Competitive Gaming 101: Communication

With our most recent leap of faith into the world of MOBAs, the Spoon Deep team has once again picked up a new game and once again seeks ultimate glory. We’re no pros, but we’re no pushovers either, so when we first jumped into Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm, we went in with hearts of steel and minds of gold. Is that right…? Yes, because losing (as one tends to do in a new game) requires perseverance of heart, and winning (as one tends to do with said perseverance) requires a quick and adaptable mind to out-game your opponents. Spoon Deep has neither of these; it’s pudding all the way down. But never fear, for what we lack in precious metals, we make up for in spoons and friendship. That’s right, if you’ve ever thought about getting into any kind of competitive online game, you’re gonna want to take some friends along for the ride.

Or not! If you’re largely a solo gamer, everything in this article still applies. You’ve just gotta be a little outgoing and willing to talk to the strangers you play with.

That said, communication is the number one thing separating the pros from the potatoes based on my extensive market research found here. Oh, is that not a link? Whoops oh well let’s continue. Playing any team-based game at any level above “just for fun” nearly requires you go in not necessarily with superior skill, but only a loose tongue. Talk, talk, talk, and you’ll find yourself victorious even when the odds were so very not in your favor.

Why is communication so important? Let’s look at two arbitrary examples.

  1. Destiny

Destiny’s maps are nearly all unbalanced, favoring one side over the other, so whether you capture zone A or zone C on any particular map depends entirely upon that map. But even assuming every player on your team knows these tactics (and you know what happens when you assume), it’s your communicating with them that nets you the win more often than not.

On Shores of Time:

  • “One coming cave from A-side, another looking down stream towards C sniping, need support.”
  • “Three pushing cave mid, bubble inside, don’t push, stay back and wait it out. Voidwalkers and Srikers super bubble.”

These simple yet informative statements let your team know where the enemy is, what they’re doing, and how many they are, giving you an immediate advantage over a non-communicating team of equal or even greater skill. This kind of communication lets everyone know where to position themselves, where to scope in, when to push, and when to stay back, resulting in a more cohesive and map-controlling unit.

  1. Heroes of the Storm

While still very new to us at Spoon Deep, we can already see potential value of proper communication here. While your UI is choc-full of game info, communication can give you more where the game cannot, and in a fast-paced genres like MOBAs and FPSs, information is key.

Say you’re holding bottom lane in a 1v1, and last you knew, every other lane was of similar status. But what you didn’t know (at least, not without proper team communication) is when the enemy team grouped up and bombed the top lane, making a hard push toward your base, gaining kills and experience to further themselves toward victory. However, if your team was communicating too, a player capturing a mercenary camp between lanes would have been able to tell you the second they passed by on his screen, enabling you and your team to possibly organize an effective counter-attack, whereas before, it was already all over.

Information (and the effective communication of it) is what separates good teams from bad, regardless of player skill. If you know what they’re doing and when, you gain an immediate leg up and can organize your own team based on their movements and actions. Good Xbox Live friend iGod JAMES sums it up perfectly every time we run across it in Destiny: “F**k, it’s a pre-made.” Whenever we see that the enemy team is playing together, we know we’re in for a rough (but competitive) game.

So, what should you take from all of this? Well, if it isn’t obvious, I need to work on my communication skills, so I can better communicate with you to tell you about proper communication. If it still isn’t obvious, God help you.

What else should you take? A subtle lesson in human interaction. Yes, communicate with your team, but please, be nice. You never know whether that random on your team is a battle-hardened veteran of 5 years or the new kid on the block just trying to get away from the real world for a few hours with a new game. It pays to be nice, and maybe you’ll even land a new friend in the process.

Play with your friends, communicate with your team, ???, prosper. That’s the Spoon Deep way, and we hope it’ll be your way too.

Until next time,


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