This is a bit of a different article from me this week. If you guys have ever watched my stream, you’ll see that I’m playing Osu! a lot. Not a little bit. A TON. I do this because Osu! has helped my mechanics in a way that I never thought they would have. When I started playing last November I was a Gold V player struggling to hit a 50% win ratio in gold rating. I’ve been playing for nine months now and I’m Platinum II. The best part is that it’s a game that you can play in between games and still get better at it. As I’ve been able to do more and more difficult songs in Osu! I’ve also noticed a similar level or mechanical gain in League of Legends. Osu! teaches you to be a better gamer, and here’s how.
1. Muscle Memory
This is the most overlooked aspect of gaming. People don’t develop their muscle memory naturally in League of Legends. Most players play many different champions and have to learn different ranges constantly. I relate the importance of muscle memory similarly to another skill that I have developed over my lifetime. Drumming. Good drummers are good at what they do because they practice for hours doing one set of rudiments. A rudiment is basically a combination of hits with your hand. Right, left, right, right. Left, right , left, left. After 1000 times doing that over and over and over your hands learn how to properly transfer the off pace of the rhythm. Osu! works the same way. Osu! gets you to click all over your screen thousands of times over the course of a song. Building muscle memory takes time though. How do you think players like Doublelift are flawless with CS. The first step is developing the muscle memory in your hand to instinctually move your cursor to the minion you want to kill. Turning the act of moving your mouse into an INSTINCT is why muscle memory is so important.
In order to hit any skill shot in League of Legends you need accuracy. Osu! is phenomenal at developing your ability to be accurate with your cursor. It’s one thing to know where your cursor is. It’s another to not be able to aim your cursor in order to hit your skill shots. Success in Osu! relies on being able to be accurate with your mouse. This is a skill that you will feel right away in League the more you play Osu! Bottom line, the more accurate you are the more skill shots you will hit.
It’s not enough just to be accurate however. Have you ever had friends tell you that you are good, but not consistent? You are accurate in spurts while playing League. Basically waiting for your skill shots to come off cool-down. But you need to hit your skill shots when they count or you will lose the game. The same goes in Osu! but constantly. You have to maintain your accuracy over a much longer period of time otherwise you are going to fail your songs. You can be 100% on a song and drop 5 notes and fail the song at higher difficulties. Building up the ability to be mechanically consistent is hugely important. Being consistent will help you out across more games than just League.
4. Ocular Retention/Peripheral Vision
This one I didn’t discover to be true of Osu! until I had the ability to start doing insane ranked songs. I never accounted for that fact that my eyes were incredibly undeveloped as a gamer. I basically ignored the information I received from anything that I wasn’t immediately focused on. I feel like tons of people do this. They are so focused on CS, or the kill that they are trying to get that they tunnel vision in on their target and don’t see the potential threats that are coming for them. Osu! trains you to take in every bit of information from all over the screen. This is the important part though. It teaches you to prioritize the information that you are receiving. Osu! shows you the notes that you will have to hit, which means that there are lots of notes on the screen that are irrelevant right now, but important later. Your mind has to filter out which notes you need to pay attention to right now from the notes that you will get to in the near future. This is just like prioritization in a team fight. Some champions you need to focus on, but as events transpire you may need to shift focus.
5. Speed/Reaction Time
Starcraft players are notorious for being FAST gamers. But Starcraft develops speed in a different way than League of Legends develops it. As you develop your muscle memory, accuracy, and consistency, you will find that you will also be able to perform these actions quicker. In fact, being forced to test these skill quicker and quicker is HOW you develop a better sense for them. Anyone can slowly move their mouse to different spots on the screen, but that doesn’t take skill. The speed at which you are required to maintain accuracy, muscle memory and consistency forces your brain to recall and execute more precise commands to your hands. Think of your brain like a computer and Osu is a way to amplify the CPU you have in your brain. You can have all the RAM in the world, but without a good processor you won’t be able to execute the commands in time to save a teammate.
You think that you are working at full capacity. You’re clicking as fast as you can and aiming as quickly as you can. You’re wrong. Your brain is filtering out and deciding whether or not to actually DO those actions.You don’t see professional players hesitate. They always have a purpose with their skills. The thing about your brain is that without the knowledge that you can do something in X amount of time, usually it won’t attempt to do it. You may not realize it, but your brain is holding you back by limiting the number of signals that are going into and out of your brain! Osu! helps break down the psychological walls that are in the way of us as gamers by forcing your brain to continuing to receive and input decisions constantly.
One last time with the drumming examples. Drummers are expected to be fast and accurate with their drum sticks just like a League of Legends player is required to be fast and accurate with their mouse. Another thing that people tend to overlook as gamers is for how long you can maintain your FASTEST speed. Developing your stamina is a huge, but overlooked aspect of mouse control. Ultimately stamina helps build up your actions per minute.
We all overlook how we actually hold the mouse we use. Most of us tense up during a teamfight or during a period of adrenaline filled action. This is actually a HORRIBLE reaction. Having your arm tense up in the middle of a team fight may feel like you getting into the moment, but it actually takes you out of it. In fact a tighter grip, or tensed forearm will more likely than not turn into bad mechanics. As you get more and more comfortable with your mouse and the physical limits you can exert on yourself to achieve certain feats, you will become more and more relaxed. From a fundamental standpoint, your hand should just be resting on your mouse. You should never be grabbing your mouse hard, just guiding it. Trust me. There are more times than I can count while playing Osu! where my arm tensed up in the middle of a particularly difficult song. Ultimately it almost always caused me to fail. I had to develop being relaxed while maintaining speed.
The core element of Osu! involves a thin circle that closes into the circles that you click on. Click too soon and you get less points or miss. Click too late and you get less points or miss. Madlife is evidence enough of how important timing is. His amazing plays could not be pulled off without an impeccable sense of timing. Flaying champions out of mid air, or landing skills after a Zhonya’s Hourglass are just a couple times that timing becomes important. I could go on all day listing the ways that having proper timing affects your game in League.
10. Pushing Your Limits
The most important skill I learned from Osu! however was pushing my own limits. Both my mind and my body were developed enough. Osu! showed me how to push myself to improve in areas of gaming that I had overlooked. I thought that playing just League of Legends would be enough to get me out of Gold. But my skill set was underdeveloped.
The reason I love Osu is because the skills transfer to every game you will ever play on the PC that uses a mouse. I seriously encourage every League of Legends player to download Osu! and start developing your mechanics. Go out there and push yourself. Osu! is not an easy game. It will get your mechanics up. One way or the other.
Thank you guys for reading as always. You can watch me play League and Osu! here: http://www.twitch.tv/lol_acerunner/profile