Besides needing a computer to play FPS games on PC, you'll need peripherals. You need your Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers or Headset and a mouse pad. There are so many different types of each that you can pick from. There's a handful of brands that are known to be better than others as expected. It can all be kind of confusing what type of gear to use for your shoot'em up needs. We're going to discuss some general tips on how to pick the proper gear for you.
This time we're going to go over keyboards and mice. But, on Wednesday we'll be going over headsets and mouse pads (yes mouse pads do matter)
If you have any questions about a specific piece of gear or brand, you can send me an e-mail with the subject: FPSGuru – Gear Question:
The Big Brands
Let's start here. There are a few brands that are known in the eSports world. These are the brands that make their gear for gamers and use pro gamers for advertisting as well as gamers in general. These companies actully partner with the pro gamers to make the best of the best gear. This way it's exactly what professional gamers want/need in the gear they use for their job. While at the same time making sure that gamers in general can have some fantastic durable gear.
These are the big five. These are the brands you'll see sponsoring tournaments, teams, players and streamers.
Food for your fingers – Keyboards
This matters... a lot. Personally, it's the most important piece of gear. Yes I know you use a mouse to do your aiming and what not, but the keyboard is what does all the other work. There are two different types of keyboards. Mechanical and Non-Mechanical.
This is also known as a “membrane” keyboard. These are what a lot of general keyboards are and/or the type you'll get at your desk job that came with the Dell computer your boss bought for your cubicle. These types of keyboards work very simply and it's key that you really press it down. There 's nothing inside except a piece of plastic that will touch the top membrane. When you press the key down, the plastic piece presses the top membrane into the bottom membrane. They're magnets in each and when they touch your computer realizes what the key was and what do to. These are the cheapest keyboards and the most “obtainable” by the masses.
These are usually “gaming” grade keyboards and is the type of keyboard you'll see all high level pro players using. There's a few reasons for this. The main reason is because unlike non-mechanical keyboards each key has its own switch. There are four types of switches, black/blue/brown/red used in the “gaming” keyboards (there are more versions of Non-Mechanical keyboards back in the late 80's through the 90's).
Cherry MX Black Switches
Type: Linear Switch
Cherry MX-Black switches are linear (non-tactile) switches, these are considered one of the best switch types for gaming. When gaming, having a tactile bump does absolutely nothing because you're going to be bottoming out anyway. So these give you a very smooth feel. The actuation and release points are at the exact same position as well. So games that require a lot of double tapping become easier than on any other keyswitch. However, most people don't enjoy typing on them that much do in part, to their linear nature.
If you're a person who tends to hit a wrong key every so often while gaming, these will be beneficial in that the high actuation force will help prevent many of those accidental presses.
Cherry MX Brown Switches
Type: Tactile Switch
Cherry MX Brown switches are considered a middle ground between typing and "gaming" switches. They have a light, tactile feel half way through the key press that lets you know the switch has activated. This gives you an indication of what you can release the switch. The switch is considered a middle ground because the reset point & actuation point are close enough together than you can "float" at that point, enabling you to double tap faster.
As a note: this switch actually has a peak force of 55G, it is 45G at the point of actuation. This is due to the design of the Cherry switch itself.
Cherry MX Blue Switch
Type: Tactile & Clicky Switch
Tactile: Yes, precise
Cherry MX Blue switches are the best cherry switch for typing. The tactile bump can easily be felt, and the resistance is similar to your average keyboard.
Although many people find them just fine for gaming, some don't like the fact that the release point is above the actuation point. This can cause some trouble with double-tapping. This is usually the case with someone who has experienced other mechanical switches before hand.
As a note: this switch actually has a peak force of 60g, it is 50g at the point of actuation. This is due to the design of the Cherry switch itself.
Cherry MX Red Switches
Type: Linear Switch
Cherry MX-Red's are another switch that can be considered a "gaming" switch. It's essentially a lighter version of the MX Black, requiring less force to actuate. Some people do not find this switch that good for typing or gaming because it is so light, but others rave for this fact. Light or Stiff is always a matter of preference. This switch was hard to find; and was reported as EOL, but it is still in limited production with a higher than average MOQ leading to higher cost to board makers. Marketed with high demand, boards with this switch are becoming more common, but are generally more expensive as well.
There is one thing I HAVE to mention. In the end, it's all personal preference. There are newer pros who don't have the sponsorship or the money to spend on a new keyboard so they use non-mechanical keyboards. I've noticed most of these players in games that are not very keyboard intensive... IE DoTA 2/HoN/LoL. The FPS that I've been watching as of late all have Mechanical keyboards. And the biggest reason for this is knowing that you hit the correct key. The satisfaction of hitting the key and knowing that you didn't hit the incorrect key is pretty significant.
BOOM HEADSHOT! - Mouse
The #1 thing to pay attention to is the weight. When it comes to shooters, you want a medium weight mouse. This is for “pick-up” for lack of a better word. While you're moving your hand around the mouse pad you'll pick up your mouse really quick to get it back to the middle of the pad so you can keep aiming. The heavier the mouse, the harder it is to pick it up.
The other thing that will vary from mouse to mouse is the DPI settings. How high the DPI settings go will depend on the house. Some can go higher than others and some only have one setting. It all varies depending on the brand and mouse itself. You just have to make sure you research properly or read the back of the box. A lot of pro players will get the mice that allow you to switch DPI on the fly. This will help for aiming down the sight as well as knife fights for you Counter-Strike players. The higher the DPI the less you have to move the mouse physically to move the screen/camera/sight/what you see in game.
How you grip the mouse is also going to have an affect on the type of mouse that you're going to use. Most mice are “palm”. This is the typical player. They rest their palm on the mouse as a whole. The other main type is “claw”. This involves the player not putting their palm on the mouse at all. It's just held by their fingertips. The claw type of mouse is smaller than a normal mouse. This is because you don't have your palm resting on it. This is 100% personal preference. There's nothing to say that you can't put your palm on a “claw” mouse or vice-versa also.
Onto Part 2
I hope that this gives you all a little more of an insight into some gear you didn't know about originally. Come back on Thursday when we go over headsets and mouse pads. Crazy enough, mouse pads to matter.