Get Gaming with Blesma!
Tonight, team Blesma are facing off in a Call of Duty Tournament against other Veteran teams from Help for Heroes, RBL, and the Wounded Warrior Project in America!
As the Team prepared to fight it out for the best players and take home gold for Blesma, we spoke to them and go their top tips for being involved in E-sports with Blesma.
Video games have been widely played ever since the bygone days of the Arcade machine. Things have come a long way since then, with online gaming growing exponentially, and huge communities forming in online games such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. It is not uncommon now for Army barracks to have their own consoles, and there are several E-sports (Competitive gaming) teams representing different regiments and branches of the military.
Whereas in the past, myths around dedicated gamers painted them as solitary shut ins, nowadays Veterans are finding rich communities and forming lifelong friendships through gaming. Video Games have hit the mainstream, and in the same way that people have always followed football teams, they now follow pro-gamers too. We spoke to some Members of Blesma’s E-sports team to get their Top tips on how you can get gaming with Blesma.
1. Which device?
When you first start out, choosing a console will depend on a number of factors; Budget, the games you most enjoy, and how competitive you want to become. Whatever console you choose, there are a wide range of adaptive controllers on the market, which work for almost all levels of disability. Jack, one of our E-sports players, said “Every year Microsoft and PlayStation bring out new consoles and generally the fans are loyal. The different platforms have different flagship games, so it’s worth working out which ones you’d most like to play. For those with the budget, and if you wanted to play really top-level competitive gaming, I’ve found PC to be a good move.”
2. Blesma E-sports
If you are a Member who is into gaming, and you want to represent Blesma in matches and tournaments, then you are already ready to join our E-sports team! The Team use Discord to stay in contact, and we are always looking for new players. To sign up, simply register with the Activities Team on the app.
We will then Verify you as a Member so you can access the ‘E-sports team’ channels and start interacting with your teammates. Anyone is welcome to join the Team, no matter their skill level. Selection for who is playing in matches and tournaments happens for each individual event, that way we can be sure there’s a rotation and we don’t get the same players each time.
3. Reach out
One of the things that sets modern online gaming apart is that avid Gamers look to connect with the other people they play online with. These communities support one another, whether it’s with tips to beat that tricky level, or the best place to get a new headset.
Lionel says; “When I first started gaming I didn’t know anyone, but I picked up the controller, had a go, and made a friend I’ve been playing with now for 15 years, even though we’ve never met! That’s the benefit of Blesma being involved in gaming. You have a pre-made pool of people who will be up for playing matches.”
4. Streaming element
Streaming is another important feature of the modern gaming landscape. Twitch allows you to broadcast yourself playing games. It is totally free to join and watch, you can chat to the people who are gaming, and also you can donate to channels. This is why it’s great for charities like Blesma, as you can fundraise through the platform and ask for donations as you play. It’s also a great way to get better at gaming, as you get tips from watching others.
While not all gamers choose to stream, and you don’t need to stream to be part of Blesma’s gaming community, but if this is of interest to you, you can follow Blesma on Twitch here: https://www.twitch.tv/gameonforblesma
5. It’s only a game!
Though it’s only natural that games can get competitive, ultimately they are a great way for Members to connect. For Team Blesma, it’s not about how good you are or where we place in tournaments, it’s about working together, having fun, and reigniting that classic military banter.
“For me I love the banter, and getting to know other Members. I was in a ‘Headley court bubble’ so I’ve now met Members I would never normally meet unless we were at an activity. It’s just another place to talk and share, we talk about all kinds of stuff.” Says Jack.
What on earth is Discord?
Blesma’s Gamers, whether they are Members, staff or fundraisers, stay in touch using Discord. Discord is a app which was developed by gamers, for gamers in order to find online opponents. It is used much like other communication apps, such as Whatsapp, and can be used on a desktop or on mobile.
The idea of Discord is that each private ‘server’ (such as the Blesma Server) contains different ‘Channels’ (or topics). For example, you might have an Xbox channel, or a Call of Duty channel. The people who are a part of that server can choose which channels to join, depending on which topics are most relevant to them. There are also separate channels which can only be accessed by those with permission, Members only for example. The App may appear complex at first glance, but it’s a very powerful communication tool.
Blesma Gamer Dan said; “You don’t need a computer, you don’t need a mic, as long as you have got Discord we can talk to people and organise games. For me, the more Members we have [in the Discord] the more things you’ll find you have in common with each other. It’s an application, just like Facebook and Whatsapp. If you can use Whatsapp, you can use Discord. If you can use Facebook you can definitely use Discord. It’s a little technical looking at first, but once you get used to it it’s a great way to stay connected, and there are lots of us in there on hand to help with any questions.”