The rites of passage for gamers can be summed up in a few life experiences: first teamwipe, understanding what a half A-press is, and your first LAN party. It just so happens that this weekend DreamHack Atlanta will introduce an entire generation of the South to the joys of social gaming to mild excess. To help guide you through this formative period we've put together a list of the LAN party essentials you won't want to forget if you want to have a good time. We're going to assume you already have your spare clothes, keyboard, mouse and PC setup packed up and ready to go, but make sure you remember these before you head out, and have a great weekend!
While almost everything is set up for you at the Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) area of a DreamHack LAN, you'll still need to patch into the network. Each station gives you two power sockets and an internet port, but you'll need to provide anything else your setup needs. If you have a tower and monitor you likely won't need any more power adapters, but you will need an ethernet cable. DreamHack recommends at least 30ft to be safe, depending how far you are from your nearest switch.
While you are provided a chair with your BYOC station it's not exactly the most comfortable, so unless you're also carting your desk chair to the event as well you can keep things a little more cosy with a pillow. It's also perfect for a quick nap when you finally need some sleep, but that won't be for a while because...
We're not here to judge you on your preferred Gamer Fuel Of Choice, but coffee isn't ideal for drinking over a long period between rounds. You usually can't bring in any outside food or drink, but there are stores inside to grab your essentials from. Essentials such as a massive case of cans to split with your buds. That'll keep your reaction times stable until it's time to get some shut eye, but don't try and push beyond your limits. It's not on your team mates to carry your jittery aiming ass through another map if your eyelids are already drooping.
Deodorant and toothpaste
Come on, dudes. There's gonna be thousands of people in there, you think you'll all be smelling like roses after 3 days?
LAN halls can actually get extremely cold, thanks to trying to maintain the temperature of a huge space with thousands of GPUs inside. As soon as about 50% of your fellow gamers shut down for the night, that temperature will plummet. If you're not ready to hit the hay yet (thanks to your Gamer Fuel Of Choice) then wrap yourself up in some sort of blanket with sleeves and keep owning. If you forget, a hoodie would also work, and there's some for sale at the DreamHack festival store if you want a keepsake for your weekend, too. You may also want to bring fingerless gloves and/or some sort of scarf, snood or hat. Speaking of hats...
Staying hydrated is important during a LAN weekender, but if you're on a killing streak who's going to keep you topped up with water while your hands are still on that keyboard/gamepad? Hook yourself up with one of these bad boys and you're basically good to go until you inevitably need the toilet. THAT we can't help you with, go to the restroom, KDA be damned. (You can also just bring an empty water bottle to refill once inside and sip between rounds if you aren't an extremely professional gamer of the highest caliber, as long as you're getting water).
None of us are immaculately clean angels, and we're all prone to the occasional flick-shot-related beverage spillage. If you can't secure a constant supply of water in a bag or comically large construction hat then chances are you or one of your tablemates might knock a drink over in the heat of the battle. Nothing saves a mousepad or keyboard faster than super-absorbant kitchen roll, plus you'll need to clean the snack dust off your fingers between matches too. Wet wipes can help there as well, but paper towels are omnipurpose.
That thing those street musicians use to keep a harmonica around their neck but you use it for pizza
Same deal as the Foam Dome, but for food. Bonus: keeps your fingers free of snack dust and grease so your keyboard doesn't suffer!
Earplugs and eyemask
If you're staying in the BYOC hall all night then at some point you'll need some shut eye. We highly recommend booking accomodation nearby for a solid night's sleep, but if you really can't bear to be away from your PC for that long then recline your chair and block out the lights and sounds in the small hours of the morning with plugs and a mask. We're not saying you'll get a good sleep, but you might at least get a few winks.