People often break their New Year’s Resolutions because they’re just not very fun. Running until your legs fall off? Painful. Swapping chocolate for tuna? Not too bad if you’re a dolphin. For 2016, why not set yourself a few challenges related to something that you enjoy – like PC gaming.
Here at techradar we want to see you succeed, so we’re going to impose a punishment should you break any of the following five resolutions: console gaming only for one month. Best of luck, commander.
1. Build a new gaming PC
Just received a wad of cash for Christmas? Step away from the pre-build sales and consider knocking together your own rig. If you’ve never done it before, the traditional new year lull is the perfect time to learn how. Start off by spending some time researching what graphics card and other components you’ll need to play the games you’re interested in, check out some of the bundles on offer and watch some YouTube videos to learn how to get started.
If you’re no stranger to building PCs, take on a build that challenges you. How small you can make one using an AMD R9 Nano? Rocking a Titan X? Try upgrading it with a custom water-cooling solution for a new build. If you’re feeling completely insane, try and put fashion one of these…
Still not convinced? Here are 10 more reasons why you should build your next PC
2. Upgrade your gaming accessories
If you’re still using a bargain bin mouse and keyboard in 2016, it’s time to move on to something better. That doesn’t mean you have to go wild and pick up a matching set of RGB-backlit peripherals that light up like a 90s disco: just aim for ones that improve on your current setup. If you’re using a membrane keyboard, upgrade to a mechanical animal. MMO gamer? A mouse with dedicated macro buttons might be just what you need.
Every precise movement you make in-game is determined by the quality of your accessories, and taking them to the next level can help you become a better player. Though not as vital, kitting yourself out with a dedicated gaming desk and chair can help improve your posture and raise your comfort level when in the heat of battle.
3. Learn new skills from the experts
There’s no shame in watching professional gamers do their thing. They might sport dodgy facial hair (the male members, obviously) and wear hoodies that make Zuckerberg look fashionable, but they know how to turn online battles in their favour – and there’s nothing preventing you from learning their moves.
Get yourself a YouTube account and start subscribing to gaming channels such as TheWarOwl (Counter Strike: Global Offensive), Dota2Mid (Dota 2) and LoL Esports (League of Legends). You can also learn a lot by watching recorded (or live) eSports footage, which can be found in places like ESL‘s channel, alongside those run by professional gaming teams.
4. Start preparing for VR
The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are just two VR headsets coming to the PC in 2016, which is going to be a huge year for waving your arms in the air with a pair of wired-up goggles on your head. From water-cooled gaming laptops to ones powered by desktop-class graphics cards, even laptops are going to be getting in on the virtual reality game, so you’ll be able to go to your gran’s on a Sunday without actually being there – if you know what we mean.
Unfortunately, the cost of entry isn’t going to be cheap. Purchasing both a headset and potentially a new battlestation could set you back more than $1,500 (£1,000, AU$2,000). So what are you waiting for? Order three months’ worth of baked beans and start saving today.
5. Join a new clan
While content platforms such as Steam and Origin have made it easier to chat with friends and play online, joining a clan and mixing it with strangers can offer a uniquely satisfying experience. You might feel like the new kid at school at first, but any group of gamers worth rubbing shoulders with will make you feel welcome. If not, simply join another.
Keep an ear out for clans that use TeamSpeak, Ventrillo or an equivalent voice chat app. Investing in a decent headset and chatting with members in less populated rooms can be a great way of getting to strike up relationships away from the cacophony of noise. After all: no clan going to expect you to join them on their annual woodland camping trip after two days of knowing them – unless you’re the one who arranged it. (You oddball.)