There are a lot of ways to measure a gamer's personal style: Kill-to-Death ratios, class choices, progression, the ability to endure 60 hours of clicking, and -- naturally -- gaming peripherals. Nothing speaks more to gaming finesse than arming oneself with the latest, most expensive keyboard, a 7.1, nay, 19.5 surround-sound headset, a 17-button mouse, and a comfortable chair. The same can be said for those making use of creaky, yellowed, fuzzy keyboards and mice from the 90s (which, allegedly, are no longer considered to be "10 years ago.")
What sort of stereotypes arise from categories of peripherals, then? After our gaming personalities article, we figured it was time to delve a bit deeper into archetypal gaming traits. Everyone needs some narcissism now and then.
Oh, and for anyone trying to size up potential 'opponents' at a LAN event, this article may be the difference between life-and-death. Real life and death. Seriously. Keyboards are like nunchaku.
The keyboard serves as one of the most iconic elements in PC gaming; they can be the single, most disgusting component of an entire rig or the most advanced piece of technology to ever be typed upon.
Titanium-Plated WASD: As FPS Doug once elegantly stated, " wwwww aaaaaa aaaaaaaww wssssssssss4ss sssddddddddd1a adaaaddad ad ad dad ad dad d wwwww wwwwwwwwww www www"
Nothing quite sums it up like that. Gamers with metal-plated WASD keys are a force to be reckoned with -- their treacherous accuracy and response times put aimbots to shame. Having realized that the force of each bunny hop is overwhelming for the average keyboard, FPS players with metal-laden keys are prepared to spring into action, utilize pseudo-glitches to obliterate their opponents, and then glide away with a kill:death ratio of infinity. These players often get banned for being too good, though, so you may have a chance yet.
Anti-Ghosting: Bomber and DRG wouldn't be caught dead with inadequate peripherals, as last year's gladiatorial-style MLG taught us. Some humans are born human. Others are born part-Zerg, part-Korean. When a gamer's APM exceeds the typing ability of a Zergling (it's a real thing, you'll see), special keyboards are required to ensure the avoidance of buffer overflows and missed keystrokes. Anti-ghosting peripherals are aimed to allow multiple, simultaneous keystrokes without missing keys.
For sake of fun, you should be able to test what keys are ghosting in this demo that Microsoft threw together.
Extra Keys: Suppose your mortal enemy -- the guy leaning back in a teetering throne and eating cookies-ahoy straight from the fun-sized bag -- has a keyboard with twenty extra keys. Maybe even multiple preset options and LED customization. Certainly, most keyboards have extra keys these days -- but if an opponent uses even one of these keys, fear should surely be stricken into the hearts of gamers everywhere. This enemy has optimized his/her configuration for MMO gaming and has a plethora of macro-ready keys to bash when necessary. Watch out, they're probably good (or at least pretend to be) at Guild Wars 2 or other competitive MMOs.
There's no stopping an exemplary gamer when the teflon hits the mouse-mat. Mice of less-than-perfect quality may squeal under the weight of a precision gamer, and so enter the multi-button, glide-prepared mice of gaming quality.
They Forgot the Left Mouse Button: Multi-button mice have overtaken the gaming market with force; as manufacturers continue to imbue mice with technology, weights, DPI adjustability, and three scroll-wheels per finger, gamers continue to increase competition in gaming. If scoping out the opposition reveals mice that resemble a Dalek, it may be wise to exterminate yourself with a swift-and-painless /kill. Bind it to one of those eighteen macro keys to make things easier on everyone. We believe the WMDs (weapons of mouse destruction) can be found in tournament gaming everywhere, and typically signify gamers of both FPS and MMO backgrounds. Don't let them get all those scrolling wheels spinning at once -- it may result in such tremendous force that the world's molten core is ripped through the earth.
Trackball: It's a close race between the trackball and Old Yeller (below). Powered by similarly-ancient sphere-oriented technology, trackballs in gaming are nearly unheard of. Whether its implementer is proactive about the prevention of carpal tunnel or simply confused cannot be determined until the first shots are fired. See the guy spinning in circle and shooting at the ceiling (then the floor, then the ceiling again) in the corner? That's probably the trackball user. Then again, the CT that just popped a deagle bullet through your cornea is also a likely candidate.
Old Yeller: The wielder of the all-powerful 'Old Yeller' is a gamer of vexing ability; likely a sleeper, the creaky-and-cranky old mouse -- probably tarnished long ago and left unnoticed in the dim light of a basement -- possesses magical powers of unknown origins. Further still, the mouse is powered by a curious, long-forgotten technology: An odd, rubberized, gray orb rotates as the mouse moves, rolling from side-to-side, presumably giving gamers an unbelievable advantage in tournament environments. We are still studying this technology...
The most vulnerable, targetable location for any gamer: The head, prone to assault by calls for dinner and over-zealous phone ringers, must remain protected at all costs. Choose your equipment wisely, soldier!
Full-Surround Headsets: FPS games effectively invented 'footsteps.' Through modern technology, we're able to pinpoint the pitter-patter (or, more appropriately, "cadunk-cadunk-cadunk") sounds emitted by unsuspecting, charging characters. A 7.1, full-surround headset will help in determining the exact location of not only the player character, but the player herself.
Gunnar Optics: For when the world isn't yellowish-orange enough, Gunnar Optics and other 'gaming' glasses are available. Anyone wearing these lenses is most likely a sponsored pro gamer (it's the sure-fire status symbol, of course) or a wanna be; hedge your bets and do what any rational, honorable competitor would: Rip the glasses from his face mid-match, sprint away from security, and then re-enter the arena with the glasses donned. With the glasses successfully equipped, you'll immediately feel the power of the former owner course through your veins (in Dragonborn-esque style). Congratulations: you're now a gamer of FPS or RTS caliber.
Speakers: Don't fear the speakers. Without the ability to communicate with a team and with poor audio response times and lackluster pinpointing capabilities, users of speakers can be passed off as immersion-focused, singleplayer gamers.
*No Sound*: The most fearsome of all competitors: The guy with "NoSound" in his name. Avoid this murderer at all costs! Losing one sense strengthens another, they say, and the same applies in gaming: This competitor knows every map, every spawn point, each chokepoint, and even the path you're destined to take.
Tell us some other stereotypes about gaming peripherals in the comments below!