Solo practice doesn’t help push players to the next level. There are many training gurus out there that fall apart when confronting another human player. Thus, improving requires training with human opponents. In some communities, it’s easy to spot a group of players, but in others, finding them seems hopeless.
However, there are always ways to get players together. Establishing a community where players can grow together may seem like a daunting task, both time-wise and effort-wise. However, if given persistence and a bit of outreach with the help of social media and local venues such as game stores being willing to host tournaments, establishing a community of growth and development towards the game is an achievable goal.
A group of players that consistently get together and practice properly can grow rapidly. The Melee community started with small tournaments before becoming the powerhouse it is today. A local community functions in the same way.
The first step in establishing a community is attending tournaments. This means going to the closest tournament around. It doesn’t matter if it’s two hours away or down the block – the important thing is that you’re going to a place where people gather and take the game seriously.
Once in a tournament, making connections is the next priority. Performing well in the tournament takes a backseat here because to fulfill the mission, there are other priorities. The only way to find out who lives nearby is by talking with as many people as possible. The player must try to sound friendly, and really not push for information. The mission here is to find people leaving near the desired area and forging connections. Platforms like WhatsApp, Discord and Facebook make this a cakewalk and allow players to establish clear channels for communication. There, they can coordinate to meet and play together.
Find a Venue
The second major step in building a stable community is establishing a venue. There are many comic stores or even trading card stores that have play areas. Many allow for people to bring video game setups and practice. These are ideal because people are able to gather in these environments without any major problems. Places like community centers or houses also work as long as they are able to handle six to 20 players at a time. With an actual place to gather, the player now just needs to take action.
Having a venue allows calling an actual gathering. Using the connections built through tournaments, set up a day to grind at the game. A public invitation results with at least a couple of people showing up. However, it must be clear that setups are needed. If there are only two setups and 20 players, then the gathering won’t be a pleasant experience. In this situation, a lot of people either won’t be able to play or will rarely have an opportunity to play. Consequently, they may not show the next time. Thus, coordination of the event is necessary.
Once the first few gatherings are successful, the next step is crucial. Many players casually show up to gatherings, but can’t make it to tournaments due to logistics. With this in mind, the gathering should factor into its attendants’ routines. Then, once it’s ready, the gatherings evolve into weekly tournaments. This way, the talent of the area feels like it makes progress and expands. The competitors at these tournaments battle tough opponents every week and keep elevating their skill while under pressure.
Organizing the Community
Like in any community, some people are more active than others. Once people start flowing in, there needs to be some guidance. Be it through a committee or a leader, there needs to be a structure to the community that makes sure that the tournaments do not fall apart.
Once this all starts working properly, the community should start stabilizing. With that, the mission is a success. People gather, grow and push past their limits.
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Featured image provided by Nintendo