arrangement of the keys and getting used to it again. A short transition period will result in improved skills. The keys you use most often should be the most accessible and their layout should be intuitive enough so that we can play without looking at the keyboard. This rule is especially important when playing MOBA, RTS or very fast FPS games.

Actuation comes into play as well - learn how to find your perfect keyboard actuation


Five General Sound Principles

Taking a moment to adjust your settings can make a huge difference. Pictured: ARCTIS PRO KABLOSUZ

It's easy to ignore audio settings when creating your optimal gaming configurations. However, there are a few general rules that - with a few simple adjustments - can definitely affect the quality of your game.

️ 🎧 If you use headphones, take note of the sound settings in the game and make sure they are on the optimal settings according to the developer.

️ 🎧 If you're already in the options, take a minute to mute the music and adjust the volume of sounds in the game as they relate to your mic. It's important to hear your opponent's footsteps or shots, but equally important to hear your teammates. Check out our proprietary ChatMix system for quick and on-the-fly adjustments, available on Arctis Pro and Arctis 5 headphones.

️ 🎧 Use proper microphone etiquette by using push-to-talk and not spamming the voice channel with irrelevant information. Here are some additional gaming communication tips.

️ 🎧 Reduce the bass level a little and increase the treble volume. This will keep explosion sounds from drowing out the game, while allowing you to hear shots or footsteps when you need them most.

️ 🎧 Each game is a different sound system. Check the game community around each game to see what they recommend for the optimal settings.


We hope you found this useful! In the SteelSeries Academy Part 3, we take a look at playing in a team environment. Stay tuned!