Opinion: Keep Your Anger in Check When Playing Competitive Games

by Kevin Knocke

There's a reason 1v1 games are awesome to play. At the end of the day, it's you and your performance alone against the world.

No teammates to blame. No scapegoats to have.

Well, except the inevitable all chat at the end of a match proclaiming, "OMFG YOU NOOB I JUST HIT LAG OTHERWISE YOU WOULD HAVE DIED YOU'RE SO BAD UNINSTALL THE GAME."

And it's for that exact reason that, personally, solo queuing is way more preferable in competitive team games.

It's not even just a meme at this point to talk about how toxic certain game communities are.

A typical game of League of Legends, CS:GO, or Overwatch frequently features teammates yelling at each other for playing a hero or champion that they don't like, or players will berate each other for minor mistakes.

This is so prevalent in games that developers frequently pour many resources into creating features and resources to report players and ensure competitive integrity to some degree.

Anger can manifest itself in many forms; because esports are frequently played anonymously, it's usually pretty common for people to express their anger more readily than if they were in person playing with someone else.

However, sometimes that anger can boil over in person, as happened in China recently when a disgruntled team shoved a teammates' head through a monitor after a game of League of Legends.

There's no shame in wanting to improve your skills as a player, or being critical of yourself or even your teammates within reason to attempt to perform better as a team. However, far too often, players are too emotionally invested in the outcome of the game rather than understanding why a game was won or lost.

And it's this last point that so many could stand to learn.

The point of laddering in a game isn't to get to a mediocre rank, hold on to it furiously, and then brag to everyone about that rank. It's to improve as a player so that, over time, you continue to make the right decisions in a game to increase your chances of winning.

So when your team loses and you look up at you 0-10-2 mid-laner that threw the game, don't rage. Think about that situation and how you could have played better to react to your teammate losing lane. Use it to understand how to recover when playing from behind even when you're doing well.

Your teammates are human beings, so treat them as such. And remember, it's just a game.

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