I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my attitude towards competitive gaming lately. I’m only a casual competitive gamer, and a poor one at that, but when I do play I like to take it seriously. I enjoy competition, I always have, I played a lot of sports as a kid as I’ve got older (and wider) I find I get my competitive kicks in gaming. I’ve often been a sore loser and it’s only recently I’ve started to question why.
One thing that’s been bothering me lately is my mental state when coming out of a game. When a game hasn’t gone well I can often find myself frustrated, annoyed, stressed out, but why? I’ve recently got back into League of Legends (mostly with friends) and it bought back up the frustration I remember from competitive gaming. I’m not the sort of person who spams abuse in chat to vent my frustration but often when a game goes badly I find myself bubbling on the inside. This isn’t a LoL thing or a thing with who I play with, both are great but it’s something that LoL seems to bring out of me.
I play plenty of other competitive games but most don’t seem to make me as tense as LoL does. Saying this, the care I have that makes me tense in LoL also gives me those amazing moments when things do go well. I think part of the reason is the fact I care and certainly when I first started playing LoL I cared a lot and perhaps this is why this is the game that seems to bring it out of me. Saying that, you’ve never quite experienced anger in a game until you lose by the skin of your teeth in Clash Royale and your opponent starts to spam that big laughing face, ohhh the time’s my phone could have ended up the other side of the room.
This got me thinking, why do I get so stressed out with gaming . I think firstly, as I said above, I care. I probably care too much but I don’t class that as a bad thing, it’s important to care about what you are doing in any walk of life.
One thing that I realised recently though is my attitude hasn’t been to learn. I think this is important. I always believed that I was the sort of gamer that was learning while I played and after a loss was looking at the reasons I lost and tried to improve but on closer inspection I’m starting to think I’m not. Thinking back on my latest LoL losses, my brain tends to be looking to blame others, or blaming the loss on the other team having broken champions, or they got lucky with this or that. All negative views on what just played out. This doesn’t just happen with LoL of course, I’ve been playing a lot of Heroes of the Storm over the past few months and it happens in that too, I’m better but I still don’t learn enough.
So I want to start to train myself to not view a loss as a frustrating waste of time but as a chance to learn. How did I play that? what was my positioning like? was I attacking the right target? was I working on the objectives at the correct time? Then looking back and thinking, you know what? I made a mistake there, I’ll know not to do that again.
One of my favourite streamers, Grubby made a point in his stream about tanking in Hots which really got me thinking. He said that you should go back and watch your back line when you are playing a tank and you’ve chased or over stretched. He said often you will find they are back there getting destroyed and once you’ve seen that you’ll start to have that thought each time a team fight breaks out. He is right and this stuck with me. He must have analysed games in which things went wrong and found a solution. This is what I need to be doing more.
I always believed my attitude wasn’t too bad but I now know that part of my frustration was coming from it. The fact I would end a game and be annoyed at someone else for not performing too well, or thinking the other team weren’t better they we’re just lucky, this kind of thinking just added to my annoyance at the end of the game. It also wasn’t true most of the time and it kept making me believe I was better than I am. I think I always just wanted to play a game and suddenly be the best, this doesn’t happen and with the wrong attitude never will.
By coming to this realisation I’m hoping to actually start to improve but the main goal is to chill out a bit. I’m actually quite excited to get started and start to look at myself after a game and see where I could improve.
Maybe you have similar feelings after a stressful match, perhaps take a step back and look at how you are viewing losses.