I have been playing online games for a number of years and have had my share rage induced moments. Usually I’m the one raging at the Assault in Battlefield 3 to quit running into the same building or at the Healer to spam heals harder. This has lead to the following tips to keep myself calm that I thought I’d share with the community.
While reading these, keep in mind that if you are not being the bigger man then you are aggravating the community’s problem. Without your help, a community of gamers will continue to grow into a larger and larger cesspool of rager’s and immature players.
Before the game starts, turn on some calm, soothing music.
Out of all the tips this one is my favorite. Whenever I sit down to write I toss on a Classical play list and give myself about five or so minutes before I find myself in the zone. The calming rhythm of the music accompanied with the lack of lyrics helps ease my mind, heart, and body, so that my creative juices will flow with ease. I’m sure you’ve heard that classical music helps you study and according to Classical Forums.com, Classical music helps your brain produce increased levels of serotonin, thus increasing critical thinking.
Once you’ve calmed yourself down you can jump into that Call of Duty match. Or better yet, if you’re playing an online game that allows for music in the background, keep the classical music queued in your ears. It’s possible that the stimulation will not only calm you but increase your Actions Per Minute (APM) thus increasing how well you perform. If you don’t find your APM increasing, at least you’ll be happy to know that you probably won’t rage at randoms when they screw up.
Bite your tongue and/or mute your chat.
I realize you’re in this match to win, but calling your teammates an idiot isn’t going to help. So do what your mother used to tell you to do in Middle School: ignore everyone. Keep those ear buds firmly planted and pretend you’re in the game by yourself. If you absolutely have to rage, do so to yourself, or to your dog. It won’t know what you’re talking about and as long as you say it in a cutesy voice, they’ll think you’re praising them! It’s a win/win: you feel better and your dog thinks you’re the best thing in the world.
Play with a friend.
I try to play most of my online games in a party and with a friend. If I am with someone that I trust, whether or not they are great at the game, my enjoyment level dramatically rises. Even if I am losing, I’m less likely to scream at the randoms because I can laugh about it with a friend in my ear. Couple this tip with the one above, and you’ll walk through all of your online matches with a smile rather than a scowl.
Don’t magnify the situation and don’t give up.
Your team is down by 6 kills, your Healer decided to AFK because his mom came into the room, and your friend isn’t playing at the level you believe he should. The next time you die, instead of screaming at someone for not being a human shield, take a deep breath and assess where you are.
I try to remind myself that it is never over and if I tell myself it is, it will be. Even if I am down 20 kills, there have been larger come backs made with team coordination and a level head. The following example shows what being calm and having a clear understanding of game mechanics will do.
During Canada Cup 2011, Justin Wong came back with a sliver of life in Marvel vs Capcom 3 to defeat Filipino Champ. This amazing victory was done because he realized that he could still win with the tool set he was given. I’m sure he held his breath and hoped for the best, but it’s an amazing come back and should inspire you to never give up.
Be a team player and stay positive!
Sometimes, proactively keeping the team’s morale positive will keep you from raging throughout the game. If you don’t have someone on your team gently issuing commands, take charge and be that guy! Tell your team mate to guard point B, congratulate the other on a successful kill, and then tell the team they are all doing amazing. However, do not fall in the trap of trying to correct other player’s mistakes! Even if you think you are staying positive, you are contributing to the decreased morale of the team. If someone screws up, kindly reinforce them with a positive sentence, instead of bludgeoning them with your words.
It’s like being on a ship. You’ve all seen the Pirate movies where the crew starts a mutiny because of something their Captain did. If you keep your “ship’s” moral high, your crew fed with compliments, and your team happy with success, then they’ll likely follow you to the ends of the map.
Set Your Input Device Down and Walk Away.
Sometimes, even the tips I’ve laid out won’t work. The enemy is skating through your base with ease and no matter where you put your units they are three steps ahead of you. This is when you need to cut your losses and take thirty minutes to recuperate. The game is going to be there when you get back, but your rating (if you’re in to that sort of thing) isn’t going to go up if you are not thinking clearly. No amount of Classical music can help keep your head clear if you’re blinded with rage. Seriously, stand up and go take a hot shower.
Accept the fact that you will lose.
You cannot win every game because you are not a god. No matter the outcome, keep in mind that there are people worse than you and there are people better than you. If you are really having an issue controlling what you say to others, then maybe playing a video game online isn’t for you. I hear there is great stock taken in such singe player experiences as Defense Grid, Assassin’s Creed, Saint’s Row….or how about Dark Souls? At least if you fail in that game, you can’t blame anyone but yourself!