We all want to be better gamers, there is no question about that. One proven way to get better is to model your playing after the best players in the game.

So, how do the best players play? Scientists were also interested to find out.

Researchers from Brown University conducted a study of player’s data from two of the most popular online games, "Halo:Reach" and "StarCraft." They looked at time spent playing, time away from playing, their rankings, and other data to learn the playing habits of the top players.

Here’s a video that gives some great tips you can use in addition to the ones below.

Pay Attention to number 9, because that is how the researchers at Brown learned.

The best gamers do these three actions consistently

If you think the key to playing better is playing more, you would be right, It’s also important to know your game and controls. The best gamers do all of that but they also have their own twists to how they play.

Here’s what they do:

  • The highest ranking players do play the most. There is no surprise there. However, what scientists found was the players who gained the most skill over time were those who played between four to eight matches a week. The players who played more than that didn’t do any better. Also, players who took a little time off, two or three days, didn’t seem to lose their skills. The lead author of the study, Prof. Jeff Huang, said consistent short bouts of playing were better than longer sessions. He compared Playing Time to studying. It’s better to study consistently over time than it is to cram the night before a test.
  • Elite players use hotkeys. A lot. No, I mean a lot. Researchers observed the best players using hotkeys to make up to 200 moves a minute. However, it wasn’t the number of actions they took that makes them impressive. The top gamers make consistent and customized use of their hotkeys to the point it becomes instantaneous and automatic.
  • The top gamers warm up before they really get into their game. The top players will go through their hotkey arrangement during the early stages of the game. They seem to be doing this to warm up because many of the moves they make aren’t necessary when they make them. They appear to be working on their routines and mentally preparing themselves for when the gameplay picks up.

This study examined a lot of data to discover the findings.

Researchers looked at every online Halo match since 2010. During this time over 3.2 million people played the game.

There’s more to this research than gaming

The researchers didn’t conduct the survey so we could get better with our skills. What they are hoping to learn is how they can help people who have to pay attention to a lot of tasks at once.

Prof. Huang used the example of an air-traffic controller. He said it might benefit Air Traffic controllers if they “warmed up” by doing some practice tasks before they actually began to work.